Vol. XI No. 40
Friday October 3 - October 9 , 2003

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Updated every Friday
by Saichon Paewsoongnern

 

 

NEWS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

In heavy rain, Pattaya and Naklua residents try to celebrate annual vegetarian festival

More lighting proposed for Beach Road in attempt to get rid of the ‘ghosts under the palm trees’

Pattaya Culture Committee drives home need for better standards to protect the youth from the evils of alcohol and nicotine

Redemptorist School, government and private sectors co-organize job placement market for disabled in Chonburi

City allocates 250 million baht for underground cables on Beach Road

Mayor orders removal of boundary fence after residents complain of being inconvenienced

Region 2 officers raid pirate and porno VCD vendors in Pattaya

Young hooligans busted for throwing bottles and stones at karaoke bar owned by police officer

American found dead in his rented room

Drug Suppression Unit arrests three drug dealers

Police briefs

Concerned environmentalists turn out for the 5th Annual Underwater Cleaning Project

Nang Nual Restaurant told to dismantle remaining illegal structure

In heavy rain, Pattaya and Naklua residents try to celebrate annual vegetarian festival

Naklua market submerged in floodwaters

Ariyawat Nuamsawat & Damri Muangkaew

Over 1,000 people braved a torrential downpour to partake in a parade celebrating the annual vegetarian festival, held September 25 to October 4. The group made its way from the Vegetarian Hall in Naklua down to the fresh markets to jump-start this year’s festival.

Hundreds of people of Chinese descent braved a torrential downpour to celebrate the beginning of the annual Vegetarian Festival held in Naklua.

Thai residents of Chinese descent were dressed in white for the start of the weeklong event. Many did their best to light joss sticks in the rain, and prayed to deities to cleanse their souls as they in turn cleansed the bodies of animal products in an act of compassion for the animal kingdom.

The ancient belief is that 9 Chinese deities observe the behavior of human beings during the weeklong event with each action being logged into the heavenly account. As part of the festival and respect for the deities, many devotees pledge to consume only fruit and vegetables throughout the week.

Devastating floods cause financial chaos when venders tried to earn during a festival celebration washout.

However, not all was rosy in river city, as heavy rains and flooding washed out much of the events at the beginning of the festival. The fresh market in Naklua was knee-deep in water, not allowing vendors to sell their vegetarian food to the masses.

One vendor told reporters, “Every year it rains and every year the market area is flooded. It causes an enormous amount of difficulty trying to earn a living, especially during important festivals such as this (the vegetarian festival). Many of us lose money because of the poor drainage in the market area.”

Residents and vendors have called for action from the city to rectify the drainage problem. City administrators are apparently reviewing plans to renovate the market area and improve the local infrastructure, but it is not yet known when the project is scheduled to begin.


More lighting proposed for Beach Road in attempt to get rid of the ‘ghosts under the palm trees’

Spotlighting hookers may reduce illegal activities

Suchada Tupchai

At the monthly city council meeting, debates sparked over whether or not to increase lighting on Pattaya Beach Road to chase away the menacing ‘women of the second category’, streetwalkers and reduce potential crime.

Mayor Pairat Suthithamrongsawat stressed, “City management takes seriously Pattaya’s image and people’s perception of the city. One of our many concerns is to clean up Beach Road, but numerous schemes to accomplish this have failed, particularly on the issue of streetwalkers and ‘katoeys’ plying their sexual services in the shadows along the popular strip.”

The mayor proposed that lighting be increased from the Dusit corner in North Pattaya down to Walking Street in South Pattaya, with the project coming under the 2004 budget allocation.

However, Sittiparp Muangkham, Pattaya engineering director pointed out that the department had not considered this, and has not requested a budget allowance for the project. He said they planned to place weather and temperature monitoring units on the light poles, but since the suggestion was made, he said the department would consider more lighting in next year’s budget.

Other hot topics brought up during the meeting included the condition of the city’s roads - many of which are still under construction - and the replacement of drainage pipes and building of footpaths. Scores of residents have petitioned the local administration to speed up the construction process and relieve the current traffic mess. City officers agreed to coax contractors into completing their projects on schedule, adding that a number of them are due to be finished in early October.


Pattaya Culture Committee drives home need for better standards to protect the youth from the evils of alcohol and nicotine

Damri Muangkaew

Members from the Pattaya Religious and Cultural Committee met with members from the government and private sector to stress the need for tighter controls on lewd entertainment and the sale of alcohol and cigarettes to minors.

The committee concluded the city administration had done little to control the sale of otherwise legal substances in the form of cigarettes and alcohol to those less than 20 years old and objected to the illegal guides who take their tour groups to venues staging obscene entertainment. The committee also demanded the council take action in order to ‘protect’ the youth and restore cultural and religious values among the community.

Yodthong Senawong, committee member said, “The city has failed to control the sale of controlled substances. It has also shown little ability to crack down on business operators who defy the law by selling these goods to minors and has had little success closing down illegal entertainment establishments that persist in providing lewd shows in defiance of the law. This ineffectiveness is destroying our precious culture.”

Yodthong proposed that stickers be printed in both English and Chinese to inform tourists of the consequences of breaking local laws.

Surapol Tiensuwan, Banglamung district chief said, “The standards are in place but there are three types of operators that break the law that must be dealt with. The first is lewd entertainment purported by tour guides and in most cases the owners are Chinese. The second group is go-go bars that allow women to dance naked on stage and the third group consists of streetwalkers who sell their services and have no fixed location. The district does enforce the law with the cooperation of Pattaya police station, but we have failed to secure any cooperation from businesses to cease such operations. After they have been caught and fined, most of them return to their old ways and continue to break the law.”

The district chief called for greater cooperation from all concerned departments to assist in enforcing the law. The outcome, as usual, remains to be seen.


Redemptorist School, government and private sectors co-organize job placement market for disabled in Chonburi

Damri Muangkaew

Last Thursday, Mayor Pairat Suthithamrongsawat opened a job fair at the Redemptorist School for the Disabled in Pattaya for the disabled in Chonburi. Also attending were many representatives from the government and private sectors in Pattaya and Chonburi.

Disabled students received an opportunity to meet with employers to help ensure a promising future.

The mayor said that in the past, the disabled were usually denied jobs in some workplaces because the Human Resources departments of those companies did not know that the disabled actually possessed an equal level of working skills comparable to many non disabled persons. But it is good to see that nowadays many companies are giving an opportunity to the disabled to work and earn their living.

In Chonburi, it is also noticeable that companies and associations are employing a larger number of the disabled to work in their establishments.

Somchai Sirorat, director of Chonburi Social and Security Development Bureau said that under the new constitution, every person is given equal rights for living and working. He said the bureau is an active government department that is working to improve the living standards of the underprivileged, the poor, the homeless, and people who suffer from many kinds of social problems.

Somchai said the bureau would find the most suitable jobs for those in need and forward them to the workplaces. Basically, the bureau is acting as the medium between job seekers and government departments or companies in need of new employees.

Nithit Arayawuthi, president of Laem Chabang Human Resource Management Association said the association is determined to help the needy, especially the disabled, to find jobs. Nithit said the job fair for the disabled was organized to give employers a chance to meet with job seekers. He said it was also a great opportunity for the disabled to show their knowledge and skills to the employers. Nithit added that the disabled could also prove that they were no less capable of working in the various jobs than non-disabled persons.


City allocates 250 million baht for underground cables on Beach Road

Could begin in Jan. 2004 - planners will try to reduce traffic disruption

Suchada Tupchai

City department heads called a meeting with all concerned organizations, including regional electrical authority, water authority, telephone organizations and cable operators to discuss plans to place unsightly cables underground along Pattaya Beach Road.

Director of the planning and construction office, Phichet Utaiwattananont said during the meeting, “We made our plans and it is now time to listen to all organizations concerned before the plans to place all cable underground along Beach Road are submitted to the relevant government agencies.”

Representatives from the regional electrical authority, water authority, telephone organizations and cable operators held a crucial meeting to discuss possible solutions for cables going underground along Pattaya Beach Road.

The project will bury 3.4 kilometers of ugly telephone, electrical and TV cables underground and has been approved with a budget allowance of 250 million baht.

Opinions and alterations were discussed before a final agreement was made. Construction along the stretch of Beach Road from the Dolphin Roundabout through to Walking Street will begin in January 2004.

Phichet told reporters that High Density Drilling equipment will be used to create the necessary space - 3 meters under the road surface - for the pipes to position the cables and it would not be necessary to tear up the road during the course of construction.

“The main problem associated with the project is the affect it will have on traffic. However, what we are proposing is that the work be carried out from midnight till dawn to reduce the inconvenience to motorists. New water mains would also be apart of the project,” added the director of planning and construction.

Contracting tenders will be announced in the near future, and once approved the project is expected to take 9 months to complete.

Further areas slated for the future include Walking Street and Pattaya Second Road, whereby all cables will go underground to create a cleaner image for the city.


Mayor orders removal of boundary fence after residents complain of being inconvenienced

Tempers flare as landowner claims his rights

Boonlua Chatree

Hot on the trail of illegal construction on public property, Mayor Pairat Suthithamrongsawat visited a location on Central Pattaya Road after residents in the 10 adjacent shophouses complained that they were unable to enter or leave their property because the landowner had built a fence blocking access.

Col. Sarayuth Glinmarhom (left) shows land ownership documentation to Mayor Pairat Suthithamrongsawat (center) and Pol. Capt. Taweesak Sueatong (right).

At 10.30 p.m. the mayor, municipal officers and civil protection volunteers inspected the site next to the Pad Boong Loy Fah Restaurant where Col. Sarayuth Glinmarhom was instructing construction workers to build the fence to safeguard his newly acquired property. The fence was blocking a 6-meter access point to the remaining shophouses.

The mayor stormed in and immediately ordered all work to cease and that the fence be removed on the grounds that it encroached on public property, created problems for residents in the area and that there was no permit issued to build the fence.

Colonel Sarayuth explained that he took ownership of the land at the beginning of the month and said he was within his rights to build a fence on his own land and he had the documentation to prove it.

The mayor stood his ground and told Sarayuth that if he refused to remove the fence, under the law, he would be arrested and legal proceedings would follow. An argument ensued and an end to the situation seemed nowhere in sight until local police arrived to quell the escalating tempers of the mayor and residents.

Pol. Capt. Taweesak Sueatong mediated an agreement by listening to both sides of the dispute and explained that the city has building regulations whereby any construction must be approved and forbids public land encroachment. The landowner has the right to protect his property. In effect, the real losers are the shophouse owners who combine their residences with business operations.

Col. Sarayuth agreed to remove the fence but wanted three posts to remain to establish the legal boundaries of his property. He also wanted acknowledgement that what he had done was perfectly legal, and that he had only agreed to take the fence down because it caused problems for residents. He said in fact the fence was legal because he was constructing a building and would make very sure that all necessary permits would be obtained from city hall, including permission to build the fence.


Region 2 officers raid pirate and porno VCD vendors in Pattaya

Doughty officers nab two vendors, bag hundreds of movies

Boonlua Chatree

Regional crime suppression officers on the trail of pirate goods were recently out in force again looking to bag more bogus goods in Pattaya. After inspecting a number of markets around town they swooped down on a vendor in Soi 13/2 on Pattaya Beach Road, netting 610 pornographic VCDs and another 11 pirated titles. The vendor, 35-year-old Manat Kaewnooch from Bangkok, was remanded to custody.

Reporters are all smiles as the paw through the hundreds of porn videos police confiscated during a raid last week.

Not more than 5 meters away from the first vendor police detained a 15-year-old boy who was selling pornographic VCDs. Both vendors were taken into custody and charged with distributing pornographic material and pirated material in breach of copyright laws.


Young hooligans busted for throwing bottles and stones at karaoke bar owned by police officer

Oops, looks like they picked the wrong karaoke to attack

Boonlua Chatree

Local police arrested seven rowdy thugs for throwing bottles and stones at a Soi Kaho Noi Karaoke Bar.

The bar owner, who also happens to be a police officer in Pattaya, reported the event to the Banglamung station. Police radioed ahead and caught up with the gang as they passed the highway patrol office. The seven men, between the ages of 16 and 23, were hauled in for questioning.

The foolish seven - these boys were caught throwing stones at a karaoke owned by a Pattaya cop.

Officers confiscated four motorcycles, one belonging to 23-year-old Surachai Sulaimarn who was carrying a loaded .22 pistol and 78 rounds of ammunition, but the reason for the attack on the bar was not revealed.

All seven were charged with willful damage of private property and disturbing the peace. Surachai Sulaimarn received additional charges of carrying a loaded and unlicensed firearm.


American found dead in his rented room

Police surmise drug overdose was the cause

Police received a report that a foreign man was found dead in a rented room in Soi Yensabai last Monday, September 29.

At the scene, the smell of burning incense sticks was emanating from the deceased’s room. The television was still on and the air-conditioner was still switched on full.

Steven Hume Carson, aged 30, an American national, was found dead on the floor. Police surmised that the man had been dead for 4-5 days prior to being found.

In the room police also found an 11 mm pistol with some ammunition on the table. One used and numerous unused syringes were discovered in the closet drawer, as well as heroine powder in a spoon.

Upon questioning the landlord, Sanit Luamsai, aged 58, who reported the death to the police, officers learned that the deceased had stayed in the rented room for the past 7 months. Sanit also said that Carson often appeared intoxicated.

Sanit said he last he saw Carson the previous Wednesday, and he did not see him again until he noticed foul smell coming out of the room and went to investigate.

Police surmised that Carson probably died from a drug overdose. However, the body was sent to the forensic institute to determine the actual cause of death.


Drug Suppression Unit arrests three drug dealers

First caught fingers other three

Damri Muangkaew

Kao Karat Condo residents, fearing for their personal safety and loss of property, informed police that they suspected there were drug dealers living within the complex.

Pol. Col Kamolchai Tienrungroj (left), Pattaya police superintendent, called a press conference to announce the arrest of three men suspected of dealing illegal narcotics.

When drug suppression police raided the apartment in question, they found two men in the process of using methamphetamines. After a bit of minor scurrying about, both were detained. One of the addicts, Natagrit Samdeaw, had 20 pills in his possession, which were duly confiscated.

Natagrit fingered his accomplishes and told officers he purchased the drugs from two other men he identified as Apichart Kongpeng and Yuthana Tubmanee.

A sting operation was planned and officers met with the unsuspecting Apichart, and confiscated a further 50 pills. A second sting netted a further 875 methamphetamine pills from a still obviously unsuspecting Yuthana.

All three were charged with possession of illegal narcotics and now face lengthy jail terms.


Police briefs

Boonlua Chatree

Regional police bust football bookie just 200 meters from Pattaya police
station

An intensive investigation on illegal gambling conducted by Region 2 police officers led them to the Pornpun Secondhand Shop on Pattaya Second Road, just over 200 meters from Pattaya Police station. Once they had gathered enough evidence, a court order was issued to search the premises and detain anyone there engaging in illegal activities.

Police moved in and presented the court order to Chaiyar Kaewgrachai, the 47-year-old owner of the shop. A search of the premises revealed another 52 people in a back room and 250 betting tickets, 40,000 in cash and international football results, with evidence pointing to over 3 million baht in turnover on a daily basis.

Officers detained Chaiya and the 52 punters for questioning. Chaiya admitted to his activities saying that he was preparing for a Spurs vs. South Hampton match.

The secondhand goods dealer was charged with running an illegal gambling operation. The remaining 52 were charged with their involvement in illegal activities. All are now facing the gamble of judge, jury and jail time.

Local police raid gambling den

After a period of surveillance, local police raided the storage area of the Rungruang Tour Company in North Pattaya at 2 a.m. on Sunday morning and nabbed a group of luckless gamblers. Five people were arrested in the raid for playing the game Hi-Lo. All five persons, aged between 35-48 years old, were hauled off to the Pattaya police station for questioning and now face charges for illegal gambling in the kingdom.

Two men rushed to hospital from Larn Island after a joint suicide attempt

Two men working as security guards at the World Gems complex in North Pattaya were rushed to Pattaya Memorial Hospital from Larn Island after drinking a potentially lethal cocktail of insecticide and coffee last Tuesday morning.

Pattaya police and Sawang Boriboon personnel were called to Larn Island after tourists saw the two men lying on the beach, both foaming at the mouth. Yupim Busa, 32, and Bunyai Narmsaeng, 29, were taken to Pattaya Memorial Hospital in serious condition where doctors administered the necessary antidotes and drips infusion to counter the nerve destroying effect of insecticide.

When the pair regained consciousness in the ICU, police questioned them. They told officers that they had made a suicide pact with each other because they were unable to pay their rent and send money to their families. They made their way to Larn Island, bought the coffee and drank the deadly mixture.

Officers confiscate pirated goods worth over 200,000 baht

After being tipped off that illegal goods were on display and on sale on several stalls in Modern City, Pattaya police officers were dispatched to arrest the copyright violators.

Many fake brand name shoes and clothes were confiscated including copies of Nike, Adidas, Lacoste, and Berbery goods. The goods were hidden under counters and in a storeroom. 1,553 pairs of fake Nike, 32 pairs of Adidas shoes, and 169 other imitated brand name clothes were confiscated, in all totaling around 200,000 baht.

The vendors were taken to the police station and will face charges for selling imitation goods and breach of copyright laws.

Drug dealers
arrested for
possession of ‘ya bah’ pills and illegal weapon in South Pattaya

Police arrested 4 drug dealers in a recent raid in South Pattaya. The four persons were delivering their illegal goods to their customers in Soi Day and Night and Soi Jirapol areas. Monop, aged 27 from Sriracha, had 150 methamphetamine pills and a .38 caliber pistol in his possession. Warinporn aged 21 from Phitsanulok, had 30 pills, while Kwandao, aged 25 from Petchaboon, and Sunisa, aged 26 from Nakhon Ratchasima, each had 4 ‘ya bah’ tablets in their possession. All were taken to the police station where they were interrogated and charged accordingly.

Local pub raided,
5 gamblers arrested, one escapes

Pattaya’s crime suppression unit raided the Rhino Pub on Pattaya Third Road at 1 a.m. last Friday, as they suspected illegal gambling was taking place on the premises. Turns out they were right, for officers detained 5 men and confiscated gambling equipment. All five were taken to Pattaya police station for processing.

However, arresting officers did not handcuff the men and when they pulled into the Pattaya police station one of the men fled on foot when the vehicle came to a stop. The runner was identified only as Chot.

The other four men were, however, charged with illegal gambling and await the relevant legal processes.

Arresting officers knew the men in question and apparently felt that they would not try to escape, therefore handcuffs were thought to be unnecessary. Apparently they were wrong. Reporters covering the arrest and detention were asked for forbearance. Police maintained an arrest of the escapee was imminent.


Concerned environmentalists turn out for the 5th Annual Underwater Cleaning Project

Divers clean seabed near Larn Island

Suchada Tupchai

Over 100 divers from the government and private sector turned up at the Bali Hai Pier last Saturday morning to take part in the 5th Annual Underwater Cleaning Project.

Thanks to dedicated divers there are less tin cans to worry about on Pattaya’s seabed.

Formal ceremonies began just before 8 a.m. as representatives from the local administration, provincial government, navy and recreational divers came together to pool their resources in order to improve and conserve Pattaya’s marine eco system.

The International Cleanup Day was co organized by Pattaya City, TAT Region 3 and the Marine Dive Co. Ltd. as part of a conservation campaign to protect the region’s natural resources. The cleaning, which took place over Saturday and Sunday, focused on removing rubbish from the seabed dumped by careless people around Larn Island.

Divers and friends are in high spirits while working in teams during the Underwater Cleaning Project.

The project also educates the public on the importance of caring for the environment and promotes awareness of how precious natural resources such as the sea are a now a vital factor to the success of the region’s tourism industry.

Each of the divers taking part in the clean up were presented with gifts and a certificate of appreciation from the PADI Diving Association’s Project Aware program.


Nang Nual Restaurant told to dismantle remaining illegal structure

Walking Street’s famous seafood eatery in the spotlight again

Veerachai Somchart

Walking Street’s now-famous seafood eatery, Nang Nual Restaurant is in the spotlight again, as city hall still hasn’t figured out a way to force the obstinate ownership to dismantle the most profitable area of the restaurant.

The offending structure, a seating area 20 meters wide and 10 meters long, was built on pylons out over Pattaya Bay. This is illegal under Thai law.

“Pattaya City’s next move will be to push for the owner of Nang Nual to voluntarily remove the encroaching construction soon,” Vice Governor Preecha Kamolbutra said optimistically, although perhaps not quite realistically. “The restaurant owner could face a fine of 10,000 baht per day if no immediate action is taken.”

City and provincial officials met again last Thursday to try and find a reasonable solution to the problem, but so far seem to be coming up empty.

According to the Supreme Court, the offending edifice must be dismantled, post haste. However, the owner of the building keeps appealing the court order, which has long-stalled the city’s attempt to solve the problem their way.

A technician from Pattaya City Hall’s Public Facility Department explained that concerned authorities had at one time, under the authority of a court order, actually removed the second floor of the construction that encroached into South Pattaya Bay. He added that the case has been dragging on for over 10 years now, bogged down by counter court actions.

On March 11 this year, the restaurant proprietor pleaded to the Chonburi Province Appeals Court to revise the order, but the plea was rejected.

The Supreme Court has allegedly closed the case; however, the technician said city authorities are still waiting for the date for the removal to be released. He said the city has to assemble all their men and equipment in case a court order of negligence is issued.

Vice Governor Preecha Kamolbutra, chairing the meeting in place of Governor Pisit Khetphasook, who could not attend the meeting because he was at a seminar in Japan, said, “It is illegal to extend any kind of structure over a natural preservative zone or public area. Nowadays the government, groups of non-governmental activists, and the media are keeping a close eye on law violators.”

“The city’s next move will be to push for the owner of Nang Nual to voluntarily remove the encroaching construction soon,” the vice governor said optimistically, although perhaps not quite realistically. “Since the removal order from the Supreme Court remains unchanged, the restaurant owner could face a fine of 10,000 baht per day if no immediate action is taken to rectify the problem,” he concluded.



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