Pattaya City celebrated
25th birthday on November 29
From a suburb of Naklua to the international resort city it is today
As far back as 1956, Pattaya was considered a suburb of
Naklua, but slowly she began to grow. In 1964, when jurisdiction was
increased, Pattaya began to grow at a much more rapid rate, as the
blossoming seaside fishing village was fast becoming popular among many Thai
and foreign visitors. This prompted the government to allow Pattaya to
become a municipality.
Continued rapid growth prompted new legislation, and on
November 29, 1978, legislation was handed down giving Pattaya ‘special
status’ as a tourist town. This allowed Pattaya to become almost
self-governing. Elected officers and managers were then allowed to make
decisions on behalf of the populace.
Last Saturday, November 29, a large crowd gathered at
city hall to participate in traditional ceremonies to commemorate Pattaya
City turning 25 years old. Nine monks led the religious rites and performed
traditional Buddhist ceremonies, as Mayor Pairat Sutithamrongsawat led
government officers and city council members to pay their respects to the
statue of King Taksin in front of city hall. Many representatives from local
organizations and community leaders took part in the proceedings.
Since her humble beginnings, Pattaya City has flourished,
exceeding all expectations and eventually becoming one of the world’s most
popular tourist resort towns. In 1997, after the redrafting of the national
constitution, Pattaya was granted status as a city - and the rest, as they
say, is history.
City makes first wastewater treatment plant payment in 3 years
City affirms it will make 8 million baht annual payments
Talk about finance on the ‘never, never’ plan...
Three years after the completion of Pattaya’s 1.8 billion baht wastewater
treatment plant the first loan repayments are now being made. According to
city officials, the first payment to the Department of Environmental
Investment was made at the end of September.
three years, the city finally made its first payment on the 1.8 billion baht
wastewater treatment plant.
Under the loan structure, Pattaya City will pay back 180
million baht, or 10 percent of the cost, to the department on a sliding
scale over a 15-year period. The first 3 years the city is to repay 8
million baht annually with the figure increasing by 2 million baht each 3
years until it reaches 16 million baht by the final year.
Sittiparp Muangkham, city engineering department director
who was responsible for overseeing the construction project, said the city
is also faced with paying 15 percent interest due to failing to meet the
first payment, due to increased expenditure in running the plant. The
contracting company also called for extra expenses from the city after they
over-spent on the budget.
Pattaya City sent the company to arbitrate with the
Department of Environmental Investment, but the department rejected any
proposal to pay additional expenses and declared it was Pattaya City’s
responsibility to pay the bill.
The 98 million baht-plus bill was submitted to Pattaya
City, since they signed the contract. However, it is still unpaid and is
currently in the court system after the company sued for breach of contract.
“The legal process is long and drawn out as each side
prepares their case. I expect that the case will drag out over 1-3 years.
This is similar to a case in Hat Yai where they had failed to pay expenses
to the same company. Whatever the outcome, I would think that the city will
eventually have to foot the bill,” said Sittiparp.
The issue was recently discussed at a city council
meeting and attendees concluded the loan repayments should not be a problem
since the city is able to collect 12 million baht annually in wastewater
The excess funds collected will be diverted to other
utilities including electricity, chemicals, maintenance and salaries at the
plant, at an average of 50 million baht per year.
Mayor Pairat concluded that Pattaya would uphold its
responsibility and repay the 180 million baht loan within the specified 15
year period, but requested that Department of Environmental Investment pay
the 98 million plus to the construction company, as they currently do not
have any budget excess. City officials remarked that the administration is
making a concerted effort to ensure that wastewater fees are being collected
from businesses and residents to ensure that the city can continue to pay
International sports stadium to be built in Pattaya
Thailand to host the inaugural ASEAN Inter-games
in 2005, next to the city’s waste disposal site
Budget approval for the purchase of up to 150 rai of land to build an
international sports stadium has been granted the city council following the
announcement that Pattaya will host the first ASEAN Inter-games in November
has received budget approval to build an international sports stadium on up to
150 rai of land near the city’s waste disposal site.
The approval of funding came after Sontaya Khunpluem,
minister of tourism and sports, met with the Asian Olympic committee and
received the decision that Thailand will host the inaugural event.
At a council meeting on November 27, Mayor Pairat
Sutithamrongsawat said the National Sporting Association saw that the
opportunity to host the event in Pattaya was ideal, preferring a 60 rai plot
near Soi Chaiypruek 2 in the Huay Yai district, and requested the city to find
another 90 rai close by to facilitate the construction of an international
sports center for the eastern region.
After surveying the area, city officials zeroed in on several
plots of land belonging to 3 different landowners. Preferred plots surveyed
include those belonging to Jamnien Chaiyanit, with 4 titles and total of 53 rai,
139 sq. wah for 10,136,025 baht. The second belongs to Tongyou Muhntham who
currently has 2 titles culminating a total of 30 rai and 300 sq. wah and a third
belonging to Charoenchai and Choosin Jantawaranont with total land area of 101
rai 151 sq. wah at a cost of 45,466,775.
The final plot is also located next to the city’s 35-rai
waste disposal site.
The city is ready to improve the area and make way for
construction of the stadium after sending in necessary submissions to relevant
authorities for further approval.
The city currently has 66,457,064 baht ready to go ahead with
Government officials meet the press
Media calls for action to settle pressing issues
Provincial and local government officials met with
members of the media last week to outline government restructuring and
highlight unsolved issues still plaguing the province. The media also
pressed for answers and an action plan concerning many of the city’s major
headaches ranging from traffic to social order - and disorder.
Wirawit Wiwatanavanit, Chonburi deputy governor, began
the meeting by addressing the impending restructuring of provincial offices.
Provincial governors will become CEOs of the provinces, and in the initial
stages of the changeover, the four eastern provinces of Chonburi, Rayong,
Chantaburi and Trat will be the first to make the change.
Wirawit explained that the central government’s
viewpoint of these four provinces is that they are a major economic hub for
the country. Chonburi is well known for it tourism industry, Rayong for its
large industrial estates, Chantaburi for agricultural products and Trat as a
boarder province which also promotes tourism.
The government restructure scheme will enable provincial
CEO’s to speed up bureaucratic processes and gain more autonomy from the
central government in Bangkok. Cutting red tape will more effectively define
procedures and enable provincial administrators to focus on quality
management and clear guidelines for the day-to-day running of the province
as a business entity.
“The most urgent problems to be addressed in Chonburi
Province, particularly in Pattaya, relate to the rapid increase of traffic
and traffic-related problems. We are in the process of rectifying this issue
by widening and resurfacing roads in the region to ease traffic congestion
and accidents,” added Wirawit.
In a feeding frenzy of demands for information, the press
launched an attack on officials regarding other problems in Pattaya that
have yet to be resolved. The barrage of complaints included the lax
enforcement of laws concerning the central government’s policy of social
order. Officials were accused of not enforcing the regulations which apply
to entertainment establishments which are obliged to close at 2 a.m., and
turning a blind eye to venues that allow customers under age 20 on their
premises - especially those located in South Pattaya.
Responding to the questions, district chief, Surapol
Tiensuwan said, “A number of entertainment venues in Pattaya are using
loopholes in the regulations to get around the opening and closing times by
operating as restaurants or food outlets, which is legal. The Banglamung
district office is, in fact, strictly enforcing the regulations and has
processed many such cases. Those in breach receive a warning, followed by
temporary closure and permanent closure for repeat offenders. We are also
constantly monitoring and surveying the city to ensure that everyone is
following the guidelines. Some of the venues in question also cater to many
foreign tourists but they are in compliance for the moment.”
Members of the media were adamant that city and
provincial officials have so far failed to make any visible difference in
regulation enforcement and were simply sweeping the problems under the
The long list of hot topics included Underwater World’s
unresolved car park woes, public property encroachment cases, and elephants
wandering the city’s streets. More complaints surfaced regarding the lack
of maintenance of public utilities from government offices, the frequent
lack of water in many parts of Pattaya and certain development projects
claiming to be supported by government offices. Even the fiasco of the
failed beachside TVs didn’t escape attention. Residents and tourists are
at a loss as to when these 29 inch TV sets are turned on and off, which
makes for difficult viewing - to say the least.
The media urged city and provincial management to take
decisive and affirmative action to correct the numerous deficits of
responsibility currently exhibited by the red-tape masters.
Deputy Governor Wirawit responded, “We recognize some
of the major issues raised are valid and we will submit the most pressing to
the pertinent provincial authorities in an effort to resolve them as soon as
possible. Once the changeover policy from governor CEO comes into effect,
many of these issues will be solved more quickly.”
Whether or not the new CEO policy will make a real difference remains to
be seen. Only time will tell.
Watch vendor busted for selling pirated merchandise
“Didn’t mean to break the law”
The crackdown on breaches of intellectual property and
copyright continues through the city. The latest arrest involved a 33-year-old
man from Nakorn Sawan identified as Natawat Palnwat. He was detained after
police found him selling fake brand name watches and wallets.
Officers confiscated the materials and charged Natawat with
breach of copyright by selling fraudulent items in breach of the law, whereupon
Natawat nearly breached his britches.
In his defense, Natawat told officers that he needed to
support his family and it was not his intention to break the law.
Police, though sympathetic to his cause, placed him under arrest pending a
Police arrest three people in connection with ride by thefts and drug deals
Drugs, stolen goods confiscated
Pattaya criminal investigation officers recently arrested
three people in connection with a string of crimes in the South Pattaya and
Jomtien areas. First up in the investigation, one man identified as Prakarn
Saengsawang was detained in a sting operation involving the purchase of 50
‘ya ba’ pills. Prakarn confessed to his crime before revealing his
source as 20-year-old female Piawadee Wongpanya. Officers raided the
woman’s home in Banglamung and found a further 340 speed pills. The pair
was charged with possession and distribution of a class one illegal
showed off the truant trio for all the world to see.
The third arrest came as officers intensified their
crackdown, leading to the arrest of 36-year-old Rungroj Sungkasin. Rungroj
confessed to his crimes and was charged with theft and causing bodily harm.
Arresting officers found Rungroj in possession of a cache
of stolen goods including a 1 baht-weight gold necklace, diamond-studded
gold earrings, two mobile phones and a Honda motorcycle. He told officers
that his latest acquisitions occurred on November 13 in the Jomtien Beach
Road area. “It is easier to steal and sell the goods for a night out on
the town rather than having to work for the money,” Rungroj said.
Police are asking victims to come forward to identify
their stolen goods in the case against Rungroj.
Norwegian man arrested with false passports
Allegedly used them to escape drug charges in his home country
A joint operation between the foreign crime suppression unit and Pattaya
Tourist Police led to the arrest of a 39-year-old Norwegian national in
Pattaya. The man, identified as Stein Andersen, was found to be in
possession of three fake passports and illegally residing in the kingdom on
an expired visa.
Stein Andersen was caught with three fake passports whilst illegally
residing in the kingdom on an expired visa.
Andersen is married to a Thai lady, has two children with
her and is currently building a house in the northeastern province of
Buriram. He fled to Thailand on a fake Estonian passport, allegedly to evade
drug charges in Norway.
Anderson confessed to police and told them that a
Norwegian acquaintance had obtained the passport for the equivalent of
400,000 baht so he could escape charges for selling marijuana in his home
Police confiscated three bogus passports and charged
Anderson with illegally residing in the kingdom on false travel documents
before transferring him to Norwegian authorities to face trial.
Miss Three-Ears creates extra interest among visitors
“Much better to hear you with, my dear...”
A year old female tiger, aptly named Three-Ears, has
created a stir among staff and visitors at the Million Years Stone Park and
has, you guessed it, three ears, two growing together on one side of her
face. Makes one wonder what they have been feeding her...
The media were called to the farm by caretakers and
senior management to introduce the young but very large cat to the world.
Three-Ears, as she is currently called, was born at the farm a year ago to
quite normal parents, the mother named Black Face and her mate Jumbo. Normal
in every aspect, the tiger’s caretaker, Prapat Inmanee noticed a small
tuft growing next to one of her ears, and growing quite rapidly.
Prapat said he had noticed the growth increase in size,
and soon discovered that what he thought was an abnormal growth was actually
an extra ear.
Since the discovery, visitors to the Million Years Stone
Park and Crocodile Farm have been happily snapping away at the oddity.
Prapat added that Three-Ears has an unusually docile
playful nature and exhibits a keen sense of intelligence not often seen in
animals of that age.
In any case, choc up another oddity for the wonderful world in and around
Two overzealous gamblers arrested on the beach
Police arrested two men on charges of illegal gambling. The men were in
the middle of watching a match at the beach end of Soi 6 when officers
approached them following a tip off. They were both found with gambling
tickets in their possession, which police confiscated as evidence for court
proceedings. Gambling is still illegal in Thailand and some people just
never seem to learn or go about their business in a private manner.