Officials to increase law enforcement in an attempt to reduce Songkran fatalities
Police stocking up on breathalyzers
and radar guns
On average, at least 36 people die on Thailand’s roads
every 24 hours. This equates to 1.5 deaths per hour, totaling a staggering
13,000 fatalities per year. Over 70 percent of the deaths are alcohol and
speed related, especially during festivals such as Songkran.
Deputy Prime Minister Jaturon Chaisaeng released these
frightening statistics at a recent eastern region policy meeting held at
Pattaya’s Adriatic Hotel.
The deputy PM, who is responsible for the eastern region,
met with law enforcement, government health and senior officials from the
four eastern provinces of Chonburi, Rayong, Chantaburi and Trat to deliver
the news and announce policies handed down by the central office.
Taking a law enforcement approach, the deputy PM said,
“I want to see a definitive drop in the road toll over this coming
Songkran. The government has not set any goals, but is demanding that
officers perform their duties and detain anyone found drunk driving.”
The central government has approved an extra 117 million
baht in its budget to resolve the problem. A further 2,000 breathalyzer
units will be purchased, and 30 million baht has been budgeted for radar
guns and an increase in the number of Highway Patrol officers in areas and
districts known to be danger zones.
Jaturon added, “The general public must obey the law to
reduce the number of accidents, but it is up to officials to enforce traffic
Pattaya Music Festival kicks off this weekend
Bars ordered to close during elections
Local elections for mayor and city council
seats are being held this Saturday, March 27, and Chanatpong Juabmee,
chairman of Pattaya’s Election Monitoring Committee, is urging all
eligible voters to vote.
Chanatpong also said that NGO volunteers have been
placed in each of the electorates to investigate and monitor anyone
intending to run in the local elections. The stiff regulations designed to
stamp out vote buying by way of support for local charities or
foundations; cash donations, parties or promises of advertising are being
carefully monitored to avoid impropriety.
The committee will announce the winners 1 to 2 weeks
after the ballot boxes close, or, in a worst-case scenario, 1 to 2 months,
in which they will inspect all votes and candidates for correctness. If
impropriety is found the election will be re-run with the cost being paid
by the perpetrator and legal proceedings will be invoked.
Note: By law, the
sale of alcoholic beverages is prohibited from 6 p.m. Friday March 26
until midnight Saturday March 27. Please note that this law will be
enforced, as many bar owners and managers learned the hard way during the
last elections at the beginning of the month.
This year’s CARAT exercises announced in Sattahip
To run from June to October
The United States holds military exercises with Thai
forces constantly throughout the year, and at least half of those are Navy
exercises. However, the largest annual Navy exchange here begins this June
and will continue through to October.
Adm. Taweewut Pongphipat, Frigate 2 commander and Rear Adm. Kevin Quinn
discuss this year’s upcoming exercises.
Rear Adm. Taweewut Pongphipat, Frigate 2 commander met
with representatives from the Western Pacific Fleet headed up by Rear. Adm.
Kevin Quinn, to discuss this year’s upcoming exercises at a meeting held
at the Sattahip Navy base.
CARAT stands for Cooperation Afloat Readiness And
Training and is aimed at improving skills, abilities and experience of all
participating naval officers, particularly in the ever-changing field of
technology and strategy.
Rear Adm. Taweewut Pongphipat said that this year’s
exercises will be held from the end of June to around mid-October and will
include harbor and sea phases, training exercises, weapons practice, dealing
with land, air and sea attacks, and defense maneuvers, as well as
community-based activities in the provinces of Chonburi, Rayong and
The bilateral exercise also takes place in Singapore, Malaysia,
Indonesia, Brunei and the Philippines every summer.
Thai and US
military officials are involved in planning for CARAT 2004.
Tight security at music festival
nips teen brawl in the bud
Twenty hot-tempered youths cool off in jail
The increased security throughout this year’s Pattaya
Music Festival proved very effective in reducing the number of incidents
among hot-tempered youths, putting a halt to one potential mass brawl
shortly after midnight on Saturday morning.
extra security at this year’s music festival seemed to have paid off, as
these 20 would-be brawlers learned the hard way.
Over 30 crime prevention volunteers and police broke up a
fight in the crowded arena after plenty of alcohol, bad manners and big egos
appeared to be the cause of the melee.
Twenty youths were arrested, effectively putting an end
to the fight, with the young offenders being thrown in the Pattaya ‘monkey
house’ to cool off their tempers and sober up.
The additional number of security personnel included
volunteers, Pattaya, Banglamung and Sriracha police as well as Navy and Army
personnel who kept a close eye on the masses as well as providing multiple
checkpoints throughout the city to reduce the possibility of crime.
Despite mass traffic confusion in Pattaya, the number of criminal
incidents, apart from a youth related shooting, was very minimal and
provided a safe atmosphere for all in attendance, especially concerned
Sattahip Coast Guard storms fishing trawler, arresting captain and crew
Once again, drama on the high seas
Regular Coast Guard patrols in the Sattahip
Bay area netted a bootie of illegal foreign crewmembers and
three Thai nationals. The fishing vessel was located
approximately 1 nautical mile off the shores of Rarnkian Island
when water police boarded the vessel.
Officers detained 17 Cambodian crew members
without the appropriate work permits and charged them with
illegal entry into the Kingdom, as well as failing to have
relevant work permits.
The Thai vessel’s owner and 2 other
crewmembers were also apprehended and charged with employing and
harboring illegal foreign laborers. They were also charged with
use of illegal fishing equipment and catching undersized fish.
Come trial day, they’ll surely have a lot of explaining to do.
Further interrogation led to the arrest of another 13
Cambodians and another two Thai boat owners on similar charges.
The foreigners were transferred to a Sattahip holding cell
before being deported. Both vessels were impounded by coastal
US to review report on human
rights situation in Thailand
The United States has pledged to
review its report on the human rights situation in Thailand, conceding that
it received inaccurate information, which had led to its allegation over
gross human rights abuses by the Thai government during the country’s war
on drugs last year, according to Foreign Minister Surakiart Sathirathai.
Surakiart told reporters that Washington had admitted
that its recent report on human rights abuses in Thailand concerning alleged
2,000 plus murders of drugs traders contained inaccuracies, and had promised
to make amendments to its report, based on precise information and data
obtained from the Thai government.
The remarks were made by US Minister for Homeland
Security Tom Ridge, who paid an official visit to Thailand last week, said
The US minister also praised the Thai government’s
economic policies, particularly those concerning its support of neighboring
economies, saying that economic improvement would lead to a more stable
security situation in the region, and a reduced drugs threat, according to
the Thai foreign minister. (TNA)
Tee many martoonies
No, this guy isn’t dead, just
passed out dead drunk. He obviously doesn’t know when to say when. The
piece of paper on his chest is a note, in the Thai language, left by someone
with a sense of humor. Roughly translated it reads, “Look at me, I’m too
drunk to get up.” I shudder to think about the hangover he had the next
Sattahip Marines prepare for Iraq tour of duty
Only the best will go
Rear Admiral Sakdichai Ubondechprachruk, chief of staff,
Royal Thai Marine Corps announced the approval from the Supreme Command that
more Thai forces will join in the UN coalition forces in Iraq.
Admiral Wirat Damrongjaroen, Royal Thai Marine Corps commander, and a
revered monk perform ceremonies before sending troops on their mission to
Iraq. During the ceremony, the vice-admiral also presented the men with
medals of honor for service to their country and fellow man.
Naval surgeons, engineers, commissioned officers and
warrant officers from the various military departments will travel to Iraq
near the end of March to join in humanitarian activities, assisting with
rebuilding and enforcement near the Iraq-Kuwait border and in Kabara.
Vice Admiral Wirat Damrongjaroen, Royal Thai Marine Corps
commander revealed that over 100 troops have been selected to take part in
the international effort to rebuild the war-torn country and that each
person was put through a strict selection process to ensure that they would
not crack under pressure and could withstand high temperatures.
Family situations were also taken into account, as the
mission, which will replace some of the Thai forces, is quite dangerous due
to local insurgence. Many of the troops have combat experience in places
such East Timor and Sierra Leone.
Ceremonies were performed in Sattahip instilling each of the men with a
sense of confidence and urgency in their duty so as to remain on guard at
all times during their activities to avoid potential casualties in a hostile
Good fortune shines on
Nong Nooch as show elephant
gives birth in front of tourists
Nearly a thousand lucky visitors witness rare scene
The birth of a baby is always a blessed event, but to
watch an elephant give birth in public is a rare and unforgettable
experience. Visitors to the Nong Nooch Gardens were witness to this amazing
sight as Phang Ubol, a 34-year-old show elephant presented them with a rare
glimpse into the miracle of life when she gave birth to a bouncing baby
Ubol lets out a sigh of relief as her newborn struggles to take its first
Elephants generally give birth in the dark, with no one,
neither man nor beast, around to disturb them through the process. However,
Phang Ubol carried her pregnancy to 20 months and gave birth at 9:44 in the
morning, much to the awe of almost 1,000 visitors to the park.
Nong Nooch Gardens has been in business for over twenty
years and has seen many new additions to their growing elephant population.
As the park now enters its 8th cycle, according to ancient Chinese lore,
this is an auspicious time, and the birth of the new cow adds a double dose
of luck for the tourist park.
Phang Ubol’s mahout, Kaew Molingarn told reporters that
Phang Ubol had mated with resident breeding elephant Plai Bird just under
two years ago and that this was the female’s third baby, with only the
first-born dying due to inexperience of the new mother some 12 years ago.
Sodawan Boonsiri, Nong Nooch general manager said,
“This event couldn’t have come at a more auspicious time as the park is
now in its 8th cycle. The birth of the new elephant is a sign of good
fortune ahead, and many high profile business persons in Thailand believe it
is a good omen.”
Sodawan also revealed that there are two more elephants due to give birth
in the very near future. Plai Bird has obviously been busy.
M16 found stashed behind local temple
Lawn cutter discovers lethal weapon in plastic bag
Lawn mower man, Buaroy Kaewyou, 53, was busy cutting the
grass near the Central Pattaya Temple when his mower became clogged. Bending
down to remove a plastic bag in the blades he found an M16 rifle inside.
Astonished, he immediately called police to remove the gun.
recovered this unloaded M16 assault rifle at a central Pattaya temple after
the gardener ran over it with his lawnmower.
Officers on the scene inspected the gun to find that it was in perfect
working order, but not loaded. They impounded the weapon and are attempting
to locate the owner, who they suspect dumped it after an increase in police
checkpoints around the city looking for such items often being carried by
youths. However, police surmised the presence of such a weapon suggested it
was more than likely going to be used for more devious means with disastrous
Shocking lesson for illegal road racers
The rising number of police victims as a
result of illegal road racing has finally prompted law enforcement officials
to turn to unorthodox methods in an attempt to prevent these unnecessary
tragedies. Motorcyclists convicted for illegal racing will be sent to work
in the hospital morgue to see for themselves the fatal consequences from
these road races.
Director General of the Department of Probation Kittipong
Kittayarak said that the offenders will be required to do community service
and work in the Bangkok-based Ramathibodi Hospital morgue to see bodies of
road racing victims. The idea behind the plan is that those who have engaged
in such activities will find such awful scenes unbearable and refrain from
repeating the same mistakes for fear of the negative consequences that might
Kittipong added that the street racers would also be
taken on visits where they will see for themselves the severe conditions in
prison. These visits are aimed to frighten the street racers when they
realize how harshly they will be punished by the law. The project will be
carried out across the country, if it proves successful.
A tourist police officer was shot dead last week while he
was driving a motorcycle on Chakrapatdipong Road. Police believed that the
act was a retaliation following a recent tough crackdown on illegal
motorcycle racing gangs. (TNA)
Foreign resident found dead in his apartment
No signs of foul play
Police and Sawang Boriboon personnel were called to the
Nirun Condotel in Soi Arunothai following the housekeeping staff discovery
of the body of a foreign resident, later identified as James Robert Citizen.
Initial examination revealed no evidence of foul play and
police estimate that the foreigner had been dead for at least 2-3 days.
Police questioned the housekeeper who discovered the man,
and she told them that she cleaned the outside hallway on a daily basis and
noticed that he had not moved from the same position for two days. Assuming
something was amiss, she called the police.
Officers and Sawang Boriboon personnel surreptitiously
removed the body of the 57-year-old UK national as not to alert residents.
Police suspect the man died of a heart attack in his sleep. However, the
body was taken to the forensic institute for a post mortem to determine
cause of death.
Garbage collector, arrested
for stealing bicycles, claims he “found them”
Police on regular patrol noticed the strange behavior of
a local garbage collector in the very early hours on March 11. Bright eyed
police moved in to arrest the man as he was in the process of wheeling off
three bicycles that he had just stolen from a Soi 6 location.
The man, identified as Kaew Darsute, 25, from Ubon
Ratchatani told police that he had ‘found’ the bikes lying around and
thought they had been discarded. Kaew was quoted as saying that he didn’t
know he was doing anything wrong and he didn’t steal the bikes; he just
acquired them. Police were not amused and charged Kaew Darsute with theft.
Gamblers arrested at pool hall
Crime suppression officers raided the PS Snooker hall to
arrest hardened criminals for gambling on March 11. The raid first netted
four people engaged in the illegal activity. Gambling equipment and the
princely sum of 20 baht was seized as evidence. As police in went through
the establishment they found three more people playing cards and mahjong,
confiscating the items and impounding another 20 baht in gambling funds. All
were charged with illegal activities and will try their luck in the court
Deadly mix of alcohol and speed contributes to the death
Sawang Boriboon personnel and police were called to the
scene of a fatal accident on Beach Road in North Pattaya. At the scene they
found the body of 18-year-old Suriyo Naewklang on the concrete. The youth
had died from multiple injuries, including a broken neck.
Police suspect that the dead youth had been drinking and
speeding. When he failed to negotiate the sharp corner near the Dusit Resort
his motorbike ran into the gutter, throwing him off the bike and into a
power pole, killing him instantly. The body was taken to Banglamung Hospital
for relatives to collect into order to proceed with funeral rites.
Ganja dealer caught red handed
Criminal investigation officers last week arrested
47-year-old Chalor Monprasert with half a kilogram of marijuana. Officers
made their arrest at the woman’s Huay Yai residence, confiscating the weed
already packed for sale and delivery to her customers in the area.
Chalor was taken to the Banglamung police station where
she was charged with possession and intent to sell a class 5 illegal
substance. During interrogation Chalor admitted to her business dealing,
saying that she bought the drug from a man known only as Lek. Police are
continuing with their investigation.
Ride-by gang shoots youth in the face
Scary end to the first day of Pattaya Music Festival
A group of youths on their way home from a fun night out at
the Pattaya Music Festival were taken by surprise when 3 motorcycles, each with
pillion passengers, rode past and fired shots. One man was wounded when the 12
gauge shotgun pellets from a home made pistol hit him in the face at around 1
Wiengsuntia, 20, was treated for a gunshot wound to the face following the first
night of the Pattaya Music Festival.
Udom Wiengsuntia, 20, was rushed to the hospital by his
friends, who then called police. Pattaya police made their way to the hospital
after visiting the scene of the shooting.
Doctors were in the process of tending to the injured man when police
arrived. Udom’s friend, Sompob Chuetrong, 20, told police they had just
returned from a night out at the music festival and were at the door to their
residence when a group of 6 youths on three motorcycles rode past and fired
shots, hitting Udom before fleeing in the direction of Sukhumvit. Sompob said he
and his other friend rushed Udom to the hospital before calling police. Officers
recorded the statements as evidence and are searching for the ride-by shooters.