Vol. XIII No. 6
Friday February 11 - February 17, 2005

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Updated every Friday
by Saichon Paewsoongnern


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Chanyuth Hengtrakul vows to do his best for Pattaya

Chinese New Year celebrations in full swing on Walking Street

Vice-governor plans for sea disaster prevention

Pattaya International Music Festival 2005

Youth problems need to be addressed by new government

Pattaya nightspot owners voice further concerns over opening and closing times

Hungry elephant destroys house in search of food

City Scope

Electricity authority calls for calm

German national arrested for pedophilia

Thief nicks motorbike as stunned owner watches

Hungry thief arrested after robbing tourist

X-rated CD vendor arrested

Irishman charged with murder says god told him to kill

Mourners pay last respects to revered monk

Chanyuth Hengtrakul vows to do his best for Pattaya

Voted into office by a huge majority

Staff Reporters/AP

Last Sunday’s national elections reported an unheralded voter turnout. In the Pattaya and Banglamung electorate (Chonburi Region 6) that was equally so, with 67.44 percent or 98,700 out of a total of 146,334 people chose to use their rights to vote.

The good turnout created long lines at the ballot boxes and officials were overwhelmed by the number of voters and spent much of Sunday night and Monday counting the ballots.

First check to see if your name is on the list.

At the close of voting all ballot boxes from electorate 6 voting stations were transferred to a single station for counting. Delays in the voting process, a myriad of problems starting with voters having to sign in three times before casting their ballot.

Confusion over which venue to vote was also predominant, as well as the inability to find the venue. This effectively trickled down through the system with some voters and officials becoming upset over the slow process as long lines were still seen at the close of the ballot boxes.

Sign your name when you receive your ballots – 2 of them

Amorn Suepar, a volunteer official voiced his dismay to Chawalit Saengutai, Region 6 election monitoring committee chairman as Amorn waited to handover the ballot boxes. He also said that there were not enough people on duty to handle such a big voter turnout. On top of this, many had not eaten as was promised, and this caused for even more strife among volunteer officials.

Mayor Niran casts his vote.

Chawalit said, “We’ve seen a tremendous number of voter turn up today and because of this everything has been delayed from closing off the ballot boxes to transporting them to the counting station from around the electorate. The excessive wait has seen some officials become upset and number of problems have arisen because of this. Despite this, everyone is willing to carry out the duty to the fullest.”

This year’s election has also seen the election monitoring committee implement tight controls and regulation throughout the election and counting period, and causing further delays.

Insert it into the two boxes for the two types of votes.

“We now realize that there hasn’t been enough people on duty to handle the load. This issue needs to be reviewed and corrected in the future,” said Chawalalit, who expected counting to conclude by 2 a.m. the following morning.

At around 8 p.m. Mayor Niran Wattanasartsathorn arrived at the counting station to look in on the progress and upon hearing about the problems quickly arranged food for officials and encouraged them to continue their duties.

Later on Sunday night Chawalit Saenutai announced a preliminary count as Chanyuth Hengtrakul, Thai Rak Thai (TRT) candidate visited to check on the progress. It was announced the TRT received over 50,000 votes in Region 6.

Stand in a queue to receive your ballots.

At midday on Monday, February 7, the slow process of counting votes was still going. Counting was finally concluded at around 4 p.m. and the initial results were announced.

Go to the booth and vote the one of your choice.

Chanyuth Hengratkul, Thai Rak Thai parliamentary candidate was recorded as having 62,224 votes, Su-ainee Pierdee, Democratic candidate was next with 19,482; Wichien Tunthamsatit, Chart Thai party with 6,834; and Somchai Chaonar, New Aspiration party with 430 votes. There were also 4,303 ballots unable to be used and 5,427 ballots with no preferences written on them.

Electorate - About 44.8 million of Thailand’s population of 63 million are eligible to vote. Voting is mandatory under sanction of the loss of some political rights, including running for major political offices and opposing the election of public officials. Voter turnout was 69.7 percent in the last election.

Candidates -The candidates are vying for 500 seats in the House of Representatives. In a two-tier system of voting, 400 legislators will be elected directly by voters in 400 constituencies nationwide, while 100 “party-list” candidates chosen by the parties will be elected according to the proportion of votes each party receives nationwide on a separate ballot. Official results are expected to be announced in 30 days after voting.

The counting begins.

The ballot boxes are sealed, labeled and delivered to the counting stations.

Results are posted on these huge boards.

The winners celebrate with their families and thank their supporters.

Chinese New Year celebrations in full swing on Walking Street

Year of the Rooster celebrations include giant dragons and lion dances

Decorated as a mini Chinatown, Walking Street kicked off this year’s Chinese New year celebrations last Wednesday night in grand imperial style.

Numerous activities are being held including a giant golden dragon parade and lion dances by disciples of Luang Poo Tim from Rayong. Other Thai and Chinese cultural shows are also performed daily not to mention Chinese and international food and products on sale along the popular walking zone. Traditional Chinese firecrackers and fireworks displays and eating competitions are all part of the celebrations to welcome in the year of the rooster.

The festivities last until Sunday 13, February.

Vice-governor plans for sea disaster prevention

Tourist centers should have a sea safety center and ongoing training

Suchada Tupchai

Preecha Kamolbutr vice-governor of Chonburi Province, presided over a meeting at the Pattaya City on January 31, to plan and implement marine safety for the Chonburi area, especially at all tourist locations.

Several departments associated with sea safety attended this meeting including the Banglamung district chief, Sriracha Municipality councillors, Water Police, members of the Chonburi Public Protection and Prevention Department, Commander of the Naval Operations Department, Banglamung and Pattaya police officers, and meteorology station employees.

(left) Vice-governor for Chonburi Province Preecha Kamolbutr, the meeting president and Somsak Yonokphan, Deputy Chonburi Governor (right)

The vice governor said that in the aftermath of the boat accident that caused a speed boat to capsize off Phang-nga Island in Surat-thani Province on January 25, in which many tourists were killed and injured it was thought best to revamp safety at sea in Chonburi. ‘Chonburi Province has had no major sea disasters in the last 10 years. Up until now we haven’t had any major accidents. However the province must prepare in advance to avoid these incidents,’ said Preecha.

The meeting discussed the present laws in place for transport boats which state that the boat should have enough lifesaving equipment according to the number of passengers, but agreed that the law doesn’t force the passengers to wear it. It is only recommended that the passengers wear the safety devices. Some passengers refuse to wear the life vests because some boats use old lifesaving equipment and also because of the heat and humidity; passengers often decline to don the equipment.

Attendees of the meeting agreed that a solution to this problem must be found and regulations should be enforced for the safety of passengers.

Preecha recommended that the Sea Safety Center adapt some ideas that are put into practice for road safety and implement them into the department’s regulations. He said Chonburi Province should have a safety center because the area includes many tourist islands and top priority must be given for the safety of tourists.

“Setting up a safety center provides advanced protection, training on safety at sea should be held annually..

The vice governor spoke of the tsunami disaster in the south, ‘The tsunami disaster caught us off guard and we need to me more vigilant in the future. I have unconfirmed information that there were over 6,000 deaths and over 4,000 missing in the disaster, totaling well over 10,000 casualties. Most of them ran to escape but didn’t have anything to hold on to. The waves tossed them and dragged them out to sea. The lucky survivors were able to shield themselves behind sturdy structures or grab onto something. We should consider building some sort of protection shield, so that in case of an emergency the people can hide behind them. Perhaps the concerned departments should present a questionnaire to the survivors and apply their experiences to the safety plan, so the coastal provinces can adequetly prepare themselves’

Pattaya International Music Festival 2005

Security and traffic issues addressed

Ariyawat Nuamsawat

On February 1 at city hall, Mayor Niran Wattanasartsathorn, and Pong-Anan Sanpanich, Tourism Authority of Thailand Tactical Advertising and Public Relations Department director presided over a meeting to discuss and summarize plans relating to information, security, and traffic problems for the upcoming Pattaya International Music Festival. Departments associated with the festival and organizations including TAT Central Region 3, Pattaya City administrators and police officers attended the meeting.

Mayor Niran Wattansartsathorn (left) and Pong-Anan Sanpanich, Tourism Authority of Thailand Tactical Advertising and Public Relations Department summarized plans relating to information, security, and traffic for the upcoming Pattaya International Music Festival in a meeting at Pattaya City Hall.

Represenatives of the Tourism Authority of Thailand said that no organizer has been nominated for this year’s event as yet, but assured that it would have a more international flavour. The music festival will be held from 18-20 March 2005.

Three stages will be set up for the event.

The first stage will be setup beside the Pattaya Bazaar, the second stage will be near Soi 4 on Beach Road, and the third stage will be at the Bali Hai pier. However critics of this plan pointed out that the stage areas are too far apart and those who wished to attend all performances will not be able to walk the distance. Travelling between venues would create the same traffic problems as before.

Thanes Supornsaharungsi Pattaya Business and Tourism Association (PBTA) president, pointed out the unfinished digging on Beach Road for the laying of underground cables could bring enormous traffic jams, and parking problems that would force Beach Road to be close during the festival. This would create traffic jams on Second Road. Therefore it’s necessary to give information to the public so they can make plans not to bring their vehicles as in previous years.”

It was decided that the festival organizers must accumulate more information from every department concerned so that a comprehensive PR plan can be implemented.

Youth problems need to be addressed by new government

A Thai academic has urged the new government to pay particular attention to problems facing Thai children and youths in the next four years. “Child and youth problems in Thailand urgently need to be tackled because they involve the safety and order of the whole society,” the education expert at Chulalongkorn University Sompong Jitradab stated. The new government should focus on such issues as violence, sex addiction, drug abuse and low morale among Thai children and teenagers, he said.

Government campaigns should project role models for Thai youths to follow, especially in the face of modern society’s stress on consumerism.

“Up to 70 percent of Thai children have poorly developed intellectual abilities, as their schooling and rote learning means they lack the skills to analyze,” Sompong said. The new government should help provide a learning environment that stimulates children’s intellectual development, he urged.

Illegal drugs and the publication of violent and sexual texts and pictures should be banned all together because they have contributed to creating serious social problems, including rape, improper sexual relationships, and illegal abortions, he said. The government should introduce educational reform, a safe society and learning-based activities to provide greater opportunities for Thai children to live a better life and enjoy a better future, he added. (TNA)

Pattaya nightspot owners voice further concerns over opening and closing times

Official association formed to bring about changes

Ariyawat Nuamsawat

Over 200 of Pattaya’s beer bar operators converged on city hall last Friday to discuss the detrimental affects limited operating hours had on both their business and general tourism in the city. Mayor Niran Wattanasartsathorn and Tawit Chaisawangwong, city council chairman met with the group.

The focus of discussions centered on the Interior Ministry’s (MOI) amended entertainment laws which forces operators to close at midnight and 1 a.m. under the zoning project.

The mayor said he was aware the MOI laws had created problems for the venues in popular tourist destinations such as Pattaya. “Pattaya generates 50 billion baht annually from over 4 million visitors. In the past the city and concerned parties have tried to push for changes in the law but to this date we have not had any response,” said the mayor.

Niran added that the provincial tourism office was open to the idea of changing operating times and that officials would push for the changes at the right levels of government.

“However, the most important thing is cooperation; all night spot owners must join together for their cause. You must show the government and provide facts on the damage the change has created in the business. The forming of an association or society is necessary in order to start the process. The city will support the association and meet with business owners from pubs, karaoke bars and discos to join in and make the case, as well as make the association more tangible and credible,” said the mayor.

As the meeting concluded the Pattaya Beer Bar Owners Association was formed. Chatree Sithisak was elected as president and will preside over further meetings in an effort to change the operating regulations and provide the relevant information required by the government.

Hungry elephant destroys house in search of food

Boonlua Chatree

A hungry elephant broke loose from its binds in search for food. The animal achieved its goal eventually finding banana trees nearby but damaged a house in the process.

Police were called to a residence next to the North Pattaya bus depot at around 4.30 a.m. on January 30. The house owner, Boonsong Jansri, 57, told police that the pachyderm broke through his fence to get to the bananas. The voracious pachyderm destroyed not only a fence but also part of the roof in its quest for food.

In her quest for food a voracious Pang Wasana, breaking free from restraints, destroyed a fence and also part of the roof belonging to Boonsong Jansri.

Police arrived to find the seventy-year old Pang Wasana still eating. Officers went in search of the mahout to come and calm down the hungry beast.

The mahout, Nui Salangarm, 53, arrived and managed to pull the animal away from the garden. Nui told police that this was the first time the animal had broken loose after spending almost every night in the brushwood near the Kochata or Stuntman show in North Pattaya.

Nui was taken to the police station for questioning and agreed to pay for the damages caused by his charge but would have to speak to his boss in the morning before paying. Both parties agreed and the incident was settled in an amicable manner in front of police.

City Scope: Mayor concerned about environment and traffic problems

Ariyawat Nuamsawat

Pattaya mayor, Niran Wattanasartsathorn announced the city’s upcoming projects under the 2005 budget. The press conference held at city hall on January 31 is part of the administration’s policy to regularly inform residents on the city’s actions.

The mayor informed the media and Pattaya residents on the intended budget allocations for 2005 under city hall’s development strategy and pointed out that the environment is a major concern.

Mayor Niran Wattanasartsathorn announces city development plans.

“We have presented the budget to the central government and the plans include the purchase of a vehicle to clean Pattaya and Jomtien beaches. The machine will also ensure that water resources are put to good use, especially for the city’s landscaping. We have decided to purchase the Kingmo brand of vehicle to perform the task and it will be used along various routes throughout the city,” said the mayor.

The mayor went on to say that the purchases of noise and air pollution meters are being considered. The meters would provide an accurate measurement of noise and air pollution in the city, particularly noise from entertainment venues. “The equipment will be important tools in the near future,” said Niran.

The mayor added that planning for further environmental development includes a better drainage system into the Naklua klong area as well as development of the community to reduce the level of poverty and ease the psychological burdens of the community itself. Other projects include increased activities within Pattaya’s schools as well as resolving traffic problems.

“We are going to build a new road alongside the railway line. We have the budget ands it is due to begin soon. The new two lane road will begin from route 36 on through to the Huay Yai sub-district,” said the mayor, who also announced that the design was complete and it was just a matter of finding a contractor to carry out the work. In addition to the railway line project a new road is being planned from South Pattaya’s overhead bridge down to Jomtien past the Machanu (Hanuman/fish) statue and along to the Banglamung revenue department. The budget is still under consideration,” said the mayor.

The final point raised was the widening of certain routes and Sukhumvit Road’s new computer controlled traffic light system. “This project is approximately 60 percent complete and it is now a matter of placing the control stations and under ground wiring. Once completed the city is confident that it will solve long term traffic problems for the city,” concluded Niran.

Electricity authority calls for calm

The state-run Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) has urged Thais not to be panic by recent earthquake shocks which have caused several cracks in the country’s western province of Kanchanaburi near two major dams.

People are understandably concerned about the cracks in the ground in the province’s Sri Sawat district, following the earthquakes near the Indonesian Sumatra Island, which may have affected the major Sri Nakarin and Vajiralongkorn Dams. In order to allay public fears, experts have been hired to conduct a study of the cracks and determine whether they will affect the dams.

The safety assessment of the dams will be completed from February 16-18. EGAT regularly inspects the safety of the dams under its supervision. (TNA)

German national arrested for pedophilia

Starred in child porn movies for sale

Boonlua Chatree

Senior tourist police officers, led by Pol. Maj. Gen. Panya Mamen, Tourist police superintendent concluded their extensive investigation into a child pornographer last Friday morning. Police, armed with a search warrant knocked on the door of German national Hans Ulrich Schmuttermayr’s room in the Thaifun apartments in Soi Korpai.

Hans Ulrich Schmuttermayr (right) being questioned by Pol. Maj. Gen. Panya Mamen, Tourist police superintendent after police discovered numerous child porn movies in his apartment.

Officers entered the room to find a number of CDs’s and equipment used to make the movies. They also found numerous photos of Schmuttermayr 60,with young girls and boys under the age of 15 involved in various sexual acts.

The German was immediately arrested and informed that he was charged with child molestation of children under 15 and producing pornographic material for sale involving children less than 15 years of age. The foreigner was then taken to the police station for further questioning.

Schmuttermayr confessed that he had spent 4 years in jail in Germany on similar charges and that he fled probation, coming to Thailand to continue his activities. During the questioning it was also determined that Schmuttermayr sold the movies both in Thailand and abroad to other pedophiles for 500 to 1,000 baht per CD.

Pol. Maj. Gen. Panya Mamen, Tourist police superintendent later told reporters that the arrest of Schmuttermayr was the result of an investigation beginning in Bangkok, and that he had received orders from the Tourist police commissioner and the National Police Bureau Deputy commissioner, in charge of the Human Trafficking Center at the National Police Bureau office to crackdown those who exploit such people.

Thief nicks motorbike as stunned owner watches

Boonlua Chatree

A criminal made off with a motorbike before the owner’s very eyes at a bar in South Pattaya. The incident took place at 5:45 a.m. when a man, later identified as Somchai Buathong, 22 from Chainat, Province, stole the motorcycle from Beach Road, Soi 11. Police cars were radioed that the culprit was wearing a yellow T-shirt and was seen speeding away in the direction of Sukhumvit Road. Officers were ordered to set up a roadblock in the area.

Somchai Buathong wasn’t so bold in custody, the bike owner positively identified Somchai as stealing her motorcycle.

Spying the culprit, officers signed for him to stop for inspection, but Somchai sped on past, forcing police to pursue to Soi Khao Noi before continuing to the road along the railway between Soi Khao Noi and Soi Wat Thammsamakee. Police blockaded the road, and caught the thief after he had lost control of the motorbike. Somchai was arrested and charged with theft.

Hungry thief arrested after robbing tourist

Boonlua Chatree

Stricken with hunger pangs, an Ubonratchathani man grabbed and snapped a gold chain belonging to a Dutch tourist. The incident occurred at around midnight near Pattaya Second Road Soi 10.

Henrik Ferdinand immediately reported the theft to passing police patrol which radioed for back up to locate the thief who fled into bushES near the soi.

Chainarong Insar won’t have wonder where his next meal is coming from, the government corrections department will take care of that while he spends some time in prison.

Teams of police closed off the area while they searched the scrub eventually locating 19 year old Chainarong Insar. Chainarong was discovered hiding in the undergrowth and still holding the gold chain. Police detained the man for questioning.

Chainarong confessed to the crime saying that he had come to Pattaya in search of work but as he had limited education was unable to find any. He told police that he decided to try stealing something of value because he hadn’t eaten in two days.

Henrik Ferdinand told police that he had recently bought the 40,000 baht gold chain and 1,500 baht Buddhist amulet. He said he was walking along the roadside when a Thai approached him asking for something. Because Henrik did not Understand the man he dismissed him but not before the man grabbed and broke the chain and ran away. Police charged Chainarong with theft and now faces legal proceedings with free prison meals.

X-rated CD vendor arrested

Boonlua Chatree

Following a string of complaints by visitors, Pattaya police sprang into action to hunt down and detain vendors who are flaunting the law by selling lewd materials.

The latest operations took crime prevention police to a mobile vendor in the Soi Bua Khao markets at around 1 a.m. on February 2.

Chaiyakoon Potesoongnern hangs his head after police arrested him for selling x-rated magazines and movies.

The vendor, later identified as Chaiyakoon Potesoongnern, 25, was arrested for selling inappropriate materials such as X-rated magazines and VCDs. Taken in for questioning, Chaiyakoon confessed to buying and selling the lewd materials, stating that he purchased the goods from Bangkok. He said that over the past 7 months he had made a lucrative profit from his explicit venture, selling mostly to foreigners.

Chaiyakoon was charged with selling pornographic materials and awaits legal proceedings, during which his ill-gotten gains will certainly dwindle.

Irishman charged with murder says god told him to kill

Police still trying to get clear answers but say case is solid

Boonlua Chatree

Patrick Oliver Farrell, 61, from Derry Ireland still sits in the Pattaya’s jailhouse following the murder of Ernest Gregory Brennan, 45 in the early hours of January 31. Farrell stabbed Brennan in cold blood at Brennan’s bar, Jimmy’s P