Vol. XIII No. 19
Friday May 13 - May 19, 2005

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Updated every Friday
by Saichon Paewsoongnern



HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Delayed bus service might run in June

Complaints voiced over deckchair vendors

Utilities problems hamper indoor sports project

Admin skills upgrade for headmen

Deputy mayor’s resignation has nothing to do with politics, says Mayor Niran

Traffic snarl-ups frustrate visitors on Labour Day

Man killed in crane collapse

Passengers injured as bus overturns in ditch

3 injured as car overturns in ditch

Police briefs

- Editorial -


Delayed bus service might run in June

Suchada Tupchai

Plans to provide a microbus service in January never materialised, owing to reported problems with bus stop authorisation. A second proposed start-up date of March 18 also came and went without any sighting of a bus, allegedly because that date fell within the period of the Pattaya International Music Festival 2005.

Pattaya Mail has been following progress of the promised service, and went to see the operators, Pattaya Beach Bus Co Ltd, to try and discover the next projected date.

Pattaya Mail editor Suchada interviews Suriyon Klindee, operations manager for Pattaya Beach Bus Co Ltd, on the progress of the public bus service project.

Suriyon Klindee, the company’s operations manager, said that the proposed trials in March had to be postponed when problems were encountered in installing the bus stop signs.

Some of them were to be in front of shops, he said, and problems arose in the residential areas. Pattaya City administration received many complaints because the signs hid shop fronts or spoiled the scenery.

“Pattaya City notified us to move them away to be installed in appropriate places. These sign changes caused delays and now we want to open our service in June,” said Suriyon.

Suriyon says there are no other problems involved. “We have a 10 percent problem from the signs only. Our plan calls for 219 signs, which are 80 percent complete. The bus stops were fixed by the Provincial Transportation Department in co-operation with Pattaya City and Pattaya Beach Bus Co, and correspond to the standards of the Department of Transportation. It is expected that all signs will be ready in May. Most of the buses are also nearly complete. Last week we went to the provincial transportation department for document registration.”

Suriyon said route details will be made available soon, and that the service will be started in June “for sure”. The air-conditioned microbus will be in service first, and the sunroof bus, which has never been used in Thailand before and about which there is some dispute over the type of registration required, will follow later.

“We conducted a survey about the microbus three or four years ago, on the basis that an international tourist location should have full utilities,” said Suriyon. “There should not be a problem with the baht buses, because they have been servicing the public and tourists for a long time already. Pattaya City is growing, and when Bangkok’s new airport comes into service later this year it will increase the number of tourists to Pattaya by about 20 percent. The target group for our service will be different.”

Asked about facilities for handicapped people, Suriyon said that this is being considered a pilot project for all Thailand tourist locations. “Therefore we were going to install support in two cars for handicapped people, but the Redemptorist Vocational Centre for the Disabled thought that this wouldn’t bring any benefit to the handicapped. They thought that we should install support for all 24 buses, and this has already been discussed with Pattaya City, which agrees.

“Pattaya City will support a 12-bus budget, and the company will handle another 12 buses to support the handicapped, including offering them a special price.”

He said that tickets for tourists and the public still remain as planned, such as a one-way electronic ticket for 30 baht. A one-day ticket will be 90 baht, a three-day ticket 180 baht, and 900 baht for a one-month ticket.

“Tickets will be distributed through the hotels in Pattaya, which will be very convenient,” he said. “This month, trial runs will be held on some routes. We do not expect to have any problems, because we have continuously discussed performance progress with Pattaya City and the union baht bus president.”

The company plans to expand service to other tourist locations, says Suriyon. “Right now, in Samui and Surat Thani province this kind of public bus service is needed. The Pattaya beach bus project will be the model for other Thailand tourist locations following the international service line.”

Suriyon said that after surveying the sector of the public that always uses the baht bus service, the company doesn’t think they will use the microbus service because of the higher price. “It fits very well with the tourists though,” he commented.

Complaints voiced over deckchair vendors

Unsightly chair stacking allowing illicit activities to go unnoticed

Narisa Nitikarn

Complaints were voiced at a meeting in city hall on April 29, conducted by council member Sanit Boonmarchai, that deckchair and umbrella concession holders at Pattaya and Jomtien beaches are not following regulations and that their wares are stacked on the beaches allowing illegal activities to take place there.

Council member Sanit Boonmarchai chairs the meeting on deckchair vendor problems.

Sanit said the vendors did not follow the Pattaya City regulations and remove their deckchairs and umbrellas during the stipulated times. They kept them piled up and covered with canvas, which is ugly to look at and allows people to gather behind the stacks for unlawful purposes such as taking drugs and sexual molestation.

Officials were not strict enough in enforcing regulations, said Sanit. This allows the concession holders to ignore the by-laws, and this in turn leads to a negative image for Pattaya.

Sanit also complained about the lack of attendance at the meeting on the part of relevant officials, even though it is important for everyone concerned in Pattaya City to try and solve all problems together.

Utilities problems hamper indoor sports project

Ariyawat Nuamsawat

Mayor Niran Wattanasartsathorn met with representatives of the Thailand Sports Authority, the Provincial Electricity Authority, the Telephone Communication Bureau, the Provincial Waterworks Authority, and other relevant bodies on May 4 to discuss problems regarding the Pattaya indoor track-and-field sports construction site on Soi Chaiyapruek 2.

Mayor Niran Wattanasartsathorn conducted a meeting about the indoor track-and-field sports stadium construction. The project is expected to be finished as planned.

The Thailand Sports Authority is constructing the indoor stadium for the Asian Indoor Games, which Thailand will host from November 12-19. Chino-Thai Engineering and Construction Public Co Ltd was hired to start on May 7, 2004 and finish by July 30, 2005, a total of 450 construction days. With just a few months left, the contractor has finished only 41.56 percent of the construction.

After verifying with the Sports Authority the requirements of the utility system, including electricity, water supply and telephones, the contractor discovered that he needed an additional budget to expand the utility connection system with Pattaya City. It had been omitted from the construction budget, and there were also some problems over the land required for the additional construction.

Mayor Niran said that they should not have any problems because Pattaya City has always kept in touch with the associated departments. Regarding the budget and land, the administration will ask the provincial executive in Chonburi for co-operation to buy additional land. The Sports Authority had asked about water drainage, and the mayor said the water will be allowed to drain into the pond beside Pattaya public park. However, the drained water should only be rainwater or wastewater from the treatment plant.

Admin skills upgrade for headmen

Vimolrat Singnikorn

Banglamung district chief Worawit Saisupatpol led a meeting on May 2 at the Grand Sole Hotel Pattaya designed to help village headmen upgrade their administrative skills. The session had been organised by the department of provincial administration and the local executive bureau. Representatives of relevant local government departments also attended.

Village chiefs and headmen attend a meeting to help upgrade their administrative skills.

The meeting discussed the parameters at which the village chiefs and headmen could operate, setting out their rights and duties so that they could act efficiently and effectively. Responsibilities towards peace and safety in the villages was another subject, emphasising ways of conduct for the leaders and their assistants.

Cooperation is needed for unity and harmony in the villages, the meeting heard, with more interaction with the public.

Deputy mayor’s resignation has nothing to do with politics, says Mayor Niran

Suchada Tupchai

Mayor Niran Wattanasartsathorn has declared that the rumours Deputy Mayor Pattana Boonsawat’s resignation was the result of in-house political fighting were untrue, and that his reasons were more of a personal nature.

Niran said that Pattana had presented his resignation letter to the mayor’s secretary on April 29. Pattana, he said, had spoke of resigning after being appointed national windsurfing coach, saying that he wanted to support his (Pattana’s) son in training for international windsurfing events. Pattana believed that both of these would interfere with his duties as deputy mayor of Pattaya.

Deputy Mayor Pattana Boonsawat is resigning to spend more time looking after the national windsurfing team.

“Pattana has performed his duties well and for the benefit of the city and its residents. His resignation letter has yet to be approved and I have sought to speak with Pattana on the issue, which should be concluded within the next one to two weeks,” Niran told reporters.

The mayor said Pattana’s reasons for resigning were valid, saying that his devotion and hard work towards windsurfing and looking after the national team were Pattana’s first priorities, in order to develop and prepare athletes for regional and international competition.

“In a larger picture, he (Pattana) is working to boost the profile of Thai athletes,” said Niran.

The mayor also stated that Pattana’s son, Ake Boonsawat, is developing more skills, and focusing more attention on the sport of windsurfing to the point of leaving school to spend his time training. Pattana wants to spend time with his son before heading off to Europe for training and competition.

“As for Pattana’s duties as deputy mayor, he would rather not allow those to fall by the wayside and has decided to resign from his position,” added Niran.

Other rumours and stories have come forth from city hall with claims that Pattana has had no time to carry out his duties as deputy mayor, focusing only on his family and sport, leaving his duties unattended and lacking completion. Allegations that these rumours also created a rift with Pattana, causing him to resign, have been rife.

In response, Niran said, “There has been some dissent inside city hall but I do not believe it is the main reason behind the resignation.”

The mayor still wants Pattana to continue in his position as deputy mayor but the results of further discussions will reveal the final outcome.

Traffic snarl-ups frustrate visitors on Labour Day

Ariyawat Nuamsawat

With Labour Day falling on a Sunday this year, and Monday being a holiday in compensation, crowds of people took advantage of the three-day holiday to visit Chonburi, with Pattaya as the favourite destination.

Traffic jams in Pattaya were a major problem over Labour Day weekend.

Long traffic queues resulted, with Beach Road, where the underground pipe laying project has been delayed and where open workings and potholes cause traffic problems on a daily basis, was the scene of particularly bad gridlocks. Many visitors by-passed the central Pattaya area and went on to other beaches such as Jomtien and Dongtan.

Jams built up along Jomtien Beach, and along Sukhumvit Road, with 3km long queues of vehicles being reported in some places. Traffic police worked hard to keep the cars on the move.

Man killed in crane collapse

Narisa Nitikarn

A crane collapsed and killed a workman on May 3 at a site on Pattaya Second Road, opposite the Hard Rock Hotel.

Police arriving at the scene found a yellow crane with the name Ch. Crane. The crane’s jib, which when fully extended was the height of a 10-storey building, had broken in half. One piece had stuck in a tree while the other had fallen to the ground, damaging a six-wheel Isuzu and commercial premises. One man, Saengpetch Tansing, age 39, was injured. He was rushed to Pattaya Memorial Hospital, where he was found to have fractures to his spleen and ribs. Despite the attention of the medical team, they could not save his life.

The crane jib broke in half causing one death and damage to three commercial rooms.

Police investigations revealed that an employer, known only as Yai Pa from Sriracha, had ordered the illegal cutting down of two para rubber trees for the price of 10,000 baht. The trees are protected. The contractor rented a crane from the Ch. Crane Transport Company for the price of 8,000 baht to cut the trees, which were 10 storeys high with 60cm diameter trunks.

One witness stated that the crane driver said before starting his work that he didn’t have familiarity with this crane, but work continued. The crane could not support the tree because of the heavy weight. The jib broke and fell, along with the basket containing Saengpetch, fatally injuring him. The crane operator fled the scene.

The commercial premises that were damaged were Tik Tailor’s and two rooms of the Phathomchai Laundry. Somporn Sakayang, owner of the building, said he was not yet able to estimate the cost of the damage.

Passengers injured as bus overturns in ditch

Patcharapol Panrak

A bus travelling from Sattahip to Chonburi overturned into the central ditch near the U-turn at Kled Kaew School on Sukhumvit Road, injuring many of the passengers on board.

Police rushed to the scene with officials from the Rotjanathammasatarn Foundation and found the bus lying at an angle across the drainage channel. Seven passengers where transferred to Queen Sirikit Hospital for treatment.

Also hospitalised was the bus driver, 27-year old Sommai Puangsuk. Some were detained for X-rays, while others received first aid treatment and went home.

Police interviewed the driver of another bus, Anek Watcharasil, age 38, an employee of the Chuanchom Partnership. He admitted that he had cut up the bus and caused the accident. He said he was hired to transport students from Bangkok to the Chumpol Naval School, and that he had suddenly swerved right for the U-turn when he saw that he had passed the entrance, causing the first vehicle to plunge into the ditch and overturn.

3 injured as car overturns in ditch

Patcharapol Panrak

Rotjanathammasatarn Foundation officials responding to a call that a blue Toyota Corona had turned over in the central drainage channel at the 164-165Km point on Sukhumvit Road discovered that three people in the car had been seriously injured. Witnesses said the vehicle had gone out of control, hitting a palm tree before rolling over into the ditch.

Villagers and foundation officers administered first aid before transferring the injured to Queen Sirikit Hospital. They were Sombun Thong-U-Dorn, 22, who was later transferred to the Uanasangworn Temple Hospital at Huay Yai; a soldier named Rung Chamnarnwad, 22, who had cuts to his face and a broken leg; and Miss Pornphan Chantachuay, 26, a Lao national, whose right leg was broken. Pornphan declined treatment at the Queen Sirikit Hospital and was transferred Sattahip Hospital.

Pornphan had been sitting in the front seat of the vehicle. She said they had pulled out from Sattahip Market and intended to go to Bangkok. They were driving at speed and lost control when they arrived at Ban Nernsamakki. The car swerved near an electricity post, went into the central channel and collided with a palm tree before flipping over.

Police briefs

Man drowns in reservoir rescue

Prasert Yoochang, age 34, drowned at the Mabprachan reservoir in Nongprue after he and two friends went to help three children who were playing 100 metres away from the shore of the reservoir, and who they thought might get into difficulties. Prasert succumbed to cramp whilst on the way out, and drowned. His two friends brought the children to shore, but when they didn’t see Prasert they went looking for him, and discovered his lifeless body.

Tourist police arrest Austrian for stealing motorcycle

Tourist police arrested Ernst Kristen Conner, a 55-year old Austrian citizen, at the Thai-Fun apartment building on Soi Kor Pai, charging him with stealing a motorcycle from Na-Jomtien sub-district in Sattahip last December. Conner, who has been unable to present a passport, denies the offence. His case has been transferred to the Sattahip police.

Massage girls
in gambling bust

Police on April 30 raided the premises behind a massage parlour in North Pattaya after receiving a tip-off that the staff were always gambling. Eight women and two men were arrested. Bunthan Chuaysi, age 42, admitted to being the banker in the hi-low game.

Most of the gamblers were employees of the Thai traditional massage shop and lived in the same area. The police took them to the station for booking.

In a different swoop, police also arrested two women illegally playing cards in front of a room on Soi 17 in South Pattaya.

Drugs hidden in icebox

A drug dealer who had hidden his wares inside a blue icebox that he threw away by the roadside when police pursued him, was arrested on April 29 on Sukhumvit Road, near South Pattaya.

The box was found to contain 230 orange ya ba tablets. Seng Intae, 44, was taken in for questioning and found to have traces of illegal narcotics in his urine. Seng denied all charges. He was charged with possession of ya ba for consumption and distribution.

Ya ba dealer faces extra charge for bribery

A ya ba dealer ensnared by police in a sting operation found himself facing an extra charge when he tried to bribe officers to set him free.

Prathum Phookang, 42, was arrested in the car park of the Honey Inn Hotel in South Pattaya after being lured there by a police agent on the pretext of buying drugs. Prathum tried to negotiate his freedom with a bribe of 15,000 baht. He arranged for his partner, 32-year old Mrs Butsaba Khamphong, to take the sum to Pattaya police station. Police, however, photographed the money as evidence before charging Prathum with drug possession for distribution, plus attempting to bribe an officer.

Fake goods vendors nabbed

Police on April 30 arrested five vendors at Thepprasit Market after discovering that fake copyrighted products were being sold, including jeans, hats, leather jackets, sunglasses, handbags, CDs and counterfeit Harley Davidson products.

The vendors were named as Miss Siriporn Saemathong (21), Joradet Chantho (32), Thikhamporn Buncharoen (26), Anuwat Pinthongphan (25) and Sompong Thamsiri (30). They were charged with distribution of imitation goods and transferred to the police station.

2 women injured in motorcycle collision

Officers from Rotjanathammasatarn Foundation received a report that two women had been injured in a motorcycle accident on Sukhumvit Road, at the Km 2 Sattahip-Rayong point.

Motorcycle passenger Chan Changsri, 58, and her daughter, Manida Tasanai, 31, the driver of a grey Honda Wave, were transferred to Queen Sirikit Hospital.

They told investigators they were driving along Sukhumvit Road after buying a large quantity of food and beverages when a blue Honda motorcycle ran into the back of them. The other driver fled into the night.

Police arriving at the scene found foodstuffs scattered across the road. They took the blue motorcycle for inspection and said they will contact the owner to pay for the medical fees of the two women.

Editorial: Day of Peace

Suchada Tupchai

Visaka Bucha Day this year falls on May 22. Apart from being an important day for Buddhists, the United Nations has, since 1999, also recognised this day as the International Day of Peace.

This year in Thailand sees activities running from May 16-22, with many initiated by the ministry of culture. Merit making and religious ceremonies have been organised to bring further awareness of the importance of this day in the Buddhist faith, and there will be sermons from monks urging the need for a peaceful society.

Visaka Bucha Day celebrations have been in place since the reign of King Vajiravudh, Rama VI, when the King encouraged the Thai nation to adhere to and promote the teachings of the Lord Buddha as an important part of daily life. He set Visaka Bucha Day for visiting the temple, where sermons were taught in Pali, the ancient language of the Buddhist scriptures. In 1986 HRH Crown Princess Sirindhorn gave her blessings and patronage to the department of arts to create special activities on Visaka Bucha Day.

Many people say that nowadays, the Visaka Bucha Day celebrations have dwindled somewhat in importance, because most people focus on other festivals. But in reality the celebration of this day is a most important part of the Buddhist faith because it brings about feelings of peace and harmony among those who deeply respect the religion and philosophy of Buddhism. In following the teachings of the Buddha, life flows peacefully and in an orderly manner without conflict arising from desire.

There is so much unrest in the world, and this should be in our minds on May 22. Through the Buddhist philosophy we can achieve and preserve peace. Specifically in Thailand, as the country continues to face problems in the troubled South, we must join hands to bring about peace. Our minds should be set against the escalating violence, for there are those who would not profit from peace and harmony. Such people are against those who desire the calm and serenity of Visaka Bucha Day.

The Dalai Lama once said: “The search for peace on earth and to bring about change must begin from within each of us. It is a difficult task. We must lead by example. Wherever I am I will always support those people, whatever their profession, nationality, who seek peace within. I believe that love, compassion and selflessness are the paths that lead to peace and harmony...”

BAY WATCH: Beach Road delays a danger to public

Vimolrat Singnikorn

Complaints are growing from residents and tourists about the state of Beach Road because of the delay in completing the underground pipe laying project. A Pattaya Mail team went to one of the worst areas, at the junction with Soi 6, where they found that the road surface is splitting and potholes appearing because of the unfinished construction work. The contractors have attempted to cover the holes with iron plates, but regular users of this area say there are often accidents because the plate isn’t flush with the road surface, and because the metal becomes slippery during rainfall. It is also extremely unsightly for a prime tourist destination like Pattaya. Residents are urging the authorities to hurry up and complete the project, because Pattaya should be safe for visitors and have an image in keeping with its world-class tourism destination.

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