Vol. XIII No. 24
Friday June 17 - june 23, 2005

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Updated every Friday
by Saichon Paewsoongnern


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Cloud seeding used in urgent attempt to refill dwindling reservoirs

Recycling materials for the public good

Tourism commission examines problems facing tourists

Public health minister stresses individuals must act quickly to prevent possible Avian Flu epidemic

Baby elephant accidentally killed by its mother

Nurses gather as part of wider healthcare cooperation programme

Training the teachers who take care of homeless children

Young people encouraged to take up sport in anti-drugs drive

Woman threatens German with death unless he handed over Bt20,000

Police raid Beer Hima and find 2 ya ba users

Cambodian woman claims immigration officer raped her

Sad return home for body of Naphat Juiyim

Police briefs

Protecting against contagious diseases in a hospital environment

Meeting discusses better quality of education

Cloud seeding used in urgent attempt to refill dwindling reservoirs

City to chip in for chemical costs

Ariyawat Nuamsawat

Cloud seeding is being used in an urgent attempt to replenish the water levels in Chonburi’s reservoirs, following an emergency meeting on the water crisis conducted by Governor Pisit Ketphasook and Deputy Governor Weerawit Wiwatanawanit.

The Banglamung area is in a particularly critical situation. Banglamung uses water supplies from five reservoirs, namely Mabprachan, Nongklangdong, Huay Khunchit, Charknok and Huay Saphan. At present the total reserves of these five is only 4.8 million cubic metres. If there is no rainfall, this amount will last only a few weeks more.

Tawee Kanchana (left), director of the Royal Artificial Rain Centre in Rayong, explains the steps used in the rainmaking process to Mayor Niran Wattanasartsathorn.

After the meeting the governor, along with Mayor Niran Wattanasartsathorn and other officials, visited the Mabprachan reservoir and discussed a proposal to dig a channel to enable the remaining water run down under gravity towards the suction pumps. Deputy Governor Weerawit has been put in charge of this project and will update on progress.

Governor Pisit contacted the Royal Artificial Rain Centre for the Eastern Region, in Rayong, stressing the urgent situation faced by Chonburi’s agricultural areas, and directly after the reservoir visit Mayor Niran went to the centre, which is situated at U-tapao airfield.

Director of the centre Tawee Kanchana said the proposal is for rainfall to be precipitated over agricultural areas of at least 200,000 rai. There are three steps involved. Firstly, a cloud is created by scattering sodium chloride, which absorbs the humidity in the air. Next, the cloud is made bigger by scattering a hot chemical formula of calcium chloride and calcium oxide, followed by a third step which uses a cold chemical formula of calcium uria. The changes in air temperature and humidity trigger rainfall.

Mayor Niran was shown the various cloud seeding materials and then joined a flight where the chemicals were scattered.

Tawee has asked Pattaya City to support a budget for the rain project to cover the purchase of chemicals and associated costs. The mayor said Pattaya is ready to support all necessities to maintain the water supply.

Recycling materials for the public good

World Environment Day celebrated in Pattaya  

Narisa Nitikarn

World Environment Day was observed in Pattaya at the Public Health Centre on Soi Buakow, with Mayor Niran Wattanasartsathorn opening the day’s activities and the city’s deputy mayor, Wuttisak Rermkijakarn, councillors, local hotel owners, and students from 10 schools in Pattaya amongst those attending.

As part of the activities in Pattaya for World Environment Day, recycled items were given to Pra Payom Kalayano, the abbot of Suan Kaew Temple, who will make use of them in his recycling project.

Mayor Niran said the purpose of the event was to encourage people to realise that refuse can be recycled for the public benefit, and to protect Pattaya’s future environment. Robes made from recycled materials were presented to Pra Payom Kalayano, the abbot of Suan Kaew Temple. Recycled material was also presented to the abbot for use in his recycling project.

Deputy Mayor Wuttisak, who is responsible for hygiene and the environment, said that fostering a respect for the environment is essential, and that young people will carry this forward into their adult lives.

To help illustrate this, the city has a trial plantation of mangroves on the outskirts of Soi Naklua 12, on the seafront (see editorial, page 23). The initial planting is of 20,000-30,000 shoots, and up to six months will be needed to complete this.

Tourism commission examines problems facing tourists

Ariyawat Nuamsawat

Member of parliament and president of the tourism commission, Sa-Nga Thanasa-Nguanwong on June 3-4 visited Pattaya to gain a first-hand account of the kind of problems tourists to Eastern Thailand and Pattaya face. Welcoming Sa-Nga and his entourage were Mayor Niran Wattanasartsathorn and Chanyuth Hengtrakul, MP for Chonburi province.

Sa-Nga Thanasa-Nguanwong, president of the tourism commission and MP, is photographed with Pattaya City administrators in front of the King Taksin statue.

The overall purpose of the visit was to see how the tourism strategy is working, and to foster greater cooperation between government departments, local private organisations and the local community to solve tourism issues. Amongst the more visible of these are the cheating and taking advantage of tourists, beggars, prostitutes on Pattaya Beach, and a number of other problems that are detrimental to tourism and to Pattaya’s image.

An activity plan to deal with these matters will need support from the members of the tourism commission and from MPs.

A top-level workshop was conducted on June 4 at Pattaya Garden Hotel, attended by the Chonburi governor, the Banglamung district chief, the mayor of Pattaya City, a representative from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, the director of TAT Central Thailand Regions 3, 4 and 5 in Pattaya, Rayong and Trat, and representatives of associated tourism organisations.

Public health minister stresses individuals must act quickly to prevent possible Avian Flu epidemic

Volunteers to create public network

Suchada Tupchai

Minister of Public Health Prof. Dr. Suchai Charoenratanakul presented a conference at the Pattaya Park Hotel on plans to combat avian flu. Attended by over 600 public health volunteer leaders from all over the country, the conference was held over June 1-3.

Minister of Public Health Prof. Dr. Suchai Charoenratanakul gives an opening speech on precautions being taken to prevent an avian flu outbreak.

Dr. Suchai said that Thailand twice last year endured an avian flu outbreak, once from January to May and secondly from June to October. There were 17 people infected, of whom 12 died. Even though there has been no sign of the flu in Thailand for eight months now, the country cannot be careless or complacent.

The action plan calls for three procedures. 1. The Department of Health Service Support and the Department of Disease Control are to make and distribute leaflets, booklets and posters to public health volunteers and to the local public. 2. Public health volunteers must visit homes and report any health abnormalities amongst residents or animals. 3. In the event of a suspected case being discovered, the person must be transferred first to the Public Health Centre for a basic examination, and then to hospital.

Dr Suchai said that this campaign for volunteers will run until the end of this year. It is the first plan of its kind, using large numbers of volunteers for a public health program. It is ambitious and places a lot of responsibility on individuals, who must be observant and act quickly to prevent a possible epidemic.

Baby elephant accidentally killed by its mother

Patcharapol Panrak

An elephant owner who received an omen indicating he would lose something of beauty saw the prediction come true when an eagerly awaited baby elephant died at birth.

Tourists have always greatly enjoyed riding on Pang Daorung, one of the elephants at Ban Chang Thai, in Sattahip, trekking with her along the trails and down to the beach. When she became pregnant, her owner Buntham Srapmark looked forward to the birth of the baby as if it were an event within his own family.

But Buntham was uneasy. There were signs that the spirits were unhappy, and he had a feeling of foreboding that something bad was going to happen. He used a good luck charm to ward off ill fortune, and he prayed regularly, including the unborn elephant in his prayers.

At 17 months and seven days, Pang Daorung went into labour. Buntham tethered her to a mango tree so that he and the mahouts could watch over her. The baby elephant emerged, and appeared perfect with ears in a papal leaf shape and a white tail with a dark spot at the end. But in her convulsions the mother kicked backwards, her feet striking against the abdomen of the baby, and despite frantic attempts the newly born elephant died.

Veterinarian Daraka Thongthaiyanan and a team from the Khao Kheow Open Zoo came to take care of the mother’s health, taking measures to prevent infection and administering a saline solution.

Nurses gather as part of wider healthcare cooperation programme

Nurses are ideal to disseminate health care information

Suchada Tupchai

Deputy Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul on June 1 presided over a seminar for nurses, organised by Boromratchonani Noparat Wachira Nursing College in cooperation with the Institute for the Development of Science.

Anutin Charnvirakul, deputy minister of public health, gave a special lecture on healthcare in Thailand.

The seminar, held in Jomtien and attended by more than 600 nurses from all over the country, was part of a long-term project to develop a multi-level nursing alliance throughout the Kingdom.

Anutin said that this year Thailand will host the 6th International Health Promotion Conference, due to be held from August 7-11 in Bangkok. This event will be attended by over 1,000 public health leaders from around the world, and is due to promulgate a 2005 Bangkok Charter, an international performance plan.

“Nurses form the greatest number of personnel within the medical and public health system,” said Anutin. “There are about 85,000 nurses in the country, and they are important in supporting the national goals for the health of the Thai people. Nurses frequently perform their duties at people’s homes, and consequently they are in direct contact with the patients and the relatives of the patients, and are in the ideal position to disseminate health care information and knowledge.”

Training the teachers who take care of homeless children

Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh opened a training seminar for the teachers of homeless children at the city conference hall on June 9. The seminar was organised in conjunction with the World Vision Foundation of Thailand, and attended by a broad spectrum of people wishing to give help to some 50 underprivileged children’s groups.

Sudchai Nakpian, coordinator of the homeless life quality development project and the World Vision Foundation of Thailand.

Sudchai Nakpian, coordinator of the homeless life quality development project and of the Foundation, a Christian charity for children in need, said it is important that families and communities in Thailand respond to the needs of underprivileged people in society. The cooperation of community, society, companies, and enterprises is needed to support homeless children and help them stay away from the sexual service industry.

Ronakit Ekasingh said that the quality of life for youngsters is recognised by the city, and the aim is to see the children grow up with intellect, ability, and moral principles so they can enjoy a happy life in society. At present there are many problems because technology is changing things so fast, and this has a direct bearing upon the young generation.

Young people encouraged to take up sport in anti-drugs drive

Youth drug use in Chonburi is highest in Thailand

Narisa Nitikarn

A drug prevention and protection training scheme for young people was announced on June 6 at the Soi Buakow Public Health Centre, with newly-installed Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh presiding and Colonel Dr Sumol Bunrod from the army headquarters at Precinct 14 addressing more than 200 students from 10 Pattaya City schools.

Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh gives sports equipment to youths from Pattaya City schools during the drug protection and prevention training project.

The message for the students was that drugs are dangerous and that developing interests in creative activities and sport will help keep their minds away from temptation. Sports equipment was distributed to the 10 schools at this meeting.

Colonel Dr Sumol said that drug use in Thailand is on the increase again. If protection is not given now, the number of drug users will continue to rise. Furthermore, the number of young drug users in Chonburi is the highest in the country, the second being Nakhon Ratchasima.

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is heading the fight against drugs under the campaign slogan: “Nation united to eradicate drugs”. This means that all of Thailand should cooperate, said Colonel Dr Sumol.

She added that as far as drugs are concerned, the public is divided into three camps: bad, stupid and good. The bad ones are bringing the drugs into the country, but the prime minister has a strategy to unearth and sweep out these people. The stupid ones are the drug consumers, and they need treatment. Both of these groups are fermenting agents that can spread the infection. The good ones should try to find the bad ones and alert the authorities, and the stupid ones must be transferred because they are contagious. Therefore, students have an important role in leading the country to be clean from drugs in the future.

Woman threatens German with death unless he handed over Bt20,000

Promptly arrested for extortion

Boonlua Chatree

A 33-year-old Roi Et woman was arrested in a Soi Buakow apartment after she attempted to extort 20,000 baht from a German man, threatening to have him killed unless he paid her.

Heinz Kain, 53, from Germany, filed an official complaint with police shortly after 2.30 a.m. on June 10. Kain told officers that the woman, with whom he had previously had sexual relations, threatened to have him killed unless he produced 20,000 baht.

Heinz Kain points to Noogai Polyiam, once the object of his affections who later tried to extort money from him.

Police placed 5,000 baht in marked notes and blank paper in an envelope and told Kain to make the appointment. Kain and police officers travelled to the apartment where Kain handed over the envelope and police moved in to make the arrest.

Once in custody, Noogai Polyiam, 33, admitted to the extortion allegations. She told police that she had previously stayed with the German but agreed to separate from him after continuous arguments arose. She added she was angry at being physically hurt and decided to seek retribution in making the threats.

Police detained the woman on charges of extortion with the threat of violence and a court appearance will follow.

Police raid Beer Hima and find 2 ya ba users

Boonlua Chatree

Hearing that the Beer Hima Pub on Third Road was staying open throughout the night in contravention of the licensing laws, police entered the premises at 2:25 a.m. on June 7 and found 200 customers there, eating and drinking.

Police test customers for drugs at the Beer Hima on Third Road.

Ordering the manager to turn on the lights, which had been turned down low, the officers conducted a drugs test by taking urine samples. This is done on the spot by placing the urine sample into a test tube containing chemicals. Within two minutes the liquid in the tube will separate, and if the lower portion is violet or dark blue, police know that ya ba substance is in the person’s blood. A yellow or pale blue color indicates that there are no drug substances in the urine. The liquid solution is supplied by the Medical Organisation.

After testing all 200 customers, the police found only one male and one female who showed evidence of ya ba. They were transferred to the police station.

Beer Hima manager Phongphan Chanantho, 32, was charged with violating the alcohol licensing laws.

Cambodian woman claims immigration officer raped her

Boonlua Chatree

A Cambodian woman claimed that a volunteer immigration official raped her after she was stopped for illegal entry into Thailand.

Miss U-lae, aged 18, stated to Pattaya police that the alleged offence occurred in a rented room on Soi Bongkot, South Pattaya Road. Police sent her to Banglamung Hospital to examine a vaginal wound and other markings and then arrested the volunteer at the Soi Bongkot premises.

He was identified as Pratchaya (aka Biew) Amphon, aged 18. He said he had attempted intercourse with U-lae, but it was with her consent. He had brought her to the room, and began to have sex with her, but was unsuccessful. He let U-lae go, and she filed a report to have him arrested.

Police charged U-lae with illegally entering Thailand. She confirmed that she wished to continue the rape case and received the examination report from Banglamung Hospital to submit with her own report. Police made the necessary arrangements before transferring her for deportation.

Sad return home for body of Naphat Juiyim

Narisa Nitikarn

A cremation ceremony was held in Sattahip Temple on June 4 for Naphat Juiyim, who died in a car accident in New Zealand. Amongst the mourners were Somtawin Yangyoo, secretary to Her Royal Highness Princess Soamsawalee, and former deputy minister of public health Santsak Ngamphiches.

Naphat, who was 42, had gone to New Zealand looking for business locations and to find a school for her child. She was a passenger in a minibus heading out of Auckland to Rotorua when the vehicle swerved and collided with a fully laden truck heading in the opposite direction. Eight people died in the crash, one of New Zealand’s worst.

Police briefs

Boonlua Chatree

Youths rob mini-mart at knifepoint

Two youths threatened a mini-mart staff member with a knife and escaped on a motorcycle with phone cards valued at almost 9,000 baht.

Pattaya police station received a call at 4 a.m. on June 6 from Banchong Krongyut, 39, owner of the Bunmee Minimart in Soi A.R. He said that two youths aged around 19-20 had arrived on a dark-blue Honda Wave motorcycle. They came into the shop and threatened the employee, holding a knife to his neck, and took 70 One-2-Call, DITAC, and Orange phone cards valued at 8,750 baht. They then rode away behind Big C in the direction of North Pattaya.

Investigations established that the miscreants had lain in wait until the shop was free of customers before entering. They pulled out the drawer to steal the phone cards, but didn’t take any money because they were in a hurry to flee.

Despite putting out a radio call, police were unable to find the thieves who clearly knew the roads well. Investigations are continuing.

Japanese driver runs down and kills Thai pedestrian

A Japanese motorist knocked down and killed a Thai pedestrian in front of Big C on Second Road. Police receiving a call at 2:30 a.m. on June 10 went to the scene where they found a gold Toyota Vios parked in the middle of the road. There were bloodstains on the front of the car. A short distance away a Thai man, aged about 25, was lying in the road with his skull split open. The man was still breathing, but he died later at Bangkok Pattaya Hospital. The driver of the car was Nakazawa Shinya, from Hyogo, Japan. He has been charged with careless driving causing the death of another.

Bar owners arrested for serving drinks after hours

A police crackdown on after-hours drinking has resulted in the arrest of several beer bar owners on Walking Street.

Pol Col Somnuk Changate, superintendent at Pattaya police station, led a 5 a.m. swoop on June 10, officers first descending on the Marine beer bar where there was still a crowd of tourists drinking. The owner, who was not named, was arrested.

Officers then went on to other bars still open. They arrested Tiger Sports Bar owner and manager U-thai Khokhuntod, 36, and then went to the JP 1 beer bar, arresting owner and manager Panuwat Pungsanthia, 26. They then arrested Hard Rock beer bar owner Pitak Pinyo, 23, and Performance Bar owner Suthasinee, 27. Police charged all of them with being open over the time limit set by the law.

The arrested owners have complained that although there were some 20 beer bars open after hours, only a few arrests were made. If the orders are that all beer bar owners allowing their premises to be open after the legal time limit are to be arrested, why have only a few singled out, they asked.

Pistol find in tyre ring during beach fight

Police rushed to Beach Road in front of the Soi 10 7-Eleven mini-mart at 4 a.m. on June 9 after receiving a report that a number of youths were fighting there. The pugilists scattered as the officers approached but four of them were caught.

Searching the scene, police found an automatic Walther .22 calibre pistol hidden in a tyre ring in front of a bathroom behind the mini-mart.

At the police station the four youths were identified as Sarawut Chairun, 20, Anuchit Sroithong, 20, Pakphum Maneesaeng, 21, and a 16-year-old.

They all denied ownership of the gun and said they did not know who it belonged to. Police released them, and are continuing inquiries.

Protecting against contagious diseases in a hospital environment

Suchada Tupchai

Dr Arun Paosawat, chief advisor to the public health minister, formerly opened a seminar on protection against infectious diseases within hospitals, staged at the A-One Royal Cruise Hotel on June 8.

The seminar was attended by hospital administrators, doctors, and scientists responsible for protection against contagious diseases in the public and private hospital sectors.

Dr Arun Paosawat, chief advisor to the Public Health Minister, gives an opening speech.

Dr Kitti Kittiamphon, assistant director general of the disease control department, said that this was the second seminar to be held for laying out strategies and suitable performance guidelines concerning protection against infectious diseases. The aim is also to set up nursing standards to operate in the same manner.

The Contagious Disease Center in the USA is able to supply information that the Thai hospitals do not have, said Dr Kitti. Thailand had long ago organised activities concerning protection and prevention, but there was no cooperation between departments, and no strategic plans. The Ministry of Public Health has now formed a committee for five strategic plans.

An exhibition had over 30 booths displaying medical tools and equipment.

Dr Arun said that contagious diseases in the hospital are a problem nationwide, and that it directly affects longer-term patients. From data collected in 2002, it was discovered that 6.4 percent of 6.2 million inpatients contracted contagious diseases. There were 400,000 patients infected, and about 25,000 patients died.

The seminar featured a number of specialists, and there was an exhibition of companies from the private sector with over 30 booths displaying medical tools and equipment.

Meeting discusses better quality of education

Two students awarded for scholastic excellence

Narisa Nitikarn

A conference on the quality of education was attended by 130 education administrators on June 1 at the Grand Sol้ Hotel, presided over by former deputy minister of public health Santsak Ngamphiches and director of the education office for Chonburi area section 3 Suthep Chitayawong.

(From right) Sompong Hunsadee and Pornthip Hunsadee (Singsamut school teachers), Santsak Ngamphiches (former deputy minister of public health), Suthep Chitayawong (director of the education office, Chonburi area section 3), Miss Darathip Samnaree (Chuksamed School), and Putthangkul Hunsadee (Singsamut School), the two Princess Theprattana Ratchasuda scholarship students of 2005, with Thanetpong Ratsamee (Chuksamed School director), and Naruemit Atkamol (assistant Singsamut School director).

The meeting congratulated the two Princess Theprattana Ratchasuda scholarship students, Miss Darathip Samnaree of Chuksamed School, Sattahip, who received the primary school award, and Putthangkul Hunsadee of Singsamut School, Sattahip, who received the secondary school award.

Suthep said that the committee for teacher representatives and education personnel to monitor standards and quality of education in the province had been formed for the present school year.

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