Pattaya Mail turns 12

Vol. XIII No. 29
Friday July 22 - July 28, 2005

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by Saichon Paewsoongnern


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

The Kingdom rejoices in HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn’s Royal Birthday Celebration

HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn has enjoyed a busy year

Foundation claims innocence in building illegal structure on Pratamnak Hill

Ferry companies fighting for passengers are disrupting sail schedules

Complaints lead to creation of Walking Street vendors’ register

Lake and klong water to be used to help alleviate crisis

Citizens becoming more responsible about tax payments, says deputy mayor

Century-old wetlands community under threat of destruction from business tycoon

British man arrested on child molestation charges

US resident jumps to his death in Jomtien

Bar girl stabs Frenchman for throwing a beer bottle at her

Fire razes coconut processing plant

Police briefs

The Kingdom rejoices in HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn’s Royal Birthday Celebration

HRH Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn and Mom Srirasmi Mahidol became the proud parents of a baby boy born on April 29 at 6:35 p.m. at Sriraj Hospital in Bangkok. It is the couple’s first child.

HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn’s assignments include Commanding Officer of the King’s Own Bodyguard Regiment and Command, Commanding General of the Royalty Security Command, and Instructor Pilot of the F-5 E/F.

(Photo courtesy Bureau of the Royal Household)

His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn was born on July 28, 1952, in the Ambara Villa of the Royal Dusit Palace in Bangkok. He is the second of four children, and is the only son of Their Majesties King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great and Queen Sirikit.

The Crown Prince received His primary schooling at Udorn Hall of the Dusit Palace and attended secondary school in Sussex and Summerset, England. In August 1970, the Crown Prince attended the King’s School, Paramatta, Sydney, Australia and in 1976, He received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Military Studies at the University of New South Wales. The Crown Prince also attended the Royal Thai Army Command and General Staff College, graduating in 1978, and later received a Bachelor of Laws Degree from Sukhothai Thammatirat University in Bangkok in 1987. In 1990, He successfully attended the Royal College of Defense Studies in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej conferred upon his son with the title of “Somdech Phra Borama Orasadhiraj Chao Fah Maha Vajiralongkorn Sayam Makutrajakuman” on December 28, 1972, making him the Crown Prince and Heir to the throne.

HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn attended numerous military training courses in Australia and the United States, with observation tours in England, Belgium, Germany, France and the Netherlands. A long list of military courses attended by the Crown Prince includes helicopter and high performance aircraft flight training, special warfare training, demolition training, parachute training, and courses in small arms and other weapons used in modern warfare.

Some assignments include Commanding Officer of the King’s Own Bodyguard Regiment and Command, Commanding General of the Royalty Security Command, and Instructor Pilot of the F-5 E/F. Intermittently, He engaged in actions for counter-insurgency purposes in the North and Northeast areas of Thailand as well as for protective purposes in areas around Cambodian refugee camps at Khao Lant, Trat Province.

The Crown Prince has continued the Royal Family’s assistance programs to underdeveloped areas around the country and visited depressed urban areas around Bangkok distributing food and necessity items to people in need. Another impressive undertaking was His participation in a fertilizer preparation project in Suphan Buri Province using natural ingredients to enrich the land in support of the country’s great agricultural pursuits. Farming is considered to be a highly significant and noble profession in Thailand and the Royal Family takes an active role in advancing the vital industry of agriculture.

This year, HRH Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn and Mom Srirasmi Mahidol became the proud parents of a baby boy born on April 29 at 6:35 p.m. at Sriraj Hospital in Bangkok. It is the couple’s first child.

HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn has enjoyed a busy year


HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn’s benevolence appeals to all people in the Kingdom.

(Photo courtesy Bureau of the Royal Household)

Earlier this year HRH the Crown Prince visited people in the southern provinces of Yala, Pattani, and Narathiwas to listen to their problems and find ways to help them in the short-term and long-term process. HRH met with Muslim priests, local community leaders, volunteers, the dedicated mobile medical team and its doctors, and the general people. HRH also urged the officials to mutually improve the irrigation system to aid farmers and other agricultural activities.

In July HRH the Crown Prince travelled north to mark the opening of Poppy Hall in Golden Triangle Park, in Chiang Saen district, Chiang Rai, constructed under the patronage of the Mae Fa Luang Royal Project. In the past hill tribe residents grew opium for their living but after mutual efforts by the Royal Family, government and local community heads, today the people understand the bad affects of opium. Consequently they have changed to the farming of fruit, vegetables and other cash crops, resulting in a vast reduction of the number of opium growers in the country.

On April 29th, the whole nation joined the Royal Family in celebrating the birth of the newborn baby boy of HRH the Crown Prince and his beloved Mom Srirasmi Mahidol.

Mom Srirasmi Mahidol was admitted to the 72 Years Building of the Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok, where HRH was in the operation room from the beginning of the delivery until the baby was born, and personally photographed the moment of birth. After the delivery, HRH cuddled his baby in his arms for the press. The people of Thailand were very happy to know that mother and the child were healthy.

On the auspicious occasion of the 53rd Birthday of HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, we, the Pattaya Mail and all the staff, join the Kingdom in humbly conveying our best wishes to HRH the Crown Prince and his family.

Foundation claims innocence in building illegal structure on Pratamnak Hill

Incensed by media presence at meeting, builders demand closed session

Narisa Nitikarn

An illegal structure built on Pratamnak Hill, near the Large Buddha Temple, is to be removed on the instructions of city hall. Representatives from the Mahakijpaisarn Foundation responsible for the infringement dispute the city’s claim and met with the mayor and city council chairman last week to discuss the issue. Incensed at media presence, they called for a private meeting but were denied, with administrators saying that everything must be transparent.

Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh (left) and Tawit Chaisawangwong (right), city council chairman, speak with representatives from the Mahakijpaisarn Foundation.

The building, which is unfinished, is on public land and has been erected without authorization. An order to halt work was given on April 21 this year, but building still continued. On June 22, following a site visit by Mayor Niran Wattanasartsathorn, Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh and city councilors and officers, builders were ordered to tear down the structure.

City council chairman Tawit Chaisawangwong told foundation representatives, “Your intentions are good but the structure was built on public land without authorization. The land has been slated for an improvement project that includes a public park and the monument to King Thaksin. Consultations have already taken place and we have spoken with the foundation. They began building without authorization in 2003 and extended the wall to its present state to today.”

Foundation representatives were adamant that they stopped construction once ordered by the city and that no progress had taken place since then. City officials surveyed the area in the past few weeks, when they found the structure to be around 80 percent complete.

“We received donations from thousands of people, including a Yaowarat business to build the facility. We, as a foundation, love Pattaya the same as you, and wanted to attract more visitors to the city. Our aim was to improve the area out of real sincerity, not create problems. That’s why we are here to speak with you,” said one of the representatives, who along with the others did not want to be highlighted in the media, again asking for a private meeting.

Tawit Chaisawangwong told the visitors that the media was following the case and that they were not informed of the meeting. “We must be transparent on all issues. It is not necessary to hold closed meetings on this issue.”

The response from Tawit clearly disturbed the foundation representatives. Aware of the reaction, Tawit asked if the foundation intended to remove portions of the building to allow for the King Thaksin statue and would they contribute to the construction cost.

Mayor Niran said that the King Thaksin monument must come first, and there will be no change to the location. “Will the foundation remove the building in the given time? The city has already requested the Department of Art to survey the area,” said Niran.

Ferry companies fighting for passengers are disrupting sail schedules

Closing highway U-turns also discussed

Narisa Nitikarn

Infighting by ferry companies at Bali Hai pier is creating friction, the Pattaya City safety and stability committee heard during its monthly meeting at city hall, chaired by councilor Sanit Boonmarchai.

Sanit Boonmarchai, Pattaya City safety and stability committee chairman and city councilor said, “There are serious problems stirring at Bali Hai over the Larn Island routes.”

“There are serious problems stirring at Bali Hai over the Larn Island routes. This is affecting visitors and passengers because operators are competing for business. In the past there was only one operator. Now with the new operator already registered with the city but not with the port authority, the competition is creating friction,” said Sanit. “Operators have changed their routes and are leaving ahead of schedule in order to gain more passengers.”

The committee chairman went on to say that he would gather further data on the issue before presenting it to the city council for further discussion and resolutions, specifically concerning timings and fares between the two companies. Both, he said, would be present at future meetings.

Pat Srirattana, a legal advisor said, “As for the fare increases to Larn Island, Pattaya City can adjust them without going through the provincial system because the price of fuel has increased dramatically and will continue to do so.

“If the operators have not yet increased the fares, problems will follow with boats waiting to be full of passengers before departing. With the excessive waits, it will significantly deter tourists and passengers from using the service at all due to the excessive time between journeys.”

Sanit added that in order to create a controllable system, the routes and timing would have to be clarified and designated accordingly such as hourly departure times.

On other issues, Pol Lt Col Somchai Phongsai, Pattaya traffic inspector, revealed traffic congestion was becoming worse along Sukhumvit Road at two specific points in the Naklua district. He told the meeting that the reason behind the increased congestion was the road widening being undertaken by the city.

“One solution is to close off the U-turns in these areas during peak hours,” said Pol Lt Col Somchai, who added that this method would be used as a last alternative.

Complaints lead to creation of Walking Street vendors’ register

City wants to stop drunken vendors from sleeping on the street

 Ariyawat Nuamsawat

The Walking Street committee met at city hall on July 14, with the mayor as committee chairman calling in members, vendors and officials. The main topic focused on vendors selling their goods from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. along the strip, many blocking walkways and creating havoc with pedestrian flow, as well as drunken vendors sleeping in front of their stalls.

The conditions have resulted in numerous complaints to city hall, and in administrators’ eyes helping tarnish the image of the city.

“The complaints are valid and I would like to see this type of issue to be completely resolved, as we don’t want to damage tourism. The image such problems present is not a good one. As for complaints of vendors extending their stalls further than allowed and blocking walkways, I request that committee members make a register of all vendors including what their products are and where their stall locations are in Walking Street,” said Niran.

“I ask that everyone cooperates on this issue so that such problems do not reoccur. Otherwise, the city will fine those who are in breach of regulations.”

Lake and klong water to be used to help alleviate crisis

Government and private agencies search for methods to increase water production

Ariyawat Nuamsawat

A brainstorming session at the Green Park Resort on July 13 brought together representatives from Chonburi and Pattaya’s government and private sectors, searching for methods to increase useable water in the region.

Buntarik Kusolvisit, Thai Hotels Association - Eastern Chapter president, Preecha Kamolbutr, Chonburi deputy governor, Thanes Supornsaharungsri, PBTA president and Mayor Niran Wattanasartsathorn.

A promising idea was raised with the suggestion of a short-term solution using water from the Wat Yarn Lake and Banglamung Klong, pending further testing.

Thanes Supornsaharungsri, Pattaya Business and Tourism Association (PBTA) president, chaired the session aimed at reducing the effects of the water crisis on the tourism industry in Pattaya and Chonburi. He was joined by a panel of senior government officials including Mayor Niran Wattanasartsathorn, Preecha Kamolbutr, Chonburi deputy governor, representatives of the Eastwater Company and Bundarik Kusolvitya, Thai Hotels Association - Eastern Chapter president.

The long period without rain has created a devastating shortage of water in the region with effects felt by residents, businesses and industrial sectors.

“There has been much talk [in the media] about the government providing water for the industrial sectors but no one has said anything about the negative affects on the tourism sector, which has been hurt by the lack of water,” said Thane.

“We have often been self-sufficient and have a number of trucks deliver water on a daily basis. But after receiving complaints from tourists over the poor water quality, which has affected our businesses, we are asking for help to find a long term solution.”

Bunsom Yutithampinyo, Chonburi Irrigation Office chief replied, “After surveying the water levels in Chonburi, we have found them to be very low, which has also caused a reduction in production. The department has planned and begun implementing procedures to solve the problem both in the sort term and on a long-term basis.

“In the short term, we intend to transport water from the Banglamung Klong to the filtration plant to produce water. This is subject to further quality testing. If successful, we can effectively produce a further 40,000 cubic meters per day for Pattaya.

“We are also looking at the lake located in Wat Yarnsangyararam as an emergency reserve if needed. This will need vehicles to transport water as there is no direct pipe to the lake,” said Bunsom.

The Chonburi Irrigation Office chief revealed the long term plan was a joint operation with the Eastwater Company in building a pipeline from the Bangpakong River to the Bangpra reservoir.

“This is a long term project and should be completed by next year at a cost of up to 2.5 billion baht. Apart from that another reservoir is planned in the Marb Waisom area of Khao Mai Kaew district. It will be linked to Mabprachan and supply up to a further 8 million cubic meters, as well as an additional 1 million cubic meters from the Huay Kainao reservoir.”

Preecha Kamolbutr, deputy governor, voiced his support of the idea of using the Banglamung klong as a source, with only basic sand filtration being used before transporting to the main systems.

“It is something that is immediately effective. Whatever your plans are I suggest you carry them out as quickly as possible,” he said. “Judging by the current levels in the Mabprachan reservoir, it will be dry by September.”

A future project is to also pump water in from two Rayong facilities, Dokkrai and Nongplalai reservoirs, to the Bangpra reservoir as another alternative.

Citizens becoming more responsible about tax payments, says deputy mayor

“Pattaya, fun every square inch of the way”

Narisa Nitikarn

As part of the city administration’s plan to meet local residents monthly to inform them on progress and developments, Wirawat Khakhai, deputy mayor in charge of the finance department, urged all residents to pay their respective taxes.

“The methods for paying city taxes have been quite difficult in the past. However, the system will be made easier with computerization and everyone can pay land, house, sign and development taxes this way. We are planning to implement a One Stop Service where you won’t have to waste time in queues,” said Wirawat.

It was revealed that the number of people who paid their taxes last year had increased from the 2003 figure. “It appears that people are beginning to realize their responsibilities ... I think this year we’ll see another increase,” the deputy mayor said. “The city uses these funds to develop, maintain and promote Pattaya through hosting activities and festivals.”

Wirawat said a strong PR campaign is in development, using taxpayers’ money to promote the city through a new slogan “Pattaya, fun every square inch of the way”. Media releases and a 15-second TV ad would be created to develop the tourism industry.

Local infrastructure is also being improved, with plans to install more CCTV cameras along Pattaya and Jomtien Beach to increase safety in these areas.

Century-old wetlands community under threat of destruction from business tycoon

Boonlua Chatree

Residents in Village 3, Klong Done sub-district, Samut Songkrarm are enraged over actions by a businessman who is blocking off a major waterway that has been used as their main route to the ocean for the past 100 years or more.

More than 60 families who have lived on the waterway for many generations are now being forced from their homes.

The business owner, who purchased large amounts of property in the area, has built a shrimp farm that extends to the banks of the klong, which is clearly public property. With the filling of the dam, over 50 homes have been lost and on top of this the same businessman is now charging 1,000 baht per year to use the land they have been on for generations.

Residents have called for assistance from the village headman, with no response. They have also asked for help from the provincial governor, but no one has been to survey the area. The community has even sent letters to the prime minister.

With nowhere else to go, residents now intend to call on HRH Princess Sirindhorn, a frequent visitor to the wetlands in the area, for help.

British man arrested on child molestation charges

Boonlua Chatree

Nicholas John Rabet, a 56-year-old British national, has been arrested at his Central Pattaya residence on charges of child molestation and carnal knowledge of minors under 15. Inside the house were two boys aged 11. Officers confiscated 11 Gameboy machines and games along with cash and other items.

Nicholas John Rabet being fingerprinted before placed in the local holding cell until his court appearance.

Rabet was taken to Soi 9 for questioning. Details of how the arrest came about were not revealed, with police refusing to answer questions. However, Rabet’s modus operandi was explained. It is alleged that he would lure the boys to his home with offers of video games. One of the boys, a 12-year-old, told of how Rabet would ask them to undress when playing the games while Rabet had his way with them. They were paid 300 baht each time and the boys were given a “commission” if they brought in others. The boy, who cannot be named, said that Rabet had children at his house every day.

Police also revealed that Rabet’s lascivious activities had been taking place over at least 11 years and that there were hundreds of children who had been subjected to the foreigner’s perversion.

On Friday afternoon, a lawyer for Rabet showed up at Pattaya police station with 200,000 baht, requesting bail for his client. Pol Maj Sriprapar Suparattanachote, head of the children and women’s division, refused to allow bail on the basis that Rabet was a danger to society.

Rabet’s legal representative was preparing for court proceedings to seek bail. If convicted, Rabet could face many years in a Thai prison.

US resident jumps to his death in Jomtien

Boonlua Chatree

A US resident jumped to his death from the 10th floor of a condominium block in Soi Wat Boonkanjanaram just after midnight on July 12.

Police from the Dongtan sub-branch arrived at the scene to find the body of Craig Byron Briggs, age 60, from New Jersey, USA. The body was taken to the forensic institute for examination.

Officers inspected Briggs’s room to find the door had been locked from the inside. They forced an entry but could find no signs of foul play or anything out of order.

Police later questioned the dead man’s wife, Chonthiya Oonmuang, 38, who explained she was out at the time, working at the nearby market as a vendor. She rushed home when she heard the news.

Chonthiya said they had been together for some time and that Briggs was under stress due to financial problems. She said he would often go out drinking.

Police have informed the US Embassy of Briggs’s death.

Bar girl stabs Frenchman for throwing a beer bottle at her

Boonlua Chatree

A French tourist who threw a beer bottle at a bargirl was left in a critical condition when she stabbed him in retaliation.

Police received notification from Pattaya Memorial Hospital at 1 a.m. on July 4 that a tourist had been admitted with a stab wound to his stomach. He had been rushed to the hospital by Miss Chaipim Duangchan, 35, owner of the Ding Dong beer bar on Soi Buakao.

Officers at the hospital found Jean Francois, a 42-year-old French national, with a knife puncture wound to the left region of the abdomen, below the navel. His intestine was protruding from his belly. A fellow Frenchman, 42-year-old Dominic-Marie Philip, had accompanied him to the hospital.

Chaipim told the officers that she had been holding her birthday party at the bar. The two Frenchmen had joined in the fun. As Chaipim blew out the candles on her birthday cake and the guests at the party started to sing “Happy Birthday”, Francois threw a beer bottle at the face of Miss Oh, one of the bar workers.

Oh told Francois that Thai people dislike that kind of behaviour. It was very demeaning. Francois became angry and slapped Oh’s face twice. Oh then took a knife from her pants and stabbed him in the stomach.

Police are currently seeking the feisty Miss Oh.

Fire razes coconut processing plant

Boonlua Chatree

Fire at a Takientia sub-district coconut processing plant caused 10 million baht’s worth of damage to stock and equipment.

Firefighters and police arrived at the scene around 3 a.m. on July 13 to witness a large blaze fuelled by dry coconut husks on the 10-rai site. It took just over three hours to control the fire, with firefighters from 10 units constantly spraying unaffected husks to prevent the blaze from spreading.

Flames, fuelled by dry coconut husks, engulf a 10-rai plot.

A number of imported vehicles and equipment were damaged in the fire along with a large amount of stock.

Plant manager Ittipat Thanprasitikul, 37, told Banglamung police that everyone had finished work around noon the day before and staff were sleeping. The plant’s owner was at the other factory in Samut Prakarn.

Investigators sifted through the remains looking for clues. Initial suspicions pointed towards a careless employee discarding a cigarette, or an electrical fault. The third possibility suggested by police was that the fire was deliberate in order to claim insurance funds.

The factory processed coconut husks for decorative furniture manufacturing.

Police briefs

Boonlua Chatree

Decapitated body discovered in Pattaya Bay

A Coast Guard patrol discovered the decapitated body of a man nine nautical miles from the shore in Pattaya Bay.

Police at South Pattaya pier examined the body, which they surmised had been in the water for at least eight days. A very clean cut had severed the head, and the man appears to have been killed and dumped in the water. Investigators believe the body is that of a foreign man aged around 24.

Efforts are continuing to try and identify the victim. Police have urged fishermen and naval personnel to be on the lookout, and hotel records are being searched.

Drunken traffic cop beaten by restaurant customers

A senior police officer and two tour bus drivers who became drunk and noisy in a restaurant and upset the other customers were badly injured when the customers set upon them and beat them up.

The incident happened at 12:30am on July 5, when officers from Pattaya police station were called out to the Nong Frame Restaurant on North Pattaya Road.

At the scene they found Pol Sgt Maj Thongkham Kamsuksiri, a 45-year old traffic police officer, unconscious and with wounds to his head from where he had been struck with a wooden object. With him were two bus drivers, Chit Palawat, 39, who also had head injuries, and Narong Rodkaew, 43, who had wounds to the head and mouth, and extensive bruising to the body. The three men were transferred to hospital where they each needed at least 25 stitches.

Investigations revealed that Pol Sgt Maj Thongkham and his friends were eating and drinking at the restaurant, and had become drunk and noisy. The group annoyed customers at four other tables, who paid their bills and left.

About 20 minutes later five of the customers came back with wooden staves. Without saying a word they went to Pol Sgt Maj Thongkham’s table and beat all three men to the floor, then rode away on motorcycles.

Police are investigating.

Katoey ya ba dealer grabbed by police

A katoey who had a lucrative line in selling ya ba to other katoeys in Walking Street and South Pattaya entertainment venues has been arrested.

Police following investigations tailed the suspect back to his apartment on Soi Kor Pai and frisked him. They found a total of 3,200 orange ya ba pills, along with an order that had been placed on his cellphone.

Surasak (Lek) Sampaothong, 43, said that he received the ya ba from another dealer who delivered supplies to him by car, and that he sold the tabs to other katoeys for the price of at least 350 baht. He said he had been doing this for quite a long time.

Police charged Surasak with dealing in a class 1 drug.

Battered burglar detained by residents declares innocence

Police were called to a residence in Soi Korpai at around 2 a.m. on July 11 where they found the occupants and neighbours detaining a young man who they said had attempted to break into the house. At first appearances it looked as if the residents had dished out some justice to the would-be thief, who was looking somewhat battered.

Officers searched the pockets of Chaiya Nuasungnern, 24, to find a wallet containing 740 baht. The house occupant, Thitiporn Saengsodar, 22, claimed it was hers and that the man had taken it.

Chaiya was taken to Soi 9 for further questioning. He claimed he was not trying to break into the house but using it as a place to hide.

Chaiya explained that he had gone to the nearby 7-Eleven store where he was attacked by a gang of youths, causing multiple facial injuries. He went on to say that he was on his way back home and noticed a gate open and decided to hide for a while in case his attackers gave further chase.

Unconvinced, police charged him with attempted breaking and entering with intent to burgle. Chaiya denied the charges and said he would prove his innocence in court, and refused to sign the charge sheet.

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