Pattaya Mail turns 12

Vol. XIII No. 32
Friday August 12 - August 18, 2005

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by Saichon Paewsoongnern


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Grandma Rat at 106 decides it is time to take life a little easier

Assistant judges discuss the increasingly complex juvenile crime problem

Disabled youth leaders from Latin America and the Caribbean observe facilities in Pattaya

City hall receives another proposal to convert the ocean into drinking water

April 2006 will see mega-meet take place in Pattaya

Mayor sets up in front of city hall office to talk with residents

Judges and court officials pay tribute to Prince Rapee

Gang murders French businessman’s wife for her Mercedes-Benz

Alleged fake credit card user faces jail

Trouble in paradise as senior Bangkok police raid Heaven

Woman selling ya ba to tourists arrested along with her supplier

Police briefs

Grandma Rat at 106 decides it is time to take life a little easier

Patcharapol Panrak

She was born in the reign of King Rama V, before the first airplane had flown, and when the motorcar was in its infancy. Now, at the age of 106, Mrs Rat Khemthong still has clear memories of her girlhood, and is active making herbal compresses used in traditional Thai massage.

The increasing years, however, inevitably mean that Grandma Rat needs special care and attention. Rat, who has been lodging with the family of Samroeng Chudchalamat, an employee of the Sattahip Naval Base, says she is ready to move to a home for the elderly as she does not want to be a burden on anyone in her final years.

Grandma Rat keeps with her one treasured possession, a garland that once hung on the bows of the warship Sadet Tia.

Grandma Rat is originally from Patumthani. Her father was Mon and her mother was Laotian, and Rat was their only daughter.

When she was 20, Rat married Pan Taothong and went to live in the Huay Kwang district of Bangkok, where she earned a living by selling desserts and learning Thai massage.

At the age of 40, Rat followed her husband to the Soi Tiewson community, in Sattahip, where Pan worked as a watchman chiming the bell as a signal and timekeeper for the villagers.

At that time Sattahip was a wild and remote place, but it had begun to change when Prince Chumporn, the Father of the Royal Thai Navy, founded the naval base there.

Pan passed away when Rat was 70. An engineer working at the base and lodging at Soi Tiewson, Petty Officer Sompol Chudchalamat, was a close family friend and invited Rat to stay with his family.

Grandma Rat continued working, her highly respected skills in traditional massage bringing her customers from the level of admiral through to the local villagers. She has always said that she can support herself, and that she needs only lodging.

Shortly before Sompol passed away he asked his son Samroeng, also a petty officer, to take care of her as Grandma Rat has no family.

Samroeng said she never gets sick and has a very good memory, remembering stories from long ago and the people that she knew.

Now in her final years and unable to work she does not want to be a burden on anyone, and feels that the social welfare home for the elderly would be best as she will be near a doctor.

Grandma Rat keeps with her one treasured possession, garlands that once hung on the bows of the warship Sadet Tia. Sompol had found this one windy day, swept onto the beach by the waves. Grandma said that when she received the garland she had a dream in which a man asked her to make some special garlands. This she did, and will give them to those who take care of her in her last years.

Assistant judges discuss the increasingly complex juvenile crime problem

Suchada Tupchai

Over 200 assistant judges of provincial and juvenile courts throughout the eastern provinces attended a seminar at the Tide Resort in Bangsaen on July 30, aimed at fostering a greater understanding of child problems and the related legal processes.

Press conference with (from left) Sitthisak Wanachakit, Appeals Court judge, Chanchai Likhitjittha, deputy supreme adjudicator of Thailand, and Anocha Cheewitsophon, director general of judges in Region 2.

Chanchai Likhitjittha, deputy supreme adjudicator of Thailand, opened the seminar, saying that the youth problem in Thailand is no longer a simple one. There are a diverse number of reasons behind the problems seen by the courts, including disturbed family backgrounds, poverty, and lack of education and motivation. These causes, said Chanchai, are not unique to Thailand but are seen throughout the modern world.

Anocha Cheewitsophon, director general of judges in Region 2, said that the legal system had a responsibility to understand the underlying reasons for child crime, and the related problem of wandering homeless children, in order to help the young transform their negative behavior into positive attitudes.

This in turn would need the cooperation of many government departments and other official bureaus, and an understanding of their role and function was essential to the task.

Disabled youth leaders from Latin America and the Caribbean observe facilities in Pattaya

Narisa Nitikarn

Forty disabled youth leaders from Latin America and the Caribbean joined disabled people from the Vocational Redemptory School for a conference at city hall on August 1.

Assisting the visitors was a team of interpreters and other helpers, for deafness, blindness and other physical and mental deformities were added to the language challenges.

IDB groups from 11 countries attended the meeting.

Designed for helping the leaders with training the disabled in their own countries, the conference was opened by Mayor Niran Wattanasartsathorn. Director of the Vocational Redemptory School Suporntham Mongkolsawat led students from the school.

The visitors were interested in asking questions about the disabled social welfare law and the rights of the disabled in Pattaya.

Mayor Niran said that Pattaya City respects all people, whether physically challenged or not. The main point is to live in peace together. City hall therefore works closely with the Redemptory School and other organizations for the handicapped.

Pattaya City gave some money for a school-support budget and built the school sports center, said the mayor. The support money comes from two sources, one part from the government and the other from income taxes.

Suporntham said the school works with city hall in arranging work for the handicapped after finishing their education at Redemptory School, or they can continue their education in the normal governmental schools. However, most of them prefer to work after finishing school rather than continuing to study, he said.

The visit was arranged by the Development and Training Center for the Disabled of Asia and the Pacific. The group had already been to Bangkok before arriving in Pattaya, and was proceeding to other parts of Thailand to observe and collect information that will help them back in their homelands.

City hall receives another proposal to convert the ocean into drinking water

Yet another company has come forward with a proposal for equipment that will resolve the water shortage problems by converting seawater into potable water.

Waste Water Treatment Group (WWT) outlined a 250 million baht project to city hall last week at a meeting chaired by Mayor Niran Wattanasartsathorn.

(L to R) Michael Kiefer, Friedrich Holzer and Amporn Klinsrisuk explain the WWT to Mayor Niran Wattanasartsathorn.

WWT representatives Amporn Klinsrisuk, Michael Kiefer and Friedrich Holzer said the city could choose two ways of operating the project. One is that the city could hold the ownership license of the project and manage its income through its own collection system. Under the second option, WWT builds the system and leases it to the city for a number of years. When the lease is finished, WWT will hand the project to the city automatically.

Amporn said the company uses a production method called the Pilote System, which produces not less than 24,000 cubic meters per hour. The mayor said that ideally the city wants a machine that could convert at least 40,000 cubic meters per day, or 400,000 liters, to suit the demands of people in Pattaya City and nearby areas.

The mayor added that WWT is the fourth company to approach city hall with a seawater conversion project, and to make a decision a lot of factors have to be taken into consideration.

He said the theory of changing seawater to drinking water was ideal because it would solve the water scarcity issue in the long run. He suggested that WWT set up one portable machine to demonstrate the process and its quality.

As to whether the city could produce large amounts drinking water, with enough to sell to the Regional Irrigation and Water Supply Department, the mayor said he would not know until the project is formulated, because the cost of production is likely to be high.

April 2006 will see mega-meet take place in Pattaya

 Pattaya City is getting ready to host another major event, the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Annual Conference 2006, to be held in April next year.

Security is considered one of the most important factors in the eyes of global organizations such as this one, and city officials and police will mount a full-scale security operation to ensure the safety of the delegates.

Four leading hotels, namely the Royal Cliff Beach Resort, Dusit Resort, Montien Hotel, and Sheraton Resort, have block-booked their rooms over the period April 23 to 27.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand will play a major role in welcoming 2,200 members from some 40 countries, including Thailand.

Wattanapong Phonimdaeng, director of the TAT’s venue arrangement division, is working with city council members, Pattaya and Banglamung police, traffic police and tourist police to set up a universal security force and lay out plans to maintain peace in the city during the summit period.

PATA was formed in 1952. At every annual gathering, representatives from the member countries put forward ideas on improving tourism and exchanging useful data amongst themselves. Usually the major concerns revolve around airlines, cruises, hotels, tour companies, and travel business operations.

Today the PATA headquarters is situated in Oakland, USA, and its operational headquarters is in Bangkok. The Bangkok office is run under the guidance of Peter De Jong, president and CEO. Main tasks are in marketing, public relations, human resource development, and tourism information updating.

One of the key roles of this global networking group is to lend a hand to countries in need of sustainable tourism development and environment conservation, social stability promotion, and cultural uniqueness preservation.

Mayor sets up in front of city hall office to talk with residents

Ariyawat Nuamsawat

Visitors to city hall might be somewhat surprised to find the mayor sitting behind a desk in front of the finance office and answering their questions, but it is part of a move to make the administration more accessible to Pattaya residents.

Mayor Niran Wattanasartsathorn told reporters, “I want the people to feel they can talk to city officials and that we answer their questions.”

“I’ve thought about this for a while but haven’t had the time,” Mayor Niran Wattanasartsathorn told reporters as he took up his new position on August 3. “I want the people to feel they can talk to city officials and that we answer their questions. City councilors will also take part in this when they are free of their duties.”

Niran went on to say that the aim was not to catch out employees doing the wrong thing but to enhance relations between city hall and the people to assist in solving problems and provide the best service possible.

The idea came from Sriracha Mayor Chatchai Timkrachang, who has carried out such activities for quite a while before Pattaya’s mayor followed suit.

Judges and court officials pay tribute to Prince Rapee

Father of the modern Thai legal system

On August 7 each year Thailand observes Rapee Day, commemorating the passing away of Prince Rapee Pattanasak, the father of Thailand’s modern legal system.

At Pattaya court on Pratamnak Road, Mayor Niran Wattanasartsathorn, chief judge of Pattaya court Virot Tula-phan, court officials, city council members and students took part in the Rapee Day commemoration ceremony.

Each year on August 7, Thailand’s legal profession pays tribute to Prince Rapee Pattanasak, the father of Thailand’s modern legal system.

Prince Rapee, a son of King Chulalongkorn, Rama V, was born on October 21, 1874. After he obtained his secondary education in Suan Kularb Palace School in Bangkok, he went on to study law at Christchurch College, Oxford University. He came back and became minister of justice at the age of 22 in 1896. He held the position for 14 years.

The Prince took initiatives on establishment of the first law school in the country in 1897. He drew up a syllabus and taught the students himself. In his 14 years in office, he laid a firm foundation for the Thai legal system.

In 1911 King Vajiravudh, Rama VI, appointed Prince Rapee Minister of Agriculture. He promoted systemization of land title deeds and ownership, and initiated the Royal Irrigation Department and many projects to aid farmers. He fell ill in 1920, and resigned from active service. He went to Paris for medical care and passed away on August 7 of the same year.

His statue was constructed in front of the Ministry of Justice and each year law practitioners and the general public who now live under the law he once wrote pay tribute to him.

Gang murders French businessman’s wife for her Mercedes-Benz

Boonlua Chatree

A joint operation between Bangkok and local police led to the arrest of five men for the brutal murder of Saiking Garbet, 28, the wife of a French businessman.

The gang members were identified as Sant Treewatanant, 32, owner of Kookai Car Care on Pattaya Third Road, Khuntorn Pongpiphapmongkol, 24, Patchorn Ratsomboon, 26, Warunee Leknark and Samruay Chotechumni, 25.

They killed the woman in Pattaya by strangulation and smashing her head against the concrete numerous times before dumping her body in bushland near Km 42-43 along the Bangna-Trat Road in Bangkok. Then they took the woman’s Mercedes-Benz, valued at around 2 million baht, and sold it.

All five were arrested after an extensive investigation and brought back to Pattaya to re-enact their crime. Whilst in Pattaya, the dead woman’s husband tried to assault the perpetrators but was stopped by officers.

The motive for the killing was revealed as theft of the woman’s property. Her body was still undergoing examination at the forensic institute a week after it was discovered, before relatives were allowed to commence with funeral rites.

Alleged fake credit card user faces jail

Miss Waew-ta, a jewelry shop owner near Wat Chaimongkol, called Pattaya police to say that Nisar Anjum, 38, a British national, was attempting to purchase a gold necklace from her shop with a phony credit card.

Nisar Anjum sits with police whilst trying to explain why his allegedly English credit card would have been issued by a bank in Malaysia, and without his name on it.

She held the card and his passport until the police arrived. Anjum told the officers that the DBS credit card he handed her in payment for a one-baht gold necklace belonged to him. He said he got it from a bank in England. Police, however, could not find Anjum’s name on the card, and also discovered that the card was issued by Affin Bank of Malaysia.

Police said if Anjum were found using false plastic cards to pay for items, he would face a one-year prison term or a 100,000 baht fine, or both.

Trouble in paradise as senior Bangkok police raid Heaven

Angels arrested and deported

Boonlua Chatree

Over 100 police from Bangkok’s crime suppression division raided the Heaven Bath House and Entertainment complex on Sukhumvit Road on August 4 and arrested more than 60 Thai and foreign women on flesh trade charges.

Pol Maj Gen Wutti Liptapanlop, Central Investigation Unit deputy commander led the raid. An undercover officer posing as a customer and using marked banknotes was first sent into the premises and once the bait was taken police stormed the venue.

16 women from Uzbekistan and six from Myanmar were arrested and deported from Heaven.

The cashier and doorman were immediately detained while officers inspected the premises. A total of 42 Thai women along with 16 Uzbekistani and six Burmese women were found throughout the four-floor complex. A number of the women were under 20, the legal age allowed to work in such establishments. All the women were taken into custody, with the Thai women fined 1,000 baht each and the foreigners escorted to the immigration office for deportation proceedings.

An arrest warrant has been issued for Heaven’s owner, Sana Jaroon, aka Sier Tum, aged 46, for illegally employing underage staff and foreigners in the flesh trade. Sana was not on the premises at the time of the raid.

Pol Maj Gen Wutti said later that due to the nature of the offences all properties and assets from the business would be confiscated.

He added that investigations would be undertaken against five senior Banglamung police officers for allowing illegal activities to operate in their jurisdiction. The five are Banglamung police superintendent Pol Col Woratchai Sriratanawut; Pol Lt Wisute Jantsong, who is deputy superintendent in charge of the criminal investigation unit; Pol Lt Col Pramote Ngarmpradit, crime suppression head and deputy superintendent; Pol Lt Col Wallop Arjsamit, crime suppression inspector; and Pol Lt Col Komsorn Marbumrung, criminal investigation inspector.

“We will investigate as to whether these five officers were involved in allowing the premises to operate and if there is any odd changes in assets or bank accounts,” said Wutti. “The details will be forwarded to the Interior Minister and the National Police Bureau commander. If they are found to be in breach of the law, legal proceedings will be undertaken.”

The five officers have already been transferred to inactive posts pending investigation. If found guilty they will be dismissed and their assets confiscated.

Wutti also told reporters that if any government officers had supported this influential business they would meet with the same fate.

Tax evasion investigations are also underway against Heaven’s owner. The venue has been closed until further notice.

Woman selling ya ba to tourists arrested along with her supplier

Boonlua Chatree

A woman agent selling ya ba to foreign tourists on Walking Street has been arrested along with her supplier.

Police investigations had revealed that Miss Arun Srapthai, 38, had been distributing the class 1 narcotic from a South Pattaya beer bar. Following Arun to her rented apartment at Pattaya Hill Condo on Pratamnak Road, police conducted a search and discovered 10 orange-colored ya ba pills.

Arun admitted she bought them from Preeda Srongdaoruang for the price of 250 baht per pill, and distributed them to foreigners and her German boyfriend for 400 baht per pill. She said her boyfriend had gone back to his hometown, and that she had kept some of the pills for her own use.

The officers suggested Arun contact Preeda and make a fresh order. This she did, making an appointment for 60 pills to be delivered to her room for a payment of 15,000 baht, while police prepared the money and photographed the proceedings for later use.

Preeda, a 29-year-old native of Bangplama in Suphanburi province, arrived about 20 minutes later on a red Honda Wave motorcycle. He delivered the 60 pills to Arun, and collected the 15,000 baht. Police arrested him and found an additional 50 ya ba pills in his black training trousers. He has been charged with possession intended for distribution.

Police briefs

Boonlua Chatree

Former employee suspected of arson in blaze at Soi Bongkot refuse depot

A disgruntled former employee is suspected of setting fire to a recycling depot on Soi Bongkot, off Pattaya Third Road in the early hours of July 28.

Depot owner Pichit Nuchjaroen, 37, alerted firefighters and police to the blaze and five fire units were dispatched. Firemen took 30 minutes to extinguish the flames, fuelled by waste paper and other garbage.

Police questioned Pichit as investigators sifted through the ashes, and he said that he suspected a former employee, known only as Gae, to have lit the fire.

Pichit said the man, who is in his early 30s, was dismissed because he became abusive and lazy due to consuming too much alcohol. He is also suspected of being hooked on drugs.

“I didn’t think he would resort to setting fire to the business,” said Pichit, who added that he and his family had taken care of the man for a number of years.

Damages are estimated at over 200,000 baht.

Angry navy officer rams
girlfriend’s motorcycle

A navy officer angry with his girlfriend after an argument rammed her motorcycle with his own motorbike and severely injured himself.

Sattahip police and officers from the Rojana-thammasatan Foundation called out to the crash scene on Dong Tan Beach Road in Sattahip found two women and a man. The women had only minor injuries but the man was transferred to Queen Sirikit Hospital.

Miss Prangthip, one of the injured women, told police that the man, who she named as Sombat, intentionally hit their motorcycle. She said she had known Sombat for some time, from a karaoke bar where she worked. On the night prior to the accident they had an argument and Prangthip asked Sombat to stay away from her.

Sombat became angry. When Prangthip went off with her friend on a motorcycle to think things over, Sombat followed them. In a rage he drove his motorcycle into theirs.

Prangthip has filed suit against Sombat for using physical violence and causinginjuries to her.

Drug operation nets re-offending dealer and over 100k in cash, gold and pills

Senior Pattaya police raided a small hotel off Pattaya Third Road in the early hours in the morning of July 27, resulting in the arrest of Wichart Kwansongkroh, 26, and Panya Khunsri, 21, with 320 methamphetamine pills and a loaded Noring 9mm automatic pistol.

The pair were taken into custody and questioned. Through the interrogation officers learned that Wichart was out on bail from a previous case of being caught with 600 pills. The court process was continuing with Wichart claiming that he returned to selling the drugs to gain enough money for the court case. Both were placed on drug and weapons charges.

Investigating officers learned from the men that they bought the pills from another man, identified as Sorayuth Sukdech, 26. Police set up a sting and arrested Sorayuth in possession of 412 methamphetamine pills, 2 grams of the drug ice, 105,000 baht in drug money and numerous other items including 14 baht weight in gold. Officers confiscated all property made from the profits of drug sales.

Region 2 police commander Jongrak Jutanont later said that he had instructed senior provincial police and stations throughout the region to continue the crackdown on illegal drugs, confiscating all property of dealers in the process.

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