Pattaya Mail turns 12

Vol. XIII No. 38
Friday September 23 - September 29, 2005

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Updated every Friday
by Saichon Paewsoongnern


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Immigration Bureau promises radical overhaul

A fifth company steps forward with water treatment proposal

Organizers approach city hall for help with Small Buddha Image contest

Social workers confident of program in spite of many runaways

City garbage management is of grave concern, say researchers

Province teaches Mother Hens all about road safety

Naklua Market set to move on October 15

Cop this – police stage song and dance show at beer bar

Police urged to act with full force of law against robbers and muggers

Pattaya police arrest two Britons for trafficking marijuana

Brit arrested after escape

Jealous Iranian cook kills wife during row

Flooding hits Pattaya City

Only 3% to go, as underground cable installation finds new route

Immigration Bureau promises radical overhaul

Suchada Tupchai

Acting Commissioner of the Immigration Bureau Pol Maj Gen Suwat Thamrongsrisakul on September 16-17 presided over a workshop of 500 senior immigration officials, conducted at the Jomtien Palm Beach Hotel and designed to explore ways of moving the bureau forwards.

Pol Maj Gen Suwat Thamrongsrisakul.

Amongst those attending were Pol Maj-Gen Thanakorn Siri-at, commander of border police region 3, and Pol Maj Gen Surapol Tanakoses, commander of division 2.

Pol Maj Gen Suwat said the purpose of the seminar was to gather opinions on updating the bureau’s tactics, and that the new working methods would be adopted from October onwards.

From now on officers will have to work closely in groups and give their opinions on the correct way of working. They must take into account what the public wants, and then decide how to implement it and set a definite timetable.

Reporters asked about foreigners living in Thailand, especially those in Pattaya, who commit misdemeanors.

Suwat said one of the main problems with some visitors from Europe and America is that their respective countries do not check their countrymen prior to letting them leave. Therefore a lot of criminals come to hide in Pattaya. The Immigration Bureau needs to formulate a strategy to reduce the number of such people entering the country, deporting wrongdoers and canceling their visas.

The public he said would see a change in this matter within six months as the bureau was going to address the matter more closely.

Suwat said that everybody is watching the Immigration Bureau and at present its strategy is unclear. Their performance needs to improve. It is critical that they change the organization and they need cooperation from every single member of staff to do so.

The image of the bureau should be one of a quality service, said Suwat. The rules and procedures need to be applied correctly and honestly. The public should see the change in the service within two to three months of October 1.

A fifth company steps forward with water treatment proposal

Ariyawat Nuamsawat

Another proposal for a treatment plant that would convert wastewater into tap water and consequently help reduce Pattaya’s perennial water woes is currently being considered by city hall.

Dr Soontorn Boonyatikarn and his team explains how the system works.

Uthai Yaibuated, chairman of Uni San Pol Co Ltd, and Dr Soontorn Boonyatikarn, a professor of architecture, made the pitch to a meeting chaired by Mayor Niran Wattanasartsathorn, who has asked the company to submit more details and a budget evaluation.

Uthai said that Uni San Pol Co is an engineering consultancy specializing in wastewater processing, and has more than 10 years’ experience in the field.

The system being proposed can be used for both domestic and industrial wastewater, and Uthai says it is compact, and easy to run and maintain. His company has undertaken other wastewater projects in Thailand, including an installation at a Bangpa-In industrial estate and another at Srinakharindharaviroj University.

Mayor Niran said five companies had so far offered to install a water treatment system for Pattaya, and a decision has to be made as a matter of urgency.

Uni San Pol Co has also proposed a windmill system that could be used to generate electricity on Koh Larn.

Organizers approach city hall for help with Small Buddha Image contest

Ariyawat Nuamsawat

Organizers of the Small Buddha Image competition, cancelled last year because of lack of support, have approached city hall for funding and help with the venue to ensure that the event will go ahead this year.

Mayor Niran Wattanasartsathorn meets with the organisers.

Mayor Niran Wattanasartsathorn on September 6 chaired a meeting with the Small Image of Buddha Club Pattaya. It has been agreed that the competition, which is scheduled to take place on October 30, will be held at the multi-use building at Pattaya 2 School.

Club president Namchai Deevi said the competition, which was first held five years ago, was called off last year because the previous year’s event had not been a success. Small Buddha images are admired throughout Thailand but the competition is not a success when it is held in Pattaya, he said. Therefore the club was asking the city council to take over the organization of the event and also to promote it. He said that competitors would spend around two to three days in the city and boost the local economy.

Mayor Niran said that the council was interested in helping this event but added that careful thought needed to be given before allocating financial support. It is beneficial for Pattaya to hold as many annual events as possible to compete with other tourist destinations such as Phuket and Chiang Mai. Aside from budgetary considerations, city hall has allowed the use Pattaya 2 School’s multi-purpose hall as the competition venue.

Social workers confident of program in spite of many runaways

Narisa Nitikarn

Half of the children who participated in the Sai Yai Rak Camp have absconded from care and gone back to their previous lifestyles of drug abuse and prostitution, or have disappeared completely, according to a follow-up survey.

Despite some setbacks the caring workers continue to work to help children.

A meeting to review the effectiveness of the camp project, the pilot scheme in a proposed rehabilitation program for minors was held on September 8 at city hall, chaired by Deputy Mayor Wuttisak Rermkijakarn.

Present were representatives of the Social Welfare Department, World Vision Foundation of Thailand, the Wandering Child Project, the Juvenile and Family Court Chonburi, and the Tourist Police.

A total of 30 children had participated in Sai Yai Rak Camp No 1, of which 15 have since absconded from their shelters. Some, the meeting heard, have gone back to their previous destructive lifestyles including drug use and prostitution, and some have disappeared without trace. Those remaining have however expressed a wish to continue studying and undergoing occupational training.

The officers involved in the follow-up are encouraging the children to continue their rehabilitation program and discussing ways for them to return to society with a more positive disposition. They also wished to help the children who escaped, as without guidance the youngsters will be unable to avoid a self-destructive lifestyle.

Wuttisak said the overall result of the camp was positive because the 30 children came from vastly different backgrounds. The officers will help to guide them but a lot does depend on the children themselves, as they need to be willing to give up their previous bad habits.

City garbage management is of grave concern, say researchers

 Narisa Nitikarn

An environmental research project carried out by Thammasart University in cooperation with Pattaya’s Sanitary and Environmental Department has presented its findings to city hall.

At a meeting with deputy city clerk Apichat Puechphan on September 6, the group gave details of the research results, identified problems and suggested solutions in relation to the proposed scheme to increase green areas in Pattaya City.

Kampol Nantapol reports on his findings to Pattaya City administrators.

The environmental engineering experts were led by Kampol Nantapol, who said their studies had shown that one of the main problems was too much refuse from department stores, hotels and local residents. There is no accurate method of calculating the city’s true population, and tourists also contribute directly to the excess garbage problems, he said.

Kampol said the survey had pinpointed the fact that most of the city’s refuse comes from hotels. Most of the hotel refuse consists of leftover food, which rapidly decomposes.

This refuse affects the community and is the responsibility of the city council. In terms of garbage collection and disposal the city is divided into four sub-districts, namely Naklua, Nongprue, Nongplalai and some parts of Huay Yai. The research team couldn’t study all areas in depth because of both a lack of time and manpower. It is however important to manage the garbage problem effectively in order to improve the quality of the local environment, said Kampol.

Apart from the refuse problem the group also made a study of the quality of life in nursing homes, public health centers and hospitals in the city. The results were satisfactory. Cases of hemorrhagic fever, diarrhea, food poisoning and tuberculosis are decreasing in number each year. Nevertheless the standards of food hygiene need to be monitored closely even if the number of people suffering from diarrhea is decreasing. “Pattaya is a tourist city, and any problems related to food will have a detrimental effect on the city’s image to tourists,” said Kampol.

Mrs Wannaporn Chamjamrat, director of health and environment for Pattaya City, has queried some of the calculations in the documents, which she said she had received only on the day of the meeting.

Province teaches Mother Hens all about road safety

One hundred teachers from Chonburi education region 1-3 have undergone training in traffic laws and road safety so that they can pass on their knowledge to their pupils.

The training was conducted at a seminar held at the Grand Sole Hotel, presided over by the province’s deputy governor Preecha Kamolbutr and with instructions being given by officials from the transportation department, the health and public safety bureau, and police officers.

Deputy Governor Preecha Kamolbutr is a strong proponent of road safety.

Preecha said the number of road users is increasing every day, with very few taking precautions on safety, either by not wearing safety helmets or not knowing traffic rules and road etiquette. When arrested, they are only fined 300-500 baht each time, which in reality is not much of a deterrent to causing accidents.

With proper information and training the teachers will help to convey the knowledge and awareness of road safety to their students. Preecha said this is the third seminar in the series, and that the first two had proved successful.

Thanomsak Patisena, deputy director of Chonburi Kindergarten and Phiphob Phongsuchart, transportation officer, told reporters that there are altogether five sessions for the training, rotating through the three Chonburi education regions. In addition to training, the province has published a handbook on road safety to be part of the education curriculum.

The group of teachers joining the training is called Mother Hen Teachers because, like a mother hen that lays many eggs at a time, teachers also have many students who they have to nurture.

Naklua Market set to move on October 15

Ariyawat Nuamsawat

The date for moving stallholders from Naklua Market to a temporary site has been postponed to October 15. Demolition will then begin on the market building and the construction of new premises.

The old Naklua Market which is a state of disrepair and needs to be rebuilt from scratch. (inset) Deputy Mayor Wuttisak Rermkijakarn shows a plan of the construction work to be carried out.

A meeting at city hall last week, chaired by Deputy Mayor Wuttisak Rermkijakarn, discussed the details of the move. A rental agreement for the space in front of Siam Nimit Cinema has already been signed, with the occupancy date beginning on September 1 at a rental of 20,000 baht per month.

A budget for construction of the new building has been set at 23 million baht, with the completion date due in the middle of next year. Wuttisak said that the new building had to be completed before the expiry of the lease on the temporary space.

The temporary area is being marked out in 2m x 1.5m pitch areas with a total of 454 planned. There is a 1.5m footpath. Wuttisak said that further announcements would be made regarding the move.

Cop this – police stage song and dance show at beer bar

A team of policemen putting on a performance of the traditional Thai Likae song-and-dance drama at a Pattaya beer bar…it doesn’t sound very likely, does it?

Pattaya’s finest prove themselves to be Likae stars in their own right.

Nonetheless, a collaboration between Sutthipong Tiayakuk, owner of a bar on Beach Road Soi 9, and officers from the public relations team at Pattaya police station, had crowds of Thai and foreign visitors gathering at the bar on September 7 to enjoy this distinctly unusual event.

Sutthipong said he wanted tourists to experience a Likae performance, which has been an integral part of Thai culture from the Sukhothai era, and is not available anywhere else in the world. The actors, who during their normal working lives spend a lot of time sorting out the less salubrious elements of Pattaya, were more than happy to devote an evening contributing to the city’s positive public image, and having a little fun into the bargain.

Police urged to act with full force of law against robbers and muggers

Narisa Nitikarn

Pattaya police have once again been urged to do their duty in immediately pursuing and arresting wrongdoers in Pattaya, and have been reminded that their first duty is towards protecting residents and tourists.

Police Colonel Somnuk Changate, Superintendent of Pattaya Police Station

City hall on September 9 was the venue for an annual gathering of officers from Pattaya police station, presided over by station superintendent Police Colonel Somnuek Changate.

Pol. Col. Somnuk said that youths carry out most of the robberies and muggings against residents and tourists. One of the black spots is at Dongtan corner in Jomtien, he said. Most of the victims happen to be foreigners.

Pattaya police officers during their eight hours of duty must always act with the full force of the law in immediately pursuing and arresting wrongdoers urged the superintendent.

Even if the offence appears to be a trivial one, it must be dealt with. For a larger case a patrol can be called. Whatever the action, the police officers must take control, said Pol. Col. Somnuk. Better still, he added, vigilance would lessen the risk of anything happening in the first place.

Pattaya police arrest two Britons for trafficking marijuana

Pattaya Mail/ AP

Pattaya police arrested two Britons in the early hours of Tuesday morning for possession of marijuana. During the arrest officers also discovered 160 packs (640 tablets) of the popular impotency drug Cialis.

Martin Ward, 39, and Paul Bangle, 40, were arrested at Ward’s Soi 17 home with 10 kilograms of marijuana.

Police Colonel Somnuk Changate, Superintendent of Pattaya Police Station interrogates Martin Ward (left) and Paul Bangle (right) inside the Soi 17 house where police discovered 10 kilograms of marijuana and 640 Cialis tablets.

Police were in the process of investigating a Thai man known to sell the marijuana when the made the arrests.

Songkran Suanpaeng, 26 from Trat was caught exiting the house with four packets of the class 5 drug. Officers arrested him just as the two foreigners walked out of the house. Upon seeing officers they fled indoors and were duly followed. Songkran was detained for further questioning.

Officers searched premises discovering the marijuana packed inside a second floor wardrobe along with the Cialis. They found a further 29 packets of marijuana in the car parked outside the house.

Both Ward and Bangle failed to produce passports when confronted by police but knew Ward has a Thai wife and has been living in Thailand for many years. Bangle is believed to be a business partner.

The marijuana was wrapped in seaweed and was to be sold and delivered by mail to customers in North America and Australia.

Ward confessed to purchasing and exporting the Cialis but denied any involvement or knowledge of the marijuana.

Songkran Suanpaeng, however, said that both men would supply the money for him to purchase marijuana from a man in Huay Yai and send the drug through the postal system, using the seaweed to mask the smell.

All three were charged with possession of marijuana for purposes of trafficking and face a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

Brit arrested after escape

English fugitive arrested and deported

Acting on the request of the British Embassy, Pattaya Immigration Police tracked down Bernard Terence Scullion, a British national who had fled the United Kingdom and was believed to be in hiding in Pattaya.

Scullion in police custody awaiting deportation.

Scullion was arrested on 16 September at an address in Nongprue district. Police said a Liverpool court had issued an arrest warrant relating to 16 cases, some of which involved child molesting, and physical violence and harassment.

Pol Col Ittiphol Ittisarnronnachai, commander of Pattaya Immigration office said Scullion was working as a boat engine mechanic in England and had entered Thailand six months ago. He would be deported to England immediately. Police were unable to answer a question as to how the fugitive had managed to leave Britain without being apprehended.

Jealous Iranian cook kills wife during row

Boonlua Chatree

An Iranian cook has been charged with battering his wife to death during an argument in which he accused her of infidelity.

Police along with a physician from Banglamung Hospital and volunteers from Sawangboriboon Foundation were called out to the scene of a death at a rented room in Nongprue on September 10.

They found the body of Mrs Nidnoi Mahamad Khan, 27, wearing a white shirt and jeans and lying across the bed. She had sustained severe head injuries apparently caused by a weapon. Beside her they found Iranian national Hamad Kirum Mahamad, 34, lying unconscious with his right hand holding his wife’s hand. He had head injuries. The officers found a pestle soaked with blood, a cooking knife and two screwdrivers on the bed. Hamad was transferred to Banglamung Hospital for treatment.

Hamad has lived in Thailand for about five years. He is a cook at a Muslim restaurant in South Pattaya, and had been married to Nidnoi for about three years. His wife worked in a laundry. There have one four-year old daughter.

Neighbors said the couple had been arguing very noisily. Apparently the husband was jealous and thought his wife might have another man. Nobody wanted to intervene in the argument when they heard Nidnoi shouting. Later on Hamad ran out to knock at the next-door apartment and told occupant Sutat Srikhoonla that his wife was dead. He then returned to the room and banged his head against the wall, finally collapsing next to his wife’s body.

Hamad was not in a critical condition but needed two days’ hospital treatment. He has been arrested and charged with intentional killing.

Flooding hits Pattaya City

Heavy rains cause floods but also replenish reservoirs

Narisa Nitikarn

Heavy rainstorms hit Pattaya last week causing floods all over the city. It rained heavily all Tuesday night and all day Wednesday. The thunder showers were the result of a storm coming from the south of China down to Thailand over Ubon Ratchathani and nearby provinces, continuing on to the central, eastern and upper southern regions.

Mayor Niran takes command of relief efforts.

Flooding was reported in many sections of the city including the Naklua canal, Soi Bo Bay, Soi Bua Khao, Rong Mai Keet area, Central and South Pattaya.

Other affected areas included Soi Luem Bumroong in South Pattaya, Pacific housing complex, Petrakul Road, the Banglamung Vocational College, and Nong Yai.

The severely damaged Naklua bridge.

Mayor Niran Wattanasartsathorn inspected homes that had up to 30cm of rainwater in them and ordered officials to arrange a large pump to be used to help drain away the water. He told reporters that are many low-lying areas in Pattaya and that they were always flooded during heavy rains. He also said that there was not much that could be done to solve the problem.

A newly built 300,000 baht bridge over the overflowing Naklua canal was damaged and left unusable after the heavy rains.

The beaches of Pattaya and Jomtien were hit by strong winds and high waves, which lashed up onto the shores and roads strewing garbage all over the beach area and causing traffic jams.

On the bright side the water reservoir was replenished by about 600,000 cubic meters of water.

A most frightening scene as strong waves lash onto Jomtien beach.

Mabprachan reservoir looked a lot healthier than a few weeks ago.

Only 3% to go, as underground cable installation finds new route

Narisa Nitikarn

Installation of underground electricity cables is 97 percent complete but a change of plans is causing a delay to the final completion of the project.

Ninety seven percent of the underground cable wok is complete says city councilor Banlue Kulawanit

Pattaya councilor Banlue Kulawanit chaired a meeting of the public works and public utilities committees at city hall on September 9, with representatives of the public works department and the electricity, waterworks and telecommunications authorities present.

Banlue said he wanted to know about the progress made on the project, as there had been many complaints from tourists and the uncompleted works were making Beach Road unsightly.

Amnouy Na-ek, representing the director of the construction division, said that underground cable installation work was 97 percent complete. The remaining 3 percent was being delayed as they had encountered a water pipe obstruction. The water authorities have been contacted but said they couldn’t move the pipes.

The problem is being resolved by finding new routing for the cables, he said, but the installation plans have had to be changed as a result.

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