Pattaya Mail turns 12

Vol. XIII No. 52
Friday December 30 - January 5, 2006

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by Saichon Paewsoongnern


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Happy New Year from Pattaya Mail

15 million baht budget is allocated to promote Pattaya in key Asian markets

High cost of Call Center equipment questioned

An extra Christmas cleanup for Walking Street

Tourism spending in Pattaya is up despite fall in numbers

Traffic study reveals black spots on First and Second roads

Happy New Year from City Hall

Local ‘big shot’ is banged up for attack

Teenagers attack and rob Russian woman

Woman gives police officer headache over missing motorcycle

Couple tumbles from 4th floor balcony during horseplay

Police briefs

Nursing personnel amongst first arrivals at Had Yao Camp

Ceremony honors King Rama VI as Scout Jamboree begins

Closer cooperation is needed to make Thailand Grand Sale 2006 a success

Happy New Year from Pattaya Mail

New Year fun to last 4 days

Ariyawat Nuamsawat

This year Pattaya City council is holding huge celebrations spread over four days between December 29 and January 1 that are designed to bring in large numbers of tourists.

The New Year celebrations will be divided into two phases, namely the countdown, which will be held over the final three days of the year, from December 29 to 31, and the festivities on January 1.

The celebrations will include music performances and other activities featuring leading entertainment stars under the RS Promotions 1992 banner including Hyper, Baby Bull, Pink, Cinderella and Academy Fantasia Year 2.

ITV will set up booths attended by leading actors and actresses who will give out prizes and have their photographs taken.

On January 1, ITV will televise live throughout Thailand between 9:30 p.m. and 12:10 a.m.

On New Year’s Eve the government will allow entertainment venues to remain open until 6 a.m., but people must still remain within the limits of the law, and police will be extra vigilant on drunken driving.

Pattaya Police superintendent, Pol Col Somnuk Changate said that plans have been drawn up to increase safety on the roads. Police units will be deployed at key traffic congestion areas such as Sukhumvit Road and checkpoints will be set up to carry out breathalyzer tests on motorists.

On crime prevention and safety a larger number of officers will be on duty and more stringent checks will be carried out at entertainment venues. At the scenes where celebrations are being held police cage vehicles will be parked to deter rowdy behavior.

Pattaya Mail wishes you and your family peace, health and happiness in 2006.

15 million baht budget is allocated to promote Pattaya in key Asian markets

Narisa Nitikarn

City hall has allocated a 15 million baht budget for domestic and Asian public relations activities during the coming year, and a meeting was held on December 15 to discuss the most productive ways of spending it.

Deputy Mayor Weerawat Khakhai presided over a gathering that included Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, Tourism Authority of Thailand Central Region Office 3 director, Thanet Supornsahasrungsi, president of the Pattaya Business and Tourism Association, and council member Pisai Panomwan na Ayudhaya.

Deputy Mayor Weerawat Khakhai presides over a meeting on Pattaya marketing and public relations.

Chattan said that he contacted organizations in three important Asian markets, namely the Republic of Korea, Hong Kong and Taipei and that replies had been received from the three detailing costs.

Public relations activities in Korea will require a budget of 5 million baht, which will involve promotion packages. TAT will cooperate with an airline over arranging ticketing for familiarization trips, there will be advertisements at Seoul and Pusan train stations, two television programs will be aired on well-known Korean TV stations and a road show will be held in Seoul in June next year.

Hong Kong will require a budget of 3.9 million baht for documentaries to be produced showing new images of Pattaya. Other items may be added this year like restaurants, show venues and three-minute long sport advertisements on giant TV screens in Times Square and Kowloon’s Tsimshatsui district, as these two areas are frequented by a large number of foreign tourists.

At Taipei a 166 x 550 centimeter box lamp will be installed at the underground department store, Happiness On Earth, which will be on display between January and June at a cost of 500,000 baht.

After Chattan had reported on the foreign public relations costs, Thanet said most of the efforts will focus on Korea with a budget of 5 million baht, which seems a high amount and the results of such an investment must be calculated.

Talks were also held on domestic advertising. It was proposed that large advertisements be placed in main cities like Chiang Mai, Suphanburi, Phuket and Bangkok that will help to attract local visitors.

Weerawat added that, in order to maximize the potential, the city council should hire a consultant to organize the activities and the advertising, using the remaining budget after the international efforts. The appointment needs to be carried out urgently in order to not waste marketing opportunities.

High cost of Call Center equipment questioned

TOT is asked to provide breakdown

Narisa Nitikarn

Pattaya City Engineering Director Sittiparp Muangkhum has raised questions about the cost of the new Call Center. TOT, which is being contracted to operate the center, has been asked to provide an itemized breakdown of the costs.

Deputy Mayor Weerawat Khakhai on December 14 called a meeting of TOT representatives and relevant government department heads to question the price of the Call Center equipment, which is considered to be high.

Pattaya City Engineering Director Sittiparp Muangkhum complained about high equipment costs for the new Call Center.

A TOT representative told the meeting that the total cost Pattaya City council would incur over a five-year period was 412 million baht, but he failed to list the actual costs on an item-by-item basis and did not include staff costs.

Sittiparp questioned why the equipment costs would total about 60 million baht. The TOT representative was unable to explain the reason, but did give out documents so that people at the meeting could check.

Sittiparp said that he would like to see TOT provide an item-by-item listing of equipment costs so the council can check the prices, as they may be cheaper elsewhere, and if possible they would buy the equipment from elsewhere to reduce costs by millions of baht.

People at the meeting agreed with Sittiparp and resolved that TOT should go back and prepare an item-by-item listing and provide a breakdown of service costs, excluding equipment.

City council members, however, reiterated that they want TOT to oversee the operation of the system over a five-year period as previously agreed.

An extra Christmas cleanup for Walking Street

Narisa Nitikarn

Walking Street had an extra cleanup on December 22 when Ladawadee Chaona, head of Public Health Zone 3 Office, led a team of 28 sanitation and environment workers along with two water trucks and a waste collection truck for a Christmas and New Year special during the morning.

Ladawadee Chaona, head of Public Health Zone 3 Office led a team of 28 sanitation and environment workers to clean up Walking Street for the holidays.

The Walking Street Committee and the Pattaya Public Health Office carry out a monthly Walking Street cleanup but many additional activities are held here at Christmas and New Year, hence the need for extra cleaning.

Ladawadee said that the Walking Street Committee asked the Public Health Office of the Department of Sanitation and the Environment for water trucks and a team of workers with brushes and soap powder, and they went to work. Shop owners and tourists also lent a welcome helping hand.

Tourism spending in Pattaya is up despite fall in numbers

Narisa Nitikarn

Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, Tourism Authority of Thailand Central Region 3 director, says that although the number of tourists visiting Thailand and Pattaya has fallen, the income from tourism spending in Pattaya has actually risen and people have been staying in the city for longer periods.

The city council and TAT have undertaken more international public relations for Pattaya than before, said Chattan, and next year there is a year-long program of PR activities.

The number of tourists visiting Thailand overall has fallen over the previous year, partly because of the floods in Chiang Mai and the unrest in the South. Chattan, however, said that more tourists visit Pattaya than the south of the country during the high season. Data provided by TAT shows that the number of tourists visiting the south has dropped dramatically and hotels have not achieved total occupancy rates as previously anticipated.

Chattan said that the government provided 70 million baht for marketing and public relations activities for the eastern region of the country with each province generating tourism for the other provinces in the region. For example, he said, when a group of tourists visit Rayong they can also travel to Chonburi and Chanthaburi.

Statistics provided by the Region 3 Office show that between October 2004 and September 2005, 4,816,678 tourists visited Pattaya, generating a total income from tourism of over 50 billion baht. This was a reduction of the total number of tourists of 3.38 percent but an increase in total income of 7.41 percent.

Traffic study reveals black spots on First and Second roads

Ariyawat Nuamsawat

A recent survey has identified Pattaya’s traffic black spots and a number of options are being studied to find out which will be the most suitable to implement.

Mayor Niran Wattanasartsathorn on December 22 presided over a meeting of the Committee of the Pattaya Traffic Study Project to urgently remedy the traffic woes in Pattaya.

On June 15 the city council appointed Prajomklao University Thonburi (TDRC) under a one-year contract to research traffic and act as a consultant to set up traffic plans for the long-term development of Pattaya.

Dr Thawatchai Laosiripongtong, president of the Center for Traffic and Transportation Research and Development at TDRC said that the latest data revealed the most worrisome traffic problems occur on Pattaya First Road (Beach Road) and Pattaya Second Road at three main locations: the Dolphin Roundabout, which is unable to handle the number of vehicles, Pattaya Klang Intersection on Beach Road where pickup trucks park blocking traffic into First Road, and South Pattaya at the entrance to Walking Street.

Proposals for rectification include the installation of traffic lights at the Dolphin Roundabout, improving the curve at the front of Walking Street, and setting up quotas for public transport vehicles and other vehicles parking along Beach Road.

“Additional study is required for traffic flow plans, both one-way and two-way, and there are four choices,” said Dr Thawatchai. “The present one-way system could be improved, or we could implement a new one-way system, or implement new one-way systems in some areas, or make Second Road a two-way system.”

Additional data is now being collected to set up a working model for managing traffic flow. This will then be followed by a seminar to discuss the practicalities.

Happy New Year from City Hall

Mayor Niran Wattanasartsathorn and city administrators send Pattaya residents New Year blessings

Narisa Nitikarn

Mayor Niran Wattanasartsathorn led his city administrators in sending New Year blessings to Pattaya residents.

Mayor Niran told Pattaya Mail, “I, as mayor, plus the four deputy mayors and government department heads would like to thank the residents of Pattaya once again for giving me and the team of administrators the opportunity to work for you. We will continue to work to make Pattaya a better place for its residents, to facilitate a better quality of life, and provide safety to life and property of residents and tourists.

Pattaya City administrators led by Mayor Niran Wattanasartsathorn bless Pattaya residents for the New Year.

“I am determined to develop a good socio-economic system, promote culture and traditions and develop other aspects to international standards, placing emphasis on the importance of the benefits of Pattaya residents. I and the team of administrators give our word to the residents of Pattaya that we will do our utmost to fulfill the trust of the residents of Pattaya for the betterment of Pattaya, the place that we all love forever.

“On the occasion of New Year 2006, myself, Pattaya City administrators and government department heads pray that the Buddhist dharma, all things sacred and the virtues of all Thai kings past and present bring blessings, peace and happiness to you all and may you all fulfill your wishes.”

Local ‘big shot’ is banged up for attack

Boonlua Chatree

A Thai man who attacked a British tourist and a Thai girl and then claimed he was an important man and above the law has been incarcerated.

Rakkate Khunwattana told officers that he was a big name and had been dragged into the police station on many occasions and was afraid of no one.

Police were called out at 11 p.m. on December 20 to a food vendor’s stall at the back of Pattaya Chu department store in South Pattaya where they found a foreigner who had had a bottle smashed over his head, covering him in blood, and a Thai girl with an injury to her head and a split right eyelid.

The man was identified as 62-year-old Kenneth Gibson from the UK, and the girl as 26-year-old Miss Anchalee Srikrachang. On questioning, the officers were informed that the assailant’s name was Rakkate Khunwattana, who was still sitting coolly at the food stall. The officers arrested him and took him to Pattaya police station.

Anchalee told officers that she was sat drinking with Gibson when Khunwattana walked in, sat down and started insulting her. She argued with him and Khunwattana hit her with a bottle and then struck out at Gibson.

Khunwattana, 42, told officers that he was a big name and had been dragged into the police station on many occasions and was afraid of no one. The reason he attacked Anchalee was because she did not know who he was and had the cheek to argue with him. He refused to admit that he had attacked Gibson and didn’t have a clue how he had suffered his injuries. Police kept him locked up.

Teenagers attack and rob Russian woman

Boonlua Chatree

Six youths on three motorcycles attacked and robbed a Russian woman just after midnight on December 21, but passers-by managed to catch three of them and detain the youths until police arrived.

Officers arriving at the scene on Beach Road in front of the Metro Condotel found the woman nursing a bruised left eye. A red Yamaha Apple motorcycle was lying on its side nearby and a few meters away a group of locals was surrounding three youths. Police took them to Kokotongtaal sub-station for questioning.

The 40-year-old victim, Miss Elmadzhi Natalia, a Russian national, told officers that she was staying at Sigma Resort on Jomtien Beach and had walked out to find something to eat. On her way back to her hotel, on reaching Metro Condotel six youths on three motorcycles stopped in front of her and assaulted her, snatching her purse containing 6,500 baht and 85 dollars in cash before speeding off. Locals apprehended three of the assailants.

The three arrested youths were identified as Wattana Insing, 18, Sak (a pseudonym), 16, and Saal (a pseudonym), 15. They admitted participating in the assault only, saying the three who got away took the money with them to an undisclosed location in Huay Yai. Police have been supplied with their names. The arrested youths have been charged with assault and robbery.

Woman gives police officer headache over missing motorcycle

Boonlua Chatree

An officer at Pattaya police station may have just cause to complain about female logic when a woman claimed her motorcycle was stolen but said she couldn’t remember her license plate number and then failed to file a report.

The unfortunate officer was Pol Lt Col Anan Thammachaiyakul, investigator on duty, who at 2 a.m. on December 21 received a visit from 22-year-old Ms Nanthicha Srisanam to say that two men aged about 20 years had threatened her with a knife on Soi Thaiudom in Naklua and taken her blue Yamaha Mio motorbike. She said she thought the license plate was Gor Gor Por 295 Phuket.

The officer immediately sent out a radio message ordering officers to block the area, but the thieves and the motorcycle failed to materialize.

Police checked the possible license plate Gor Gor Por 295 Phuket on the on-line computer, but found that the number did not correspond to the statement. Officers asked Nanthicha for clarification but she appeared to have lost interest and left the police station without filing any report.

Pol Lt Col Anan said her behavior gave him a headache. Police are now waiting to see if Nanthicha turns up again, and have presumably stocked up on aspirins.

Couple tumbles from 4th floor balcony during horseplay

Boonlua Chatree

An Italian and his Thai girlfriend were injured when they tumbled from the balcony of their 4th floor apartment during horseplay that went wrong.

Police were called out at 6 a.m. on December 22 to The World Apartment on Soi Bongkot in South Pattaya, accompanied by Sawang Boriboon Foundation officers. They found two people injured in the parking lot.

Ms Panida Somchit, 22, was moaning in pain. She had a long wound on her cheek, head injuries, and she couldn’t move her legs or arms.

Beside her lay Giorio Brioschi, 33, who was injured under his chin, had a broken tooth, and a sprained arm. The couple was taken to Pattaya Memorial Hospital for treatment.

Panida was treated and proclaimed to be out of danger. Brioschi’s only injury was the broken tooth.

He told officers that he and Panida had been living together for more than a year, and they rented the room at The World Apartment. They had gone out drinking with friends but had returned home because they had some kind of argument. Panida was petulant and he teased her. On the balcony of the room he had lifted her when she was opening the door. She struggled because she was angry and frightened and he lost his balance. The balustrade was only at waist height and they had gone over the side. They didn’t have any intention to commit suicide. He said felt sorry and was worried about his girlfriend’s condition.

Police are treating Brioschi’s statement with suspicion and will further question their friends along with Panida when she is better.

Police briefs

Fire breaks out in a watch shop in the middle of Pattaya

Pattaya firefighters rushed to Taifa Watch Sellers on Second Road in Pattaya Klang after receiving a report that a fire had broken out.

On arrival they found a three-story commercial building with smoke billowing out of the third floor storage room. Firefighters sprayed the building to prevent the fire from spreading and the blaze was brought to a close within about 30 minutes.

On inspection, officers found that the room was used to store unused items comprising mostly old wood, cardboard boxes and a bed. The fire was caused by a ceiling light that had shorted out. The room had suffered minor damage.

Sonthaya Ruangsuwan, 42, the shop owner told officers that he had opened the watch shop a long time ago and lived on the premises alone. Prior to the fire breaking out he was eating in the kitchen after closing shop and getting ready to go to bed. A passerby had noticed smoke billowing out and ran to tell him. On inspection he found that the old wood was burning and had spread to the bed. He tried to put out the flames with a fire extinguisher but was unsuccessful and called the fire brigade.

Beer bar owner takes a bath as fire engulfs her bedroom

A woman taking a bath prior to going to work at a bar she owned on Walking Street emerged from the bathroom to find her bedroom going up in flames.

The fire happened at a house behind Com Tower. Firefighters took a little over 20 minutes to bring the fire in the third-story bedroom under control. On later inspection it was found that a bed, TV and furniture had been damaged by the blaze.

The owner of the house, Miss Surangna Tabnoi, 34, told officers that she was in the bathroom when the fire broke out. She was getting ready to go to work at her bar in Walking Street. She heard someone shout “fire!” She hurried out of the bathroom and found that the fire was burning the bed and rushed downstairs without picking up any of her valuables.

Surangna said that a lot of her property had been damaged by the fire, including more than 100,000 baht in cash that she had saved.

Frenchman is stabbed while
beating Thai wife

A Frenchman who was beating his Thai wife stopped when she seized a knife and stabbed him.

Stephane Pasqvier, a French national aged 30, suffered stab wounds to his shoulder and right buttock. After medical treatment he was declared out of critical condition.

Pasqvier told officers that he had been in an argument and a slapping match with Miss Chanthana Hinnok, 23, his Thai wife who then stabbed him. The fight happened at Cycle Court in the Pattaya Klang district. Chanthana gave herself up to the police.

Chanthana, who had also suffered injuries, told officers sorrowfully the reason she injured her boyfriend. She said that they had been together for about a year but had many quarrels. Her first foreign boyfriend who knew her present boyfriend was always encouraging him to break off the relationship.

Recently Stephane had become more jealous and arguments broke out between them. They had rented the apartment where the incident had occurred. Chanthana said that lately Stephane had been sleeping around with other women and didn’t come home very often. She wanted to break off the relationship and another argument broke out. She told officers that every time they had an argument Stephane resorted to beating her, resulting in injury. She filed a police report but withdrew it when Stephane asked her to forgive him.

After a while the arguments got more severe and she was beaten daily and eventually had to go and stay with a friend. On returning to collect her belongings she found that Stephane had brought a Thai girl back to the apartment and another argument broke out. Stephane proceeded to beat her and tried to strangle her. She took the knife used for peeling fruit that she had carried out of the kitchen and stabbed him before running downstairs to give herself up at the police station, while someone took Stephane to the hospital.

Police inspected the premises and took Chanthana for medical treatment, as she may be pregnant. If she is, the fetus may have been injured through the constant beatings that she has endured. Officers will question the couple again and affirm that they will be justified in bringing the highest possible charges.

Woman stabs herself after finding
husband in arms
of mia noi

Boonlua Chatree

A woman distressed at her husband’s infidelity stabbed herself in the stomach. Police were called to a house on Soi Wat In on December 19, where they found Mrs Prasat Klaharn, age 52, lying down and injured with a 4-inch open wound on her belly, through which her intestine was protruding. Beside her was a 1.5-meter long Sparta sword. She was transferred to Pattaya Memorial Hospital for treatment.

Prasat told police that her unfaithful husband was causing her great unhappiness. She had tried to commit suicide because she came back home and found her husband in the arms of his minor wife. She asked him about it but he hurt her and their child and the child left home. She had no more will to live. Police advised her to remain calm in the face of unhappiness.

Nursing personnel amongst first arrivals at Had Yao Camp

Patcharapol Panrak

December 26 saw the first arrivals for the 25th Asia Pacific Scouts Jamboree begin to assemble at Had Yao Camp.

Students, leaders and guides are starting to report for the 25th Asia Pacific Scout Jamboree at Had Yao.

Around 150 teachers and students from Chonburi Nursing College and Scout leaders and Guides from Thailand and abroad were the first to arrive.

The nursing personnel were required to report before anyone else arrived, as they will be responsible for taking care of the Thai and foreign Scouts in the event that anyone falls ill or suffers an accident. They are also responsible for showing the Scouts around and getting them acquainted with the camp facilities.

The nursing students will also have to follow the Scouts when they go training inside and outside the camp and are responsible for the overall safety of the Scouts. Other than the arrival of the nursing students, a few foreign Scout masters have started to report in.

Ceremony honors King Rama VI as Scout Jamboree begins

Patcharapol Panrak

Sutham Phanthusak, commander of the 25th Asia Pacific Scout Jamboree, presided over a ceremony in memory of the founding father of the Thai Scout movement, King Rama VI, on December 22.

Sutham Phanthusak (behind man in white), commander of the 25th Asia Pacific Scout Jamboree, presided over the ceremony at the statue of King Rama VI.

Joining him at the statue of King Rama VI were Vice Admiral Chanchai Charoen Suwan, commander of Sattahip Naval Base, Rewat Pollok-In, deputy chairman of Chonburi Provincial Administration, and the Scout Jamboree organizing sub-committee.

Sutham said that the Jamboree is being held to honor 60 years on the throne of His Majesty the King and 50 years of the Asia Pacific Scout movement. The event will help Thai youths develop into responsible citizens with an international outlook, helping to forge good relations among Scouts worldwide.

The Jamboree is an opportunity for Thai Scouts to prove themselves and learn lessons that later can be applied to their adult lives.

Some members of the Scout Jamboree organizing sub-committee, comprising Thai and foreign members, who attended the ceremony in Sattahip to honor the founding father of the Thai Scout movement, Rama VI.

Closer cooperation is needed to make Thailand Grand Sale 2006 a success

Narisa Nitikarn

Deputy Mayor Weerawat Khakhai presided over a meeting on December 15 to discuss the Thailand Grand Sale 2006, with Pornthip Onnoom, executive director of the tourism investment department of the Tourism Authority of Thailand also present, along with a representative of Visa International (Asia-Pacific) Ltd.

Pornthip said the Grand Sale, which is scheduled from June 16 to August 15, will be larger than last year. Visa Card, department stores and small shops will participate in this event, but it needs cooperation from local officers and all other associated departments for success.

Sirirat Rienvatana, marketing manager of Visa International (Asia-Pacific) Ltd and Chotiroh Vathanagul, client service director and general manager of Vathanagul Group Co Ltd, spoke about Visa’s cooperation, saying that Pattaya is one of three front-line sectors in terms of income, along with Bangkok and Phuket.

Weerawat added a note of warning when he said that the Thailand Grand Sale in past years has not really been a grand sale at all. He wondered if in 2006 it would be different.

Chotiroh said that the last Grand Sale had discounts of 10-15 percent at 245 participating shops, including all the department stores in Pattaya City, which were contacted and invited by Visa Card officers personally. They need cooperation from Pattaya City to contact local shops to make clear discounts for customers so that tourists will buy the goods. There also should be an official opening to activate this project.

Chotiroh then spoke about Visa 2006 additional activities, saying that they need to publicize this by distributing brochures to customers, putting up posters, and running advertisements in magazines.

Weerawat said that most of the customers don’t pay attention to the rewards because they don’t stay long enough. It would be better to give the rewards to the project’s participating shops, and then they would probably have more shop participation.

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