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Vol. XV No. 17
Friday April 27 - May 3, 2007


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by Saichon Paewsoongnern


Question: Michael writes in: Is it legal to light bonfires in a built-up area such as Pattaya? If it is, itís insane. (He also added: I was intrigued by your answer to the question about noise. You say that it is illegal to cook or sell food from a vehicle, but this goes on all the time. So, of course, does prostitution but the difference is the former is immediately identifiable!)
Larry wrote in with a very similar question: My house is in a developed residential village in North Pattaya. On an almost daily basis several neighbors insist on setting small fires in their yards, apparently to burn rubbish. The materials they burn usually produce thick smelly smoke for about an hour. Depending on the weather, the smoke does not usually rise straight up, but rather wafts through the village at ground level, making for a very obnoxious morning or evening. Are there laws in Pattaya which can be invoked to prohibit this behavior? Or is it just a cultural thing to be tolerated?
Answer: There are no laws prohibiting people from lighting fires in their premises. Usually people are free to light candles in the house or to pray to their respected or sacred spirits. In the case of garbage burning, city officials can only ask the house owners to limit their fire and explain how disturbing it can be to their neighbors. People can call the city on 1337 to report any overly disturbing smoke. (Information provided by Sub-division Chief of Pattaya Cityís Sanitation, Health and Environment Department, Chatchawan Chimtin)

Question: Larry also writes in, asking: In our neighbourhood is an abandoned building, which was at one time under construction to become a hotel but which was stopped by the City of Pattaya authorities, for good reason. Thai squatters have set up shop (literally) in the near ruins. Under what laws can we legal residents get the squatters removed, and maybe force them to clean up the mess they have made? No one seems to know who the real owner of the property is. Or is turning a blind eye to the squatters considered a form of charity in Thai culture?
Answer: City officials can ask the squatters to move. If the owners of the abandoned property file a complaint with police, police will ask the squatters to leave, and if they donít leave, police can arrest them for trespassing. Again, people can call 1337 for cityís help.
If there is mess in the area, itís the responsibility of the owner to clean it up. The city has no legal authority to tell the owners to clean up their premises. But if the mess spills out of the area onto public streets, city officials can require the owners to clean the public area. And if they neglect to do so, the city has the right to fine the owner not more than 10,000 baht under the Cleanliness Act of 1992. In some cases, city officials can help clean up the mess, but they will charge a fee to do so. (Information provided by Sub-division Chief of Pattaya Cityís Sanitation, Health and Environment Department, Chatchawan Chimtin)

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