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

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Updated every Friday
by Saichon Paewsoongnern

Weather Update

NEWS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Kingdom of Thailand rejoices at the celebration of Their Majesties the King and Queen’s fifty-seventh wedding anniversary

Database proposed to monitor behavior of foreign visitors

150 police and volunteers sent out during Songkran festival

Local administration to provide allowances for 33 Pattaya residents

Fine Arts Department surveys site for King Taksin Monument

19-member committee will administer crime fund

Italian hurt in fall from second floor

Fake brand name bag seller arrested

No one hurt in go-go blaze

Garage owner dies as his Mercedes collides with petrol train

Sea access ramps are latest in city’s facilities for disabled

Pattaya’s new school will be built at a cost of 100M baht

Baywatch

Safety campaign checks buses and drivers


Kingdom of Thailand rejoices at the celebration of Their Majesties the King and Queen’s fifty-seventh wedding anniversary

His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great and Her Majesty Queen Sirikit celebrate Their 57th wedding anniversary on Saturday, April 28. (Photo courtesy of the Bureau of the Royal Household)

His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Mom Rajawongse Sirikit Kitayakara were married by Her Majesty Queen Sawang Vadhana, the paternal grandmother of His Majesty, at the Sra Pathum Palace in Bangkok on April 28, 1950.
Mom Rajawongse Sirikit, the daughter of the Thai Ambassador to France Mom Chao Nakkhatmongkol Kitayakara and Mom Luang Bua Sanitwongse, met the soon-to-be-King at the Thai Embassy in Paris in 1948. They were engaged to be married at the Windsor Hotel in Lausanne, Switzerland on July 19, 1949.
They returned to Thailand during the government of Prime Minister Field Marshal Pibul Songkhram and a stunningly beautiful marriage ceremony was held while the Thai military forces formed to honor and salute the Royal Couple.
Following the Royal marriage, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great ascended the throne, becoming the ninth King of Thailand in the Chakri Dynasty with all the pomp and pageantry befitting a Royal coronation on May 5, 1950.
Their Majesties have four children, HRH Princess Ubolratana, HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, and HRH Princess Chulabhorn.
Long live His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great and Her Majesty Queen Sirikit.


Database proposed to monitor behavior of foreign visitors

Growing criminal activities spark initiative by Chonburi governor

Narisa Nitikarn
Chonburi Governor Pracha Taerat has proposed that urgent methods be implemented to monitor the behavior of foreign visitors and cut down on the criminal activities conducted by those from overseas.

Banglamung district chief Pratheep Jongsuebthum (right) and Pol Col Noppadon Sornsumrarn, superintendent at Banglamung Police Station, jointly preside over a meeting to find ways to monitor foreigners’ behavior in Banglamung district.

The governor’s initiative follows the announcement by Banglamung Police Station on April 2 of the arrest of Ms Sanonoi Polcharoen for possession of ecstasy and marijuana, which she is accused of distributing internationally with her British husband Paul Bernard.
On April 12, Banglamung district chief Pratheep Jongsuebthum called a meeting of representatives of Banglamung Police Station, Pattaya Police Station, the Tourist Police, the Immigration Police, the Center for the Suppression of International Criminals and Crime, TAT Central Region 3 Office, the Banglamung District Administrative Division and other tourism related organizations to find a way of monitoring the behavior of foreign visitors.
Pratheep and Pol Col Noppadon Sornsumrarn, superintendent at Banglamung Police Station, jointly presided over the meeting, which was held at the Green Park Hotel.
The Banglamung district chief said that criminal activity by foreign visitors to Pattaya was on the increase, and that the arrest of a Thai woman allegedly working with her foreign husband to traffic in drugs had prompted the governor to try and find ways of rooting out criminal activities by foreigners.
Local police stations had jointly discussed various methods but recognize the fact that their effectiveness is limited without the input of information from the many organizations and businesses that have dealings with foreign visitors.
Pratheep said a database that includes information such as the purpose of visitors in entering Thailand, their place of lodging, and the names of those with whom they were staying, would provide a valuable basis for investigation when a crime is committed. He urged everyone present to create a method in which this information could be provided.
Pattaya Immigration Police said that most of the wrongdoers obtained a short length visa, and the fact they had to leave Thailand to renew their visa made the following up of investigations and the making of arrests a difficult matter. Immigration officials proposed that villages having a large number of foreign inhabitants should elect a group leader who would declare details concerning the foreigners in the village to the Immigration Police.
The recommendations made during the meeting will now be forwarded to the Chonburi governor.


150 police and volunteers sent out during Songkran festival

Boonlua Chatree
150 tourist police, municipal police and volunteers were sent out to cover Pattaya and environs during the Songkran festival, from April 11 - 19. The large force was tasked with cleaning up crime and preventing drunk driving during the long holiday.
Pol. Col. Manoo Mekmork, deputy commander in chief of the Tourist Police, along with Pol. Lt. Col. Wuttichat Luansukan, inspector at Tourist Police Station 4 in Pattaya, captained the extra forces.
Whilst making their rounds, the police and volunteers distributed “Don’t Drink and Drive” flyers in Thai and English around Pattaya.
At this time every year, Pattaya City becomes inundated with tourists, both Thai and foreign, who come here to revel in the extended water festival. The extra large force was put together to try and prevent accidents and keep criminals from using this opportunity to commit crimes that cause harm to the life and property of Thai and foreign tourists.


Local administration to provide allowances for 33 Pattaya residents

Vimolrat Singnikorn
Apichart Puechphan, Pattaya deputy district chief presided over discussions concerning allowances for the aged and the disabled in Pattaya at a meeting on April 9 attended by Arunrasamee Bunkoed of Pattaya Social Services and community representatives.

Apichart Puechphan, Pattaya deputy district chief and his committee are considering who might be eligible for financial help.

This year Pattaya has been allocated 33 allowances by the Department of Local Administration Promotion. In the past, Pattaya has received only three allowances under this aid program that started in 2004.
Forty-nine people were considered for the allowances, 44 allowances for the aged, and 5 allowances for the disabled. This number needs to be paired down to 33 - 31 allowances for the aged and two allowances for the disabled. In order to qualify for the allowances the candidates must be at a certain poverty level and must be resident in Pattaya.
The Koh Larn community submitted the names of 24 candidates, the first time the island has submitted any names. Apichart said the reason for so many candidates residing in Koh Larn might be because the community is located far from the main town and many people may have been abandoned by family members seeking work in Pattaya.
Apichart said after the meeting that the city has not reached any final decisions because some of the aged are able to make a living for themselves. There has to be a strictness in applying the conditions, and candidates have to be poverty stricken, live alone and have no one to take care of them in order to qualify.


Fine Arts Department surveys site for King Taksin Monument

Narisa Nitikarn
Representatives of the national committee on monument construction arrived in Pattaya on April 12 to inspect the location on Pratamnak Hill, near the Kuan-U Shrine, that has been proposed as the site for building a new monument to King Taksin the Great.

Dr. Pornthum Thumwimol (right) and sculptor Sopis Puttarak (left) examine the location for building the King Taksin the Great monument.

Mayor Niran Wattanasartsathorn and officers from the division associated with this project provided a warm welcome. The form of the statue was discussed, as was the landscaping that would be carried out around it.
Planning of the monument follows a resolution by Pattaya City Council to commemorate King Taksin’s historical encampment in this area prior to driving out the invading Burmese after they had sacked the old capital of Ayutthaya.
National monument committee representatives surveyed and photographed the site, and a representative of the Fine Arts Department discussed the possible characteristics of the monument. There are two possibilities under consideration, namely an equestrian statue, and a depiction of a triumphant King Taksin in a seated position on the royal throne.
The location for constructing the monument has been partly encroached upon by the building of the Kuan-U Shrine, and city hall has already suspended this construction.
An area of 1 rai and 2 ngan has been allocated for building the monument, which would be up to 400 square meters in size with the figure up to twice life-size.
Mayor Niran said that city hall is ready to provide full support for the budget, and has a primary estimate of 100 million baht. In the event this amount is not enough, then the figure can be revised upwards, said Niran, as this would become a place of great importance to Thai people.
Dr Pornthum Thumwimol, landscape architect of the Fine Arts Department, said the monument would face north, which means that it would be facing the Pattaya seashore. A terrace would provide a view, and a museum would also be constructed.
The monument will be crafted by Sopis Puttarak, a sculptor from the craftsman division of the Fine Arts Department, and will take at least a year. The site doesn’t need too much work, said Dr Pornthum, as it is already nearly perfect for its purpose. Trees would be added to hide the Kuan-U Shrine.


19-member committee will administer crime fund

(L to R) Mayor Niran Wattanasartsathorn, Pratheep Jongsuebthum and Jamroon Wisawachaipan preside over a meeting to administer the fund recently set up to help tourists who are victims of crime in Pattaya.

Narisa Nitikarn
A committee has been established to administer the fund recently set up to help tourists who are victims of crime in Pattaya.
At a meeting on April 9 at the Royal Cliff Beach Resort, Mayor Niran Wattanasartsathorn, Banglamung district chief Pratheep Jongsuebthum and Jamroon Wisawachaipan, chairman of the Pattaya Business and Tourism Association assigned 19 committee members chosen from various organizations in Pattaya City.
The fund has been initiated by Chonburi Governor Pracha Taerat and was set up with the cooperation of government departments and local business organizations.
The 19 committee members have different areas of responsibility. Amongst those authorized to make payments are the Banglamung district chief, the president of the Pattaya Business and Tourism Association, the president of the Eastern Thai Hotel Association, and the director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand Central Region 3 Office. The president of the Mass Media Club and TAT Central Region 3 Office are authorized to provide information on the income and expenses of the fund.
Payments are made only in cases in which tourists suffer injury or death, and both Thai and foreign nationals are covered. In the event of death a maximum 100,000 baht is paid to next of kin, and up to 50,000 baht is paid to those who sustain injuries. There is provision for payment in instances where the reputation of Pattaya is at risk, but these are determined by a committee decision.
Currently the amount in the fund stands at 1,108,500 baht. There has been some controversy amongst local businesses as to whether they should be supporting the fund, but Pratheep took the opportunity of the meeting to remind the community of Governor Pracha’s original statement relating to the responsibility that businesses have towards tourists.
“I would like to repeat the governor’s statement once again,” said Pratheep. “Everybody who has come to dig for gold here already has lots of gold. Right now is the right time to pay the country back. Cooperation from private organizations that have direct income from tourists is necessary.”


Italian hurt in fall from second floor

Boonlua Chatree
An Italian man was seriously injured when he fell from a second-floor balcony of the Thai Bowl and Snooker on Second Road Soi 4 during the early hours of April 15.
Officers from Pattaya Police Station and Sawang Boriboon Foundation along with a doctor from Pattaya International Hospital rushed to the scene, where they found 50-year-old Walter Nebhofer lying on the ground. His skull was fractured and his left leg was broken in two places.

People look on in wonderment as to why the Italian would have jumped.

Nebhofer, who was in a state of drunkenness, tried to ward off his rescuers and had to be restrained before they could send him to Pattaya International Hospital for treatment.
Eye witnesses including the bar owner and staff of the Crocodile Beer Bar, which is located on the mezzanine floor, said they had seen Nebhofer go up to the second floor, which houses a bowling establishment. Beforehand he had been sitting at the Crocodile Beer Bar, and he had started throwing beer bottles from the mezzanine level, almost striking visitors who were drinking on the ground floor. Nebhofer then climbed up over the railing and jumped.
Nobody was able to offer any suggestion, and police are assuming that a mixture of personal problems and alcohol consumption had driven him to this extreme action. They are now awaiting his recovery for more information.


Fake brand name bag seller arrested

Boonlua Chatree
A vendor of fake brand name bags was arrested during the early evening of April 5 when police with a search warrant issued by Pattaya Provincial Court raided a shophouse in Wandee Plaza at the entrance to Soi 13 Beach Road.
Officers found 300 bags bearing famous brand names, and arrested the owner of the store, 42-year-old Miss Nilakan Thip-pibul.
Nilakan said she purchased the bags from an agent at Rong Klua Market to sell to Pattaya tourists; she also sold them to other traders in the market. Police charged her with selling fake brand name trademark goods and took her into custody.


No one hurt in go-go blaze

Boonlua Chatree
A fire that broke out at Broadway A-Go-Go on Walking Street around 2:30 a.m. on April 17 was quickly extinguished and caused no injuries.
Three fire engines attended the scene, along with Sawang Boriboon Foundation workers and a team of police officers, headed by Pol Col Sutin Suppuang, superintendent of Pattaya Police Station.
Broadway A-Go-Go is housed in a four-story commercial building. Officers discovered the fire originated at a modified power cable and had spread to the leather seats and furniture in the bar. Firefighters extinguished the blaze with chemicals and water, and then ventilated the scene of smoke. The fire caused damage to only the ceiling, chairs and some tables, and the estimated cost is approximately 50,000 baht.
Witnesses stated that a foreigner had purchased the premises from a Thai person, and that it had been modified to be a go-go bar. However, it was not in service yet and no one was in the building. Customers from the entertainment establishments nearby fled in panic. Police will call the owner for further questioning.


Garage owner dies as his Mercedes collides with petrol train

Two people were killed and two other seriously injured when the driver of this SEL 500 Mercedes Benz failed to observe a railroad crossing signal and was struck by a petrol train.

Boonlua Chatree
Two men were killed and two others injured when a petrol train struck the car in which they were traveling during the morning of April 13.
Senior police officers including Pol Col Udom Chanpitak, deputy commander-in-chief of the Chonburi Provincial Police and Pol Col Noppadon Sornsamran, superintendent at Banglamung Police Station, went out to the scene of the accident, which had occurred at a railroad crossing on Soi Ban Nonghin.
The petrol train, designated No 536, had been heading in the direction of Rayong from Chonburi. It had collided with a blue SEL 500 Mercedes Benz, dragging the car 500 meters away from the railroad crossing, which is controlled by a signal light.
Police and Sawang Boriboon Foundation rescue workers forced their way into the wreckage to release the dead and injured. The driver of the car, 34-year-old Visit Laksanachimplee of Nonthaburi, had died from head injuries, as had the passenger seated behind him, identified only as Tan, age 17. The other two passengers, identified as Somjai Yadee and Ransan Buapang, were critically injured. They were transferred to Bangkok Pattaya Hospital.
Adisak Taosrisakul, 40, the driver of the train, said that he was pulling 20 empty petrol tanks from Kangkoi in Saraburi to fill up at the Maptaput Industrial Estate in Rayong. He had already given a signal 2 kilometers away from the Ban Nonghin crossing, which does not have a barrier. A car drove in front of the train, and the locomotive struck the vehicle and dragged it along the line. Villagers raised the alarm.
Relatives of the deceased car driver Visit said that he was the owner of a garage located on Sukhumvit Road near the Pattaya Police Highway Station. He had taken three of his employees to see a speedboat that he was having built at the shipyard in Ban Nonghin. He asked the shipyard to take the boat out for a test run at Jomtien Beach before paying for it. Visit and his employees then left the yard on their way to watch the test. He apparently failed to see the signal light and drove in front of the train.
In an unrelated accident two hours later on the same day, April 13, a motorcyclist was killed when he lost control of his vehicle at the curve beside Kao Saotongthong Temple. He was named as Winai, age 32. Police and Sawang Boriboon Foundation rescue workers detected the smell of whisky on the body.
Following investigations, they discovered that Winai had gone drinking with colleagues after finishing work. He had become drunk, and sped off on his motorcycle to collect a friend to join the group of drinkers. Approaching the curve too quickly, he was thrown from his machine and died of a broken neck.


Sea access ramps are latest in city’s facilities for disabled

Vimolrat Singnikorn
City hall is setting up a sea tourism zone for disabled people, spending a 1.5 million baht budget on the construction of 50 cement ramps and a further 10 wooden ramps to allow ease of access to the beach and ocean.

City officials have commissioned the building of wooden and cement access ramps for the area’s disabled to access the beach.

Pattaya City construction supervisor Amnuoy Na-Ek said that along with the sidewalk ramps there would be signboards for wheelchair users. The concrete ramps are being built at 50 locations along Pattaya Beach Road, while the 10 hardwood ramps on Pattaya Beach connect the sidewalk to the sea.
Arunrasamee Bunkerd of the Pattaya Social Welfare Bureau said that in addition to building the ramps to create a sea tourism zone, city hall would also conduct a survey of private transportation. This would lead to operators being asked to provide seating and hydraulic lifts for disabled people.
The Social Welfare Department is also focusing on the educational needs of the disabled, with a suitable location for the schooling of disabled children intending to study in Pattaya being sought out on a case-by-case basis.
Arunrasamee adds that entertainment establishments would also be surveyed to see what facilities they could provide for the disabled.
The program is part of city hall’s strategy to provide facilities for the disabled that would lead to recognition of Pattaya as a disabled-friendly tourism city on an international basis.


Pattaya’s new school will be built at a cost of 100M baht

Narisa Nitikarn
Pattaya City is to spend a budget of more than 100 million baht to build Pattaya School No 11, which is expected to be completed about two years from now.
Deputy Mayor Wattana Chantanawaranon, who is responsible for the Education Office in Pattaya City, said that the cost of educational equipment would be over and above this amount.

Deputy Mayor Wattana Chantanawaranon.

The new school is urgently needed because at present there are only two secondary schools to support high school students, namely Phothisamphanpittayakarn and Banglamung schools. For primary school class 1 to 6 and secondary school class 1 to 3 there are currently 10 schools under city jurisdiction.
Pattaya School No 11 will have four four-story buildings, one multipurpose building with a gym, a cafeteria, a soccer field and a 50-meter swimming pool. The school is to be built on an area of approximately 15 rai near the Art Center on Soi Nongyai Temple, one kilometer away from Sukhumvit Road. Construction will begin as soon as a contractor is appointed, and the first intake of students is expected in May 2008. Students in secondary school classes 1 to 3 will be accommodated first.
Wattana said that Pattaya City is an important source of income for Thailand, and each year more people are arriving in Pattaya to work. For those with children, there is the increasing problem of finding a school. The Supananimit Foundation of Thailand conducted a survey of all children in Pattaya City, and found youngsters that had graduated from primary school class 6 but did not continue on to high school. They did not follow the mandatory curriculum that every child must learn, and complete nine years, from primary school class 1 to secondary school class 3. This group of children is at risk of being a problem for society in the future, as well as having limited opportunities for employment and quality of life.
Pattaya Schools 1 to 10 face problems of expansion. Some physically do not have the space to construct new buildings. There are difficulties in hiring the necessary number of teachers for the increasingly large number of pupils. Schools in the Pattaya region have only 500 permanent teachers on government wage and 200 temporary teachers on wages paid by Pattaya City, and this is not enough.
Wattana said that School No 11 will lessen the burden on Schools 1 to 10, and that additionally an approach will be made to the Bureau of the Budget to ask for more teachers.


Baywatch: Steel Stealers on Pratamnak Hill

Staff reporters
We reported a couple of weeks ago that thieves had decimated the new lighting system on Pratamnak Hill and gotten away with thousands of metres of expensive heavy duty copper wire, and dozens of lamp shades.
As a result of that, city hall sent men to remove what was left of the damaged lamps. All they left behind were their heavy concrete bases. But if they thought the bases were of no value, they were wrong!
They are reinforced with steel rods, and the thieves are now systematically smashing the bases to get at them … several were broken-up last night. It must have been a very noisy business.
But the solitary security guard says he didn’t hear a thing.
He also claims to have apprehended several thieves, in the past, only to see them immediately released by the police due to lack of evidence. “City hall is angry about it,” he said.
And so they should be. It is indeed a shame, and a disgrace to Pattaya.


Safety campaign checks buses and drivers

Ariyawat Nuamsawat
The Department of Land Transport ordered all land transport offices throughout the country to set up checkpoints to check the condition of public buses and drivers in a bid to help prevent accidents over the Songkran period.

Manot Chanwattanasilp, head of the Chonburi Land Transport Office gives an alcohol test to one of the drivers.

Manot Chanwattanasilp, head of the Chonburi Land Transport Office and a team of officials checked vehicles and their drivers at the Pattaya Air Conditioned Bus Station. The buses were found to be in good condition, and alcohol tests on the drivers proved negative. Officials handed leaflets and T-shirts to drivers who passed the test, the materials being donated by the safety promotions fund.
Manot said that his office had sent out teams to inspect the other bus stations and to set up checkpoints along Sukhumvit Road.
Chonburi had divided the safety campaign into three parts, namely public relations informing the public about road safety through the various media, inspections of the buses, and checks on the drivers.
All buses will in future be equipped with fire extinguishers, and hammers to smash open the doors in cases of emergency. The project also aims to inform tourists by handing out pamphlets. Enquiries and complaints can be made by calling 1584.

Many people use the bus services to return home to the provinces.



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