Boat operators feel the squeeze as
gasoline costs rise
Many are being forced out of
business by increased overheads
Boat and ferry operators are complaining that despite the escalating
costs of fuel they are unable to increase their charges, and are
consequently having to bear the increase in overheads themselves.
Many are unable to do so, and with other increases such as salaries and
maintenance they have been forced out of business.
Kroddee, owner of a large ferryboat that plies between Pattaya and Koh Larn,
says ferry prices need to be adjusted to reflect the current high fuel
On January 8, retail oil prices were adjusted upwards again. ULG 95 RON is
now 33.69 baht per liter, UGR 91 RON is 32.39 baht per liter, Gasohol 95 -
E10 is 29.69 baht per liter, and HSD, 0.05%S is 29.74 per liter.
Ratthakrai Kroddee, owner of a large ferryboat that plies between Pattaya
and Koh Larn told Pattaya Mail that he has been operating his ferry service
for more than 20 years. At that time, HSD 0.05%S was 14 baht per liter and
tickets were 10 baht per person. They were later adjusted to 20 baht per
person, but still remain the same price today, even though the price of the
fuel is now 29.74 baht per liter.
Additionally, said Ratthakrai, the salary for crewmembers has risen to 6,000
baht from 4,000 baht, and maintenance costs have increased.
Furthermore, the ferry must have insurance for the passengers. If it is
insured for 180 passengers, then it can’t load more than 180 of them.
Normally the boat can make four trips per day, and consumes 150 liters per
boat. Some days there are less than 180 passengers. Ordinary passengers on
the weekdays are foreigners, and during the high season there are more
Russian tourists. Thai passengers use the ferry only on the weekends.
Bunmachai, speed boat and banana boat entrepreneur on Pattaya Beach: “The
price of gasoline has doubled, and the quantity of tourists has decreased by
Ratthakrai said that the Pattaya ferry entrepreneurs have submitted a letter
asking for permission to increase the fee from 20 baht to 30 baht per
person. Permission has not yet been granted. In the event of approval, then
the new price would support the entrepreneurs, more or less.
Sanit Bunmachai, a speedboat and banana boat operator on Pattaya Beach said
that he has been providing a speedboat service to tourists for more than 10
years. At the time he started, ULG 95 RON was 16 baht, and the charge for
service was set at 800 baht. Over the past two to three years, lots of
tourists have used the speedboats, and the gasoline was not expensive. This
provided a sufficient income to support families, and some money was left
over for saving.
Recently, however, the price of gasoline has doubled, and the quantity of
tourists has decreased by half, even though it is high season. In previous
times he made approximately 20-30 trips per month, but right now it has
decreased to 10 trips per month.
“This makes me, a person who lives day to day, have to handle this increase
in costs, which has doubled since I started the business,” said Sanit.
“It is not only the price of gasoline that has increased. Maintenance costs
me more, the monthly mooring fee is now 3,000 baht, and a crewmember’s
salary is 6,000 baht.
“I tried to reduce expenses by installing LPG (liquefied petroleum gas), but
it was un-successful. This is because the speedboat has a two-stroke engine.
With LPG the motor might develop a problem or it might be damaged, which
would cost more money. I ended up using UGR 91 RON instead of ULG 95 RON,
even though the price difference is not a large one. It reduces the cost by
only one or two baht, but it’s better for the people like me who must live
day to day.”
Sanit said that the number of banana boats has decreased by half on Pattaya
Beach. Now there are only 10, as opposed to 20 in the past. This was due to
operators not being able to handle the high costs, especially the high price
of gasoline. The price to ride a banana boat is 400 baht for 20 minutes, but
300 baht goes to the gasoline, and the operators are left with only 100
baht. Some days they don’t have any customers, so many operators have simply
Sanit said he would continue to provide a speedboat service, even though he
has less income. He has done this for a long time, and will try to shoulder
the burden, even though he is already out of the market for ULG 95 RON.
Police officers urged
to avoid temptation
Pattaya Police Station held its monthly meeting during the morning
of January 9, during which superintendent of the station Pol Col Nopadol
Wongnorn reminded officers that their integrity was of paramount importance.
Col Nopadol Wongnorn reminds officers that their integrity is of paramount
The meeting took place at the Grand Sole Hotel on Second Road, with Pol Lt
Col Supachat Piemmanat, deputy superintendent of crime suppression leading
the 214 police officers who attended.
Officers who were being promoted to new positions at Pattaya Police Station
were introduced before the meeting was held. They were Pol Maj Wittaya
Yuenyong (chief of crime suppression), Pol Maj Chalermsak Tientongsri
(investigation), and Pol Maj Pasakorn Paijit (crime suppression).
Following the announcements, Pol Col Nopadol Wongnorn thanked all officers
for their diligence during the elections, during the birthday celebrations
of His Majesty the King, and over the New Year holiday period.
The superintendent urged every officer to exercise the utmost vigilance in
his duties in the prevention of crime and in the providing of service to the
people, saying that an efficient and courteous police force was essential
for the wellbeing and future of Pattaya.
He stressed that every police officer should avoid the temptations of
becoming involved with gambling houses, the publishing of lewd materials,
pirating of intellectual property, illegal entertainment, narcotics, and the
inducements of influential people within the area.
Nong Oui hops to fame
A frog that can dance, ride a toy motorcycle and apparently
understand when it is spoken to is causing great excitement, not to mention
a rush on lottery tickets, on Soi Phothisarn 12.
Oui strikes a pose for the cameras.
The frog, whose name is Nong Oui, belongs to 52-year-old Mrs Thongsai
Bamrungthai, who resides in a rented room on the second floor of a
residential building with her 51-year-old husband Buncherd and their four
A great deal of media interest has been displayed in Nong Oui, a female frog
who lives in an enamel basin, and who was found by Thongsai about 10 months
Thongsai is happy to allow Nong Oui to show off in front of visitors, riding
a toy motorbike, balancing on a bottle, and dancing in her bowl, rather than
just hopping it, as any other frog would.
Thongsai says that she is from Panomprai, in Roi Et. She is from a farming
family, but she abandoned farming a long time ago because of droughts and
not having money to invest. She is also blind in one eye, and therefore
restricted in what she can do to earn a living.
She found the frog early last year in Panomprai. Thongsai said she had been
awoken about 5 a.m. and had found the frog in the mouth of a chicken. The
frog was only about one week old and tiny, so she couldn’t understand why
the chicken hadn’t swallowed it. Feeling that maybe this was a lucky omen,
she had taken the frog and fed it, and it became a family pet.
Nong Oui allows anyone to touch her, and understands human language. She
obeys orders. Many people in Panomprai came to see the creature and to ask
for lucky lottery numbers, and many had been successful. Eventually,
Thongsai became overwhelmed with the large numbers of people, and felt
unsafe. Therefore, she moved with her family and Nong Oui to live with her
daughter in Pattaya to avoid the large numbers of villagers.
Thongsai has not been left in peace for long, as the fame of Nong Oui has
grown quickly. Thongsai has vowed to take care of the frog until its last
breath, and says she won’t sell it, no matter how much anyone might offer.
Tourist Police increase patrols
More patrols have been added by Pattaya Tourist Police to provide
greater security for visitors to the city.
Capt Suprapat Phopirom, deputy superintendent of the Pattaya Tourist Police.
The announcement was made on January 9 at the regular monthly meeting of the
Pattaya Business and Tourism Association, chaired by association president
Chamrun Witsawachaiyaphan and held at Bangkok Pattaya Hospital.
Pattaya’s police services consist of Pattaya Police Station, Banglamung
Police Station, Pattaya Immigration, and the Pattaya Tourist Police.
Pol Capt Suprapat Phopirom, deputy superintendent of the Pattaya Tourist
Police said that the number of bike patrols has been increased in the
Walking Street area between the hours of 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. every day. There
are two or three officers to each patrol, and about 20 Thai and foreign
volunteers on patrol each day.
The deputy superintendent said there are foot patrols in other parts of the
city, which coordinate with vehicular police patrols. These are divided
between two zones, one being North, Central and South Pattaya, the other
being from Thappraya Mountain to the end of Jomtien Beach.
Certain sois that are regarded as being potential danger areas are also
patrolled on a regular basis.
Microchip implants are being considered to control stray dog population
Pattaya inhabitants have been bringing their cats and dogs into the
Public Health Center for free sterilization, and city hall is studying the
possibility of implanting microchips into domestic pets in the future in
order to keep control of the number of strays.
citizens bring in their dogs and cats for sterilization, hoping to reduce
the number of stray animals.
The sterilization program began on January 10, and was inaugurated by Deputy
Mayor Verawat Khakhay. A dog show was also organized by the Chaiyapak Dog
Training Center for the large number of people who brought their pets along
to the opening ceremony.
Along with the sterilization, vaccinations were being offered to prevent
diseases such as hydrophobia (rabies).
Pattaya’s deputy permanent secretary, Suchat Puotphan told the gathering
that city hall is studying the possibility of implanting microchips into
domestic animals. He said that it would not be possible to make this a
compulsory program, but that officials hope to be able to encourage owners
to have this done in order to control the number of stray animals in the
A similar program has already begun in Bangkok, said Suchat, and along with
the implant the pet’s photograph is also taken. The cost of the microchip
for each dog is about 200 baht, and city hall would budget for this. Suchat
said the project needs more study, and that the agreement of the city
council would be needed before it could go ahead.
Security guard injured by firework
A security guard from a well-known hotel seriously injured his hand
while setting off a firework on New Year’s Day, after getting drunk and
showing off to beer bar girls.
too short fuse on an oversized firework nearly cost a security guard his
Officers from Pattaya Police Station and Sawang Boriboon rescue workers were
called out at 6 a.m. on January 1 to the front of the Marine Hotel in South
Pattaya. The injured man was identified as Prasit Khakai, 23, a security
guard at the hotel. His left hand was burned, he had suffered a broken
finger, and his arms were also burned. Prasit’s moustache, eyebrows and hair
were singed. The remains of a 1-meter long firework were found at the scene.
After administering first aid, officers sent Prasit to Banglamung Hospital
A number of beer bar girls at the scene stated that Prasit had brought the
giant firework to celebrate the New Year. At that time Prasit was very
drunk, and was showing off in front of the girls. He put the firework on the
ground and lit the fuse. However, the fuse was too short, which caused it to
go off too quickly and injure Prasit’s face and arms.
Police say that despite warnings and several arrests, there were vendors
selling fireworks to locals and tourists during the New Year celebrations. A
police spokesman said that setting off fireworks in public was dangerous,
particularly when large quantities of alcohol are being consumed.
Shaman faces rape charges
A woman who approached a fortune teller seeking help in getting her
husband back did not foresee that he would order her at knifepoint to
perform oral sex upon him and then rape her in the back of his pickup truck.
Tongbai reads the charges against him.
The man is alleged to have threatened to “necklace” her by placing a rubber
tire around her neck and setting fire to it unless she did his bidding.
Boonyarit Tongbai, a 48-year-old shaman who runs a fortune-telling business
from an address in Najomtien Sub-district faces charges of rape, but has
been allowed out on bail of 200,000 baht.
A 22-year-old woman given the alias of Miss Suay has filed a complaint with
Sattahip Police Station, saying that Boonyarit forced her to perform oral
sex upon him and then raped her. Boonyarit denies rape but says he had
consensual sex with Miss Suay, who he said invited him into the back of his
pickup for that purpose.
Afterwards, said Boonyarit, the woman had asked for 100,000 baht, which he
said was obviously an attempt to blackmail him. He has been a fortuneteller
for 10 years and he knows many celebrities in Thai society. The woman has
ruined his reputation. He has hired a lawyer to contest the case, and if he
wins he will counter-sue for damages.
Miss Suay said this story should act as a warning for women who have
problems with love and family, and go to see a fortuneteller, a spell caster
or an occultist. She said she had gone to see Boonyarit because of problems
with her love life. He had performed shamanist rituals and then driven her
in his bronze Chevrolet pickup to a deserted area where he threatened her
with a knife, made her take off her clothes, forced her to perform oral sex
on him, and then raped her.
The case continues.
Austrian man faces charges of
molesting 16-year-old Korean girl
An Austrian man is facing charges of molesting a 16-year-old Korean
girl in an apartment building on New Year’s Eve.
Officers from Pattaya Police Station went to an apartment in North Pattaya
after receiving a report at 9:30 p.m. December 31, where they interviewed
Miss Chongta (an alias), a 16-year-old Korean girl, who was in a room on the
third floor of the building.
Chongta was lying on the bed and crying from the pain of a broken toe, and
her neck was bruised. She told police that while she was resting in the
room, the man who rented the room next to hers had entered and attempted to
molest her. She had fought him off, and cried for help. Other residents had
come to her aid, and the man had returned to his room.
Entering his room, the police found Andrees Hiesl, a 35-year-old Austrian
national asleep on the bed. Chongta confirmed it was he who had assaulted
her. The officers then sent her to Banglamung Hospital for treatment.
A warrant has been obtained from Pattaya Provincial Court, charging Hiesl
with trespass, assault and molestation. Hiesl has denied the charges. The
10 Russians plucked from ocean as charter boat sinks
A naval officer interviews the
captain and passengers
of the ill-fated Operick pleasure boat.
Ten Russian tourists, including a five-year-old boy, were rescued
from the sea after the charter boat they had hired capsized.
The passengers were picked up from the ocean 2.4 nautical miles off Laem
Chabang Port by a cargo vessel, the E-Na Supply 1 Boat that had sailed out
of the harbor and was on its way to Juksamed Port at Sattahip.
The captain of the E-Na radioed ahead to the Sattahip Navy Base at 12:10
a.m. on January 4 that it was bringing in the 10 Russians plus one Thai man,
and Vice Admiral Jamnong Kittipeerachol, commander-in-chief of the First
Fleet made the arrangements to receive them.
There were no injuries amongst the rescued Russians, who were named as
Andrey Sazhnov, age 20, Miss Maria Zeniaeva, 14, Miss Margarita Udod, 16,
Anaoly Kobzeva, 64, Mrs Liudmilo Kobzeva, 64, Denis Kurashov, 33, Mrs
Svetaona Kurashova, 26, Master Vasilli Kurashova, 5, Mikhail Bustnov, 48,
and Oceg Zhupanov, 49.
The Thai man was identified as 20-year-old Chanwith Duangkaew, a resident of
Naklua, who was the operator of the boat.
Chanwith said the boat was named the Operick, and was a 40-foot long white
vessel with two engines. She was able to carry 15 people and had a
recreation room, bedrooms, and a storeroom. The Operick belonged to Apipong
Porluan and moored at the Ocean Marina in Najomtien Sub-district.
Tourists frequently hired the boat to go fishing, and the group of Russian
tourists had chartered her for a fishing trip around Rin Island. However,
during the trip the Operick had started to take on water, and they had
turned around to return to Ocean Marina. The aft section of the boat had
broken away, and she sank.
Everyone had been wearing lifejackets, and they floated in the sea for about
two hours before they were picked up.
Chanwith said the Russians had items of value on board but these had been
lost with the vessel. An estimate of the value of the items is awaited for
submission to the owner of the boat.
Vice Admiral Jamnong said the Russians were traveling with the Nataree Tour
Company, and had come to Thailand on January 1. They were due to leave on
January 13, and all of them had stayed in Pattaya.
He said that the boat operator had acted admirably in preparing the
lifejackets, and that this had prevented any loss of life. The wreckage of
the Operick must now be found as it may pose a danger to shipping, and there
was the possibility of rescuing some of the items of value from the boat’s
Nong Nooch Tropical Garden organizes condolence book for HRH Princess Galyani
Nong Nooch Tropical Garden has
organized a book for the signing
of condolences following the passing away of Her Royal Highness Princess
Nong Nooch Tropical Garden opened a book for the signing of
condolences following the passing away of Her Royal Highness Princess
On January 8, Nong Nooch director Kampol Tansatcha placed a large image of
Her Royal Highness in front of the museum building, along with an exhibition
of some of her works.
Thai people and foreign visitors queued to sign the book, the first to add
his name being Sattahip District Chief Narong Teerachantarangkul.
There were many Russian and Chinese names being signed on the pages
alongside the Thai names. The Thai visitors included eight-year-old twins
Miss Nathakran Srisantisuk, the oldest, and Miss Nathakan Srisantisuk,
together with their seven-year-old sister Miss Tanaporn Srisantisuk, the
youngest in the family, which hails from Maha Sarakham Province. The girls,
who all study at Wapee Patum in Maha Sarakham, said they felt honored to be
able to sign the book in memory of Her Royal Highness.
Nong Nooch Tropical Garden had organized the condolence book for those
people who did not have the opportunity to go and sign their names at the
official offices or in Bangkok during this New Year period.
Urgent works begin as survey finds contaminated drinking water in schools
Pattaya City is beginning an urgent project that will improve the
quality of drinking water in the schools and on Koh Larn, following a survey
that has revealed widespread contamination of water resources.
Suwanna Jarunut, director of the Chonburi Medical Sciences Center.
A meeting was held on January 4 at Pattaya City Hall between representatives
of the Regional Medical Sciences Center in Chonburi and the Consumer
Protection Division of the Pattaya Department of Public Health and the
Deputy Mayor Verawat Khakhay chaired the meeting, which included Mrs Suwanna
Jarunut, director of the Chonburi Medical Sciences Center, Mrs Bubpha
Songsakulchai, sanitation specialist at the Department of Public Health and
the Environment, the 10 directors of the schools under Pattaya City
jurisdiction, and representatives of the Koh Larn community.
Suwanna said that a survey had been undertaken in November of the water
coolers at 20 schools. It was found that lead solder had been used to
connect the drinking water tanks. This was a potential danger to the health
of the students, teachers and other people who consumed the water. The
survey also covered the potable water resources of the Ban Koh Larn
community, and it was discovered that the rainwater tank had not been
cleaned for more than a year, and that supplies are consequently
Under the standards of the Food and Drug Administration at the Ministry of
Public Health, the drinking water in the schools and on Koh Larn is unclean
and unsafe. Chonburi Medical Sciences Center is therefore working with the
Consumer Protection Department at the Public Health and Environment
Department as a matter of urgency to ensure safe water supplies.
Suwanna said that initially, water samples from each school are being
analyzed at the Chonburi Medical Sciences Center to find out what the
substances and chemical compounds are that are contaminating the water, and
to find out how these can be removed by improving or changing the water
A budget is being prepared for this project, and will be divided into two
sections. The first part is for the training of officers, analyzing the
costs, and the fee for transporting officers, and the Chonburi Medical
Sciences Center must bear this. The second part is for remedial works, and
the Pattaya Education Department and the Pattaya City Koh Larn Office must
Navy Base organizes condolence signing for HRH Princess Galyani
The Royal Thai Navy in Sattahip held a ceremony to present wreaths,
and for people to sign their names to mourn the passing away of Her Royal
Highness Princess Galyani Vadhana.
officers at Sattahip organize, then sign condolences books to mourn the
passing away of Her Royal Highness Princess Galyani Vadhana.
An image of Her Royal Highness was placed at the Commissioned Officers Club
at Sattahip Naval Base, and Admiral Prawit Srisukwattana, commander-in-chief
of the Royal Thai Fleet, Vice Admiral Komin Komuthanon, commander-in-chief
of the Coastal Defense Force, and Vice Admiral Sriwisut Rataron,
commander-in-chief of Sattahip Naval Base led the presenting of wreaths and
signing of names.
Rear admirals, commanders and higher-ranking officers then added their names
to the book. So too did the teachers and students from the two schools under
the Sattahip Naval Base zones, namely the Sattahip School in the Sattahip
Naval Base area, and the Sattahip School in the Royal Thai Fleet area.
Vice Admiral Sriwisut said the condolence book was organized because the
officers and their families did not have an opportunity to go to Bangkok.
PBTA asks for more urgency to improve city roads
The Pattaya Business and Tourism Association has urged city hall to
mend the road surfaces and fill in potholes as a matter of urgency, as the
business sector is concerned that the current state of disrepair would harm
Pattaya’s image during the high season.
Pattaya Business and Tourism Association is concerned about the current
state of Pattaya’s roads.
PBTA President Jamroon Witsawachaiyapan presided over the association’s
monthly meeting on January 9 at the meeting room at Bangkok Hospital
Pattaya, with Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh also attending.
Naris Petcharat, a committee member of the PBTA voiced his concern over the
condition of the roads and the increasingly chaotic traffic. The congestion
and traffic jams during rush hour and at the weekends, along with the poor
condition of much of the road surfacing, is causing great problems, he said.
Sukhumvit Road is a traffic nightmare in South, Central and North Pattaya,
while the construction of new roads in the area of Jomtien Second Road, and
roads along the railway, has created serious problems with dust.
Ronakit said that city hall is not standing still on this, and has held
meetings with contractors to keep to their schedules and obey the
regulations concerning noise, dust and construction activity. There is a lot
of road construction work going on, and most of it will be completed by the
middle of the year. After this, there would be a substantial easing of the
Regarding Jomtien Second Road, said Ronakit, pressure is being applied to
finish the project quickly but progress is being hampered with problems
about the surrender of some portions of land.
For more than two years, Pattaya City has received a support budget of more
than 90 million baht for the main roads, including Sukhumvit Road. However,
because of the poor economic outlook of the country and the political
uncertainties it has not been easy to find reliable contractors. Bidding has
now been opened for highway maintenance work, and once the contractors are
selected there are plans to improve a 16-km stretch of Sukhumvit Road.
Devotees gather at
temples on New Year’s Day
Many people gather at their
local temple on New Year’s Day.
Many Thai people and foreign visitors attended Huay Yai Temple on
January 1 to make offerings to the monks and to rid themselves of the
accumulated bad luck of the old year as they looked forward to the promise
The monks performed a ceremonial ritual in honor of the dead, and nine types
of auspicious animals were released to make merit. There was also the
pouring of holy water to make merit for parents and teachers, and to relieve
those who have been suffering under a curse.
Abbot of Huay Yai Temple Sarawuth Jitpanyo said that this ceremony had been
held on New Year’s Day for many years, having been held in the time that
Ajarnkarn was the abbot. After he passed away, his body did not decay. It
was placed in a glass coffin in the old pavilion, where he had spent much of
his time when alive, and Thais and foreign visitors alike come here to pray.
Many devotees also attended Chongsamaesarn Temple in Sattahip, where Abbot
Wisartsutakorn along with a group of committee members from the community,
temple committee members, and representatives of the people in
Chongsamaesarn Village were staging a ceremony for the Buddha relics that
are on loan from the Buddhist Supreme Patriarch Thipbatuwawa
Srisumangkalamahatero, grand chairman at Siammabalee Malwatta Temple, at
Kandy in Sri Lanka. The relics have been on display since December 22.
The area in Samaesarn Sub-district on top of the hill at the Luang Por Dam
Shrine is a holy one, and many people brought boiled eggs, bananas, betel
nuts and fruit to offer to Luang Por Dam. He has been the spirit monk for
Samaesarn inhabitants for a long time. The fishermen in particular pray here
and make offerings, the favored item being boiled eggs, as they believe that
Luang Por Dam will protect them and help them catch many fish.
Devotees also visited Master Buddha Ee, or Praku Worawetmunee, the former
abbot at Sattahip Temple. He delighted them by reciting the story of how
Sattahip residents had taken shelter in the temple in World War Two, and the
abbot stood outside and prayed for protection. All the bombs had fallen into
Another location that was very popular on New Year’s Day was the Prince
Chumporn Ket Udomsak Monument on the top of Laem Poochao Mountain at
Sattahip Naval Base, where navy personnel, government servants and members
of the public gathered to pay their respects to the Father of the Royal Thai