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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Free Wi-Fi internet begins service

Campaign for healthier prisons

New minibus fares set

Illegal workers worry governor

More first-aid kits for schools

Year of the Golden Ox begins on Monday

Governor meets the press

Cambodian held over child slave labor

CAT fire shuts down phones

Retired French policeman stabbed

Car catches fire at condo

Police foil suicide attempt

World ‘Idea’ organization honors HM the King

City offers free service for pets

Volunteer traffic police prepare for training

Meeting held to set standards for evaluating public service

City makes mobile welfare visit


Free Wi-Fi internet begins service

Sawittree Namwiwatsuk
Free Wi-Fi Internet will be available all along Pattaya Beach by the end of February.
Initially it will be free for all users for three months. Administrators will then decide on how long it should remain free and to whom.

Mayor Itthipol Khunplome details progress of the free Wi-Fi Internet installation.

On January 9 at Pattaya City Hall, Mayor Itthipol Khunplome said this first Wi-Fi high-speed alliance between Pattaya City and TOT (Public) Co. Ltd was formed to honor His Majesty the King’s 81st birthday last December.
TOT and Pattaya have already been providing internet service in the Bali Hai Pier area for a distance of 1.5 km since December 25 to support the New Year Festival. By the end of this February the range of the service will extend along the beach for a distance of 4.5 km.
Mayor Itthipol said TOT has been installing signal transmission units on the light posts along Pattaya Beach, some being usable by the end of January. The project is scheduled to be completed by the end of this February.
The first stage of installation will be along the beach for a distance of 3 km and the second from Walking Street to the Bali Hai Pier for a distance of 1.5 km, a total distance of 4.5 km.
He said the Wi-Fi Internet post at Bali Hai Pier installed on December 25 received good response from users who had access cards distributed to them and were able to use them until January 3 at the festival.
The free service will be available for three months then extended until TOT decides how to use the facility commercially.
Then TOT will consider who will have free access, from the Hard Rock Hotel to Central Pattaya and the Pattaya Police Station.
The city will ask TOT to consider offering free access for certain defined periods rather free access based on areas covered, the mayor said.
The Wi-Fi service has a bandwidth of 256 Kb a second. Anyone requiring faster download speed can purchase Wi-Fi Internet cards from TOT.
This service doesn’t require registration for password and user name.
Connection cards for the free Wi-Fi can now be picked up at city hall, the TOT office on Central Pattaya Road and at the Pattaya City Information Center.


Campaign for healthier prisons

Ariyawat Nuamsawat
An official campaign has been launched to improve heath standard in Chonburi’s prisons, especially in view of a significant level of tuberculosis in the province.
Chonburi Public Health is cooperating with the Central Prison on the “Healthy prisons Construction Project.”

Chainarong Sawetjinda, Director of Chonburi Central Prison, signs a memorandum of understanding with Manit Arunakul from the Ministry of Health in Region 9.

A memorandum of understanding was signed in a ceremony on January 9 at the Central Prison by Manit Arunakul from the Ministry of Health in Region 9.
The ministry had been urging a campaign to prevent the spread of tuberculosis in Chonburi as the province records 68 sufferers in 100,000 residents. Successful treatment for the sufferers is also recorded as 88.8%.
Chainarong Sawetjinda, director of the Chonburi Central Prison, welcomed everyone, explaining that there are three prisons in the province: Central Prison with 4,000 inmates, Pattaya Remand Prison with 2,113 inmates and the Women’s Prison with 1,259 inmates.
There are also Ban Bung Temporary Prison with 85 prisoners, Ban Bung District for Children and Youth Probation with 252 juveniles under observation and the Ban Bung District training center for children and youth with 447 youngsters.
In 2008 there were 27 TB patients in Central Prison, 10 in Pattaya Remand Prison and two in the Women’s Prison who had received treatment.
Dr. Marut Jirasetsiri from Chonburi Public Health said that the current situation concerning tuberculosis in Thailand is at a critical stage.
In 2007 there were 900,000 TB patients in the country who could spread the infectious virus.
TB is also one of three primary diseases that the World Health Organization (WHO) had given the highest priority in its Millennium Development Goal (MDG) to place under control by 2013.
Since there are TB sufferers in the prisons throughout the country, the Ministry of Health is working with the Ministry of Justice to improve sanitation and health care in our prisons.


New minibus fares set

Sawittree Namwiwatsuk
Pattaya City will more stringently control new fares charged by baht bus drivers after receiving complaints from users about overcharging.
On January 13 at Pattaya City Hall, Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh gave an interview to the media regarding new minibus fares in the city.

Deputy Mayor
Ronakit Ekasingh.

The deputy mayor said the 1337 Pattaya City Call Center has received complaints of unfair bus fares. Due to this, the city has requested that the Chonburi Transport Office provide a definitive fare list for minibuses.
This is being announced to the public and Pattaya Baht Bus Cooperative will charge their fares accordingly.
The minimum minibus fare set by the Chonburi Office for the city is currently 10 baht. But as gas prices continue to drop, a corresponding fare reduction should be considered, the deputy mayor said.
If users are charged the wrong fares by the cooperative, they can call the 1337 Pattaya City Call Center to report it. Disciplinary action can then be taken against offending drivers, such as fines and suspension of the driver’s licenses.
Official minibus fares listed by the Chonburi Transport Office are:
The Charoenrat Pattana-Najomtien Village route:
Charoenrat Pattana-Nipa Lodge Hotel 8 baht
Charoenrat Pattana -Asia Hotel 21 baht
Charoenrat Pattana-Soi Chaiyapruk 29 baht
Nipa Lodge Hotel-Pattaya Market 8 baht
Nipa Lodge Hotel-Asia Hotel 14 baht
Nipa Lodge Hotel-Soi Chaiyapruk 22 baht
The Pattaya Market -Soi Chaiyapruk 15 baht
Asia Hotel-Soi Chaiyapruk 8 baht
The around Pattaya route:
From the beginning of South Pattaya-Banglamung Plaza 8 baht
From the beginning of South Pattaya-Nipa Lodge (North Pattaya) 10 baht
From Banglamung Plaza-Nipa Lodge junction (North Pattaya) 8 baht
From Banglamung Plaza-beginning of South Pattaya 10 baht
From Nipa Lodge junction (North Pattaya)-Banglamung Plaza 8 baht
North Pattaya-Central Pattaya:
North Pattaya-Central Pattaya Road Intersection 8 baht
North Pattaya-Somprasong Plaza 11 baht
North Pattaya-Wat Bunkanjanaram 23 baht
Central Pattaya Road Intersection-Somprasong Plaza 8 baht
Central Pattaya Road Intersection-Central Pattaya T-Intersection 17 baht
Somprasong Plaza-Wat Bunkanjanaram 8 baht
Somprasong Plaza-Central Pattaya T-Intersection 12 baht
Wat Bunkanjanaram-Central Pattaya T-Intersection 8 baht
For more fare information please contact the Pattaya Information Desk at 038-253-131-32 or the Pattaya City Call Center at 1337.


Illegal workers worry governor

Ariyawat Nuamsawat
Chonburi Governor Surapon Pongtadsirikun, during his address to visiting students from the National Defense College of Thailand, reiterated the pressing need to stem the flow of illegal alien workers.

Chonburi Governor Surapon Pongtadsirikun.

Some 200 students were on an educational tour to Chonburi Province and Burapha University on January 9 and were welcomed by the governor at the Thamrong Buasri Auditorium at the university.
Governor Surapon outlined his administration’s direction, saying that the city should be developed into an important harbor town in the same way as Osaka is for Japan.
The standards of transportation and the environment will be improved.
There are still many problems, especially narcotics, which call for real solutions, he said.
The provincial administration is guided by a vision to make Chonburi a good place to reside, having qualified people, good standard of living and achieving a balance of tourism, agriculture, commerce and industry.
“It will grow and prosper if managed well,” he said.
The problem of illegal aliens needs to be solved at source, involving also people who employ them. Government officials have been ordered to do their best, he said.


More first-aid kits for schools

Benoit Hebting (center, left) from the Rotary Club Pattaya Marina presents
a first-aid kit to Deputy Mayor Wattana Chantanawaranon and city school administrators.

Sawittree Namwiwatsuk
Rotary Clubs in District 3340 joined the Bangkok Hospital Pattaya to donate first-aid kits to 10 schools in Pattaya City.
On January 15 at Pattaya City Hall, Benoit Hebting, committee member of Rotary Club Pattaya Marina, and Wararat Sasom from the international marketing department of the hospital had the pleasant task of distributing the first-aid kits to Pattaya City schools 1-10.
The kits were accepted by Deputy Mayor Wattana Chantanawaranon, Thawatchai Rattanyu, director of the Education Department, and school administrators.
Hebting said that under the leadership of Pratheep Malhotra, District Governor of Rotary International District 3340, and PP Stefan Ryser, Rotary has been actively cooperating with the Bangkok Hospital Pattaya to support the community.
As schools in the city still lack first-aid kits, 10 kits have now been distributed to 10 schools and the hospital will restock these kits every six months this year.


Year of the Golden Ox begins on Monday

Local celebrations run from January 24-27 at Bali Hai Pier

Sawittree Namwiwatsuk
Officially, Chinese New Year begins on January 26, and this year the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) will help promote the celebrations in nine provinces, hoping to boost revenue from tourism at the same time.
Locally, celebrations will be held at Bali Hai Pier from January 24-27 using the following schedule:
Saturday 24th
19.00 Hrs: Official Opening Ceremony by the Mayor and the Pattaya City Council, Chonburi Governor, TAT Pattaya Director, and the VIP from China.
19.30 - 22.30 Hrs: Various Chinese cultural performances brought to you by the TAT
Sunday 25th
18.00: Mo-Ta-Mae band show
19.00: Games to win prizes
19.30: Various Variety Shows
21.00: Games to win prizes
22.00-24: Ban Ban band show
Monday 26th from 9.00 – 20.00 Hrs
The Dragon troupe and the City Official pay respects to:
9.09: King Taksin’s Monument in front of the City Hall
10.30: Chinese God at the Sanctuary in Naklua market with parades and Dragon Shows
13.30: King Chumporn’s Monument
18.00-20.00 at the Walking Street gate the parade starts then proceeds through the Walking Street to the Main Stage at the Bali Hai Pier
At the Main Stage (Bali Hai) Monday 26th
18.00: Ha-Noi musical show
19.00: Chinese Girl Pattaya 2009 Contest first round
19.40: Mask Changing Show
20.00: Chinese Girl Pattaya 2009 Contest Second round to select last 15
20.40: Beijing Lions Show
21.00: Full Show of the Dragon Troupe
22.30: Pek Palitchoke Concert
23.30: Ice Saranyoo Concert
Tuesday 27th
19.00: Chinese Acrobatic Shows
19.30: Chinese Girl Pattaya 2009 Contest third round
20.00: Games to win prizes
20.10: Chinese Girl Pattaya 2009 Contest – talent shows and announces the winner
20.50: Martial Arts performances
21.20: Concert by Scrubb
22.20: Concert by Joey Boy and his team
Nationally, TAT has joined the Ministry of Chinese Culture to help organize the celebrations, hoping to attract enough visitors who they expect to inject as much as 550 million baht into the economy.
On January 14 at the TAT building, Chumpol Silpa-archa, Minister of Tourism and Sports, announced this year’s celebration, with Weerasak Kowasurat, president of TAT, Chen Jiang, cultural attaché from the Embassy of China, and Pornsiri Manoharn.
Minister Chumpol said he is pleased at the joint efforts by many organizations to preserve the Chinese New Year celebrations. He expects around 500,000 people to take part in the celebrations daily, with at least 20% being foreigners.
If you plan to travel outside of Pattaya, you can catch the TAT sponsored celebrations in the following cities: Bangkok: China Town, Yaowarat on January 27 where the highlights of the event are the Kuan-Im goddess and performances by seven acts from China. Ratchaburi: In China Town January 23-31. Ayutthaya: A festival from January 27-31. Supanburi: January 25 to February 1. Nakhon Ratchasima: January 26-27. Nakhon Sawan: January 19-30. Chiang Mai: China Town on January 26-27. Hat Yai-Songkla: January 26-29. Phuket: January 31 to February 2.


Governor meets the press

Chonburi Governor Surapon Pongtadsirikun poses
for a photo with mass media representatives.

Ariyawat Nuamsawat
Chonburi Governor Surapon Pongtadsirikun asked the mass media to support his administration’s effort to try to solve the narcotics problem in the province.
The governor made the request at the third Banglamung-Sattahip District Press meeting on January 12 at the Diana Garden Resort in North Pattaya.
He said awards could later be presented to the best media at district and provincial levels which help the government in this battle against drugs.
Sopin Thappajug, associate judge of the Chonburi Provincial Juvenile and Family Court, Mayor Itthipol Khunplome and Bandit Siritanyong, city councilor, also welcomed members of the media.
Surapon said soon after taking the job of governor the extent of the narcotics problem became very clear, affecting addicts, their families and others in society.
All sectors must realize this and cooperate to solve the problems together, he said.
The media is powerful and can definitely help in the fight by making clear to the public the dangers narcotics pose to people.
He urged the media to cooperate to work for society by voicing support for activities designed to reduce the amount of available drugs.
Governor Surapon also said Chonburi is improving its road traffic and public transportation because the city is large and an important seaport in the country.
Different media representatives introduced themselves on stage before dinner and the governor presented souvenirs to journalists and other media people in attendance in an amicable and jovial evening.


Cambodian held over child slave labor

Boonlua Chatree
Police arrested a Cambodian man for allegedly using three Cambodian girls, aged four to seven, as slave labor to sell goods in the street. He has also been and him for their physical abuse.

Taew was arrested for abusing three young Cambodian girls.

Pol. Lt. Col. Omsin Karnkha led a team of officers from the Crimes Against Women and Children Suppression Division Region 2 and Child Welfare and Development Center to swoop down on a townhouse in Park Rungruang Village in Nongprue on January 15, after receiving reports that children were being mistreated there.
Taew, 22, was arrested after officers were shocked to find that the three young Cambodian girls had been beaten black and blue on their buttocks and backs and one girl had bruises around her right eye and the right side of her head.
There was also evidence of the goods that the children sell while wandering around the streets at night.
The girls were taken to the Banglamung Children’s Home to be looked after until they may be able to reunite with their families.
They told police that they were often beaten by Taew to force them to go out to sell things such as flowers, chewing gum and neon glow lights and for them to beg for money from foreign tourists at bars on Soi 7 and Soi 8 along Pattaya Beach Road.
They said he forced them to work from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. every night and gave them only one meal a day.
Taew said girls were his nieces and that he had never beaten them or forced them to sell things. He only punished them because they did not obey him and were misbehaving. He said one girl received the bruises from falling in the bathroom.
Neighbor Somboon Buranachiwee, 59, a Pattaya Baht Bus Cooperative driver, said he often saw the girls going around selling things and annoying foreign tourists by asking for money.
He also heard them crying and thought only that the children were being punished for misbehaving.
Supakorn Noja, director of the Child Welfare and Development Center, said that the Child Welfare and Development Center had received complaints from tourists and residents that the Cambodian girls were being mistreated.


CAT fire shuts down phones

Theerarak Suthatiwong
A fire at CAT Telecom Public Company caused the telephone system and Internet in Pattaya to fail on January 14.
At 12 p.m. Pol. Lt.-Col. Samran Kamwattana at the Pattaya Police Station was alerted about a fire on the second floor of the six-story CAT building. The office was crowded with staff and customers.

Officials inspect the fire damage.

There was some quick evacuation as firemen took some 20 minutes to bring the fire under control. No one was seriously injured.
The cause was traced to the battery backup for the building’s power supply.
Prasert Meksornsawan, manager of CAT customer services, said electricity blacked out suddenly causing computers to shut down and along with them telephone and internet services in the city and the province.
Normally the battery backup would kick into action if electricity fails but this time it was the backup system itself which caught fire from suspected short circuiting.
Prasert said a technician discovered sparks and a lot of smoke in the battery section and alerted customers and employees to immediately evacuate the building.
The technician then tried to extinguish the fire with a chemical fire extinguisher. Water could not be used because the battery backup was connected to a high-voltage power supply.
An initial estimate put the damage at more than a million baht.
CAT needed to turn off all computer systems, international telephone and Internet services to repair damages and bring the system back to working order.


Retired French policeman stabbed

Boonlua Chatree
A retired French police officer was stabbed and seriously wounded allegedly by his Thai mistress.
At 4 a.m. on January 13 Pol. Lt-Col. Patsa Detpakkul from the Pattaya Police Station led police to the Pink Apartment complex on Soi 12 to investigate a dispute.
They found Serge Alain Delplanque, 59, from Paris, lying on his back on the floor in pain with stab wounds in his left arm and lower abdomen. The injured man was rushed to Bangkok Hospital Pattaya for treatment where his condition was reported as serious.
Police arrested Wipa Srithong, 22, from Ratanaburi in Surin Province, and confiscated a knife some 15 cm. long, covered with blood with a broken handle and lying on the floor.
According to police, the woman said she had lived with Delplanque for more than a year.
The former French policeman, just retired, had come for a vacation in Pattaya. The couple had been out on the town that night before coming back to the apartment.
Police said the Thai woman became angry when the Frenchman criticized her and in the violent argument the women stabbed the man twice before the knife broke.
Police are waiting for the injured man to recover from his wounds so he can decide whether or not to press charges.

The injured Frenchman is removed from the back
of an emergency vehicle at hospital.


Car catches fire at condo

Boonlua Chatree
A car belonging to a foreigner who is away overseas mysteriously caught fire where it was parked in the parking lot at a condominium on Pratamnak Road in Nongprue.

Firefighters respond to an automobile fire in a parking garage on Pratamnak Road.

Security guard Bunterm Sakulnoi, 30, said that while on duty he heard an explosion and smelled smoke coming from the second floor of the parking space and saw the car, parked there unused for about a year now, engulfed by fire.
He tried to tackle the fire with an extinguisher but had to call for support.
At 9.30 p.m. on January 11, Pol. Lt-Col. Samroeng Ratananam at the Pattaya Police Station called out two fire trucks and Sawang Boriboon Foundation rescuers to the 16-storey Thepthip Mansion Condominium’s parking lot.
Police said the car belonged to an unnamed foreign resident who had left for overseas more than a year ago. The cause of the fire is being investigated and arson has not been ruled out.


Police foil suicide attempt

Boonlua Chatree
Police dramatically talked a woman out of committing suicide from a 10th floor of a hotel in Pattaya after she quarreled with her German husband.
Pol. Lt. Somchai Chaikananukul from Pattaya Police Station was called out to the hotel at Soi 12 with other officers and Sawang Boriboon Foundation at 4 a.m. on January 16.
They found Jitthip Kaechornsat, 37, from Sakhon Nakhon, drunk and crying on the balcony, threatening to jump off.
Her German husband, Hartwij Maitems, 73, was trying to calm her down from inside the room with support from police officers and rescuers.
It took some anxious time before the officers were able to grab the woman and bring her back into the room safely.
It was discovered that Jitthip had also taken almost a full packet of medicine to reduce fever and had drunk alcohol.
Officers rushed her to the hospital for treatment.


World ‘Idea’ organization honors HM the King

Thailand’s thoughtful and inventive monarch has been singled out as the first recipient of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Global Leaders Award.
Deputy Commerce Minister Alongkorn Pollabutr said WIPO Director-General Francis Gurry will have an audience with His Majesty the King on Wednesday at which the monarch will be bestowed the award, which is WIPO’s highest honor for world leaders in recognition of their outstanding creativity in relation to intellectual property for further development. His Majesty is the first recipient of this award.
Alongkorn said the WIPO praised His Majesty’s ability and reasoned that the award was due to his dedication to his subjects and his inventions which improve the quality of life of Thais.
His Majesty is a strong advocate of intellectual property, owning over 20 patents and 19 trademarks.
His royally-initiated development projects include the creative application of artificial rainmaking techniques, Chaipattana Low Speed Surface Aerator, and “Aggravating the Soil” project, which was to improve swamp lands of stagnating water for maximum use in agriculture.
Moreover, as a prolific artist, His Majesty’s prominent works have been copyrighted, including paintings, photos, and other literary works such as songs and novels. (TNA)


City offers free service for pets

Ariyawat Nuamsawat
Pattaya City is offering free pet vaccination and sterilization for owners on January 30.
The city in collaboration with Chonburi’s Domestic Animal Office is providing volunteer veterinarians to sterilize pets and vaccinate them against rabies, fleas and other parasites.
The service is free of charge and will take place on January 30 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the back of the Pattaya Public Health Center building.
Chaiyapak Dog Training School will also present dog shows on that day.
Pets that will be sterilized must not be fed food and water in the six hours period before the operation.
More information is available from the Animal Control Department of the Public Health and Environment Center, Pattaya, tel. 038-420562 ext. 113.


Volunteer traffic police prepare for training

Vimolrat Singnikorn
An intake of 20 candidates has been selected to be trained as volunteer Pattaya municipal police officers to help in traffic police work.

Lecturer Rungratree Thongsaai, senior public relation specialist for Pattaya City on the last day of the training.
On January 12 at city hall Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh addressed the new municipal police training group, which had been selected from 104 applicants.
Pattaya City previously called for applicants to sign up for the volunteer force, then put them through comprehensive selection tests based on physical fitness, interviews and their aptitude at assisting police traffic affairs.
Deputy Mayor Ronakit said monitoring of traffic is important work that requires knowledge and ability, knowledge of the law, patience, and sensibility to reduce problems for the public, including providing effective support in emergencies.
The volunteers were trained for five days, from January 12-16, both in theory and practical application covering traffic affairs, traffic signs, administering first aid and fire extinguisher use as well as the ethics involved in providing service to people.
Ronakit said the traffic work performed by municipality police officers is demanding and needs a reserve force for support.
After this introductory training, the officers are trained for another month in the field and then assessed before certificates are issued.
Teachers from the Pattaya Police Station, TAT Pattaya Office, Marine Corps Command Center, Sattahip Naval Base, Public Health and Environment Bureau, Disaster Protection and Prevention Section, and the Sea and Coastal Rescue Section provide the training. Rungratree Thongsaai, Senior Public Relation Specialist for Pattaya City gave the final training on January 16.

New municipal police prepare for traffic duty.


Meeting held to set standards for evaluating public service

Pramote Channgam
Pattaya City held a public hearing to set up evaluation standards for public service on January 13 at City Hall.
Deputy Mayor Wattana Chantanawaranon welcomed Jaturong Panuadilok, deputy under secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office, and his team in the Thappraya Conference Room.

Jaturong Panuadilok, deputy permanent secretary at the Prime Ministers’ Office.

They came to attend the public hearing on evaluation standards for public service work of Pattaya City. City council members and 27 community representatives attended the meeting.
The standard evaluation for the management of public service for Pattaya City was setup according to the 2009 budget and will be in operation for 12 months from October 2008 to September 2009.
There are several standard categories covering basic structure, support for quality of life, management of the community, order, planning, investing to support commerce and tourism, managing conservation of natural resources, art, culture, religion, traditions and local intellectual property.
All of these will be divided into 25 activities with 119 key performance indicators designed to measure progress toward defined organizational goals.
Prof Dr Chatchai na Chiengmai, chairman of a special sub-committee overseeing this evaluation process, said that the self-evaluation standards for the management of public service are useful to devolve responsibilities amongst the local administrations.
Self-evaluation is useful and leads to more efficient operations so it is a worthwhile investment of time and effort, he advised.
The meeting focused on the standards and steps for the evaluation process and gathered comments and opinions.


City makes mobile welfare visit

Staff reporters
Ton Krabok community, situated around the Chinese shrine on Sukhumvit 28, was this month’s lucky recipient of Pattaya City’s innovative touring welfare visits which will each month move to one of the 27 communities in the city.

Mayor Itthipol Khunplome and city officials hand out free rice.

On January 8, Mayor Itthipol Khunplome and city councilors presided at the event in which the Social Welfare Center joined with Public Health Center of Pattaya to bring many welfare services for community residents right to their doorsteps.
There were free health checkups, dental care, family planning with free contraceptives and condoms handed out and health insurance cards issued by Banglamung.
Results of the health check showed that many residents of the Ton Krabok community, many of whom are elderly, suffer from diabetes and high blood pressure.
Other free services included barber and beauty salons, recyclable rubbish brought in to trade for fresh eggs and pet vaccinations.
There were officials there to listen to general complaints, give information on ID card registration, tax and regulations on setting up a local shop.
On sale were inexpensive locally-made products and organic vegetables.
The city joined Lotus Hypermarket Pattaya to donate 150 bags of rice that were distributed to low-income families at one bag per household.



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