After 3 area deaths, Pattaya called free of H1N1 flu
employees clean their venues
to eradicate the A (H1N1) virus.
Although three of Thailand’s seven deaths from the influenza A
(H1N1) virus have come from the Pattaya area, the city’s entertainment
venues are virus-free and no new cases have been reported, Chonburi Gov.
Senee Jittakasem said.
The governor led a team of doctors and public officials on an inspection of
discotheques and other entertainment establishments July 3. He said
disease-control measures put in place by the Chonburi Public Health
Department and Banglamung District have quashed the disease, although the
virus continues to rage other areas of Thailand.
As of July 6, 2,272 cases had been reported in Thailand, although only 35
patients remained hospitalized and none in critical condition. Three deaths,
including a conscript at the Royal Thai Navy’s recruiting center in
Sattahip, were reported in the past week.
Marut Jirasetsiri, a physician with the Chonburi Public Health Department,
said officials across the region are cooperating in carrying out a unified
strategy to defeat the virus.
“There was also a call made to the entertainment industry to properly clean
their venues, which are vulnerable to spread of the virus,” he said.
Senee said this week’s inspections found businesses alert to the virus’
threat and actively working to prevent the disease.
Famed general, Sriracha founder honored
He founded Sriracha, owned the first car in Thailand and built the
Eastern Seaboard’s first Royal residence and each July residents remember
Field Marshal Chao Phraya Surasak Montri.
Chonburi Gov. Senee Jittakasem and Sriracha Mayor Chatchai Thimkrachang led
this year’s memorial July 1 in the shadow of the general’s statue outside
the Sriracha Municipal Office attended by city workers and local residents.
Marshal Chao Phraya Surasak Montri’s monument.
The ceremony featured nine Buddhist monks chanting, offerings given to
another 80 months and Thai folk music, traditional song and films about the
hero of the 1902 Shan Rebellion and a ceremonial wreath-laying.
Chao Phraya, whose given name was Cherm Saengchuto, was born March 28, 1851
and died July 1, 1931. He joined King Chulalongkorn’s 1st Royal Guard at 19
and played a prominent role in campaigns in Thailand’s north and northwest
from the 1880s through the early 20th century, albeit with varying results.
Chao Phraya was sent by King Rama V to lead the final Siamese campaigns in
the Tai uplands against Chinese insurgents in 1887-89 but was met by several
hundred French soldiers which occupied the area despite general’s protests
that Siam had historical claim to the area and its Lao people.
Around the turn of the century, Chao Phraya founded a sawmill in Sriracha.
When it was learned that Queen Sawang Waddhana had fallen ill and that the
king thought living near the sea would help her recover Chao Phraya built
her a wooden manor on its own island 40 meters from shore. Over the next
year she recovered considerably and asked Chao Phraya to construct a
hospital even further out to sea.
The hospital opened in 1902, the same year King Chulalongkorn sent the field
marshal on his last campaign: the Shan Rebellion. His assignment was to put
down an uprising of Burmese immigrants in Phrae Province after the oppressed
minority group had sacked and looted Phrae City.
Chao Phraya retired from military service but took up several government
posts, including serving on King Rama VI’s Privy Council. During that time
his Sriracha village became was a bustling city. In 1917, he persuaded the
regent of Prachinburi to relocate the district office from Bangpra to
Among his many accomplishments, Chao Phraya, said to be fascinated by all
things mechanical, was the first to demonstrate electricity during his term
as Defense Minister and, in 1915, was the first in Thailand to own an
automobile. He bought the car from foreign visitor and drove it around
Bangkok until 1928 when, during a stint in a repair shop, the vehicle was
stripped clean by scrap merchants.
Honoring his life’s work, Chao Phraya was given the honorary title of Field
Marshal in 1925.
1 dead, 639 quarantined
as flu ravages Navy recruit center
Influenza continues to ravage the Royal Thai Navy’s Sattahip
recruitment center where one conscript has died of complications from an A
(H1N1) infection and more than 600 others have been quarantined.
Natthapong Faijaidee, 21, became the third of Thailand’s five H1N1-related
fatalities when he died June 29 at Queen Sirikit Hospital of pneumonia and
respiratory failure. Navy officials said the recruit had developed a high
fever June 15 but refused hospitalization and continued with training. He
was finally admitted to Queen Sirikit June 22 where he was diagnosed with
the H1N1 strain. Hospital officials said Natthapong actually was virus-free
when he died and succumbed to a severe lung infection.
Natthapong was one of at least nine conscripts reported to have been
infected with H1N1. Officials have not released updated numbers of those
with the 2009 virus since initially quarantining and randomly testing 200
personnel with flu-like symptoms late last month. Capt Noppadon Supakorn,
commander of the Naval Education Department’s Recruit Training Center, said
that 639 personnel were being isolated as of June 30, although he noted many
do not have fevers.
While Noppadon urged family members and local residents not to panic, he
added that the Navy is taking the outbreak very seriously. Plans to dispatch
conscripts that have completed their training have been put on hold,
families have been banned from providing homespun remedies and anyone with
coughs or sneezing is placed under observation for two days. Moreover, a
team from Apakorn Kiatiwong Hospital at the Sattahip Naval Base are on-site
to care for the five buildings of quarantined recruits as well as step up
hygiene at the academy.
Vice Adm. Sirichai Kanithakul, Commandant General of the Naval Education
Department, said the military has the situation under control and that no
new cases had been reported for two days. However, he added, family and
friends visiting the center should take precautions against infection and
spread of the influenza bug.
As of July 6, 2,272 cases had been reported in Thailand, although only 35
patients remained hospitalized and none in critical condition, with younger
people and those with other ailments suffering the worst. Thailand’s other
fatalities were a 15-year-old Chonburi girl who had both a brain tumor and
diabetes; a 42-year-old Pattaya man who’d just returned from abroad; a
47-year-old man reported to be a heavy smoker and drinker; and a 48-year-old
woman who’d undergone heart surgery.
In Natthapong’s case, obesity was the primary risk factor. The 170 cm
soldier weighed 105 kg. Doctors said rigorous training and inadequate rest,
combined with being out of shape, might have worn down his immune system.
Top Navy officials paid respects to Nuanchan and Tosaporn Phosri, the
recruit’s parents with Capt Noppadon presenting the grieving couple with a
settlement of 100,000 baht. The Navy transported Natthapong’s body to the
family’s home in Srakaew for the funeral.
Senate mulls funding to fix Pattaya’s water, garbage, crime and erosion problems in attempt to revive tourism
A Thai Senate committee may fund Pattaya’s efforts to fix its
ongoing water, trash, crime and coastal erosion problems, along with the
redevelopment of Utapao-Pattaya International Airport, as part of a national
effort to revive tourism.
Atchariyachai, president of the Senate Tourism Committee.
Members of the Senate Tourism Committee visited Pattaya last week, telling
local leaders that while they needed to do as much as possible to attract
visitors, the national government was willing to provide funds for larger
projects to improve the area’s image or infrastructure.
“Statistics show that tourism in Pattaya has decreased and that businesses
have started to lay off employees. As such, the state must urgently provide
support to immediately revive tourism,” Thanyarat Atchariyachai, Tourism
Committee president said at the June 26 Pattaya City Hall hearing. “However,
we’ve asked the city to accelerate marketing efforts and urge the
private-sector to cooperate and not just wait for the state to act.”
Committee Vice-President Sukho Wutthichot said the panel is looking at four
long-standing problems that negatively impact tourism and that Pattaya has
been unable to solve: the water supply, garbage, crime and coastal erosion.
The panel also is considering further efforts to redevelop Utapao, which
could attract new tourists to the area.
While city leaders have said Pattaya has enough water until mid-2010, Sukho
said the large agricultural and industrial demand on the Eastern Seaboard
means a longer-term solution is needed to ensure Pattaya has a steady
Trash collection and crime are also factors that detract from Pattaya’s
image, the senator said. Garbage handling was at the top of list of things
Chonburi Governor Senee Jittakasem said needed immediate attention when he
visited local headsmen last month. As for crime, Pattaya city and tourist
police have pledged to crack down on street vendors, beggars and other
annoyances to tourists while Senee plans to restart funding for joint
Regarding coastal erosion, a Pattaya Public Works Department study estimates
that the city’s northern beachfront will shrink 15 meters and central and
south Pattaya by 12 meters over the next 30 years if nothing is done to
protect them. Province-wide, Chonburi has already lost more than 122 rai of
beachfront worth 610 million baht to the sea, according to a 2006 report
from the Chonburi Environmental Office and Thailand’s Ministry of Nature and
“Since Pattaya is best known for being a beach city, erosion is an urgent
problem that needs to be solved,” Sukho said.
Finally, he said, the redevelopment of Utapao could open Pattaya up to more
tourists. The government has already approved a 995 million baht budget to
build a new terminal and other facilities and is now awaiting procurement
plans from the Royal Thai Navy, which runs Utapao.
Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome said the city needs extra funds if it hopes to
expand its tourism-promotion efforts. Pattaya received 1.49 billion baht in
national funding this year, but will see its budget cut to 1.35 billion next
year. “That could be a critical obstacle to promoting tourism unless we
receive additional assistance,” he warned.
Tourism is Pattaya’s top industry, with 674 hotels, 21,761 rooms and 30
tourist attractions. The city saw 6.9 million tourists last year who
generated 59.3 billion baht in revenue.
The Senate committee is holding similar hearings in popular tourist
destinations such as the Andaman coast, Koh Samui, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai,
and Koh Chang.
Environment, technology dominate Pattaya’s draft three-year development plan
Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome’s vision of the Pattaya of the future
is a secure city where development doesn’t come at the expense of the
environment, where technology streamlines the bureaucracy and improved
beaches and new facilities revive tourism.
Itthiphol Kunplome chairs the meeting on the city’s 2010-2013
The mayor and city council began work on that vision last week at a
brainstorming session for Pattaya’s 2010-2013 development plan. The June
25 meeting at Pattaya City Hall brought together the mayor, council
members, department heads and community leaders to devise a blueprint
that emphasizes environmental conservation while bolstering the city’s
infrastructure and services.
The draft development plan is a five-part strategy encompassing 1,489
projects and a budget of more than 5.9 billion baht.
The first part calls for long-lasting ecological development, such as
building a comprehensive wastewater removal system and construction of
55 roads fitted with sufficient water-drainage pipes.
The second step focuses on improving quality of life through such things
as increased security, construction of the new Pattaya Hospital and
Eastern Sports Stadium.
Improved city management is the target of the third facet of the plan,
including giving residents more understanding of the law and city
The strategy’s fourth element is technology. Improving communication
systems and harnessing data through such things as geographic
information systems can not only save money, but make Pattaya’s
government more efficient.
Finally, tourism development rounds out the strategy. Here the city can
rebuild its main industry through such projects as the Krathinglai Beach
adjustment and programs such as the city’s Musical Development Project.
13 Pattaya hotels clean up
to prevent Legionnaires’ disease
Flu may be the disease on everyone’s lips, but Pattaya public
health officials say Legionnaires’ disease could be much more damaging
to tourism and is working with area hotels to prevent an outbreak of the
Songsakulchai, city sanitation technician, advises Pattaya hoteliers how to
keep their facilities free of Legionnaires’ disease.
Named after the 1976 outbreak at an American Legion convention in
Philadelphia that killed 29 people, Legionnaires’ victims are often guests
at hotels cooled by massive air-conditioning systems. The waterborne
bacteria Legionella pneumophila incites pneumonia and other respiratory
Pattaya’s Sanitary Office and Public Health Department hosted a seminar July
2 for hotels participating in the city’s “Livable Hotel” pilot program and
presented them with shrines denoting them as Legionnaires-free.
Pattaya Deputy Mayor Wutisak Rermkitkarn said that given the negative impact
on tourism from the influenza A (H1N1) pandemic, both the public and private
sector need to be vigilant to prevent more problems.
Pattaya has not seen a Legionnaires outbreak since 1995, although a group of
Norwegian tourists were sickened in a 2007 outbreak in a Phuket hotel.
“Even though there have been no reports of this disease in Pattaya, this
project is being launched to ensure accommodations maintain a standard that
creates a positive image for tourism,” said City Sanitation Technician Bubpa
Bubpa said a 2008 inspection showed several hotels use central
air-conditioning systems with cooling towers where the bacteria can breed.
It’s also found in untreated water resources, water filtration systems,
water reservoir tanks, showers, tap water, pools, spas, and Jacuzzis.
Bubpa said the seminar’s aim was to educate hoteliers on cleaning and
maintenance procedures to prevent the germ’s spread.
The 13 hotels participating in the pilot program are the Siam Bayshore
Resort and Spa, Siam Bay View Hotel Pattaya, Island View Hotel, Golden Beach
Hotel, Marriott Resort and Spa Pattaya, Amari Orchid Resort and Tower, Asia
Hotel, Flipper House Hotel, Flipper Lodge Hotel, Dusit Thani Hotel, Gulf
Siam and Resort, Amari Nova Suite and Nova Platinum Hotel.
“This year Pattaya aims to inspect at least 20 hotels here of all categories
to reach the standard,” he said. “However, success depends on the hotel’s
readiness, as each inspection costs 9,000 baht to 10,000 baht.”
TV actress Marisa rolls her Mini Cooper, lives to tell
Television actress Marisa Anita will need a bit more makeup for a
few days after nearly totaling her yellow Mini Cooper during heavy rain on
the Bangkok-Chonburi motorway.
The 26-year-old Marisa, best known for her role in the Channel 7 show Sao 5,
avoided serious injury in the June 29 accident. She was treated at Bangkok
Hospital Pattaya for bruising to her arms, legs and collarbone.
Marisa Anita is a bit banged up, but happy to be alive after her auto
accident on the Bangkok-Chonburi motorway.
“Nong Sa,” as she is known in the tabloids, said she was driving about 100
km per hour in the heavy rainstorm when she lost control of the vehicle in a
flooded curve in the road at kilometer marker 75-76. The car was practically
totaled and she said she believes brass amulets given to her by her uncle
Marisa’s arrival at the hospital set off quite the media buzz, especially
when singer/actor/boyfriend Paopol “Ta Barbie” Thephasadin Na Ayutthaya
showed up to check on his paramour.
Speaking to the press, the actress said that while waiting for help she
witnessed two other accidents in the same spot. She urged authorities to
investigate the dangerous stretch of roadway.
Marisa was not hospitalized and has returned to the set for more filming,
perhaps at a bit slower pace.
The pranged Mini Cooper won’t
in any ‘Italian Job’ remakes anytime soon.
Dog fights python for survival
The 3-meter python that slithered into Sawong Chantana’s dog cage
messed with the wrong puppy.
me back!” The pup still wants a piece of the python.
Sawong called Sattahip animal control officers June 29 saying a huge snake
had tried to eat his 1-year-old Bangkaew puppy “Namkang.” Rescuers from the
Sawang Boriboon Rotjanathamasathan Foundation arrived at the 32-year-old’s
Kamonpet Village home to find the family in a tizzy and the python locked in
It seems that before dawn, the strangulating serpent squeezed into little
Namkang’s pen, intent on a canine breakfast. Too bad the ophidian didn’t
realize the Thai Bangkaew Dog is specifically bred for snake hunting.
Compact, well-balanced and fierce, Bangkaews are even used by the military
to root out snakes and stand watch.
It was the pooch’s loud barking, in fact, that awoke Sawong’s family. They
went out to investigate the ruckus and found the little puppy fighting off
the giant python before escaping its clutches.
Animal control officers were easier on the reptile than Namkang wanted to be
and let it go on the Laem Poochao hillside without further reprisals.
Ya ba dealer takes wrong way home, ends up in jail
Pramot Khunjom, 39, was
arrested for possession of a Class 1 narcotic.
A drug dealer fresh from restocking his supply realized he took the
wrong route home when he blundered into a police checkpoint set up on the
border of Pattaya and Rayong.
Pramot “Kla” Khunjom, 39, was arrested for possession of a Class 1 narcotic
after Huay Yai sub-district officers discovered 198 ya ba tablets hidden in
Pol. Lt. Col. Woarpol Saenthep and other officers were running a highway
checkpoint June 26 on the Huaykainao-Danpachon border - which falls under
the jurisdiction of both Banglamung and Nikom Pattana police - when Pramot
approached on his Honda Click motorbike. Woarpol said the man was acting
suspiciously and police searched him and the bike.
Police discovered Pramot had only recently been released from jail on a June
11 possession charge. This time he was caught returning home after buying
the drugs from an unidentified couple in Rayong. He confessed he planned to
sell the pills, which he bought for 150 baht, for 300 baht each later.
Rather than going home, Pramote returned to police custody where he will
face new charges.
Body of Thai man found floating in Bang Saray Bay
Sattahip police have fished another body out of the sea, this time a
Thai man who locals say got on the wrong side of some Bang Saray boatmen.
The unidentified victim, believed to be a Thai man 25-30 years old, was
believed to have died about three days ago and, although decomposed, his
face showed signs of a fight. The corpse was dressed in a white t-shirt and
green underwear and had a stainless steel necklace, pinky ring, nose
piercings and several bracelets.
Pol. Lt. Col. Attharot Krongrat said local residents said the man had
recently come to Bang Saray to work on the pier. He got into a conflict with
local boat operators and a fight broke out. The man was smashed in the face
and fell into the ocean, witnesses reported. Police are still investigating.
Noisy burglar goes to jail for
700 baht and brass knuckles
For Bunlom Buatik, the price of freedom turned out to be 700 baht,
some cheap jewelry and a pair of brass knuckles.
stealth was not one of Bunlom Buatik’s greatest assets.
The 40-year-old convicted burglar was caught again red-handed June 27 by
Pattaya police after breaking into a North Pattaya apartment. Searching him,
officers recovered 700 baht, a watch, a brass amulet on a necklace and a
pair of brass knuckles.
Bunlom told police he’d only been released from prison 8 months ago after an
earlier burglary conviction. He admitted breaking into the room near the
Pattaya Driving Range and said recovered items belonged to the absent
Police noted that stealth was not one of the Chaiyaphum thief’s greatest
assets. He was busted after a neighbor woman - still screaming at him when
police arrived - heard him smash a window to get into the victim’s room.
1,500 monks collect alms for brothers in South
1,500 monks gather in Sattahip
Market to collect alms for 266 temples
in Thailand’s strife-torn southern provinces.
Sattahip Market was awash in a sea of orange as more than 1,500
monks assembled to collect offerings to support 266 temples in Thailand’s
strife-torn southern provinces.
The Sattahip Naval Base, city government, Sattahip Buddhists Club,
Kalyanamit Center, Sattahip Moral and Environmental Rehabilitation Club,
National Sharing Alliance, Dahmakaya Foundation, Buddhists Organization
Network and other groups joined to organize the early morning June 27
Vice Adm. Wisut Ratarun, commander of the Sattahip Naval Base, said the food
and dry goods collected will go to temples in Songkla, Yala, Pattani, and
Narathiwat provinces, where Muslim insurgents have been waging a bloody
campaign for independence since 2004. Buddhist monks and temples are
frequent targets of the violence. The collection was one way to assist them,
‘Children’s Street’ lets kids get creative while learning to be good citizens
Music and dance shows, special exhibitions and lots of creative fun
will be on tap at Lanpho-Naklua Public Park Aug. 9 when Pattaya opens a
“Children’s Street” to encourage kids to develop their skills in art, music
Limcharoen, director Pattaya’s Social Welfare Department.
The city’s Social Welfare Department June 29 approved the 250,000 baht
budget for the project, which will feature youth exhibition booths, Thai and
international music, Thai cultural shows, classical dance performances from
school children and other all-day creative activities.
Social Welfare Director Pannee Limcharoen said Children’s Street is designed
to let kids express themselves in a positive manner through music, drawing,
painting and handicrafts, rather than through anti-social behavior, such as
“A children’s creative ability area will be set up and they will be taught
about the benefits of good attitude, leadership, cooperation, sharing and
generosity,” Pannee said. “All of these things will help them be good
3,000 palm trees planted in Sriracha
Taking up HM the King’s call to reverse Thailand’s deforestation, public
officials, students and residents in Naprao Village have planted 3,000 palm
trees in the Sriracha community.
and students in Ban Naprao Village plant palm trees in response to HM the
King’s call to restore the country’s forests.
The June 1 planting, led by the Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural
Cooperatives, is part of a project to seed every province in Thailand with
at least 12,000 new trees.
“Palm trees were chosen due to it being a strong and enduring breed of tree
that thrives in all types of weather, doesn’t require much attention and
offers lots of useful byproducts,” said bank Deputy Manager Lak
Watjamamawat. “These trees will produce sugar palms, which are useful for
their fruit, pulp, seeds, crust, leaves and trunks.”
The plantings are being done both to improve the quality of life in the
village as well as honor HM the King’s 84th birthday, he added. HM the King
has called on all people to work to restore forests that have been wiped out
across the country.
Lak Watjamamawat said the BAAC was established to be a countryside
development bank and support the preservation of the environment and natural
resources. Deforestation, he said, continues to slowly erode the quality of
life in Thailand and affect the country’s stability. Hopefully, he said, the
new trees project will stop that.
Thai-built Toyota Camry Hybrid to power green industry campaign
When Toyota Motor Thailand’s all-new Camry hybrid sedan goes on sale
later this month it will mark a first for the Japanese automaker and a
milestone for the Thai government’s campaign to promote “green” industries.
Minister Chanchai Chairungruang gives thumbs up to the new Camry hybrid.
Unveiled June 26 at the Dusit Thani Hotel, the gasoline and electric-powered
Camry is the first hybrid that Toyota has built outside Japan and a key part
of its strategy to revive flagging auto sales in Thailand and Southeast
Asia. The company had suspended production of the petrol-only Camrys in
anticipation of the hybrid rollout and hopes to sell 1,000 of the new
vehicles a month.
The introduction of a locally built, environment-friendly car is also a
victory of sorts for the government. Industry Minister Chanchai
Chairungruang said at the Camry rollout that Thailand needs to cut it
dependence on oil if it hopes to stabilize and grow its economy. The
government is pushing industries to adopt green technologies, such as
biodiesel, natural gas and other alternative energy sources. A
more-concerted green-industry effort begins later this year, he said.
Toyota senior manager Wichain Emprasert said that while hybrid vehicles
previously have been significantly more expensive than their gas-powered
counterparts, this new version of the top-of-the-line Camry will be priced
at premium of only 100,000 baht over conventional models. Such pricing is
possible because the locally produced vehicles are subject to only a 10
percent excise tax versus the 35 percent levy imposed upon imported Camrys.
In addition, Toyota has made the vehicles more attractive by extending
standard warranties to five years from three, and by working with Thai
insurance companies to offer policies at the same premiums as those for
gasoline-powered cars. The standard 2.4-liter model will be priced at 1.78
Like all vehicle manufacturers, Toyota’s sales have fallen precipitously
during this year’s economic meltdown. Camry sales had been at about 1,500
units a month, but the carmaker is hoping for sales of just 700-1,000
hybrids a month with a goal that the new vehicle will comprise 60-70 percent
of all Camry sales by the end of 2010.
After the Thai rollout, the company plans to start exporting the new
Thai-built model - which sports a new grill, lights and a frame patterned on
the Australian Toyota Aurion - to other Southeast Asian countries.