Gung Hei Fat Choi Year of the Tiger comes roaring in
Cultural shows, dragon parades, music highlight 3-day Chinese New Year celebration
Pattaya will host cultural
shows by performers from four mainland Chinese provinces and Taiwan for the
Chinese New Year celebration Feb. 14-16.
Performers from four Chinese provinces will highlight
Pattaya’s Chinese New Year celebration starting Sunday, February 14, a
three-day event the Tourism Authority of Thailand expects to generate 1
billion baht for the city.
TAT Pattaya Director Niti Kongkrut said hotel bookings are up 80 percent for
the Feb. 14-16 period, which will see not only the start of the “year of the
tiger,” but Valentine’s Day as well.
The “Fortune, Happiness and Complete Amusement” festival will see cultural
shows by performers from the Chinese provinces of Heilong Jiang, Zhejiang,
and Tibet, as well as a show from art students from Taiwan.
Festivities kick off at 9 a.m. on Sunday, the official Chinese New Year,
with a worship ceremony at the King Taksin the Great monument at Pattaya
City Hall followed by a parade from Lan Pho in Naklua at 10:30 a.m. Another
parade featuring traditional Chinese dragons and lions roars to life on
Walking Street at 6 p.m.
Events continue afterward at Bali Hai Pier, including a dragon and lion
dance show, lion and dragon fighting, fireworks and the spectacle of a
Chinese lion climbing 20 meters into the air. The highlight of the night’s
activities will be a show performed by students from Tianjin Common
University in Taiwan sponsored by the Sawang Boriboon Thamsathan Foundation
and a concert from the Brazia Band.
Shows begin again at 6 p.m. Monday at Bali Hai, which will see an “angel
blessing dance” show, kung-fu exhibition, and the Chinese Girl Pattaya 2010
pageant for kids ages 7-9. Winners will receive scholarships and trophies.
The night’s festivities will come to a close with a dance to honor the
Kuan-Im Goddess, cultural show from mainland Chinese performers and a
concert by “Rut the Star.”
The final day of the city’s Chinese New Year’s celebrations take place
Tuesday and feature music from the Chocolate Band at 6 p.m., the final round
of the girls’ pageant and cultural shows from Zhejiang and Tibet with a
farewell concert by the Klear Band.
Thailand hosts 6-nation military exercise
An AV-8B Harrier II hooks up
to the fuel line of a KC-130J tanker aircraft over U-Tapao during an aerial
refueling Feb. 4, part of the Cobra Gold 2010 exercises underway now
throughout Thailand. (Official photo by U.S. Army Spc. Lyndsey R. Dransfield)
Rayong (AP) - Thailand and the United States are
wrapping up their annual Cobra Gold military exercises, this year with South
Korea having taken part for the first time.
Singapore, Japan and Indonesia also participated in the three-week training
exercise, which the U.S. Army describes as the largest of its type in the
world. About 11,500 personnel, including 6,000 from the U.S., are taking
At the Monday, February 1 opening ceremony in Rayong, U.S. Ambassador Eric
G. John described Cobra Gold, now in its 29th year, as “an important symbol
of U.S. military commitment to maintaining peace and security in Asia.”
The core exercise focused on multilateral peacekeeping operations and
humanitarian and disaster responses.
Thailand Post opens
Floating Market branch
(L to R) Thailand Post Region
2 Director Pairat Sorot, Deputy Mayor Verawat Khakhay, Punsak Mahakam,
assistant to the president of Thailand Post Co., Ltd., parliamentary
candidate Chanyuth Hengtrakul, and Chalerm Ketjae, Chonburi administrative
counselor open the Pattaya Post Counter Service.
There’s yet another alternative to Pattaya’s main post offices after
Thailand Post Co. Ltd. opened a Postal Courier Service opposite the Four
Regions Floating Market.
Top city and postal service officials celebrated the opening of the new
service center Feb. 1, noting that Pattaya’s rapid growth is making using
only its Banglamung, Pattaya and Jomtien post offices increasingly
difficult. The new service center, which follows on one opened recently at
the Diana Inn Hotel, is meant to provide more convenient service to
residents and tourists.
The Postal Courier Service handles letters, parcels, domestic and
International EMS, online money orders, Logispost, stamp collections, Post
e-mart, souvenirs, and Pay at Post Services. It is open weekdays from 9 a.m.
until 5 p.m. and Saturday until noon.
City promises again to enforce 2008 beach chair vendor regulations
City officials, led by Deputy
Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh (center) meet with beach vendors, led by Panthawat
Pimsakul (2nd right), head of the Pattaya Beach Chair Umbrella Business
Association to enforce 2008 beach chair vendor regulations.
Officials are again promising to enforce limits on the number of
beach chair vendors on Pattaya Beach after admittedly failing to enforce
regulations enacted in 2008.
Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh led a team of city Engineering Department
officials on a tour of the North Pattaya beachfront Feb. 3 after the Pattaya
Beach Chair Umbrella Business Association called again to ask for rules to
establish how many vendors can work in the area and how much space they can
Chonburi provincial authorities laid out those rules - which state that
vendors can occupy only 55 percent of the sand so that public recreation
areas are preserved - but due to lax enforcement, unlicensed sellers have
joined established vendors in again taking over the beach and encroaching
into public areas.
Ronakit said the city will make a fresh effort to control the vendors’
activities, but made a concession to those near the Dusit Thani Pattaya
Hotel who’ve been impacted by beach erosion. The mayor said the vendors will
be allowed temporarily to occupy 56 percent of the beachfront until
improvements are made to restore the eroded sand.
Naklua’s Old Town market closed
Naklua’s Old Town market closed last Sunday after failing to
achieve the city’s goal of becoming a unique tourist attraction.
Mayor Wattana Chantanawaranon.
At a Jan. 28 meeting Deputy Mayor Wattana Chantanawaranon said after
finding initial success, the “walking street” project devolved into a
typical market selling typical items, rather than showcasing local
history and locally made items, as envisioned.
Phumpipat Kamolnat, secretary for Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome, added that
traffic problems and the market’s general location also proved to be too
much of a problem.
Old Town was a pet project of the mayor’s, who had hoped to spur a
rebirth of tourism to Naklua, which in recent years has become a quiet
bedroom community. But officials acknowledged this week that the walking
street was never organized well enough and that local residents
complained bitterly about the weekend traffic that clogged
Pattaya-Naklua Road since it opened in late November.
The city may still try to revive the project, but only after more study
into how to make the market unique and give visitors a taste for “old
Marine emergency medical
service to begin on Koh Larn
The National Institute of Emergency Medicine will establish its
first marine emergency medical service in Pattaya both to test its new
project and help the city avoid further deadly marine accidents.
At a Feb. 1 meeting with institute officials and representatives from
Pattaya and Koh Larn rescue organizations, boat operators and community
leaders, Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh said the pilot project, done in
cooperation with the Chonburi Public Health Office, calls for a new
medical base on the island to handle all the area’s marine-related
incidents. Final details still need to be worked out with various
agencies before it can begin operations, he added.
Pattaya City Council member Sanit Boonmachai noted that the current 1669
hotline is used only for land-based medical emergencies but proposed
that it temporarily also be used to report marine accidents. He also
said all boat operators need to know the new service is available.
“In most previous events it was found boat operators were the first
responders to an accident before medic units could arrive,” Sanit said.
“I propose the Chonburi Public Health Office send instructors to teach
these entrepreneurs proper first-responder rescue techniques.”
He also suggested that Pattaya fund or subsidize life-saving equipment
to be placed on rescue boats and ensure that private operators also have
first aid equipment and supplies on board.”
The new medical service is the latest step the city has taken in
response to several boat-related accidents since December that have
killed three people and injured more than four dozen.
Number of beach masseuses to be limited on Jomtien Beach
Aiming to cut down on how many times sun worshippers are pestered
for massages, Pattaya officials will limit the number of masseuses on
Jomtien Beach to two per plot, giving priority to Pattaya residents.
Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh announces the new beach masseuse regulations.
At a Jan. 28 meeting, Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh said currently there are
more masseuses than customers in Jomtien. Unless balance is restored, he
said, problems and complaints may ensue.
Pattaya will formally announce the new regulations Feb. 15-17. Currently
there are 457 managed plots in Jomtien. Only two masseuses will be allowed
to work each plot. The city has instructed a lawyer to draw up
qualifications and then prioritize vendors, giving Pattaya residents
Japanese firm studies technical, practical obstacles to wastewater recycling
Japanese engineers have begun studying how Pattaya can not only
safely use treated wastewater as a new raw water supply, but get the public
to support the idea.
Hanpol, head of the committee studying wastewater recycling.
As the latest step in the city’s water-treatment plant project funded
partially by Japan’s Ministry of Education and Technology, consultants from
engineering firm Nippon Koei Co. Ltd. were brought in to look at both the
technical and practical obstacles stopping the city from pumping treated
wastewater back into its main water-supply system.
Treating wastewater has been one of several options proposed in recent years
as booming Pattaya tourism has strained the water supply. Desalination,
another proposal, proved too expensive and, until recently, pipelines have
not been able to carry enough water from rivers and reservoirs to fill the
But while the technology has been in place to recycle wastewater back into
the raw water supply system, the public has opposed it, believing it is
Tanya Hanpol, head of the committee studying wastewater recycling, said the
city needs to educate and make the public understand that treated water
poses no threat.
Nippon Koei will study the safest, yet least-expensive, methods to begin
recycling wastewater and, if adopted, the new water source may actually
bring down the price of water in the region, executives said.
Soi dogs remain Pattaya’s unwelcome ambassadors
Pattaya Mail Team
Along with Walking Street and the beach, tourists often leave
Pattaya with another iconic memory of the city: the ubiquitous soi dog.
Despite efforts to round up and neuter its legions of stray canines, the
city has been unable to bid adieu to its smelly, scratchy, biting, pooping
ambassadors. The problem is new strays are born or abandoned faster than the
Public Heath Department can take them to shelters.
The Public Health Department will take another crack at limiting the stray
population starting Feb. 22 by offering free sterilization, rabies
vaccinations and flea and worm treatment at the Nong Yai Temple. The
services will be offered from 9 a.m. until noon through April 30. Owners
seeking sterilization for their dogs must ensure they receive no food or
water at least six hours before the injection.
Department head veterinarian Ronakorn Junjua said the city only picks up
about 15 dogs a month and that those left on the street continue to be a
source of complaints about digging through trash, barking, fighting, biting
humans and defecating. He blames locals for adopting cute little puppies,
then abandoning them once they grow up.
“When they don’t want to feed them anymore, they try to release them, which
results in the current non-stop increase of stray dogs,” Ronakorn said.
“Furthermore, stray dogs breed very quickly with one female dog giving birth
to five puppies or more on average each pregnancy.”
Adhering to their Buddhist beliefs, Thais generally won’t kill stray dogs as
is done in the west. Instead, they try to limit the population through
sterilization and kennels. Pattaya’s main shelter in Plutaluang can house
more than 1,000 strays, although there often is not enough food for all of
Currently the shelter has about 900 dogs and 63 cats on site with seven
caretakers and one veterinarian. They’re fed once a day with food coming
from both the city and private donations. But when it’s not enough,
caretakers must mix boiled rice into the bowls to be sure all the animals
can eat. About three or four dogs die of illness or old age each week, said
vet Paladol Multree.
Pattaya resident Arunee Fumfuang, owner of the PJ Food Shop in Naklua, said
she thinks owners need to take more responsibility for the dogs they have.
“We cannot kill strays as is done abroad due to our Buddhist religion,” she
said. “We can only ask that pet owners sterilize them and always take care
of them so they are not a burden on society.”
Stray dogs fill up the Animal
Shelter in Plutaluang.
Immigration to collect global arrest warrants in new online system
Thai Immigration officials plan to build an online information
network that will collect arrest warrants from around the world in hopes of
nabbing criminals hiding out in the Pattaya area.
Athiwit Kamolrat, superintendent at the Immigration Division in Chonburi
talks to reporters about the new Internet system.
At a Feb. 1 meeting at Immigration Division 3, Col. Athiwit Kamolrat, head
of the Chonburi Immigration Office, said immigration police are working with
the Suppression of Human and Child Trafficking, and Youth and Women’s
Protection divisions of the Royal Thai Police to tighten the noose on human
traffickers, pedophiles and international fugitives that often use Pattaya
as a base or hideout.
He said officials are currently closely monitoring Europeans from France,
Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, Switzerland and the United
Kingdom; Asians from Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore and
South Korea; as well as those from Russia and the United States for whether
they have entered Thailand legally, have obeyed the law and are not hiding
from authorities at home.
To boost their efforts, Athiwit said the Pattaya Immigration Office will
take the lead in setting up a “transitional crimes information center” which
will collect arrest warrants from around the global as well as extradition
requests received by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Pattaya is the lead area for the project, he said, as it is often a base for
illegal foreign operations and attracts gangs of human traffickers and those
seeking to work in prostitution.
Huay Yai police arrest 3 for
beating death of tattooed man
Huay Yai police have arrested three men for last month’s beating
death of a heavily tattooed man who’d taken money from one of the suspects
to buy a new pistol and returned with a borrowed shotgun.
Parinya Praothaisong, 18, and Cha-um Wirotrat, 44, confessed and re-enacted
the attack on 34-year-old Ban Suan resident Charoon Charungchatchawan, whose
body was found in a Khao Mai Kaew pineapple orchard Jan. 20.
Shortly after alleged accomplice Suthep Pitakyat, a 45-year-old Sriracha
shoe salesman, surrendered to police, but denied any role in the killing. He
was released on 300,000 baht bail.
Parinya told police Suthep had given the deceased 30,000 baht to purchase a
.38 caliber handgun for him but returned with an old shotgun and then evaded
questions about the delay in getting the pistol. Parinya said Suthep became
angry and cooked up a plan with the two other men to kill Charoon.
Parinya and Cha-um re-enacted the crime in which they lured Charoon into a
Chevrolet Colorado pickup truck and drove him to Khao Nguang Change in
Bankai, Rayong under the pretense they wanted him to beat up an enemy for
1,000 baht. But when Charoon exited the vehicle, the three men tried to
shoot him and, when they missed, set upon him with the butt of the pistol,
pick-ax and hoe.
Parinya said they left the body behind a rock and returned later with a box
and dumped Charoon in the pineapple field.
Police drag out confessed
murderers Parinya Praothaisong
and Cha-um Wirotrat for the press.
PEA equipment did kill elephant
Mahout receives salary, pursues claim
Workers from a private company
that an underground PEA rod connected to the lighting
and fan systems was indeed live and was pushing out about 200 volts.
A Najomtien elephant camp will continue to pay the salary of one of
its mahouts after the Provincial Electricity Authority was found responsible
for the electrocution death of his pachyderm.
Sangchan, a 50-year-old elephant, was killed Jan. 23 when it stepped on wet
earth carrying high-voltage current from a rod about three meters below
ground near Hern Najomtien Elephant Camp. Mahout Aouy Yuiram, 61, who also
felt the shock, was thrown when the beast collapsed and died.
Despite Aouy’s insistence the elephant died from electrical shock, PEA
officials denied responsibility, saying checks during dry-weather conditions
showed none of its wires, poles and grounds were discharging current
improperly. As a result, the elephant camp declined Aouy’s request for
continued salary payments. Aouy faced the prospect of suing the utility to
recover the 700,000 baht he still owed on his elephant.
But a private company brought in Feb. 1 determined that an underground PEA
rod connected to the lighting and fan systems was indeed live and was
pushing out about 200 volts. In the rain, the current reached the surface
soil and electrocuted the elephant.
Presented with the new evidence, elephant camp General Manager Ekachai
Kanchanapatarakul agreed to continue to pay Aouy while he pursues
compensation from PEA.
Alleged French pedophile arrested on pimping charges
Police have arrested a French national on charges he provided
underage boys for sex out of his Sunee Plaza bars.
bring in Andre Alexandre Janvier for questioning.
Andre Alexandre Janvier, 62, was taken into custody on seven arrest warrants
Jan. 30 by a team of officers from the Protection of Children and Women’s
Division, who were assisted by the head of Pattaya’s Child Protection and
Development Center. He was escorted to his Soi Buakhao residence, where
officers found evidence he’d been providing boys under age 15 for foreign
customers, including DVDs showing Janvier himself having sex with underage
In addition to the pimping charges, he was also charged with operating a bar
without a work permit and employing underage teens to work in that bar.
Authorities also discovered he had long overstayed his visa.
The long-running investigation was brought to a head after a young teenage
boy complained to child-welfare officials that he was being forced to engage
in sex for money with foreign customers in one of the Sunee Plaza bars.
Powerful tank shells found
near Sattahip market
Two powerful tank shells were found in a wooded area near Sattahip’s
700 Rai Market, but were destroyed by Royal Thai Navy officials before they
could do any harm.
experts inspect the scene before detonating two bombs.
Residents found the 3.5-inch rockets in an overgrown forest area about 200
meters from the busy market Jan. 28 and quickly alerted police, which
cordoned off the area and called in Navy armament officers.
Warrant Officer 1st Class Songklod Maneeruang said the two rockets had been
stolen by smugglers out of the Sattahip Naval Base. They are very powerful
and, had they exploded, could kill anyone within a 100 m. radius.
Italian arrested for
working without permit
Chonburi police arrested an Italian man at a Naklua restaurant for
working while his work permit application was still being processed.
Gregoris has been arrested for working without a permit, even though his
application was being processed.
A team of officers descended upon the Dela Luna Restaurant about 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 27 and arrested Alessandro Gregoris, 36, who they found sitting at a
computer inside the eatery.
Gregoris denied he was working, maintaining he was simply studying to
prepare for work later. He told officers he already held a non-immigrant
business visa and had applied for a work permit, which was still being
Immigration officials verified his story, but still charged him with working
without a work permit and will prosecute accordingly.
Brazen Russian-Turkish couple
face deportation for beach tryst
A Russian woman and Turkish man who brazenly carried on with their
sexual encounter on Pattaya Beach even after being discovered face
deportation and permanent blacklisting from re-entering Thailand.
Svetlana Guseva, 19, and Turk Helvaci Oglu Halil, 30, scramble to put their
clothes on when police arrive.
Police received a report around 5 a.m. Feb. 1 that the partially nude couple
were engaged in a tryst on a dimly lit beach near Bali Hai Pier and had
attracted a crowd of onlookers and media. Svetlana Guseva, 19, was seen
performing oral sex on Helvaci Oglu Halil, 30, until media arrived, when
they began cursing and throwing water at photographers.
Police arrested the pair, then fined them 1,000 baht before releasing them.
However, Immigration police are following up on the case and will most
likely deport the two and blacklist them, keeping them from re-entering the
Pattaya donates 1.3 million baht to Haiti quake victims
Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh
(center) and Jamroon Vitsavachaipan (left), president of the Pattaya
Business & Tourism Association help count the donations.
Two weeks of fundraising netted victims of the Haitian earthquake
more than 1.3 million baht in donations from Pattaya residents, tourists and
More than 743,000 baht was initially presented to relief organization
representatives on Channel 3 on Jan. 26. This was followed with another
fundraiser organized by the Pattaya Business & Tourism Association at
Central Festival Pattaya Beach.
That fundraiser, which featured shows, music and a charity screening of the
blockbuster film “2012,” raised an additional 367,198 baht, which was then
supplemented by Central Festival and private businesses with donations of
more than 213,000 baht.
The funds are being given to United Nations organizations involved with the
7,000 bikers expected for Burapa Bike Week 2010
More than 7,000 motorcycle enthusiasts are expected to roll into
Pattaya this weekend for the annual Burapa Bike Week.
Nikaji, president of the Burapa Motorcycle Club announces the annual Burapa
Bike Week takes place this weekend.
The event kicks off Feb. 12 with a charity ride through the streets of
Jomtien Beach and Pattaya. The “Riders for Peace” project also aims to raise
awareness about the importance of wearing helmets and promoting peace, unity
and friendship among Thai and foreign bikers.
Bike Week festivities continue through Feb. 13 at the Indoor Sports Arena.
Highlights include a stunt show, “para-moto,” or powered paraglider,
exhibition, Harley-Davidson vintage bike parade and music from legendary
Thai rockers Carabao, Lam Morrison and others. The show will finish with the
Ms. Motorcycle beauty contest and fireworks.
U.S. and Republic of Korea militaries bring smiles to Thai orphans
Service members of the U.S.
Army, Air Force and Republic of Korea Marine Corps and Navy eat lunch with
residents of the Mercy Center, an emergency center for small children who
are at risk of abuse. (Photo by U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Jovane M. Holland)
Story and photos by Lance Cpl. Jovane M. Holland,
USMC, Cobra Gold 10 Public Affairs
To the children exploring the halls and rough housing on the playground, the
Mercy Center is much more than just a location. It is a gift; a second
Established in 2000 by Fred and Dianne Doell with the support of the Victory
Family Church in Pattaya, the center serves as an emergency shelter for
small children who are orphans or at risk of direct abuse or severe neglect.
Cpl. Wonjin Baek of the Republic of Korea Navy, pushes a resident of the
Mercy Center on a swing during a joint military community relations project
Jan. 30. (Photo by U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Jovane M. Holland)
As a Humanitarian Civic Assistance (HCA) project, more than 30 U.S. Soldiers
and Airmen and Republic of South Korea marines and sailors visited the
center to play with the children, eat lunch and landscape the area.
“The U.S. military, every branch, has been volunteering at the center while
participating in Cobra Gold for more than five years,” Dianne Doell said.
“When the South Korean military asked to join them this year, we were
thrilled. We love what we do, but it can be hard, and all the volunteers
give us such encouragement with their service.”
Exercise Cobra Gold 2010 represents the first year of the Republic of South
Korea’s participation. Volunteering at the Mercy Center is one of several
HCA projects that are scheduled while the troops are in Thailand.
Sgt. Suhwan Lee, a scout leader with 6th Company, 22nd Battalion, said
volunteering was one of the most important responsibilities of the military
while participating in CG10.
“This day was good for us as well as the children,” Lee said. “This is a
great program. I think all of us felt excited and happy with how it went.”
Throughout the day, the 24 children of the center were all smiles as they
played soccer, basketball, swung on swings and had a water balloon fight
with the service members.
Although the children started out shy, by the end of the day both groups
“I had a blast with these kids,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Wesley
Sutton, a chaplain’s assistant assigned to the 15th Airlift Wing, based at
Hickam Air force Base, Hawaii. “The fact that they can play and show so much
life despite their situation is just amazing.”
“Despite the obvious language barrier between the children and the troops,
they understood each other perfectly,” said Dianne Doell.
“Love has its own language,” she said. “You don’t have to talk to, tickle or
play basketball. These children felt every volunteer open their heart to
give love, and they gave it right back. They were clearly on the same page.”