Chonburi’s governor arrests Boutique Hotel owner

Friday, 25 July 2014 From Issue Vol. XXII No. 30 By  Boonlua Chatree

It was more than a bit unusual when Chonburi’s governor accompanied Pattaya police last week to make an arrest. But Alongkorn Saewang was not your usual suspect.

The owner of the Boutique Hotel in South Pattaya, Alongkorn has made a fool of Pattaya and Chonburi officials for more than two years, building unpermitted additions to the Boutique Hotel and ignoring orders to remove them. After breaking his latest promise to remove three illegal floors, Gov. Khomsan Ekachai had had enough.

Alongkorn Saewang, owner of the Boutique Hotel in South Pattaya, was arrested July 16 for ignoring city orders to demolish an illegal building addition.Alongkorn Saewang, owner of the Boutique Hotel in South Pattaya, was arrested July 16 for ignoring city orders to demolish an illegal building addition.

Arrest warrant in hand, he and Pattaya police chief Col. Supathee Boomerang arrested the Bangkok resident July 16.

The arrest came exactly 90 days after Alongkorn was ordered to remove the top three floors of the Boutique because they were built without permission and without safety checks. At the time, Pattaya officials said they’d demolish the floors themselves, but Alongkorn pleaded with authorities to let him do it himself. Even though authorities had heeded such pleas before only to see Alongkorn do nothing, they gave him 90 days.

Unsurprisingly, 90 days later no work had been done and Khomsan had him arrested, calling it proof that people cannot flout the law perpetually without paying the price.

The Boutique drama has been playing out since 2012, when Alongkorn started building a seven-story hotel annex directly next door. He never obtained any permits for the building and the city issued two stop-work orders, which were simply ignored. In January 2013, the Engineering Department condemned both buildings of the hotel, ordering Alongkorn to demolish the annex within 60 days. Not only was that order ignored, but construction continued as before.

In July last year, exasperated Pattaya officials investigating complaints of wastewater releases discovered work was still proceeding on the condemned building. They ordered city workers to demolish the structure, but gave in to Alongkorn’s pleas for time to do the work himself. Ninety days was given, and wasted.

In November, the city lost patience and sent workers to demolish the structure. Cheered on by area residents and business owners, Banglamung District workers backed by 50 police officers began dismantling the Boutique room by room.

Official have been after Alongkorn Saewang for not demolishing this addition illegally added to the top of the Boutique Hotel in South Pattaya.Official have been after Alongkorn Saewang for not demolishing this addition illegally added to the top of the Boutique Hotel in South Pattaya.

In May, city officials took aim at the illegal floors added to the main building. Banglamung District Chief Sakchai Taengho and Pattaya Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh led a team of city engineers in an inspection of the hotel on Soi VC May 15, a day after Pattaya Business & Tourism Association President Sinchai Wattanasartsathorn complained about the Boutique’s continued defiance of government orders.

“The building has persisted as a problem for years,” Sinchai said. “We fear for the safety of customers. Therefore, the business sector requests the district to take serious action to inspect and remove the floors, which could collapse, seriously damaging Pattaya’s tourism industry.”

The snap inspection May 15 revealed that the hotel’s bottom floors were still open for business and Banglamung Permanent Secretary Praphan Pathumchomp ordered the arrest of two Boutique managers under the Hotel Act of 2004 for operating without proper permits.

Pattaya officials now have the option to demolish the Boutique itself. No word was given on if or when that might occur.

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