Maj. Gen. Sanit Mahataworn, installed by the National Council for Peace and Order shortly after the May 22 coup, and army Col. Prathuang Kaewthui of the 14th Military Circle in Chonburi, met with the Pattaya Business & Tourism Association July 16 at the Grand Sole Hotel to outline plans for stimulating the economy and regulating Pattaya.
(L to R) Sinchai Wattanasartsathorn, president of the Pattaya Business and Tourism Association; Pol. Maj. Gen. Sanit Mahataworn, acting commander of Region 2; and Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh - Pol. Maj. Gen. Sanit Mahataworn is insisting on officers enforcing the new “Return Happiness to citizens” policies.
Sanit said officers are aggressively working to increase convenience for citizens and tourists, although to get them working efficiently, he has disciplined a number of them.
“Pattaya is an important tourism destination that raises magnificent amounts of income for the country. Therefore, work done by police officers is vital to the solution,” Sanit said. “I insist that for everything, there are rules, regulations, and etiquette and wish for business operators and the public to believe in the efforts of the police as we do this. We want to do well and we want to create benefits and truly help citizens.”
With support from the Royal Thai Navy and Army, Pattaya police are working to eradicate crime in Pattaya, especially bag-snatch robberies and drugs. Sanit indicated little tolerance for anything but complete success.
“If there are policemen, there shouldn’t be any robberies,” Sanit told the PBTA. “The reason that robberies still exist is because police are lazy in their jobs.”
Sanit said he has tapped Pattaya deputy superintendent Lt. Col. Pairot Phetloi to lead the offensive against tourist-related crime and drug problems. He said he has requested the city be allocated an additional 3,000 drug-test kits to use at police checkpoints.
Drugs are the underlying problem behind crimes like bag-snatches, Sanit explained.
“The reason there is crime is that drugs are available to buy, but addicts have no money,” he said. “It’s a viral issue that needs to be resolved urgently because if they aren’t, other problems become more complicated.”
He said police have help on this issue from military personnel, which has made things a bit easier. “The police wholeheartedly express their gratitude to the military officers for their help,” Sanit said.
Prathuang said the 14th Military Circle is more than happy to assist all sectors whether it is patrolling in dangerous places, solving prostitution or drug issues, or regulating the city’s motorbike taxis. He said, so far, 901 of 10,835 taxi drivers have been registered.
PBTA board members applauded the police and military plans, but several times stressed concerns about parking problems which, despite the installation of bus stops and clearly marked “no parking” zones, remain just as problematic as ever.
Association President Sinchai Wattanasartsathorn told the board police can only do so much. The private sector also has a responsibility to help solve tourism issues.
That starts, Sinchai said, with tourism-related businesses not taking advantage of tourists. He urged business operators to put the greater needs of the city and industry before their own “selfish” concerns.