Chonburi police commander Maj. Gen. Khatcha said the Pattaya area will be divided into zones to monitor, investigate and pursue suspects, focusing on drugs, human trafficking and other vices.
National Police Chief Adul Saengsingkaew (center), flanked by top deputies from Bangkok, top Chonburi police officials and Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome, orders nearly 600 area police officers to crack down on crime during the heart of Pattaya’s high-season.
Region 2 deputy police commander Maj. Gen. Sanchai Chai-amporn said Pattaya last year hosted 4.9 million tourists a year, 2.6 million of which were Russian. Tourists were involved in 79 criminal cases, 51 of which were inside Pattaya city limits. Most crimes consisted of jewelry snatches, with Wong Amat Beach showing the highest crime rate, with 17 percent of reported incidents. Most victims, he said, were Russians, as they now comprise 48 percent of Pattaya’s total tourist base.
The crackdown comes amid a flurry of high-profile crimes against Russians, including the Christmas night kidnapping and rape of two Russian women and the transvestite-involved drugging-robbery of a Russian man in Bang Saray.
Authorities said that during the initial holiday period, area police had arrested 153 people on drug charges, seized 7,226 methamphetamine tablets, 16.4 g. of crystal meth, and 155 g. of marijuana. Six cases of illegal firearms were closed, with 10 guns seized. Ten older cases were also closed with a total of 22 suspects.
Adul said that, from now on, officers will enforce a stricter rule in preventing and suppressing crimes in tourism areas in Pattaya by targeting crimes during the operation period in order to keep citizens and tourists safe.
Thailand’s Tourist Police are also stepping up action. On Jan. 7, Pattaya Tourist Police chief Col. Arun Promphan met with staff, immigration officials and advisors to map out coverage of tourist areas.
Advisor Gen. Wuthi Liptapanlop said most of the crimes against Russian tourists are occurring between 1-7 a.m. Thus, he said, police need to step up patrols and preventative efforts during the wee hours.