Drugs, crime top list of priorities for new mayor, residents say

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Drugs, crime and infrastructure top the list of issues Pattaya residents want to see resolved by whoever is elected mayor in this month’s city elections.

Residents interviewed May 24 said either Acting Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome or former city council candidate Udomsak Chuenkhruth need to complete the many unfinished projects started in the past four years, protect the image of Pattaya among international tourists and do more to curb drug use and violence.

Manop Chaiyapat (left) and friend Kraisorn Poto, a motorcycle taxi rider who works around the New Naklua market, want the mayor to seriously clear drugs off the street. Manop Chaiyapat (left) and friend Kraisorn Poto, a motorcycle taxi rider who works around the New Naklua market, want the mayor to seriously clear drugs off the street.

Itthiphol, representing the We Love Pattaya party, and Udomsak, representing the Freedom Party, will face off in elections June 17.

Sakhorn Puangkhum, 43, and Manop Chaiyapat, 24, said they want whoever is elected to take more interest in the cares of residents, especially the drug problem.

Drugs, Sakhorn said, is fueling crime against tourists, such as snatching of jewelry. That, she said, is destroying Pattaya’s image among tourists. Similarly, Sakhorn added, fun-toting motorbike gangs are becoming an increasing problem for both tourists and locals.

Samat Thumkhanon, a vendor selling thod-mun, expresses his views on problems in the market. Samat Thumkhanon, a vendor selling thod-mun, expresses his views on problems in the market.

Motorbikes are also part of the traffic problem that Manop sees as a major issue for the new mayor to tackle. Traffic continues to get worse, parking spaces on Beach Road are never sufficient and, he added, more needs to be done to increase the capacity of the city’s schools.

Somkuan Chumpakhong, 56, said she is generally happy with how the city is running, but would like the mayor to focus on expanding the market for retail goods.

Samat Thumkhanon, 40, however, said Itthiphol has started too many things already and not finished enough of them. If he is re-elected or someone new takes over, Samat said, the current unfinished projects – such as burned-out light bulbs, damaged roofs, Bali Hai Pier improvements and blocked storm-drainage pipes – should be finished first.