Mayor calls on police to solve jet ski, tourist-crime issues

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Provincial police acknowledge problems, offer no resolutions

Newly re-elected Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome launched his second term with a meeting with Pattaya police to resolve long-running issues threatening the safety of city residents and tourists.

The July 16 meeting with Region 2 deputy commander Col. Pisit Proirungroj, acting Pattaya Police Superintendent Col. Pantana Nutnarot and civil-defense volunteers reviewed problems frequently encountered by tourists, such as conflicts over rental cars, overcrowded baht buses, jet ski rip-offs, Beach Road prostitutes, and traffic.

Pol. Lt. Col. Kiattisak Srathongoil (left), Deputy Superintendent of Pattaya Police Crime Suppression Division tours the beach with Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh, choosing six spots for construction of new police boxes. Pol. Lt. Col. Kiattisak Srathongoil (left), Deputy Superintendent of Pattaya Police Crime Suppression Division tours the beach with Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh, choosing six spots for construction of new police boxes.

Itthiphol said city hall municipal officers divided into three zones would oversee some safety-enforcement measures while the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department had also zoned off the city to handle emergencies. Other city security officers are now being stationed at four points throughout Pattaya – Bali Hai Pier, Kraithing Lai, Wong Amat and Pratamnak Hill – the mayor said.

Pantana said he planned to boost security by increasing foot patrols along Pattaya Beach and Walking Street, using a new 3-meter-tall watch tower. “One of the things we had received from this measure was the increase in confidence among tourists touring Pattaya regarding their safety,” he said.

On other issues, Pisit said authorities are still mulling their options on how best to fix the many unresolved issues. He agreed jet ski scammers are a priority, but he offered no definitive plans to tackle them. He also tossed back to the city responsibility for hassles regarding car rental booths and street peddlers. Finally, the provincial police official claimed, Pattaya police were doing their best to control problems with traffic.

Itthiphol countered that the city faces legal obstacles to handling some of these problems alone. However, faced with no visible further support from Region 2 police, he said the city would continue studying the problems.

The mayor added that the city is upgrading its CCTV camera system and trimming trees on Beach Road to give petty criminals less cover. Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh has been placed in charge of security issues, he said. The deputy mayor subsequently toured the beach, choosing six spots for construction of new police boxes.

Pisit complained that he believed tourists don’t appreciate how far police are going to protect their safety and urged the mayor to work with the Tourism Authority of Thailand to increase good publicity on their behalf.