Pattaya pledges Walking Street vendor crackdown

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Pattaya authorities will ban street vendors on Walking Street after 7 p.m. and bring more security to Pratamnak Hill as part of efforts to boost tourist safety.

At a Sept. 21 meeting with officers from Pattaya Police, Tourist Police Division, and 14th Military Circle, City Councilman Anupong Bhudanawarut, chairman of the Administration of Peace Maintenance Committee said illegal vendors and low-hanging signs continue to be a problem on Walking Street.

He said vendors will be allowed to operate from 6-7 p.m. and then removed once the street is closed to traffic. No mention was made of what would occur after 3 a.m. when the nightlife district is taken over by food vendors once traffic resumes.

Col. Prasert Jaikla (left), Deputy Chief Staff of the 14th Military Circle, and City Councilman Anupong Bhudanawarut (right), chairman of the Administration of Peace Maintenance Committee, run a meeting to address ongoing security problems in Pattaya after dark.Col. Prasert Jaikla (left), Deputy Chief Staff of the 14th Military Circle, and City Councilman Anupong Bhudanawarut (right), chairman of the Administration of Peace Maintenance Committee, run a meeting to address ongoing security problems in Pattaya after dark.

He added that officials would again check to see that all signs were at least five meters off the ground to allow emergency vehicles to pass under them.

Finally, officials plan to crack down on illegal tour guides.

As for Pratamnak Hill and Big Buddha Hill, safety has become an increasing concern. Robberies of tourists, including two high-profile cases in the past year, have prompted calls for more security and lighting on the hill. Recent media reports also highlighted that parks on the scenic viewpoints are havens for homeless people and prostitutes.

Col. Prasert Jaikla, deputy chief of staff at the Chonburi army base, said previous efforts by the military to regulate street vendors on Pratamnak Hill have been ineffective, as they ran away once spotted only to return. However, he said, the army stands ready to assist if called.

Pol. Maj. Panjanon Wijitto, a Pattaya police inspector, said police will patrol Pratamnak parks after 10 p.m. when they close and evict anyone loitering there. He suggested imposing fines of 10,000 baht and up to five years in jail for loitering with intent to commit crimes.

Anupong worried tourists would run afoul of such harsh penalties and suggested that private security guard be hired instead.

He said more lighting will be installed, but admitted that lamps previously put in were stolen and sold.

Anupong said the city will work with other organizations to tackle the homeless problem there.