Police chief tells tourists not to worry during visit to Russian Convenience Center

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Pattaya’s police chief painted a rosy picture of the city’s crime problem during a visit to the Russian Convenience Center in Jomtien Beach.

Col. Suwan Cheaonawinthawat asserted that no Russian organized crime gangs were operating in Pattaya and tried to convince tourists that bag-snatching problems in Naklua have been solved. Both comments echoed the optimistic claims of top police and political officials in a July 31 press conference blaming the media for the city’s crime-related image problem.

Suwan heard complaints from Russian tourists, translated by staff at the Jomtien Second Road center that opened July 17 to act as an intermediary to help Russians communicate with police and also to provide Russian-language tourist information.

Pol. Col. Suwan Chiewnawinthawat (right) and Pol. Lt. Col. Anek Srathongyuu listen to complaints from Russians at the Russian Convenience Center in Jomtien.Pol. Col. Suwan Chiewnawinthawat (right) and Pol. Lt. Col. Anek Srathongyuu listen to complaints from Russians at the Russian Convenience Center in Jomtien.

One burly tourist said he’d been mugged on Naklua Soi 12, but fought off his attacker.

Suwan informed the tourist that self-defense was not a criminal offense, but claimed him that police volunteers were now patrolling Naklua soi 12-16 and that “they have solved the issues there.” He also asserted bag snatching citywide had decreased.

No statistics were provided to back up the claims.

Another Russian man told the police chief that he feels he’d been cheated out of a 300,000 deposit on a condominium he’d rented. Suwan told the man to bring the contract and information to police headquarters for investigation.

In general, Suwan used his visit to try and sooth tensions of Russian visitors about recent media reports about mafia figures from their homeland operating freely in Pattaya. Suwan insisted that the Russian mafia was not operating in Pattaya.

“I have to thank those that have opened the Russian Convenience Center,” Suwan said. “Although there is a Russian consulate in Thailand, this center can deal with problems more urgently.”

The police chief asked the tourists to “have confidence that Thai police are ready to help and offer safety.”