Top Chinese diplomat requests tourist-safety overview from Pattaya officials

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Following the rape of two Chinese tourists in Pattaya, Beijing’s No. 2 diplomat in Thailand called on Pattaya-area officials to get an overview of what is being done to protect the city’s largest tourist group.

Zhu Wei Thong, chargé d’affaires and consul general, joined Liew Kwang Zhen, secretary to the ambassador, in the Sept. 21 meeting with Chonburi Deputy Gov. Chawalit Saeng-Uthai, Banglamung District Chief Chakorn Kanjawattana and Pattaya Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh

(From 2nd left to 2nd right) Banglamung District Chief Chakorn Kanjawattana, Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh, Chonburi Deputy Governor Chaowalit Sang-U-Thai, China’s Chargé D’affaires and Consul General Zhu Wei Thong, Deputy Director General of Department of Tourism Phromchot Triwej, and Thai-Chinese Tourism Association President Thanarong Cheewansiri present a ceremonial key to the city.(From 2nd left to 2nd right) Banglamung District Chief Chakorn Kanjawattana, Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh, Chonburi Deputy Governor Chaowalit Sang-U-Thai, China’s Chargé D’affaires and Consul General Zhu Wei Thong, Deputy Director General of Department of Tourism Phromchot Triwej, and Thai-Chinese Tourism Association President Thanarong Cheewansiri present a ceremonial key to the city.

City officials explained Pattaya’s tourism-management system, noting the same system and measures applied to all tourists, regardless of nationality.

Ronakit outlined the five steps Pattaya has taken since last year, when a number of Chinese tourists were killed or hurt in marine accidents, including using buoys to delineate safe swimming zones.

Other measures include segmentation of Pattaya Bay for use by everything from jet skis to restaurant boats, traffic management for boats of all sizes, integration of public and private organizations to respond to marine emergencies, raising the awareness of the importance of safety among boat operators, and new regulations to require rescue equipment, life jackets and proper licenses and identification.

No mention was made of safety measures on land, including on Koh Larn, where two Chinese women allegedly were raped by two Thai speedboat operators Sept. 2.

Ronakit said Pattaya does its best for all tourists’ safety, particularly Chinese, who are the top ethnic group to visit Pattaya and now comprise more than one in every four tourists to visit Thailand.

Zhu Wei Thong acknowledged the work the city has been doing, and suggested the 1337 call center should include service in Chinese. He also suggested there be lines of communication opened with the Embassy of People’s Republic of China to provide help when needed.