Red protesters march
through Pattaya in support of ousted government
Members of the National United Front for
Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) march in protest along the beach.
Dressed proudly in red, some 50 National United Front for Democracy
Against Dictatorship (UDD) members protested at Pattaya City Hall on
December 1, demanding increased security in the city and more support for
The protesters paraded on the main roads in Pattaya before traveling to city
hall to submit a letter to Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh stating their
The letter urged the city to show other countries that Pattaya remains a
safe place for tourists.
The leader of the group said that political protests by their political
opponents have significantly affected the country’s tourism image. Normally
this is tourism high season, but there are now only cancellations of
bookings which is badly affecting income and the city’s commerce.
They said they wished to express their support for the former Prime Minister
The demonstrators continued their march to Pattaya Beach, finishing up at
the Bangkok Bank. Alas, the protest was most likely in vain, as the
constitutional courts ruled against the ruling party (as reported last
Hajj pilgrims delayed by airport protest
Thai Muslims prepare to leave
Thai Muslim pilgrims from the south en route to Mecca for the annual
Hajj were delayed for three days by the closure of Suvarnabhumi Airport and
finally flew out from Utapao Airport on December 1.
The Middle Eastern airline that came to transport the 470 pilgrims tried
unsuccessfully to obtain permission to land at Suvarnabhumi Airport and was
diverted to land in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia instead.
The airline then obtained permission to land at Utapao Airport to pick up
The Iran Embassy lent a hand to help transport the Muslim pilgrims from
Bangkok to Utapao stopping to pray first at the Alhuda Mosque at Ban Taothan
in Sattahip. The embassy confirmed that the group would arrive in Mecca in
time for their pilgrimage.
Somwang Khamlee, chairman of the Chonburi Muslim Committee, led southern
Muslims on their circuitous route to the Hajj. Fifteen buses transported the
pilgrims and seven trucks were needed for their luggage from Suvarnabhumi to
Pilgrims rested and had dinner before at long last boarding their flight
City provides food and
drink to stranded tourists
Tourists may have been stranded but Pattaya City was doing its best
to make sure that they were not hungry as well by providing a free supply of
food and drink sets at Utapao International Airport.
Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh (right) and General Sophon Boonchom, Navy Flight
Commander at Utapao Airport discuss the crises on December 1, before the
national airports in Bangkok were reopened.
“No matter what crisis, Thai people are always generous,” said Deputy Mayor
Ronakit Ekasingh. The deputy mayor brought a group of people from local
tourism businesses to meet with General Sophon Boonchom, Navy Flight
Commander, to deliver food and beverage to the stranded tourists and airport
staff on December 1.
He said staff was still grappling with problems of location, equipment and
manpower. Much contribution has been made from volunteers and mobile toilets
were brought in.
Sets of food and drinks were being served twice a day. An idea was floated
to open the Pattaya indoor sports stadium to be used as a check-in point for
tourists, and 15 hotels served stranded tourists free of charge.
Ronakit said that the political crisis would surely affect the economy, and
much cooperation is needed to help the stranded visitors to show that Thais
are always helpful and generous.
Pattaya celebrates turning 30
With city hall’s King Taksin
monument standing proudly in the background, Mayor Itthipol Khunplome leads
city officials to pay their respects on Pattaya’s 30th anniversary.
Pattaya City officials paid respect to the Great King Taksin, who was
adopted and honored by the city as its founder, on the 30th anniversary of
Pattaya being established as a city.
On the anniversary day of November 29, Mayor Itthipol Khunplome, city
administrators, councilors, officials and employees assembled to pay their
respects to King Taksin at his monument in front of city hall.
As part of the proceedings, the mayor draped a garland of flowers on the
bust of Parinya Chaowalitthamrong who donated 10 rai of land for the
construction of city hall on November 28, 1980.
Then came the ceremony of worshipping the three gems and the prayers and
blessing of nine monks who accepted an offering food according to Buddhist
practice, followed by a Brahmin worship ceremony.
Our city came into being with the Pattaya City Administration Act of 1978.
Before that the area was known as Naklua Sanitation District, established in
1956, which was expanded to South Pattaya in 1964 with a manageable area of
22.2 square kilometers.
As the township grew and became a favorite tourist destination of Thais and
foreigners alike, the former sanitation district could not manage the
administration and services to keep pace with its growth. The government
issued the Pattaya City Administration Act of 1978, dissolving Naklua
Sanitation District and Pattaya City was born.
The city has been administered under a special autonomous system of city
management since November 29, 1978.
The Constitution for the Kingdom of Thailand B.E. 2540 required that local
administrator and the city council be elected. The Pattaya Regulations for
Administration Act B.E. 1979 was adopted on November 30, 1979 as the basis
for the current city governance.
Human Rights organization holds seminar on human trafficking
Expert speakers outlined the laws against human trafficking and
prostitution at a seminar organized by National Human Rights Protection
Committee at Pattaya City Hall on November 24.
Supapueng from the National Human Rights Committee talks about how laws
against human trafficking can be enforced.
Titled “Cooperation needed in the enforcement of laws against human
trafficking and prostitution in Pattaya City,” the seminar aimed at a
clearer understanding of the laws as they apply to governments, business
enterprises and the rights of individuals.
Specialized speakers were Pol. Lt-Col. Marut Kanchanakantakul, deputy
director of the Women and Children Protection Unit, Patcharee Naewpanit
from the Office of Women’s and Children’s Rights and Naiyana Supapueng
from the National Human Rights Protection Committee.
Naiyana said that currently there are many laws against human
trafficking and prostitution, specifying ways to deal with breaches of
This seminar was held in Pattaya because “there are so many services and
entertainment businesses that need to know how to protect workers
against abuse and exploitation.”
The National Human Rights Protection Committee is an organization that
promotes education and the understanding of human rights to protect
victims of human trafficking. It cooperated with the Service Workers in
Group (SWING) to organize this informative seminar where many
participants shared their ideas and experiences.
Airport crisis costs over 24 billion baht
The Ministry of Tourism and Sports estimated that the airport closures
cost to the government initially about 24 billion baht for emergency
relief to travelers and the immediate aftermath of the crisis.
Sasithara Pichaichannarong, permanent secretary of the Ministry of
Tourism and Sports, made the estimation as she visited Utapao
International Airport on December 5.
She said the crisis of the closure of the two main airports in Bangkok
taught important lessons and the ministry was gathering data and
problems for a report to the government.
Utapao Airport is resuming normal operations after the Suvarnabhumi and
Don Muang airports reopened for business on December 4.
In total Utapao was able to send 52,000 tourists back home during the
10-day crisis, handling 600 flights.
Sasithara said the government had to spend no less than 24.3 billion
baht to deal with the crisis to subsidize the costs of foreign tourists
stranded in Thailand and Thai tourists stranded abroad.
A budget of 20 billion baht was also made available for low-interest
loans to tourism businesses to see them through the disruptions.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has been directed to launch a
campaign to begin to revive Thailand’s tourism with a budget of 1.9
The Ministry of Tourism and Sports paid an additional 2.2 billion baht
for 350,000 stranded tourists occupying 120,000-150,000 hotel rooms from
November 25 to December 9.
There is a pool of 100 million baht for Thai tour companies to take care
of Thai tourist customers stranded abroad.
For Thai tourists traveling on their own the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
also has 100 million baht to take care of them and bring them home. The
Thai travelers are being repaid 2,000 baht per day per person for
expenses for food and accommodation.
During the crisis from November 26-December 3, 272 planes landed at
Utapao Airport with 28,787 passengers; 328 flights departed with 52,266
81 ordinations for royal birthday
81 men about to be ordained as
in honor of His Majesty the King’s 81st birthday.
Eighty-one men were ordained as monks to make merit for His Majesty
the King on his 81st birthday in an official ceremony at city hall on
Mayor Itthipol Khunplome lit candles and joss sticks as he chaired the
ordination in a head-shaving ceremony in front of the Great King Taksin
Monument, attended by officials and residents in a ceremony lasting from
On the same day the 81 men and their entourage walked in a procession
carrying their new monks’ robes, traveling from city hall to Beach Road then
to Walking Street and onto Pattaya 2nd Road, to the Dolphin Round-about,
ending at the Jittapawan College where students practice Dharma.
There were further ceremonies on December 8 and 9 with more ordinations, the
offering of alms of dry rice and food by temple goers.
The first day the ceremony began at Rungland Village in South Pattaya and
traveled to Chaimongkol Temple. On December 9 the procession traveled from
Pattaya School #3 to Lanpho Naklua.
According to Buddhist tradition, Thai men should become monks at least once
in their lives to make merit for themselves and their ancestors, and for the
81 men in the ceremony their ordination helped to commemorate the royal
birthday as well.
Man arrested with “ya ice” drug
Pattaya police arrested a volunteer tourist police officer who was
allegedly distributing “ya ice” and carrying two pistols. Police made the
arrest while Sommai Rangabpai, 47, of Pichit, waited in his pickup at a gas
station to sell the drug to his customers.
tourist police Sommai Rangabpai is arrested on drugs and guns charges.
Sommai was arrested when a team of police led by Pol. Col. Surayud
Sanguanpokai, Superintendent at the Pattaya Police Station, swooped on the
gas station at 12.30 a.m. on December 4.
Police said they seized two packets of ya ice pills (1.4 grams and 0.3
grams), a semi-automatic 9 mm Norinco pistol and a box full of 9 mm
The man was charged with illegal possession of a class 1 narcotic and
illegally carrying a pistol and ammunition in a public place.
Police said Sommai bought the drug from a woman named Ae in Pattaya then
divided it up for users who frequented entertainment establishments behind
Police were immediately following the leads revealed by this arrest.
Gang kills security
guard during bike theft
Police arrested three men for the murder of a security guard and for
stealing three motorcycles in Banglamung on December 3.
Police alleged that Tosawat, Witawat and Benjarong were part of a gang that
specialized in stealing powerful racing motorcycles and selling them in the
members reenact for police how they loaded the stolen motorcycles into their
They were caught in the parking lot of Robinson Sriracha when undercover
police masqueraded as buyers to meet them there.
Police alleged the three men cut their way through the fence into Bira
International Racing Circuit in Banglamung and brutally attacked security
guard Somchai Kaewsawang, 51, beating him about the head with a large
The guard was then tied up hand and feet and bundled back into his canvas
hammock where later he was found dead.
Police said the gang then loaded three large black Suzuki 1,000-cc
motorcycles valued at 800,000 baht onto their pickup truck and drove away.
Pol. Maj. Gen. Bandit Khunajak, commander in chief of the Chonburi Region,
said he had ordered a team of investigators to pursue the gang dealing in
the black market to sell and buy large motorcycles.
Undercover officers befriended groups of teenagers who knew about these
sales and purchase locations and contacted them to seek a large motorcycle
of make and model that were recently stolen from the race track.
After police received a reply from the suspected group residing in Sriracha
that they had this large motorcycle for sale, undercover officers went to
the Robinson’s Sriracha parking lot and collared the three gang members.
Police said Tosawat, the leader of the gang, had planned to steal from the
racing circuit because the gang was very familiar with it as one of their
fathers was a race organizer there.
After their arrests, police returned with the suspects to parking lot to
investigate further when angry relatives of the dead security guard struck
at the accused men, forcing a quick retreat for all back to the police
Arrests made in music
copyright extortion case
A former employee of a music copyright licensing company was
arrested and charged with extorting 20,000 baht from a Pattaya cafe owner
for allegedly breaching music copyright law in her shop.
video cameras record Watchara “Ad” Yensin collecting protection money from
Police hid to video the extortion attempt as evidence before arresting
Watchara “Ad” Yensin, 46, of Bangsue District in Bangkok, in a case that may
also have implications of police involvement at the Pattaya police station.
Police said cafe owner Ratree Chamwisaiphan, 32, of Khamyai Sub-district,
reported that on November 29 three men came into her shop, one of them
dressed in a police uniform.
Ratree said the men claimed that her shop was breaking music copyright that
their company was licensing.
She said Watchara and his group took her to the Pattaya Police Station and
went into the inquiry room where there were no police officers on duty.
There the group offered to close the case if she paid them 50,000 baht.
Ratree said she didn’t have the money and bargained for 20,000 baht.
Watchara refused and told her to borrow the money to pay this amount to
avoid being locked in a cell at the station and she would also receive a
free supplementary license so that no agents will bother her in future.
Ratree told them that she was short of money because her employee had just
stolen her purse with her credit card and ATM card in it.
She said Watchara then forced her to sell her one-baht-weight gold necklace
at a pawn shop for 10,000 baht with agreement to pay the balance in two
installments of 5,000 baht each later at her cafe.
Police said police officers hid a small video recorder in the cafe to video
Watchara arriving with two men to collect his 5,000 baht and pounced to
arrest the men.
According to police, Watchara said he had been laid off from a music
copyright company and had no idea of how to find other work. So he came to
Pattaya armed with an illegal power of attorney from his copyright licensing
company to arrest infringing businesses.
He said he used the fake document “to persuade some police officers to
cooperate in the arrests,” bringing shop owners to the Pattaya police
station to propose they pay for the charges to be dropped.
He said several victims had agreed to pay while he also was collecting
monthly protection money of 2,000-3,000 baht, making a good income.
Previously on November 19, some 200 cafe and bar owners protested in front
of the Pattaya police station against harassment and illegal arrests by
music licensing company representatives.
Man nabbed with pistol
Pattaya Police manning check point to block People’s Action for
Democracy (PAD) protesters from traveling to Bangkok arrested a motorcyclist
with a 9-mm automatic pistol.
Peumlarp is booked for carrying a firearm in public without proper
Police Major Wittaya Yuengyong and Police Sergeant Major Teerachai
Lawanakorn arrested Dan Peumlarp, 36, of Banglamung on his motorcycle
without a license plate at a checkpoint in front of Boonthavorn on Sukhumvit
Road in Banglamung.
Police found the pistol and ammunition in his backpack with the gun’s
registration papers stating the owner’s name of Manit Peumlarp, 44, of
The man testified that the pistol belonged to his sister which he found at
his place and was returning it to her house in Soi U-Mae in central Pattaya.
He said he had no intention of using the weapon.
Police charged Dan with carrying a firearm in public without proper