Nine in our Hearts events held to
honour HM the King
Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome leads
city workers in singing
the Royal Anthem and Sadudee Maharaja or “Tribute to the Great King.”
Nines are lucky in Thailand and to wish their beloved HM King good
fortune, people across the kingdom turned out at 9:09 a.m. on the ninth day
of this ninth month in the year 2009 to make merit and sing the royal
More than 300 people, led by Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome, turned out for the
event at the King Taksin Monument at City Hall as part of the Interior
Ministry’s “Nine in our Hearts” project, which is organizing this year’s
birthday celebration for the King on Dec. 5. People of all nationalities
started the day by making made merit and prayed at local temples, then
assembled to sing the Royal Anthem and Sadudee Maharaja “Tribute to the
The Royal Thai Navy also paid their respects with two events tied to the
“Nine in our Hearts” program.
About 1,000 military and government officials marked the auspicious date at
the Sattahip Navy base and at the Naval Recruitment Center about 4,500
people assembled to sing praises of HM King Bhumibol the Great.
In addition to the formal celebration, many Thais went to temples on
09/09/09 to light incense and pray for good fortune for HM the King and for
themselves. It also proved to be a popular day to give birth, with nine
mothers choosing to have nine babies at Bangkok Hospital Pattaya.
Buddhist relic donated
to Sattahip Naval Base
Buddhists at the Royal Thai Navy’s Sattahip Naval Base can now
worship a shrine holding a relic symbolizing their lord’s body thanks to a
donation from the Commission of Religion, Morals, Ethics, Arts and the
Adm. Sriwisut Ratarun, deputy commander in chief of the Sattahip Naval Base
leads a ceremony to place a highly revered Buddha relic in a shrine
(background) at the Royal Thai Navy’s Sattahip Naval Base.
The Buddha and Buddhist saint relic are intended for officers, soldiers,
employees and their families to worship at religious locations in Tung Prong
Village, the official housing complex for the base’s Industrial Department.
The relic on Sept. 7 was placed in a shrine donated by Samae San Temple
during a ceremony led by Vice Adm. Sriwisut Ratarun, deputy commander in
chief of the Sattahip Naval Base and attended by Wisatsutakorn, dean of
monks for Plutaluang District and abbot at Samae San Temple.
Sriwisut explained that the Buddha’s relic represents the body of the
Buddha. It is sacred for Buddhists around the world to worship and is
considered for those of high faith. Wherever it is invited to partake in a
ceremony, it does so as Buddha’s representative. Thus, for last week’s
installation ceremony, it was believed Buddha was in attendance.
Wisatsutakorn said the relic will help extend people’s beliefs and worship
habits to include asking for blessings, sustaining their lives and gathering
to support religious heritage for long life.
Buffalos again to race
in Chonburi Oct. 3
(L to R) Chonburi Mayor Sumana
Muthhakit, Witthaya Khunplome,
chief executive of the Chonburi Administration Organization, Deputy Governor
Songpol Champaphan, Niti Kongkrut, director of the TAT Pattaya office and
Chonburi MP Pramual Empia.
In Spain, they have the running of the bulls. In Chonburi, they race
The 138th edition of the exciting and often hilarious race highlights a
week-long festival running Sept. 28 to Oct. 4. Public and tourism officials
promised the Oct. 3 race itself will be even grander than previous years
with 300 entrants.
The event, which draws locals and tourists like flies on, well, a buffalo,
is a long-held tradition in the province. The races divide the buffalos into
three categories, small, medium and large. Additional fun activities will
include a Miss Country contest and a buffalo decoration contest where the
animals are judged on beauty and their costumes on creativity.
Other traditional games such as cow racing, lasso techniques, a tug-of-war,
an oiled post climbing contest (not for the buffalos) and a boxing contest
where the boxers are blind-folded will add to the gaiety.
This year’s festival also features a local-products market, folk song
contests, artists, singers, Thai country and pop music, a Buffalo Village,
farmer’s life village and a local sports competition. There will also be a
beauty contest and a folk music show performed by well-known artists.
Naklua eyes new market
in push to rebuild business
Many parts of Naklua are in
need of repair and development.
Officials are looking at redeveloping the Naklua Market area into a
local-products shopping area as part of plans to reinvigorate business in
the bedroom community by luring tourists looking for traditional
At a Sept. 10 meeting on building a long-lasting tourism industry in Naklua,
planners proposed refitting both sides of old Naklua Market for sub-district
businesses to sell their wares. The market would operate Saturday evening
and Sunday with each stand measuring 2.5 meters.
The theme would focus on traditional life in Naklua, emphasizing the area’s
fishing-industry history. It’s that type of theme, rather than the neon
lights and high rises of the rest of Pattaya, that can draw tourists to
Naklua and rebuild business in the sleep sub-district, officials said.
While it predates the Pattaya area to the south, Naklua in recent years has
become largely a residential area where few new businesses are opening and
more are relocating south. Community leaders see the sub-district’s seven
villages, including Koh Larn, as under-developed and want to spark new
interest in investment and business, particularly in the tourism industry.
A local planning committee is studying sites to open a new market, which is
considered the first step in the area’s redevelopment. But officials want to
see more attractions following the same traditional-life theme, to follow.
Companies want to put 2,010
women in bikinis on Pattaya
Beach for Guinness attempt
Pattaya Beach would be awash in a sea of bikinis if two private
companies hoping to break the world record for photographing the most
bikini-clad women get their way.
Rancham Chang Kid Co., Ltd. and I.C.C. International (Public) Co., Ltd.
are hoping to break the Guinness World Record set in the Russian beach
resort of Sochi in August 2008 where 1,923 women posed in red two-piece
suits for Cosmopolitan Russia magazine. For their event on Valentine’s
Day next year, the two companies want to put 2,010 ladies in swimsuits
on Pattaya Beach.
Mayor Verawat Khakhay proposed making the bikini event more modest.
Submitting his proposal Sept. 10 at a meeting at Pattaya City Hall,
Rancham Chang Kid account executive Nichapa Mahawanchal said the event
would not only put Pattaya at the top of the Guinness book’s list, but
fuel Pattaya tourism. The photo shoot would be only part of a three-day
festival marking both Valentine’s Day and Chinese New Year, which both
fall next year on Feb. 14.
The plan is to have 2,010 Thai and foreign women pay 250 baht each for a
gift bag containing a bikini valued at 1,500 baht. They’ll also receive
other prizes and get to attend a “thank you” party.
Deputy Mayor Verawat Khakhay accepted the petition, but noted that in a
country where Thai women are generally modest about beach attire, the
event may not be appropriate as planned. More discussion will be needed,
To qualify for the Guinness Book of World Records, the event must be
professionally photographed, which can be challenging, as the first
record setters in Australia’s Bondi Beach found out in 2007 when more
than 1,000 women pushed and shoved for places to pose. In 2008, Russian
women in formation finally managed to spell out “Cosmo” for an aerial
That leads to some logistical challenges. Not only did the organizing
companies not seem to know Russians broke the Australian record, they
also seemed oblivious that it must be photographed. Then there’s the
challenge of actually getting enough women to the beach. At a pre-Sochi
world-record attempt in England early last year, only 40 women turned up
when organizers were hoping for more than 1,000.
U-Tapao name change OK’d
Rear Adm. Surapong Aiyasanon
(left), deputy director, U-Tapao-Pattaya International Airport and delegates
called on Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome (right).
The Royal Thai Navy has given its blessing to changing the name of
Pattaya’s local airport to U-Tapao-Pattaya International Airport, but would
like the city to start paying to help improve the military-run facility.
Rear Adm. Surapong Aiyasanon, deputy director, U-Tapao-Pattaya International
Airport, said Sept. 3 the name change will become official once announced by
the Air Transport Department and submitted to the International Civil
At a meeting at Pattaya City Hall, Rear Adm. Surapong also called on Mayor
Itthiphol Kunplome to support the name change and planned upgrades to the
airport with a new budget that will supplement funds the Navy is already
contributing. Specifically, the admiral wants the city to pay for new signs,
landscape improvements and a railroad station that would connect Pattaya
with the airport about a 45-minute drive outside the city.
In return, the Defense Ministry has added Itthiphol to the airport’s board
The government plans to transform U-Tapao into a modern international air
hub with a 995 million baht project that includes 700 million baht for
construction of a 25,200 sq. meter passenger terminal capable of handling
1,500 passengers per hour. Also planned are new parking facilities, fuel
depot, fire-fighting systems, x-ray machines and improvements to other
equipment and landscaping.
Rear Adm. Surapong now has added a mass-transit link to that list, saying
the airport’s proximity to rail lines make train service a natural choice
for easy access from Pattaya. However, he said, more funds are needed to not
only improve the railway, but construct a terminal as well.
Mayor Itthiphol applauded approval of the name change, saying it will help
draw more foreign visitors to Pattaya. In an effort to do just that, airport
executives on Sept. 13 planned to start promoting the facility and its new
name to airlines.
Bay Watch: Watch your step
Pedestrians crossing the road near the Park Hotel
in Central Pattaya need to watch where they’re walking or risk falling into
a hole 80cm wide and a meter long. There are no signs to mark the pothole,
just a wooden stick marking the spot. Hopefully Pattaya road workers will
get to it before someone falls in. (Story by Sawittree Namwiwatsuk)
Teens hooked on video games steal handbag from tourist
Two teenage boys who needed money to play computer games have been
arrested for stealing a handbag from a Belgian man drinking at a Sunee Plaza
tracked down and arrested the thieves.
Alberg Vanhove, 56, was drinking at a bar around 4 a.m. when two lads rushed
in and stole his bag containing 1,260 baht then ran away. Police soon found
the bag inside a nearby abandoned building and the young robbers not far
“Nok,” 14, and “Mack,” 15, admitted to police they’re both addicted to video
games and needed money to get their latest virtual fix.
Iranian couple’s less-than-private
beach romp makes worldwide news
An Iranian couple’s private Pattaya holiday became worldwide news
after the pair was arrested for doing the horizontal mambo on Jomtien Beach.
Hashom Abdli and Margam Ziyace were unaware it was illegal to have sex on
The couple from the strict Islamic republic - Hashom Abdli, 28, and Margam
Ziyace, 25 - were caught in the act just before dawn on September 4 by a
police officer who noticed a crowd cheering and taking videos of something
on the beach. The two were drunk on vodka, they said, and were unaware it
was illegal to have sex in public.
They were charged with public indecency and fined 500 baht.
The 20-minute romp - certainly not the first public lovemaking to grace
Pattaya this year - made news on every continent due to Iran’s strict social
laws. The video soon made the internet and some websites that published the
story quickly found themselves victims of angry Iranian hackers who
dismissed the entire episode as a pack of lies.
Short-circuit causes house fire
A short-circuit is being blamed for a fire that destroyed a Soi Khao
Talo home Sept. 5. No one was injured.
called to the scene attempt to douse the flames.
Authorities were alerted to the blaze around 4:50 a.m. and arrived to find
the two-storey Eakmongkol Village home fully engulfed. Five engine companies
took 30 minutes to extinguish the blaze, which reduced most of the home to
ashes with damages estimated at 100,000 baht.
Homeowner Suriyan Nuchphong, 29, said he and his girlfriend were sleeping
when they were awakened by yelling neighbors to the smell of smoke. He said
he made an attempt to douse the flames, but the fire spread too quickly.
Investigators determined the fire was likely caused by short-circuit in an
Suspected drug dealer, murderer finally nabbed in Banglamung
The beating and tortured
victim points to the alleged aggressors.
After escaping numerous police raids, an alleged major drug dealer
who also shot, killed and tortured several people is finally behind bars
after a joint operation between Banglamung and Samut Sakorn police.
Nakapol Charoonkitthawee, 31 - also known as “Aie Pop” - was taken into
custody after a tense, two-hour standoff with police during which the
Bangkok resident repeatedly threatened to kill himself.
Nakapol was wanted for allegedly killing two people and shooting two others
in May, as well as numerous drug charges stemming from activities in central
and eastern Thailand. Kidnapping and assault charges were also added when,
during the raid on Nakapol’s Pattaya residence, police discovered a
handcuffed 23-year-old woman who had obviously been beaten and, she claimed,
tortured with electrical shocks. Police said he’s also suspected in the
murders of three others.
The joint operation saw more than 20 officers descend on the Takientia
Sub-district house where Nakapol - believed to be taking refuge with the
help of local gangland pub owners - and five others were using the crystal
methamphetamine known as “ya ice.” Doing as he’d done numerous times before,
Nakapol fled, but only got as far as an attic where he pointed a .38-caliber
pistol at his head promising to kill himself if not set free.
It took two hours to talk the suspect down, after which police seized the
handgun, a 11mm machine gun, two BMW sedans, 20 license plates, ammunition,
under a gram of ya ice, and various paraphernalia.
Police search for habitual
gambler who beat, gagged,
and chained up girlfriend
Police are searching for an unemployed Thai man who beat, gagged and
chained up his girlfriend to prevent her from leaving him and taking his
source of funds to continue gambling.
and volunteers use bolt cutters to unchain Kankanit Phathippathi.
Banglamung investigators Sept. 11 prepared an arrest warrant for 28-year-old
Jatupol Tongjatu, a former Fuji Japanese restaurant employee who now spends
his days gambling away money his girlfriend, 34-year-old Kankanit
Phathippathi, earns working in a Japanese/Korean karaoke bar.
Neighbors responding to Kankanit’s calls for help found her Sept. 9 bound
with a meter-long steel chain inside the couple’s Soi 999 residence. She was
badly bruised and was exhausted from not having eaten in two days.
The woman told police she’d been tied up since Sept. 7 when Jatupol, who’d
she’d been arguing with for about two weeks, said he wanted to meet her at
home to sort out their differences. When she arrived, however, the Buriram
native threw her to the floor, tied her wrists and ankles, gagged her and
then dragged her across the room and beat her. She said he then threatened
to slash her face with a knife, poured cold water on her and left.
He returned shortly with the chain and bound her to a door, threatening to
kill her if she tried to escape. He took 3,000 baht from her and left again.
Kankanit later managed to uncover her mouth and shouted for help.
Pol. Lt. Col. Supachat Piammanat, deputy superintendent for the Banglamung
Police Station, said he’d spoken via telephone with Jatupol, who confessed
to his actions, but tried to justify them by saying he still loved the woman
and was afraid she’d leave him. He promised to come to the police station to
make a statement, but never showed. As a result, police prepared the
Kankanit and Jatupol’s live-in relationship had hit the rocks since he left
his job and began to use more and more of her money to satisfy his gambling
habit, she told police.
Two weeks ago, she’d stabbed Jatupol, which required him to get 40 stitches,
and smashed up his sister’s motorbike; it was then she said she wanted to
break up with him. In retaliation, the man allegedly took another woman back
to their apartment who used Kankanit’s property, causing another fight. Her
final beating and imprisonment was apparently the last straw.