50 homes damaged
in Sattahip flooding
A backhoe is enlisted to dig a drainage path to relieve
flooding in the area.
More than 50 homes were damaged when storm runoff unable
to drain due to blocked and broken pipes backed up on Sukhumvit Road.
Sattahip Mayor Narong Bunbancherdsri responded to the
flooding by getting a city backhoe to dig out a new drainage channel down an
alley off Sukhumvit at kilometer marker 172-173. A fire engine was also
enlisted to help clear the backup, but not before 50 houses between
Sukhumvit 32 and 37 were damaged.
The problem stems from uncompleted road work started by a
Sattahip Highway Department contractor who walked off the job months ago and
was never replaced. Drainage pipe in the middle of the road broke and was
dug up, blocking any more water from draining in that stretch of highway.
The latest episode and the Highway Department’s inaction
prompted a mass protest from nearby residents four days later. (See related
story this page.)
Torpol Wongkonngam said the officials have known for some
time about the flooding, which comes from water flowing out of the Khao Pet
garbage dump. Torpol said locals are afraid the runoff is contaminated.
Narong admitted the makeshift drainage channel is only a
temporary solution and promised that local officials will quickly pursue a
fed up with half-
completed road work
take to streets in protest
A Sattahip resident points to
uncompleted water-drainage work that was abandoned by contactors some time
Sattahip residents fed up with uncompleted water-drainage
work and new plans for even more pipeline digging took to the streets in
protest as public officials pointed fingers at each other to assign blame.
Both the Sattahip district chief and mayor turned out to
meet unhappy Taothan residents along a stretch of Sukhumvit Third Road July
9. Residents pointed to uprooted roadway that was abandoned by contactors
some time ago, job uncompleted. They also pointed out new white markings for
an expanded water-drainage system that encroached on their property, saying
new digging will not only be disruptive to lives and businesses, but likely
will cause expensive property damage.
District Chief Chaichan Iamcharoen and Mayor Narong
Bunbancherdsri took pains to assure people that Sattahip District was not to
blame for problems, as the residents assumed. The fault, they said, lies
with the Sattahip Highway Department which hired the departed contractor and
then did not find a replacement when crews walked off the job.
The two officials urged the protestors to go home and
reassemble peacefully for a hearing at which grievances could be aired and
Narong said the drain work was initiated to solve
persistent flooding in Taothan’s old market community, including the 700 Rai
Market. The highway department was asked again to quickly resolve the
problem so as to prevent further public uprisings.
Taothan residents meet with local government officials to
air their grievances.
at Conmart Burapha 2010
Unique high-tech gadgets, such as underwater cameras
built into snorkels and Internet radio USB dongles, are being showcased at
Conmart at Burapha University through July 18.
Conmart Events Director Chakrit Wongkaew shows off the
new snorkel camera.
The computer market and show offers shoppers deals on
tech gear and a chance to see some of the latest gadgetry, including the
snorkel camera - said to be the only model on sale in Thailand - which went
on auction starting at 1 baht.
Burapha Deputy Rector for Student Affairs Bunma Thaikao
said playing host to Conmart, which stages shows throughout Thailand, also
gives the school a chance to introduce students to new technology.
Conmart Events Director Chakrit Wongkaew agreed, saying
the products on show can stimulate learning and close the technology gap.
Among the new high-tech gear on offer was iRadioPop, an
Internet radio receiver and player that plugs into a computer’s USB port.
Also on show was a luminescent umbrella, Internet games and a device that
plays the sounds of nature.
Sales are still the heart of any Conmart, however, and
the Burapha event is also a chance for vendors to hawk cheap computers and
netbooks as well as legal versions of software programs from Microsoft and
Interior Ministry crafting development plan for eastern provinces
The Interior Ministry is looking at how to develop the
basic infrastructure of Chonburi and three other eastern provinces over the
next three decades.
Chanin Thiprat, inspector with the Department of Public
Works and City Planning, reiterates that the eastern region is important and
needs to be developed properly.
In a June 30 hearing at the A-One Royal Cruise Hotel in
Pattaya, Olan Sakyarojsakul, director of National and Regional Planning for
the Department of Public Works and City Planning, said the Eastern
Provincial Development Plan will cover Chonburi, Rayong, Chantaburi and Trat
and focus on basic infrastructure, transportation, the economy and land
usage over the next 30 years.
The initial session was aimed at getting a better
understanding of how local administrative organizations operate and to
brainstorm the scope, direction and methods for the development plan, which
will undergo a long drafting and public hearing cycle.
Olan said the department will be working through 2012 to
devise development plans for provinces around the country, each allowing
local governments to express their visions of the future.
Chanin Thiprat, an inspector for the Department of Public
Works and City Planning, said the eastern region is important due to its
logistics, industrial zoning and attraction as a tourist destination. Thus,
he said, a sustainable development plan is necessary for the economy and
development of the entire country.
New U.S. Consular fees
in effect starting July 13, 2010
A new fee schedule for consular services will take
effect July 13, 2010 at all U.S. Embassies and Consulates worldwide. The
new schedule includes higher fees for U.S. passports, Consular Reports
of Birth Abroad, and notarial services, as well as lower fees for some
services. It also introduces a fee for additional pages in U.S.
These changes are meant to ensure that the U.S.
Department of State recovers the true costs of consular services through
user fees as required by law.
The new fee schedule will cover actual operating
expenses for the 301 consular posts abroad, 23 domestic passport
agencies, and other centers that provide consular services to both U.S.
and foreign citizens.
For full details of the fee changes and a complete
list of the new fees, please visit http://travel.state.gov/news/news_5078.
html or the U.S. Embassy Bangkok’s website at: http://bangkok.usembassy.gov/071310_new_consular_fees.html
Provincial Police to enforce
quality of Chonburi motor fuels
Chonburi Police have
started a pilot program aimed at ensuring diesel, gasoline and other motor
fuels on sale are as advertised.
Fifty-four gas stations in Chonburi will participate in a
Provincial Police pilot program aimed at ensuring diesel, gasoline and other
motor fuels on sale are as advertised.
Pol. Col. Nathawat Tongbai, head of Region 2’s fuel
crimes department, said authorities are seeing an increasing number of cases
where petrol is mixed with solvents or unrefined oil to cut costs. Police
want to ensure the quality of motor fuels sold and stamp out such fraud.
At a July 1 meeting with service station operators at the
Thai Oil Club Building in Sriracha, Nathawat said bait-and-switch scams are
a result of petroleum-market speculation, which sometimes creates large gaps
in prices between different grades of fuel. When costs go up, unscrupulous
gas station owners try to make extra money by diluting their product or
illegally selling more-expensive unrefined oil directly to customers without
The Provincial Police’s pilot project includes giving
participating stations signs and decals indicating their fuels are pure and
quality-checked. If the program is successful, it will be expanded to the
eight provinces under Region 2’s jurisdiction.
Armed forces to co-train special units to combat terrorism, chemical attacks
Thailand’s armed forces are reaching across divisions to
jointly prepare for terrorism and a chemical-weapons attack.
Military specialists train to handle a chemical attack.
Director of the Royal Thai Navy’s Science Department Rear
Adm. ML Anunopanan Nawarat presided over the first training session June 30
at the Royal Thai Fleet shipyard in Samae San. Participating were units from
the Navy SEALs and naval ordnance, medical and science departments.
The training program, which will run throughout the year,
aims to coordinate terrorism-response training among the army, navy, air
force and marines. Respective departments in each service will work together
to improve medical response to chemical and biological attacks as well as
violent terrorist incidents.
Among the exercises will be simulated hostage takings on
an airliner at the Naval Aviation Division in the Pala District in Ban Chang
with “terrorists” taking hostages and using explosives and chemical weapons
as bargaining chips. A similar drill will test response to hostage taking on
a ship at Laem Chabang Port.
ML Anunopanan said other exchanges will see joint
training between special commando, explosives-disposal and mobile medical
teams from each branch.
Baywatch: Power pole problems
City workers rushed to right a toppled power pole after a
hit-and-run driver collided with it, causing concern for nearby residents.
The Banglamung District Provincial Electricity Authority
was called to Siam View Residence on Petchtrakul Road June 28 by locals
complaining about obstructed traffic and fearful that live electric wires
could cause injury.
No power lines were severed, although some telephone service was
disrupted. The pole was replaced within an hour.
Pattaya officials promise renovation for once-prized, now dilapidated, Youth Sports Center
Pattaya administrators survey Pattaya’s crumbling youth
Acknowledging that the Youth Sports Center they pushed to
build just four years ago has become a dilapidated embarrassment, Pattaya
officials have pledged to put some effort into renovating it.
Built on 12 rai off Thepprasit Road Soi 7, the center was
heralded as a valuable resource for area youths, but was quickly neglected
and now sports a football field covered in dead grass, a track-and-field
area that has collapsed and broken showers at the swimming pool.
Rattanachai Suthidaechanai, head of the Pattaya City
Council’s Tourism and Sports Committee, toured the center July with city
engineering and education bureaucrats to assess the facility’s decline.
Other than neglect and poor maintenance, the decline also
resulted from the fact the center was built on former swampland. As such,
the basketball, tennis, football and track areas were subject to sinking.
Rattanachai pledged to submit a report and budget request
to the full council so repairs can be made quickly.
Industry minister reiterates safety, environmental requirements for Maptaput projects
Continuing concern over the health of investment projects
in Rayong’s Maptaput industrial zone has prompted the Industry Ministry to
reiterate that every firm operating in the district must work to improve
safety and preserve the environment.
In a June 30 meeting at the Industrial Estate of Maptaput,
Industry Minister Chaiwut Bannawat received an update on work being done to
resolve environmental problems that prompted the landmark court decision to
halt 67 industrial-investment projects. Industrial Estate of Thailand
Director Montha Pranutnorapan said slow but steady progress is being made
and that the IEAT is working closely with business owners.
Montha said that while the court-ordered shutdown was
worrisome, as many foreign investors have threatened to divest from the area
unless the court ban is lifted, it will result in a cleaner industrial area.
She said a public-private joint committee has indentified 18 industries
Maptaput can pursue under the new standards.
Chaiwut applauded the progress, but said all Maptaput
businesses must adhere to three polices if they hope to gain court approval
to restart. First, companies must submit an additional safety and operations
audit. Second, their emergency response plans must be submitted for public
review. And finally, he said, all Maptaput plants must take part in a joint
pollution-reduction program in Rayong.
Doing so, the minister said, is the only way to create
trust with industrial-project investors.
In last week’s edition of Pattaya Mail we
inadvertently published that a parade and candle contest in the lead up to
Asalaha Bucha Day and Khao Pansaa would be held on June 20 & 21. The date
should have been July 20-21. Asalaha Bucha Day and Khao Pansaa this year
will be celebrated on July 26 & 27.
Immigration again arrests
Swedish fugitive banned
from Thailand in 2002
Sven “Tommy” Lindfors has been arrested
and is being sent
back to Sweden to face embezzlement charges.
A Finnish man wanted in Sweden for embezzling more than
46 million baht was arrested again in Pattaya where he had returned despite
being previously banned from Thailand for drug smuggling.
Sven “Tommy” Lindfors, 50, was taken into custody July 2
in front of the Angket Condominium in Jomtien Beach by Chonburi Immigration
Police. Immigration had black-listed him from Thailand in 2002 following his
arrest for smuggling 2 kg. of cocaine from the Netherlands.
Chonburi Immigration Superintendent Police Col. Athiwit
Kamonrat said the arrest came at the request of Interpol’s Nordic-region
offices. Lindfors is wanted for allegedly absconding with 10.3 million
Swedish krona that were supposed to be paid in taxes for firm Nyfors AB in
Lindfors had been working in Sweden after obtaining
citizenship and a passport there as part of his plan to return to Thailand,
where he has a wife living in Prachinburi. He also had several tattoos
removed, as they had been registered with Thai authorities.
With new passport and changed appearance, the accused
drug smuggler and embezzler successfully re-entered Thailand last year.
Chonburi police uproot major
ya ba ring, seize 146,800 tablets
Chonburi police bring out the arrested drug runners
the confiscated drugs to display to the media.
Chonburi police have uprooted a major methamphetamine
ring, arresting five people and seizing nearly 150,000 ya ba tablets.
Maj. Gen. Kittipong Ngaomuk, commander of the Region 2
Crime Investigation Division, July 1 announced the arrests of Worawut
Ketsaneeyabut and Sudaporn Maknak, both 25, along with three 17-year-old
alleged accomplices. The purported head of the operation, Chanwit
Hanchingchai, has reportedly fled to Chiang Rai or Myanmar, the source of
much of Thailand’s illegal methamphetamines.
The takedown of the Chonburi drug ring came as so many
do, with the sting arrest of a minor dealer. One of the teens was set up by
undercover officers seeking to buy 800 ya ba tablets June 28. Under
interrogation, the youth admitted that he had telephoned Chanwit in hiding
and the ringleader - wanted on an outstanding Chonburi Provincial Court
arrest warrant - called another Chonburi-based teen to supply the drugs.
The first youth helped police arrange another buy for
2,000 tablets and this time police apprehended the teen intermediary. During
his questioning, the second teen admitted to a large amount of ya ba being
kept at Worawut and Sudaporn’s homes.
Police seized both residences and turned up 144,000 ya ba
pills. The young snitches also disclosed that Worawut’s role in the drug
gang was to store product with a third teen assisting him. Sudaporn, they
added, supposedly moved drugs from the storehouses to teen front-line
All five have been charged with possession and intent to
distribute a Class 1 narcotic.
Drunken baht bus driver hits foreigner, launches tirade against police
The reputation of Pattaya’s notorious baht bus drivers
dropped yet another notch after one drunken driver assaulted a foreign
passenger and went on a tirade against Pattaya police officers trying to
Pattaya Police Deputy Superintendent Lt. Col. Kritsakorn
Thong-In and other officers and police volunteers were called to a Beach
Road taxi stand outside Central Festival Pattaya Beach around 1 a.m. July 5
after a foreign man called for help after being hit in the face by
38-year-old baht bus driver Apisit Wichai.
The victim declined to press charges against the
obviously drunk Banglamung man, but the irate driver refused to quiet down
and resisted attempts to take him to Pattaya Police Station. Shouting at the
officers, he pointed to the deputy superintendent and said senior police had
his back and threatened to have the arresting officers removed. He pushed
two volunteers before he was subdued.
Apisit was charged with resisting arrest, public
drunkenness, excessive force against police and causing a public
disturbance. However, the drunk driver refused to sign the charges and
attempted again to assault police and the media capturing the event.
He was then hauled off to a cell on the station’s top
floor, but fought back as officers tried to put him inside. Several police
and volunteers joined forces to plant Apisit in his cell to sleep it off.
Tourism Bureau hits road to promote MICE in Pattaya
The Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau is looking to
rebuild tourism to Pattaya by renewing its efforts to make the city a center
for meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions.
Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau Director Atthapon
Sorasuchat addresses a motivational meeting about MICE events for local
Bureau Director Atthapon Sorasuchat and Mayor Itthiphol
Kunplome hosted the MICE meeting for about 300 tourism-industry executives
at the Eastern National Indoor Stadium on Soi Chaiyapruek July 7.
Among the initiatives announced was launching a “road
show” to promote Pattaya as a MICE destination. In these desperately slow
tourist times, the TCEB’s theme has become “shift, create, modify and
change” the market and market perceptions of Pattaya.
The road show kicks off in Songkla Aug. 11 and will
travel to Chiang Mai Aug. 27. More than 1,000 people will participate in the
project, which will travel the country for five months. TCEB hopes to reach
five million people with its events.
Atthapon said keys to the strategy were not only to
highlight the obvious factors such as available rooms and meeting spaces,
but the entertainment options here for convention guests. Using local
products and expertise is also key.
Itthiphol said brainstorming sessions such as this
month’s meeting will help create a network among tourism professionals to
further promote the city as a MICE center.
Pattaya Grand Sales kicks off with discounts of 10-60%
Pattaya City is
promoting tourism through Pattaya Grand Sales discounts.
Hoping to lure back tourists with deep discounts, city
and business leaders launched another Pattaya Grand Sale on hotel rooms,
activities, dining and shopping.
Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome and representatives from the
Athletics Association of Thailand, Thai Beverage Co., the Eastern Thai
Hotels Association and Central Festival Pattaya Beach announced the program
June 30 at the beachfront shopping mall.
Hotel association president, Bundarik Kusolvitya said
inns and resorts are slashing prices up to 60 percent, offering rooms for as
low at 799 baht per night, up through 2,499 baht.
Many of the discounts require a Pattaya Grand Sales card,
which can be obtained free at participating merchants. The card will grant
discounts of 10-50 percent at restaurants, golf courses, stores and tourist
Cards can also be obtained online at Trip2Pattaya.com.
‘Sea, Sand & Sun’ festival not dampened by gray skies, rain
Pattaya’s “Sea, Sand and Sun” festival featured more rain
and grayer skies than hoped, but the Beach Road exhibition still managed to
bring out of some of the “color of the East.”
The Sanctuary of Truth entered the parade with one of the many beautiful
The event organized by the Tourism Authority of Thailand
to pump up tourism by highlighting products and culture of the four Eastern
Seaboard provinces played out along a soggy stretch of Beach Road July 1-4.
Chonburi Gov. Senee Jittakasem told the opening ceremony crowd at Soi 4 that
Pattaya is a great tourist destination for visitors of all ages.
Among the attractions were a “fruit and sea” show from
Rayong, a “Botany of Burapha” exhibit put on by Chantaburi and a “Blue Sea
and Heritage of Sunlight” from Trat. Chonburi’s contribution was a “Luxury
Red Carpet” for visitors. Other organizations held a water sports with
national team athletes and coaches.
TAT expected more than 300,000 people to pass through the
shopping tents and exhibits during the four-day period and generate more
than 1.6 billion baht in revenue for the city.
Chonburi Gov Senee Jittakasem (center) and governors from the Eastern
Region’s three other provinces (Rayong, Chantaburi and Trat), along with
government officials, staff, and entertainers announce the beginning of the