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 CURRENT ISSUE  VOL.XXIV No. 15 Friday
 Friday April 8 - April 14, 2016
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Graffiti artists turn abandoned building into work of art

More than 120 graffiti artists from Thailand, China, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Cambodia, Philippines, Australia, Ukraine, Poland, Switzerland, France, Italy, Spain, the US, and UK showed off their craft legally during the “Meeting of Styles” competition at the abandoned Batman disco in Pattaya.

Jetsada Homklin
Graffiti artists showed off their craft legally at the “Meeting of Styles” competition at the abandoned Batman disco in Pattaya.
The March 26-27 “Unconditional Freedom Pattaya” event aimed to find space for graffiti artists to meet while bringing new artists into the scene.

Kittipong Kamsart ‘Em-Buddha Bless’ and friends encourage more people to engage in this form of art.

More than 120 artists from Thailand, China, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Cambodia, Philippines, Australia, Ukraine, Poland, Switzerland, France, Italy, Spain, the US, and UK joined in the event.
Kittipong “Em-Buddha Bless” Kamsart also took part, revealing that he would like to encourage people to be interested in wall art as it is accepted across the world. He hoped that annual events like this, the third held in Thailand, would dispel the negative attitudes about graffiti.
Organizers set up booths, put on deejay shows and other exhibitions around the old building, which has been vacant for a decade. It was seen as an event that will continue to generate positive tourism for the city.
Meeting of Styles is a non-profit network of graffiti artists and people admiring street arts. It aims to create spaces to exchange ideas, works, skills, and promote cultural exchange.


City and Marine Department prepare for Songkran sea rescues

Tens of thousands of tourists are expected to be using the Bali Hai pier during the Songkran period.

Jetsada Homklin

The annual Songkran festival, which heralds the traditional beginning of the Thai New Year, begins next week throughout the country. The 5-day holiday begins Wednesday, April 13 and runs through Sunday, April 17, when local celebrations take over, with Wan Lai on April 18 in Naklua and April 19 in Pattaya. From April 13 - 15, nationwide most banks and government offices will be closed. Many currency exchange booths, however, will remain open.

Songkran is less than a week away and although Thailand is suffering its worst drought in 20 years, the city will be drenched in water and the streets and beaches filled with tourists.
The city and the Marine Department met March 29 to plan sea rescue scenarios and preparation. Patrol boats will be deployed and first aid and security stations set up during April 18-19, the ‘Wan Lai’ or Songkran days for Naklua, Jomtien Beach and Pattaya City.
Marine officials also began inspecting boats to be sure they had signs showing the maximum number of passengers allowed and that all boats had adequate numbers of life vests.
Boat captains were warned to avoid any drugs or alcohol and keep abreast of reports from the Meteorological Department regarding storms and high seas.
Officers also will patrol piers and beaches to prevent unrest and security cameras will be monitored in real time.


Lower motorcycle taxi fares go into effect, likely ignored again by Pattaya drivers

Motorcycle taxi drivers on Thepprasit Road show willingness to charge legal fares.

Jetsada Homklin
For nearly two years, Pattaya area officials have pledged to reorganize the city’s motorcycle taxis and force them to charge legal rates. With zero enforcement of such announcements, the pledge on rates has been only hot air.
With publication of new, nationwide motorcycle taxi rates in the Royal Gazette March 24, Pattaya officials are claiming they again will try to bring down motorcycle taxi fares in Pattaya, which run at least twice the price of Bangkok, where the majority of service providers charge legal rates.
According to the Transport Ministry, a fare is 5 baht per kilometer for the first five kilometers. That would put a taxi ride from one end of Beach Road to the other at 15-20 baht.
Pattaya drivers, however, refuse to go anywhere for less than 40 baht and would demand a fare of 60 baht from the Dusit Thani Hotel to Walking Street.
Legally, the fares after the first five kilometers are capped at 10 baht for kilometer. Only after 15 kilometers does a fare become negotiable.
One driver in the Thepprasit Road area claims he has been negatively impacted by the new rates. He said he normally earned 300-500 baht per day.
He complained about the cost of gasoline – which is lower than it has been in years – and other cost of living expenses and argued that tourists and locals should be aware of his hardship and consider that when paying his fare.


380 naval cadets become monks

Soldiers receive their saffron robes from the revered abbot before being ordained as monks.

Nearly 400 navy cadets were temporarily ordained as monks in order to pay respect to Their Majesties the King and Queen.
Somdej Phutthachinnawong, abbot of Wat Phitchayatikaram Temple and the central region chief monk, led the ceremony to ordain 380 Naval Rating School cadets now in their second year at the Chumphon Royal Naval Academy March 27.
Their monkhood lasted through April 2. During that time, they resided at the dharma practice center in Nakhon Ratchasima.
Navy officials said the cadets graduating their courses and about to serve in the navy should have education in the morals, ethics and loyalty of Buddhism.
Such training would help them in maintaining loyalty toward the nation, religion and monarchy, they said.


Chonburi governor tells big Pattaya businesses to share wealth

Governor Komsan Eakchai urges big business sectors to join and support private sectors.

Jetsada Homklin
Chonburi Gov. Khomsan Ekachai urged Pattaya business leaders to collaborate with street vendors to boost the economy.
“If all sectors collaborate and help one another generate income, the community will eventually be a better place to live for all,” Khomsan told the Pattaya Business & Tourism Association at its March 30 meeting at the Green Park Hotel.
“Pattaya is a well-known city and has the biggest port in the country nearby. It is also recognized as an all-around tourism destination that has attracted millions of tourists on a yearly basis. The majority of tourists should be redirected to cultural attractions.
“The main point is to look after the residents as well, in terms of their well-being and making sure that they are occupied, and generating some income from tourists in accordance to their strength and marketing. The less fortunate will then be able to raise their family and live a better life as well’.
The governor’s comments come following complaints from street vendors and individual merchants that they were missing out on revenue from large Chinese tour groups, who book with major agents that have made hotels and big restaurants and malls the only ones to benefit from the tourism boom.


TAT pushes bike route, Thai visitors in 2016 tourism plan

TAT Pattaya Director Suladda Sarutilavan (2nd left) asserts that a bike route would be good for Pattaya eco-tourism.

Keng Na Songkhla
The Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration pushed for its 40-kilometere bike route from Pattaya to Big Buddha Hill to be included in this year’s tourism marketing plan for the city.
At a March 30 meeting held at Green Park Resort, Tourism Authority of Thailand Pattaya office Director Suladda Sarutilavan said the Siricharoenwat Forest Project is a selling point for international tourists, but the agency will be focusing a lot of its marketing for Pattaya on the Thai domestic market.
DASTA officials, who are directing a sustainable-tourism drive for Pattaya and all its surrounding sub-districts, showed off its project, saying the area was beautiful and has been popular among eco-tourists and exercise enthusiasts.
Suladda said the domestic section of the 2016 marketing plan will target Thai tourists from Issan and the North, hyping Pattaya as a family getaway.
The agency also will push Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions venues with businesses in Udon Thani, Khon Kaen, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai.
She noted the international market remains important and said TAT will exhibit at the ITB travel show in Germany and stump all around the Southeast Asian region and India.


Officials again promising upgrade of Pattaya Youth Sports Center

Praiwan Arromchuen, President of Sports and Recreation commission, Pattaya City Council, chaired the meeting with the relevant sectors.

Jetsada Homklin
As seems to happen every several years, Pattaya officials are again promising to repair and upgrade the city’s long-neglected Youth Sports Center after another round of complaints about dilapidated facilities, broken equipment and flooding.
Chairing an April 1 Sports and Recreation Committee meeting, Councilman Praiwan Arromchuen said fellow council members and engineers would survey the situation at the 12-rai complex off Thepprasit Soi 4 to validate the complaints for themselves.
At the meeting, city engineering staffers said that the center is located in a low-lying area and the construction of high rise condominiums around it have added to flooding problems, as all the buildings had their foundations raised.
Now storm runoff flows into the youth center’s fields and pools there, rending the facility useless for days.
Built in 2006, the center was heralded as a valuable resource for area youths, but was quickly neglected. In July 2010, city council officials toured the site to find a football field covered in dead grass, a track-and-field area that had collapsed and broken showers at the swimming pool. The politicians pledged to submit a report and budget request so repairs can be made quickly.
In January 2013, Praiwan said the field was still often used for non-sporting events, leaving it in need of restoration. Furthermore, he called for construction of a hostel to house athletes staying in Pattaya for youth-sports events and for various areas within the center to be brought up to an acceptable standard.
None of that has happened.
But on April 5 he and other officials were scheduled to be back there again, surveying the decay and promising yet another budget request to make the now 10-year-old center more than that “dilapidated embarrassment” Praiwan called it in 2010.


Nongprue officials briefed on junta’s ‘clean and orderly’ law

Tripob Booncheuy speaks to Nongprue officials on preserving order in our communities.

Jetsada Homklin
About 80 Nongprue area officials, regulatory officers and community leaders learned the specifics of the junta’s Maintaining Cleanliness and Good Order law to educate them on keep streets clean and sidewalks clear.
Tripob Booncheuy, a regulatory enforcement officer from Bangkok’s Huai Khwang District, spoke to managers, law enforcement and community representatives at the sub-district municipal hall March 29.
The 62-section law enacted after the military regime took power in 2014 covers all things related to building exteriors, garbage, sidewalks and streets. It has been used widely by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration to evict street vendors in the Sukhumvit and Silom areas and close down ad hoc markets across the city to “preserve order” and the beauty of the areas.
Nongprue locals were told that, among other things, the law makes building owners responsible for footpaths outside their property and they must keep walkways clear and free of advertising.
It outlaws washing property in public areas or waterways, defacing walls connected to public roads, requires clean up after loading trucks of building materials, fuel or animals, and sets penalties, such as vehicle seizure.


Cleanup of Ban Sukhawadee underway

Deputy Mayor Verawat Khakhay (right) inspects the ‘temporary fix’ landfill.

Keng Na Songkhla
The cleanup of Saha Farm’s Baan Sukhawadee mansion is proceeding well, but a long-term fix for recent wastewater discharges still has yet to be implemented, Pattaya officials say.
Deputy Mayor Verawat Khakhay said March 31 that the tourist attraction operator brought in crews to lay 20 dump trucks of soil down over 2-3 rai of land contaminated by the sewage runoff from a faulty drainage system.
Verawat and Sanitation Department workers visited the site March 14, finding behind the ornate building an overflow of wastewater sending strong odors throughout the area. Sewage was flowing out of the tourist attraction and through Kratinglai Park into the ocean.
Now the contaminated soil has been buried – although nothing was said about preventing the now-hidden pollution from seeping into the water table.
The deputy mayor called the work only a temporary fix since there are still problems with the drainage tunnels that need to be attended to. This will enable the place to open up and celebrate Songkran without any issues.
The property owner and authorities are currently trying to find ways to deal with the tunnels concerned.
Also, the property near the wall of Chonglom Temple was attended to as well. Excavators were used to open up a path for the wastewater to flow in a different direction before they buried it with more soil.
Another issue to be attended is the outlet of the tunnels towards the sea, with Pattaya authorities already having blocked the outlet, preventing the wastewater from flowing into the ocean until the tunnels are dug up and redirected.


Navy boosts security for Sai Kaew Beach and Sattahip facilities

Patcharapol Panrak
The Royal Thai Navy has stepped up security on Koh Samet’s Saikaew Beach and at installations under the supervision of the Naval Education Department in Sattahip.
Naval Intelligence Division Rear Adm. Wisan Puntavangoon visited the Chumphol Royal Naval Academy May 29 for an overview on the new procedures from Commandant Capt. Wirat Somjit.
Wirat said the school was responding to a directive to provide better security for VIPs, commanders, facilities, tourist attractions, and accommodations in military areas, as well as the safety of Thai and foreign tourists visiting Saikaew Beach in particular.
The fear, he said, was that transnational criminals could camouflage themselves among tour groups, which could affect national security.
Wisan gave good marks to the new procedures. He suggested they could be split into different levels of strictness, however, to reduce delays for tourists visiting the Koh Samet beach.


2 after-hours karaoke joints busted

Police crackdown on karaoke bars open after legal hours.

Boonlua Chatree
The calendar ticked over to April, but the crackdown by Banglamung District officials on after-hours clubs in Pattaya continued with the shutdown of South Road karaoke bars.
Top district officials and police were out again early April 1 looking for clubs open after legal hours, underage patrons, shisha, bootleg alcohol and other drugs.
Manager Weerapong Moonda of the Fast Pub was arrested after authorities found the bar open long after it should have been and serving a customer who failed a drug test.
B-Bird Karaoke had blacked out its windows, but fooled no one as officers raided it next, finding the bar serving booze after hours and pumping out loud music. Manager Arun Singkong was arrested.


Shisha, underage customers found in South Pattaya bar raids

Police inspect a row of shishas at one of the bars they raided.

Boonlua Chatree
Banglamung District officials raided several bars in South Pattaya selling shisha after legal opening hours.
District Chief Chakorn Kanjawattana led local officials and police to Soi 16 around 2:30 a.m. March 30, hitting six beer bars, Thai pubs and restaurants in the middleeast tourists-dominated area, looking for the outlawed tobacco.
The bars – reported as Twin Oasis, Lebanese, Mao Mai, Ball & Bright, Keptawan and Chor Ching Tee Dung – were found to be selling shisha, alcohol and allowing youths under age 20 on the premises. Twenty liters of herbal alcohol also were confiscated.
The offenses were enough to allow authorities to shut any of the establishments for five years. The decision on such an order will come later.
Chor Ching Tee Dung Manager Wannaporn Silapacheevin, 46, was arrested for being open at 5 a.m., allowing five teens on site and two without ID cards.


Navy seizes Vietnamese fishing boat, arrests 18

Soldiers hold up dolphin fins found in the hold of the foreign fishing boat.

Patcharapol Panrak
A Royal Thai Navy patrol seized a Vietnamese fishing boat found illegally trawling Thai waters.
18 crewmen were arrested when the boat, registered only as CM91711TS, was impounded April 1, 130 nautical miles off Koh Chuang. Two other Vietnamese boats escaped.
In the hold of the seized boat was a dolphin on ice, fueling fears the Vietnamese were fishing for protected dolphins.


2 sought for attempted bank truck hijacking

The thieves failed to pry open the reinforced door of the cash-laden money truck

Boonlua Chatree
Police are hunting for two men who attempted to hijack a Kasikornbank pickup truck filled with cash in Naklua.
Driver Pairatch Ditduangplong, driver of the unarmored Isuzu D-Max pickup, reported the attempted robbery on Sukhumvit Road in Naklua April 1. The truck was operated by Progress Security Ltd. and was loaded with Kasikornbank cash.
While not an armored car, the truck was reinforced, frustrating efforts by the thieves to break into it.
Pairatch said that the truck was parked on the side of the road near the bank and he was on duty to drop the cash in various locations before he found out that something was wrong. There were trails of some metal object that somebody used to try and break into the truck so he reported it to the police immediately.
Police estimated that there were at least two people in the hijack crew, but they obviously failed and fled the scene.


1 killed in pickup-big rig crash in Huay Yai

The rescue squad pry open the wrecked pickup truck to pull out the victims.

Boonlua Chatree
One person was killed when a pickup truck collided with an 18-wheeler in Huay Yai.
Santat Buaprom, a 30-year-old passenger in the Toyota Vigo, was crushed when the pickup slid underneath the tractor trailer shortly after midnight March 28 on Highway 36.
Driver Pornsak Chintaisong, 32, sustained a head wound and was transferred to a local hospital.
Khamchan Siriruang, the driver of the 18-wheeler, said he was hauling 30 tons of steel from a Maptaput industrial park in Rayong to Laem Chabang when he heard and felt a collision with his trailer. The Vigo had lost control, hit the side of the trailer and slid underneath.


3 Nigerians arrested for hotel burglaries

Police arrest the three Nigerian burglars in Samut Prakarn.

Teerarak Suthathiwong
Three Nigerian men have been arrested for allegedly stealing about 450,000 baht from Pattaya hotel guests over the past eight months.
Jaho Jaho Nonso, 30, Ugochukwu Ejimadu, 33, and Osas Samuel, 30, were captured in Samut Prakan Province March 27 following an extensive manhunt.
Since August, more than 10 hotel general managers filed police reports saying the accused gang members had burglarized guest rooms, targeting cash and valuables.
The three were charged with eight burglaries and residing in Thailand without a valid visa. Total losses were estimated at 454,800 baht.
Police in March had discovered the trio staying at a hotel in South Pattaya, but they escaped and made their way to near Bangkok where they managed to hide out for several days.
Police said the gang’s modus operandi was to check into various hotels in Pattaya, then act as “ninjas” to quietly break into other rooms during quiet periods.
Pattaya Business & Tourism Association President Sinchai Wattanasartsathorn and hotel operators on March 29 called on the Tourist Police Division to thank them for apprehending the suspects.
Sinchai said both tourist and Pattaya City police worked hard to find the accused burglars, whose crimes have smeared the reputation of Pattaya for months.


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Graffiti artists turn abandoned building into work of art

Songkran fun begins next week

Lower motorcycle taxi fares go into effect, likely ignored again by Pattaya drivers

380 naval cadets become monks

Chonburi governor tells big Pattaya businesses to share wealth

TAT pushes bike route, Thai visitors in 2016 tourism plan

Officials again promising upgrade of Pattaya Youth Sports Center

Nongprue officials briefed on junta’s ‘clean and orderly’ law

Cleanup of Ban Sukhawadee underway

Navy boosts security for Sai Kaew Beach and Sattahip facilities

2 after-hours karaoke joints busted

Shisha, underage customers found in South Pattaya bar raids

Navy seizes Vietnamese fishing boat, arrests 18

2 sought for attempted bank truck hijacking

1 killed in pickup-big rig crash in Huay Yai

3 Nigerians arrested for hotel burglaries

 

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