The problem of private operators of some 1,600 speedboats operating out of Pattaya was raised at City Hall. Council member Sinchai Wattanasatsathorn outlined the problems of the boats that are part of the tourism industry. There is no regulation over the charges they make for trips and people can buy tickets everywhere. They also moor wherever they want despite the rules. Mayor Sontaya said it had been a problem for ages and he had done his best to regulate the industry. Picture: INN He blamed the pandemic and the actions of individual operators to flout the regulations in an effort to recover some of their losses, reported INN. He said that during the pandemic his staff had been working on making sure that all boats are registered with City Hall and that there would be a central ticket issuing authority in the future. Thaivisa notes that well before the pandemic took hold speedboat operators in Pattaya almost completly ignored orders to only use Bali Hai port. Hundreds openly flouted the rules by operating off the main beach and loading tourists – mostly Chinese – up from there.
Thai media Sanook reported on the fallout from the raids on Friday night/Saturday morning at The Garden 168, Mo Salah and on the beach when 121 people were rounded up for drinking and illegal gathering. They said that everyone was detained and that on Saturday health staff from Bang Lamung Hospital arrived in PPE at Pattaya Police station to conduct SWAB testing on 107 people and 26 police officers who were involved in the raids. These officers came from the provincial and local forces. Everyone would have to wait 24 hours for the results and in the meantime were being kept in isolation. Further measures could follow to trace other individuals if positive tests came back. The media said this situation represented a threat of a cluster that could seriously damage plans for Pattaya to reopen to foreign tourists in the third quarter, a key aim of the mayor Sontaya Kunplome. They likened the threat and the potential for damage to 85 cases of Covid-19 that were found at a construction camp in Chonburi. In the raid Friday 29 people were picked up at The Garden 168 and 72 at Mo Salah, both in South Pattaya, and 20 people were found drinking alcohol on the beach. There were both foreigners as well as Thais said Sanook without giving actual numbers for each. Thirty shisha pipes were also taken into evidence. These have been banned in Thailand since well before the pandemic.
Siam Chon News reported this morning that at 12.30 am today the Chonburi provincial police and local officers raided two establishments in south Pattaya arresting Thais and foreigners and also arrested 20 people drinking alcohol on the beach. In one raid people tried to climb out of the third floor of a building to flee. Some got away. The media said the big gatherings represented a fear of a cluster of Covid-19 infections developing from people not obeying the rules on alcohol and gathering. The first raid was at The Garden 168 on South Pattaya Road where 28 people and a manager were arrested after being found drinking alcohol. It was a bar with a restaurant covering the illegal activity. Picture: Siam Chon News Raid #2 was bigger. This was at the four story Mo Salah on Walking Street where there are lots of separate rooms. Alcohol was being consumed at ten tables on the third floor. Patrons – both Thais and foreigners – tried to flee to various rooms and some even climbed down the building. Some tried to disguise themselves with leaves, said the media without explaining fully. Only a proportion of those that fled were detained. At Mo Salah 72 arrests were made. Thirty shisha pipes were found in a room. Picture: Siam Chon News Again, eating as part of a restaurant hid the illegal activity. Then at the beach 20 people were arrested for gathering and drinking alcohol. In total 121 people were taken to Pattaya police
Police and local officials were perplexed after someone found a seven year old child wandering the beach in the dark at Bang Saen. The child – named only as “A” – was crying for her mummy and was largely incoherent. The cops put out an APB on Facebook. It was nearly midnight before Orn, the child’s mother, was reunited with her daughter. She had reached Bangkok – about 100 kms away – before she realised she was daughter-less. The child’s grandmother explained to Sanook that it had been a family outing in two cars from Bangkok. “A” was with her stepdad and mum first of all then switched to gran’s vehicle after a bit of mid-journey merit making at a temple. After a fun day at the popular beach both her mum and her gran thought A was in the other car.
Siam Chon News reported the bust of a group of thirty people – 29 out of work go-go dancers and one foreigner – who were running a live streaming Go-Go Bar out of a rented house in Pattaya Soi 15. Chonburi’s deputy police chief Pol Col Thanawut Jongjira and a special taskforce from the Muang district station arrested everyone for violating the Covid-19 regulations on illegal gathering. Picture: Siam Chon News Taken into evidence was streaming equipment. The foreigner was in charge of that side of things. The ladies were doing their gyratory bit and would get 150 baht for each transfer for “virtual drinks”.
Nong Prue station chief Pol Col Chitdecha Songhong and his subordinates formed a raiding party that went to a pool villa in the area after information received about illegal gambling and gathering in contravention of Covid-19 rules. At the five bedroom villa in the main hall they found 13 women and three men playing cards on the floor. They were engaging in the game of Pok Deng, a simple Thai gambling game. A pack of cards and markers were taken into evidence along with an unspecified quantity of cash, reported Naew Na. The media reported that the gamblers were moving from house to house in an attempt to avoid arrest. They had rented the pool villa and were all arrested yesterday late afternoon. The gamblers said it was their habit to bring around 100,000 baht each to the party to gamble with. They were all taken away and booked with illegal gambling and breaking the emergency decree regulations.
Somchai Jutikidecha,55 – a leading figure in illegal football gambling on the eastern seaboard – will hear charges in court in Pattaya related to organizing a hit on a motorcycle taxi driver last year, reported INN. He is charged with conspiring in July with two other men who were arrested in December to hire Manas and another man to kill Prathum Sa-atnak, a rider at the Bali Hai rank. He denies the charge. Manas, 40, has admitted to shooting the deceased and along with a man called Niphon to having been paid 200,000 baht for the hit. He is also facing weapons’ offences. Somchai was arrested on March 25th, 2021. The case will begin to be heard starting next Wednesday.
The head of the Pattaya Entertainment and Tourism association has appealed to the government to reopen the resort saying there was no Covid there. Damrongkiat Phinitkan threw his support behind wider moves made with the presentation of a letter by Democrat Party deputy leader Prin Phanichphak to house leader Chuan Leekpai earlier. Damrongkiat said that operators in Pattaya had been suffering for 200 days and with no Covid-19 cases there it was time to reopen the industry, allow alcohol to be served again. He stressed that it needed to be a step by step approach following all the guidelines but that Pattaya was ready to do that if it meant getting some income again. Picture: Manager Even if it was just Thai tourists. He recognised that areas where Covid was still prevalent needed to wait as the entertainment industry could still result in clusters of infection, reported Manager. But that was not Pattaya. Pattaya is slated for reopening to foreign tourists from about August but how many turn up is a matter of conjecture, notes Thaivisa. Picture: Manager Even if they do their movements will be restricted by “sealed route” rules. So for now operators of bars and clubs would have to make do with Thai tourists. Some would decide that would not be sufficient and would continue to remain shut, notes Thaivisa.
Thai media Naew Na spoke to bar owners after Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha ‘ordered’ the opening of the country in 120 days. They didn’t say where they went though it appeared to be Pattaya. They had pictures of dusty bar stools piled on filthy pool tables. Banana skins on the floor looked like a metaphor for what has gone before and what might lie in wait. Mayuree, 44, a bar beer (beer bar) owner said the situation was just getting worse and worse, she had no income at all just outgoings. She welcomed the PM’s statement and was desperate to get her hands on foreign tourists’ money. She said she had not been vaccinated and that aspect of reopening needed to be speeded up. Pern echoed those statements saying foreigners were needed to save her business. She was not sure how much the vaccination rollout would affect everything but for her, too, it was just a tale of worse and worse. Chatchai Sakhakul, an owner of pubs in Pattaya, said the situation there had been terrible for ages with the third wave of the pandemic worse than the previous one. He said he had 100,000 baht in rents to pay each month, water, electricity and needed to open fast.
Manager reported that Pattaya’s mayor Sontaya Khunplome was the latest local official to take advantage of rule changes that will allow local authorities to procure their own Covid-19 vaccines from sources like the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation and the Chulabhorn Royal Academy. Sontaya is spending 88 million baht on 100,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccine for 50,000 people on house registration documents to receive two doses. Each dose is costing the administration 888 baht. Pattaya’s move follows one by Tha Yang district in Phetchaburi the day before. Picture: Manager There are 120,000 people in Pattaya on “thabian ban” or house registration documents. Of those there are about 80,000 aged 19 and over. Some of these have already been vaccinated by other means so it is hoped that the 100,000 doses will help to created a herd immunity in the tourist city. Sontaya said that the purchase request has already been submitted to Chulabhorn Royal Academy who earlier suggested they have themselves procured over three million doses of vaccine. The change for Pattaya comes as the government’s vaccine rollout continues to stutter after Astra Zeneca from local producer Siam BioScience failed to come through with expected supplies. Manager went with “Here Comes Pattaya!” in their headline.
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