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NCPO targets taxi mafia at Suvarnabhumi Airport

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Smart-card system for cabs to eliminate mafia role at Suvarnabhumi Airport
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) will introduce a smart-card system for the taxi queue at Suvarnabhumi Airport in a bid to end the “mafia-style operation” there.

A computerised system, linked to the database of registered taxi drivers’ personal history and fingerprints, will issue queue cards to taxis waiting to pick up passengers from the airport.

“We expect to see clear results within one month from now,” 11th Military Circle chief Maj-General Nirundorn Samutsakorn said yesterday.

He said the “mafia-style operation” allowed taxi drivers to select long-haul passengers and such selective services make it hard for short-haul passengers to get a taxi ride.

A short ride from the airport starts from just 35 baht, while a ride to faraway destinations such as Pattaya can earn a taxi driver up to 3,000 baht.

Taxi drivers, therefore, often pay under-the-table fees to mafia-style figures to ensure they get long-haul passengers.

“In addition to this, we have also received complaints about taxis leaving passengers midway, overcharging, lack of manners and involvement in illegal activities,” Nirundorn said.

The swift move to regulate taxi services at Suvarnabhumi Airport is in response to NCPO chief General Prayut Chan-ocha’s policy to bring about reforms.

The NCPO has tasked the First Army Area to deal with illegal activities involving taxis, motorcycle taxis and public vans. The First Army Area has delegated the responsibility of dealing with the illegal activities of taxis, including at the airports, to the 11th Military Circle.

“We have decided to act at Suvarnabhumi Airport first so as to bolster the image of this international airport and Thailand,” Nirundorn said.

Normally, people can get a taxi ride out of Suvarnabhumi Airport by queuing up at a taxi counter on the facility’s first floor.

After informing the staff at the counter where they want to go, the staff will tell them which cab they can get in. Each ride via the counter – which records the taxi’s licence plate number and passenger details – comes with an additional charge of 50 baht, which is legally allowed.

Passengers who wish to avoid the additional charge can get a taxi from the fourth floor of the airport where departure air passengers arrive, many of them by taxi. Passengers who opt for this option have to flag down the taxi themselves.

Nirundorn said many taxi-related problems happened because of “mafia-style operations”. According to him, some 7,000 taxis have been serving passengers from Suvarnabhumi Airport.

He estimated that men in uniforms were behind the “mafia-style operations”, saying that he knew who were involved.

“At this point, we are simply asking for cooperation,” he said.

He hinted that if those involved were not cooperative, soldiers might be dispatched to monitor taxi counters at the airport.

Nirundorn is also considering a move to propose an amendment to the Airport Act, which does not cover the relatively new Suvarnabhumi Airport, so as to find long-term measures to prevent mafia figures from re-entering this large aviation facility.

“We need to do something. Or else, the mafia-style operations will return as soon as the soldiers leave,” he said.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Monks gather for a special ceremony in Pattaya to pray Covid-19 away

Tanutam Thawan

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Hands placed together in the “wai” position and seated in chairs placed a safe “social distance” apart, monks in Pattaya gathered together at a local temple for a special ceremony to pray Covid-19 away.

The Wat Chai by the Pattaya Walking Street was given special permission to hold the event where dozens of monks from other temples in the area came together to pray. To prevent the spread of Covid-19 at the ritual, monks wore face masks, practised social distancing, used hand sanitiser and had their body temperature checked.

The monks chanted several mantras and performed rituals that they believe will help slow the spread of Covid-19 in Chon Buri and help the local economy recover.

SOURCE: Pattaya News

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Pattaya sandwich maker gives out food and face masks to needy in Banglamung

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Stock photo via The Pattaya News

A Pattaya sandwich maker is giving back to the community by donating more than 500 sets of food and face masks to the needy in Banglamung district. The business operator prioritised giving the packages to medical staffers first, then to migrant communities and others in need. 29 year old Kanjana Wongsin and her friends handed out juice, food, and face masks yesterday. She told The Pattaya News that they are encouraging medical staffers who are working hard during the pandemic. Kanjana says they are fighting together to win and save the area.

She says they also gave free food to children at the Baan Kruja Anti Human Trafficking and Child Abuse Centre in the Pattaya area and to migrant worker camps in Banglamung. Meanwhile, Chon Buri province is seeing the lowest amount of daily Covid infections today, at 57, since the latest wave began in early April. Now, the total amount of cases in the province is 3,491 since April 9th. 1,430 are still listed as in medical care, with 10 deaths. 2,051 people have been released from care and have fully recovered. 112 people were released yesterday alone.

Chon Buri also released a Covid-19 timeline of a recent market cluster that is seeing 19 cases of the virus so far. The Chonburi Public Health Office is asking those who visited the places listed below, to notify health authorities and monitor their health for Covid symptoms.

The following is an English version of the timeline, translated by The Pattaya News:

  1. Phra Phrom Market in Nong Kham, Si Racha on May 1 from 9:30am to 11am
  2. Thong Lang Market in Khlong Tamru, Mueang Chonburi on May 1 from 3pm to 8pm
  3. Thong Kung Klong Tom Market in Na Pa, Mueang Chonburi on May 7 from 3pm to 8 pm

Yesterday, the province reported 73 infections and 1 death. No details have been released on that case yet. This week will also see wider scale testing at factories and high-risk occupations in the province.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

 

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Pattaya

Nong Pong, a new lagoon park nearing completion in Pattaya

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Nong Pong Park is set to open on schedule in Pattaya. (via Pattaya News/Pattaya Mail)

Project developers have announced that they are nearly finished building Nong Pong, a large new public park on Jomtien Second Road in the Pattaya area. The park began construction last May with an original completion date of August which the construction crew says should be met without a problem.

The Pattaya park features a large lagoon creating beautiful scenery and a tranquil environment and may even allow some limited water sports. Installation is underway now for good lighting and exercise equipment to finish up the nature park. One feature that may prove popular is that the park will be gated to keep out stray animals and keep it peaceful inside.

Pattaya’s goal is to create more public parks and open space to make Pattaya a city with a large number of green zones and to be more eco-friendly. The hope is that beautiful and comfortable spaces will invite Pattaya locals to come out and exercise and enjoy the park space, while also attracting tourists from Thailand and from abroad to relax in the natural setting within the city. The project is part of an effort to lure tourists to the Jomtien area, a goal which also includes a billion baht makeover for the beach area.

City officials, including Pattaya City Mayor Sonthaya Khunplume, spoke excitedly about the park project hoping it would become a major landmark for the city and looking forward to announcing its official opening date. Nong Pong has a total budget of about 32 million baht for its construction and is located across from the Riviera condo.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

 

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