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PM Prayuth targets jet-ski outlaws

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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– Thailand news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

PM Prayuth targets jet-ski outlaws
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: While Thailand is attracting tourists because of its beautiful beaches and wide variety of water sports, the country’s jet-ski rental businesses have become notorious after it emerged some operators were extorting money from tourists.

Prime Minister General Prayuth Chan-ocha brought the issue to the public’s attention on Friday during his weekly nationally televised address to the nation titled “Returning Happiness to the People”. He urged relevant authorities to deal with the problem at seaside resorts such as Pattaya and Phuket.

The extortionists reportedly knowingly allow tourists to use unsafe jet-skis and when accidents occur they demand exaggerated “compensation” payouts for “damage” caused to the vehicle and on occasion they have assaulted people or even robbed them.

At a recent meeting in Pattaya involving acting Provincial Police Bureau Region 2 Commissioner Sanit Mahathavorn, relevant agencies and jet-ski operators, the following was determined:

– It needs to be determined if a machine was damaged due to a crash occurring because of its poor condition or because the rider was at fault.

– Tourists generally lack experience riding jet-skis.

– Operators often charge full price even though tourists return the vehicle before the deadline.

– Some operators damage jet-skis and if there is a crash they demand compensation.

– Some tourists have lost their belongings after leaving them with the operators.

So far, this year, there have been 54 complaints lodged against operators – 44 of which ended in settlements while the rest ended with civil lawsuits, the meeting was told. Most of the alleged victims were from India, China and Oman.

Pattaya police have set guidelines relating to the issue including establishing a settlement room to support fair negotiations, investigating suspect operators and requiring all operators to be insured.

There will also be a campaign in a bid to make more operators service-minded and an investigative team will be set up to handle cases.

The Provincial Port Office’s Pattaya director Rewat Phoriang said his office would establish zones for water sports to operate in the northern, central and southern parts of the city so jet-ski operators could monitor themselves. Rewat said that if any zone had a problem, the whole zone would be closed for up to a week.

Officials would register 500 jet-skis to ensure good standards.

Pattaya Business and Tourism Association president Sinchai Wattanasartsathorn said the city had proposed a ministerial regulation to properly control jet-ski services.

Phetchaburi’s Cha-am City mayor Nukul Pornsomboonsiri cited as a possible solution to the problem the mirroring of a club his office and operators had established at Cha-am Beach.

All operators along the beach post clear price signs at the club, which punishes members who inappropriately treat visitors, he said. The club’s president, Montri Meerit, said the club had 125 jet-ski operator members and the beach area was divided into six zones so the area could be monitored efficiently and any tourist complaint could be dealt with in a timely fashion.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Pattaya

Pattaya City council pushes for action against abandoned Waterfront condo project

The Thaiger

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Pattaya City council pushes for action against abandoned Waterfront condo project | The Thaiger

The Pattaya City Council is pushing for action against the abandoned 53 story Waterfront Suites and Residence luxury condo after it has been left as an eyesore for many years along the Bali Hai Pier. The Waterfront Suites and Residence is a half-finished condo project that was stalled in 2014 after safety inspectors discovered that the building’s fire escapes and elevator systems designs varied from the already approved construction designs.

Thai Engineering, however, allegedly ignored the stop-work order and continued, but the company says it was not informed from the developers to stop. The project was originally launched and proposed back in 2004.

In July, 2014, Pattaya city officials halted construction of the condo and hotel project following an internet firestorm after photos showing the tower obstructing a “classic” Pattaya viewpoint. The majority of comments were negative, claiming the project ruined the viewpoint hill and the area around Bali Hai pier and was an “eyesore”. The mayor at the time, Itthiphol Kuneplome spoke up for the project and said that it had continually followed correct and fully transparent legal processes.

Then the condo’s Israeli-owned Bali Hai Company, due to complaints about the condo’s obstruction of the natural landscape and land permit issues, filed a petition with the Central Bankruptcy Court in Bangkok for debt restructuring which subsequently failed as the company went bankrupt.

The Pattaya Court has ordered for the condo to be legitimately demolished but due to legal proceedings against the company dragging along, the condo continues to sit abandoned. Furthermore, Pattaya City authorities were rejected by the departments that would carry out the demolition citing that the authorities were not specialised in estimating the cost of such a demolition. Now the authorities are still trying to get estimates from 11 different companies to outsource the demolition which is contributing to the delay.

But the Pattaya City Council chairman says that law firms should take control and use photographs and other documents before collecting the evidence to speed up the process. Regardless, the demolition of the condo is in limbo as pending lawsuits are preventing it from moving forward.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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Pattaya

Elderly Dutch man’s body found floating near Pattaya Beach

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Elderly Dutch man’s body found floating near Pattaya Beach | The Thaiger

An elderly Dutch man’s body has been found floating near a Pattaya beach in South Pattaya after telling his wife he was going to go swimming. The 74 year old man’s wife Ms. Sukjai Bungutum, a 41 year old Thai woman, was found by rescue workers crying near his body.

“My husband told me he was going to go swimming. He had not returned after many hours. I was worried as he had personal health issues after a recent accident. I called Pattaya police for help until I was informed that his body was found.”

Rescue workers say they found the man’s body yesterday evening at 7pm. They say his body was face down in the water and there appeared to be no signs of a struggle or of being in distress, but was wearing only underwear.

The Dutch man’s name is being withheld, according to The Pattaya News, pending the notification of his embassy. Police say an autopsy will be conducted to determine the man’s exact cause of death.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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Pattaya

Pattaya men allegedly posed as police officers, extorted 50,000 baht from a woman

Caitlin Ashworth

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Pattaya men allegedly posed as police officers, extorted 50,000 baht from a woman | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Line Today

A group of 4 men in Pattaya allegedly posed as police officers and extorted 50,000 baht from a woman. The 20 year old woman says the men claiming to be police officers raided her condominium and a friend visiting had drugs in his possession.

In the report filed with Pattaya City Police, the woman says the men asked both her and her friend for a bribe of 25,000 baht each. If they didn’t pay up, the men said they would arrest them on drug charges, according to the complaint. The woman says she gave the men 50,000 baht.

The men who allegedly posed as police officers were not in uniform and did not show any identification or badges, the woman says. After giving it some thought, the woman became suspicious and decided to file a complaint with police. Police are still investigating.

SOURCE: Pattaya News

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