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PM Prayuth targets jet-ski outlaws

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– 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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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Pattaya

Pattaya fisherman surprised by friendly whale shark visit

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: A friendly whale shark approved a surprised fisherman this week in Pattaya. (via Facebook ไม่หยุดอยู่นิ่ง นาเกลือ)

A local Pattaya fisherman had a shocking surprise visitor and was conscious enough to record a video to share with the world. The man, a fisherman for 10 years, posted 2 videos to Facebook on Wednesday of what appears to be a friendly whale shark casually visiting his fishing boat. Sightings in Pattaya of the majestic sea creature are relatively rare.

Whale sharks are the largest known fish species still living on Earth. They average from 5.5 to 10 metres in length, but the largest shark ever confirmed had a length of 18.8 metres.

The man, who goes by Mai Yud Yoo Ning Naklua (ไม่หยุดอยู่นิ่ง นาเกลือ) was sailing near Pai Island when the shark approached. The shark spent several minutes floating just inches from the boat and could be seen with shark suckers flanking it. The whale shark swam around the back of the boat and the man was able to capture a 3-minute video of the shark and another 49-second video where he can be seen getting up close and personal with the sea creature as it surfaced.

The Facebook video can be viewed on his original post, seen here. The man’s post showed his excitement, as he described that it was his first time experiencing this in his 10 years on a fishing boat.

“This is my first time seeing a whale shark. I have been a fisherman for ten years and have heard many stories but this is my first opportunity to see one and share it with the world.”

Locals in the Koh Larn area believe the appearance of this friendly fish is a sign that the environment is thriving. Covid-19 has prevented the throngs of tourists that normally flood the area, and with the reduction in traffic and boats churning the water, marine life such as whale sharks can safely return. In the waters off the coast of Pattaya, it appears that nature is healing.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

 

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Weather

Pattaya fishing boat capsized in storm, 2 crew rescued, 2 missing

Neill Fronde

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FILE PHOTO: A Thai fishing boat capsized with 2 crewmembers rescued and 2 still missing at sea. (via Snappy Goat)

2 members of a fishing boat crew are still missing after a strong storm that capsized their boat off the Pattaya coast. Yesterday morning 2 people on board the boat were rescued after it was flipped in the high waves but confirmed that 2 more crew were aboard the ship and have not been found. The accident took place off Nongprue near the island of Pai.

The unnamed boat captain and another crew member were picked up by another local fishing boat in the area, but they were reported to have spent quite a while in the open water first, clinging to debris to stay afloat about 1.6 kilometres from the shore. The two crew members missing in the storm were a 60 year old man and a 31 year old man.

The captain of the boat that rescued the 2 men recalled rough waters and torrential downpours with a huge wave that capsized the fishing boat. He found the men shouting for help, holding on for dear life to big empty water jugs floating on the sea surface.

The Royal Thai Navy was contacted about the capsizing yesterday morning and naval officers searched all day for the 2 missing crew members without any luck. They continued the search this morning.

About 50 kilometres away, Rayong saw a similar tragedy in the same heavy storm, while rains pounded many parts of Thailand. A fishing boat there was also capsized in the storm with one crew member rescued. A second crewman was later found dead and a third is still lost at sea as rescue workers search.

Chon Buri has been particularly hard hit in the recent stormy weather in Thailand with high wind alerts and heavy rain. The Thai Meteorological Department is forecasting many more storms to come and is advising all local fishermen on small fishing boats to stay on land, especially overnight when the storms have been intensifying.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

 

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Pattaya

Owner of 2 unsupervised pit bulls warned by mayor

Neill Fronde

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FILE PHOTO: 2 pit bulls wandering unsupervised spark debate about strays in Pattaya

An unidentified owner of two pit bulls who reportedly allows them to wander freely near a public beach in the Bangsaen area of Pattaya has received a warning from Sane Suk Mayor Narongchai “Tui” Khunplome. making statements through his public relations accounts on social media and in local news outlets, the mayor stated that he had received multiple complaints from residents about the two pit bulls wandering around. They feared for the safety of the children and elderly people in the area, wanting to avoid attacks after the recent death of a pit bull owner who was mauled to death by his own pet. Residents also mentioned the possibility of a car or motorbike crash injuring or killing the pit bulls and possibly people.

The dogs were originally thought to be strays but were later determined to have an owner who allows them to wander freely, unaccompanied by a leash or any supervision. Local law forbids pets to be in public without an owner and also requires that owners clean up any droppings that their pets leave.

The owner of these pit bulls was singled out but not name publicly. The dogs were not reported to have attacked anyone or been aggressive in any way and the majority of complaints were just concerned citizens. The mayor’s post on social media garnered 900 responses both for and against the wandering pit bulls and received more than 7000 likes.

Stray animals are a common problem in Thailand and around the Pattaya area. It is feared that the Covid-19 pandemic created more abandoned animals as people moved out of Chon Buri. Many strays have settled into areas vacated by tourists, and several areas around Pattaya are dealing with the surge in stray animals, especially Banglamung.

It is against Thailand’s religious and cultural beliefs to put down strays, but there’s a lot of debate over a solution. Soi Dog Foundation advocates for spaying or neutering animals and also vaccinating them before releasing them back into their natural habitat. This avoids animal shelters where conditions can become inhumane due to overcrowding, and also may prevent more aggressive dogs from claiming local territories. It is agreed that aggressive dogs should be removed from the public.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

 

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