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Pattaya officials shamed into beefing up tourist security after German TV report

Jack Burton

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Pattaya officials are stepping up tourist safety measures after a German TV program reported widespread scams in the popular Thai ‘sin city’. The Thai Interior Ministry has told agencies to tighten tourist security in what’s widely seen as a knee-jerk reaction to the criticism in the documentary.

The TV show Achtung Abzocke documented scams such as taxi fare price gouging, overpriced products and services, and fake rail tickets and driving licenses. Scammers even pretend to be tourist police, according to Pattaya Deputy Mayor Ronnakit Ekkasingh as he was tackling the topics covered in the program with Thai media.

Ronnakit’s comments came at a meeting that included the Tourism Authority of Thailand, tourism associations and police.

“Pattaya has annual tourism income of more than 270 billion baht from some 18 million visitors, including 10 million foreign travellers.”

He told the meeting that it’s important to keep them safe. Ronnakit said the meeting agreed to create an integrated command centre near Bali Hai Pier in Pattaya’s south to prepare for the high season.

“Joint drills will be held to prepare against crime, floods and fires as well as accidents on land and sea. Steps will be taken to ensure fair prices for goods and services for tourists.”

Pattaya previously considered setting such a up a joint centre but the plan was scrapped due to location and environmental concerns. Although a Kuwaiti tourist was beaten and robbed by three Thai men at the beach in Pattaya in November, a chief of Pattaya’s tourist police said while there are many complaints of scams in Pattaya, serious crimes are rare.

“Most cases involve brawls in the streets between foreigners,” he told the Bangkok Post.

He told reporters CCTV cameras have been installed to boost safety and more are coming. (It was noted in a story last week that CCTV cameras along a popular bar Soi weren’t working)

He also said tourist police will work with other agencies to ensure tourist safety along Pattaya beach.

“From 10pm-4am every day, the beach will be divided into three separate patrol zones.”

The first zone stretches from the Dusit School to Pattaya Klang intersection, the extends from there to Mike Shopping Mall, and he third spans from Mike Shopping Mall to Pattaya Walking Street.

“Nine officers will patrol each zone, boosting safety for tourists and helping to prevent scams.”

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

 

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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