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Pattaya: From sin city to green paradise?

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15 billion baht city plan aims for green & clean Pattaya in 10 years, swallowing 8 neighboring local govts, 132 projects, improving transportation & tourist attractions. 

Pattaya

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From sin city to green paradise - Can Pattaya change its spots? 

A whopping 15 billion baht is sought to change the seaside resort's image. But first there's a little matter of clearing up crime and foreign gangsters
26/02/2012
Piyaporn Wongruang

Pattaya - the painted old lady by the sea - is about to undergo a 15 billion baht face-lift. City executives ambitiously want to turn the city into ''New Pattaya, the World Class Greenovative Tourism City'' with a ''green and clean'' environment for tourists and locals.

But for the Cinderella transformation to take place, the city needs to be classified as a Designated Area for Sustainable Tourism Administration (Dasta), an initiative introduced by the former Thaksin administration, which gives it semi-autonomy.

The city's administrators have been pushing for the move to reclassify Pattaya and its surrounds since 2008. Dasta approved the application in 2009, allowing Pattaya City to swallow eight municipalities and tambon administrations. The Pattaya masterplan was approved by the cabinet last year.

But Dasta itself, which provides the funding, has not been without its critics who say granting so much financial independence without strict oversight is opening the door to financial abuse and mismanagement.

Pattaya City's mayor, Itthiphol Khunploem, is certain the injection of state funding and expansion of city hall's influence over surrounding areas can only benefit the area.

''To develop Pattaya, we need its surrounding areas, but these are often under different local authorities, not just ours,'' Mr Itthiphol said. ''So, being designated as a cluster area, we will be able to integrate scattered authorities in order to achieve the shared goal.''

Mr Itthiphol wants to see Pattaya's image as a safe beach resort city restored, but with a green message.

The 15 billion baht ''Greenovative Tourism'' city plan, earmarks 132 projects, including developing transportation and tourist attractions. It aims to declare Pattaya a green and clean city in 10 years.

But cleaning up the streets of Pattaya involves more than just new buses and painting beach benches. Local law enforcement officials say the issues of local vice and foreign criminals living in Pattaya need to be addressed.

Pol Lt Gen Panya Mamen - chief of Provincial Police Region 2, which has recently established the Transnational Crime Coordination Centre (TNCC) in Pattaya - said many foreign criminals call Pattaya home.

He said many of them pass themselves off as tourists. Some work with Thai criminal partners or operate on their own or in gangs, with crimes ranging from theft to murder.

Pol Capt Prajakpong Suriya of the TNCC said it was difficult to locate foreign suspects - even if police had mugshots - as they frequently changed addresses and it was difficult to obtain information about them.

''Pattaya is a popular criminal base because it's a hub for tourists and expatriates,'' he said.

According to Chon Buri Immigration Office records, at least 14 major criminal acts involving foreigners were committed in 2010 and 12 last year. Earlier this month, it was revealed three Iranian suspects in the the Valentine's Day bombings had partied with bar girls in Pattaya before heading to Bangkok.

A senior immigration official said the plan to turn Pattaya into a green city would be impossible unless the foreign criminals were flushed out.

He said a big problem was hotels and guesthouses not reporting foreign guest stays to immigration within 24 hours, as required by regulations. Compounding the problem are non-registered guesthouses in the notorious Walking Street, many of which double as restaurants.

The Immigration Department has only received one million baht to upgrade its facilities and volunteer patrols.

''Is it possible to be green and clean if our house is still messy?'' said the official.

Pattaya police chief, Pol Col Nantawut Suwanla-ong, said overall the crime rate had declined in the past two years due to better monitoring by police and volunteers.

He said the city had been divided into grids of one square kilometre patrolled by designated units. The biggest impact was curtailing drug gangs.

Pol Col Nantawut said the number of murders had been reduced by 40% from 45 in 2010 to 29 in 2011.

The number of street robberies had fallen by about 200 over the same period, he said, without giving further statistics.

However, Pol Col Nantawut said the crime rate was still high and more work needed to be done.

''We are working hard to make Pattaya green and clean, but it won't be successful if we can't suppress crime,'' Pol Col Nantawut said.

He said the ''Greenovative'' plan also needed to take into account reducing vice if Pattaya was to meet its tourism goals. One way to achieve this was to have a stronger police presence on the streets.

Mr Itthiphol said the city did not have any plans to address the problem of foreign criminals and added the current annual budget was adequate.

He said the question of law enforcement rested with several agencies and not just the city administration.

(Source: Bangkok Post, Can Pattaya change its spots? A whopping 15 billion baht is sought to change the seaside resort's image. But first there's a little matter of clearing up crime and foreign gangsters, 26/02/2012, Piyaporn Wongruang, link

Tourism Vocabulary

Pattaya - a beach city in Thailand about 165 km southeast of Bangkok known for its nightlife and notorious red-light districts, the city is a major tourism destination in Thailand (See Wikipedia)

red-light district - "a part of an urban area where there is a concentration of prostitution and sex-oriented businesses, such as sex shops, strip clubs, adult theaters, etc. The term originates from the red lights that were used as signs of brothels" (See Wikipedia)

Walking Street - a tourist attraction in Pattaya that draws foreign and Thai tourists for its night life. "It is a red-light district with many go-go bars and brothels, the street is closed to vehicles from 6:00 pm to 2 am, the area includes seafood restaurants, live music venues, beer bars, discothèques, sports bars, go-go bars, and nightclubs, and is illuminated at night by many colored neon signs. The closing time of 2:00 am has been extended for many entertainment establishments" (See Wikipedia)

notorious - famous in a bad sort of way ที่มีชื่อฉาวโฉ่ ซึ่งมีชื่อเสียงในทางที่ไม่ดี
the notorious
Walking Street
non-registered guesthouses in the notorious Walking Street

sin
- an action, thought, or way of behaving that is wrong according to religious laws บาป
sin city - a city where there are a lot of activities with "sinful" activities such as prostitution, drugs, drinking, theft, murder, gambling, etc

bar girl - a girl who works in a bar and makes money from customers buying them drinks and perhaps by going out with the customers to provide sexual services for a fee (See Wikipedia)
party (verb) - when a group of friends have fun (drink alcohol, dance, etc)
partied with bar girls in Pattaya

Can Pattaya change its spots? - play on words based on the popular saying: "The leopard does not change his spots", so the answer is probably "no" (See Wikipedia)

painted lady - (slang) prostitute
the painted old lady by the sea - a funny way of describing Pattaya

facelift -
a type of cosmetic surgery procedure used to give a more youthful appearance. It usually involves the removal of excess facial skin, with or without the tightening of underlying tissues, and the redraping of the skin on the patient's face and neck ศัลยกรรมตกแต่งใบหน้าให้ดูอ่อนกว่าวัย (See Wikipedia)
undergo -
when something happens to you
undergo a 15 billion baht face-lift

whopping - very big, very large ก้อนโต ขนาดใหญ่
image - an opinion that people have about someone or something, the picture of something that people have in their mind, what people think about something ภาพลักษณ์
change image - change the way that people think about you

matter
- a situation or subject which is being dealt with or considered เรื่อง, ภารกิจ, งาน, สิ่งที่พูดถึง ประเด็นที่พูดถึง
but first there's a little matter of ... - meaning is opposite: actually a big and difficult to solve problem ....

A whopping 15 billion baht is sought to change the seaside resort's image. But first there's a little matter of clearing up crime and foreign gangsters

undergo - to experience something which is unpleasant or which involves a change ประสบ (เหตุการณ์ในด้านลบ)
executives - a high level manager in a company or organization (making plans and ensuring they executed successfully) ผู้บริหาร

city executives - the highest government officials in city government

ambitious (adjective) -  having very high and difficult to achieve goals
ambitiously
(adverb)

environment - 1. the conditions of a  place where people live or do some activity; 2. the natural world of land, sea, plants, and animals
locals - people who live in a particular place ชาวบ้าน
a ''green and clean'' environment for tourists and locals

Pattaya - the painted old lady by the sea - is about to undergo a 15 billion baht face-lift. City executives ambitiously want to turn the city into ''New Pattaya, the World Class Greenovative Tourism City'' with a ''green and clean'' environment for tourists and locals.

transformation - change
Cinderella transformation - when everything changes (Cinderella was "transformed" from maid into princess)

Designated Area for Sustainable Tourism Administration (Dasta) - (See Wikipedia)

initiative - a new action or movement, often intended to solve a problem ความคิดริเริ่ม

administration - one government that a country has for a period of time
the former Thaksin administration

autonomy - operating by itself, not dependent on others; ability to make your own decisions rather than be influenced or controlled by someone else มีอำนาจอิสระในการกำหนดนโยบาย
semi-autonomy - partly operating by itself (not completely separate)
pushing for the move to reclassify Pattaya

But for the Cinderella transformation to take place, the city needs to be classified as a Designated Area for Sustainable Tourism Administration (Dasta), an initiative introduced by the former Thaksin administration, which gives it semi-autonomy. The city's administrators have been pushing for the move to reclassify Pattaya and its surrounds since 2008. Dasta approved the application in 2009, allowing Pattaya City to swallow eight municipalities and tambon administrations. The Pattaya masterplan was approved by the cabinet last year.

funding - money given for a particular purpose การให้เงินสนับสนุน
provides the funding

critics - people who don't like something and who state their opinion about it นักวิจารณ์
has not been without its critics

granting - officially giving (changing ownership, not lending for a time period)
independence - not being influenced by or dependent on other people เป็นหน่วยงานอิสระ
financial independence
granting financial independence

strict - very careful and exact เข้มงวด
oversight - watching closely to make sure there are no problems or wrongdoing; ensuring that something works well (See glossary)
strict oversight

abuse - to use or treat someone or something wrongly or badly, especially in a way that is to your own advantage ใช้ในทางที่ผิด
financial abuse -
opening the door to financial abuse

mismanagement - not managing well, resulting in failure or poor performance; organising or controlling something badly การจัดการผิด

But Dasta itself, which provides the funding, has not been without its critics who say granting so much financial independence without strict oversight is opening the door to financial abuse and mismanagement.

mayor - the chief, head, leader of a town

state - government รัฐ
state funding - money from the government

injection
- 1. putting one thing into another thing; 2. putting a liquid, especially a drug, into a person's body using a needle and a syringe การฉีดยา
injection of state funding - putting government money into a project

city hall
- the center of local city government

surrounding areas
- the area around a place
Pattayas' surrounding areas
- the area around Pattaya

expansion - when something increases in size, number or importance การขยายออก
influence - the power to have an effect on people or things;  to affect or change how someone or something develops, behaves or thinks มีอิทธิพลต่อ, ชักจูง อำนาจบังคับ
surrounding - all around a place บริเวณรอบๆ
benefit - to get help or an advantage from something ผลประโยชน์

expansion of city hall's influence over surrounding areas
expansion of city hall's influence over surrounding areas can only benefit the area.

Pattaya City's mayor, Itthiphol Khunploem, is certain the injection of state funding and expansion of city hall's influence over surrounding areas can only benefit the area.

local - in or related to the area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about ท้องถิ่น
authorities - government officials; the police or people in official organisations who have the legal power to make people obey laws or rules เจ้าหน้าที่ (ตำรวจ หรือผู้มีอำนาจ)
designated - choose for a special purpose แต่งตั้งให้เป็น  แต่งตั้ง ที่ได้รับการแต่งตั้ง ถูกกำหนด
integrate - bring together and combine (so it all works together as a whole); to combine things of different types in one effective system รวมเข้าด้วยกัน
scattered - spread over a large area กระจัดกระจาย

surrounding areas are often under different local authorities
being designated as a cluster area, we will be able to integrate scattered authorities in order to achieve the shared goal
wants to see Pattaya's image as a safe beach resort city restored, but with a green message.

''To develop Pattaya, we need its surrounding areas, but these are often under different local authorities, not just ours,'' Mr Itthiphol said. ''So, being designated as a cluster area, we will be able to integrate scattered authorities in order to achieve the shared goal.'' Mr Itthiphol wants to see Pattaya's image as a safe beach resort city restored, but with a green message. The 15 billion baht ''Greenovative Tourism'' city plan, earmarks 132 projects, including developing transportation and tourist attractions. It aims to declare Pattaya a green and clean city in 10 years.

law enforcement - making sure a law is obeyed and punishing people if it is not obeyed บังคับใช้กฎหมาย การบังคับใช้กฎหมาย
local law enforcement officials - the police in a city or local area

issues - an important subect that people are discussing and debating about ประเด็น
address issues - solve problems
the issues of local vice and foreign criminals living in Pattaya need to be addressed

established - created

But cleaning up the streets of Pattaya involves more than just new buses and painting beach benches. Local law enforcement officials say the issues of local vice and foreign criminals living in Pattaya need to be addressed. Pol Lt Gen Panya Mamen - chief of Provincial Police Region 2, which has recently established the Transnational Crime Coordination Centre (TNCC) in Pattaya - said many foreign criminals call Pattaya home.

pass themselves off as - pretend to be a person (that you are not) 

partners - the companies owning part of the joint venture หุ้นส่วน
criminal
partners - criminals who work with other criminals in their crime

theft
- (the act of) dishonestly taking something which belongs to someone else and keeping it การลักขโมย
murder - the crime of intentionally killing a person ฆาตกรรม

He said many of them pass themselves off as tourists. Some work with Thai criminal partners or operate on their own or in gangs, with crimes ranging from theft to murder.

locate - to find where something is หาทำเล,หาที่ตั้ง
suspects - people who may have committed the crime, identified by the police ผู้ต้องสงสัย

mugshot -
a photo taken at the police station when a person is arrested as a suspect in a crime (See Wikipedia)
difficult to locate foreign suspects - even if police had mugshots

Pol Capt Prajakpong Suriya of the TNCC said it was difficult to locate foreign suspects - even if police had mugshots - as they frequently changed addresses and it was difficult to obtain information about them.

base - a place from where an activity can be planned ฐานที่มั่น
popular criminal base - a place that criminals live and plan their crimes from (a hub for criminals)

hub
- the central or main part of something where there is most activity จุดศูนย์กลาง
expatriates - foreigners living a long time in a country away from their own country
a hub for tourists and expatriates

Pattaya is a popular criminal base because it's a hub for tourists and expatriates.

records - pieces of information describing something written down or stored on a computer บันทึุก
Chon Buri Immigration Office records

acts - actions การกระทำ
criminal act
criminal acts involving foreigners
committed a criminal act

revealed - made known or showed somthing that was surprising or that was previously secret เปิดเผย

According to Chon Buri Immigration Office records, at least 14 major criminal acts involving foreigners were committed in 2010 and 12 last year. Earlier this month, it was revealed three Iranian suspects in the the Valentine's Day bombings had partied with bar girls in Pattaya before heading to Bangkok.

immigration - 1. people coming into a country to travel, live, and work there, 2. the controls that governments place on flows of people into the country การย้ายถิ่นฐาน
immigration official - a government worker (civil servant) in the immigration department
senior immigration official - a high level civil servant in the immigration department 

flush out -
get rid of, eliminate (like "flushing" the toilet to get rid of waste)
flush out foreign criminals - get rid of foreign criminals

A senior immigration official said the plan to turn Pattaya into a green city would be impossible unless the foreign criminals were flushed out.

regulations - official rules that control the way that things are done ระเบียบปฏิบัติ ระเบียบ ข้อบังคับ
as required by regulations - the regulations require you to do it
reporting foreign guest stays to immigration within 24 hours, as required by regulations

compounding the problem
- making the problem bigger

double
- to become twice as big, twice as much or twice as many เพิ่มเป็นสองเท่า
double as - to have an added use, function or purpose (example: the bar doubled as a brothel and house of prostitution)
guesthouses
that double as restaurants

He said a big problem was hotels and guesthouses not reporting foreign guest stays to immigration within 24 hours, as required by regulations. Compounding the problem are non-registered guesthouses in the notorious Walking Street, many of which double as restaurants.

upgrade - improve; make new, modern, and up-to-date
facilities - the buildings, equipment and services provided for a particular acticity or purpose (for example, athletics facilities) สิ่งอำนวยความสะดวก สถานที่และสิ่งอำนวยความสะดวก
upgrade facilities - improve the place and equipment used for some activity

volunteer - to do some work without being paid อาสาสมัคร
patrols - when police or soldiers move around an area, checking to make sure there are no problems there เดินยาม เฝ้ายาม การลาดตระเวน, หน่วยลาดตระเวน
volunteer patrols - people who help the police without pay by waling or riding around an area to check for illegal activities

The Immigration Department has only received one million baht to upgrade its facilities and volunteer patrols.

messy - not organized

''Is it possible to be green and clean if our house is still messy?'' said the official.

crime rate - the number of incidents of a type of crime happening in an area during a period of time (example: murders per year in Pattaya)
monitoring - watching something closely and checking for problems  จับตาดู

Pattaya police chief, Pol Col Nantawut Suwanla-ong, said overall the crime rate had declined in the past two years due to better monitoring by police and volunteers.

divided into grids - breaking a larger area into many smaller square shaped areas 

designate - choose something to be something or do something
unit - a small group of policemen
designated units - a small group of policemen chosen to do some task

impact - an effect or influence ผลกระทบ
the biggest impact - the biggest effect or influence

curtail - stop
curtail drug gangs - stop drug gangs 

statistics - facts about something, described by counting them สถิติ

He said the city had been divided into grids of one square kilometre patrolled by designated units. The biggest impact was curtailing drug gangs. Pol Col Nantawut said the number of murders had been reduced by 40% from 45 in 2010 to 29 in 2011. The number of street robberies had fallen by about 200 over the same period, he said, without giving further statistics.  However, Pol Col Nantawut said the crime rate was still high and more work needed to be done.

suppress - to stop opposition or protest using military force or strict laws ปราบ, ปราบปราม
suppress crime - stop crime

''We are working hard to make Pattaya green and clean, but it won't be successful if we can't suppress crime,'' Pol Col Nantawut said.

account - a written or spoken report about something that has happened บันทึกถ้อยคำ การอธิบาย
take into account - include; use some information

presence - when someone or something is in a place การอยู่ในสถานที่หนึ่ง (ของบุคคล)
police presence on the streets - police that are on the streets (police patrols) to deal with illegal activities

He said the ''Greenovative'' plan also needed to take into account reducing vice if Pattaya was to meet its tourism goals. One way to achieve this was to have a stronger police presence on the streets.

address a problem - to try to deal with and solve a problem จัดการกับปัญหา

current - of the present time ปัจจุบัน
annual - happening once a year ประจำปี
budget - the amounts of money that an organisation has available to spend on different things during a period งบประมาณ (See Wikipedia)
adequate - enough; good enough to do the job and achive goals  พอเพียง
the current annual budget was adequate

Mr Itthiphol said the city did not have any plans to address the problem of foreign criminals and added the current annual budget was adequate. He said the question of law enforcement rested with several agencies and not just the city administration.

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