The military Junta in Thailand seems determined to continue using sledgehammers to crack walnuts. Hot on the heels of the inflammatory statements made up in Chang Mai last week regarding strict conditions for breweries, bar owners and bar workers, comes a new story from Pattaya.
Police Colonel Suppatee Boonkrong, deputy commander of Chon Buri Provincial Police, has joined in the fun and games by claiming that he is determined to “clean up” Pattaya. Just what he means by this bold statement remains to be seen. Number one on his list of priorities is to end prostitution in Pattaya, well good luck mate!
The police will first target the beach areas and the guys renting out sun beds, deck chairs and jet skis. This has all been said many times before of course, only this time you have a police led government making the rules. Then police will start to target street prostitutes, and the transgender sex workers are already complaining that they are being targeting.
Speaking of his plans, Police Colonel Suppatee said, “I want to completely change the image of Pattaya from being sin city to a friendly town that everyone can enjoy.” It seems to have completely escaped this guys mind, that the vast majority of holidaymakers that go to Pattaya are going for the very things that he wants to clean up. He added that reports of theft had dropped since they started arresting up to 30 bag snatchers per night. Whilst being good news, this does beg the question of why wasn’t this done sooner.
Accused of singling out Ladyboys the colonel added, without a hint of irony, “We are arresting anyone for whom we have evidence of trying to trade sex for money, Ladyboys happen to be the majority of people we arrest.” Is he honestly trying to tell us that the majority of sex workers in Pattaya are ladyboys? What is the man drinking?
In a more sinister message, the deputy Mayor of Pattaya Mr. Ronakit Ekasingh said they were trying to “keep things under control to prevent the National Council for Peace and Order taking over the situation as they have done in Phuket and Hua Hin”. This is a worrying situation. The last thing that Pattaya’s tourism industry needs, is heavy handed interference by the Junta.
The deputy Mayor seems to be concentrating his efforts on the deck chair renters, as if, that is the most pressing problem in Pattaya. He added, ”There are now 216 operators on Pattaya beach and 467 operators on Jomtien beach. None of them strictly follow our rules,” Mr Ronakit went on to say that he he had sent out inspection teams to measure the size of the deckchair plots, warning operators along the full 2.7km stretch of Pattaya beach.
It strikes me that the first thing they should be looking at is general street crime. Cut that out and Pattaya will soon return to the fun place it used to be. If these guys think that the millions of male tourists who pour into the town every year are going to stop coming because the deck chair sellers are taking up too much space, he is dreaming.
The tourists don’t come to Pattaya for the temples and the sun, they come for the girls, the beer and party atmosphere. The Junta should stop fooling themselves into thinking they are fooling anybody with this nonsense.