Volume 14, Issue 01
16 - 30 September 2014
Pattaya cleanup or control by military?
fficials in Pattaya are working flat out to improve drastically Pattaya’s image rather than face direct intervention by the military junta’s NCPO (National Council for Peace and Order). The city’s acting Police Chief, Colonel Supatee Boonkrong said he wanted to eradicate prostitution in the interests of public safety and to restore “happiness” throughout the Eastern Seaboard resort. Teams of police, assisted by Thai and foreign volunteers, have rounded up hundreds of women and transgenders. Although they are usually fined 100 or 200 baht and released after being fingerprinted and checked on ID records, the sheer intensity of the crackdown has been a cause of general surprise. Some suspected prostitutes have been arrested several times in a week. Many of those arrested, or rearrested, have been ladyboys who have long been a feature of Pattaya after dark, especially in beachfront areas. But there have been regular, ongoing complaints from foreign tourists about being robbed by transvestites working in gangs. Commonly, one member of the group pretends to show affection to a confused stranger while another with nimble fingers steals a wallet or pendant before making a quick escape on a waiting motorbike. “Although not all cross-dressing males are criminals,” said a Tourist Police officer on Walking Street, “those hanging around at night probably are up to no good.” He added that no other public order problem in Pattaya had been given higher priority by both the previous Yingluck Shinawatra government and by the coup-installed administration from last May. Another subject of the anti-crime crackdown concerns the Pattaya and Jomtien beaches where, traditionally, the hundreds of operators have contravened local regulations by ignoring Continued on page 4