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A top policeman at a crisis meeting to discuss Pattaya’s crime and image has announced that “Happy Zones” will be set up in the resort to protect tourists and their possessions.
The “Happy Zone” idea comes from national police HQ and will be introduced in tourist towns nationwide but trialed in Pattaya first where the need has been deemed as urgent, reported Siamchonnews.
Yesterday operators on Walking Street were invited to Pattaya town hall to meet with regional chiefs, local cops, district officials and immigration forces to hear the plans.
Somprasong Yenthuam, a Chonburi police spokesman chairing the gathering, said that tourism revenue was very important in Thailand and the safety of tourists and their possessions was paramount.
He said he had been ordered by the national police HQ to stop crime against tourists.
He acknowledged that Pattaya has some of the worst crime statistics in Thailand and recent foreign media coverage saying the resort was the sex capital of the world exacerbated the problems.
“So we have decided to set up ‘Happy Zones'”, said Somprasong. “These \will be in tourist towns throughout the country but the project will start in Pattaya first”.
The project will initially center on Walking Street then will be expanded to 35 different points throughout the resort.
“The key is to have crime prevention measures,” he continued. “We want the operators in the area to be the eyes and ears for the authorities so that we can work together to solve the problem of crime”.
Specifically he asked for all establishments to set up their own CCTV. Each venue and shop is to have their own liaison officer to work closely with police, military and the municipal authority.
He implored the businesses to keep a close watch on their areas to help stop necklace robbery and bag snatching that have become commonplace in the resort recently.
He also elaborated to say that the problem of drugs needs special attention and he implored venues in the area not to employ under 20s in the sex trade saying: “Help us out on this – let’s shake hands on this one”.
The Happy Zone project is set to be inaugurated by Region 2 chief Chalermkiat Sriworakhan shortly.