Pattaya Daily News

11 April 2009 :: 16:04:04 pm 27604

Pattaya Asean Delegates Removed to Safety by Helicopters

On the afternoon of 11th April 2009, helicopters were observed evacuating foreign leaders from the Royal Cliff Beach Resort hotel, following the cancellation of the ASEAN summit.
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The president of the Phillipines, Gloria Arroyo, boarded a civilian helicopter which landed on the roof of the hotel. Police also sconfirmed that Myanmar Prime Minister Thein Sein had been airlifted by to the U-Tapao airport.

The prime minister had previously declared a state of emergency in Pattaya and the surrounding province of Chonburi after protesters had stormed the summit. “The government has a duty to take care of the leaders who will depart from Thailand,” Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said in an address on Thai television. “In this extremely serious situation, the government has decided to impose a state of emergency in Pattaya and Chonburi to deal with the situation.”Government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn said the state of emergency was to ensure the security of leaders attending the regional talks “and to restore normalcy to the area”. “As soon as the situation is under control the state of emergency will be lifted,” he told local television.

The state of emergency bans public gatherings of more than five people and empowers police and military to detain suspects for between seven and 30 days without charge. Authorities are also given added power to search residents and venues and restrict travels and can enforce strict controls on media and all other forms of communication.

Today’s events are likely to send Pattaya City reeling economically, as it now has to struggle with mounting tour and hotel cancellations, instead of reaping the benfits from the Songkran Festival as had been hoped before the events of today.

Kongkrit Hiranyakit, chairman of the Tourism Council of Thailand said “After the Suvarnabhumi Airport closure (in December), tourism business operators expected the industry to be affected for 6-9 months. The magnitude of damage from the invasion into the ASEAN Summit meeting venue would also give a similar result. He noted that the protester’s action in Pattaya had involved the safety of leaders of 15 nations, which are key markets. The number of tourists from these countries was expected to account for 8.5 million, or 60 per cent of target for 2009.

With predicted losses from the airport shutdown totaling 120 billion baht this year, the red-shirt?s actions could contribute a further loss of 100 billion baht.

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : PDN staff   Category : Politics News

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