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Read All About It – The Great Thai Newspaper Fraud

FROM ANDREW DRUMMOND

Bangkok, October 5 2011

A reader has just sent me the link to ‘Media in Thailand’  – a summary of the Fourth Estate here by Wikipedia. This review had me chuckling not least because of its entry about the Pattaya Times – slogan ‘News you can use!’.

In its initial blurb about newspapers it mentioned the Nation and Thai Post, but no mention at all of the Bangkok Post.

Top of the list of English language online newspapers is the Pattaya Times of which it says: ‘The news is unbiased and focuses on entertainment, business, headlines and sports. The Pattaya Times is the only foreign-owned Thailand newspaper. It is the flagship publication of the Pattaya Times Media Corporation’

Then again at the top of the list of Thai language online newspapers up pops the Pattaya Times again!

’30 Thai staff educated overseas’

This time it says: ‘Although American owned and managed the Pattaya Times has more than 30 Thai staff educated oversees (sic) who post Pattaya times articles on the website in Thai.’

Whoa. Has some internet freaky been working overtime or what?

The Thai language website for the Pattaya Times has not been updated for the last month,  and I cannot find 28 of those 30 staff. Indeed they will have trouble sitting on the four chairs provided in the room above owner Drew Noyes’ ‘PAPPA’ legal office.

Last month its real editor,a Chinese American, walked out along with two Filipinas recruited on www.tagged.com, and in this issue I cannot find anything by Jason ‘G’Day’ Griffiths, so I am guessing he left too.

Wikipedia claims the circulation of the Pattaya Times is 40,000. Somehow I do not think that is audited. Noyes would be lucky if he sold 400.  His claim of 500,000 is up there alongside “I am the most credible and reassuring person to have made Thailand my home.”

 ?

Actually posters who have already read my last story ‘Exposed: How an American businessman sold government homes for the poor in Thailand’ will know that its registered editor, Wanrapa Boonsu, does not really write anything in English at all and what appears under her name was merely lifted from other newspapers and websites. 

Then I  after receiving the email, I thought, well it’s a quiet news day, lets carry on with this. So I started checking other bylines.

Wow! In a place, where ‘you just can’t make it up’, they just have.

Above: Drew Noyes’ entry in the Am-Cham Directory

It appears that Drew Noyes has produced a totally fake newspaper by click and paste, merely so he can show his face as a newspaper proprietor at social events, and use his personal clout against his enemies, or alternatively try to ingratiate himself with Thai ‘influential friends’ in his one story of the week.

The only stories of any argueable news value in the newspaper, though dated, are, with the exception of two,  lifted from other news organisations websites, including the BBC, CNN, and MCOT.  His book and film reviews are lifted, as are the IT and Health Columns., and his Food Writer…well, read on. No surprise then that the Pattaya Times virtually no staff….but of course Noyes says he was invited to Thailand ‘by royal decree’

Here’s a run down:

Page One: Splash by Drew Noyes (with his picture byline) who claims to have a degree in journalism from Knoxville University, Tennessee. This is based on one of endless interviews with the city mayor Ittipol Khunplume and announces ‘Booming Pattaya becomes ASEAN’s international hub” when, it adds later, “Thailand joins the community in 2015″.  Pattaya will of course not become ASEAN’s hub

“Local long time foreign businessmen are quite aware of the major changes taking place in Pattaya and are aligning Pattaya with sister cities to increase investments into Pattaya,” writes Drew Noyes. Who says?

“We are linking Pattaya with Angeles City and hopefully Las Vegas as trilateral sister cities,” says Pattaya People Media Group managing director and entrepreneur Neils Colov, following his recent visit to help promote relationships.

Well that says it all, and also explains why Colov is touting the ‘Knights of Rizal’  and planning to move to Angeles City. But lets look closer at this. This is one Pattaya ‘newspaper proprieter’ of dubious background having already been exposed by an American newspaper talking to another Pattaya ‘newspaper properietor’ of dubious background in Copenhagen’s red light area, and they are announcing plans for three of the world’s biggest sex, drugs and rock’n roll destinations to be linked as trilateral sisters!  Can Mayor Ittiphol, who says he is trying to bring the city upmarket, actually take these clowns seriously?

Good heavens, what are they teaching at Knoxville University?

The story runs all over Page 2.

Page One News?: Byline Visith Pinawong: A new Tukcom IT centre is being built in Pattaya

Comment: 4 paragraphs PR blurb. Probably actually written becauseVisith is a real person

Page 2 Society?: This is all picture captions for photos dished out free to the local press, or taken at freebies each week from various functions including of course the obligatory birthday party shots of people of influence.

Page 3 News:  Department of Business Development Opens Branch in Pattaya (half page) and Mercy’s new Baan Khong Por opens to provide protection and love for children at risk (half page).

Comment: Probably the only genuine local stories in the paper but its also a blurb for Drew Noyes (pictured). The Mercy Centre story features Britain’s Hon Consul Howard M. But they certainly were not written by Wittaya Yensabai whose English is not up to the mark.

Page 4 News: Byline: Wanrapa Boonsu: Asian U agrees Programs with De Montford and BBC Academy:
Comment: This is a complete lift from this site  http://www.asianust.ac.th/news/

Page 4 News?: Byline: Visith Pinpawong: ‘On Friday 29th of July a halo appeared around the sun. This is the first time I have seen this in the five years I have lived here and yet I have never seen it in the UK.’

Comment: I am not surprised Visith has not seen this in the UK. Is anybody else? But its not a story as its 3 months old. But actually its not written by Visith at all but by a chap called Les Edmonds – read on.

Page 5 News: Byline Wanrapa Boonsu: ‘Saudi Social Media Joy at Reform Promise’
Comment: This is a complete lift from the BBC Middle East news website

Page 5 News: Wanrapa Boonsu: ‘Forest Run Off Sweeps into Chiang Mai’
Comment: This is MCOT copy which has been unaltered and lifted straight from the website.

Page 5 News: Byline Visith Pinpawong: ‘Two sentenced in Deadly Bangkok Nightclub Fire’. Comment: This is a word for word lift from the BBC Asia-Pacific website

Page 5 News: Byline: Visith Pinpawong:  ‘Cambodia a Place for Pioneer Visitors’
Comment: This is a complete lift from CNN originally written by Paulin Chiou.

Page 5News : Wanrapa Boonsu: ‘AoT says it will beat the cheats’Comment: Complete lift from Travel Trade Report written by Wangwisa Ngamsangchaikit

Page 6 Features: Health Column on angina: Dr.Weil your trusted health advisor
Comment: Lifted from ‘Dr Weil’ our trusted health advisor’s webpage

Page 6 Features: IT Column ‘Lifehacker’. ‘Facebook is tracking your every move’

Comment: Was copied from ‘Lifehacker’ website http://lifehacker.com/5843969/facebook-is-tracking-your-every-move-on-the-web-heres-how-to-stop-it.

Page 7: Sports stuff. Three stories by Wanrapa Boonsu and definitely not written by Wanrapa Boonsu. Foreign story about Barcelona lifted from AFP.

Page 8: Property ads

Page 9 Reviews: Byline: Wanrapa Boonsu: Book Review: ‘Thai Street Food’ by David Thompson.
Comment: This was also lifted completely from the net. Actually written by a guy called ‘Rich’ here : http://www.them-apples.co.uk/2010/11/thai-street-food-by-david-thompson/

Page 9 Revues: Byline Wanrapa Boonsu: Movie Revue  50/50
Comment: This review which runs across two columns from the top to the bottom of the broadsheet page was actually really written by Marshall Fine of ‘www.hollywoodandfine.com’, Star Magazine and the Huffington Post.

Page 10: Society? Getting bored now: Five stories here: ‘Sheraton to hold wine dinner’ – comment: pr plug. ‘Swan Lake to be staged at Tiffany’s’ (PR plug), Austin Robinson appointed GM for Nova Hotel (PR Plug), Havana Bar offers chance to gain a stay at Holiday Inn (PR plug). Finally Indonesia wins supermodel contest (who cares?)

Page 11: Food & Wine and hotel plugs by a chap called Les Edmonds. In one grovelling review of ‘Louis Restaurant’ in Naklua he writes: “One lady at the other end of the table followed with the pan-fried John Dory and all I could hear was drooling noises as to how good it was.”  – Sounds like a British transport cafe. Anyway Les Edmonds is your man. He is the paper’s culinary expert and being a Brit pensioner he actually does it for free and the fame. Does not even take free meals, I am told, and he even has a cooking column called “Tom’s Cooking Corner – by Les Edmonds’. Don’t know where Tom came from. This all getting so confusing. Why change his name to Tom?

But hang on. This guide on how to make Spring Rolls looks familiar to us amateur masterchefs who get our recipes from the net. Yes its a complete lift this time  a recipe written by Darlene Schmidt on……

http://thaifood.about.com/od/vegetarianthairecipes/r/springrolls.htm

Come on Les get a grip! And ‘Fair Pay for Pensioners’ – Drew

Page 12 is the Business page of the newspaper but presumably the Pattaya Times does not have a Business Editor or Reporters. Do I really need to check? Ok I’ll go on,

Wanrapa Boonsu

Page 12 Business Page: Byline:Wanrapa Boonsu: ‘Far East Fashionistas Propel Prada Profits.

Comment: Yes. This is copied too. Its actually written by CNN Business Analyst Ramy Inocencio.

Page 12 Business: Byline: Wanrapa Boonsu: ‘PTTEP Finds More Natural Gas in Australia’

Comment: Copied from MCOT Business News – Press Release. Its all over the net.

Page 12 Business: Byline Wanrapa Boonsu: ‘BoI Investment Promotions Surge’

Comment: MCOT copy unchanged.

Page 12: Business: Byline Visith Pinpawong: Thai Exports Grew In August

Comment: More old MCOT stuff.

All business stories have been lifted

That’s it now. 12 pages. Its getting thinner.  In the whole newspaper, which takes two weeks to produce, the only thing which can be delaying production must be the faulty right click ‘copy and paste’ on Drew Noyes’ mouse. There is only one exclusive internally sourced ‘news’ story and that’s the ridiculous splash by Drew Noyes announcing plans to link Pattaya with Las Vegas and Angeles City.

Anyway I spoke to an ‘ex-employee’ who said: “How you expect Drew to run a newspaper with virtually no staff, dummy? Pretty much all of it was lifted. Drew, being American, likes to lift from the Huffington Post.”

Can’t wait to analyse the next issue. Don’t bother buying it, just nip down to your local internet cafe.But if I was Noyes’ backer I would certainly ask how he has spent the cash.

Meanwhile compare the above with Drew Noyes ‘Mission Statement’ for the Pattaya Times.

“The Pattaya Times newspaper does not report crime, accidents or reprint wire service news (AP, Reuters, AFP) which is readily available on the Internet the moment it breaks.

The Pattaya Times newspaper is positive, proactive, current, insightful and interesting to its wide readership.

Because the Pattaya times newspaper owners, Pattaya Times Media Corp., are also the owners of the largest Pattaya law firm, PAPPA Co., Ltd. law Office, the Pattaya Times often break news on new visa requirements, land ownership regulations, new policies governing foreigner’s banking in Thailand, company limited requirements and other information essential to living in or doing business in Thailand.

This news helps increase Pattaya Times’ readership over all other newspapers of any language sold in Pattaya, Laem Chabang Port, Chonburi and the Eastern Seaboard provinces. Many major websites reprint Pattaya Times newspaper’s legal and social articles which reach many millions of additional readers. This exposure continues to increase readership of the Pattaya Times newspaper and related website.

The majority of the Pattaya Times news is written by its staff and articles are for the most part unique only to the Pattaya Times and not publish elsewhere without the permission of the Pattaya Times.

The Pattaya Times readers are demographically comprised of New Generation Thais (40%), followed by Thai socialites and business people (22%) active Expats living in Pattaya, Bangkok and the Eastern Seaboard (20%) and the remaining 18% of Pattaya Times followers are made up of returning visitors, international business people, MICE participants, investors, Thai property owners and students.

The Pattaya Times – ‘The News You Can Use’, or er, ‘Your News We Use’, or, er ‘Can We Use Your News?” or er ‘News Can Use You?’

Patong Times Fiction

Women and Romance

‘Mr. Cool’ by Glenda Blagg

‘Sweat was pouring down the face of Rip Kane as the ticking clock seemed to pound at him like a slow beating drum at the end of the newsroom. He looked up. Two minutes to go. “Shit!” he muttered to himself, one eye wandering off by itself to peruse the skirt and legs of Raquel, a Filipina, filling her paper cup at the water machine.

But his smirk turned to a leer as he thought to himself: ‘Ingrate. I bought her all the way from Manila and she thinks she can turn me down. And she’s whining about her 7,000 baht a month. I wonder if I can sue her. I’ll get onto it tomorrow. Still there’s plenty more at.tagged.com’.

Editor Noi, with whom he had three children, caught his eye, and glared,  slowly placing her make up mirror down on the desk (Squeezing facial spots could wait) she growled: “Wha you looking at?”.

Rip lowered his head and turned back to the task at hand. “Keep cool. Keep cool,” he muttered under his breath. It seemed the whole world was waiting on his words, but he was stuck. He knew it happened to the most brilliant of people, but it should not happen to a member of MENSA.

“Writers Block!..Writers Block!” he bellowed and the Burmese maid Aung Hla wai-ed to the Raquel with an imploring look in her eyes. The Filipina stood aside and Aung Hla was allowed to fill a cone of water and rush it to Rip.. head bowed.

He grabbed it from her hand and rushed it to his mouth, or so he thought, but most of it hit his eye spilling down, mingling with the beads of sweat on his face, onto the crumpled ‘S’Fare’ shirt which had bought for his meeting with Mayor Noppadol the night before.

He had not been home last night because ‘Nam’ had laid her carnal claim on him.

The Burmese maid retreated, backing out facing him as usual, dropping the paper cone in the bin on her way out then wiping her hands vigorously on her blouse. 

Rip brushed the globules of water off his mouth and chin with his fore-arm.

‘They don’t teach you this at University. They don’t teach you what to do when you are up against it’, he thought. “I wish somebody had.’

His mind slipped back to the night before when Nam was playing the cowboy but his developing smile turned to a frown.  ‘She’s getting a bit demanding now,’ he thought. ‘She wants to join the Thai Polo Club. I am going to have to lay down the law.’

He had not had this problem since No.89 at ‘Heaven’s Above’ asked him for membership of the Securities Exchange Commission.

Rip snapped out of his daydream. “Oh shit” one minute to go! What’s wrong with this damn computer. “Nat! Nat! Nat!…NAT!.  Come here quickly! Ma raew raew!’ he added in Thai. Raew Raew was a new phrase he had learned which he could now also add to ‘pay duay’ in his quest to distribute his manly juices around Thailand.

Twenty seconds later in rushed the handy man. “Nat, my mouse is f#cked! Do something!”.

Boiler-suited Nat looked seemingly perplexed at Rip, scratched his head, and then in a flash of inspiration leapt into action.

He pulled the mouse out of the computer’s right hand USB port sending it flying across the room, forcing Raquel to duck, and made a dive for the keyboard. Right click. Copy.

 ‘Where to sir?’

 ‘The bloody newspaper!’

 Nat opened up the tab which said ‘Patong Times’.

 “Here Mr.Rip?”. “Yes. There!”.

With a flourish Nat right clicked ‘Paste’. As if by magic the newspaper had come together. Goddammit! That was a close shave. Rip clapped and shouted with glee.

A new story about something called ‘Tuk-Tukcom’ now sat nestled under his masterpiece for the week. And there again he could see next to his picture, which he briefly admired once again, the headline of his great opus.

‘Blooming Patong! Becomes International Huh!..Asean.

Across the room the two staff went through the motions of applause.  ‘We go home now sir?’. 

 ‘Yes. Okay,” said Rip, too exhausted now to think up another task for them.

Rip was proud. He was due to give a lecture the following week to the local Expats Club on newspapers and journalism. He was a star performer ‘But nobody would understand the real pressure journalists are under,’ he thought.

But now he had a mission. This was press day. His two wives and their bundles of children could wait…… but the Buffalo Bar waits for no man.

And there across across the crowed bar among girls gracefully sipping ya dong out of tumblers and sitting on the laps of construction workers from Belarus was his darling, Nam.

Their eyes met. ‘Lip! Lip!” she cried delightedly in anticipation. ‘You buy me drink!’. Rip soaked up the romantic atmosphere. Here was a woman who would listen to him all night. His eyes rolled in contentment as Nam nibbled on his ear. Boy this beats Tennessee.

A little bit of saliva dropped from the corner of his mouth. ‘Nam in jodhpurs,wow’. Perhaps she would get her Polo Club membership anyway.’

‘No,’ he thought again, ‘but I’ll give her the T-shirt’.

Back at the office New Zealander Jake Griffinburger had turned up and was re-proofing the paper and correcting the headlines. He managed to fill a massive great hole he had found in the sports pages with a story about Barcelona FC.

” Lionel Messi and his Barcelona teammates have made an unusual complaint to team uniform manufacturers Nike and demanded the sportswear giant change the fabric used to make the official club shirt”……”blah blah..blah..blah.blah” Jake said out loud shaking his head from left to right, thinking  ‘the Pattaya punters will never know where this comes from.’

He looked up at the advert on the right ear of the front page ‘Be seen by millions. Advertise in the Patong Times’ and chuckled: ‘Yep. Nobody’s gonna read it anyway’.

He’d got the story by cutting and pasting an Agence France Presse Report out of Madrid. It saved the boss paying for what he referred to as ‘journalist scum’.

‘I’ve saved that b’stards bacon again and I won’t see him tomorrow to get my pay because he’ll be down at city hall giving away free copies and showing Noppadol his picture,” he thought.

Jake knew he would not get his reward in this life. ‘That’s journalism’, he thought. And for once somebody at the Patong Times was getting close to the truth.

============================

And finally a breaking story in the Pattaya Times!  But I guess it must have something to do with this report.

All newspapers depicted in my banner are newspapers on which I have either worked as staff or contribute on a regular basis or am registered as correspondent of with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Thailand…with the exception of ‘The Graph’ which I have never heard of and have been meaning to have a word with the designer about. I guess its  a paper which he reads.

Drew Noyes goes on to say that I have been convicted many times of libel.

Actually, while I have been threatened many times, in forty years nobody has ever brought a successful case against me for libel. He refers to cases in Pattaya both of which I won on appeal.

Still it is original writing. But he clearly has problems finding something bad to write about me and must assume people have the same skeletons he does. He does not realise what image he is projecting of himself.





 

About the Author

Andrew Drummond

Andrew Drummond is a British independent journalist and occasional television documentary maker. He is a former Fleet Street, London, journalist having worked at the Evening Standard, Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, News of the World, Observer and The Times.

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