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Chonburi ‘Godfather’s’ Son Collects Garbage, Likes on Koh Chang Beach

Saensuk Subdistrict Mayor Narongchai Kunplome collects garbage on Koh Chang
Saensuk Subdistrict Mayor Narongchai Kunplome collects garbage on Koh Laoya, off Koh Chang.

The youngest son of late Chonburi “godfather” Somchai “Kanman Poh” Kunplome has spent years trying to keep Bangsaen Beach clean. But over the holiday weekend, the mayor of Saensuk Subdistrict took his green thumb to Koh Chang, where he was photographed cleaning trash off a beach there.

It was less than a selfless act when a shirtless Narongchai Khunpluem, 43, posted photos and video of himself to his Facebook page doing his good deed Sunday. Of course, spotlight seeking is a family tradition.

Narongchai is the youngest of the four sons of Kanman Poh. His oldest, Sonthaya, is the mayor of Pattaya and a two time Cabinet Minister. Wittaya is the head of the Chonburi Provincial Administrative Organization while Itthiphol, the former Pattaya mayor, is the current culture minister. Various wives and cousins hold other lower-level government titles around Chonburi.

Narongchai who has been mayor of Saensuk – where the Chonburi family home is located and where Somchai “hid out” from authorities for years – since 2010. For more than half that time he’s pushed hard to keep Bangsaen Beach clean, an often futile quest. He started regular Sunday cleanups, but thoughtless Thai tourists and seasonal tides often leave behind a tsunami of trash.

For the four-day King’s Birthday weekend, Narongchai left town for Koh Chang. On Sunday he visited Koh Laoya, a small island off the Trat big island’s coast. He wrote on his Facebook page he taken aback at what he found.

Tourists, boats or perhaps the tides had left behind bottles, plastic bags and other rubbish, destroying the scenery of the idyllic island.

“Fortunately, I was able to find an old fertilizer bag and filled it with trash,” he wrote, saying it was unfortunately he only had the one big bag to fill.

“We tourists, regardless of where we go, have to help each other to collect any discarded trash and not litter ourselves,” he said. “Don’t be shy about doing good. Do good until it it becomes a habit. Do it to create awareness. If we do, I believe (litter) problems will decrease.”