NEWS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Electric school bus project switched on

Chiang Mai police give consulate security top priority

Sawasdee Chiang Mai

High-ranking Thai and Malaysian police meet in Chiang Mai

Boonlert Perera elected president of Chiang Mai Tourist Business Association

Diplomacy opens Mae Sai border after 5 months closure

Chiang Mai governor predicts Mekong River Basin co-operation has great future for all

Disease Control Office releases latest figures

Air pollution levels? Look up, says Mayor

Chiang Mai Municipality puts 4 million baht aside for road improvements

Chiang Mai Municipality pushes for improvements in the fresh food markets

Sunday Bicycle Club expanding to Wednesdays?

Chiang Mai flood abatement plan ready

Employers in Chiang Mai again warned about employing illegal immigrants without work permits

Recycle to make merit, says Chiang Mai Municipality

Offers of US employment nothing but a fishy scam says Employment Services Office

Chiang Mai night zoo renamed

Retired soldiers get employment boost

Women are all the go in public relations

Chiang Mai Historical Museum plans going ahead

Electric school bus project switched on

Trial runs to begin in December

Chiang Mai Municipality announced it is fully supportive of the new electric bus project, a service for school students, and is urging the principals of the schools located on Charoen Prathet Road to signify their agreement before the service is fully operational next year.

Chiang Mai’s electric school buses are ready to be set in motion. The service will begin as a pilot project in December.

Panyapol Mongkolcharoen, chief of the Municipal Commerce Control Division of the Chiang Mai Municipal Clerk Office, said that the electric bus service will begin as a pilot project in December this year.

The bus will be available for students going to Regina Coeli School, Sacred Heart College, and Montfort College, Primary Section.

It is hoped that the new bus service will reduce rush hour traffic problems, especially the morning 7-8 a.m. peak period. Part of this planning is to provide bus lanes and to use bus station areas for parents to set down and pick up their children.

This project will be in two stages. First is to proceed to improve and develop Chiang Mai’s public transportation system and infrastructure. The second part of the project is to interest private enterprise to run the business in cooperation with Chiang Mai Municipality.


Chiang Mai police give consulate security top priority

Patrols stepped up, embassies and consulates under 24-hour security surveillance

Supatatt Dangkrueng

In response to the recent terrorism in neighboring countries, Chiang Mai Provincial Police Region 5 is in a state of readiness for the security of the 21 consulates in Chiang Mai.

Police, shown here guarding the US Consulate, are on readiness alert, and have been instructed to step up security at all embassies and consulates in the city.

A report from the Special Security Police and National Security Center, Region 5 stated that foreign embassies could be terrorist targets. The report insists that the security of all consulates in Chiang Mai be attended to.

The report went on to say that, “With so many world-wide situations and controversial conflicts such as USA and Iraq, and the massacre in Bali, we must be ready. Security for the consulates, especially for the Consulate General of the United States of America must be a top priority.”

Police officers are guarding the consulate in 3 shifts, with 30 officers per shift. The consulate itself is also undergoing renovations and preparation readiness. The compound wall is being extended higher for safety reasons.


Sawasdee Chiang Mai

English language newspapers are part of the international face of any city. Chiang Mai, with a history dating back to 1296, has played an important and prominent part in the history and development of Thailand and these days is an important center for commerce, government, education and tourism.

With the growth of Chiang Mai to become an important economic zone, a group of writers got together to discuss the concept of a newspaper. Over the months, and after several fact-finding missions throughout Chiang Mai and surrounding districts, the concept became a reality with the formation and registering of the Chiangmai Mail Publishing Co, whose brief was to produce a weekly English language newspaper.

A local newspaper reflects the formation of a cohesive group of people. In this area, these are the people who live in the North, work in the North and believe in the North. The Chiangmai Mail will provide a weekly local English language newspaper, which covers the news that relates to the residents in the North. Information that affects the local community covering politics, business, sports and social events, which cannot be found in the Bangkok based English language broadsheet newspapers.

The Chiangmai Mail Publishing Company and its dynamic young local team of reporters and writers has already begun to build up a well deserved reputation for itself, locally, nationally and internationally. Here now is your newspaper, which will provide unbiased, direct accounts on the happenings in the local area. In addition, there are weekly general interest sections covering such diverse areas as health, restaurant reviews, women’s interests, automobiles, local personality interviews and even an “agony” column! With Internet representation as well, its international coverage will support existing and new loyal readers overseas.

You will discover the Chiangmai Mail is a light, enjoyable read, which you will want to read from cover to cover. A local newspaper that supports and promotes the business, tourism and social events in the area and will provide residents and visitors alike with the information they want to know about and presented in a weekly, up to date, and enjoyable format.

It does not end there, as international organizations are also invited to use the Chiangmai Mail to demonstrate their social responsibility and sense of involvement in the community as well as marketing their products and services. The Chiangmai Mail believes in supporting all those who support the community. These are not idle words, they are our pledge.

Please sit back and enjoy this first edition of “your” English language weekly newspaper, the Chiangmai Mail.


High-ranking Thai and Malaysian police meet in Chiang Mai

The 13th Department Review of Joint Thailand-Malaysia Working Committee on Criminal Activities recently met at the Imperial Maeping Hotel. Police General Sant Sarutranond (seated center), chief of the Thai police department, hosted the meeting. Shown with him is Tan Sri Mohd Jamil Bin Johari (seated 2nd right), the deputy director-general of the Malaysian police department, and other high-ranking officers.


Boonlert Perera elected president of Chiang Mai Tourist Business Association

At the recent AGM of the Chiang Mai Tourist Business Association Boonlert Perera was elected president in a unanimous decision.

When the Tourist Business Club was formed in 1979, Boonlert (Johnny) Perera was still a student at Montfort College. However, his father, Boonchai (Albert) Perera was one of the three founders of the Tourist Business Club, which later became the Chiang Mai Tourist Business Association.

Boonlert (Johnny) Perera was elected president of the Chiang Mai Tourist Business Association.

Boonlert is the manager of Chiang Mai Discovery Tours Ltd., and the manager of Tour East Chiang Mai. He had been a chairman of Chiang Mai Tourist Business Association in 1993.

His policies include encouraging members to participate and finding more members to increase funds for administration of the association. He also said that he would like to maintain the promotion Charming Chiang Mai as long as he could.

There will be a meeting shortly to select a chairman of the board to assist him with the administration.

Boonlert has many ideas to improve the financial stability of the tourist businesses in Chiang Mai. “One thing is the price increase of goods and tourist services in Chiang Mai, so that Chiang Mai comes off as the ‘Cheap Destination’ list. The association needs to increase its role in marketing by participating in trade shows and travel marts both in our country and abroad,” the new president of Chiang Mai Tourist Business Association said in his opening address.


Diplomacy opens Mae Sai border after 5 months closure

Kannikar Petchkaew and Metinee Chaikuna

The recent re-opening of the Mae Sai border was the result of negotiation between representatives of both the Thai and Burmese Foreign Ministries. Sermchai Kittirattanapaiboon, president of the Chiang Rai Chamber of Commerce, pointed out that it was a great success in that the two countries have been able to resolve the problem without the use of armed force. In the past, the impact of armies at the border of both countries made the situation worse. Using diplomacy resolved the problem more effectively, and he said he hoped that the process used this time would be used to resolve any future international conflicts.

He also said that the conflicts at the borders would be resolved when unity returned to Burma. When this happened, the borders of both countries could be developed equally and the problem of illegal immigrants and drugs would be also decreased. He hoped that international organizations like the UN and ASEAN could assist. Ignoring Burma would not solve the problem but bring more chaos.

Paniti Tungpati, a consultant with the Tak Chamber of Commerce, agreed with Sermchai that international relations were government’s work. In the past, Burma negotiated with every country through its foreign ministry, except with Thailand. “Problems on the borders are international problems not the army’s problems. Some kinds of conflict need to use the international stage, like ASEAN, because problems with drugs are the world’s problem. The world organizations need to cooperate to solve this. There is no room for soldiers in this stage but they have always tried to solve all problems by themselves.”

Paniti revealed that closing the border for five months damaged both Thai and Burmese enterprises. Lost trade has been estimated at over 1.5 billion baht. A Thai businessman in Burma told Chiangmai Mail that in the Rangoon Market during this period Thai products were replaced with products from Singapore, Malaysia, China, and Burma.


Chiang Mai governor predicts Mekong River Basin co-operation has great future for all

Quadrangle Expo 2002 judged to be a great success

Chiang Mai Governor Kosin Kedthong, presiding over the closing ceremony of Quadrangle Expo 2002, a seminar on economic development plans for the Mekong River basin held at the Empress Hotel, predicted a bright future and good cooperation expected between government and private sectors for further investment, trade, and tourism sectors among the four countries located along the region. He also noted that Chiang Mai would be the aviation hub of this region and spoke on the 200 km of highway to be built from Thailand’s Chiang Khong District via Laos’ Huaysai and then north to Udomxai Province to connect with the Laos-Chinese borders at Boten.

Rachan Veeraphan (left), president of the Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce, presents a souvenir to a representative at the Quadrangle Expo 2002.

The Laos Authorities spoke on their investment regulations for foreign entrepreneurs and businessmen which have been in place since 1994. Opportunities for property leasing or doing business in Laos are also available with government assistance for land leasing and investment in trade, agriculture, business, and textiles.

The Laos authorities also mentioned that when the road from Thailand’s Chiang Rai Province, passing through Laos’ Borkaew and Udomxai to China, was completed, tourism would receive a boost and they would work together with the Tourism Authority of Thailand. In addition, in 2004 Laos will host the ASEAN Tourism Forum in Vientiane City.

Chinese delegates said that China was also looking for trade and investment opportunities. They were happy to join the economic cooperation seminar, as the Chinese government is giving significance to economic development.

China also mentioned its relationship with ASEAN, which means 10 ASEAN country members plus Mainland China will be looking at incentives for investment with tax benefits. Chinese investment in ASEAN member countries was USD20 billion, while Chinese investment in USA was around USD10 billion.

This year, China has been investing in construction of tourist facilities and 10 airports in China to link with other Asian destinations. China plans to links air routes and river routes along the Mekong River with the other countries in this region.

Chinese officials said during the seminar that their country would allow foreign businessmen to invest in China affirming, “We do not speak only, but also take actions here as well. China is building a long term friendship between Thailand and China.”


Disease Control Office releases latest figures

The Chiang Mai - based Office of Disease Control Region Center 10 has released the latest figures on the incidence of hemorrhagic fever, AIDS and tuberculosis.

Regarding haemorrhagic fever, the number of new patients in the 6 provinces in the northern region has decreased to 29.35 per 100,000, lower than the national average, which is 50 per 100,000 (data updated on Sep 28th). These are the lowest figures when compared to other regions, according to a spokesman. In Chiang Mai alone, there have been 470 people of which one has died.

On the AIDS situation, many sufferers want to have treatment that stops the growth of the virus, so the Department of Public Health has planned to provide that treatment free of charge. For more information please contact the Public Health Region 10, Nakorn Ping Hospital or nearest medical center.

Figures were also released on the incidence of TB. It appears the number of the patients is increasing and now stands at 1,060. Since it is a dangerous communicable disease, people who have a chronic cough for more than 2-3 weeks, especially those with HIV, the elderly and diabetics, should seek medical advice.

The department, now known as the Office of Disease Control Region Center 10 covers both communicable and non-communicable diseases.


Air pollution levels? Look up, says Mayor

Nuttanee Thaveephol

Chiang Mai Municipality has erected two large signboards to report the air quality every 2 days, using data checked by Chiang Mai Pollution Control Department’s machines installed at Yupparaj Wittayalai School and Chiang Mai City Hall.

If you can read Thai, you can find out what the air pollution levels are by looking at the city’s new signboards at Yupparaj Wittayalai School and Chiang Mai City Hall. The top half of the sign shown here lists levels of small dust particles (0.4 mg/sq.m), carbon monoxide (19.7 ppm) and ozone data (28.5 ppb) in front of the provincial office and that the status is “good”. The similar numbers at the bottom half of the sign show levels for in front of Yupparaj Wittayalai School, which are also considered “good”. Apologies, but we don’t know yet what range is considered bad, or even moderate, but we will try and find that out for you.

Chiang Mai mayor, Boonlert Buranoopakorn, said that the statistics include small dust particles, carbon monoxide and ozone data, the main ingredients in air pollution.

“Chiang Mai people can follow the air quality report and whether it is of acceptable standard or not. This signboard (is meant to) encourage everyone to understand what level of air quality we should maintain and avoid the ignorance of the dangers from harmful pollution,” the mayor said.


Chiang Mai Municipality puts 4 million baht aside for road improvements

Expect delays as traffic gets more snarled

Nuttanee Thaveephol

Boonlert Buranupakorn, the mayor of Chiang Mai said that the municipality had established an additional large fiscal budget for local development to be used for road improvement.

Traffic will be heavier in some parts of the city and surrounding areas whilst drivers seek alternate routes to avoid the construction.

The Chiang Mai Municipality Civil Engineering Section will resurface roads and footpaths on Rajadamnern Rd., Suthep Rd., Rattanakosin Rd., and make improvements at the Three-Kings monument.

The budget for this project is 44,640,000 baht, including 17,980,000 baht for Rajadamnern Rd., 8,100,000 baht for Suthep Rd., 10,440,000 baht for Ratanakosin Rd. and 8,120,000 baht for the Three-Kings monument area. Construction started in August this year and is expected to be finished in January or February next year.

Expect delays on certain routes as the city upgrades area roads.

Traffic jams around schools has been a problem, but Poonsawat Worawal, the municipal counselor said that the municipality has contacted the contractors about the problem routes. He said they have already sent plans to the company regarding construction arrangements, and have ensured cooperation from the traffic police in the area.


Chiang Mai Municipality pushes for improvements in the fresh food markets

Attractive Fresh Market project underway to provide clean, fresh food in standardized conditions

Supatatt Dangkrueng

Chiang Mai Municipality has plans to improve the efficiency of the fresh food markets in Chiang Mai, and to eliminate the smells by better sanitation and waste disposal.

Chiang Mai Municipality plans to improve the efficiency of the fresh food markets in Chiang Mai, and to eliminate the smells by better sanitation and waste disposal through the Attractive Fresh Market project.

According to local government sources, the objective of the Attractive Fresh Market project is to provide clean, fresh food in standardized conditions. Buildings must be maintained in good order and vendors should provide fresh, chemical-free food at reasonable prices.

Siriwattana Market has been earmarked as the first Attractive Fresh Market by the municipality and Public Health Chiang Mai. Another five markets, Bariboon Market, Anusarn Market, Waroros Market, Pra Too Chiang Mai Market and San Pa Khoi Market, will also participate.


Sunday Bicycle Club expanding to Wednesdays?

People being encouraged to pedal to work

If the Chiang Mai mayor, Boonlert Booranuppakorn and Dr. Nirandorn Bhothikanon, the president of the Chiang Mai Sunday Bicycle Club have their way, Chiang Mai residents will be bicycling to work every Wednesday starting from December 12th this year.

The Chiang Mai Sunday Bicycle Club rides through Tha Phae Gate. If the president of the club and the mayor have their say, more people will be riding bikes to work on Wednesdays.

Benefits being put forward include decreasing pollution and traffic jams, increasing the quality of life of children and police, saving energy, and promoting good health from exercise in daily life as well as making Chiang Mai a more beautiful place.

Mayor Boonlert said, “It’s time the municipal officers participated in encouraging Chiang Mai people to cooperate in riding bicycles in the city. It will be safe with respect to traffic rules. At the same time, we hope anyone who still uses cars and motorcycles look out for the bicyclists.”

Along with this promotion, there will be an increase in bike parking lots and improvements by building bicycle lanes for the two-wheeled traffic.

Due to the rapid growth of Chiang Mai, many people move to the city for education and work, bringing about a traffic problem that also causes pollution in the city. Despite the attempt of Chiang Mai municipality to find a solution; despite building overpasses and computer controlled traffic lights, there is no single strategy that can really solve these problems.

Dr. Nirandorn, the president of the Chiang Mai Sunday Bicycle Club is of the opinion that promotion of bicycles is at least part of the answer, being an inexpensive way to combat the traffic problem. He did add, “The most important part, though, is that everyone who uses bicycles has to follow the rules for safety.”


Chiang Mai flood abatement plan ready

Chiang Mai Municipality has already prepared a plan to cope with any flash floods this year, according to Boonlert Buranapakorn, the Chiang Mai mayor anticipating the Ping River’s’ overflowing in several municipal areas.

An official in the Relief Operation Unit, Chiang Mai Municipality said, “There have been some public warnings from the Hydrometeorology Office about the areas that are expected to be affected by flash flooding. Usually, the public relief and operation workers are informed one day in advance before any potentially serious situation has to be dealt with,” she said.

Emergency measures include 20,000 sandbags prepared and packed to be used in building retaining walls, organization of man power and a 200-person strong relief force including volunteers, five water pumps, two excavators, and other appropriate equipment.

Flood abatement measures include digging and dredging of Klong Maekha Canal in the upper northern areas, starting from the front of City Hall running to the Paton water treatment system, also from Rattanakosin Road running to the water treatment system at Padaed areas. This work has been done in cooperation with Padaed Tambon administration organization.

New drainage systems have been laid for 23 km under city roads and water pumping stations have been set up on Mahidol Road to prevent flash flooding along Sripingmuang Road.


Employers in Chiang Mai again warned about employing illegal immigrants without work permits

Both employers and alien workers will be punished

Nuttanee Thaveephol

Employers in Chiang Mai have once again been warned about employing illegal immigrants without work permits. Violation of this requirement by both employer and alien worker may be imprisonment for up to 3 years or a fine of 5,000 baht or both.

However, a spokesperson from the Chiang Mai Provincial Employment Services Office announced last week that the grace period has been extended. Originally, employers were required to register their alien workers by October 15 this year, but Maleewan Loawithee, director of Chiang Mai Provincial Employment Services Office, said that the time limit for registration has been extended to November 6.

Maleewan also reminded employers that the Employment Bureau Office is open for employers to register for their alien’s work permits. The office is open at the cafeteria beside the new city hall and the front of Fang Administrative Office.

Alien employees must also be fingerprinted at the Chiang Mai Provincial Forensic Science Center near Muang District Chiang Mai Police Station.

Employers are requested to bring in their workers for health checks at the local hospital under the Ministry of Public Health, and then register at the Alien Registration Office in Amphur Muang Chiang Mai Police Station.

Meanwhile, the council of ministers approved a memorandum of understanding between the Thai government and the Laos government regarding cooperation in employment. Chief of Chiang Mai Public Relations Office, Wichian Noonrod said the MOU covers suitable protection for the employees from the two countries, designed to prevent illegal immigration. Amongst the items in the agreement was that the administrative units of the host country will set up funds for repatriating alien laborers.


Recycle to make merit, says Chiang Mai Municipality

Separate and recycle your garbage

Chiang Mai Municipality is promoting the Tod Pha Pa Recycling program for people to separate and recycle their garbage.

Make merit - bring your separated garbage, such as glass, metal, paper, and plastic, to be recycled at the temple. The Tod Pha Pa Recycle program will first begin at Wat Chedi Luang in January next year.

With the problems associated with waste, this is the latest solution to protect the environment. The intention of this program is to use the temple as a center for recycling.

To take part in this program, people should bring their separated garbage, such as glass, metal, paper, and plastic, which can be recycled at the temple as part of merit making. The Tod Pha Pa Recycle program will first begin at Wat Chedi Luang in January next year.

It is hoped that the Chiang Mai people will take part in this activity and every household will become involved in this recycling project.


Offers of US employment nothing but a fishy scam says Employment Services Office

Nuttanee Thaveephol

The unemployed are being warned by the Chiang Mai Provincial Employment Services Office about unscrupulous employment agencies deceiving job seekers with promises of work in the fish canning industries in Alaska, America.

Maleewan Loawithee, the director of Chiang Mai Employment Services Office, said that there are currently advertisements offering job seekers work in the US. The employment agencies claim that it is a contribution from the US government to the Thai government.

The agencies tell the unemployed that the fish-canning factory in America has openings for 120 men or women who want to apply for the jobs, with a 2 year contract and offers $7 per hour along with welfare, lodging, medical compensation and transport services. The applicant must pay 525,000 baht to cover travel and work permit.

The director says that the office has not been informed of openings for Thai laborers to work in the canning industry in Alaska, and the unemployed should not believe the agents that offer the employment “opportunity”.

For more information about employment, check with the Chiang Mai Provincial Employment Services Office, tel. 053 222 865-6 ext. 17-19.


Chiang Mai night zoo renamed

Safari Night Zoo becomes new working title

Plodprasop Surasawadi, the director general of the Forestry Department chaired a recent planning committee meeting at Chiang Mai City Hall, called to discuss the copyright issue surrounding the after-dark zoo’s name. It appears that the name “Night Safari” has been already registered by Singapore, so Chiang Mai must use an alternative title for an international tourist attraction such as this and “Safari Night Zoo” was accepted as the working title.

Due to copyright issues with the Singapore Night Safari, the Chiang Mai Night Safari was renamed the Safari Night Zoo.

The employment of Dr Bernard Harrison, an expert and the special consultant for this project, was also discussed and the agreed 3 million baht fee will be divided into two equal installments.

This nightspot will showcase Thailand’s wildlife, while also providing greater public awareness on the preservation of natural habitats. Organizers expect to situate the park near a botanical garden in Tambon Maehia, Muang District Chiang Mai.

At this stage in the planning, it looks as if the implementation and administration of the Safari Night Zoo will be handled by government agencies under Royal Degree, as a non-profit venture. Project managers expect the zoo will attract 2 million visitors annually.


Retired soldiers get employment boost

Nuttanee Thaveephol

On October 28th and 30th the Chiang Mai Provincial Employment Services Office is encouraging retired soldiers to join the employment market. The Office is to set up a careers promotion program for retired soldiers at the Chiang Mai Pack Squadron at Wing 41, to assist the retired soldiers with various types of employment.

Activities during the two days include career guidance, freelance jobs promotion, and mobile employment services office. Interested people are invited join the program.

More information is available at the Chiang Mai Provincial Employment Services Office, 1st floor, Administration building, Chiang Mai City Hall, tel. 053 222 865-6 ext. 20-22 in office hours.


Women are all the go in public relations

Mayor of Chiang Mai Municipality champions the cause

Supatatt Dangkrueng

Chiang Mai Municipality has set up a training program, which will be held on November 1 with 400 participants at the Nong Hor Territorial Defense Student Center, centering on women who have the understanding and skills for public relations.

Citing that “social developments necessarily need female’s hands for public relations,” organizers of the program will provide 4 seminar topics including women’s roles in social development, given by municipal councilor, Manas Sirimaharaj, the government policy in the support the female’s role by MP Pakorn Buranupakorn, female development by Maj. Nares Jitrak from the 33rd Military Circle Royal Thai Army, and the female’s role in public relations in Democracy by Kanitha Srirat, director of Government Public Relations Region 3 Chiang Mai.


Chiang Mai Historical Museum plans going ahead

Municipality to promote Chiang Mai as the “cultural and historical city”

Nuttanee Thaveephol

Chiang Mai municipal councilor in the finance and administration office, Chatree Churmanochan revealed that Chiang Mai Municipality wishes to promote Chiang Mai as a historical cultural city.

After getting budget approval, the municipality plans to use 1.74 million baht for 2 projects. The first is to purchase land and begin construction of the moat development project, which will cost 1,000,000 baht. The second project centers around a historical museum, which will cost 740,000 baht.

The moat development will provide a permanent exhibition of Chiang Mai culture. The historical museum project, which is finished, is meant to improve the mid-city area by adapting the old city hall as the historical museum. This will display Chiang Mai history over many eras.