Vol. I No. 6 Saturday 30 November - 6 December 2002
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NEWS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Chiang Mai officials study effects of changing the time zone

Committee meets to discuss typhoons

Aliens rush to extend work permits

Provincial medical officers get behind public smoking ban

Work permits to work in Israel cancelled

Firearms factory being constructed in Phrae

APEC Ministers of Finance to meet in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai and North Travel Show 2002 to showcase the Northern Region

Chiang Mai goes under the Krung Thai Bank hammer

Fishy stories at the Maejo Fair next January

New project in Thai-Chinese-Yunnan Ecotourism for Fang District

Electricity and telephone lines to go underground

Bank of Thailand celebrates its 60th anniversary

Chinese Trade Seminar

Northern Textile Expo supports local industry

Phayao to get parks and a moat

Chiang Mai communities under the government’s statistical microscope

Chiang Mai to get 60-rai municipal public park

Loy Krathong not all fun and games

Teenage gang warfare results in one death and many injuries

Villagers protest Kaeng Sua Ten Dam construction

American leaves Thai girl at the alter

Chiang Mai officials study effects of changing the time zone

Will the sun get up an hour earlier?

Udom Pinyo, the head of Chiang Mai Provincial Statistical Office, said the latest Information Communication and Technology (ICT) poll on changing the time zone, taken from 300 Chiang Mai citizens, showed that the majority agree to changing the time zone. This was especially prevalent among business and banking personnel.

Many of the respondents did not know that Thailand’s time zone is behind their neighbors.

The Chiang Mai Provincial Statistical Office will collect and compare data with other regions to study whether this is possible and what effect there would be if the time zone was changed.

Some respondents worried that their children would have to get up an hour earlier, while others claimed that the “extra” hour of sunshine would fade their curtains.


Committee meets to discuss typhoons

Sombat Uthaisang (4th from left), advisor to the Department of Information Technology and Communications recently presided over the opening ceremony of the 35th Session of ASCAP/WMO Typhoon Committee - which was organized by the Meteorological Department from November 19 - 25 at Chiangmai Hill Hotel. Representatives from meteorological organizations and departments worldwide attended. With him are Chiang Mai Governor Pisit Khetphasook (3rd from left), and the director-general of the Meteorological Department Praphansak Buranaprapha (right).


Aliens rush to extend work permits

Over 22 thousand register

Phitsanu Thepthong

The registration period for illegal aliens living in Northern Thailand came to an end on November 6, and 22,123 aliens had registered by then after the opening date in September. According to Chiang Mai Provincial Employment Office chief, Miss Maleewan Lohvitee, this registration period was for workers from Burma, Laos, and Cambodia.

She said at the press conference held last week at city hall that these people were mostly classified as general workers, fishery laborers, factory laborers, housemaids, farmers, and other farm workers. The breakdown of the figures showed a predominance of Burmese (22,042), and then 78 Laotian and 3 Cambodians.

There are moves underway to institute training courses for more professionals or career options, especially for aliens from Burma. Burmese laborers could enter Thai territory conveniently, without any visa, and the number that came into Thailand was up to half a million people.


Provincial medical officers get behind public smoking ban

The writing’s on the (restaurant) wall

One of the statutes included in the new anti-smoking regulations is that owners of indoor or air-conditioned businesses must display non-smoking signs in their business premises. The stickers cost 15 baht, but the penalty for not following the directive is 2,000 baht.

Dr Nisit Wattanatchariya, deputy chief provincial medical officer said that the no smoking law started on November 8 this year. “The law may not be able to fully cover all the places so we have to ask for cooperation from everyone concerned; for example, Chiang Mai International Airport and Kad Suan Kaew have done very well in the anti-smoking campaign,” Doctor Nisit said.

According to the law, the areas where smoking is forbidden are air-conditioned areas, retail shops, exercise areas, drinking or dining areas and toilets, but there is still confusion as to whether the regulations include the pubs, bars and discotheques.

The doctor responded to questions regarding the predictions of lower income in the air-conditioned areas, saying, “Anyone who doesn’t look after their health can go and smoke in pubs or bars instead,” he said.

Individuals in breach of the law can be fined not more than 2,000 baht and the businesses that break the laws will be fined up to 20,000.


Work permits to work in Israel cancelled

Workers contemplating going overseas should check all criteria

Metinee Chaikuna

Maleewan Lohwitee, the director of Chiang Mai Employment Services Office, has received notification from the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office that permission for the import of foreign labor has been cancelled from November 5 until the end of next year.

All workers interested in overseas employment are warned by the Chiang Mai Employment Services Office to be aware of illegal recruitment and deliberate deception being done by some agencies. Applicants should check the information and details of any employment service company before contemplating working abroad.

Job seekers can get advice on working abroad at the alien working and protection section, employment services office, tel. 053 222 865-6 ext. 17-19, the Overseas Employment Administration, tel. 02 246 5301-2, or the labor section of Royal Thai Embassy, Tel-Aviv 21, Shaul Hamelekh, Blvd, Tel-Aviv 64367, Israel.


Firearms factory being constructed in Phrae

Job seekers far outnumber vacancies

The Military Industry Department, part of the Ministry of Defense, has given permission to the J.K. Defense Industrial Company Limited to build a firearms factory in Phrae, to produce the SIG SAUER guns, high powered German weapons.

The venture has attracted large numbers of jobseekers. Nilubol Manunartwimolkrit, director of the Phrae provincial employment services office said that so far there have been 1,380 applicants but the company will only select between 120-150 employees, who will then be sent to Germany for training.


APEC Ministers of Finance to meet in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai Governor Pisit Khetphasook announced that Chiang Mai will be the host for the 15th Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Finance Ministers Technical Working Group December 16-18.

The conference will be held at the Imperial Mae Ping Hotel.

The Chiang Mai provincial office has set up a working group for the APEC conference responsible for coordination, security and traffic.

This is the first time for Chiang Mai, and every department is preparing to welcome the delegates.

The objective of the conference is to create sustainable economic growth in the APEC members group. The provincial office is confident that the visitors will be impressed with the welcome and security measures.


Chiang Mai and North Travel Show 2002 to showcase the Northern Region

Nuttanee Thaveephol

The first road show to be held in the northern region of Thailand, the Chiang Mai and North Travel Show 2002, is running this weekend, November 29 - December 2 at the Suan Bua Resort & Spa, near Hang Dong. This gives the local tourism companies the opportunity to exhibit their products and services directly to buyers.

This road show has been jointly organized by the Chiang Mai Tourism Promotion Board (CTPB), comprising of government and private agencies in Chiang Mai, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and Chiang Mai Provincial Administration Office.

More than 140 exhibitors from the North including several tourism industries, handicrafts, souvenirs, spa, cooking class, golf packages, adventure holidays, long stay and home stay packages, resorts and tour companies will be exhibiting their activities.

This program will be followed by the 2nd Phuket and Andaman Travel Trade (PATT) show, scheduled from December 2-5 to promote Phuket-Chiang Mai-Chiang Rai and Mae Hong Son as a fascinating holiday opportunity in Thailand.

Interested buyers are requested to contact Thai Hotel Association (Northern Chapter) directly at 053 922 129, fax. 053 280 503 or email: [email protected] loxinfo.co.th.


Chiang Mai goes under the Krung Thai Bank hammer

First auction on November 30

Krung Thai Bank will sell 400 Chiang Mai properties by auction and expects to realize over 350 million baht. The auction reserve will be 50-80% of the official valuation and bidders need only to pledge 40,000 baht at the auction itself.

Assanee Sappayawanich, the assistant managing director of the Krung Thai Bank said that the auctions will be held on November 30 and December 21 this year, January 11, and February 8 next year at the San Pra Nate Room, Pang Suan Kaew Hotel.

Most of the real estate properties are private houses, townhouses, condominiums, commercial buildings, and plots of land located in Chiang Mai.

Highest bidders can raise a loan from Krung Thai Bank for 90% of the final bid and can pay by installments.

For further information, interested people can receive the property handbook from any one of the bank’s branches in Chiang Mai or visit www.ktb.co.th or phone 053 408 154-5 or 053 409 446-7.


Fishy stories at the Maejo Fair next January

Next year will be the 18th anniversary of the Department of Fisheries Technology, Faculty of Agricultural Production, at Maejo University. To celebrate, the department will hold a fishing competition on January 25 during the Maejo Fair, which will be from January 23-26.

The department has planned the competition to encourage students to learn to organize fishing competitions and to promote the department and spread knowledge about fish.

In addition, the department will also hold contests for the most beautiful fish, fish aquariums, rare fish species, and aquatic plants.


New project in Thai-Chinese-Yunnan Ecotourism for Fang District

Yang Village in the Fang district, Chiang Mai is preparing a community project known as the New Dimension of Thai-Chinese-Yunnan aiming to promote ecotourism to the area and increase the local income. Kittipong Yawut, Yang village headman said that the activity will promote the art and culture of the region.

Yang Village is located on the slopes of Doi Angkhang. All the villagers migrated to the area in the last 50 years and settled there following the benevolence His Majesty the King. His Majesty the King and the Royal Family have also visited this village.

The community is supported by agriculture and has a health and child center, a hydropower rice mill, a water supply system, a food factory, and electric power station all improving the villagers’ lives.

It is hoped that tourists will be impressed with the Chinese-Yunnan unique art and culture, tastes of the Chinese food, the beauty of the Ban Yang Waterfall, and pay respect to the Guan-Im Goddess village shrine.


Electricity and telephone lines to go underground

Metinee Chaikuna

Chiang Mai Municipality has agreed to the underground electricity and communication wires project and work will commence at three roads in Chiang Mai. These will be Chang Klan Road (around the Night Bazaar area), Thapae Road, and Rajadamnoen Road. In the first stage, the project will begin at Chang Klan Road and Thapae Road covering a distance of around 3 kilometers.

Soon scenes like this will be a thing of the past, as the municipality plans to bury electricity and telephone lines.

Mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn said that electricity transformers cannot be put underground but will be placed in the soi instead. He also said, “We have received over 200 million baht from the government’s economy stimulation budget and support from the Chiang Mai Town Planning Office budget, Chiang Mai Administrative Organization, and the Provincial Electricity Authority, so we do not need to use funds from the Chiang Mai Municipality budget at all,” he said.

The project has been the result of cooperation from many units, including Chiang Mai Municipality, the Provincial Electricity Authority, TT&T, TOT, Communications Authority of Thailand, and other communication companies.

The municipality has assigned a team led by Dr. Boonthep Nanegrunsan of the Faculty of Engineering to study and design the project.

The municipality expects that the construction will take around 12 months to be complete.


Bank of Thailand celebrates its 60th anniversary

Exhibits 100 years of Thai bank notes

Phitsanu Thepthong

The local branch of the Bank of Thailand (BoT) celebrated its 60th anniversary with Chiang Mai Governor Pisit Khetphasook presiding over the opening ceremony of the exhibition, marking the grand celebration of the 100th anniversary of Thai banknotes.

This was followed by a special lecture presented by Nararat Lekakul, the advisor to the BoT, on the Thai banknotes issued during World War II.

Chittiphan Sukkitch, the senior director of the BoT branch in Chiang Mai said that the Chiang Mai regional branches would have exhibitions of Thai banknotes, showing the different designs during the past 100 years and how to identify fake banknotes.

During this period (through December 27) the bank will carryout banknote exchanges, as a souvenir or gift, and has souvenir books commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Thai banknote, plus stamps, leaflets, and coins on sale.


Chinese Trade Seminar

Phitsanu Thepthong

On December 20 there will be a seminar relevant to the Thai economy entitled “Outlook and opportunities of trade and investment for Thais in south China.”

Included in this economic information seminar will be a lecture on “Policy of China on foreign trade and investment in the southern China”, presented by Zhang Guo Qing, the consul general of the People’s Republic of China in Chiang Mai.

Other lectures include one on the policy framework with China’s entry to the WTO presented by Dr Pornchai Rujiprapha, deputy secretary of the office of economic and social development, and another on “The law, regulations and trading system in China and southern China,” by Viboon Tangkittiphaporn, the managing director of Far East Law Consultant Co Ltd.

In the afternoon sessions, there will be lectures on “Outlook and opportunities of trade and investment of Thais in the south China” by Dr Sarasin Veeraphol, deputy manager of Charoen Pokkaphan, Co., Ltd; and other economic advisors and banking experts.


Northern Textile Expo supports local industry

Metinee Chaikuna

An exhibition of local textiles, “Lao Khan Pha Ngam Thin Nue” (the legendary Northern textiles) was opened on November 21 at the Art and Culture exhibition hall of Chiang Mai University Art Museum. HRH Prince Bhisadej Rajanee, the chairman of the Royal Project Foundation presided over the exhibition by lighting floating candles.

The Chancellor of Chiang Mai University also lit candles at the grand opening. Following the official part of the evening, the Prince was shown around the exhibition.

The exhibition ran from November 21-24 to promote the local textile industry, to support and preserve the local woven textiles, and to publicize handicrafts of the 11 Northern Textile Networks.

In the exhibition, there were naturally dyed hand-woven textiles, products for sale, and demonstrations on weaving and dyeing. Most of the audience were teachers, academic experts, professors, and NGO groups.

The Northern woven textiles are a unique form of handwork that is famous all over Thailand. The Local Thai Textile Development Project foresaw the significance of the textiles and organized the exhibition to be a showcase for the local weavers from each province in the North. This exhibition has become an annual event, with this one being the third.


Phayao to get parks and a moat

Metinee Chaikuna

Phayao City has recently adopted the catch-phrase “Phayao - a nice city to live in” and to follow that through, two beautification projects are underway. The first project is the Phayao public park, construction of which began in April, and it should be completed by the end of November or the beginning of December this year.

The park is 20,000 square meters beside Phayao Lake. The Tourism Authority of Thailand is supporting the project with an 18 million baht grant to Phayao Municipality to be used for developing the city’s tourism.

Sa-nguan Martrop, an officer at the servicing unit, Phayao Municipality said that the objective of the public park project is to develop the area around the Phayao Lake to be a tourism center, and a place Phayao people can go to relax. “Kwaan Phayao (Lake) is the key tourism site of this province. There will be a playground, an amusement park, flower gardens, and the Tourism Office for tourist assistance,” Sa-nguan said.

The other project is the city moat construction which began in September. Along the roads in Phayao City, there are water channels like those in Chiang Mai, but these are unkempt. The channels are being developed to be moats with flowers, and plants along the sides of the moat.

The municipality has a budget from the Department of Provincial Administration, Ministry of Interior for over 14 million baht, and has contracted the Niwat Samui Construction Company to be responsible for constructing the city moat. The project has been planned for three stages; however, the budget of the Ministry of Interior is only for the first stage along the Ngum Muang Rd. The second and third stages are along Robwieng Rd.


Chiang Mai communities under the government’s statistical microscope

More than 2/3 are non-smokers?

Chiang Mai Community Development Office has released the latest figures of Basic Minimum Need (BMN) of Chiang Mai in 2002 but admit that from the required 37 indices only 6 have been under intense scrutiny.

Udom Maneekut, chief Chiang Mai community development officer, said his office has been directed by the Minister of the Interior to collect data from the community annually since 1990. This year, Chiang Mai Community Development Office has been doing the research to cover 22 districts and 2 sub-districts reviewing 219,124 families.

The completed indices cover the smoking habits of family members, employment statistics, participation in public opinion forums, annual health checks (age higher than 35 years), high school education and breast feeding (under four months infants).

The latest figures show 70.8 percent are non-smokers, 95 percent are employed in the age group 18-60 years, 70.1 percent participate their communities, 79.5 percent have annual health checkups, 82.1 percent of students continue with higher learning after finishing their compulsory education, and 92 percent of infants under 4 months are breast fed.

The other 31 indices are still in progress and it is expected that they will be completed within the next month.


Chiang Mai to get 60-rai municipal public park

Plus 2 mini-parks

Nuttanee Thaveephol

Chiang Mai municipality is constructing a new park out of the 60 rai of land at the old State Railway Hotel. The municipality is also building 2 small parks at Sriphum Corner and Chang Phuek Gate.

Nearly finished, this little park at Sriphum Corner has a water fountain and lots of flowers to make the corner easy on the eyes.

Mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn said that the municipality is now just waiting for funds to finish the projects.

Park planners say that it will have the facilities to be used for exercise, will be a place where people can jog, and a local products commercial center.

The municipality is constructing three new parks in Chiang Mai; this one is almost finished.

The land where one of the smaller parks is being constructed, at the Sriphum Corner, used to be a car sales lot. The municipality purchased the area to turn it into a street island with a small park, tourists view point and fountain. The mayor expects to finish this park by the end of the year.

The park being constructed at Chang Phuek Ground, after dismantling the old municipal public health center, should be finished before Songkran.


Loy Krathong not all fun and games

Fireworks and road accidents claim lives and injuries

Nakorn Ping Hospital revealed that the number of patients over the Loy Krathong period was more than the total number of patients from the previous few weeks. 80 men and 18 women were injured from fireworks, and 483 men and 192 women were injured from road accidents. During this period, 11 people died on the roads.

In addition, the crime rate went up, with 13 people arrested for assault, 18 people for robbery, and 6 people were arrested for carrying unlicensed weapons. 5 people were also arrested for selling fireworks without a license.

Also during Loy Krathong, 5 people were injured and 1 killed at an explosion in Mae Wang sub-district, and a fire was reported in Doi Saket District.


Teenage gang warfare results in one death and many injuries

Police still hunting for unknown bomber

One man died and six were injured by an unidentified bomber during Mae Wang’s Loy Krathong night. The unidentified man threw the hand-made bomb into the audience at the Mae Wang District’s Loy Krathong festival stage.

The dead man was later identified as Udon Pannak, 29 years old, who died in Mae Wang Hospital as a result of his wounds. The 6 injured were Chalermpol Duangkaew, Nuttanpol Noila, Nipon Noisuya, Thiproi Kamai, Promthai Moolpan and Sai Janji.

Pol. Lt. Col Nampol Narintornsorasak, deputy superintendent of administration and crime control from Mae Wang Police Station told Chiangmai Mail that this incident resulted from fighting between local teenage groups. Police, at this stage of the investigation, still cannot identify the criminal.


Villagers protest Kaeng Sua Ten Dam construction

Nuttanee Thaveephol

Local people in Tambon Sa-iab, Phrae Province are protesting against the Kaeng Sua Ten Dam construction and are proposing an alternative solution to the government. The protest group is being led by Chum Saiabkong, Seng Kwanyuen and the Sa-iab Forest Conservation Group (SFCG).

Seng Kwanyuen, the leader of the SFCG said that the Kaeng Sua Ten Dam project is supposed to be able to solve the flood and drought problem but this is being done at a huge expense of natural resources and affects the populace, not only from the Tambon Sa-iab but also Tambon Chiang Muan in which the flood problem exists over a 60,000 rai area.

The Sa-iab people propose that the government reduce the project’s size, saving more than 10 billion baht, and in addition, the local people will not be affected by the project.

Seng advises that the government and other people should ignore the project leaders because they are not the local people who know about the recurring problems. The protest group also asks the government to launch a reforestation campaign along every water source to produce a sustainable natural dam.


American leaves Thai girl at the alter

Thai woman sues for damages

Metinee Chaikuna

On November 18, Ms Sukanya Pomjayap reported to police that she believed she had been deceived by an elderly American man who had just recently “left her at the alter”. She said she was out over 100,000 baht for wedding expenses, was hopping mad about it, and wanted police to do something pronto.

Pol. Cap. Boonthum Kamrai, who happened to be on watch when the irate bride not-to-be entered Muang Chiang Mai Police Station, listened to the 25-year-old woman’s story, but apologetically told her that there wasn’t much he could do about it.

Sukanya nonetheless told the officer that 74-year-old American Richard Riley Conarroe (Conroe), who she said lives in Patong, Phuket, had agreed to marry her, but come wedding day, he got cold feet and backed out of the arrangement, and continues to refuse to marry her.

Sukanya went on to say that she was introduced to the elderly deviant by a friend, and agreed to marry him on November 11. It is unknown how long the courtship lasted, but Sukanya did say that the American gave her a gold necklace and a diamond ring she said he claimed were worth 27,000 baht.

However, she said, when she took these items to several gold shops to get them appraised, she learned that they were worth about 300 baht all up.

Despite of this, or perhaps before she found out, she said she went ahead and spent over 100,000 baht on wedding preparations. When the American refused to marry her, she couldn’t recoup the money and wanted police help in the matter.

The intrepid Pol. Cap. Boonthum tried to call the American to explain what Sukanya had reported, but the man refused to come to the police station. On November 15, the man was called again to come to the police station, but again he did not come. On 16 November, the police asked for cooperation from the tourist police and an interpreter to ask the man to come to the police station, but the man still refused responsibility for the wedding ceremony.

The police then decided that it was not a criminal case and that they couldn’t do anything about it, but they did record the information as a civil case in the daily police record.

Sukanya said she will, for sure, pursue the case and sue the man in civil court to retrieve the money she alleges she lost on the wedding ceremony.

Sgt. Pol. Nirun Kongtaweeboon from the tourist police said that Sukanya told him that this foreign man had done this to many Thai women before, but police could do nothing, as it was a civil case. She said that the man would ask women to marry him, but later refuse to marry them after having an affair with the woman.

Conroe was recently in Chiang Mai and when the Chiangmai Mail tried to contact him for clarification, he refused to be interviewed.



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