Chiang Mai restaurant owners get behind the drug fight
Everyone should get involved
Chiang Mai restaurant owners, at a seminar at the Lanna
Palace Hotel, made a mass resolve not to be involved with drugs.
Chiang Mai Governor Boworn Rattanaprasit led Chiang Mai’s restaurant
entrepreneurs in a mass resolve not to be involved with drugs.
The ceremony was led by Deputy Chiang Mai Governor Boworn
Rattanaprasit. Boworn noted that the drug problem is an extensive issue, but
Chiang Mai people have accepted the government’s agenda to fight against
the drug cartels.
Deputy Boworn said that we should be aware of drug
trafficking because Chiang Mai is on the main route to transfer drugs from
the neighboring countries to Bangkok. The fact that our province has a
boundary more than 200 kilometers long, makes the drug problem even more
difficult to control.
He wanted the restaurant owners, especially those with discotheques and
pubs to be strict in enforcing all the regulations from the Ministry of
Justice covering the license matters, age of patrons, closing time, drugs,
obscene shows and carrying weapons. All business owners should get behind
the government to control the drug situation.
ONCB offering 1 million baht for information
Receiving cooperation from Burma and Laos
The director of the Northern Office of the Narcotics
Control Board (ONCB), Pittaya Jinawat said his office’s reporting has been
moved from the Office of the Prime Minister to the Ministry of Justice,
emphasizing the important role in drug suppression, and now the war
combating drugs, which is part of the government’s national agenda.
As part of that, they have increased the reward for vital
information leading to the arrest of drug dealers from 200,000 baht to
1,000,000 baht per successful case.
ONCB has been working hard after the government released
its national agenda to wipeout drugs in 3 months, and is working with both
government and private organizations to bring about this mission.
The office has received collaboration with neighboring
countries Burma and Laos to exchange information on investigations in the
borderlands, such as Mae Sai, Chiang Rai and Mae Sod in Tak Province. They
also have become involved in the rural villages, in boundary areas, to deal
with drug problems.
In addition to suppression, the ONCB has been working
through the legislation covering a bill on drug prevention and suppression,
and the Act on drug addict rehabilitation and on narcotics.
Tourists bring 500 million baht to Chiang Mai
TAT says hotel occupancy rates up 10-20%
Chalermsak Suranan, director of the TAT Office, Region 1
said that over this winter season, the numbers of Thai and foreign tourists
visiting Chiang Mai increased the room occupancy rate in the city’s hotels
Director Chalermsak said that during the Flower Festival,
Chiang Mai brought in revenue of at least 500 million baht.
Other tourism events that should swell the city’s
coffers include the Mae Cheam District Teen Jok Textile Fair on February 14,
while on the same day there was the Satok Elephant Fair in Lampang.
On February 16 there will be 100th Anniversary
celebrations of Samoeng District, which attracts tourists every year.
APEC visitors welcomed by the world’s largest Tung flag
Chiang Rai Airport to fly the flag February 12-21
Delegates at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation
meeting in Chiang Rai were met at Chiang Rai Airport, which was flying the
world’s largest Tung flag.
Flying Officer Wisit Iwprapa, Chiang Rai Airport director
said that the Tung flag was larger than that used to honor the late HRH
princess Mother for her the 90th Anniversary celebration.
The new Tung flag is decorated on both sides. The first
side is painted with the image of an elephant bringing the lyrics of the
Lord Buddha, a portrait of King Mengrai the Great, the Chiang Rai founder,
the pictures of Phaya Naga, and Wat Phra Thart Doi Thong.
The reverse side of the flag has the picture of a lotus,
Phaya Naga protecting Chiang Rai City, Doi Tung, Pasuk, and Jonkiti.
The flagpole is sculptured teakwood and has the image of
the 12 animals of Chinese horoscope.
The flag, which cost over 600,000 baht, is 1.50 meters
wide, 29 meters long, and weighs 300 kg and was designed by famous artist
The flag is constructed in Lanna style and like normal
Tung flags readily seen in the North, portrays the era of the past Lanna
CMU holds Education Fair to assist students select courses
5000 school leavers take advantage of career advice opportunity
The 7th Education Fair drew interest from students in
Chiang Mai and neighboring provinces to attend the Chiang Mai University
Convention Hall over two days in early February.
With it now getting so close to entrance examinations,
high school students all over the country are preparing themselves to go on
to study to gain a university degree.
The CMU Education Fair provided information on all
courses from both government and private universities. It is expected that
this would have helped all the visitors make correct decisions on which
degree course to go on to study. Additionally, it informed all the students
on the regulations for the latest entrance exam.
The PM’s chief advisor and Education Ministry’s
advisor, Krasae Chanawongse said, “It would be advantageous for students,
at the age of critical choices, to make the correct decisions and prepare
themselves for the entrance examination to the university.”
Maka Bhucha Day Sunday 16th
The day of the full moon of the third lunar month is
known as Maka Bhucha Day in Thailand and this year falls on Sunday, February
16. It is one of the Buddhist holy days, and all Buddhists will do merit
making, stay away from the temptation and honor the five Buddhist precepts.
The five precepts are basic for the life of all
Buddhists. They include Thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, Thou
shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not lie and thou shalt refrain from
To mark this holy day, in the morning Buddhists will
place food into the priest’s bowl, then in the late morning they will
gather at the temple to hear the sermons from the monks and novices. They
will gather again in the evening at the temple to do carry out a ritual
known as ‘Wian Tien’. This involves the people walking clockwise around
the Buddhist monastery carrying lighted candles and meditating on the triple
gems (Buddha, Buddha’s teachings and the Buddhist clergy).
There were 4 significant happenings on the middle of the
third lunar month in the Buddha’s life. The first was the gathering,
without being summonsed, of 1,250 monks, who had been ordained by Buddha.
Then, the Buddha gave his teachings to the 1,250 Buddhist saints. That
teaching is called ‘O Wah Tha Pah Ti Mok’ and is a significant aspect of
Maka Bhucha Day.
The third important happening was the Buddha appointing
his two chief disciples, Phra Sareebutra and Phra Mokkallana. The last
significant aspect was that the Buddha said that in three months time he
would die, known as ‘Pa Ri Nip Pahn’.
This Sunday, Maka Bhucha Day, the Buddhist rituals are
carried out in temples all over Thailand, and it is hoped that everyone will
remember the significance of them.
The village people become involved in local tourism
TAT and JBIC back the project
Using funds from the Japan Bank Incorporation Corporation
(JBIC), the Tourist Authority of Thailand recently supported a leadership
training program to boost community tourism in the northern region.
In collaboration with the Tourist and Service Development
Office, the Department of Industrial Promotion, the Hotel and the Tourist
Training School, the Tourist Authority of Thailand Northern Region ran a two
day seminar for village leaders, with 35 participants from the northern
provinces of Thailand.
Tourist and Service Development Office director, Chamnan
Muangtim said the people in the community are the grass roots of the local
tourism industry, because they are closest to the visitors. The objective of
this project is to develop human resources for the tourist industries. It is
necessary for participants to gain experience and skills from this seminar
and use it to promote tourism in their own communities.
After the seminar, it was hoped that participants would
be ready and skilful in managing community tourism. Visitors would get the
best service and be left with good lasting impressions of traveling in
The Japan Bank Incorporation Corporation (JBIC) has
supported the project to develop the tourist business in Thai communities.
They expect that promoting tourism will develop employment opportunities,
enabling villagers to earn a sustainable living.
Air-Scouts take annual training course at Wing 41
Daring young people in flying machines
The Air Force has a policy of supporting the Boy Scouts
and Girl Guides movements, and holds training sessions for air-scouts every
year. In Chiang Mai, Wing 41 held the air-scout training for two groups; the
first on January 30 and the second was trained February 6-8.
Scouts in Wing 41.
Four schools participated: Wattanothai Payap School,
Kaveela College, Wat Tatonkao School, and Prince Royal’s College supplied
students. The training took place at the Wing 41 Headquarters and consisted
of providing aircraft knowledge, such as the evolution of flight,
information on spaceships and air traffic, the compass and maps, and making
a glider out of Balsa wood.
Scouts participate in the seminar at Wing 41.
The students who participated in the project and passed
their training received certificates from Wing 41.
Wing Commander Khanitta Maneenai, the PR officer at Wing 41, said that
the Air Force has a policy to support and develop the Boy Scouts and Girl
Guides activities every year to encourage the children to receive knowledge
on aircraft and flying while at the same time fostering a good attitude
toward the Air Force.
BoT optimistic over Thai economy
Global influences only real problem
The Bank of Thailand (BoT) Northern office forecasts that
the economic situation this year will be bright; however, it will be
dependent on the world’s current influences.
Ruangwit Sawekgomut, the executive of the BoT, Northern
region, said last year’s economic figures showed that the economy was
expanding faster than that two years ago.
The economic aspect for 2003 is expected to see
continuation of the increase over the previous year. There are many
government policies to boost the country’s economic growth, and as well
there is no pressure from price wars. All factors will be advantageous to
the industrial sector, especially to the construction and commercial areas
that will expand following on from the investments in housing and
The service industry forecast is not so strong, being
dependent upon many outside factors. 2002 saw a global downturn. Tourism
also remains strongly influenced by external factors.
The agricultural sector looks favorable, with gross
production expanded due to rapid production whilst replacing the flood
damage of last year. There is enough water supplies in reservoirs to support
farmers through the dry season.
However, the world’s current problems are an important
aspect affecting the economic situation in many countries, with the Middle
East crisis being foremost. That may affect both the macro and micro economy
CMU Faculty of Medicine joins the Kidney Transplant project
Celebrates 80th Anniversary of HRH Princess Galyani Vadhana
On the occasion of the Renal Disease Foundation of
Thailand’s 25th Anniversary on May 6, a Kidney Transplantation project
will get underway, which will also mark the 80th Anniversary of HRH Princess
Galyani Vadhana. The project will enable kidney transplantation for 81
patients, and will be done in the name of the Princess’s charity.
Currently, kidney transplantation is considered as the
best treatment for end-stage renal disease (ESRD), the other treatments are
haemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis but at best, these are stopgap ways to
extend the patient’s life, while awaiting transplant.
In Thailand, kidney transplantation has been carried out
since 1972, but there are only 26 hospitals in Thailand which can do this
operation. This means that only 200 patients a year receive new kidneys even
though there are 2,000 patients waiting for the transplants.
The aim of the project is to help patients get their
kidney transplant, and encourage people to donate a kidney, as well as
become organ donors. This will encourage the setting up of kidney transplant
units in other hospitals as well, as there are only 20 hospitals
participating in the project at present.
The Maharaj Nakhon Chiang Mai, Faculty of Medicine,
Chiang Mai University are both participants. The hospital does not receive
the 150,000 baht fee for the operation; the costs are supported by the Renal
Disease Foundation of Thailand.
War on drugs escalates
3rd Army Region mobilizes full support
Lt Gen Udomchai Ongkasing, commander of the 3rd Army
Region, said that his troops are ready to support the government’s agenda
in the war on drugs. The drug situation in the north of Thailand has now
been challenged, and the traffickers and dealers are aware that to make a
move on drug transfers will bring them under intense scrutiny.
The commander said his officers have been working hard in
the boundary areas, covering Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Mae Hong Son and Tak,
in a radius of up to 50 kilometers from the border.
In the cities, the police are taking responsibility with
collaboration from officials from the Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB),
the Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO), and local administration officials.
Specialized training courses will be given to compliment
normal routine for the officers in risky areas from February through April.
Hopes are that this will facilitate the “drug suppression within 3 months
plan”, part of the government’s agenda.
Lt Gen Udomchai told the press that after the government
declared a war against drugs, there has been panic among dealers and
traffickers, which has resulted in rash movements and some of have even been
It is also causing some of the dealers to turn in others,
hoping for leniency for themselves. In addition, he admitted there may be
some officers involved with drugs, but if evidence is found, there will be
National Housing Authority offers accommodation to displaced residents
Mae Kha community refuses to move
Representatives from the community living beside Mae Kha
Canal said they did not wish to stay in the flats managed by the National
Housing Authority, and recently 200 people from Chiang Mai’s Mae Kha
community rallied in support of living in their old location.
Former PM Banharn Silpa-archa, acting leader of the Chart
Thai Party, had followed up the work on the housing project and has
inspected the housing project. He has also spoken with Chuanpit Chaimuenwong,
director of the National Housing Authority.
Chuanpit said that the housing project was not designed
to evict the Mae Kha community, but for those who had housing problems in
Chiang Mai and Lamphun.
Banharn Silpa-archa also said that the housing project
and the Mae Kha community improvement were not the same issue. The housing
scheme was for those who really needed to participate in the project, not to
move the Mae Kha community out from where they were. He said the Mae Kha
problem needs to be resolved by the provincial office and the municipality,
as it is a chronic problem.
As for the housing project, over 2,000 people are
interested in putting their names down for a house. Organizers expect to
expand this into a second project in San Kamphaeng District. There would be
four single houses and townhouse developments to resolve the problem of
habitation for poor people living in town.
Drug suppression -
not everyone happy
Local people angry with Saraphi police
Pol. Col. Sopan Thongharn, superintendent of the Saraphi
Police Station and over 50 policemen have been covering the Saraphi District
to suppress the drug trade. During the maneuvers, houses have been searched,
including policemen and teachers’ houses, which has angered some of the
According to the prime minister’s policy, authorities
need to suppress the drug trade all over Thailand within three months. So
the Saraphi policemen have a target to suppress the drug dealers who have a
significant influence over local people in the area, such as teachers,
policeman and government officers.
Despite the complaints, the searches continue and the
superintendent said that although they did not find any evidence, it made
the traders understand they were under pressure.
Currently, police have a list of 83 names of drug dealers
in Saraphi. Most of them have moved out of the area or have now stopped
selling drugs. However, there are 43 still left and police are trying to
finish the drug connections to the Saraphi region.
Interior Minister receives list of almost 40,000 drugs dealers
As local and national officials across the country
continue to wage the government’s latest war on drugs, the interior
minister announced on February 7th that he had received a list with the
names of nearly 40,000 drugs dealers and that a center to win the battle on
drugs had been established, with the aim of eradicating the country’s
drugs problem within three months. The first target the center has set for
itself is to deal with any civil servants found to be involved in the drugs
trade by February 15.
Wan Muhamad Noor Matha said that provincial governors and
district chiefs sent in a list containing the names of 39,000 narcotics
dealers, but that there were likely to be many more whose names had not yet
been included and that additional lists would be drawn up.
He said the Interior Minister would investigate the names
on the list and take further action as appropriate.
Of those on the list, 2,000 have already been arrested,
while a further 7,000 have sworn to provincial governors and district chiefs
that they will forgo involvement in drugs from now on. (TNA)
Community Forest Network demands action over deputy chairman’s murder
Protest taken to PM
By staff reporters
200 people from the Community Forest Network, led by
Thaweesin Srirueng, rallied in front of the provincial city hall to air
their grievances and to hand over a letter of complaint to the
government’s representative regarding the headman who was murdered by a
understand how all of you love your forest, and what you have done to fight
for the forest. I would like you to believe us that we will try to urgently
resolve all the problems you have,” said Permanent Secretary Kwanchai
The case in question began with the death of Kampun
Suksai, the village headman of Tambon Mae Na, Chiang Dao District, Chiang
Mai, who also acted as the deputy chairman of the Community Forest Networks
in the upper basin Ping River.
It was later found that Chankaew Chandaeng, a wildlife
conservation zone forestry official in Chiang Dao had shot Kampun. He was
arrested on the following day; however, the Community Forest Network felt
that nothing was being done and the community wanted justice.
52-year-old Kampun Suksai was shot by Chankaew Chandaeng
on February 1. Chankaew surrendered to police on February 2. Chankaew said
that he was angry with Kampun as he had arrested him 2 years previously,
after Chankaew had cut down part of the forest. He was still angry and got
his revenge by shooting him.
Chiang Mai Provincial Office permanent secretary met with the community
A letter of complaint had been submitted ten times,
according to the Community Forest Network, but no one paid any attention to
it. A representative at the rally said that the group regretted that Chiang
Mai Governor Pisit Khetphasook paid little attention to the death of the
village headman, adding that the government officials treated the murderer
better than they treated local people. “The forestry official who killed
our headman is treated too well, he was even picked up by a Mercedes
Benz,” one of the protesters said.
The mood of the crowd was one of anger, with some being
directed at the prime minister. “PM Thaksin claimed that he would make war
against poverty. But as we see from what he did with the recent protesters
in Bangkok, and the way he neglected our community, we feel that the Thai
Rak Thai party does wage war against poor people but not against poverty,”
said another representative.
Governor Pisit was not available to receive the letter
from the group as he was on government assignment on that day; however,
Kwanchai Wongnitikorn, Chiang Mai Provincial Office permanent secretary
received the letter and did meet with the group. Kwanchai said, “I
acknowledge receipt of the letter and will urgently fax the prime minister
and the minister of interior. Having been the district chief of Mae Chaem, I
do understand how all of you love your forest, and what you have done to
fight for the forest. I would like you to believe us that we will try to
urgently resolve all the problems you have.”
sign written by Chiang Dao locals states, “Forestry official destroys
There are other problems in this case and some of the
Community Forest Network believe that there is a cover-up. Illegal logging
has been carried out with the help of some dishonest forestry officials. The
Community Forest Network said that they resisted the illegal logging and
protect over 5,000 rai of community forest, developed by the local people.
The Community Forest Network also said that the
government has not allowed local people to conserve their own community
forest, and all decisions on forest conservation were carried out by the
Forestry Department. Local people had asked to participate in the
conservation as well, so that they could check and balance the government
officials. The Community Forest Network wants to participate in the Ping
River basin management to help manage the land conservation.
The Community Forest Network said that Bills need to be amended and
adopted by the House of Representatives, as soon as possible, so that the
community representatives will be able to take part in the forest
management. While waiting for the endorsement of the Bills the networks
representatives asked the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment to
enforce ministerial law instead so that the people could get involved with
the community’s forest management.