Farms and buildings damaged by hailstorm
Phrae and Lampang provinces
Severe winter hailstorms occurred last week in Ban
Tungsri, Rong Kwang District, Phrae, damaging houses, tobacco factories and
farms and causing power blackouts in the some of the surrounding towns for
Supan Singkha, a tobacco farmer in Ban Tungsri said that
rain started at around 5 p.m., and was followed by a hailstorm that
destroyed tobacco leafs in the entire farm. About 1,000 rai of tobacco
plantations in Tungsri were damaged. The telephone lines and poles also
In Lampang, over 30 houses and 100 rai of farm products
were damaged by the hailstorm on the same day. Many signs and billboards in
the urban area were also destroyed.
Shoosak Khanchaiwong, the headman of Ban Sai Tai, Muang
District, Lampang Province said that his village was one of the villages
damaged by the hailstorm. Over 30 houses and cornfields, chilies, garlic,
and onion farms were also destroyed. A cottage in a fish farm of aqua
culturalist Teera Thamchai collapsed.
In the first stage of the relief operation, Pichai
Sub-district Administration Organization, and the Pichai Municipality
surveyed the damage cost and assisted the hailstorm victims in the area by
urgently repairing roofs.
Regarding the damaged farms, Sai Tai villagers have asked
for aid assistance from Muang, Lampang Authority and hope they will get help
TV and radio group
donates winter woollies
Members of the Chiang Mai - Lamphun Television and Radio
Reporters Association donated winter clothes to villagers in the Chai
Prakarn district, Chiang Mai Province.
The members of the association had previously visited
Chai Prakarn District, north of Chiang Mai, where many poor people have to
exist in cold weather. During the visit, the media association gained an
understanding of their plight, so they returned, bringing clothes and
blankets for approximately 350 people from 18 villages.
Kanittha Srirat, the director of TV Channel 11 and the
chairperson of Chiang Mai and Lamphun Television and Radio Association, said
that they regularly help people who are in trouble from natural disasters,
such as the flood victims in Mae Chaem District and Doi Tao District in
Chiang Mai. All their public charity work receives support from many
organizations and business firms who donate both money and goods.
TV Channel 11 has also planed to hold National Radio
Broadcasting Day festivities on February 25 at the Public Relations
Department Region 3 Chiang Mai. The organization will be holding many
interesting activities on that day, including official meetings between
government and private organizations, and recognizing the high standards of
radio and TV broadcasters as well as a merit-making ceremony for the members
who have passed on.
What do you call a new baby camel?
Chiang Mai Zoo recently played midwife and is proudly
displaying a newborn Arabian camel. Officials at the zoo have also extended
an invitation for the public to come and name her.
newborn Arabian camel is the latest member of the camel family at Chiang Mai
Ms Rossukon Juikhamwong, public relations officer at the
Chiang Mai Zoo, said that on the 4th of February, a female camel named
Chabaa gave birth after being pregnant for 13 months. The camel’s baby
weighed 30 kilograms and makes her the sixth member of the camel family in
Chiang Mai Zoo.
Rossukon said the father camel, named Dam, was delighted
with his new daughter and very proud of mother camel Chabaa. This was
Chabaa’s first baby, and the zoo staff helped her giving birth, during a
short 30 minute labor.
The Arabian camel is native to the Balkan Peninsula. They
grow to approximately 1.8 meters tall and predominantly eat grasses and
leaves, similar to bulls, goats and sheep. Gestation is around 12-13 months
with a birth weight between 30-50 kilograms. Life expectancy for an Arabian
camel is about 40 years.
Chiang Mai Zoo says visitors can now come to see the latest attraction,
the newborn Arabian camel.
Maka Bhucha celebrated in Chiang Mai
Many devout Buddhists make merit
Sunday Feb 16 was Maka Bhucha Day in Thailand, and devout
followers made merit, stayed away from temptation and embraced the five
Buddhist precepts. During the day, Buddhists also placed alms into
priests’ bowls and gathered at the temple to hear sermons from the monks.
Mai Mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn (front left) and Maj Gen Thawat Jaruklas
(front right), commanding general of the 33rd Military Circle, led citizens
and soldiers through the ‘Wian Tien’ ceremony on Maka Bhucha Day in
Lord Buddha’s Teaching Publication Center at Wat Pan Ont, Chiang Mai
suggests that on Buddhist holy days, Buddhists should bring their children
to make merit at the temples, as it is a good way for children to understand
and appreciate the inherent goodness of Buddhism.
In the evening people gathered again at the temple to
carry out the ritual known as Wian Tien, which is a ceremony where followers
walk clockwise three times around the Buddhist temple, carrying lighted
candles and meditating on the triple gems: Buddha, Buddha’s teaching and
the Buddhist clergy.
Chiang Mai Mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn led Chiang Mai
people in the ‘Wian Tien’ at Wat Chedi Luang. The people had gathered at
Wat Chedi Luang around 6 p.m., bringing with them flowers, candles and joss
sticks to join in with the mayor.
The Lord Buddha’s Teaching Publication Center at Wat
Pan Ont, Chiang Mai suggested that on the Buddhist holy days, Buddhists
should bring their children to make merit at the temples. This is a good way
for children to understand and appreciate the inherent goodness of Buddhism.
Cheap mass weddings in Chiang Mai in May
But only if you are Thai, as the promotion has two-tiered pricing
The Tourism Authority of Thailand, in cooperation with
the Chiang Mai Cultural Council and Chiang Mai Public Health Office, will
hold a mass Lanna wedding, known locally as ‘Koo Kaew Muang Wattanatham’
on May 11 this year. All interested couples, both Thais and foreign
nationals are invited to join in this Lanna wedding ceremony.
The couples will be married at the Chiang Mai Plaza Hotel
and a Khantoke style lunch will be provided for the couples and up to 4
guests. The organizers will also prepare invitation cards, wedding souvenirs
and marriage officials to prepare the marriage certificate. Government
offices will arrange wedding photography and will provide small gifts for
the happy couples.
If you want to marry your loved one on the 11th of May,
you must be aged more than 20 years, and be prepared to pay 8,900 baht for
Thai couples and USD700 (around 29,000 baht, which does not include
transportation and residence) for foreign couples. It was not made clear why
the price for foreigners is over 3 times that for Thai couples.
The organizers will also promote a seminar on family and
health checks before marriage.
Chalermsak Suranan, TAT Northern Region 1 director, said
that the Lanna style wedding ceremony is meant to preserve the traditional
wedding ceremony. Couples interested in the project can contact the Chiang
Mai Public Health Office, tel. 053 211 048 ext. 141 or 131, fax: 053 211 740
or email: [email protected]
It will be unlikely that there will be too many
foreigners tying the knot!
Guides ask officials to reduce the B.200 entrance fee for Lod Cave
Tourists staying away forcing guides towards bankruptcy
Local guide groups in Pang Ma Pha District have asked the
government to reduce the entrance fee for the foreign tourists to Lod Cave.
The combined groups assembled at the Lod Cave Public Park to ask the
Department of Forestry to reduce the B. 200 entrance fee, “Because of the
high entrance fee, the number of foreign tourists interested in traveling
through Lod Cave has fallen,” reported their spokesman.
This decrease has resulted in dramatic falls in revenues
for the tour guides, which in some cases have fallen to between 300-500 baht
per guide for one month. Many have had to take out bank loans to supplement
their income. If the high entrance fees continue, the guides cannot see how
they will be able to keep going.
Lampang AIDS Center to
become Drug Rehab Center
The Public Health Ministry plans to change the role and
functions of the AIDS treatment center into a drug addiction rehabilitation
center in Lampang Province, which will come under the network of the Chiang
Mai Drug Dependence Treatment Center. The Lampang center will provide drug
treatment for patients in 7 northern Thailand provinces.
The change was decided after the Deputy Minister of
Public Health, Pol Gen Pracha Promnok, visited Lampang to investigate
whether the Lampang AIDS recovery center could become a drug treatment
Pol Gen Pracha said drug rehabilitation is one of six
major items in the Public Health Ministry’s policies this year. Due to the
national agenda of fighting the drug war and the situation of the AIDS
patients now being better under control, and the fact that they can be
treated in their own homes, lent weight to the change of direction.
In the 17 northern provinces, there are 10,800 registered
patients. In the 7 provinces of Lampang, Lamphun, Phrae, Nan, Utradit,
Phayao and Chiang Rai, 3,943 addicts were treated in 2002.
Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital gets 357 million baht boost
Ministry of Finance backs building new hospital but not equipment
Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital is going to get a new
hospital wing to celebrate the 50th year on the throne of His Majesty the
King Bhumibol the Great.
Prof Supoj Wuttikarn, dean of the Medical Faculty at
Chiang Mai University, stated that on this auspicious occasion, the Finance
Ministry has launched a project to construct nine buildings in hospitals all
over the country to commemorate the event.
Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital was allocated a budget
from Ministry of Finance of 357 million baht to construct the 16-storey
building covering 29,600 square meters area.
The new building is located near the old outpatient
department and ER. Construction work began in the middle of January and is
expected to be completed by the end of year 2004.
During the construction, there will be some changes in
the traffic flow and transfer of patients. The entrance to the Sripat
Building in the hospital is now a one-way street and parking is not allowed.
The budget from the Ministry of Finance is covering only
the construction and excludes equipment.
King Kaveela remembered
On February 5 1774, King Kaveela led the Lanna people to
join the army of King Taksin the Great to drive out the Burmese army from
Chiang Mai. It was a successful campaign and to commemorate the event the
33rd Military Circle of the Royal Thai Army organizes a ceremony every year.
pay respect to the King Kaveela monument.
performance during the ceremony.
This February 5, being the 31st Anniversary celebration,
the 33rd Military Circle of Royal Thai Army organized a propitiating
ceremony for King Kaveela’s spirit at the King Kaveela monument opposite
the Kaveela military Camp.
The ceremony began with floral offerings and tributes to the King Kaveela
Monument, followed by military drill and dance performances in front of the
Chiang Mai voices its
Hundreds gather for peaceful march against war
On February 15, various groups in Chiang Mai protested
against the possibility of a US-led war on Iraq. About two hundred
academics, students, representatives of religious organizations, artists and
writers in the North gathered to ask for peace, to avoid the war, and to
condemn terrorism and violence.
The group marched from Thapae Gate in the city to the
grounds in the front of the Three Kings Monument on Phra Pokklao Road. The
group leader said that this anti-war activity was held at many places
throughout the world on the same day.
The group also submitted a letter through the
Consulate-General of the USA in Chiang Mai and the USA embassy in Bangkok to
be sent to the American president at the White House.
On the same day, 138 monks, students and representatives
of Buddhist, Christian, and Islamic groups held a seminar on the topic
“How does religion solve society’s problems?” at Mahamakut University,
Chiang Mai Campus (University of Monks) at Wat Chedi Luang Temple.
The main issues were the problems between Iraq and US.
The meeting came to the conclusion that they would also submit a letter to
President George Bush. The main thrust was to ask the president to
reconsider the war on Iraq and to request cooperation from Iraq’s Saddam
Hussein for UN weapons inspections.
APEC members meet in Chiang Mai
Terrorism and its effects on free trade discussed
The APEC Customs Sub-committee Meeting was opened by
Deputy Minister of Commerce, Wattana Muangsuk, at Westin Riverside Plaza
Hotel. He welcomed all the guests to the prime minister’s hometown and
exhorted all the delegates to work together in collaboration for trade and
The meeting had representatives from all the members from
21 economic zones: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Republic of China, Hong
Kong, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua
New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, United State of
America, Vietnam and Thailand.
After the terrorist attack in America, the situation
regarding exports all over the world has changed. The situation has
increased expenses for insurance and customs protocol and the consequent
problems were discussed to find solutions to make trade and exports more
convenient for all parties.
Nangnoi Na Ranong, Customs Department deputy
director-general, said the conference was advantageous for all members to
discuss and exchange ideas regarding trade and investments in these economic
zones. It would increase exports and facilitate trade between these regions.
Commerce Deputy Minster Wattana said members noted that
this meeting had high security. It showed that Thailand is safe and ready to
host international meetings. This too would be good for the economy and
tourism of our country.
Chiang Mai Safari Night zoo project on track
Could be up and running by 2005
A source at the Forestry Department disclosed recently
that Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra approved a government budget of 10
million baht to acquire a feasibility study for project implementation and
marketing strategies to help develop the Night Safari Zoo as one of the
region’s top tourist attractions.
Construction work is expected to commence in January next
year and it is likely to open its gates to the public in 2005, organizers
concerned have said. It is expected to attract at least 800,000 visitors in
its first year.
According to the source, the 625-rai project is located
in Tambon Mae Hia near Doi Suthep-Pui National Park and is expected to cost
one billion baht to build. Experts project it to make a first-year profit of
27 million baht and to break even in seven years.
The park will consist of a 375 rai Savannah Safari, 187.5
rai Predator Prowl and 62.5 rai Swan Lake, which will include a village on
the lake, a separate village devoted to ancient Lanna culture, a jaguar
trail, restaurants, souvenir shops, tram stations and parking spaces.
Indigenous animals will be complemented by exotic species imported under a
wildlife exchange program.
Chiang Rai children with a harelip
to receive help
Charity groups organize surgery for the poor
The Northern Women’s Development Foundation and the
Overbrook Hospital in Chiang Rai are getting ready to launch a project in
Chiang Rai to help children requiring an operation for harelip.
Kuenkham Singhanet, president of the Northern Women’s
Development Foundation and Dr. Pluem Supapanya, director of the Overbrook
Hospital signed a memorandum to work in close cooperation on the project.
Phanomwan Yoodee, the foundation’s general secretary,
said that there are many harelip children in the north and most are so poor
that they cannot get treatment. So the foundation, the Overbrook Hospital,
and the Y.M.C.A. of Chiang Rai combined forces to fund the project to help
children who are not able to pay for the reconstructive operations.
The project will not only provide for the operation and
recovery, but will also include speech therapy afterwards.
Families with harelip children under the age of 15 years
can contact the hospital or the Y.M.C.A. For more information, tel.
70,000 baht in jewelry goes missing at the 700 Year Anniversary Stadium
Korean football team complain robbery isn’t cricket
Lee Hun-Na, 22, the Korean football team coach’s
daughter checked into the dorm at the 700 Year Anniversary Stadium on
February 3. The football team had booked 10 rooms from February 3-7 and the
organizers provided accommodation on the 4th floor.
Muangchuen, the director of the Sports Authority of Thailand, Region 5
(center), apologized for what happened and said he hopes there will be no
recurrence of this kind. With him are Somporn Wannasari (left) of the
Scientific Sports Office, and Songpol Muangsri.
On February 6, Lee Hun-Na reported that earrings and
rings valued at 70,000 baht were missing. The counter service asked her to
recheck but with the jewelry still missing, it was suggested she report the
matter to the police.
Pol. Capt. Alongkorn Promta, the investigating officer
from Mae Rim Police Station checked the room and called in for questioning
the 3 maids who were responsible for the room. Police assume that this was
an ‘inside’ job as there was no evidence of forced entry and the room
had not been ransacked.
Boonthan Muangchuen, director of the Sports Authority of
Thailand Region 5 apologized for what had happened and said he hopes there
would be no recurrence of this kind of situation. He also said that the
security system will be tightened.
At press time there was no report as to the fate of the maids, or of the
Lahu Villages under siege in latest drug bust
150 drug suppression personnel in operation
150 Pha Muang military task force personnel, Wiang Haeng
policemen, drug suppression police, and some government officials besieged
the border Lahu hilltribe village of Ban Huai Krai, a new community village
in Tambon Piang Luang, Wiang Haeng District.
They did not come away empty handed, as in this case
4,000 ya ba pills, 1 gun, and 1 bomb were found buried in the garden near
the village, and a Thai Yai man was arrested for being a suspected member of
the drug network.
On the same day, the officials also searched the Huai San
village, Moo 4, Tambon Tha Ton, Mae Ai District where Laota Saenlee, the
former headman and an important suspect in the drugs network had influence.
No attacks occurred and only one person was found guilty of being in
possession of an unlicensed weapon.
The officials took Laota and another 20 drug addicts in
the village to take an oath not to deal with drugs in the future. The
officials said that the operation had been accomplished under martial law in
the border area, and they needed to decrease the influence of Laota so that
villagers in this area would not become addicts.
ONCB reports results of drug suppression
Property worth 448 million seized
Metinee Chaikuna and Supatatt Dangkrueng
The Office of the Narcotic Control Board (ONCB) has just
released the results of the drug suppression policy in the North. According
to the report, in the period from July 2002 - January 2003, the ONCB checked
and seized property in 742 cases regarding drug dealers and the nominal
value of the properties is over 448 million baht. This figure includes 137
cars and 63 motorcycles.
the confiscated drugs, guns and pistols on display at the press briefing.
The more recent figures, following the government’s
latest crackdown, showed that from February 1-12 this year, there have been
9 cases examined and over 1.6 million in property seized.
To carry out the drug suppression activities, 276
personnel are involved; 145 officials from the Provincial Police Region 5,
104 officials from the Provincial Police Region 6, 12 officials from the
Drug Suppression Command Division, and 15 officials from the ONCB.
The Provincial Police Region 5 has been the most successful and received
commendation from the director general of Region 5 of the Official States
Attorney’s Office for investigating 535 cases and confiscating over 364
million baht of property.
Drug Suppression in the North making progress
More than 50 drug dealers surrender
Over 50 drug dealers at Chiang Dao, Chiang Mai,
surrendered to Somdet Muangpon, the chief of Chiang Dao district office, and
Pol. Col. Danai Boonrueng, the Superintendent of Chiang Dao Police Station,
making a promise that they would not return to drug dealing in the future.
Despite their surrender, the dealers were still worried
that the police would confiscate their properties and what their relatives
who had stopped being drug dealers and moved out of the area should do next.
The superintendent said that the police needs to check their backgrounds and
then follow up to see if they had really stopped being involved in illicit
Public affirmations against drugs are now being carried
out all over the north, with 2,000-3,000 Lisu in the Thailand Lisu
Association taking the oath at Ban Khun Kong, Ping Kong, Chiang Dao.
In Nan, drug dealers also surrendered to government
officials. Kongkam Thisema, the headman of Thung Srithong Sub-district, took
the drug dealers on the police blacklist to surrender to the police and
asked them to take the oath.
In Chiang Rai, the Doi Tung Development Project director
said he agreed with the policy of the government on drug suppression, but
suggested officials had to be careful to arrest only drug dealers and not
M.R. Disnadda Ditsakul, the general secretary of the Mae
Fah Luang Foundation and the director of the Doi Tung Development Project
said drugs destroy families, society, and the nation. Despite the
application of the death penalty, the long-term problem has not been solved.
Motorcycle bandits snatch and grab a British tourist’s bag
Gang makes off with 60,000 baht
Tahir Hamid, 32, a British tourist informed police that
two men riding a motorcycle snatched his bag while he was walking in a city
soi. Pol Sub Lt Thamrong Kahabodeekanokul of Muang Chiang Mai Police Station
revealed that Mr. Hamid claimed he had lost a gold ring valued at 12,500
baht, a necklace and a diamond locket valued at 27,600 baht, two bracelets
costing 10,000 baht and a 10,300 baht diamond ring, a total of more than
Mr. Hamid told police that he had just checked out from a
hotel and was walking along Thapae Road, Soi 5, where two men on a
motorcycle approached him, snatched his valuables and rode off.
Pol Sub Lt Thamrong said this case is still being
investigated, and that it is quite difficult because the victim was unable
to give a description of the miscreants. It happened in the alley and the
tourist was alone. He suggested that tourists should keep their valuables in
a body belt and people should be aware and be careful when traveling in
High-ranking officials pleased with Chiang Mai’s drug suppression success
Deputy Minister of Interior Pracha Maleenon said he was
satisfied with the result of drug suppression as a whole, but there are
still some provinces that must improve their operational strategies. Pracha
said during his Chiang Mai visit to review drug suppression that he was
satisfied with the cooperation from all parties and he would like to praise
all concerned who are working hard to wipe out drugs from our country.
In addition, Prawit Sisophon, Interior Ministry permanent
secretary came to review the working procedures at the drug treatment center
at the city hall which comes under Chiang Mai Governor Pisit Khetphasook,
who acts as the director of the drug treatment center.
After the briefing, Prawit said Chiang Mai has already
reached an excellent level because there was good cooperation to wipe out
drugs from the country, so the outcome so far is highly satisfactory.
Prawit also visited the center at Doi Saket, Chiang Mai
and listened to Chief District Officer Suraphol Panusamphol’s report of
operations regarding their 51 targets, where they found and confiscated
24,000 speed pills, plus another 22 drugs surrendered to the police.
Prawit said he was delighted that the government agenda
was combating drugs, and in Doi Saket it also seems successful. Now is a
good chance for the surrendered dealers to behave and stay away from drugs,
Deputy Minister of Interior Pracha Maleenon is cracking the whip
Entertainment outlets must follow the rules
Deputy Minister of Interior Pracha Maleenon last week
visited Chiang Mai to follow up the social order management in the
entertainment service sector. Whilst here, he chaired a meeting at the
Chiang Mai Plaza Hotel on policy assignments for local administration
officials and entertainment entrepreneurs.
Chiang Mai is a big province, he said, and there are many
entertainment outlets like pubs, discotheques, restaurants, karaoke and
massage parlors providing services to the night’s travelers.
He emphasized that all concerned have to be strict with
their application of the rules and governing regulations. These are the
opening and closing times, age of the customers, drug abuse, obscene shows,
and carrying of weapons.
Flaunting these regulations can lead to closure for 30
days or even cancellation of the license by order of the governor.
“This action is not to be thought of as just finding
faults, but it is watching and preventing youths from the dangers of
drugs,” said the Deputy Interior Minister. Pracha asked all concerned to
realize the dangerous and insidious nature of ya ba and to keep within the