Chiang Mai Night Bazaar
blaze razes six shophouses
Causes 1.5 million baht damage
Photos by Nuttanee Thaveephol and
A pre-dawn fire broke out at the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar,
destroying six shop houses and their contents with an estimated loss of 1.5
and firefighters inspect the scene of a pre-dawn blaze at the Chiang Mai
Night Bazaar. The fire destroyed 6 shop houses and caused an estimate 1.5
million baht damages. No casualties were reported.
According to a source at Chiang Mai’s Fire Brigade,
there was no report of deaths or injury. The blaze appeared to have started
in a wooden handicraft shop belonging to Monchai Satapornchaipanitch, a
businessman from Tambon Padaed in Muang District. He had opened the shop
only two months previously.
woodcrafts were destroyed during a pre-dawn fire at the Chiang Mai Night
inspectors attempt to determine the cause of a fire that broke out in a
wooden shop house selling handicrafts.
burnt statue stands sentinel over the carnage at the Chao Mae Guan-im
woodcraft shop in the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar.
Ten fire engines were called in, and firefighters had the
blaze under control in half an hour. However, in that time the conflagration
spread to four other shop houses, quickly spreading to the upper floors.
Another two residences were threatened by the flames. A grass fire also
occurred as the dry grass caught alight.
It appears the source of the fire was in Monchai’s
shop; however, until experts have examined all the evidence there is no
exact cause being given as this issue went to press. The Fire Brigade would
not be drawn into comment as to whether arson was suspected.
Chiang Mai Governor Pisit Khetphasook was at the scene of
the inferno, overseeing the fire control and relief operation.
Sweden’s King Carl Gustaf XVI and Queen Silvia visit Chiang Rai
King Carl Gustaf XVI of Sweden and Queen Silvia flew in
to Chiang Rai aboard the Royal Airplane of the Royal Thai Air Force, from
The royal couple was met by Chiang Rai Governor Narin
Panichkij, his wife, government officials and other Chiang Rai townspeople
at Chiang Rai Airport. They were also treated to local dancing and Sa Bad
Chai drum performances by the Damrongraj Songkroh School.
Following the welcome, the King and the Queen visited Wat
Phra Kaew in Muang District and paid veneration to the Buddha while the
monks prayed for the visiting royal couple.
Theprattanamunee, the abbot of the temple presented them
with a souvenir made of teakwood and covered with gold leaf, fashioned in
the image of a Lanna style flower.
The King planted a tree in front of Wat Phra Kaew and sat
in the royal pavilion to watch a parade of Chiang Rai jade Buddha images.
Later they attended a reception organized by the governor
and his wife.
Hot weather coming in late March, says Meteorological Center
The Northern Meteorological Center is warning of fires,
storms, and water shortages resulting from the hot weather coming at the end
Summer this year begins this month with the wind from the
south and east. The average high temperature is forecast to be 35-37 degrees
Celsius and will cover the northern region; however, in Mae Hong Son,
Lampang, Nan, Uttaradit, and Tak provinces the average temperatures will be
around 40-42 degrees.
Following the high temperatures, there will be a lack of
water both for consumption and agriculture. The Meteorological Center is
advising everyone to save and reserve water.
There will also be a higher than average fire danger.
During summer there may also be hailstorms or summer storms that can damage
buildings and cultivated areas.
The weather statistics in March during the years
1951-2002 show the highest temperature was 42.7 degrees Celsius in Uttaradit
Province on March 7, 1958, and the highest rainfall was 158.1 mm on March 8,
2001 in Muang District, Phrae.
Wiang Kum Kam celebration
runs for five more weeks
Historical site celebrations displaying Lanna civilization
Wiang Kum Kam, the Underground Empire has been holding
celebrations every Sunday since February 2nd and they will continue until
April 6th this year. The Chiang Mai Provincial Office is promoting the
ancient remains as a historical attraction.
Kum Kam can tell us about the Lanna civilization and its people.
Last week, Chiang Mai MP Yaowapa Wongsawat joined the
local artisans in a ritual to show respect to “Kaanthom”, King
Mengrai’s famous architect who constructed the empire’s buildings.
There are many activities at Wiang Kum Kam, such as art
and cultural performances, culture tourism by bicycle, small train,
tricycle, horse and carriage, and elephant tours, local khantoke, and a
Visitors can feel the old style of Lanna living in the
ancient city and can also buy food and souvenirs using the old fashioned
“bullet money” instead of the current currencies.
Wiang Kum Kam is the site of the ancient empire of King Mengrai. This
historical site is located in Saraphi District, not far from Nong Hoi
intersections of Mahidol Road. For additional information call Khun Lek, 09
514 4273 or Khun Noot, 09 818 8796.
Chiang Mai Zoo is improving every week, says zoo director
Chiang Mai Zoo is enhancing their staff’s abilities and
improving the location’s standards.
Mai Zoo buses, part of the innovations going on at Chiang Mai Zoo, are
always available to take animal lovers around the zoo.
Chiang Mai Zoo director, Tanong Nateepitak said that with
government backing, and following the Zoological Park Organization and
Chiang Mai Provincial Office’s policy to enhance the province’s tourism
potential, Chiang Mai Zoo has embarked on an ambitious plan of improvements.
The first step is that the zoo now pays even more
attention to the animals’ quality of life, which includes nutrition and
biology. There are also many added items, such as the transportation service
provided for visitors who do not want to bring their own vehicles inside the
The zoo has arranged new entertainment programs, animal
feeding shows and animal talent shows, which can attract more people to come
to the zoo.
The zoo director said that Chiang Mai Zoo is in the 2nd
step of improving surroundings, past of which includes the Panda house
construction that will be finished by this August.
Chiang Mai Zoo also received budgetary provision from the government for
6 development projects which include constructing a more beautiful entrance,
improving the Sri Nakhon Ping 700 Years Aquatic Animals Park, raising the
standard of public utilities, creating better paths, laying a new sewer
system and building a 106,000-cubic-meter water reservoir. The entire
project will be finished within this fiscal year.
14 artists from 5 countries join the Mekong Artists’ Residency Program March 10-30
Chiang Mai University Art and Culture Exhibition Hall and
the Dance Theatre Workshop, New York, with the support of the Rockefeller
Foundation, will arrange the Mekong Artists’ Residency Project in
Thailand. This program brings together artists from 5 countries located in
the Mekong Basin, and from America, to exchange art and culture. The Chiang
Mai University Art and Culture Exhibition Hall is the venue March 10-30.
The artists from Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, China (Yunnan)
and Thailand will stay together for 3 weeks. They will exchange performing
arts, which include drama, local dance, music, and live performances. It is
hoped that this opportunity for the artists to share, learn, and understand
each other, will make the artistic community more creative.
The public can view the performances free of charge at 7
p.m. March 15-16 at the C.M.U. Hall theatre, 7 p.m. March 19 and 8 p.m.
March 20 at the Performing Arts Institute in Kad Suan Kaew’s 7th floor.
The artists who will be in the program are Gao Xiang and
He Ying Ying from Yunnan, Le Vu Long and Hoang Ly from Vietnam, Mann Kosal
and Pich Kakada from Cambodia, Ladda Phommalath and Nouth Phouthavongsa from
Laos, Maura Nguyen Dondhue and Vong Phrommala from America, and Thitipol
Kanteewong, Pradit Prasartthong, Sineenart Kateprapai, and Sirithorn
Srichalakom from Thailand.
The Chiang Mai University Art and Culture Exhibition Hall
is located on Nimmanhaeminda Road near Ton Phayom Market and Chiang Mai
University. For additional information contact: 053 944 846 or 01 885 1409.
China has banned Thai longan imports
Toxic chemicals discovered, say Chinese
China has banned Thai longan imports, claiming that the
toxic chemical DDT has been found. Newin Chidchob, the deputy minister of
Agriculture and Cooperatives said that Ministry of Agriculture and
Cooperatives officers have opened negotiations with China.
The deputy minister said that 99 percent of the pesticide
DDT is actually imported from China. The Thai government has already banned
this substance as well and also carries out random checking of agricultural
commodities from China at border checkpoints, especially in Mae Sai, Chiang
Newin claims that the current Chinese ban on longan
imports does not affect the Thai longan market because it is not peak
production season at present. However, the Chinese ambassador to Thailand
will negotiate with the deputy minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives.
Newin expects that the problem will be solved during this month.
300 million baht to be spent to improve Pai Airport
Open for commercial traffic as well as military
The Communications Ministry has allocated a budget of 300
million baht to improve Pai Airport to serve tourists and passengers,
starting in the next fiscal year.
Pichet Sathirachawan, deputy minister of communications
said that since Pai is becoming an important tourist site, business owners
in Pai District, Mae Hong Son have demanded that Pai Airport become a
commercial airstrip to facilitate the tourist air transportation.
“Currently, Pai District has its own airport but only
for military purposes,” said the communications deputy minister.
The airport project will use a budget of around 300
million baht to construct a 1,500 meters long runway.
More than 300 tourists visit Pai each day. This district
is located 1,800 meters above sea level, and tourists have to spend 3 hours
traveling to Pai by road to visit the “World of Villages”.
Furniture export is growing annually at 10%
Chiang Mai Export Promotion Center director, Jiraporn
Tulyanond has announced that Thailand’s total furniture export revenue in
2002 was USD962.03 million, an increase of over 10% from the previous 12
months. Furthermore, it is expected that this year it will increase to reach
to USD1,058 million.
The situation regarding furniture export from the
northern region is very favorable because our main competitor, Malaysia, is
limited in exporting to the European market. In the furniture exports
industry, we have to compete with China, Vietnam and Malaysia, and our
markets are Sweden, Switzerland, USA, Italy, Japan and Malaysia as well.
The European market is currently not accepting products
from Malaysia, so it is considered to be an ideal opportunity to develop our
products and place them in the European marketplace.
Director Jiraporn recommended that new players in this
field, who are stepping into international markets, must know themselves and
their products and be prepared to maintain quality as well as on-time
delivery and international communication.
To find out essential information everyone is welcome to
use the Chiang Mai Export Promotion Center library at Singharaj Road, Muang
District, or call them on 0 5321 6350-1.
Livestock Department releases funds to help flood affected farmers
Teera Ananworapanya, Chiang Mai Provincial Livestock
Office chief reported that the office has released a fund to help farmers
who lost livestock during the flood crisis last year. The cabinet has agreed
to give assistance to the flood victims, depending upon the degree of loss.
The official Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives
figures for compensation for lost cows is 15,000 baht each cow, but they
will not pay for more than 2 cows; B. 1,300 for each pig, but they will not
pay for more than 10 pigs; B. 27.50 for a local chicken but they will not
pay for more than 300 chickens; B. 20 for a trading chicken but they will
not pay for more than 1,000 chickens and B. 20 for a duck, with the same
conditions as for trading chickens.
The floods in September thru November last year caused
heavy losses for the farming community in several Chiang Mai districts. The
Chiang Mai Livestock Development Office has administered a livestock
compensation package amounting to 605,615 baht, divided in to 7 districts;
B. 81,590 in Muang, B. 104, 652.50 in Mae Rim, B. 29,110 in Chorm Thong, B.
15,000 in Phrao, B. 279,935 in Mae Chaem, B. 65,287.50 in Omkoi, and B.
30,000 in Mae On.
Get better or get charged
says Probation Office
Is compulsory rehabilitation the key?
Chiang Mai Probation Office is introducing an “Addicts
Efficiency Recovery Action” by using a new way for addicts to recover,
called “Compulsory Treatment”, said Rommanee Klanbida, director of the
Chiang Mai Probation Office.
Director Rommanee said that the office has provided a new
alternative for solving the drug addicts’ problem: Compulsory treatment is
the way to recovery. This new program started on March 3, 2003 (an
auspicious day, being 03-03-03), in 36 pilot provinces, including Chiang
Mai. “Actually, drug addicts can participate in the voluntary treatment
system, but this program cannot force the patients to join in all the steps
in that recovery program. Therefore, there are many patients who turn back
to drugs, so that is the weak point of the previous system,” said Rommanee.
The public prosecutor will reduce criminal action against
addicts and send them to compulsory treatment programs instead, until they
are completely recovered, after which patients can go home and the court
will acquit them. But, if the patient cannot complete the entire program,
the prosecutor will proceed with legal action against them.
The Addicts Efficiency Recovery Action 2003 program
proposes that treatment is an important issue, and is the government’s
policy to focus on prevention before suppression.
Local police and Chinese chiefs looking to pool information
Is this the start of Chinterpol?
Police officers from Provincial Police Region 5 and their
counterparts from Yunnan, China met at the Imperial Maeping Hotel in Chiang
Mai to discuss the progress of setting up a joint information center.
participants from Thailand and China.
High-ranking officers from Provincial Police Region 5,
led by Commissioner Pol Lt Gen Inthadej Pornpeerapan, attended the meeting
with the Yunnan Provincial Public Security Bureau. The head of the Chinese
delegation was the director general of Yunnan Provincial Public Security
Bureau, Xian Yanming.
Gen Inthadej Pornpeerapan (left), the commissioner of Provincial Police
Region 5 and Xian Yanming (right), director general of Yunnan Provincial
Public Security Bureau of P.R. China, co-chaired a meeting to discuss the
progress of setting up a joint information center.
Pol Lt Gen Inthadej noted the relationship between the
Provincial Police Region 5 and Yunnan authorities could be considered to be
very close, so good cooperation is possible.
There will be an exchange of information, such as drug
networks, illegal immigration and counterfeiting that damages the economies
and reputation of both countries. Officials at the meeting were hopeful that
in the future, confidential documents and information could be exchanged
very quickly to enhance speedy law enforcement.
This was the second meeting of the two groups, the first
meeting was held last year in China.
Another drug suppression policy has been launched by Education Ministry
Manu Maneerat, Chiang Mai Provincial General Education
Office director reported that his office has received a policy from the
Ministry of Education on drug suppression, which follows the drug
suppression policy of PM Thaksin Shinawatra.
The target announced for Thailand set by the Ministry of
Education is that there should be less than 3% drug addicts in each school,
but the target for schools under the Chiang Mai Provincial General Education
Office is less than 2%. Statistics have to be sent in regarding drug
addicts, drug traders, and those who risk dealing with drugs, to the office
within 3 months.
Manu said that from the reports he received from the
schools, progress has been quite satisfactory so far. He also said that
there are selection processes to detect drug addicts, drug traders, and the
groups of students who could be at risk. After students had been assigned to
the correct groups, they would be sent for education and rehabilitation.
The Provincial General Education Office has other
activities as well, including home visits by teachers to assess the drug
situation in the home.
Check carefully summer courses in US says employment office
Orachon Rattanamanee, the director of the Chiang Mai
Employment Service Office said that the office has been informed by the
Employment Department that many companies are offering exchange students
opportunities. The Employment Office has investigated some of these
companies and found that they are marketing overseas study in Australia, New
Zealand, England, and the United States.
The USA summer student exchange program is an opportunity
for Thai students to exchange culture and learn English by being trainees in
the US during summer. This kind of program has been available for a few
years. The companies dealing with this program must have a contract with a
non-profit organization sanctioned by the US government, such as the Council
on International Education Exchange (CIEE), or Intact Work Travel.
Thai students can join the program during March-June and
the organizations will proceed with visa (J-1) requirement for exchange
students, find lodgings, and take care of them throughout the duration of
The Chiang Mai Employment Service Office warns students
who wish to join the program to check all details to avoid being cheated.
The program is for 18-25 year old students who can speak English, and
participants will have to pay 40,000-60,000 baht. For further information
and more details, check at the Chiang Mai Provincial Employment Service
Office, 053 222 865-6 ext. 17 and 19 during office hours.
CMU lecturer receives prestigious International Award in Iran
Assoc. Prof. Dr Jiradej Manosroi of the Faculty of
Pharmacy, Chiang Mai University (CMU) has received a research and
development award from the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology,
Iranian Research Organization for Science and Technology (IROST). He joined
other scientists from England, New Zealand, South Africa, China, Pakistan,
India, Sudan, Bulgaria, and Egypt, who were recognised for their outstanding
contributions in the science and technology fields.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Jiradej said this award was not just for
his work, but also for the Institute for Science and Technology Research and
Development, and the Faculty of Pharmacy, and would stimulate him into
producing more research and development (R&D) work.
Dr Jiradej’s award came from his ground-breaking work
on tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), a cooperation with Boehringer
Ingelheim International, Germany. This research work has been registered
with international patents in 111 countries, including Japan and Thailand.
The drug dissolves clots in the blood. It is a human
protein which is produced in bacteria using recombinant DNA technology. The
method discovered by the research team led by Assoc. Prof. Jiradej yields a
protein which needs much less processing than the old method, making it up
to 90 percent less expensive to produce.
The awards are given annually, and were named after the
world’s renowned Iranian astronomer and mathematician, Abu Jafar Muhammad
Ibn Khwarizmi (770-840 AD). The presentation has been given to scientists
achieving world breakthroughs since 1991, covering the fields of
engineering, basic science, human science, agriculture, and arts. All
scientific work must be new inventions or innovations, and their application
should be in the field of industry, personal training and other scientific
At this year’s award presentation ceremony, there were
198 scientists from more than 50 countries who were under consideration, but
only 10 in the fields of fiber optics, medical sciences, insecticides,
proton structure and electrochemistry received the coveted award.
Police trap kills drug
dealer, but two escape
Another one bites the bullet, literally
San Kamphaeng police last week sprung a trap to apprehend
some drug dealers named on their blacklist. The police pretended to be
customers wanting 10,000 ya ba pills from 3 drugs dealers, with the exchange
point being at the newly built ring road in Donchan, Tambon Tonpao in San
During the transaction the drug dealers got wind of the
fact that their customers were police, so they immediately opened fire with
pistols. The police took cover and began returning their fire, with the gun
battle raging for over 60 minutes. Finally, one of the criminals, Apa Saemue,
a Lahu man, was hit and killed, but the others escaped on a motorcycle.
Another drug bust was carried out by the Pha Muang
Special Task Force’s troops pretending to be customers asking for 10,000
ya ba pills at Ban Arunothai in Chiang Dao District. One fell into the trap,
with the troop arresting Boonyoung Meesamoot, a 47-year-old drug dealer from
Sukhothai Province as she was smuggling 10,000 ya ba pills into the city.
She confessed to the police that she had been hired to
deliver the ya ba from Burma’s Tachilek border town, opposite Mae Sai
District in Chiang Rai, to traders in Uttaradit Province. She would get
20,000 baht for successful delivery. What she will get now is quite
Thai Yai man hides ya ba in his rectum
Police get to the bottom of the scheme
Pol. Lt. Jaruek Chotigo, an investigator from Chiang Mai
Police Station, said that law enforcement officers received information that
there would be some ya ba smuggled into the Chiang Mai Provincial Police
Station jail. Police sent a plainclothes officer to the jail who then asked
if he could buy some ya ba pills from Mr Chai (surname unknown), who would
be making a delivery to Ms Kai, his wife, who has been in jail since
February 25 on charges of possessing and selling drugs.
Chai put the ya ba pills in a plastic tube covered by a
condom and secreted it in his rectum to conceal it from police. He attempted
to pass on his little bindle, but police intercepted the movement and
arrested him too.
The police found 120 ya ba pills and a pack of heroin.
Chai has now been charged with both possessing and selling drugs.
This month Chiang Mai police have arrested 772 drug
dealers, four of whom were killed whilst trying to resist arrest. However,
another 72 drug dealers were killed by the drug networks themselves. The
Chiang Mai drug suppression results are over 35%, which is higher than the
Ministry of Interior minimum level.
Two pubs, 2 clubs closed by order Ministry of Interior
Crackdown on illegal drugs and alien workers
Deputy Minister of Interior Pracha Maleenon inspected
entertainment outlets in Chiang Mai, looking for drugs, underage patrons and
alien workers. Late at night on March 1, the raiding party first visited
massage parlors including Pandora, Sayuri, Nancy in President Hotel, Sauna
Health Club in Chiang Mai Hills Hotel, Chiang Mai Massage Parlor in Phucome
Hotel, and Phumarin Massage Parlor in Pink Payom Hotel. This initial blitz
turned up some alien workers and 18 patrons tested positive for drugs.
Officers also inspected the Bubble Disco Club in Pornping
Hotel and found a pack of marijuana on the floor. Police checked 239
teenagers, with 8 of them, including 6 foreign nationals, turning up
The deputy minister has instructed Chumporn Sangmanee,
the Muang Chiang Mai chief district officer to inform the entertainment
operators to follow the regulations by not allowing children and alien
workers to be in the premises.
In addition, Deputy Pracha ordered closure of two well
known entertainment outlets, Imagine and Toclub. Muang Chiang Mai chief
district officer Chomporn has also proposed to close another two pubs -
Underworld in Robinson Shopping Plaza and Mummy in Kinnaree Hotel.
Drug suppression assessment shows Chiang Rai still underachieving
No we’re not, says police chief
In the area covered by Provincial Police Region 5, four
provinces from the eight administered did not pass the assessment set up by
the Interior Ministry, those being Chiang Rai, Lampang, Phayao and Nan.
Pol Lt Gen Inthadej Pornpeerapan, Provincial Police
Region 5 commissioner, said he was not worried about the government’s
evaluation because in the beginning there was confusion about the strategies
to be applied. “There are still 2 months left to prove how well we can
do,” he said.
Chiang Rai Governor Narin Panichkit said one reason that
the results might seem low is because they had launched a war combating
drugs last year, long before the government launched this national agenda.
That in turn made the suppression statistics in Chiang Rai seem lower than
other provinces. The governor said he was satisfied that the suppression
efforts in Chiang Rai have been efficient because they have arrested many
agents from large networks.
After disagreement on the process of evaluation, the
Ministry of Interior has changed their method, and now the number of
unidentified people, such as fugitives and immigrants, are cut off from the
total number of drug dealers in the region.
Pol Maj Gen Wut Withitanond, Chiang Rai Provincial Police
commander, said that the MoI’s new evaluation approach might bring Chiang
Rai’s figures up to pass the test. After cutting off the number of dealers
who have fled, plus the suppression before February 1st, the statistics
reach 40 percent, which passes the Interior Ministry’s evaluation.