1,300 rai of forests destroyed
Deputy PM gives authorities 15 days to arrest culprits
At the special task force conference on preventing and
suppressing the illegal deforestation in Hod and Mae Chaem districts, Chiang
Mai and Mae Sariang and Mae La Noi districts in Mae Hong Son that there were
two plots of forest land of 800 and 500 rai respectively in Mae Chaem
district that had been severely invaded by illegal loggers. Suwit Kunkitti,
deputy Prime Minister has ordered the authorities concerned to find the
culprits and bring them to justice within 15 days.
tribe people are still collecting forest products and destroying forests for
At the meeting, there were more than 200 government
officials including the provincial governors from Chiang Mai, Lamphun,
Lampang, and Mae Hong Son and meeting with Prapat Panyachartrak, Minister of
Natural Resources and Environment.
Saving the forests will be extended from 4 months to 4 year operations
and will be presented as a royal charitable project and to also celebrate
His Majesty the King’s 84 year anniversary. The plan is aimed to reforest
and promote the hilltribe people to carry out cultivation instead of
deforestation. This charitable project will be finished in the year 2007,
according to the forestry officials.
Chiang Mai Governor
Pisit Khetphasook transferred
But is Chonburi down or up?
Chiang Mai Governor Pisit Khetphasook, who has been in
the position since November last year, will be transferred to become the new
governor of Chonburi province, succeeding Sawarng Srisarkun, who will take
the post of director-general of the Public Works Department. According to a
source close to the governor, he is one of 11 high ranking officials, under
the Ministry of Interior, to be transferred at this time. "This action
has been ordered by the Ministry of Interior, and will be effective as soon
as possible, probably from the first of June," he said.
It was reported that the Minister of Interior Wan Muhamad
Noor Matha prepared the proposal letter for the transfer of the governors
and this would be officially approved by the Cabinet.
Another source claimed that Governor Pisit had some
personal conflicts with some local people, especially with some of
politicians in the region.
The new Chiang Mai governor will be Suwat Tantipat, from Buriram
province, whose hometown is in Suphan Buri, the home of former PM Banharn
World Environment Day and Asian Environment Year
The United Nations has designated June 5 to be World
Environment Day, to encourage people’s consciousness about the
environment, and in particular this year the U.N. has a campaign called
"Water - Two Billion People are dying for it!" This year has also
been named the Asian Environment Year.
To mark these events, the Office of Environment, Region 1
(Chiang Mai), together with other state and private agencies will provide a
week full of activities from June 1-7, to mark the World Environment Day and
Asian Environment Year.
Activities will include an environmental exhibition, a
seminar, painting competitions, an essay and debating contest and other
environmentally friendly exhibits. The main activities will be held at the
Chiang Mai National Museum, located near Wat Jed Yod, and Mae Ta Chang water
source in Hang Dong district.
One Village - One Product takes medicines on board
The campaign "One Village - One Product"
extended its product line with the food and medicine exhibition from 17
Northern provinces on May 25 at Thapae Gate.
Manorom Sintapaarchakul, a pharmacist at the Chiang Mai
Provincial Health Office, said that the Food and Drug Administration in
cooperation with the Chiang Mai Provincial Health Office established the
fair called "Tasting Northern Food, Enjoy Good Products" to
promote a new standard product line of foods and medicines, and also to
expand the products’ export ambitions.
In the fair, there were many booths, both for display and
for sales, all certified by the Food and Drug Administration. The general
public and any manufacturers could also receive advice from a number of
pharmacists present, or from the Officers from the Food and Drug
Administration. They could also have their own products, such as food,
medicine, and cosmetics, tested free of charge.
Very popular entertainment was provided by local artist, Witul Jaiphrom,
plus traditional performances from the Dramatic Arts College of Chiang Mai .
SARS pushes Chiang Mai tourism-related businesses into crisis
Most will only survive another 3 months
Chiang Mai tourism-related businesses can cope with the
SARS downturn effect for only 3 months more before facing economic crisis,
says the Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce (CCC) president Jumpol Chutima. He
said there are now many businesses that have closed down following the
impact SARS has had on the movement of travellers.
still worry about the SARS outbreak. Many tourism-related businesses have
closed, due to the reduction of tourist numbers.
Jumpol said that Chiang Mai businesses and organizations
were severely affected by SARS effects and more serious problems were
looming because 40 percent of the province’s income is generated from
tourism-related businesses. "There are many businesses that have closed
down or suspended their offices to reduce expenses. If this situation
continues like this until July, the tourism-related businesses in Chiang Mai
will be in crisis," said Jumpol.
The CCC president said that despite the government’s tourism
promotional campaign such as "Unseen Thailand" it is not a cure
for the problem because the main target groups of some businesses are
foreigners who are not travelling as they still fear the SARS outbreak.
Local producers urged to weave top quality textiles
Udom Maneekhat, Chief of Chiang Mai Provincial Community
Development Office, declared that the Community Development Department in
co-operation with Siam City Bank Co., Ltd. (Public) is arranging a contest
of textile products through the One Village - One Product scheme. The
contest is to seek good quality textiles to be promoted into the
The contest is divided into two types of cloth; silk and
cotton and the contestants must be producers in the One Village - One
Product scheme. The cloth must be 90 cm width and 4 meters length and
hand-woven. Production must be at least 100 meters per month. It was
estimated that there are over 50 producers from Chiang Mai and 100 from the
northern region, said Udom.
The contest will help stimulate the textile producers in
Thailand to develop their own styles and quality to respond to target group
and end markets. The winner from each region will get 100,000 Baht prize.
Although China was a rival in woven textiles, Thai woven
cloth was still very popular overseas because of its quality and unique Thai
style. Europe and America have imported an increasing amount of textiles
from Thailand every year.
School electric shuttle busses recharged
Pilot scheme expects to ferry 500 students daily
Chiang Mai Municipality has provided two electric shuttle
busses for students as a pilot project to attempt to solve traffic jams and
air pollution during the rush hours.
shuttles wait for students on Chang Klan Road.
Boonlert Buranupakorn, the Chiang Mai Mayor officially
presided over the opening ceremony of the pilot project on May 19. " I
expect that the electric shuttles will take more than 500 students to
schools, and this will mean about 500 student’s parents cars will be off
the road during rush-hours," said Boonlert.
The municipality would provide two shuttles for three
different routes around the city, and in each vehicle there were voluntary
teachers and municipal guards to supervise the children. The service would
start from 6.30 to 7.45 a.m.
After the first three months there will be a fee, but the
students do not have to pay in cash, but with recyclable rubbish, which is
converted into a cash value.
Provisional Second Lieutenant Panyaporn Mongkolcharorn, Head of the
municipal technical control, said that besides solving traffic jams and
pollution, the officers aimed to reorganize Chiang Mai public transportation
system, and they have decided to start with the electric shuttle project.
Phrae local liquor network wants to register
Moonshiners no more is the aim
Supak Nakthewan, Phrae Provincial Excise officer,
disclosed that after the government launched a policy supporting the local
village economy, it allowed people to register to legally produce liquor.
Phrae Province used to have conflicts with moonshiners in the past, but
after the government agreement, there were 71 lists of names wishing to
produce liquor legally.
The registration period will take place this month, after
which there will be an intensive examination for illegal operations. Aim-orn
Promdee, general secretary of Liquor Network in Phrae province, said that
the members are farmers and co-operatives groups and some villagers may have
problems with documents and regulations.
Industrial Expo 2003
SME’s in the north took advantage of the opportunity to
see hundreds of machines, thousands of innovations and revolutionary new
technologies at the Northern Region Industrial Expo 2003, where up to 170
local and international manufacturers took part.
were many booths, presenting new technologies in the CMU grand hall.
Puasakul, Chiang Mai deputy governor presided over the Northern Industrial
Expo opening ceremony at Chiang Mai University (CMU) Auditorium.
The exhibition had been organized by the Reed Tradex
Company and other state and private agencies. It was held at Chiang Mai
University Auditorium from May 22-23, and the opening ceremony was presided
over by the Vice-Governor of Chiang Mai, Udom Puasakul.
The exhibition was prepared to bring modern machinery and
technologies for industry to enable the local entrepreneurs to develop their
factories and businesses to become leaders in their industries and to
support the economic growth in the country.
During the fair, there were technical conferences, covering a variety of
topics including industry policy, new production technologies and cutting
edge strategies for effective business growth in the future. They also
arranged special lectures regarding clean technology, purchasing,
warehousing, and human resources management.
Police ready to look for “dark influences”
But have they been issued with torches?
The commissioner of Provincial Police Region 5, Pol Lt
Gen Prung Boonphadung, chaired a meeting to express concerns over the
government policy on solving the dark influences in the northern provinces.
Around 100 police officers from eight provinces in the upper northern
regions in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Lamphun, Lampang, Mae Hong Son, Phayao,
Phrae and Nan participated in the meeting.
Gen Prung Boonphadung, chairs the conference of police officers.
Pol Lt Gen Prung disclosed that in the area of
jurisdiction of Police Region 5, they have launched the crackdown operation
on dark influences since May 21. The list of influential people in the eight
provinces under Region 5 has more than one hundred names, but these numbers
need more specific evidence to confirm the named people are really
"dark influences" in each area.
Pol Lt Gen Prung, said the first targets are gunmen. From there they will
look at apprehending the gangsters, gamblers and motorcycle racers.
Environmental training for Border Patrol Police Schools
Students taught conservation of nature
120 students from 16 Border Patrol Police’s Schools in
Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son received environmental training, under the
supervision of the Natural Resources and Environment Conservation Project
during May 29-June 1. It was organized by the Environmental Quality Control
and Promotion Department in cooperation with Border Patrol Police Commands
and HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s Project Office, and was held at
the 33rd Border Patrol Police Head Quarters in Sansai.
This voluntary training scheme was aimed to encourage
children’s level of consciousness about the importance and problems in
conserving our natural resources and environment. The participants were
trained to be leaders to conserve and restore natural resources and
environment, which in turn would help improve standard of living of people
in their communities.
Pollution free garbage disposal for Lamphun?
Kritsada Todsansin, President of Quality Package Board
Co, a Thai-German joint venture, has put forward a proposal to build a
garbage recycling plant in Lamphun. This is being reviewed by the officials
of Lamphun Provincial Administrative Organization, the Municipality and many
other Tambon Administrative Organizations in the province.
According to Kritsada Todsansin, the proposed disposal
factory works on high temperature incineration which effectively renders the
resulting garbage bacteria free. It also reduces bulk, making disposal of
non-recyclable waste much easier than at present.
With recyclable items, 2 kg of waste plastic is reduced
to 2 gm, and iron items are recovered as metal bars and ingots.
The plant will recycle daily without air pollution from
its high temperature incinerator. Any smoke from it is caught in water
condensors and the resultant water is then put through a distillation
process, leaving only clean water.
To build the factory, the company is asking for 7 rai of
land and a 30 year concession from the province. The company will fund the
investment itself and after the concession period is over, the factory will
belong to the province. The factory will charge recycling service fees
equivalent to the current costs to the province.
Prasong Tanwattanatrakul, Vice president of Lamphun
Provincial Administrative Organization, said that the project was useful for
the province and the Provincial and Tambon Administrative Organizations
agreed that the best location for the factory was in Tambon Ban which
already had a suitable area for the project.
During June, the company will present more information on
the project to the Lamphun officials. If this factory gets the go-ahead, it
will be the first province that has a garbage recycling plant that causes no
pollution to the environment.
Illegal sawmill found
in National Forest
They came, they saw and they took away
Police officers and volunteers blockaded an illegal
sawmilling factory in a National Forest in Phrae on May 21.
Pichit Watanasak, the Director of Forest Protection in
Phrae, together with some volunteers enetered the Mae Laan National Forest
in Long District, and found a sawmill with finished work including 68 pieces
of teak wood, and a set of chain-saws, however the workers had fled the
"The powers behind the illegal wood industry have
changed their target from the deep, wild forest to the conserved ones. This
is probably because the deep forest does not have too many big trees left,
compared to the conserved ones. Unfortunately there is some confusion about
the responsibilities of the forestry officers, so the illegal business owner
might take this chance to log illegally," said Pichit.
However, the director of the forest conservation
management office, Kaipetch Pansomboon, expressed the opinion that the
number of forestry officers had decreased in line with the budget
restraints. Consequently the general public and state officers should
cooperate to cut down the illegal tree felling businesses.
ONCB points finger at Dark Influential Godfathers
In this region, most of the illegal agents and northern
"influential people" have been involved with destroying natural
resources, invasion of public areas, contraband networking, and illegal
bidding, said Pittaya Jinawat, the director of Northern Region Office of
Narcotics Control Board (ONCB).
He said the ONCB officers had analyzed the drug
syndicates networking data, finding there were many gangs involving in drugs
and there are new underground agencies including local Mafias, corrupt
politicians and government officials, criminals, gunmen, and money laundry
Some of the dark influences have connections with
transnational crime, illegal networks and also financial and law consultants
that all make the suppression even more difficult.
Director Pittaya said that in the past, the ONCB officers
focused mainly on the drug producers and dealers, but could not eradicate
the entire drug networks. However, after Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra
had launched the policy on suppression of dark influences, the officials are
more confident in the operation and there was now cooperation in eradication
of drug syndicates as well.
In the first period of the new policy, the influential
figures were gamblers, hired gunmen, providers of prostitution, illegal
traders, illegal lottery, illegal taxi queue mafia, corrupt government
officers and politicians.
The director demanded the police and other government
agents in the area cooperate in getting rid of these Mafia figures or
Godfathers. The central ONCB units are always ready to support the operation
Four bomb explosions rock Tachilek border town
Burmese authorities ask Thailand’s help to catch the terrorists
Recent four explosions near Tachilek border town and
checkpoint, opposite the Mae Sai border district of Chiang Rai, did not
affect the delicate balance of Thai-Burmese relationships. The situation is
back to normal, and the border checkpoint for trade and tourism is still
open, according to Decha Sattaphol, the Mae Sai District Chief.
Tachilek province of Burma is always crowded with shoppers. Will it be
subject to terrorist attacks again?
He said that the Burmese authorities have already asked
for cooperation from Thailand to help search for the suspects who may have
fled into Thailand, and the Thai authorities have also stepped up security
measures, along the borderline.
The bombs were detonated on May 21, planted inside Burma
at Tachilek town, killing four Burmese including two police officers. No
group has claimed responsibility for the explosions
The first blast took place about 3.40 a.m. close to a gas
station. The second and the third bomb blasts occurred at 6.30 a.m. and the
last blast went off at 8 a.m. inside Burmese territory and not far from the
Mae Sai border checkpoint.
Pachara Sinsawas, head of Mae Sai Customs Office, said the situation at
the Thailand border is as usual and the border checkpoint has not been
closed, as it was considered that the bomb blasts were the result of
internal Burmese conflicts. Pachara also added that after the explosions,
Thai officers had been invited for talks with Burmese officers looking for
solutions. Gen Somtad Auttanan, the commissioner of the Royal Thai Army,
said Thailand was ready to tighten up border security if required.
“Dark Influences” keeping police in the dark
The Commander of Chiang Rai Provincial Police, Pol. Maj.
Gen.Wuth Withitanont said that according to the government’s policy to
counteract "dark influence", the definition of "influential
person" meant someone who broke down the social order, economic status,
and politics of the country, but the petty offenders or assassins did not
come under this definition.
"If I have any proof, I am sure that those people
will be arrested. However, influential people are not the same as those
guys. They stand behind government’s officers or any powerful person for
the purposes of breaking the law. This is the reason why we can not find any
evidence to pursue them," said Pol. Maj. Gen.Wuth Withitanont.
He was pleased to report that at the moment, drug
suppression in Chiang Rai was succeeding, through the good cooperation from
the state and private sectors, with the Chiang Rai police recently receiving
an award from the Ministry of Interior.
Drug suppression policies result in suicide of innocent trader
10 million baht lost in border closure policy
A well known cattle trader from the Salween river basin
committed suicide near his own cattle pen. The man had lost 10 million baht
due to the government’s policy on closing the door to Burma to block drug
deliveries, but that also blocked him from importing live stock.
Pol. Col. Kasemsak Surawanich, superintendent of Mae
Sariang Police Station and his team were informed that there was a body
under Huay Jom bridge on Rim Klong rd., Ban Pae Ka Puand, Tambon Mae Yuam,
Mae Sariang district, Mae Hong Son province.
The body turned out to be that of 60 year old Boonsee
Ruangdang which was found lying on plastic sheet with a liquor bottle and
Rannet pesticide. The police found 100 baht cash in his wallet with no
evidence of criminal intervention. The case has been assumed to be that of
Pa Namsamai, a cow herderer said that the night before,
Boonsee had bought alcohol for his friends but did not drink with them.
Around 10 pm, Boonsee rode off on a motorcycle and was not seen again till
his body was found the next morning.
Boonsee was a cattle trader who had been importing cows
from Myanmar through the Ban Sao Hin border pass in Mae Sariang district for
several years. Since last September, the Burmese government had controlled
the border and the Thai border gate was blocked for the drug syndicate
suppression. The old merchant could not continue his trade and had lost 10
million baht before the business was closed down.
Lampang’s Governor continuing to dig
Dark influences being brought to the surface
Chalermpol Prateepavanich, the governor of Lampang,
revealed that although the campaign to uncover influential people involved
in crime was one of the most difficult and delicate ones, he was not going
to give up. He had ordered questionnaires to be distributed to the public,
looking for information on influential people in Lampang.
Those "influential people" being looked at in
this questionnaire, were those who were involved in gambling, hired gunmen,
human trafficking, money extortion, blackmail, illegal trade, underground
lottery, betting, even taxi queues, including the dark influence of
surreptitious government officers and politicians.
Already his officers have received much information about
the illegal lottery businesses, apparently established in every
sub-district, plus 22 gunmen for hire and 5 illegal employment agencies.
"After my meeting with the Prime Minister, I would commend every
sheriff and superintendent to take appropriate action against those
people," said Chalermpol.