Protestors rally at city hall to
re-open Ban Mae Hor Phra quarry
An open quarry means more jobs and better income
Supatatt Dangkrueng and Nuttanee Thaveephol
A civil protest group from Tambon Ban Mae Hor Phra
gathered at Chiang Mai City Hall on June 10 demanding the Chiang Mai
Provincial Industrial Office revoke the closure of their local quarry.
Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat receives from the protest group a letter asking
that the quarry be re-opened.
The protesters’ representative, Satien Duangchuen told Chiangmai
Mail that previously a group of villagers, led by the village headman
Mongkol Jitta, disagreed with the operations of the quarry.
Satien quoted Mongkol as saying that the quarry caused
damage to natural resources, the environment and tourism areas. Following
that, the Provincial Industrial Office announced the quarry would be shut
down. However, Satien claimed that the majority were in favor of the
quarrying operation. Their letter of demand was then handed over to Chiang
Mai governor, Suwat Tantipat.
appear satisfied after the governor accepted their letter and promised to
look into the matter.
Governor Suwat promised to process the demand as soon as
possible, but added, “I still do not know all the details about the case
because I was just recently appointed governor, but in principle, the
process could be done within a day ... if it’s possible.”
Supol Sripuak, a villager, said that many people support the quarrying
because they think it would increase villagers’ incomes and create job
opportunities for them. He admitted, however, that there are also a small
number of people opposed to the proposition.
Bus accident claims life of medical
A 40 seat air-conditioned coach, chartered by the Faculty
of Medicine, overturned in Hod District, Chiang Mai valley, when the bus
driver lost control of his vehicle, killing Arsa Wangta, a 20 year old third
year medical student. The medical students were returning from a rural
development camp in Mae Lai Duang Jan hill tribe village, Hod District,
Three girls were seriously injured in the accident,
Phongsai Taksa-udom, Tawan Burapadej and Sakunee Khankam. Another 23
students received minor injuries and all were sent to Maharaj Nakhon Chiang
The accident occurred in the evening of June 15, and Hod
District inspector Pol. Maj. Chaiduangthip Chaichua and his team began an
immediate investigation at the scene of accident. Initial findings appear to
show that a steering arm failed on the vehicle.
The Rural Development Relationship Camp is organized each
year by the Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University for the first and
third year medical students. The camp is designed to allow the young medical
students to experience life in an agricultural setting. The concept is to
give them a chance to understand and gain empathy for the rural peoples.
Chiang Rai prisoners
smart cards in prison
If they were ‘smarter’ they wouldn’t be there!
Surachai T. Bunditkul
With the Chiang Rai jail full to overflowing, there is
now insufficient jail staff, so the Chiang Rai Provincial Central Prison has
opened five mini-marts in different sections to sell necessities to the
Rather than using cash transactions, a ‘smart card’
will be used. In this system, everyone has his or her own account in a smart
card, which will then be used to buy products. The smart card will show the
total amount of money left in the prisoner’s account and the total will be
debited after purchases are made. It has been deemed safer for the prisoner
and it saves costs and manpower.
“The project was started three months ago and the
prisoners’ relatives are very satisfied because after transferring money
into the account, they receive a pay-in slip which the prisoners can also
check, so they always know how much money they have to use,” said the
Chiang Rai Central Prison Commissioner, Sirisawat.
The prison was only built to accept 3,000 people, but it
now has 5,100 inmates.
Chiang Saen Harbor to be opened this month
Finished 2 months early!
Chiang Saen Harbor construction in Chiang Rai Province is
almost completed and the port facility is expected to be opened at the end
Saen Harbor construction is expected to be finished by the end of June.
Saman Chimwiset, the Mekong River Port construction
control engineer, covering Chiang Saen and Chiang Khong districts, said that
with the 90 million baht budget, the Chiang Saen Port is now 96% finished
and will be completed two months ahead of schedule.
The harbor will serve the Mekong River under the
development plan of the Quadrangle Economic Cooperation among the four
countries located along this international river, Thailand, Laos, Myanmar
There will be 14 ports along the Mekong River, two of
them in Chiang Sean and Chiang Khong districts in Thailand.
Chiang Saen Port is a modern facility located on the bank
of Mekong River and covering a 10-rai area. There are buildings to house
offices for Customs, Immigration, Merchant Navy, and a salvage vessel for
the river waters.
There are two 50-meter piers and floating landings with a carrying
capacity of more than 8 merchant ships.
Human Rights conference
attracts 200 participants
Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights delivers keynote address
Supatatt Dangkrueng and Surachai T. Bunditkul
The International Network for Economic, Social and
Cultural Rights (ESCR-Net) held their inaugural conference in Chiang Mai
from June 8-10. Entitled, “Creating New Paths towards Social Justice”,
it brought some 200 participants together at Lotus Pang Suan Kaew Hotel.
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, and now
executive director of Ethical Globalization Initiative, delivered the
keynote address at the International Network for Economic, Social and
Cultural Rights (ESCR-Net) inaugural conference in Chiang Mai.
ESCR-Net is a new collaborative initiative from groups
around the world working to secure economic and social justice by promoting
the recognition of all human rights with a specific focus on economic,
social and cultural rights (ESCR).
Through ESCR-Net, groups and individuals can exchange
information, develop a collective voice, amplify their actions, demonstrate
the substantial advantage of an ESCR approach in working to eliminate
poverty, and promote and advocate fair economic, social and cultural laws,
policies and practices at all levels.
The former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary
Robinson, and now executive director of Ethical Globalization Initiative,
delivered the keynote address reviewing the progress in realizing the
fundamental rights of people in every part of the world.
The participants came from local grass-roots organizations to
international NGOs in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The ESCR-NET
conference included plenary sessions, workshops, interactive sessions,
governance meeting, and informal caucuses.
Chiang Saen and Mae Sai development given the green light
More importantly, the budget has been approved
The Cabinet has approved in principal a budget to promote
and develop the district areas of Chiang Saen and Mae Sai in Chiang Rai
Province as special border economic zones.
According to Mrs. Sirinart Sennant at Chiang Rai
provincial commercial office, the cabinet agreed to allocate a budget of 730
million baht for the first phase, to be spent in the next fiscal year.
This upcoming budget will be spent on development work
for the economic zone’s basic infrastructure, utilities, and other
facilities. One important item will be the improvement of the roads linking
Mae Sai and Burma and Chiang Saen to Laos.
Work is also being prepared for the development of the
Chiang Saen district town and urban planning systems. Construction or
improvement of the existing water and sewage systems will be carried out in
Chiang Saen, including the improvement of town bypasses. More significance
will be given to the preservation and beautification project of its
In Mae Sai, the urban planning projects as well as road
improvements, similar to those in Chiang Saen will be undertaken as soon as
possible to cope with the trade and tourism industry with Burma.
Endangered species must be registered
4 years behind bars for keeping wild animals behind bars
The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plants has
warned that possession of endangered wildlife species can contravene the new
Wichien Noonrowd, the head of Chiang Mai Public Relations
Office said that people who are keeping endangered wildlife must notify the
officials within 120 days of the types and numbers of the animals referred
to in the Wildlife Sanctuary Act.
According to the Act, effective since May 13 this year,
persons keeping endangered species without permission may be imprisoned for
not more than 4 years and/or fined 40,000 baht, added Wichien. More
information may be received by contacting the Office of Forest Preservation
More low price computers
Soon they’ll be giving them away!
The Computer Club of Chiang Mai (CCC) is promoting
another low price computer project for northern users. The club has
organized an SME PC computer project, along with Computer Business Clubs of
the Northeast, and Phuket Computer Club, to help provide knowledge on
Information Technology (IT) to beginners.
Their low priced entry-level computer is called the Arkanee which is only
13,900 baht (excluding VAT), said Rassami Wes-urai, club chairwoman. She
said that this CCC project could help solve the economic recession, as well
as help boost the cash flow or liquidity of IT related businesses. She said
that about 1,000,000 computers would be available in the marketplace, in
addition to other low price computers, to help relieve the plight of small
Inet arranges internet sales and support for northern users
Signed MOU with Internet Service Co and Siam Mondalay Co.
Surachai T. Bunditkul
Inet has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with
Internet Service Co and Siam Mondalay Co to run services for Internet users.
Internet Thailand Co (Inet) is a joint venture of the Communication
Authority of Thailand (CAT), the Telephone Organization of Thailand (TOT),
and the National Office of Scientific and Technological Development.
left) Rawat Wangpredaledkul, MD of Internet Service Co, Chamroen Kornkaset,
the assistant managing director in Business Function of Inet, and Steven
Prussky, the MD Of Siam Mondalay Co. signed a memorandum of understanding at
the Chiang Mai Orchid Hotel.
Chamroen Kornkaset, the assistant managing director in
the Business Division of Inet, said, “The competition in internet markets
these days is increasing, especially at the regional level, particularly
with government supporting technology to the local markets. Inet plans to
promote local Internet services by developing the internet network over 76
provinces. For the northern region, the two local agents are very important
in trading and service in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Lamphun and Lampang.”
For more information on services and scope visit www.inet.co.th and www.
thai.com or contact the Inet call center 02 257 7111, 053 210 831.
Schooling for new entrepreneurs to be held next week
Get advice from experienced businesspeople
The New Entrepreneurs Development (NED) project is to be
held on Jun 28 at Chiang Mai University (CMU) Convention Center.
The Institute for Development of SMEs, CMU Network has
set up the NED program, called “How to Start a Successful Business”,
with invaluable advice from experienced business owners and consultations
with finance providers for low-interest loans.
“Our target groups are new entrepreneurs, the
unemployed, final year university students and any people interested in self
advancement through business. It is expected this project would be useful
for any SME’s looking at expansion as well,” said the director of
Institute for Development of SMEs.
The project was previously held in Chiang Rai and deemed
a success with around two thousand people attending the seminar. For seat
reservations and more details, ring CMU network office, tel. 053 942 852-5.
Human rights in the news again
“We might be poor, but we’re still citizens of the Kingdom”
The People’s Convention and People’s Forum on the
rather wordy title of Economics, Social, and Cultural Rights Towards Social
Justice was held by Thai NGO’s at Chiang Mai Phucome Hotel.
Pairote Polpetr, from the Union for Civil Liberty, said
that this meeting aimed to give an explanation on civil and political
rights, as well as economic, social, and cultural rights to the NGO’s, and
attempt to address how to apply this framework in problematical situations.
More than 170 participants were at this meeting with many
being grass roots folk who feel they have suffered from the governments’
development projects such as the gas pipeline construction in Prachuap Khiri
Khan, people from Pak-Moon dam in Ubon Ratchathani, and highland people who
were chased from their own lands according to the government’s policy on
There was also international representation from India,
who are faced with the problem of construction of a dam across the Namada
River, a representative from Brazil with questions about land ownership, and
a representative from the Labor Union.
Prof. Banton Ondam, Assembly of the Poor coordinating
committee president, said that the government should concern itself more
with the basic needs of people at all levels, consider all stakeholders, and
importantly they should look at people as human beings, not as a commodity.
“Even if we are poor, we are the citizens of the country and we have our
rights according to the constitution of the Kingdom,” said Prof. Banton.
80 northern beauties compete to become Priew Super Models
Five finalists to face the judges in Bangkok
The judges truly had their work cut out for them, for 80
of the north’s most beautiful young women entered the first round of the
2003 Priew Super Model Contest held at Central Airport Plaza in Chiang Mai
on June 14.
finalists: Jojo, Poy, Anne, May and Pou Pee.
When the day was done, five young women’s dreams
remained in tact, and all five will go on to represent the north in the
finals, scheduled for June 25 at Central Sofitel Hotel in Bangkok.
Chao Korkaew Prakaikawin na Chiang Mai, a well known
northern dignitary, was invited to chair the judging committee, a tough task
indeed. The committee first had to whittle down the field from 80 to 24
contestants. They then selected the five “most beautiful” to vie for the
The lucky five were Noppawan “Jojo” Noppakunkajorn,
Ruksakul “Poy” Boonkum, Chada “Anne” Srichuchart, Hathaichanok
“May” Sutpa and Titaree “Pou Pee” Takengkaew.
Panitnart Yeampeka, the general manager and fashion
editor of Priew Magazine, said that this was the 7th year they’ve run the
“Priew Super Model Contest”, but it was the first time they included
other provinces as well as Bangkok. The sponsors of this year’s super
model contest are Citra, Blue Corner, L’Oreal Paris, GSM 1800, National,
The Priew Super Model Contest is seen as a first step for young women who
are interested in becoming models or actresses.
Rain is on its way
Meteorological Center advises caution during thunderstorms
The rainy season generally begins in June. The
Meteorological Center predicts that the low-pressure trough will lie across
northern and northeastern Thailand, accompanying the southwest monsoon over
Thailand and the Gulf of the Thailand, resulting in scattered to widespread
thundershowers with isolated heavy falls.
Later in the month, the low-pressure trough will drift
northward to lower China, causing a weakening southwest monsoon over
Thailand and the Gulf of Thailand. During this month, the tropical storms in
the Western North Pacific may occur and pass through the Philippines toward
the South China Sea, and this southwest monsoon may result in increasing
rainfall amount over Thailand.
The Northern Meteorological Center forecasts that there
will be scattered to almost widespread rain showers, and isolated heavy
falls. Maximum expected temperature is 32-34 Celsius with minimum
temperatures 23-25 C., relative humidity 75-85 %, rainfall 150-200 mm and
16-20 rainy days. Southerly winds will hit with a speed of around 10-20 kph.
The official forecaster, Mrs. Sansanee Chaichiangpin,
suggested that people should avoid lightning by coming indoors and not using
electrical appliances during the thunderstorms.
More tree problems
National Parks and Wildlife officers thick on the ground
The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plants has
appointed a special control unit to look after the 50 year old teakwood
forest gardens in Denchai District, Phrae ProvinceZ.
Kraipetch Parnsomboon, the director of the 13th Forest
Conservation Management Office, Department of National Parks, Wildlife, and
Plants, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives presided over the launch of
a special control unit to investigate the areas of the four forest regions
of more than 10,000 rai, covering Huay Rai, Mae Puak-Denchai, Mae Jua-Mae
Man, and Mae Jua teak-wood forests.
The 50 officers work in cooperation with the village
headmen from 9 villages. Kraipetch said that these are first generation
teakwood forests, more than 50 years old, and are an important source of new
teak, but the problem is that the forests are located near the main road,
and the felled trees could be easily transported away.
However, the forest protection project would affect local
business. Local people could not cut the bamboo in the forest to make into
chopsticks, and toothpicks for example, which was their main income.
Currently, the government has allowed people to cut
bamboo, and collect bamboo shoots for their own consumption but not in
commercial quantities. The people would have to ask the governor to hold a
public discussion on the problem, and set the guidelines for using the
Regional Irrigation Office 1 gets ready to combat floods
To set up a special center to help flooded areas
Surachai T. Bunditkul
Regional Irrigation Office 1 will set up a special center
to help with flood prevention and solutions to problems in each flooded
area. The Center will also follow-up and gather information about the
rainfall volume and then report the situation to all concerned.
year’s flash flood on Huay Kaew Road in front of the Kad Suan Kaew
Shopping Complex made shopping difficult. (Photo by Nuttanee Thaveephol)
The office director, Soonthon Cheanjaren said that the
office is prepared and will be the response center for Chiang Mai, Lamphun
and Mae Hong Son.
The center will receive information from the Chiang Mai
Hydrometeorology Center, and follow all weather forecasts closely from
Northern Regional Meteorological Center such as rainstorms and rainfall
Each district’s flood assistance project will be
responsible for helping flood victims by providing aid assistance,
equipment, food supply and liaison.
Information about the floods can be had by phoning 053-248925.
Lamphun governor wants names
Not afraid of dark influences
Lamphun Governor Tawach Sathiennam stated that
influential mafia-style agents must weeded out from this tiny northern
province, adding that he has never been afraid of any influences in the
Governor Tawach spoke to village headmen and drug
suppression volunteers in the area, telling them that suppression in Lamphun
could reach the targeted goal of 100% as expected, with all the dealers
involved in drug trafficking in the province arrested.
Recent success has resulted from cooperation between the
area’s local leaders and volunteers. However, drug suppression will
continue until there are no drug addicts left in any village.
Regarding the government’s dark influences policy,
Tawach said that Lamphun will respond to the policy and will not be afraid
of any influential figures in the provinces. The governor has asked the
local leaders to inform the district chiefs to collect a list of names to
send to the provincial special committees for further consideration.
The governor has also demanded the provincial officers
get rid of motorbike gangs who have been involved in attacks on the public.
“These kinds of criminals always frustrate the city’s security and I
want the motorbike dealers and local people who know the gangs to inform the
government officers,” said Tawach.
Burmese protest seminar held at CMU
Demand release of Aung San Suu Kyi
The Burmese Women’s Union (BWU) in cooperation with
Migrant Action Program Foundation (MAP), and Women’s Studies Center,
Chiang Mai University held a special seminar to register their protests
against the current Burmese military’s actions regarding Aung San Suu Kyi.
The rally was held at thee Women’s Studies Center.
Aung San Suu Kyi, the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner and
leader of the Burmese National League for Democracy (NLD), was at the center
of a disturbance at the end of last month, after which much rumor has been
in the world media.
Khin Ohmar, the coordinator of the National
Reconciliation Program and Burmese Women’s Union said that the military
regime tried to take action against the democracy movement in Burma, and
this was the time for people all over the world to fight against the
dictatorship. “Many of us have been in Thailand as refugees; we stay in
refugee camps, and there seems to be nothing we can do, so we hold a meeting
not just for exchange of information, but we also look for any support from
neighboring countries and other international communities that might help
us,” said Khin Ohmar.
Ouyporn Khuankaew, the coordinator of the International
Network of Engaged Buddhist (INEB) replied, “It’s not just the problem
of one country, but it is an international issue; the issue of human rights,
it is a problem involving human beings.”
The Burmese Women’s Union (BWU) and the networks held a
candlelight vigil for Aung San Suu Kyi’s 58th birthday at Thapae Gate on
June 19 calling for Aung San Suu Kyi’s freedom and political freedom in
Police conference promotes understanding of human issues
Children’s rights, juvenile crime, violence against women and human trafficking are part of the national agenda
The Thai government has declared that children’s
rights, juvenile crime, violence against women and human trafficking are
part of the national agenda. This includes issues of physical abuse, sexual
harassment, prostitution and oppression.
officers from eight provinces under the Provincial Police Region 5
participated in the meeting.
To address this, the National Thai Police Office held a
conference at the Empress Hotel for the police under the supervision of
Provincial Police Region 5, to promote understanding about juvenile care,
protection of women and prevention of human trafficking.
The conference guest speakers, including the advisor to
the prime minister, Laddawan Wongsriwong; the secretary of the US
ambassador, Timothy M. Scherer; high-ranking officials from the Social
Development and Human Securities Ministry; government and non-government
organizations promoted understanding among operational officers.
Pol Gen Amnuai Petchsiri, deputy national police chief, said this is an
urgent agenda because it is involved with dark influences as well. If you
are aware of instances of human trafficking, child prostitution, child labor
or abuse, please call 1192 or send details to PO. Box 111, Bangrak, Bangkok
10500, or email CWPC@police.go.th or visit the website at
Police bag largest haul of ya ba
217,200 pills took some counting
The largest haul of ya ba pills since the War on Drugs
campaign was launched, was seized on June 10.
Pol Lt Gen Prung Boonphadung, the commissioner, said
217,200 pills were seized from Wiang Haeng District, and two drug smugglers
were apprehended, a 25 year old Burmese man and a 12 year old village boy.
Working on a tip-off, undercover police officers from
Wieng Haeng Police Station, led by Pol Lt Arunsak Buaprasertying, tricked
the drug dealers by pretending to buy the ya ba pills.
The haul was actually buried about 2 meters underground.
“Due to the war on drugs, drug traffickers and dealers are no longer able
to smuggle drugs out into the marketplace. So (in this case) the speed pills
were buried until they thought it was safe to bring them up,” said Pol Lt
Police believe that there could be more caches of pills
hidden along the boundary area and are planning to get more evidence and
Chiang Rai police vow to get rid of province’s drugs by October
2,800 of Chiang Rai’s finest looking under every blade of grass
Pol Maj. Gen Wut Withitanon, the commander of Chiang Rai
Provincial Police has stated that Chiang Rai police have cracked down on
drugs since October 2001, long before the government’s much publicized
“war on drugs” this year. He is so sure of the local force’s
commitment that he now says that Chiang Rai will be totally drug free by
The recent figures, up until March this year, show that
1,211 drug dealers have been caught, 51 drug networks destroyed, 8,000 drug
users rehabilitated and 578 million baht in property has been confiscated.
The main target is 178,000 highland people in 332
villages. Pol Maj. Gen Wut added that 2,800 officers have been assigned to
work in the operational field in their own area. Since Chiang Rai has a
reputation as being a drug market, police will block and stop drug smuggling
to other provinces by placing permanent checkpoints in many areas.
As well as suppression, rehabilitation has been launched.
Drug users can step forward and have treatment. It is expected that this
operation will make the drug problems in Chiang Rai Province disappear
Over 2000 drug addicts sent for treatment
33rd Border Patrol Police review three months work
The commander of the 33rd Border Patrol Police
Headquarters, Pol. Col. Kusak Arsasupakit announced the results of their
three month period of drug suppression.
Interceptions of trafficking routes were carried out over
500 times and between those and the checkpoints, the police feel that they
have accomplished much to assist the government policy.
Checkpoints in the areas of Chaiprakarn and Chiang Dao
districts resulted in 7 suspects arrested, and the officers seized 3,617
amphetamine pills, 3 pistols and other tools.
During drug investigations, authorities arrested 32
suspects with more than 10,000 amphetamines pills, 6 pistols, and cash of
about 13,700 baht.
In terms of the treatment and rehabilitation for drugs
addicts, the police gave full support to the Drugs Combating Center in Fang,
Mae Ai, Chiang Dao, Wiang Haeng, and Chaiprakarn districts, Chiang Mai.
Currently, 2,180 patients are participating.