Thailand and Burma sign MOU on labor exchange
Illegal workers will be repatriated - only contract workers can be employed
Thai and Burmese governments signed a memorandum of
understanding on cooperation over the employment of workers during the
second Asia Cooperation Dialogue meeting in Chiang Mai. The formal signing
ceremony was carried out by Thailand’s Foreign Minister Surakiart
Sathirathai and Myanmar’s Foreign Minister Win Aung, and was witnessed by
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
The MOU is on the cooperation framework for the
employment of labor from both countries covering legal employment,
repatriation process after conclusion and during the contract, the rights of
workers and preventing illegal works transfers.
Following the signing of the MOU, all illegal workers
will be repatriated and only contract workers can be employed eligible for
social welfare and covered by provident funds. If the memorandum becomes a
treaty, workers from each country would be entitled to a work contract of up
to four years.
The operation was made effective immediately after the signing of the MOU
on June 21, 2003. It was also decided that both countries will hold dialogue
on the issues at least once a year.
India joins Asian
By Grant Peck
Chiang Mai (AP) - India last
Saturday joined four Asian nations at the core of the region’s drug trade
in a new plan to fight the production and trafficking of opium, heroin and
Thai Foreign Minister Surakiart Sathirathai said he and
visiting ministers from India, Myanmar, Laos and China met in this northern
city to endorse the scheme.
India was represented by Information Technology and
Communications Minister Arun Shourie, while the other ministers held the
Under the plan, opium-producing countries will step up
efforts to make poppy farmers substitute their crops with legal ones so they
can earn a reasonable living, Surakiart said.
The ministers also agreed to work more on marketing
substitute crops to make their production more lucrative, and therefore more
attractive to farmers, Surakiart said.
Apart from India, the four countries have already been
working together in a formal framework since 2001 to curb the production and
flow of drugs. A formal signing ceremony for India’s accession to the
group will be held in July in Thailand during another ministerial meeting of
the five countries, a Thai Foreign Ministry official said.
Thailand began the crop substitution project several
decades ago to successfully bring its opium output down to negligible
Pilot projects are underway in Myanmar, which has vowed
to make the country drug-free by 2004. Laos has targeted 2005 for
The five countries also agreed to more tightly regulate
the chemicals needed for the production of the illegal stimulant
methamphetamine, which is mostly smuggled from China and India.
Controls on these chemicals are lax because they also
have legal uses, such as in medicine and dye.
The Golden Triangle area where the borders of Thailand,
Myanmar and Laos meet has long been one of the world’s major sources of
opium and its derivative, heroin.
Myanmar is the world’s second largest producer, after
Afghanistan, of opium and heroin, and recently has become a major exporter
of methamphetamines. Laos is the world’s third biggest opium producer.
Myanmar and China have serious drug addiction problems,
with users of heroin responsible also for the rapid spread of HIV, the virus
that causes AIDS. Thailand has a huge methamphetamine addiction problem.
Saturday’s meeting was held as part of the second
annual gathering of the Asian Cooperation Dialogue, which comprises 18
The ACD members are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos,
Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Bahrain,
Bangladesh, China, India, Japan, South Korea, Pakistan, and Qatar.
Beware of ‘copy petrol’
Look for the guarantee sign
The Energy Business Department in cooperation with the
Energy Office, Region 10 Chiang Mai has launched a new campaign to check the
quality of petrol at the pumps and are encouraging people to only use good
quality gas stations displaying a guarantee sticker.
Chumpol Titayarak, the director of the Energy Office
Region 10 said that the quality of gasoline needs to be monitored. He said
that the petrol retailers would have a chance to participate in the quality
control of gasoline to ensure consumers receive a good quality product.
The Energy Business Department will award a special
symbol, which looks like a smiling petrol pump, to gas stations that meet
the quality standards. However, the energy office also stated that gas
stations owners should take the initiative and always check the quality of
the petrol they receive.
Local whisky production gets CMU attention
Teaching best methods of home distilling
Surachai T. Bunditkul
The Faculty of Agriculture, Chiang Mai University (CMU)
is arranging a special seminar and training course for communities to show
them the best production and marketing methods for Thai fermented liquors,
and to solve problems dealing with home distilling of Thai whisky.
Assoc. Prof. Pornchai Lueng-ar-papong, the deputy dean of
Academic Service and Technology Transfer of the Faculty of Agriculture, CMU
said that the faculty will launch this special program to local communities
on July 9-10, at Chiang Mai Phucome Hotel.
This training course will help support Thai farmers to
have a supplemental job to increase their incomes. The participants at the
course will be given advice on how to make and process fermented liquor.
Further information and reservations can be made at the
Academic Service and Technology Transfer of the Faculty of Agriculture, CMU,
3rd floor Doi Kam Building, tel. 053 944 088 during office hours. The
registration fee is 400 baht per person.
Robots found in Chiang Mai
Pre International Robot Olympiad 2003 at Montfort College
Surachai T. Bunditkul
A “Robot Developing Competition” was organized at
Montfort College’s main conference building, with the Chiang Mai Governor
Suwat Tantipat presiding over the opening ceremony on June 21.
from Assumption Sriracha School put their minds together to try and design a
Montfort College and Gammago (Thailand) launched the
robot competition for primary and secondary school levels, aged under 19
years old, for the Pre International Robot Olympiad (Pre IROC) 2003.
The contest aimed to encourage teachers and students in
developing their computer program skills, and to support young people to
learn about the robot-development program. It also allowed children to use
creativity in their free time.
The winning team will be our representative to compete in the national
and international contests to be held in October.
Ministry of Public Health launches disability prevention project
Prevention of disabilities needs cooperation from everyone
Surachai T. Bunditkul
Disability Prevention in Thai Societies was the theme for
an event held at the Thapae Gate, presided over by Pol. Gen. Pracha Promnok,
the assistant minister of public health. He pointed out that the event was
to honor HRH Princess Galaya Nivadhana on the occasion her 80th year
persons performed a stunning wheelchair dance.
It is important that people realize that prevention of
disabilities should be foremost in people’s minds. Although we have high
technology and advanced medical services, there are still disabilities. The
emotional needs of the disabled are very important to make them and their
families stay living happily in their societies. However, the prevention of
disabilities still needs cooperation from everyone.
Many activities that evening provided a chance for disabled people to
show off their talents and capabilities, and representatives from the
centers for the disabled in Chiang Mai were present to receive all types of
ACD ratifies Asian Bond Market Fund
Plan of action set into gear
The two-day meeting of the second Asia Cooperation
Dialogue (ACD) Ministerial meeting on June 21-22 in Chiang Mai has ended
with the successful establishment of the Asian Bond Market Fund plan of
action among ACD member countries.
Dr Thaksin Shinawatra gave the keynote address at the ACD closing ceremony.
PM Thaksin said the future is bright for the Asian Bond Market, “For Asia,
the ACD is a ‘teach-a-man-to-fish’ empowering process towards
self-reliance, which is in harmony with the increasingly interdependent
PM Thaksin Shinawatra’s address on “The Future of
Asia” was met with loud applause from the representatives from 18 Asian
member countries, including the four newly recognized ACD countries of
Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Oman, and Sri Lanka.
“The 18 ACD members backed the proposed Asia bond
market, with the expansion plan of the second Asia Bond Fund,” said
Foreign Minister Dr Surakiart Sathirathai at the press conference held after
the ACD meeting ended at Chiang Mai University’s Convention Center. He
said India will be the latest entry to provide the USD 1 billion to double
the funding initiated by Thailand.
In the future, the plan may include an Asian currency
unit; however, in the initial phase, the US dollar will be the common unit.
The fund would also assist joint development for finance
and trade, to open up free trade areas in the Asian area, covering
commodities, products, goods, and services, as well as tourism-related
business, services, industries and aviation.
At the conclusion of the Asia Cooperation Dialogue, there
were 15 development projects set up for further study and applications,
especially in the field of financial cooperation in this Asian region. The
following countries indicated their willingness to head the different
projects - Bahrain and Indonesia on energy; Bangladesh, Cambodia and Vietnam
on alleviation of poverty; China on agriculture; India on transport linkages
and on biotechnology; Malaysia on e-commerce and on infrastructure tax;
Pakistan on the Asian Institute of Standards; Singapore on cooperation
between SMEs; Republic of Korea on IT development; the Philippines on
science and technology; Thailand on financial cooperation; Thailand and
Cambodia on tourism; Vietnam on Human Resources development; Japan on
environmental education and on the strengthening of legal infrastructure.
This ministerial ACD meeting will be held annually, and next year will be
hosted by China with Thailand as the meeting coordinator.
Hemorrhagic fever on the rise again
187 cases reported so far this year
Chiang Mai Provincial Public Health Office has released
the number of hemorrhagic fever cases in the province (up to June 13), which
shows that 187 cases have been reported in Chiang Mai, with Muang District
having the most.
The situation in Chiang Mai from January to May has also
shown an increase, almost one and a half times, to 72 patients. The majority
of the patients are in Muang District, followed by San Sai, Hang Dong, Doi
Saket and San Patong.
Focusing on Muang, the fever broke out in Tambon Suthep
with 27 cases over the past five months. Sporadic, but frequent occurrences
also were recorded in Sriphum, Chang Moi, Hai Ya, Pa Tan, Pa Daed and Wat
Neighboring provinces have also shown an increase in the
numbers. The Provincial Public Health Offices in Lampang reported 169
patients, Lamphun 43 patients and 25 patients in Phayao.
South Korea and Thailand hold talks as Chiang Mai hosts major ACD conference
Tourism, economics, trade, investment, and transportation discussed
The first joint commission meeting for bilateral
cooperation between Thailand and South Korea saw important dialogue between
Dr Surakiart Sathirathai, the Thai minister of Foreign Affairs and his
counterpart South Korean Foreign Minister Yoon Young-Kwan, at the Westin
Hotel, Chiang Mai. Both Thailand and South Korea discussed the mechanism for
cooperation, during the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) conference held here
from June 21-22.
The agendas for the two countries had been identified in
several fields including economic, trade, investment, information
communications technology (ICT), transportation and tourism. “Korea fully
supports PM Thaksin Shinawatra’s ACD,” said Dr Surakiart.
In the ITC field, he said the chairman of working
committee would be the Korean foreign minister, and it is expected this
would result in better cooperation between the two countries. Thailand is
the 7th country selected for Korean investment projects, especially in the
fields of ICT and textiles. Both countries agreed to cooperate in the
broadband Internet service and the establishment of an e-government in
Talks also covered the regulations for liberal or free
trade zones to be announced by the two countries. However, he said it may
take time to accomplish this free trade project and cooperation, as some
items are still “sensitive” issues. Thailand and Korea have agreed to
seek ways to ease trade barriers and increase their bilateral trade,
especially in agricultural products such as rice, tapioca, frozen chicken,
and fresh fruits. South Korea is willing to assist in promoting the Thai
rice market in that country, “However, these kinds of agricultural
products exported to Korea must be up to standard,” the Korean foreign
Thailand and South Korea agreed to cooperate in promoting
peace and stability in this region by supporting the ASEAN Regional
Forum’s role in tackling problems in the Korean peninsula, particularly
the nuclear weapon situation in North Korea.
Thailand and Korea also are looking at close cooperation
in the Mekong River Basin, as Korea could receive an influx of laborers from
there, with more Thai workers going to Korea each year, currently numbering
about 20,000 workers, both skilled and unskilled. He also urged his Korean
counterpart to take care of all Thai workers legally entering his country,
provide them with training to upgrade their skills, and provide them with
As regards reciprocal tourism, Minister Surakiart said
that the Thai side hopes that Thai tourists to South Korea could be issued
visas more easily. He also said that with good cooperation from both
countries, about 700,000 Korean visitors will travel to Thailand each year.
Cultural exchanges between religious leaders and academics of the two
countries will also receive a major boost to promote better understanding
between the peoples of the two regions.
Housewives honor H.M. the Queen with concerted fight against AIDS
To build HIV/AIDS social service centers
The Interior Ministry Housewife’s Association has
launched a promotional campaign against HIV/AIDS as part of the celebrations
to honor Her Majesty the Queen’s 6th cycle birthday anniversary on August
12 next year.
This campaign is aimed to give merit and esteem to Her
Majesty the Queen. The Interior Ministry Housewife’s Association is going
to expand a network for helping HIV/AIDS patients, build a complete social
service center to provide treatment and rehabilitation for patients, stop
the spread of HIV/AIDS and coordinate efforts to solve AIDS problem at the
district and provincial levels.
The HIV/AIDS provincial center in Chiang Mai is
established, while those in the districts are in the process of being
established. The HIV/AIDS center would be located in each district; the
officers would provide suitable support, plan policies and activities to
control the spread of HIV/AIDS in the area, provide help for the HIV/AIDS
patients’ families, and importantly, create the proper understanding about
HIV/AIDS for people in their communities.
Watch out for wild forest mushrooms
Tame ones are safer!
Surachai T. Bunditkul
Chiang Mai Provincial Agriculture Extension Office has
published a warning about eating forest mushrooms, because some are
extremely toxic and can kill people who eat them.
The head of the office, Supot Nimanon, said that this is
the start of the wet season and there are many kinds of forest mushrooms
springing up. Local people pick these to sell in the rural markets,
especially in northern and northeastern regions where people enjoy wild
Unfortunately, some forest mushrooms are poisonous and
the results of eating them are serious. The types to avoid are colorful,
fragrant and are called ring forest mushrooms. Effects are generally felt
within 8-12 hours, with vomiting, intoxication, lethargy, headache and
diarrhea. The toxins can destroy the nerve system, liver, kidney and optic
Immediate First Aid for an adult who has ingested a
poisonous mushroom is to take a tablespoon of castor oil (children should
take a teaspoon) and then go straight to the closest hospital.
Free Aung San Suu Kyi
Pro-democracy dissidents stage peaceful protest
Friends of Burma Coalition in Chiang Mai staged a
peaceful protest and a candlelight vigil on June 19, chosen as Aung San Suu
Kyi’s 58th birthday. The demonstration was organized at Thapae Gate to
call for Aung San Suu Kyi’s and all political prisoners’ freedom in
of Burma Coalition in Chiang Mai staged a peaceful protest and a candlelight
vigil on June 19, calling for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and all
political prisoners in Myanmar.
According to some reports, the Burmese military junta
apprehended Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of the National League for
Democracy (NLD) and Nobel Peace Prize winner and her entourage on May 30 in
Northern Burma. During that clash some pro-democracy activists and NLD
members are reported to have died. Since then, Aung San Suu Kyi has been
kept in “protective custody.”
Min Min Oo, a representative of the Friends of Burma
Coalition, addressed the meeting saying, “Now the military authorities are
claiming that they are working towards democracy - this must be a fantasy.
How can authorities that are so afraid to grant basic democratic rights to
people construct a democracy? The fact is that the present military
authorities are in great fear of people power. Their minds seem to be set on
the idea that only by keeping the people crushed and subjugated they can
exist. Such people can never construct democracy.”
Around 500 people, including Thai, Burmese, and
international citizens gathered to support the pro-democracy fight for peace
in Burma. “We want the world to know that we are prisoners of our own
country,” said Min Min Oo.
Another elephant injured by landmine
Female elephant appears to have come from Laos
The National Elephant Institute, Hang Chat District,
Lampang Province has taken in an injured female elephant, which appears to
have come from Laos. The elephant had stepped on a landmine.
injured elephant shows its wound to the Chiangmai Mail reporters.
Veterinarian Sitthidej Mahasawangkul, head of the
Elephant Hospital Department said that the elephant has no name or owner and
had extensive injuries to its left foot. Its wound looked like the animal
had stepped on the mine about one week previously. The new case was sent to
the institute from the Uttaradit Provincial Livestock Office, which had
found the wounded and hungry elephant.
The institute found that the elephant’s wound was infected, with some
parts of its flesh necrotic because it had received no treatment after its
injury. Treatment at this stage is in cleaning the wound and cutting away
the necrotic material. There appears to be no other injuries.
Illegal aliens apprehended
Woman charged with human trafficking
Surachai T. Bunditkul
The Provincial Police Region 5 caught and arrested 10
illegal alien workers on the Chiang Mai-Mae Rim Road on June 17. They also
just happened to be carrying 800 ya ba pills.
Pol. Col. Danai Boonreang, provincial police region 5
superintendent and his team arrested 39-year-old Mrs. Sim Huang Sae-lee or
Je Hom, who was charged with smuggling the 10 illegal Thai Yai workers
through the northern Thai border near Myanmar. During the check, police
discovered the 800 ya ba pills concealed behind a loudspeaker.
Mrs. Sim Huang confessed that she would get 500 baht per
person for successful transfers.
Police files show that Je Hom has been linked with a Khun
Jor, who was the head of a human trafficking gang in Pong Pakam Village on
the Myanmar border opposite Tambon Muang Na, Chiang Dao District, Chiang
Mai. According to the police, both persons were known to be human
Border Patrol ambushed in Mae Hong Son
Two Thai soldiers were injured after a gun battle with
unknown assailants at the Thai border of Ban Doi Sang in Tambon Pang Moo,
Muang District, Mae Hong Son.
The battle apparently started when 12 Thai soldiers on
routine patrol were attacked by an unidentified group using M 16 and AK-47
assault weapons. The fighting continued for about 5 minutes and ended with
the two Thai soldiers shot and severely injured.
Privates Pompetch Kengjing and Udorn Suma were evacuated
by a medical helicopter and brought to Sri Sang Wan Hospital in Mae Hong Son
and later sent to Maharaj Nakhon Chiang Mai Hospital with Private Pompetch
suffering with severe internal bleeding.
Lt. Col. Nuttawut Chunhanan, the commander of the 172nd
Infantry has now stationed extra patrols in the area and is continuing to
look for the enemy group. It is believed that this armed force was still
hiding somewhere around the Thai border.
Illegal loggers and gunmen still in Phrae, says governor
The Phrae governor has already handed in his province’s
list of dark influences, which includes illegal loggers, hired guns and the
illegal lottery figures. However, he says that the problem in suppressing
the influential agents in Phrae comes from the fact that the gangster
syndicates have long been rooted in the province.
Governor Amornphan Nimanan said that he sent his list of
influential figures to the Ministry of Interior on June 18 and that quashing
the influential agents was the top priority of his administration, so all
the information could not be revealed at this time.
“Phrae government is intent on suppressing the illegal
loggers and gunmen that have been a large problem for a long time, affecting
other provinces around us. These dark influences and influential syndicates
have to be eliminated immediately,” said the Phrae governor.
Police commandos arrest alleged drug baron Laota Saenlee and his sons
War on drugs beginning to bring in the big boys
On Thursday, June 12, a team of about 100 commando
police, led by assistant national police chief Pol Lt-Gen Priewphan Damapong,
along with ONCB officials and US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
officers, raided the house of drug baron Laota Saenlee, a Lisu hill
tribesman in Ban Huay San village, Group 10, in Tambon Tha Ton.
Laota was arrested, along with his two sons, Wijarn and
Kasem. The three suspects were flown to Bangkok for further questioning and
they were charged with drug trafficking along the borders in Northern
Thailand and on charges of conspiring to export heroin, including to the
Sources at the Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB)
disclosed that police have been investigating Laota for some time and more
major suspects believed to belong to Laota’s drug gang are expected to be
arrested soon. The police action to arrest Laota was based on information
received from a drug suspect arrested in Bangkok about a year ago with 1.6
kg of heroin.
Last week, Chiang Dao district police ordered further
investigation after one of Laota’s aides was killed in a gun battle with
local police on Chiang Mai- Fang Road. 10,000 ya ba pills were discovered at
the scene. Pol Col Nithipat Pattanathabutre, the superintendent of Chiang
Dao police disclosed that Laota’s aide, a person named Chatchawan, was
also involved with car and motorcycle theft in the provinces of Chiang Mai,
Lamphun, Lampang, Nakhon Prathom, Nakhon Sawan, Kanchanaburi, Ratchaburi,
Bangkok, Samut Prakarn, Tak, Ayutthaya, and Prathum Thani.
Police sources also claimed that Laota ‘s drug ring and
network had been linked with some of the provincial council members. Claims
include that he was involved with the Lampang Provincial Council member
Phanom Sap-anek, and his assistants who were arrested previously on drug
Police are amassing more evidence for the arrest warrants
of another son, Banyat Saenlee, and son in law, Somchai Saenmee, who are
still at large. Much police information came following the previous arrest
of Somsak, another of Laota’s right hand men, who confessed that he, Laota,
and his two sons, Wijarn and Kasem had delivered a large amount of heroin
into the USA. He also claimed that Laota had twice delivered drugs to
Laota is alleged to be involved with Wei Hsueh-Kang, a
famous drug warlord heading one faction of Burma’s ethnic United Wa State
Army, and believed to be the biggest drug producer in the Golden Triangle
Wei is also wanted by the American DEA.
An ONCB official said Laota joined the drug rackets
headed by Khun Sa after the Shan rebel leader took control of the Doi Lang
area on the Thai-Burmese border in the early 1980s. Laota later developed
close ties with Wei Hsueh-kang after Khun Sa surrendered himself to the
Laota Saenlee may be extradited to the USA after being
processed under Thai law.
National Municipal League of Thailand holds conference in Chiang Mai
Surachai T. Bunditkul
Government officials from 1,129 municipalities all over
Thailand attended the National Municipal League of Thailand (NMLT)
conference in Chiang Mail June 19-21. The meeting was held at Lotus Pang
Suan Kaew Hotel, Chiang Mai.
Promnok presented awards to officials from Phuket, Tabom Plaeksa and Tambon
Renunakhon, winners of the NMLT “Nice to Live In” municipality contest.
(Photo By Supatatt Dangkrueng)
meeting involved government staff from 1,129 municipalities. (Photo By
Deputy Minister of Interior Pracha Promnok presided at
the opening of the 46th conference, held to summarize the consequences and
results of NMLT works during the year. Principal amongst these was the
transferring of properties and manpower from the Ministry of Interior to the
NMLT to manage.
The NMLT also announced the winners of the “Nice to Live In”
municipality contest, with Phuket Municipality being the winner of group 1
while Tabom Plaeksa and Tambon Renunakhon were the winners of groups 2 and