HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

200 red minibus drivers protest air conditioned buses will take their customers

Buddhist Lent begins next week

Central Airport Plaza Chiang Mai receives Royal Opening

Lecture on mental problems to be broadcast on radio

400-year-old submerged temples found in Phayao Lake

Chiang Mai PAO looking for ISO 9001:2000 certification

First Data IT branch launched in Chiang Mai

15 northern provinces to celebrate Northern Village Fund’s 2nd anniversary

Alien workers can get their work permits this month

Metered taxis are coming

Tod Pha Pa Recycle project on again

Seminar held to look at ways to increase OTOP market share

Mae Hong Son establishes HIV Center

Thailand’s second Science Park to be built in Chiang Mai

Mafioso to be eradicated from Chiang Mai by next year

More kerfuffle over the Ban Mae Hor Phra quarry

Confidence trickster bites officer during arrest

Wiang Haeng villagers oppose lignite mining project

95 teenage hoodlums wanted by police

CMU academics support the Chiang Mai Zoo project

200 red minibus drivers protest air conditioned buses will take their customers

Paralyze public transportation, cause traffic chaos for a day

Supatatt Dangkrueng

Red minibus drivers from the Lanna Transport Cooperative protested against the launching of the air-conditioned bus service, saying the new service will take away their customers.

Protesting drivers climb atop their red minibuses at Thapae Gate, demanding provincial officials stop running air-conditioned buses in Chiang Mai. The protestors blocked roads and paralyzed public transportation from noon until late afternoon on Friday, July 4, causing traffic chaos in Chiang Mai. The banners, starting on the left, read: “Thais abandon Thais (Thai La Thai not Thai Rak Thai) will repress the red mini-buses”, “A Thai proverb says that after the farming is finished, kill the cattle (cow, buffalo or farm animals), after the war ends, kill the soldiers”, and “This air-conditioned bus service has brought problems to the grass-roots level”.

The protestors displayed banners and placards, stopped traffic at Thapae Gate, and then moved to city hall demanding cessation of the air-conditioned bus route. The protestors blocked roads and paralyzed public transportation from noon until late afternoon on Friday, July 4, causing traffic chaos in Chiang Mai.

Singkham Nanti (right), Lanna Transportation Cooperatives chairman tries to coordinate with provincial offices as angry protestors voice their concerns.

Thapae Gate was packed with hundreds of red mini-buses.

The air-conditioned bus route is operated by ACC Real Estate, which first launched its public service on June 28. The minibus drivers’ concern was that the bus service was competing for the same passengers and had caused their income to drop.

One of the protestors’ banners read: “Now the local northern people who earn their living from the mini-bus service in the local areas and raise their family are going to die.”

The protestors demanded the air-conditioned bus service must stop running and then castigated the Thai Rak Thai Party including Yaowapha Wongsawas, MP for Chiang Mai and PM Thaksin Shinawatra’s younger sister, Chiang Mai Municipality and city hall for granting the concession to run the service.

Cooperative representatives went to city hall and met with high-ranking provincial officials looking for ways to settle the dispute. Autsathai Rattanadilok na Phuket, chief of Chiang Mai Provincial Lands Transportation Office, said after the meeting that the cooperative representatives also demanded there be no increase in the numbers of air-conditioned buses, which at this stage number only five.

Pakorn Buranupakorn, Chiang Mai MP, said that the protesters were bottling up Chiang Mai traffic and this could be construed as breaking the law, because blocking the streets and causing traffic jams in the city is illegal.

Autsathai also added that in the future, the mass transportation project should be systemized. However, this protest would hopefully not happen again, if there is a guaranteed income for red minibus drivers.

Buddhist Lent begins next week

Ahsalahabucha Day July 13, Khao Pansaa July 14

All government offices, banks and many local businesses will close for a day when Buddhist Lent, or “Khao Pansaa” begins next Monday, July 14. Ahsalahabucha Day, an important holy day for Buddhists, this year is being observed on Sunday, July 13.

The Buddhist Holy Day of Ahsalahabucha falls on the 15th night (15 kham) of the full moon during the eighth month of the Buddhist Lunar calendar, this year equating to July 13. Ahsalahabucha means paying homage and worshiping on that day, Ahsalaha being the name of the eighth month in the Pali language.

Ahsalahabucha Day is worshipped because of three important events occurring on that day, called the “Triple Gem”, commemorating the first sermon given by the Buddha, called the “Dhammachakapavattama Sutta”, about the “Four Noble Truths” presented to the Buddha’s first five disciples. The sermon set in motion the “Wheel of Dhamma”, or “Dhammachaka”.

The sermon concluded that: 1. All things are a source of suffering from the constant cycle of birth, disease, old age and death. 2. Desire or the inability to obtain what one desires is the cause of suffering, resulting from cause and effect. 3. Freedom from suffering can be obtained after the complete cessation of desire. 4. The last of the Four Noble Truths is the “Middle Way”, or the path between extremes of asceticism and indulgence leading to the eliminating of desire. The Eight-Fold Path consists of possessing the correct: Views, Resolve, Speech, Conduct, Livelihood, Effort, Mindfulness, and Meditation (or Concentration).

Secondly, the day is considered to be the birth of Buddhism. The Buddha departed the location where he obtained his enlightenment two months earlier, and then went to a forest area in the city of Pharansi where he showed favor to five ascetics. These five became his followers.

Thirdly, the event of the first person to listen to the Buddha’s sermon, and realizing the truths contained therein, is also recognized on this day. This person became the first Buddhist monk and created the Buddhist order “Sangha”; so this day is known as “Sangha Day” as well as Ahsalahabucha Day.

The Thai government established the observance of Ahsalahabucha Day in 1958, with Buddhist temples throughout the Kingdom arranging ceremonies venerating these important historic events. Devout Buddhists participate in the ceremonies by presenting offerings to monks and listening to sermons and performing ritual prayers.

The entire day is revered and certain precepts are adhered to by the more devout Buddhists, or by those who have the inclination and opportunity to do so. The wien tian ritual ceremony is performed in the evening - many people go to nearby temples, bringing candles, flowers and joss sticks with them, where they walk three times around the temple’s sacred grounds.


PARASUB: “Khao Pansaa” (July 14)


The day following the start of Buddhist Lent is another important Buddhist holy day and begins in Thailand with the custom called Khao Pansaa. This day falls on the first full moon (1 kham) of the Buddhist Lunar calendar during the eighth month of every year, which this year equates to July 14, and ends on the 15th full moon (15 kham) of the 11th month of the Buddhist calendar, or in mid-October. During a leap year it is identified during the “second eighth” month (the next leap year will be in 2004).

The term “Khao Pansaa” can also translate to entering the rainy season when monks return to the temple for the duration of the rains, usually to the temple where they were ordained, where they stay for approximately three months. The monks are not to depart the temples to stay overnight at any other location during these months. Although the rainy season is considered to be longer than three months, lasting up to four or even more, monks are only required to remain at the temples for three of the four months. During the last period of the rainy season they can then go elsewhere when the “Katin” ceremony is performed to present robes to the temples.

In ancient times, the act of monks going into the temples during the rainy season was not yet a custom. Monks would continue roaming from one domain to another, giving sermons and instructing people in the ways of eliminating suffering and disseminating Buddhist beliefs. This was unlike other religions of the time, as most people, including merchants and heretics, refrained from travel due to the hazards and difficulties involved in traveling during the rainy season.

Initially, stopping monks from traveling during the rainy season concerned the idea that it was inappropriate for them to walk about during the rainy season because many small living creatures were about (which they might accidentally step on) and the rice crops were in the ground. Therefore, it was established long ago that the monks would remain in temples during the rains for three months, discussing and studying Buddhist scriptures, following Buddhist disciplines, meditating and performing ritual ceremonies.

The custom of Khao Pansaa has continued to this day with three classes of ceremonies: a Royal Ceremony conducted by the King of Thailand, ritual ceremonies for devout followers of Buddhism throughout the Kingdom and ceremonies performed by monks in the temples.

The Royal Ceremony is similar to those performed by the general public, but more elaborate. The King and members of the Royal Family perform ritual ceremonies to pay homage to the Buddha and present Khao Pansaa candles and traditional garments worn by Buddhist monks to the temples.

Followers of Buddhism all over Thailand, with flowers and candles in hand will attend temples in the morning, bringing in food, necessities, money, traditional candles, garments and ceremonial items for the monks.

People having devout faith may refrain from the recognized eight offences for the duration of the three month rainy season just as monks do, while others may give up a single vice, with yet others giving up 5-8 offences just for the day.

The ceremonies performed by monks in temples revolve around rituals, and include accepting new monks who are taking the vows for periods of up to three months or more. Senior monks at each monastery also perform ceremonies to lead followers in worship and prayer.

The two main items presented to monks during Khao Pansaa are candles and the garments worn by monks, specifically the bathing robe. In former times, candles were essential for ceremonies, studying scriptures and performing various other functions. Candle offerings eventually developed into a custom that is still followed.

The presentation of garments worn by monks is said to have originated when, in former times, people would bathe in community areas, i.e., local streams, rivers, ponds and other sources of water, and monks required a bathing robe. The custom of presenting garments to monks continued to develop until it included presenting the entire arrangement worn by monks.

Khao Pansaa, July 14, is recognized as a government holiday. All government offices, banks and many other businesses close for the day to recognize the importance of the Buddhist Holy Day.

Everyone is invited to participate in the temple ceremonies and to refrain from offensive behavior for the day, and to make the same effort thereafter.

Central Airport Plaza Chiang Mai receives Royal Opening

Story by Marion Vogt
Photos by
Supatatt Dangkrueng

Under the patronage of HRH Princess Ubolratana, the new Central Airport Plaza had its official opening ceremony on Friday, the 4th of July 2003.

HRH Princess Ubolratana graciously sat for a photo with Central Pattana executives.

The opening ceremony was marked by HRH Princess Ubolratana sounding the ceremonial gong, after which Lanna traditional dances were performed.

Kobchai Chirathivat, president and CEO of Central Pattana Public Company Limited, said that Chiang Mai is very proud to present such a superb shopping mall to the Chiang Mai people, a mall which is the equal to any in Bangkok.

The Central Group dates back to 1947 when the founder, Tiang Chirathivat, started a general merchandise store importing and distributing quality goods from around the world. As the store prospered, the business evolved and expanded, its expansion formed the foundations upon which Samrit Chirathivat, Tiang’s eldest son, established the first Central Department Store in 1957. In 1966, Samrit took over the leadership of Central from his father, directing the company to even greater success and growth. It was the first step in the creation of the Central Group of Companies, and the opening of a new chapter in the retail industry of Thailand.

Kobchai Chirathivat (left) presents a memento to HRH Princess Ubolratana.

Central Retail Corporation is now the largest retailer in SE Asia with department stores, specialty stores, supermarkets, mini-marts and hypermarkets. Central Retail also operates an extensive chain of supermarkets which will continue to expand as an integral part of the department store and superstore chains. In addition, over the past four decades they have broadened to encompass more than 50 subsidiaries engaged in retailing, hotels, property, wholesaling, manufacturing, and food franchise operations as well as developing strategic alliances with global leaders. These companies together employ more than 14,000 people.

Lecture on mental problems to be broadcast on radio

Psychiatric big guns in attendance

Phitsanu Thepthong

“The mental problems in Thailand and the management and treatment of mental disorders” will be the topics of special lectures to be backed by Rotary International, said Dr Pairat Pruksachatkunakorn, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, chairman of the organizing committee.

Jointly organized by Ruam Duai Chuai Kun, FM 100 Chiang Mai; Sarn Sum Pun Society for Mentally Handicapped, the Rotary Club of Chiang Mai Phuping, and supported by Eli Lilly Asia, the lectures will be held on July 23, from 9.30 - 12 noon at the Siriphum Holiday Garden Hotel on Huay Kaew Road, Chiang Mai.

He added that the lectures will be broadcast live via the FM 100 station. Guest speakers include Surasee Kosolnavin (commissioner); Monk Dr Boonchuai Surintho, Chao Duang Duan na Chiang Mai, Nipon Suwanrungsri, the director of Suan Prung Psychiatry (Chiang Mai University) and Dr Pairat Pruksachatkunakorn, associate professor of psychiatry.

For more information or seat reservations please call 053 227007 - 8.

400-year-old submerged temples found in Phayao Lake

Local authorities hope this means more tourism

Nuttanee Thaveephol

400-year-old temple complexes were found under the waters of Phayao Lake, and the Phayao provincial authorities are promoting the underwater temples as another tourism attraction.

Phayao governor Somsak Boonplueng, Phayao press club, local fishery groups, and tourism related agents in Phayao surveys on the site after the ancient remains of the old temples were found under the Phayao Lake surface.

As a bonus, the underwater temple areas were found to be swarming with snakehead mullet fish and this fishing bonanza will also be promoted as a tourist attraction.

Chiang Mai PAO looking for ISO 9001:2000 certification

Hired specialty firm to help them achieve it

Supatatt Dangkrueng

Chiang Mai Provincial Administration Organization (PAO) is seeking ISO 9001: 2000 accreditation within this year, said Udornphan Chantaraviroj, the president of the local PAO.

“We would like to provide services to be at the international standard of ISO 9001: 2000 and we expect that the people will benefit from our services,” said Udornphan.

To reach the required standard, the PAO has adopted the service development approach. It especially focuses on staff improvement to provide public services with more efficiency and standard quality.

PAO is using the Triple A Quality Center Company as the consultant in providing training courses for PAO personnel to help the organization reach the standard.

First Data IT branch launched in Chiang Mai

More IT outlets for the north

Supatatt Dangkrueng

Data IT has launched its 14th branch, its first northern branch, at Central Airport Plaza in Chiang Mai. Suntaree Kasemsan na Ayudthaya, assistant managing director of Data IT Superstore, said at the opening ceremony that they believe Chiang Mai Province has enough potential to be the IT hub of this region, covering the neighboring provinces and countries as well.

Lovely dancers performed the traditional Lanna Ging Ga La dance at the opening ceremony.

The most favorite products sold by Data IT are laptops, pocket PC’s, digital cameras and wireless equipment. It is expected this year’s total revenue would reach 2.6 billion baht from all the branches. Special opening specials are also on offer in Chiang Mai.

There are plans to launch another branch in Chiang Mai at Chiang Mai Panthip Plaza on Chang Klan Road in the beginning of next year.

15 northern provinces to celebrate Northern Village Fund’s 2nd anniversary

Giving importance to Thai grassroots community development

Nuttanee Thaveephol

Rajabhat Institute of Chiang Rai will organize a festival to celebrate the Northern Village Fund’s 2nd anniversary during July 25-27 this year when 15 northern provinces come to show off their project achievements.

Assist. Prof. Dr. Manop Pasitwilaidharma, the Rajabhat Institute rector said that they would arrange the festival to show village fund progress in each province, following the government’s policy on the importance of Thai grassroots community development.

The festival will be held at the Kasalong Kam Convention Hall at Rajabhat Institute with many activities including One Tambon - One Product displays.

On each day of the festival, well-known experts will participate in the seminars. It is expected that there will be large numbers attending.

Working organizations such as the Bank for the Poor, Eua Arthorn Fund, Secure Housing, and others will also take part in the exhibition to provide information for the public.

Alien workers can get their work permits this month

But only if you are Burmese, Laotian or Cambodian

Surachai T. Bunditkul

Work permit applications for foreign nationals are being processed at the Chiang Mai Employment Service Office from now until July 31.

Miss Orachon Rattanamanee, office director, said that the office has been accepting registrations for alien workers from Burma, Laos and Cambodia.

The office, in coordination with the Local Administration Department (LAD) of the Ministry of Interior, has commenced taking photographs for work permit cards.

Applications are being separated into two groups: one for laborers who registered at Canteen 2, Chiang Mai City Hall, and the second for people who registered at Fang District Office.

Miss Orachon also said that the process is only for previously registered laborers, not for new registrants.

So, if you can read this (in English), speak and write Thai, are Burmese, Laotian or Cambodian or know someone who is, and want more information, contact the office at Chiang Mai City Hall or tel. 053 222 865-6 ext. 17-19 during office hours.

Metered taxis are coming

Red minibus numbers to be reduced

Supatatt Dangkrueng

Nakhon Lanna Transportation Co-operatives agreed at their annual meeting to add metered taxis to their fleet, along with the well known and well worn red buses.

Singkham Nunti, the chairman of Nakhon Lanna Transportation Cooperatives said the metered taxi service will be launched in the next two months. In the first instance there would be just five taxi cabs, though he indicated that this was just the beginning. “The metered taxi project has been approved by the Chiang Mai Provincial Transportation Committee. We have ordered 20 metered taxis and are installing meters and painting them in white and red livery,” said Singkham.

Autsathai Rattanadilok na Phuket said the metered taxis would be provided at main tourist spots around city, hotels, department stores and tourist attractions.

To begin this project, the cooperatives would spent 10 million baht. Passengers would be charged 30 baht for the first 2 kilometers, then 4 baht per kilometer afterwards. “These metered taxis are the same as in use in Bangkok, and there would be a contact number for customers to ring for service,” added Autsathai.

The cooperatives would also provide a taxi van service along with the metered taxis, which should also be running within the next two months. It has also been agreed to decrease the numbers of red buses in line with the increase in meter taxis and taxi vans.

Tod Pha Pa Recycle project on again

The municipality wants your rubbish

Supatatt Dangkrueng

Chiang Mai Municipality is busy preparing for the second Tod Pha Pa Recycle (recycle to make merit) project on August 10, this time involving another four temples in municipal area.

People who want to become involved will find rubbish drop-off points at the tents in front of the municipality and other points as Sriphum Road, Chiang Mai-Lamphun Road, Ra Gaeng Road and Natharam, Soi 5 Road. The rubbish should be from the four categories of glass, paper, metal and plastic, sorted and put in plastic bags.

On August 10 a parade will start at Thapae Gate at 4 p.m., and then split into four lines heading to Wat Chiang Yuen, Wat Nong Pa Krung, Wat Phuak Taem and Wat Thart Kham.

The first project was deemed to be a success, as many thousands of people from all municipal areas brought in 275,000 kg of rubbish valued at approximately 500,000 baht to make merit at Wat Chedi Luang.

Seminar held to look at ways to increase OTOP market share

First step: make packaging attractive to overseas buyers

Nantanee Jedsadachaiyut

The Industrial Promotion Center Region 1 Chiang Mai, Department of Industrial Promotion (DIP), Ministry of Industry organized a seminar at the Empress Hotel, Chiang Mai, on products and packaging development for supporting the local goods in the One Tambon - One Product (OTOP) scheme.

Mrs. Sumonmarn Kanlayasiri, DIP director general, presided over the opening ceremony and was a special lecturer on the topics, “The Development of Community Enterprise Products to the Global Market” and “The Development Policy for Small and Medium Enterprises.”

She noted that the seminar on products and packaging development was important for supporting the OTOP promotional campaign because it encouraged the entrepreneurs to improve the standard of their OTOP products and packages to reach the international standard for export.

In addition, DIP planed to establish a project for SME’s Products Distribution and Development Center for the Northern Region in Chiang Mai, which would be the first pilot project of its kind, aiming to strengthen SME’s, build sustainable development, and increase the market share of OTOP products.

After the seminar, product designers had a chance to choose OTOP products for which they wished to design unique packaging. On August 28, the products will be presented to the committee for evaluation and judging, and on August 29 the winning products will be displayed to the general public.

Mae Hong Son establishes HIV Center

Helping HIV/AIDS sufferers in honor of Her Majesty the Queen

Nuttanee Thaveephol

Mae Hong Son province has established an HIV Center for HIV/AIDS patients, and the local Housewives Association there has instituted a project to help HIV/AIDS sufferers in honor of Her Majesty the Queen, on the occasion of her72nd Royal Birth Anniversary August 12.

According to Mae Hong Son Public Health Office, the province does have a problem, and since 1989 there have been 1,765 HIV/AIDS infected patients registered, of which 812 have since died.

This treatment center was established following Governor Supoj Lawansiri’s assignment to the working group during the conference held at Mae Hong Son City Hall at the end of June this year.

The 953 patients still alive have been categorized into 2 groups. There are 621 fully blown AIDS patients and 332 patients carrying HIV but not showing symptoms at this stage.

Thailand’s second Science Park to be built in Chiang Mai

CMU has the land, the government has the budget

Surachai T. Bunditkul

Pinit Charusoombat, the minister of science, technology and environment attended Chiang Mai University to discuss the Northern Science Park project slated to be built in Chiang Mai. The minister met with officials from government and private organizations to review the concept of a second Science Park in Thailand, which has been submitted to the ministry.

The concepts of the park will put emphasis on biotechnology, natural herbs and healthcare products. It will also stress nano-technology and genomics to improve northern agricultural products, and transfer technology to target industries, SMEs and cooperatives.

“Because the first Science Park in Bangkok is very successful, the government expects great advantages for each region. For the northern region, Chiang Mai will set up first because it has the basic infrastructure and is suitable to be a pilot project,” said Pinit.

The project will receive a budget amounting to 5 billion baht and Chiang Mai University will offer 1,293 rai in Mae Hia areas for building the park.

Mafioso to be eradicated from Chiang Mai by next year

All illegal property to be confiscated

Nuttanee Thaveephol

Pol. Lt. Gen. Prung Boonpadung, Provincial Police Region 5 commissioner has vowed that Chiang Mai and nearby areas will be rid of dark influences within next year.

Provincial Police Region 5 Commissioner Pol. Lt. Gen. Prung Boonpadung said that influential figures in and around Chiang Mai will be eradicated by next year, and all their illegal property confiscated.

The police have already started suppression to curb the number of weapons dealers and have issued arrest warrants for gunmen in the southern area of Chiang Mai and upper Lamphun. There will be a strict inspection, particularly in these areas and Chiang Dao because the people there have indicated there is a problem.

“The suspects will be arrested and all of their properties gained through illegal means will be confiscated. The public properties that illegally belong to influential figures will become the state’s properties,” said Pol. Lt. Gen. Prung.

The commissioner is convinced that there will be additional names after the investigation of those on the current list and suspects arrested. Police agents will be set into operation teams to specially cope with hired gunmen problems.

Pol. Lt. Gen Prung insisted that although the police already have all the dark influences and gang member’s names, the number of suspects is still top secret to prevent a security leak.

More kerfuffle over the Ban Mae Hor Phra quarry

Last month they wanted it open - this month they want it closed

Supatatt Dangkrueng

Protesters from Ban Mae Hor Phra gathered at Chiang Mai City Hall, calling for the operations of the quarry to cease and demanding that Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra intervene.

Banjob Ruensupa (left) presents a protest letter to Chiang Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat.

The protest group came from many villages in Tambon Ban Mae Hor Phra in Mae Taeng District, citing concerns for their environment. This was a renewed local protest of people in the district over the quarry operation project that is owned by a brother-in-law of Deputy Agriculture Minister Newin Chidchob.

They renewed their protest against the quarry, saying no action was taken to halt the project despite their June 22 petition to the PM. However, there had previously been a rally at city hall to re-open Ban Mae Hor Phra quarry on June 10, but then on July 3 the other group against the quarrying gathered and demanded its shutdown again.

Banjob Ruensupa, the protest leader and representative of villagers, presented a letter with the names of 2,650 people who oppose the quarry. The letter contained five propositions regarding the quarry and asked for Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to decide on the quarry dispute. They claimed that the quarry factory could damage natural resources, environment and tourism spots in villages nearby.

Unnamed sources said the “other support group” might have received money from businessmen, so the opposing group would like the authorities concerned to review the names of the quarry support group. Feelings are currently running so high that families have split because of different ideas and different political affiliations.

Chiang Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat met with the representatives of the protestors and assigned Wanchai Pipatsamut from the Chiang Mai Provincial Industrial Office to investigate. However, the quarry cannot be started up until the environmental impact study is released.

Confidence trickster bites officer during arrest

Woman allegedly made off with more than 12 million baht

Nantanee Jedsadachaiyut

A 39-year-old woman, Wanlapha Khan-archawa, a housekeeper in Chiang Mai was arrested at the Seventeen Hotel on Sukhumvit 71 Road, Bangkok after having been on the run for more than a month. She did not surrender without a fight, with one policeman injured when she bit him, but she was eventually overpowered.

Pol. Lt. Gen Prung Boonpadung, the commissioner of Provincial Police Region 5, said that Wanlapha cheated more than 12 million baht out of 12 victims, all owners of mobile phone shops around Chiang Mai, by telling them that she had 1-2-call cards at a low price; however, the victims had to first transfer the money to her before receiving the goods. After receiving money, she bolted.

Wanlapha showed no remorse when talking to the press and said that she was poor and needed money, and she did not know how to get any money other than by cheating greedy people.

Police don’t believe she acted alone, so they are continuing their investigation.

Wanlapha looks fully satiated sitting by as the police officer shows the wound where Wanlapha bit him during her arrest. (Photo by Nuttanee Thaveephol)

Wiang Haeng villagers oppose lignite mining project

Tilling the soil beats soiling the till

Nuttanee Thaveephol

A protest against the government’s mining project took place on July 1 with more than 20 representatives from Wiang Haeng District meeting at the Chiang Mai city hall to oppose the lignite mine construction and operation.

Boonyuen Kajai hands over a letter opposing lignite mining to Kwanchai Wongnitikorn, Chiang Mai Provincial Administration Office permanent secretary.

The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) had decided to construct a lignite mine in Ban San Duang Lee, Tambon San Hai, Wiang Haeng District, and EGAT expects that the environmental impact assessment will be done by their EGAT units as well as with the villagers in the area.

However, the villagers, under the banner of the Wiang Haeng Environment Conservation Network were seriously concerned about environmental impacts.

The leader of protestors, Boonyuen Kajai said that the villagers believe there would certainly be negative impacts even though the government told them they would be able to participate in every step of the procedure. However, the government’s proposal seemed to be unrealistic when the Wiang Haeng district chief sent them a letter prohibiting the village headman from becoming involved.

Boonyuen said, “We would rather be satisfied with our earnings growing by 4-5 thousand baht a month from cultivation than from any development project which threatens the health of our children through pollution from the lignite mine.”

The Environment Conservation Network’s statement also claimed that the construction would destroy more than 6,000 rai of forest area.

The Wiang Haeng villagers want to reject both the mine construction and the committee nominations, because the names proposed were not registered villagers.

95 teenage hoodlums wanted by police

Parents asked to look after their offspring

Nuttanee Thaveephol

Pol. Lt. Gen Prung Boonpadung, the commissioner of Provincial Police Region 5 said that there are 95 teenage hoodlums in the area. To counteract these miscreants, Pol. Lt. Gen Prung said that there would be a special operation team responsible for quelling the teen-age gangsters in Chiang Mai and 24-hour watches are being instituted.

The parents of these teenagers are being advised of the situation, hoping that this will become a way to solve the problem, and all government officers, police, and military officers are also advised to look after their children to ensure they are not becoming involved with gangsters. Every governor in the 8 provinces has also received a letter asking for their cooperation.

While the police will contact the parents of known offenders, all parents are advised to keep a look out for delinquent behavior by their children.

CMU academics support the Chiang Mai Zoo project

CMU signs MOU with CMZ

Nantanee Jedsadachaiyut

Chiang Mai Zoo and the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Chiang Mai University (CMU) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for academic collaboration at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Suwichai Rojanasathien, Dean of Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Chiang Mai University and Thanong Natheepitak, the director of Chiang Mai Zoo signed an MOU for academic collaboration.

The MOU is to improve the quality of life and living conditions of the wildlife in Chiang Mai Zoo, and to improve wildlife genetics, and was signed by Chiang Mai Zoo director Thanong Natheepitak and Assoc. Professor Dr. Suwichai Rojanasathien, Dean of Faculty of Veterinary Medicine.

The dean said that both Chiang Mai Zoo and the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine aim to work for the wildlife community and for the education of the human society. They would support one another in terms of knowledge, research, and medical care.

An example of this was when the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine began providing an education course on Clinical Veterinary Medicine, in which the students have a chance to work in a real situation, taking care of elephants and other wild animals in Chiang Mai Zoo.

“Wildlife is a valuable natural resource. When they come to stay with us, we should take a good care of them ... we always receive very good support from the Faculty,” said Thanong, the director of Chiang Mai Zoo.