Sudarat to ban alcohol advertisements in the media
Minister of Public Health Sudarat Keyuraphan announced
plans to ban all TV advertisements for alcohol, which she says create a
false perception to Thai teenagers. The minister revealed that she has been
preparing to ban all kinds of liquor commercials to change Thai teenagers’
attitudes toward drinking alcohol from thinking that it was ‘cool’ and
of Public Health Sudarat Keyuraphan announced that all advertisements for
alcohol should be prohibited from airing on television.
“Thailand should be concerned, and take serious action
on alcohol drinking before everything goes too far and gets worse. We have
to quickly change the image of drinking alcohol and decrease the huge demand
for alcohol,” she said.
This action aims to make Thai teenagers more aware of the
dangers of drinking alcohol as well as campaigning to reduce alcohol
consumption; however, it will be difficult not to go against the government
policy promoting local manufacturing of liquor.
Minister Sudarat expressed concerns over the commercial
advertisement ban because alcohol has been rooted in our society for a long
time, which can be seen through many ceremonies, such as weddings and even
The 4th International SEAG
symposium in Chiang Mai
Food security principal topic
The 4th International SEAG symposium on Food Security and
Sustainable Resource Management in a Market Economy was held in Chiang Mai.
The program was jointly organized by the
South-East-Asia-Germany-Alumni-Network (SEAG) Gottingen, Kassel and Marburg
Universities from Germany and Chiang Mai University to discuss the most
advanced techniques and exchange knowledge on food security.
participants from South East Asia gathered at the Amari Rincome Hotel,
Chiang Mai to participate in a workshop on ‘Food Security and Sustainable
Resource Management in a Market Economy.
Chiang Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat and Honorary German
Consul Hagen Dirksen presided over the opening ceremony, saying that they
were excited about this event and hope that this will prove of benefit to
Thailand as a leading agricultural country.
“I am so glad to see this symposium become reality as
without good collaboration from each university, this conference could not
take place. I believe that this is a most important topic,” the Chiang Mai
The workshop participants were from Cambodia, Germany,
Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand, mostly from the fields of
agriculture, forestry, fishery, food science, veterinary science, economics
and agri-business and higher education.
Chiang Mai governor Suwat said that marketing systems,
news and information are considered to be an important key to help people
make decisions and fill in gaps of an uncertainty, which always occurs in
The workshop was in line with the government’s plan to
take serious action on food security in order to upgrade a standard of Thai
agricultural products leading Thailand to be a number one in exporting
The seminar was held from October 13-17 at the Amari
Rincome Hotel, Chiang Mai, sponsored by the German Academic Exchange Service
(DDAD) and the German Ministry for Economic cooperation and Development (BMZ).
Chiang Rai people agree with the PM’s suppression of public opinion?
It appears that many Chiang Rai people are
against any public protests voiced during the APEC meeting being to be held
in Bangkok from October 17 -22, following Prime Minister Thaksin
Shinawatra’s call to protestors not to do this during the APEC because
they created negative images of the country, and their actions probably
affected the whole nation.
Sampan Maneewan, a Chiang Rai citizen called in to Radio
Thailand’s station in Chiang Rai, saying that he did not agree with the
groups who oppose the APEC summit in Bangkok and he encouraged the prime
minister to ask them to stop because these actions could destroy the
He said that it was worrying that while our nation was
peaceful and the economy was growing, it was possible that there would be
some people who wanted to make trouble during the summit.
Following the PM’s broadcast, the majority of callers
expressed their agreement with current government policies.
Chiang Saen Port opens, but not without a few problems
Not long enough to accommodate Chinese vessels
Chiang Saen Port, which had a soft opening on October 1,
was originally designed to accommodate eight vessels, but officials have now
realized that the Chinese ships it was built for are longer than they
expected, and they can only offer berthing for four Chinese ships.
Also, despite the fact that the China and Thai vegetable
and fruit taxes are supposed to be zero percent, effective on October 1, the
first day at the port was very quiet. It is thought that much of this comes
back to the government, which has made no official announcement about the
zero taxes. The fact that it is a rebate scheme is also unpopular, as
traders do not want to put the entire sum up front and rely on tax returns
Wanchai Sarntoontad, director general of the Department
of Maritime Transport and Commerce, said that in an attempt to increase the
popularity of the port, the department has announced that after the official
opening of Chiang Saen on November 7, boats cannot use alternative ports,
because they will be closed. As a result, six or seven ports are being put
out of service, only to be used with Chiang Saen runs out of berths.
Opinion is also that when the port becomes fully
operational, they will need to build warehousing and clear an area to park
trucks. The management has declared that this could be done on the 26 rai of
land belonging to the tobacco factory in front of the port; however, many
are saying that the location is too close to historical ruins and relics.
More discussion is obviously necessary.
Chiang Saen Port is under the control of the Port
Authority of Thailand. There will be a grand opening ceremony on November 7.
The duty free vegetable and fruit import/exports could
also affect produce from the Royal Project, as it has the same kinds of
fruit that are imported from China.
However, it appears that the government thinks it is
necessary for the country to be more concerned about prices as the Chinese
products are much cheaper than the products from the Royal Project. This in
turn will produce more local problems. Perhaps the pandas could be used as
What’s on the radio? Chiang Mai and “The people’s voice”
Headaches coming for the governor?
Chiang Mai people have their own channel
to express their views about their government, through Radio Thailand’s
‘The people’s voice’ program.
Opinions have been very varied, but many local residents
have bee in favour of government plans to make Thailand a leader in ASEAN.
Others suggested the government should talk to NGO
leaders and compromise on the problem of on-going demonstrations. Hill tribe
people in town was another topic, with callers suggesting they should be
given knowledge of law, family planning and drugs.
Land ownership is another problem people have asked the
government to clarify. Some people bought their land 10 years ago, but they
cannot carry out their business because of official red tape.
Another topic for discussion included teenage gangs
around Payap University, which is an ongoing concern. Residents asked the
government to take serious action against law-breakers. Some reported that
police came to accidents too late or some even reject the calls.
People also asked the government to solve the rubbish
problem and reconsider building a garbage incinerator in Tambon Padaed, as
well as looking at the encroachment of Mae Kha canal at the rear of Rajabhat
Institute, Chiang Mai where a building was built over the canal, and
draining polluted water.
People agreed that the government should cut down trees
covering electric cables to prevent short circuits, but trees on roadsides
should be carefully pruned to preserve Chiang Mai’s appearance.
Also, the Chiang Mai - Hot highway around km marker 58
needs to be repaired.
All these comments will be gathered by the Chiang Mai
Public Relations Department and summarized before presenting to Chiang Mai
Governor Suwat Tantipat to figure out the best solution.
Chiang Mai’s economy is up says BOT Northern Region
Unemployment expected to fall
Bank of Thailand (BOT) reports that Chiang Mai’s
economic and financial sectors are expanding overall, showing good
indicators for Chiang Mai’s economic status in the near future.
The manufacturing sector is continuing to grow, at a rate
of 18.4 percent or about 111.7 million US dollars, especially in
electronics, jewelry, transformers and motor products mainly exported to
Japan, USA and Singapore.
Exports increased to 26.4 percent or 152.1 million US
dollars, especially to Burma and China which have doubled, as well as
tourism which has only slightly increased from last year due to a decline
produced by SARS.
While the overall agricultural production of longans,
corn, rice and red onion decreased by 3.1 percent due to bad weather, the
returns increased by 13.8 percent following strong demand.
The BOT estimated that the number of unemployed will fall
due to the strong growth in the industrial manufacturing sector and tourism,
resulting in a high demand for employees in these areas of business.
Chiang Rai governor wants to revive local customs
But do people really want to go back in time?
Chiang Rai Governor Narin Panitchakit has asked Chiang Rai
residents to wear local costumes and speak “kam muang” northern language
to bring back Lanna customs as part of the new government CEO system.
He feels this could preserve all kinds of Lanna culture
and tradition which is now gradually disappearing from Chiang Rai as the
strong and rapid growth of modern civilization takes over, but he feels that
the local people should remember how precious the old culture is.
Governor Narin has ordered government and private sectors
to fly the Thai national flag in front of their offices as well as hoping to
enforce a policy to encourage people to wear local costumes every Friday and
purple shirts on every Tuesday.
He also said that he would like to hear Chiang Rai local
language being spoken while doing business, such as answering telephone
Chiang Rai is a very old province so there are many old
customs that need to be preserved and helped to flourish for our next
Maekhajarn Church cleaning up the local environment
On Sundays, Christian people go to their churches to
carry out religious ceremonies and attend to the tenets of the religion. In
Thailand, there will often be missionaries from foreign countries that come
to the churches to teach religion to the people, especially for the hill
tribes in the mountain areas.
Last Sunday many children from Maekhajarn Church of Hope
began cleaning up the area around the road in Maekhajarn district. This
activity was led by Ms. Joan Collision, a missionary from America who had
only been in Thailand for 10 days. She said that she will be here for about
4-5 years and will work at Maekhajarn Church of Hope. She added that she
felt very happy that everyone was working together and she was looking
forward to working with the local people herself.
Joan Collison with the members of Maekhajarn Church of Hope helped remove
garbage from the side of the road in Maekhajarn district, Chiang Rai.
children took part in the cleanup efforts.
17,000 HIV/AIDS cases in Chiang Mai
Situation becoming more serious
The HIV situation in Chiang Mai is becoming more serious
with 17,000 infected and 5,125 having died. Phan Wannamaethee, secretary
general of Thai Red Cross Society, presided over the opening ceremony of the
anonymous clinic at Chiang Mai Red Cross Station 3, providing advice about
blood examinations including HIV/AIDS testing, viral hepatitis, syphilis,
blood groups and CD4 checks.
The Chiang Mai Public Health Office’s survey has
revealed that there are 17,120 infected, 7,504 serious cases, and 5,125 have
died. Chiang Mai’s Muang district has the most cases (2,139) followed by
Hang Dong district with 1,489 cases.
It’s official - we are
the aviation hub
Of the Universe?
The cabinet has agreed in principle to promote Chiang Mai
International Airport as the aviation hub of this region, by firstly
improving all facilities to cope with a hoped for increasing number of
Chiang Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat said that the
government believes in the potential capability of Chiang Mai City to be the
regional hub for the airlines. The Cabinet approved the budget for 2003-2006
to promote Chiang Mai International Airport under the supervision of the
Thai government and the Airport Authority of Thailand.
The first step will deal with improving all facilities
and examining the strength of the runways and improving car parking.
The Chiang Mai governor added that this project was
relevant with the high tourist season in Chiang Mai normally beginning in
October, expecting an increasing number of inbound and outgoing flights and
perhaps even some giant pandas from China.
Development Plan underway
Tourism and renovations high in the order
Lamphun Municipality has come up with a
plan to develop the city through the Greater Mekong Sub region (GMS)
promotional campaign, by renovating Mahawan Gate and launching the
historical tourism plan.
Lamphun Mayor Praphat Phucharoen said that the 2004
Lamphun Development Plan for the municipality is the result of accumulating
public opinion, which expressed the view that they wanted Lamphun to be a
city with a beautiful environment, rich with old culture and have a high
This plan had five main projects, 20 major plans and 27
minor plans, with approximately 260 overall projects and require a budget
worth about 695,543,770 baht. This government plan was subsidized by a
development project for the city in the GMS of about 30 million baht.
Mayor Praphat added that the renovation of Mahawan Gate
and other city gates were under careful supervision of the Fine Arts
Department. Some moats around the inner Lamphun municipality will be
connected with a bridge, with a pathway for pedestrians and bicycles, which
will boost Lamphun tourism.
Third Army assures anti-
drug measures are working
Will keep up the vigilance
Lt. Gen. Picharnmeth Muangmanee, the Third
Army Region’s commander, recently visited the border areas to get to know
at first hand the situation regarding drugs in Mae Hong Son. Whilst there,
he said that the drug suppression operation of the Third Army Region in
conjunction with Mae Hong Son provincial authorities, including soldiers,
border patrol police and provincial police, had achieved excellent results,
with a haul of 6 million methamphetamine pills and 86 kg of heroin.
The army commander expressed confidence in the drug
suppression operations of the Third Army Region to control drugs along the
border areas while the task force units were ordered to remain vigilant. The
units were asked to build good understanding among residents along the
borders of Thailand and stay alert after a tip off, saying that millions of
pills were waiting to be smuggled into the country.
Even though the drug production sites in the neighboring
countries were closed down due to decreased demands, the Army would continue
suppressing drug smuggling into the country and would continue to search for
100,000 Thai born children lack citizenship
Government asked to introduce measures
to take care of basic needs
Registrants at the 3rd seminar on children with no
citizenship were told that more than 100,000 children living along the
border areas of Thailand were without citizenship, which blocks them from
opportunities to obtain basic needs provided by the government.
The problem of children born in Thailand with no
citizenship was the main topic of discussion at the seminar, which was
organized by Payap University and other eleven other concerned
organizations. Speakers expressed concerns, saying that the problem needs an
urgent decisive solution from the government because it excludes children
from the education system, travel activities, living conditions and
occupations in Thailand.
Chiang Rai senator Tuanjai Deethes as the House
Representative on the sub committee to study ways to solve the problem,
pointed out that most cases are caused either by the parents’ ignorance of
citizenship registration or by the parents’ frequent movements between
Thailand and neighboring countries.
The citizenship act states that people who entered the
country after 1985 are regarded as having no valid status to be granted Thai
nationality, which has left more than 100,000 children with no citizenship,
especially those living along the border areas of Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai,
Mae Hong Son, and Tak provinces in the northern region. Basic needs in terms
of educational opportunities and medical services should be introduced by
the government as a human rights concerns, she said.
Chiang Mai looking for rain to ease drought
We’ll make it, if it doesn’t come naturally, says governor
Chiang Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat said that rain is
urgently needed in Chiang Mai or some areas will face water shortages in the
near future. The governor claimed that he was not ignoring this problem and
had surveyed whether there is a chance of oncoming rain. If not, the
government will rapidly move to make artificial rain while there are enough
rain-bearing nimbus clouds and appropriate humidity to supply water for the
Governor Suwat added that any place facing drought right
now could call the upper north’s Royal Rain-making Operations Center, at
Tired truck says “Enough”
A large truck ran backward off the road on the range up
to Doi Nang Kaew, bordering the area between Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. The
driver said that he was going to Chiang Rai and when he reached this area,
the road was quite steep and the truck eventually just ran out of power and
could not make the climb. It then began rolling backwards and he was unable
to stop the vehicle falling into the ditch at the side of the road.
tired truck lies down beside the road on the way to Chiang Rai.
Rescue workers found it very difficult to winch the truck
out of the accident scene because the truck was lying on one side. Kum
Duangdee, the truck driver, said he was not as fortunate as his surname
would suggest, because Duangdee means “lucky” in Thai. He also showed
that despite the accident he had a well developed sense of humor, saying
that it might be that the truck was very tired and wanted to lie down for a
Fake gold rush in town
Indonesian couple apprehended
A police team led by Pol. Maj. Gen. Jumnong Kaewsiri, the
commander of Chiang Rai’s provincial police station, gave a press
conference saying that the provincial police along with the tourist police
had arrested Sofidan Saputa and Brecaded A-narenkari, an Indonesian couple
who had been charged with defrauding residents in Chiang Rai, but he assured
everyone that no evidence of terrorist activities was found.
The con-artists’ haul included 24 pairs of bronze
bracelets with fake gold plating, 14,000 baht and other fraudulent
documents, all found at the Wangcome Hotel in Chiang Rai following a
complaint from Sumalee Limpakanjanarat, a gold shop owner, saying that the
couple had cheated her when pawning their fake bracelets.
The commander repeated that there was no evidence related
to terrorist activities against the couple and documentary evidence showed
they had been traveling in Thailand since 2002. They claimed their
fraudulent practices were aimed to cover travel expenses.
Others who consider they have been cheated by the couple
should file a complaint with the provincial police station.
Police arrest illegal log lifter
Poacher found to be another police officer
An illegal logging operation was uncovered in Long
district of Phrae province, with police apprehending a haul of 29 teakwood
logs, power saws and two vehicles.
The police team, led by Pol. Lt. Col. Sathien Somrit, the
superintendent of Long Police Station, stopped a pickup with Lampang
registration, and a 6-wheel truck registered in Phrae at the police
checkpoint, when the two suspected vehicles were seen traveling at high
The driver of the pickup was later identified as Pol.
Sgt. Sena Krue-in, from Chalerm Phrakiart Police Station in Nan province,
with his partner Arnant Kankar, being a truck driver.
The two suspects were charged with illegal logging after
the team found 29 logs 3 meters in length and 30 centimeters in diameter
hidden in the truck, plus another chain saw. Both men were sent to Pol. Maj.
Surapet Kasetpaet, the investigating police officer, for further
Bail was denied for the accused policeman and appropriate
comments were written into his police record. Probably something like
“Wooden it be silly to get caught!”
Known drug dealer killed in police raid
38-year-old Hmong drug dealer, Ser Saeyang,
of Tambon Yangmern, Samoeng district was shot dead by police in Chiang Mai
Muang Mai project, Tambon Sunpakwan, Hang Dong district during a drug
handover. The dealer was part of the Kokang drug ring and was gunned down
with nearly 4,000 drug pills in his possession, according to the police
In addition to the methamphetamine pills, police
confiscated a .38 mm pistol and a Chiang Mai registered vehicle, plus one
million baht cash found at the scene.
During the police investigation, it was ascertained that
the deceased worked as a jewelry seller at the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar while
his wife, a native Hmong on Doi Suthep Pui Mountain, had already been
arrested twice on drug related charges. The couple were considered part of
the Kokang drug network and were on the police blacklist.
Pol Lt. Gen Chalor Chuwong, commissioner of Provincial
Police Bureau Region 5, pointed out that the pills were from the Kokang
Laowa network in Mae Chaem district that formerly owned the heroin refinery.
Mae Sai Customs seize
500,000 baht in contraband
Pachorn Sinswat, Mae Sai Customs chief
officer, said that Mae Sai Customs has increased its working hours to cover
24 hours a day, resulting in a 90% increase in tax revenues compared to last
August, estimated to be about 3 million baht.
However, smuggling is still going on, and officers
recently found clothing worth 500,000 baht, which smugglers were attempting
to smuggle in.
The officers added that they had not caught the
ringleader but only a hired mule and would keep all the goods for 30 days
before transferring them to the government.
Customs officers are considering this a serious case and
it is one reason why they have stepped up their 24 hour surveillance.
Fake ID gang caught in Chiang Rai
But arrests were real
Chiang Rai police and Chiang Rai volunteers raided the
premises of a fake ID gang in the heart of Chiang Rai and found many
counterfeit documents. The mastermind was not apprehended in the raid, but a
real warrant was issued for his arrest.
Chiang Rai District Chief Officer Sanit Phusangthong
ordered Supak Sawaetvisuvat, permanent secretary of the Security Office, to
bring 10 voluntary officers in cooperation with police led by Pol Maj
Anandate Yavichai, investigative officer of Chiang Rai Police Station, to
raid a house on Rajchabamrung Road, Soi 2, in Chiang Rai’s Muang District.
The residence belonged to Ampai Suksanguan, a member of the fake ID gang.
A search team found only Thitima Sumanak, Ampai’s
daughter and four other members, two of them hiding in a wardrobe. All of
them initially denied being involved but later confessed when confronted
with the police evidence.
Permanent Secretary Supak said that he had been on the
trail of the gang for some time, but lacked convincing evidence until Adu
Suemua was arrested with one of the fake IDs.
The police added that Thai officials were not involved
with this gang but as this illegal process can affect Thai national
security, they are asking anyone with information to please come forward.
17 aliens arrested in Phrae
Some for the second time
Police in Phrae arrested seventeen aliens on illegal entry
charges. Some of them were identified as the same group who had been already
repatriated one month ago.
The aliens, four men and thirteen women, were apprehended
in a pick-up after a police chase led by Pol. Lt. Col. Veerachai
Wichaithanapat, the inspector of Highway Police Station at the police
checkpoint in Ban Mae Kam Mee, Muang Phrae district. The pickup was
previously seen traveling at high speeds and ignored police checks.
When police found the
driver’s license in the pick-up, identifying him as
Sumrit Srinimnual, a 33 year old resident of Phrae Phadaeng, they discovered
that he was already on the wanted list.
The vehicle and aliens were held and sent to Muang Phrae
District Police Station for further processing under Thai law.
The arrested aliens told police they had entered Thailand
through Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai, aided by a broker who arranged
transportation for them to Bangkok. Four of them had also been previously
arrested on charges of illegal entry in Phrae, fined and deported last