on the way
and fires a hazard
The Public Hazard Center in Mae Hong Son
province is warning people to be prepared for the upcoming cold season.
During winter each year, there are always natural disasters caused by the
weather in the north and northeastern parts of Thailand.
This is as the result of the high pressure or cold front
moving from China and then covering the upper north of Thailand. At this
time of year, the change in the weather brings on colds and sickness,
especially in the old and infirm.
The droughts that occur at this time of year also result
in forest fires caused by indiscriminate use of fires for heating.
This time of year also produces road hazards as there
will be thick morning mist in early morning and evening in Mae Hong Son
province. All motorists should be aware of this and drive accordingly.
Karen’s attack on Burmese
soldiers has produced
a border alert
Volunteer defense forces needed for border
The Khaya Karen minority group has attacked Burmese
soldiers which resulted in Burmese people swarming into Thailand, but they
are being repulsed and returned to their own side of the border by Thai
The battle between the Burmese soldiers and the Khaya
minority group occurred opposite Ban Klang, Mae Hong Son. The Ban Klang
villagers could hear the noise of gun fighting and heavy weapon fire for
more than 30 minutes.
Authorities have coordinated with the 17th Infantry
Regiment’s Reservists to control the situation along the Thai-Burmese
border in Mae Hong Son, to set up the 1st Territorial Volunteer Defense
Division in case the border situation deteriorates.
“We will push those people who crossed over the border
back to their own country and prepare our Thai troops to be on alert and be
ready at all times,” said one Thai authority.
“However, the local people have to keep a close eye on
any situation and if they find aliens in Thailand they should inform the
officials and military officers immediately. We will also prohibit Thai
people going to the Burmese side because they may be kidnapped and held for
ransom by some of those groups,” warned the Mae Hong Son authority.
Flogging OTOP to the world
Let’s hope it isn’t a dead horse
Chiang Mai provincial authorities have just held a
seminar, at Chiang Mai Phucome Hotel, to examine the promotion and future
marketing of local OTOP products.
Chiang Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat was the chairman at
the seminar, whose members were sharing experiences, knowledge and problems,
to help find the ways to increase and realize the potential of OTOP.
Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat chaired the OTOP meeting at Chiang Mai Phucome
At the seminar, Governor Suwat said, “The intensive
strategies for the future possibilities will be in the changes to promote
Chiang Mai to be an aviation hub, while Chiang Rai will be the Gateway to
Asia, Mae Hong Son to be the Spa City with its natural sources in the area
and OTOP will be used as the symbolic products of the northern region.”
Products from the northern region are becoming well known in the world
market with almost 200 million baht being brought into the country from the
sales of OTOP products. It was also noted that most of the OTOP products
from the north have five star ratings.
Border district promoting Home Stays
Mae Ai district on the Thai-Burma border has begun a Home
Stay Traveling promotion. It has backing from several government
organizations and agencies including the “Small Hut in The Huge Forest
Project” under the royally initiated scheme of His Majesty the King in Doi
Pah Hom Pok mountain range.
Adisorn Kamnerdsiri, Mae Ai district chief officer, said
they have had local meetings to plan promotional campaigns and make
preparations for the tourist accommodations.
It was hoped that visitors could experience the lifestyle
of the villagers and see the local handicrafts, silverware and
cross-stitching. “We will ensure the villagers welcome the tourists and
visitors. The home stay project will kick off next year,” said Adisorn.
1st Southeast Asia Water Forum in Chiang Mai
Water conservation number one.
Did the speakers get cold water I wonder?
The first Southeast Asia Water Forum was held from
November 17-21 at the Empress Hotel Chiang Mai with the cooperation of
Chiang Mai provincial authorities, Water Resource Department, the Royal
Irrigation Department, Water Resource Association, Global Water
Partnership-Southeast Asia Technical Advisory Committee, Engineering Faculty
of Chiang Mai University and Ground Water Resource Department.
presenters, delegates and participants gathered on stage to show great
cooperation. (Photo by Phornphimon Thimsat)
Nimith Damrongrat, the deputy minister of the prime
minister’s office, presided over the opening ceremony on behalf of Deputy
Prime Minister Suvit Khunkitti, saying, “I hope that after the forum is
over, the Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) will be efficiently
used in our region and nation. All the Southeast Asians will walk together
to find better results for our region.”
Southeast Asia is one of many regions fertile with water
resources. However, there are several things missing in this region
including the determination, collection and connection of the water problems
as united problems of the whole region.
To have regional strategies and cooperation in terms of
policy and solutions, the Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM)
appears the best strategy to use and it is acceptable world wide.
More than 400 people participated from 10 countries:
Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines,
Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand. Seven main themes were being presented such
as water and sanitation service for health, conflict resolution and basin
organizations, community and local management of water resources, water,
environment and ecosystems, integrated coastal area and river basin
management, water and food and the last theme; floods and droughts.
People attending the forum felt that now is the time for people all over
the Southeast Asian region to realize the importance of water and how to
conserve water sources. Sustainable development and management will be the
Development of San Kamphaeng district forging ahead
According to the San Kamphaeng Development Project, the
construction of Koung San Kamphaeng is aimed to promote the district as a
center of tourism as it was in the past.
It is proposed to build the centre on eight 8 rai of land
owned by the district office which would feature parking space for tour
busses, restaurants, OTOP booths, tourist information, restrooms, a San
Kamphaeng museum, and a hall dedicated to the history of Prime Minister
To publicize this project, JSL Entertainment has been
hired to run shows under the theme of San Kamphaeng - The Source of Lanna
Folklore, beginning December 13 this year and running for 10 weeks from 12
noon - 10 p.m.
The entertainment will be along the road starting from
the San Kamphaeng District office to the front of the main market of San
Klang Pra village. The weekly programs cover silk, cotton, souvenirs,
silverware, ceramic, umbrella making, woodcarving, Sa paper, a San Kamphaeng
beauty contest and fashion show.
According to San Kamphaeng District officials, the
construction of the new government district center will also be done on land
that is currently Treasury Department property in the Mae On Tobacco Office
area. However this project is waiting for approval from the Ministry of
Finance, district officials said.
Finally, the construction of Chiang Mai- San Kamphaeng
Cultural Road, along the old Highway 1006 would be undertaken, after the
Department of Highways has finished processing tenders for the construction.
It is expected that the winning tender will be under 208.5 million baht.
Little Miss Noppamas Beauty Contest in San Kamphaeng
37 young kindergarten girls participated in the Miss
Noppamas Beauty Contest in San Kamphaeng District. Organized by the Bua
Restaurant, former MP Khingkarn na Chiang Mai presided over the opening
ceremony with Dr. Tawil Buajeen.
Tawil Buajeen presented first prize to Suthida Mahawan.
The Winner was Junior Noppamas number 28, Suthida Mahawan “Ying”
(Thepbadin School), the 1st Runner-up was Wannarat Na Lumphun (Bunthamphesat
Shop) and the 2nd Runner-up was Supawadee Sorawong “Kra Tai” (Premreudee
School) who was also Miss Popular Girl.
Chiang Mai International Airport gains development budget
Flying Officer Sutara Houngsuwan, the
Airport Authority of Thailand’s executive director for Chiang Mai, said
Chiang Mai Airport is ready to be developed into the aviation hub of the
north following the government’s policy to develop air transportation
services and facilities in the region.
Mai International Airport at night.
At the beginning of this year Prime Minister Thaksin
Shinawatra assigned the Ministry of Transport and Communications to look at
the possibilities of developing either Chiang Mai, Phuket, Hat Yai, Khon
Kaen, Udon Thani or Ubon Ratchathani airports. The end result was Chiang Mai
and Phuket Airports getting the go ahead.
For the triennium 2003-2006, the Thai government has set
aside a substantial budget, with Chiang Mai’s portion being quite a bit
larger than Phuket’s portion. The details of the development include the
expansion of the international passenger’s lounge with a budget of 15
million baht, the construction of a walking path connection and aero bridges
to the planes and a bus gateway for 95 million baht, the improvement of the
passenger terminal, 308 million baht and an environmental impact assessment
(EIA) at 3 million baht.
The director said most of development work will start at
the end of 2003, and there could be interruptions to the usual smooth flow
within the airport terminal.
French Ambassador pays official visit to Chiang Mai
Thomas Baude, French Honorary Consul in Chiang Mai had
the great pleasure to welcome HE Laurent Aublin, the French ambassador and
his wife Pascale in the garden of the Alliance Francaise in Chiang Mai.
Varna, Anil Varna (Indian Consul to Chiang Mai) chatting with Nit Wangviwat
(Hon. Consul of Canada).
Laurent Aublin, who always wanted to be stationed in
Thailand, since he first visited the country in 1975, is a specialist in
Asian affairs and after living in Hong Kong as well as in Jakarta feels at
home in Bangkok.
It was their first official visit to Chiang Mai and many members of the
diplomatic corps Chiang Mai were present to welcome Laurent and Pascale
Aublin. Laurent and Pascale, who are both great lovers of art and music plan
to promote French artists and might even start a French cultural festival in
2004, which of course would also be of benefit for Chiang Mai.
left: Nit Wangviwat with his wife (Hon. Consul of Canada), Poo Baude with
her daughter Pan hiding behind her, Supawat Poowakul (Hon. Consul of
Finland), Mrs. and Mr. Peng Ren Dong (Consul General of the People’s
Republic of China), in the front Prang Baude (8), behind her Pascale and HE
Laurent Aublin (Ambassador of France) watched over by Thomas Baude (Hon.
Consul of France to Ching Mai), Eric Rubin (Consul General of the USA) with
his wife Nicole, Michael Vogt (MD Chiangmai Mail), Wanphen and Hagen Dirksen
(Hon. Consul of the Fed. Republic of Germany to Chiang Mai).
Do you want some deafness to go with your software, Sir?
Noise prevails at Chiang Mai Computer Fair
Thousands of computer buffs and ordinary ‘users’
flocked through the gates of the CMU International Center on the final day
of the Chiang Mai Computer Fair 2003.
came to enjoy looking at the newest IT gadgets at the CMU International
Hundreds of professional retail booths had been set up,
all trying to attract potential customers and their wallets, presenting
colorful displays of computer hardware, with ever present sales staff
handing out kilograms of flyers and brochures, manning video presentations,
and producing much noise.
Some sales executives must have been working on “the
louder, the better” concept. But this is not the way in my book. Whilst
most visitors of a fair such as this intend to spend money, it was
impossible to communicate with most of the sales reps without yelling at
each other, because one had to overcome the 150 dB of the competitors next
door. I prefer to spend my money in the quiet atmosphere of a computer shop.
However, at least two people I know of were happy that day - the first
one being my banker, as I did not have to overdraw my account again, and the
second one being my wife, as I did not get home with a new and, of course,
much needed gadget.
Ban Huoak on the Thai-Lao border to be another checkpoint?
The Foreign Affairs Ministry is preparing
to promote the temporary checkpoint of Ban Huoak, Phayao province, on the
Thai-Laos border to be a full checkpoint to promote tourism and trade for
Surakiart Sathirathai, Minister of Foreign Affairs
visited the checkpoint and mentioned the possibility that this checkpoint in
Baan Huoak will probably be upgraded following the proposal of Phayao
“In my personal opinion, I agree with the change
because this could make the tourism and trading better. However, I still
have to take this matter to be discussed with the National Security Council
of Thailand first,” he said.
There is another proposal to support the Laos government
by construction of a road link into Laos for approximately 42 km, and this
is possible to do because this matter is within the scope of the economic
cooperation with neighboring countries. This matter will be brought into the
discussion between the Foreign Minister of Laos and his Thai counterpart at
their next meeting.
Eight northern provinces to become the Lanna Group
The northern region has a new strategy in bringing all
eight provinces from the upper north under the one umbrella. The board of
directors for the Committee of Screening Strategy Development of the
provincial group have suggested there be only one entity in the region,
called the Lanna Group which has high potential in the trade and investment
plans in the future.
Athikom Supannapong, deputy governor of Lampang,
presented the CEO strategies of his province to the screening committee at
Bangkok. Somkid Jatusripitak, deputy prime minister as the director of the
committee thought that if the two major provincial groups of Chiang Mai,
Lampang, Lamphun, and Mae Hong Son provincial group and Chiang Rai, Phayao,
Phrae, and Nan provincial group joined together, this would be beneficial
for all provinces.
The board also recommended that Chiang Rai become the
gateway to Indochina and Chiang Mai be the IT City.
Deputy Prime Minister Somkid added more about the
outstanding potential in each province such as eco-tourism in Nan, ceramics
in Lampang, inland fisheries of Phayao province and Northern Region
Industrial Estate in Lamphun and Chiang Mai.
Elephant recovers after miscarriage
Second success in the world
A team of veterinarians from the National
Elephant Institute in Lampang and doctors from Chiang Mai University have
made history with a successful operation to rescue an elephant that had
The 32-year-old elephant, “Pang Chan Daeng”, had
mated with Seedor Satit in the beginning of the year 2000, but she had gone
past term. The veterinarians found that there was compelling evidence that
the baby had died, and the mother was in pain, prompting the heroic
The operation took three hours to remove the body of the
baby who had died more than one year ago.
In the past, in a situation like this the mother would
die within three days after the operation. There is only one other case
where the mother survived (at a zoo in Germany) and “Pang Chan Daeng” is
only the second case in the world to survive, following the success of the
Thai veterinarian team.
New SME Bank opens
Anyone for an NPL?
The Small and Medium Size Enterprises Development Bank of
Thailand (SME Bank) is now open for business. Thitsadee Chusiriwong, the
manager of this SME Bank said their function was to support SMEs and make
access to investment sources much easier.
The SME Bank has launched new services in leasing, and
loans for overseas Thai enterprises and make loans available for exporters.
Thitsadee explained that leasing periods included 3
month, 7 month and 1 year depending upon the values of the assets. In
addition, he said, this service does not require taking a mortgage over
property as a guarantee.
Anyone wishing to avail themselves of this new service
must register. Loans for SME exporters in the northern region are available
for many types of exports, except agriculture and real estate sectors which
are supported by Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC)
as well as The Government Housing Bank.
This year, the SME Bank provided loans worth 350 million
baht. Thitsadee expected that by this year end, the SME Bank would release
credit of not less than 500 million baht to the people seeking loans.
Fingerprint collection begins for US visa applicants in Thailand
Center, Public Affairs, U.S. Embassy
On Friday, November 14, 2003 the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok
will begin collecting fingerprints from most applicants for nonimmigrant
visas. The collection of a “biometric* identifier” was mandated in
Homeland Security Act of 2002. Fingerprints were chosen because they believe
them to be the most effective and least intrusive biometric available.
The law requires that all U.S. embassies and consulates
start collecting fingerprints by October 26, 2004. By the end of November
2003, about thirty posts will be collecting fingerprints.
The Consular Section will take prints of the right and
left index fingers. Fingerprints will be taken electronically. No ink is
used, and the process takes only a few seconds.
All visa applicants will be fingerprinted except: (1)
children under 14 years of age; (2) applicants over 79 years of age; (3)
employees of foreign governments and international organizations traveling
on official business.
Only those who are applying for a new visa must be
fingerprinted. Previously issued visas will remain valid; no one will need
to renew a valid visa until it expires. Travelers who do not require a visa
do not need to come to the embassy to be fingerprinted, though their
fingerprints will be taken when they arrive in the U.S.
Travelers entering the U.S. will have their fingerprints
matched to those collected at the time of visa application, thereby
preventing use of the visa by anyone other than the individual it was issued
to. Information on the implementation of this system at U.S. ports of entry
is available on the Department of Homeland Security’s website at:
Fingerprints will be used only by authorized officials
and for official purposes. There are no plans or agreements to share
fingerprints with any foreign government.
The collection of fingerprints is the latest step in the
U.S. government’s efforts to improve the security of the visa process.
These efforts will enhance the security of U.S. citizens and visitors,
expedite legitimate travel and trade, and ensure the integrity of the
immigration system, a press release from the US Embassy read.
* A “biometric identifier” is a measurable, physical
characteristic of a person which can be used to uniquely identify that
person. Biometric identifiers include: the face, fingerprints, hand
geometry, handwriting, patterns in the eye’s iris and retina, voice and
others. The U.S. National Institutes of Standards and Technology recommended
the use of fingerprints as the biometric to be used for visa purposes.
Sports Day held for
Tunnel digging and fence leaping very popular
Chiang Mai Women’s Correctional Institute held its
sport day for prisoners last week, with Thongchai Wongrianthong, Chiang Mai
deputy governor, presiding over the opening ceremony.
Wongrianthong, Chiang Mai deputy governor, gave the opening speech at the
ceremony held at the Institute.
Thongchai said it is important that every organization
realize the need for the war on drugs and respond to the government policy.
To back this up, the women arranged an exhibition on the dangers of drugs.
The director of the institute, Nowwarat Thanasrisutharat,
said that the objectives were to use sporting activities for creating
awareness about the problems with drugs. Four sports were played, included
volleyball, basketball, badminton, and the cheerleader teams.
This Sports Day activity was also held to promote His Majesty the
King’s birthday on December 5, 2003.
give it their all in the Cheerleader Contest.
rah, sis boom bah, get me outta here, ya, ya, ya!
fashion show of products from the Women’s Correctional Institute was
Chiang Rai in attempts to counter the dark influences
Everyone being issued with torches?
Chiang Rai’s provincial governor does not worry about
his being the pilot province countering dark influences, says Narin
“Chiang Rai has long border lines with neighbors Burma
and Laos, so it is hard to suppress all, because there are some suspects
which escape to reside in the neighboring countries. We are cooperating with
the local officials and request the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to help
He welcomes the 60-day countdown against drugs as part of
the celebrations for His Majesty the King’s birthday. This year Chiang Rai
has no serious problems and about 80 percent of the plan has been completely
done,” said Governor Narin.
Mae Sai Border turns lively
Customs officials promising security (and inconvenience)
Mae Sai Customhouse officials are
predicting that the business and the tourism sectors at the Mae Sai border
will be lively once more after a period of gloom and doom recently.
Pachara Sinsawas, a Mae Sai Customs official said that
there had been unrest in the Mae Sai area, opposite Burma’s Tachilek
province in the past, but now the Mae Sai border in Chiang Rai is picking up
again. “It is improving because it is going into the high season for
tourists and also following the cooperation between the Thai and Burmese
officials Mae Sai is peaceful right now,” he said.
“The situation in Mae Sai was produced by a group of
persons who were fighting our strict measures against illegal products and
smuggling. However, we will have even more measures to catch contraband and
drug smugglers, but I will apologize in advance to the travelers for any
inconvenience too,” said Pachara.
Appeal for public support for female prisoners
Mrs. Naowarat Thanasrisutharat, director of the
Female’s Correction Institution has revealed that female prisoners have
some extreme social and personal problems. In addition, over 300 female
inmates were found to be illiterate from the total number of 1,942
Mrs. Naowarat said she has appointed the committee to
look into the provision of social welfare and urgent help in terms of
urgently giving them education.
She said that the institution aims to help these
prisoners return to society and be well educated. Some of them had the
ability to study further towards a bachelor degree at Sukhothai
Thammathirath Open University, but they could not afford the fees.
Alienation from the outside world is also a problem.
“At present, 60 percent of all prisoners here have no visits from
There are also shortages in personal use items for the
female prisoners and director Naowarat has requested the society outside
help support these female prisoners by providing them intimate daily use
Mrs. Naowarat remarked that financial donations are used
to buy necessities, and especially sanitary napkins which are really
Almost 20 prisoners are pregnant and close to delivery,
leaving a responsibility to provide milk for their newborn babies.
Director Naowarat concluded that the Female Correction
Institution’s most pressing needs are textbooks and sanitary napkins.
Another sting goes wrong
Another policeman gets a helicopter ride
The drug suppression police task force from and officers
from the Office of the Narcotics Control Board mounted a sting operation
against the Hmong drug dealers’ movement, resulting in the death of one
drug dealer and one policeman injured.
The police task force was led by Pol Lt Col Somboon
Homnan who had planned a sting operation, attempting to buy 50,000
methamphetamine from the hill tribe drug dealers at Ban Pang Khum. The
police raided the methamphetamine refineries but the dealers had obviously
been tipped off before the police handed over the marked money and a gun
After the shoot-out, police found that one drug courier
had been killed and Pol. Sgt. Maj Somsak Puangpak had been shot in the left
arm and was taken to Maharaja Hospital by the Border Patrol Police
helicopter. Police pursued the other five drug runners, but they were fleet
of foot and left the police flat-footed as they escaped into the nearby