Youth gang violence erupts in Chiang Mai
One bomb, many gunshots ring out over holidays
At least two people were injured over the Christmas
holiday during separate rival youth gang related attacks in Chiang Mai, as
youth gang violence has begun to escalate.
residents Im-boon Housing Estate awoke Christmas Day to find windows broken
from an explosive devise detonated the previous night during rival youth
gang fights nearby.
Late Christmas Eve, a bomb was detonated close to the
Chiangmai Mail offices, and the Chiangmai Mail editor’s residence, in the
Im-boon Housing Estate, Muang District. Apparently rival youths gangs began
brawling during their holiday party at the new entertainment outlets in the
area, which spilled over into the housing estate nearby.
Witnesses reported that after the bomb exploded,
“things became real quiet,” and that a tuk-tuk drove up and collected a
body and drove off. At the time of going to press, it is unknown the extent
of the injuries the person suffered. However, within five minutes after the
blast, no one connected with the attack, victims or perpetrators, were left
at the scene.
The following morning, when residents dared to venture
out to inspect the damage, some found that one or more of their windows had
been broken by debris from the previous night’s explosion.
Late the next night, at about 2:50 a.m., the silence was
broken when shots rang out at the same entertainment complex. Witnesses
counted 11 shots being fired.
One young man was shot twice and taken to the hospital.
At the time of going to press, the identity of the victim and the extent of
his injuries were also unknown.
Witnesses closer to the scene, including Chiangmai
Mail’s security guard, said that the other 7-9 shots were fired
indiscriminately and meant as a warning for rival gang members.
Two motorcycles carrying 3 young men each were seen
fleeing from the scene, past the Chiangmai Mail offices and into the night.
The makeshift entertainment complexes in this area have become notorious
for gang violence and allegedly selling drugs to teenagers. Residents have
asked police to do something about it, and police, in turn, have petitioned
the governor to have these places closed permanently.
35 lucky dogs
rescued from a horrible death
Lucky Dogs Club, Chiang Mai, seeks help
Last week, 35 dogs meant for the cooking pot were saved
from a horrible death by Sanya Sukrasorn (a lawyer and member of the Thai
Animal Guardian Association).
pick-up carrying the poor creatures, was stopped, and the dogs were spared
by buying them for 5000 baht. Police General, Samnient Wonghingh and his
wife, kindly offered their land as temporary shelter.
The dogs are now housed behind the Chiang Mai Ram I
Hospital, kindly provided by the owner of the hospital, and the Ban Mha ka
Meaw Animal Hospital has given them medical treatment and vaccinations, free
The Lucky Dogs Club, a newly established animal protection group in
Chiang Mai support Sanya Sukrasorn in providing food and care and finding
homes. The club is appealing from help from the Chiang Mai people. Any
donation is welcome, or if you are interested or know somebody who is
interested to adopt one or more dogs, you can contact them at tel. 0 5334
2362 (daytime) or 0 9997 8146 or contact Sanya directly: tel. 0 5381 8749,
email: sanya [email protected] hotmail.com
Pandas in good health and
ready for New Year visitors
Happy and 10 kg heavier
Prasertsak Buntragulpoontawee, project manager for panda
research said the Chiang Mai Zoo is ready to welcome visitors during the New
Year Festival, though admitted that if there are too many, they will have to
separate visitors into groups, allowing each only 15 minutes in the viewing
in a comfortable mood.
Dr. Chakorn Kunkaew, the panda veterinarian said the ywo giant pandas
were very healthy after their health check-up. Now they were 115 kilograms
in weight, an increase of 10 kilograms over their arrival weight. Dr.
Chakorn explained that panda’s weights were variable around 5 kilograms.
It also showed that Chuang Chuang and Lin Hin could completely adjust to the
weather in Thailand.
Rehabilitation of Ping River continues
Out of ICU in three years, says government
Many Ping River organizations attended the ceremony to
launch the Ping River Basin Rehabilitation Plan in Chiang Mai, with PM
Thaksin Shinawatra presiding accompanied by Natural Resources and
Environment Minister Prapat Panyachartrak.
Panyachartrak, minister for Natural Resources and Environment launches the
It is obvious that the Ping River is in a critical
condition, due to toxic chemicals and contamination from farms as well as
wastewater discharge from hotels and factories.
The Ping river’s course has narrowed from 200 meters to
50 meters as land reclamation has been implemented. Conflicts over water use
among hill tribe people, farmers and urban residents, and forest degradation
in the river basin also need solutions.
Thaksin Shinawatra (rear from L), with Praphat Payachartrak, Natural
Resources and Environment Minister, Plodprasop Suratsawadee, the
director-general of Department of Forestry and Suwat Tantipat, Chiang Mai
The Ping River has been chosen as the pilot river for the
government’s natural resources rehabilitation scheme because its river
basin covers more than 10 million rai of land in six provinces, said Praphat
Payachartrak, Natural Resources and Environment Minister. Prapat confirmed
that people would see the results of the solutions for this river’s
problems in 3 years. “Ping River would be revived again, if everyone
seriously participates in its recovery,” he said.
Panyachartrak, Natural Resources and Environment Minister lights the
ceremonial candle heralding the new era in Ping River basin development.
PM Thaksin said, “The Cabinet has approved more
authority to be given to the provincial governors to allow their people live
safely along the Ping river basin, and they can dredge out the river to let
it flow more easily and smoothly,” he said.
PM Thaksin added, “Today the government has a policy to let the people
participate more in preserving our environment and in the solutions that are
grand parade marking the launch of the rehabilitation scheme for Ping River
Poor in Chiang Mai
flocking to register
More than 60,000 claiming poverty
Kritsada Siempakdee, Chief of Chiang Mai
Provincial Offices concluded the registration of poor in 22 districts, and 2
sub district and found more than 60,000 claiming eligibility under the
The main reason stated (66 percent) referred to not
having land to be able to eke out a living from the land.
Loan problems were the second ranked 56 percent,
accommodation or lack of housing and being left destitute from fraud made up
People in Mae Rim district registered poverty and social
problems in the greatest numbers followed by Fang and Mae On sub-district.
Sa Moeng, Wiang Haeng, and Doi Lor district had the smallest number of
The Chief warned people to give correct information and
facts to the officials to be able to effectively resolve the problems in the
Chiang Mai air pollution still critical
The pollution ‘hub’ of the north?
According to a workshop held at the Social Research
Institute (SRI) of Chiang Mai University (CMU) Chiang Mai air pollution is
pollution from vehicle emissions in Chiang Mai City
Dr. Ratthavut Sukmee, a medical doctor and director of
Chiang Mai Provincial Public Health Office, said that the air in Chiang Mai
city area was in a crisis condition, due to the increasing amount of dust
particles, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, and sulphur dioxide.
Sumittra Thongprasert, from the Medical Ecology Department, Chiang Mai
The survey conducted recently has found that in the
Chiang Mai municipal areas there were 83 severely polluted areas. The main
causes of the air pollution in Chiang Mai were combustion products, vehicle
emissions, construction dusts, and bush fires.
Dr. Sumittra Thongprasert, from the Medical Ecology Department, Chiang
Mai University, revealed that Chiang Mai had an incidence of lung cancer
higher than every other region in Thailand. The number of patients with
respiratory diseases was greater than 600,000 patients last year.
projects booming in Chiang Mai
20 percent increase in 2003
New construction is being seen along both sides of the
roads and highways in Chiang Mai to cope with a hoped for influx of tourists
and new settlers. An overall assessment of the construction climate showed a
positive sign with a 20 percent increase compared with last year.
Arnontavilas, Senior Advisor of Chiang Mai Construction Material Traders
Club said that although PM Thaksin Shinawatra expects 8 percent growth in
GDP next year, 6 percent growth in Chiang Mai was proved possible.
Nopadol Arnontavilas, Senior Advisor of the Chiang Mai
Construction Material Traders Club, told Chiangmai Mail that Chiang Mai
still had many empty areas, which would appreciate enormously in value.
Another factor influencing a strong growth in the
construction business was the number of job opportunities both in government
and private sectors in Chiang Mai. “If we have high employment it will
boost the Chiang Mai economy, drawing many big projects to Chiang Mai
bringing more than 10 million baht into the local circulation,” he added.
However, Nopadol is concerned that although there is a strong upward
trend in the construction business, skilled labour is not as plentiful as he
would like to see.
A “new” Chiang Mai in 2 Years
Clean, green and beautiful
The Green and Clean project was set to return Chiang
Mai’s beauty, focusing on three main items; tourist attractions,
government offices and along the roadsides.
Parnthong, Deputy Chiang Mai Governor, says that Chiang Mai’s beauty will
be revitalized within two years.
53 organizations, 31 projects, 14 districts and 11
municipalities have been encouraged to participate fully in this project to
bring green areas back to Chiang Mai.
Prinya Parnthong, Deputy Chiang Mai Governor, said that
many plants had been grown around Chiang Mai city as well as along both
sides of the roads leading to Chiang Mai’s rural areas. Many government
offices would be redecorated, growing more green plants and repainting.
“We have an approved budget of 45 million baht to implement this project
and I am confident that within two years Chiang Mai be renewed,” he added.
The Deputy Chiang Mai Governor said that he would ask the private sectors
to remove unsightly billboards blocking the views of Chiang Mai’s
beautiful scenery. “If they give me cooperation, there will be no problems
but if they refuse to remove them, they might be faced with a big
problem,” he said.
Blankets needed again in rural areas
80,000 people complaining of the cold
Since the winter temperatures in the North have dropped
dramatically, people in rural areas and villages, especially those who live
up on the mountains are suffering in the cold weather without any
Boonyamalik, Chief of the Public Welfare Division showing how important it
is to help people in rural area to get over the cold snap.
Public Disaster Prevention and Relief Operation
Department has implored the public to make a donation for those people in
rural areas, especially of blankets which are most necessary during this
cold season. 102,143 blankets are needed for rural areas, but only 21,808
blankets have been donated.
The Department has already provided money to Chiang Mai provincial
authorities to purchase blankets in 2004. Mae Chaem district needed the most
blankets with 18,293 required, Mae Rim district 11,069 and Om Koi 10,211.
“On this occasion, the Department would like to ask people from government
organization and private agencies to donate more blankets for people to keep
the cold away with warm blankets. We are also Thais who live in the same
country as these people so we need to help one another,” said Siripannee
Boonyamalik, Chief of the Public Welfare Division.
Chiang Rai readies itself for New Year holiday road accidents
Chiang Rai provincial authorities have had government
offices and departments to practices measures to be carried out in
emergencies following road accidents.
The practice situation was a crash between a bus and a
car which with 50 injured people.
Pol Col Montree Samboonnanon, Chiang Rai Police Station
superintendent, said the training course was held to prepare for severe
accidents that could happen during the New Year holidays.
Police asked for cooperation from all involved
organizations, including the hospitals in Chiang Rai, Public Disaster Relief
Operations Units, Provincial Electricity Authority, traffic police, and the
The simulated crash drill showed that first aid could
assist in the case of accident emergencies. One problem was onlookers at the
scene stopping the relief units work effectively, however the operation team
had set up a task force to clear people away.
Pol Col Montree said Chiang Rai is ready to look after
the safety of tourists and travelers who visit to Chiang Rai during the New
Pol Col Vuttichai Itsara, the director of Mengrai Maharaj
Camp Hospital, said the medical aid team can be at the accident scene in 15
minutes. Colonel Vuttichai Itsara also warned that people should limit their
drinking as it is the cause of most road tragedies.
23 percent more property and assets seized in 2003
4.5 billion baht wanted from auction in 2004
Somboon Mahakseuk, the head of Chiang Mai Provincial
Legal Office said that in 2003, prosecutions had resulted in 1.7 billion
baht in assets had been appropriated by the government.
resort restaurant on Mae Kok River.
Many of these were to be sold in 2004 including real
estate with undeveloped land, land with housing, buildings structures and
furniture and household appliances.
The auctions of the seized goods will be organized via
various channels including Teleconference which will be focused on Bangkok
investors. The director added that the goal for this auction in 2004, is to
sell the properties and assets at not less than 60 percent of the target,
valued at 4.573 billion baht.
At present, the overall situation in Chiang Mai real estate is a rapid
increase in demand and therefore prices. The government movement to ease
finance will persuade people to buy properties and assets from the
with building construction in San Sai district.
Cherng Doi resort in Chiang Mai.
Lion Clubs District 310 Convention in Chiang Mai in March
5,000 Lions roaming the streets - a ferocious sight!
Chiang Mai will be the host for the 13 Lions Clubs in
District 310 38th Thailand Convention from March 19-21, 2004. Chiang Mai
Municipality, Chiang Mai Provincial Authorities, Chiang Mai Provincial
Administration Organization, Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce, and the Tourist
Authority of Thailand, Northern Office, Region 1 will be involved.
Tantipat with 13 presidents of Lions Clubs in Chiang Mai.
The convention aims to find methods and aid to help
society and disadvantaged people. The general meeting will be participated
by 3,000-5,000 members and also 300 members from Leo Club (youth).
Nakarangkul, organizing committee chairman.
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra will preside over the
opening ceremony of the convention at Lotus Pang Suan Kaew Hotel, Chiang
Chatree Lertsirimongkolchai, the convention chairman,
said the convention would show the potential of Chiang Mai to the hub of the
provinces, particularly as regards tourism.
Tantipat, Chiang Mai Governor at the press conference at Lotus Pang Suan
During the convention, there will be a parade of all
Lions Clubs from throughout the country, a Lions Night party, booths
displaying OTOP products and export items, and Lions Golf competition, a VIP
tour program in Chiang Mai, and Leo youth club camping.
Lions Club International is a charity organization founded in 1917 and
established in Thailand since 1957. There are 310 Lions Club branches in
every region of Thailand.
“Nihonsai” Japanese Exhibition
Japanese culture and language promoted
Thailand has been changed by the current globalization
and has realized it cannot remain insular and has to be more open to world
culture and modern technology. Language is also another factor for Thai
students to understand that it is important to be at least bilingual, and
even better to be multilingual, with English the international language, and
French, German, Chinese and Japanese also important for Thai business.
Set, Go! “Sumo” the famous Japanese sport.
The Humanities Faculty of Chiang Mai University’s
Japanese Department want people to understand the importance of Japanese
language in the world market, and organized a Japanese Exhibition called
The exhibition was on December 27-28 at Lan Pro Dot Com,
3rd floor Kad Suan Kaew Shopping Complex with Saburo Sato, the Japanese
Consulate of Thailand in Chiang Mai presiding over the exhibition.
Japanese woman in Japanese costume “Nagata”.
There were many activities such as dressing up in
Japanese style “Yukata”, Japanese food, a Japanese souvenir shop, and
Japanese style games and entertainment.
Japanese cultural demonstrations were given, including a demonstration of
tea making, flower arrangement, and how to use the Japanese brush-pen. There
were also many competitions with singing, quizzes, dancing contest and the
highlight of the day was the “Ban Sai Thong” Japanese Version drama.
Japanese food is shown to people but this is only just an appetizer!
Forestry Police cutting down crime
Woodman, spare that tree!
Chumsaeng, PRD Chiang Mai
Forestry police force are pushing inspection in the
field, looking for forest and public land invasions, selling wild products
and wild animals and invading natural parklands.
Pol. Maj. Gen. Sawak Pinsinchai, Forestry Police
Commander, said that from information received there was large scale
invasion in both forest areas and public lands. From January 1, 2004, the
Forestry Police will coordinate with the Provincial Police Bureau, Region 5
to investigate quarries and artesian wells and the police will prosecute
every case violating the law without any exceptions following PM Thaksin
The Forestry Police Commander added that after this he would make an
observation at Fang watershed source area and for the first period would
inspect the invaded areas in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phrae, and Nan
following public petitions for these areas.
Industrial Promotion Center to host entrepreneur workshop
30 seats for bachelor’s degree applicants only
Wanchai Rachadamart, Industrial Promotion Center region 1
said that he would cooperate with Chiang Mai University to hold a workshop
aimed at creating new entrepreneurs from January 26 to February 19, at the
Faculty of Business and Administration.
People, who would like to attend this workshop should at
least have 2-3 years business experience, hold a Bachelor’s degree and a
strong desire to be a new entrepreneur. The workshop is limited to 30 seats
For more information, contact Business Industrial
Development and SME’s Industrial Promotion Center Region 1, 158 Tung Hotel
Rd., Muang, Chiang Mai 50000 or call 053-245361-2 ext. 520 or apply in
person at Faculty of Business Administration, CMU, during office hours.
PM Thaksin presides over San Kamphaeng Walking Street fair
Demonstrates not-forgotten tea-making skills
Photos by Phitsanu Thepthong
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra presided over the San
Kamphaeng Sarn Silp Tin Hattakam Fair at San Kamphaeng. Many other honorable
guests came to the opening ceremony including Sonthaya Khunpluem, Minister
of Tourism and Sports; Suwat Tantipat Chiang Mai Governor and Yaowapa
Wongsawas, Chiang Mai MP, and Somchai Wongsawas, the permanent secretary of
the Ministry of Justice.
dance to welcome PM Thaksin.
PM Thaksin claimed that he wants to develop his tome
town, San Kamphaeng, by solving the problems of the poor people, by giving
them ideas for useful businesses. The people who used their local knowledge
would bring fame and fortune to the community, he said.
left) Yaowapha Wongsawas, deputy of the Thai Rak Thai party, Somchai
Wongsawas, the permanent secretary of Ministry of Justice, and their
daughters at the opening ceremony.
“San Kamphaeng has great potential in many things such
as handicrafts, tourism and beautiful ladies. Generations have done this for
a long time such as textile handicraft, cotton handicrafts, pottery ware,
woodcarving, and silverware, saa paper products and umbrellas. These are the
export handicrafts which brought a great income into the community and fame
into the country,” said the PM.
Thaksin demonstrates his talent at tea and coffee making.
There are more than 500 booths displaying the local handicraft. The fair
will be held every Saturday from 2 p.m.-10 p.m.
A romp in the goo
Holiday Arts Roundup
Holiday times are both stressful and rewarding. Life goes
by at such a fast pace. One wonders what it’s all about, what it all comes
down to. Perhaps one thing that makes sense is to get out of the house, exit
the mall and the madding crowd and find some place to relax. You might be
interested in this art gallery information I’ve put together. It’s an
incomplete list of what’s on, more on the way. It’s sort of a follow-up
to last week’s missive. But to say there isn’t a lot going on is to
actually misspeak myself ... and we wouldn’t want that would we? So here
goes with the list.
of the paintings of the exhibitions from January at Umong Sippadhaamma.
First off are septuplets of ponderous pachyderms deep in
the goo and slogging it onto canvas. I speak of course about Kongkam,
Lankam, Wanpen, Kamsn, Duanpen, Panpetch, and Songpan; tuskered and not,
those fire breathing artistes from Mae Saw Valley, who consume 250 kilos of
food per day, as well as having an unhealthy interest in bananas... “Why
it must be elephants he’s speaking of!”
of the painting elephants at work.
Yes indeed, behemoths from the green jungle come to Wat
Chang Kong (next to Imperial Mae Ping Hotel) to paint their stuff for one
and all. Show / demos are 4 times nightly (5, 6, 7, and 8 p.m.). Two
elephants, in rotation, descend from the clouds to waft the air of city
fumes, bemuse and enchant their city brethren with their painterly arts.
Secondly, don’t miss any of the exhibitions at Umong
Sippadhaamma (106/6 Soi Wat Oumong, Sub soi 11, www. umong.org., daily 10
a.m. - 5 p.m.). It’s a brand new space; in fact when I drove by there last
year, IT was not there. But it looks old. So ... go figure! Anyway, it’s a
nice getaway, set in the trees. The atmosphere is definitely laid back and
there are usually 6 to 10 pieces on the wall, of stunning beauty and
painterly command (yours to judge, eh!). Anyway I like the space, and the
art on the walls is bright, alive, innovative and free. And definitely
naughty, with a Thai sensibility that both amuses and bemuses. The present
show, a no-namer by Phubessawara Phetchumroen is on till the 14th of Jan. Go
Also, something that peaks through my curiosity is a show
called “Dark Blue Painting” by Somkid Rawangpromraj. It’s at a new
gallery space I know nothing about called Ran Lao Gallery (Ked Cherng Doi,
Cholaprathan Rd., CM, 66-53-401 070, daily, noon - 11 p.m.). I’m intrigued
by the title of the show and a pic of one of the pieces, so I’m off to see
that when I can. On till 30th of Jan.
Lastly to take note of is Gallery Panisa (189 Mahidol Rd,
Haiya, Muang CM, 66-53-202-779, daily, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.). It is a very well
located spot (on the approach to Airport Plaza from town), with a second
larger gallery on the way. Right now they have a hodge-podge of different
things to look at, if you’d care to drop in (next show, mid Feb, in the
new space). As well, they’re offering some interesting painting courses,
of which the following are: for adults: Techniques of Oil Painting (9 to 12,
Sat mornings), Water Colour Painting (2 to 5 p.m., same day). Sunday’s
features include: Composition (9 to 12, mornings), Drawing (2 to 4,
afternoons). The children courses run concurrently. So if you’d like more
information on these courses, the good folks at the gallery would be happy
to oblige. Ask for Note. He’s usually in the back sala space painting
That’s it for now. Happy Holidays! I’m off to the races.
A meditation workshop in Chiang Mai
Cory Croymans’ personal
Have you ever heard about a type of meditation which
could allow you to access infinite light, energy, and wisdom from the source
of the universe to amplify your spiritual life force and to produce
definite, positive results in your daily lives and environment? I thought
that it sounded too good to be true.
Kondo (1st R) leading participants into the ‘Divinity IN’ meditation,
with handwritten mandala in the background.
I accepted an invitation to participate in a Divinity IN
Workshop (pronounced ING) at the Asian Healing Arts Center in Chiangmai Lake
I was in for a surprise because when the five Japanese
visitors led by Masami Kondo from the Byakko Shinko Kai Foundation in Japan,
demonstrated this combination of vocal sounds, special breathing and simple
hand movements, and all participants became very quiet and moved by the
peaceful and harmonious feelings which emanated from this group.
This sacred meditation which was inaugurated at the foot
of Mount Fuji in Japan by 12,000 dedicated world servers is a cosmic sign
language which looks somewhat like a Tai Chi exercise. Through the practice
of this IN as it is called, we believe we are able to vibrate at a higher
level and awaken to our true identity as Divine Beings while at the same
time assisting in the spiritual evolution of the planet. The nature of the
IN is universal and it may be practiced with any other spiritual training or
practice you are currently engaged in.
By the end of the morning, most of us had mastered the
first of these meditative exercises and after lunch we proceeded with
learning how to draw beautiful Mandalas that are truly beautiful pieces of
art written in overlapping multiple circles of seven.
For more information about the Divinity IN, the website is
www.byakko.or.jp/en/project/proj_in/index.html or contact
Government pushing farmers into GAP and GMP
Part of 2004 Food Safety Year
The government has announced that 2004 is National Food
Safety Year and wants Thailand to be a hygienic food center as well as
having the world-renowned cuisine.
Kriangkai Kanongdechachart, the head of Agricultural
Extension Office, Chiang Mai province, said that it has asked farmers to
produce rice, plants, and fruits and vegetables hygienically. However, the
procedure was not effectively understood and his department says they should
use Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) to control quality.
The agricultural entrepreneurs have to think about
hygienic management such as using silos, packing, and equipment under the
Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) process that strictly controlled quality
at every step in the process. “If everyone has cooperated in response the
safety food policy, Thailand can be accepted by the world markets for the
GAP and GMP standards,” concluded Kriangkai.