Lights go out at
midnight on March 1
Personal freedom goes out too?
Chiang Mai province is being forced to take its ‘social
order’ responsibilities seriously regarding the zoning for entertainment
outlets and punishments for those breaking the rules.
the nationwide “social order” campaign being enforced beginning Monday,
March 1, Chiang Mai province is being forced to take its ‘social order’
responsibilities seriously regarding the zoning for entertainment outlets
(above is one of the proposed zoning areas behind Payap University) and
punishments for those breaking the rules.
Following a survey by Deputy Prime Minister Purachai
Piumsombun, along with Deputy Minister of Interior Pracha Maleenont, the new
closing hours will come into force on March 1.
Suebsing, the owner of Sakwaoduan karaoke cafe
In Chiang Mai, the proposed zoning areas are around the
ring roads, starting from Chiang Mai City Hall, ending at the areas behind
Payap University. Many entrepreneurs have expressed disagreement with the
new rules and regulations with suggestions that the government should be
prepared to review the effects of the legislation within three to six
months, before too many businesses go to the wall.
Witayanil, the MD of the Cottage and River Bar restaurants
Opinions were solicited from some of those most affected.
Nirund Kittikul, the manager and a shareholder of the Riverside Restaurant,
which is outside the zoning areas, said his restaurant would be affected as
its regular closing time was 2 a.m., but the new rules would only allow it
to operate from 6 p.m. till midnight. As his restaurant also caters for
daytime customers, not being able to open till the evening would decrease
the income for the establishment and put many jobs at risk.
Wiriyathaweesuk, the owner of Boozed
He also suggested implementing the same practice for
entertainment outlets as Bangkok with consideration of the clusters of
entertainment outlets as main areas for tourists in the evenings. In Chiang
Mai, Charoenraj Road should be zoned as it had many night entertainment
venues, pubs and restaurants.
Pandontong, the owner of Chaba Restaurant
Pairoj Suebsing, the owner of Sakwaoduan, a karaoke cafe
in the zoned area was happy to follow the new orders; however, Kasem
Wiriyathaweesuk, the owner of Boozed, also in the zoned area behind Payap
University, was against the 1 a.m. enforced closing. He believes that if
they were forced to close at 1 a.m. instead of 2 a.m. as they are currently
doing, this would decrease revenues by 20 percent.
Kesada Kantha, marketing and public relations officer of the Good View
Another opinion came from Ms Kesada Kantha, marketing and
public relations officer of the Good View Restaurant, a well known
establishment located outside the zoning area on Charoenraj Road, who
supports the government’s policy of zoning. She believes that the client
base was loyal and the new times would make little impact; however, she did
say that a review after a few months was a good idea.
Kittikul, the manager of the Riverside Restaurant
Anuchit Pandontong, the owner of Chaba Restaurant in the
zoning areas behind Payap University said that he agreed to conform with the
policy, expecting little impact to his business because his customers would
adjust their practice in accordance with the situation.
Not everyone was in agreement. Rattiya Witayanil, managing director of
the Cottage on Chiang Mai-Lamphun Road, and River Bar Restaurant in the
Diamond Hotel areas on the bank of Ping River, said that she disagrees with
this zoning implementation, especially for tourist cities such as Chiang
Mai, Phuket and Pattaya. “The Thaksin government is now preparing (to make
Chiang Mai) the aviation hub to facilitate more tourists and push Chiang Mai
as the center of tourism, but the zoning measures are countering this
tourism plan. This practice will definitely affect not only tourists but
also employees,” she said. She urges Prime Minister Thaksin not to apply
the new rules of “social order” in Chiang Mai.
Buddha snatching gang apprehended
Abbot arrested as gang leader, Hot Buddha recovered
Nopniwat Krailerg and
Chiang Mai police have been investigating the theft of
many Buddha images from wats in the province. Latest in the long line of
thefts were three very valuable Buddha images stolen in December last year
from Wat Luang, Hot district, Chiang Mai.
three Buddha images stolen from the temple in Hot District were recovered
after police raided Wat Nong Konkhru and arrested the temple’s abbot,
The investigating police team from the Provincial Police
Bureau, Region 5 followed up on information and raided Wat Nong Konkhru,
with a court search warrant covering the temple properties and assets. The
raid revealed the missing Buddha images were hidden in the temple grounds
with the tools and equipment used for breaking and entering the chapels
housing the images.
Police officers suspected that the gang was led by Phra
Khru Saneh Chinawaro, the abbot of Wat Nong Konkhru temple, and knew that
there was a deal underway to sell the stolen images.
Abbot Saneh was then charged with stealing the Buddha
images, and brought in for further questioning at the Provincial Police
Bureau, Region 5 headquarters. The abbot confessed and was immediately
dismissed from the religious orders.
Former abbot Saneh said that he and his pupils had
carefully planned to steal the valuable Buddha images for a long time, and
gave the names of his accomplices. Police then made more arrests, detaining
gang members Surasak Dongchangpuek and Arkaradej Pongkrachang.
Following the news of finding the Buddha images, villagers from Tambon
Maepong in Doi Saket, Tambon Orntai in San Kamphaeng district, Tambon Mae
Hia in Muang District, and Tambon Saluang in Mae Rim district arrived at
police headquarters to identify their stolen Buddha images.
25 billion baht earmarked to assist chicken farmers
Banks to release funds after March 1
Following the bird flu crisis, a loan package is being
put together with cooperation between the Government Savings Bank (GSB), the
Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC), and the SME bank.
According to Kornphoj Asawinvichit, the director of GSB,
this loan would be divided into three categories; the first 10 billion baht
credit is to assist the recovery of the affected chicken farmers, the second
is another 10 billion loan for chicken growers of which it was expected
there would be around 20,000 affected, and the last loan of 5 billion baht
is for more than 1,000 chicken abattoirs.
He added that the banks would consider providing loans of
300 million baht to retail chicken meat sellers to assist with cold storage.
More than 1,000 aliens apply for Thai citizenship
But over 500 still undergoing consideration
The district chief officer of Wiang Haeng, Adisorn
Nantachaiphan said they are proceeding to implement the registration of hill
tribes people and minority ethnic groups with no Thai citizenship. Following
registration, more than 1,136 aliens requested Thai nationality and were
classified into two categories; 606 people who entered to the kingdom before
1985 would be granted with Thai citizenship under the law, while 557 people
who entered Thailand more recently would be put in the registration lists
for further consideration.
Nantachaiphan, district chief officer of Wiang Haeng
However, the procedures to grant them with Thai
nationality needs verification processing for each item of personal data.
Last year a Chinese Haw resident disguised himself as a Lisu hill tribe
person attempting citizenship registration, but the district office was
tipped off and he was punished.
District Officer Adisorn also said that any government officials or
village headmen who assumed that the district officials could grant anyone
Thai nationality and asked for money from the minority groups must be
prosecuted under the law.
150,000 tons of Lamyai
on way to Yunnan
Let’s hope Yunnan says Yum Yum
The Ministry of Commerce is preparing to
lead businessmen and fruit entrepreneurs with lychees and lamyai to Yunnan
province in south China as a pilot project.
Witun Tulyanont, the inspector of the Commerce Ministry
said the ministry will launch the sales promotion at Kunming, Sue Mao, Jing
Hong, and Kuay Loey towns in Yunnan province.
The ministry officials will be traveling to China to
encourage the sales of Thai fruits and vegetables there. China imports 90
percent of all the Thai produce and since Yunnan province is located very
close to Thailand, it is a good opportunity for more exports.
Previously fruits and vegetables went through Hong Kong
or Kowloon first, which meant that they had to cross through most of China,
before reaching their further destination. However, being able to export
directly to Yunnan province would greatly reduce the costs of exports. The
government estimates that there are about 500,000 tons of Lamyai fruit this
season, of which 150,000 tons are planed to be sent to China.
River folk muttering Chinese dams
Soon be able to walk to Myanmar
Villagers who earn their living from the river around the
Golden Triangle area, Chiang Saen district, Chiang Rai province, have
complained that the water level in the Mekong River is extremely low this
year. It was reported that China has been building dams upstream blocking
the upper Mekong River.At Ban Sob Ruak, Chiang Saen District, the Mekong
water level has been much lower than in the past, especially where Thailand,
Laos and Myanmar meet, and now there is a shallow sand knoll in the center
of Mekong River extending to the Myanmar border.
The lowering of the water level has already affected
villagers who earn their income driving long-tail boats at the Golden
Triangle area. Large passenger and cargo ships are getting stuck on the
sandy knoll and now hit submerged rocks.
Nithat Inta, a long-tailed boat driver at Sriwan boat
landing, said that there were more than 35 boats that are now in difficulty.
In the past, their incomes averaged about 1,000 baht a day but now they
often could not even set out through the shallows.
Jirasak Intasak, a member of the Rak Chiang Khong
Preservation Group revealed that the Group has been researching the river
eco-system for the past two years. The group claims the ecological system
has changed and the Chinese dams have affected the countries that are
located at the mouth of the river. The fishing boats are finding it very
hard to find their catches because the fish numbers, including the fresh
water ray, are very much reduced.
Klong Maekha canal to be developed
Bike and pedestrian lanes proposed
Chiang Mai provincial authorities have a plan to build
footpaths and bicycle lanes along the both sides of Klong Maekha. Mrs.
Phojanee Kajornpreedanant, head of Chiang Mai provincial Public Work and
Urban Planning Office, said this project is under the supervision of her
Maekha canal will be improved under the new development project.
Dr Ken Santhitham, the permanent secretary of Chiang Mai
Municipality said, “We want to make Chiang Mai a beautiful tourist city.
We want foreign tourists to be impressed with the city environment and
However, some parts of the canal roads face another problem as it is very
narrow and space is limited, so it may be necessary to resume some private
land for this purpose. Dr Ken Santhitham continued, “Our work plan is for
6 km along the canal, and we will ask the residents located along both sides
of the canal to move their boundaries away for by 2 meters.”
Attention being drawn to road rules by government
Appalling road toll finally being addressed
A road safety workshop was held at the Lotus Pang Suan
Kaew Hotel, organized by the secretariat of the Road Safety Commanding
Center, the Department of Public Relief Operation, Ministry of Interior, for
the center committee and government officials from the upper North.
PM Jaturon Chaisaeng, center, is welcomed by Lotus Pang Suan Kaew Hotel
staff, for the workshop on the road toll campaign.
Deputy Prime Minister, Jaturon Chaisaeng, presided over
the opening of the workshop, which was also attended by Nikorn Chamnong,
Deputy Minister of Transport, governors, and police commanders from the
eight upper Northern provinces.
The government is behind the promotional campaign to
reduce the number of road accidents, and also give awareness to the people
of the road toll. Deputy Prime Minister, Jaturon said that the government
has pushed the public relations campaign throughout the country much more
than ever this year to reduce the number of deaths and injuries from the
road accidents, especially during the festive seasons.
The targeted groups include law enforcement officers, and
motorists who are from government offices, state enterprises, educational
institutes, factories, markets, community areas, motorbike and mini bus
The latest rule is to switch on motorcycle head lights,
apart from the existing rule of wearing a helmet while riding.
The campaigns are also being held in Lampang, Lamphun and
Nan provinces in the North, with Lampang police the first role model when
they and their family members would support the week long campaign to ride
their motorcycles, with head lights on, wearing helmets, not driving after
drinking and use the seat belts while driving.
Of course, promulgation of new edicts is not enough. The police have to
enforce the rules, most of which have been ignored for years, allowing the
road toll to grow to epidemic status. With 600 fatalities over Songkran last
year, the legislators and the police know the problem - and the solution.
Deputy PM Chaturon Chaisaeng follows up road safety in Lamphun
Deputy Prime Minister Chaturon Chaisaeng
visited Lamphun and inspected the road traffic and adherence to safety
standards, and also emphasized the policy and guidelines to government
officials in this northern province.
He met Lamphun governor Thawat Sathieranam, and then
observed the road traffic in the area of Charma Dhevi statue in Muang
The statistics during the New Year festivities revealed
291 people seriously injured. 236 accidents resulting in serious injuries
involved motorcycle riders on main roads and 69 on other roads during the
period December 26 - January 4.
During that time, there was a total of 18,803 accidents
reported with 77 percent of them involving motorbikes and 66 percent were
not wearing helmets.
Government officials say that this is one of the main
reasons for the new rule that motorcycles have to have their headlights on.
The laws are being strongly enforced in Lamphun.
Other items being enforced include the wearing of
helmets, no driving under the influence of alcohol and car occupants must
wear safety belts. Police will be inspecting the streets and checking to
make sure that people are complying with the laws.
Since the majority of these laws have been in place for
some time, the question being asked, is why the compliance was not checked
Mae Hia residents disagree with the AOT plan for Chiang Mai airport
A spanner in the spokes of the aviation hub?
Saksit Meesubkwang and Nopniwat Krailerg
Mae Hia Tambon Administration Organization (Mae Hia TAO)
called on people living in the tambon area to a meeting with the Airports of
Thailand (AOT) environmental impact study group, Southeast Asia Technology,
to express their opinions.
Hia residents lodging their complaint with Thanawat Yodchai, the chairman of
Mae Hia TAO.
The AOT has employed Southeast Asia Technology to conduct
a survey and feasibility study on the environmental impact assessment (EIA)
resulting from the development plan for the construction of the aviation hub
in this region.
Under the plan, AOT would extend the airport runway as
well as enlarge airport terminals, buildings, and cargo warehouses. They
would take about 150 days to complete the feasibility study. Eight rai of
public land would be expropriated for the expansion.
The majority of the 600 people present expressed concerns
with noise pollution, traffic jams and from the loss of land and wants the
AOT to move the airport to another site.
Thanawat Yodchai, chairman of Mae Hia TAO, said that they
did not oppose the runway extensions but they were concerned with the EIA.
Residents told Southeast Asia Technology they disagreed with the expansion
plan as currently proposed, especially noise pollution which is already
considered too high, and expected to be worse in the future.
They also expressed fears that airlines connecting with
those in United States and Europe might be linked with terrorism threats.
The other area of concern was the road traffic flow in the region, which
residents felt would soon become a bottleneck.
Lampang police promote headlights and helmets during Safe Driving Week
What happens with
the other 51 weeks?
Lampang police commander Police Major Gen Tirasak
Chukijkun announced ‘Safe Driving Week’ to encourage the turning on of
headlights and wearing helmets for motorcyclists.
The police of Lampang have asked all motorcyclists to
turn on their headlights and wear helmets. The plan is to encourage
students, university students and factory workers to set examples for others
because it is mostly young adults who ride motorcycles. On February 28-29
there will be public workshops to convert motorcycles to allow the
headlights to automatically switch on with the ignition.
This was preceded by a parade of 2,000 motorbikes ridden
by officials through the city to encourage safety on the streets of
San Kamphaeng fashion show spectacular
A spectacular and stunning fashion show was held at San
Kamphaeng as a part of a promotion for the district to launch it onto the
world fashion stage. It was part of a tourism promotion called San
Kamphaeng, the land of handicraft.
show by 20 leading Thai models.
The event was graciously presided over by Yaowapha
Wongsawas, the Chiang Mai MP from the Thai Rak Thai party who also the
advisor to the San Kampaeng tourism promotion project.
The first set, modeled by local beauties from San
Kamphaeng, was presented by Nonchaya Artchariyasirikul, Miss Thida San
Kamphaeng, 2004, and was accompanied by 20 models from Bangkok.
Wongsawas on the catwalk, modeling Fai Gaem Mai, cotton and silk cloth
The second set was the local inspiration of silk clothes,
modeled by honorary models, including Chao Duangdueng na Chiangmai, and the
final set was the San Kamphaeng to the World Series presented by the leading
models of Thailand.
Yaowapha Wongsawas also modeled a Fai Gaem Mai or cotton
and silk cloth, which was auctioned on the evening, with the funds going to
support the San Kamphaeng district for its town development project. Chiang
Mai MP Boonsong Teriyaphirom won the auction at the price of 330,000 baht
for a piece of Fai Gaem Mai cloth.
Doi Luang cable car protest
Locals want action, not to be left hanging
Locals wishing to protect Doi Luang in Chiang Dao
district submitted their written protest regarding the Doi Luang cable car.
They are asking Prodprasob Surasawadee, the Permanent Secretary of the
Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to review the project openly
and with transparency.
Nikom Putta, a member of the Thailand Wildlife Protection
Foundation, northern region has distributed information to the mass media
against the construction project on Doi Luang.
The local people in the area do not want the project
because it will directly affects the natural resources and environment and
Doi Luang is the source of rarely found endangered plants and rare wildlife
such as the white-tailed pheasant and the Chiang Dao butterfly.
In addition, Doi Luang is the source of Ping River and
the people respect the upstream forest as a sacred basin. It is an
attractive tourism place such as Den Ya Kub which is more than 2,000 meters
above sea level. More than 300,000 tourists visit the Doi Luang cave.
Locals want the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of
Natural Resources and Environment to review the project carefully and accept
public opinion. On March 6-7, the foundation will invite the mass media to
visit the location at Doi Luang to show the negative effects if the
construction project goes ahead.
Environment seminar wants community involvement
Sustainable management of natural resources called for
A national seminar on natural resources management, with
participation from community organizations and local administration
organizations, was held at Chiangmai Phucome Hotel hoping to help promote
effectiveness and efficiency of natural resources management.
produce a worsening situation with air pollution from exhaust emissions into
the Chiang Mai City air.
Promboon Panitchapak, secretary of Raks Thai Foundation
said conservation required cooperation from all parties, as it is the
nation’s interests. “At present, many people utilize natural resources
from soil, water, animals, wildlife, and forests, and if we do not help
preserve them, these would become lost,” he said.
The seminar was told that bilateral cooperation,
particularly from government and private sectors, including local provincial
administration organizations (PAO), and Tambon Administration Organizations
(TAO), must pay attention to the environment much more than ever, including
allocating a budget to help preserve the local environment projects in their
Ounruen Techakaew, president of Bantab TAO, said his
village had appointed a working committee on environmental campaigns holding
committee meetings for more than 6 years. “This working group has looked
after or taken care of our environment, especially the effective use of
natural resources,” he added.
He believed that the local people themselves must help
carry out the environmental awareness, sometimes by restoring the old
traditions or ways of life, so as to bring back the natural life, such as
the life prolong ceremony, forest ordination ceremony and feeding forest
spirits ceremony, which are held by villagers to prevent log poachers and
the public invading the forest lands.
Prof Dr Saneh Chamarik the National Human Rights
Committee chairman, said cooperation is needed with the same targets and
direction to promote awareness among the public and private sectors. The
government sector should give them more knowledge on law, community rights,
and natural resources management.
According to the message from the Minister of Natural
Resources and Environment, Prapat Panyachartrak, one of ministry’s mission
is helping preserve, develop and recover natural resources and environment
so that we could utilize them with more sustainability.
The seminar was presided by Prinya Nutalai, the deputy minister of
Natural Resources Management and was very well attended.
Lamphun lamyai protestors get lumbered with 12 months jail
Lamphun Provincial Court has handed down shock sentences
of one year imprisonment for all 15 leaders who led the lamyai protest
groups in blocking the highway late last year.
The protest was in connection with the government’s
plan to stockpile the lamyai crop, saying it would lend money against the
crop’s value for the farmers. The protest took the form of a blockade of
the Chiang Mai-Lamphun Road in Mae Tha district, Lamphun.
The court gave its verdict of jail sentences for the
leaders who set up the road block which they had arranged by using their
vehicles, including cars and pick-up trucks. The court considered that the
protest had caused economic loss and suffering for the road users, and the
vehicles used were also confiscated.
Bahrain brothels trapping unsuspecting Thai women
Chiang Mai Labor Employment Services Office warns Thai
women to be wary of Bahrain. Ms. Orachorn Rattanamanee, head of Chiang Mai
Provincial Employment Services Office, said that they have been informed of
cases where Thai women have been forced to give sexual services and become
involved in the drug trade in the brothels in Bahrain.
Many of the women were from the Northern Thailand, who
through desperation, could be easily duped. The Labor Office has now issued
an official warning for Thai women who want to work abroad to beware of
brokers or middlemen, who contact them with supposed job offers.
She said that most of the brokers pretend to be good
people, and look rich from their own business deals. Their targets are those
women who are good looking, and have financial problems.
The middlemen often claim that they could help relieve
their plights, by their working abroad but it was later found that many Thai
women were lured into sexual services.
The Labor Office advises women to contact the officials
for more details, Tel. 053 223 325, 053 222 865-6, ext. 17-19 during office
Counterfeiter discovered in Wiang Haeng
Said he was left holding the bag for a friend
Following information that counterfeit Chinese and US
banknotes were being circulated in Wiang Haeng district, a police team led
by Pol Lt Col Monthop Saengchamnong, deputy superintendent of Wiang Haeng
Police Station, with a posse of soldiers based in Wiang Haeng district,
surrounded a grass hut at Ban Huay Pong-ang.
accused, Aita (seated right), was charged with possession of the printing
machine and counterfeit banknotes.
Following a tip-off they searched the hut and found a bag
containing 49 US dollar films, two counterfeit 100 dollar banknotes, 21
dollar transparency printing screens, two counterfeit 100 Yuan banknotes and
a wooden block screen printing press.
The owner, Aita Kanna who entered the kingdom in 1998
denied that the items were his possessions. He told police that they
belonged to a man named Chompah whose surname he did not know, a Thai Yai
hill tribe person. Chompah had asked him to look after the items four months
ago and had not yet come back to claim them.
Haeng police show the seized copy films and counterfeit banknotes.
He also said that he did not realize what was inside the
bag until the police showed him.
The deputy superintendent said that this arrest was interesting as no
counterfeiting had been found in this area before. The accused is still
denying the charges, but police will continue investigation as it is
believed there is a connection to influential persons within Thailand or
from other neighboring countries.
CMU student wins Miss Mardi Gras
Was it in the curriculum?
Suchitra (Kwang) Thip-arksorn, a 21 year old bachelor
degree student from Chiang Mai University was announced the winner of the
3rd Miss Mardi Gras beauty contest held during the recent Chiang Mai Mardi
left), Supansa Rattanasaeng 2nd runner-up, Suchitra Thip-arksorn winner of
the 3rd Miss Mardi Gras beauty contest, and Usinee Utratiwong first
She won a cash prize of 12,000 baht, and other prizes, while the first
runner-up Usinee (Oil) Utratiwong, 23, a bachelor degree student of
Sukhothai Thammathiraj, received 7,000 baht, while Supansa (Nui)
Rattanasaeng, a 24 year old from Maeping Beer Garden, Imperial Maeping Hotel
won the 2nd runner-up title and 5,000 baht and other prizes.
Lampang approves death sentence for four drug dealers
Lampang judges, Oran Tambamrung and Phayon Chuichai,
announced the death sentence for three drug offenders guilty of possessing
4,000 amphetamine pills, and life imprisonment for the fourth member of the
The four accused were Prayad Saengwang, Muan Kahehaloon,
Mrs. Lon Jaisanklang and Mrs. Supawinee Pratan, charged with possessing the
drugs for sale. Prayad confessed to the crime both at the time of capture
and during police interrogation so his sentence was reduced to life
The four were caught on January 25 after police found
Muan and Mrs. Lon waiting for a transfer of Ya Ba pills from Chiang Rai
province to Lampang province. After stopping the pick up truck being driven
by Prayad, police found 4,000 Ya Ba pills hidden in the front tire. Prayad
confessed to the crime and indicated his accomplices who were then captured
by the police.
GSB takes stake in Night Bazaar
80 million baht in the kitty
The Government Savings Bank (GSB) is prepared to loan up
to 80 million baht to merchants and businessmen operating at the Chiang Mai
Night Bazaar, and at major markets in the Chiang Mai City communities.
Kornphoj Asawinvichit, the director of GSB, indicated his
bank’s offer after visiting with his bank staff to look at the operators
at the business centre areas.
Nine business operators from Chiang Mai Night Bazaar
areas are mortgaging their properties and assets as collateral for their new
investments. Each would receive 50,000 baht loan with repayments over three
He said that the GSB this year is prepared to lend 80
million baht to the 800 operators at the night bazaar business and shopping
center, with one baht per month interest.
The director added that after the next two to three
months, the GSB is expecting that half of the targeted loans will have been
set up to help the merchants at the major communities in Chiang Mai expand