HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Lights go out at midnight on March 1

Buddha snatching gang apprehended

25 billion baht earmarked to assist chicken farmers

More than 1,000 aliens apply for Thai citizenship

150,000 tons of Lamyai on way to Yunnan

River folk muttering Chinese dams

Klong Maekha canal to be developed

Attention being drawn to road rules by government

Deputy PM Chaturon Chaisaeng follows up road safety in Lamphun

Mae Hia residents disagree with the AOT plan for Chiang Mai airport

Lampang police promote headlights and helmets during Safe Driving Week

San Kamphaeng fashion show spectacular

Doi Luang cable car protest

Environment seminar wants community involvement

Lamphun lamyai protestors get lumbered with 12 months jail

Bahrain brothels trapping unsuspecting Thai women

Counterfeiter discovered in Wiang Haeng

CMU student wins Miss Mardi Gras

Lampang approves death sentence for four drug dealers

GSB takes stake in Night Bazaar

Lights go out at midnight on March 1

Personal freedom goes out too?

Nopniwat Krailerg

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.

With 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.

Pairoj 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.

Rattiya 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.

Kasem 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.

Anuchit 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.

Ms 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.

Nirund 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 Saksit Meesubkwang

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.

The three Buddha images stolen from the temple in Hot District were recovered after police raided Wat Nong Konkhru and arrested the temple’s abbot, Saneh.

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

Thanawan Chumsaeng

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

Saksit Meesubkwang

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.

Adisorn 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

Saksit Meesupkwang

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 office.

Klong 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 surroundings.”

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

Phitsanu Thepthong

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.

Deputy 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 stations.

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 district, Lamphun.

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 before?

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.

Mae 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?

Tossaporn Boonchan

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 Thailand.

San Kamphaeng fashion show spectacular

Saksit Meesubkwang

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.

Fashion 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.

Yaowapha 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

Thanawan Chumsaeng

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

Saksit Meesubkwang

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.

Vehicles 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 communities.

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 hours.

Counterfeiter discovered in Wiang Haeng

Said he was left holding the bag for a friend

Saksit Meesubkwang

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.

The 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.

Wiang 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?

Saksit Meesupkwang

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 Gras.

(From left), Supansa Rattanasaeng 2nd runner-up, Suchitra Thip-arksorn winner of the 3rd Miss Mardi Gras beauty contest, and Usinee Utratiwong first runner-up.

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

Tossaporn Boonchan

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 group.

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 imprisonment.

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 years.

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 their businesses.