Kingdom of Thailand celebrates Coronation Day May 5
May 5 marks the 54th anniversary of the
Coronation of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great.
The day is celebrated as a national holiday, and all
government offices and commercial banks will be closed.
Each year on May 5, the Kingdom of Thailand commemorates
the day when, in 1950, King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great, the 9th in the
Chakri Dynasty (Rama IX), was crowned.
His Majesty the King was pronounced successor to the
throne on June 1946, following the passing of his brother King Ananda
Mahidol. After four years of studying in Europe, he returned to Thailand and
was crowned during an elaborate and highly intricate ceremony that outdid
all previous coronations in Thailand.
On April 28, 1950, a week before his coronation, H.M.
King Bhumibol and Mom Rajawongse Sirikit Kitayakara were married. Following
the coronation the King returned to Switzerland to continue studying.
The Coronation Ceremony reinforces the stature of the
Kings of Thailand. The first such elaborate ceremony was performed when Pho
Khun Phamuang succeeded Pho Khun Bangklangthao as the ruling King of Muang
Sukhothai. Phaya Lithai, a former leader in Sukhothai, left a historical
record in stone describing the coronation ceremony in Sukhothai at Wat
In the beginning of the Ratanakosin era, the first King
in the Chakri Dynasty (King Buddha Yot Fa Chulalokmaharach) took the title
of Rama I and moved the capital of Siam from Thonburi to the opposite bank
of the Chao Phraya River, and constructed Krung Ratanakosin (Bangkok). In
the process of building the Royal Palace and Wat Prakaew (Temple of the
Emerald Buddha), the first King in the House of Chakri refined the
coronation ceremony, establishing important protocol that has lasted to this
All Kings to follow not undergoing the coronation
ceremony would be unable to assume the term “Phrabat” in front of the
King s title of “Somdej Phrachaoyuhua”, and more significantly, the
symbol of the nine-tiered umbrella would also not be permissible or
The elaborate coronation ceremony of His Majesty King
Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great included all the ancient rituals required for
assuming the full title and the nine-tiered umbrella. King Bhumibol
Adulyadej then bestowed the honor posthumously on His brother King Ananda
Mahidol. King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s benevolent act raised King Ananda
Mahidol’s regal status from seven to a nine-tiered umbrella.
During the reign of King Mongkut (Rama IV), Buddhist
monks and Brahmin priests were incorporated into the coronation ceremony to
conduct rituals to sanctify the auspicious occasion. Previously the ceremony
was arranged and conducted by the Royal Palace staff and members of the
The annual commemoration of the coronation ceremony is
currently a three-day affair, starting with a ritual “tham bun” ceremony
on May 3 to honor the King’s ancestors. Later on the first day, another
ceremony is performed, whereby flags of honor are issued to distinguish
various military units.
The following day, Buddhist ceremonies continue with
chanting rituals, prayers and Brahman priests announce the auspicious
occasion of the next day (May 5).
On May 5, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great
(Rama IX) conducts a merit-making ceremony, presenting offerings to Buddhist
monks, and leads a “Wienthien” ceremony, walking three times around the
sacred grounds at the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.
In the evening the King conducts another sacred ceremony:
changing the yellow cloth on the Emerald Buddha, the guardian symbol
protecting the Thai people, which was transferred from Thonburi to Wat Phra
Kaew by Rama I.
Many rooms in the Royal Palace are opened for public
viewing on Coronation Day. Auspicious ceremonies are performed and displays
depicting royal achievements are exhibited to reconfirm the King’s
His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great is now the world’s
longest reigning monarch, 58 years, as the people of Thailand celebrate
their beloved father of the nation and his dedication to the development and
well- being of his subjects throughout his benevolent reign.
Chiang Mai to have integrated public transport from July 1
Or is it a dream?
The end to Chiang Mai’s public transport woes is in
sight with the imminent introduction of 26 buses, the first phase in the
plan to remedy the lack of a proper mass transportation system.
Mai’s red mini-busses will be affected by the policy changes, with the
imminent introduction of 26 full size buses.
10 years ago, the city’s yellow buses were phased out
and the transport concession was handed over to the Nahkon Lanna Transport
Cooperatives, the red minibus monopoly. The only other alternative was
With no mass transportation system, up to 90 percent of
residents rely on their own cars and motorcycles. In 2002, Chiang Mai was
ranked second in the country for car registrations - 887,875 vehicles. As a
result, traffic jams are frequent, especially during rush hour, and air
pollution is a major cause of concern with the increase in exhaust gas
3 wheel pedicab, a primitive form of transportation in Chiang Mai City, may
become a rarity in future.
Several studies into the city’s mass transportation
system have been carried out in the past, but they were all blocked.
However, local MP’s Yaowapa Shinawatra and Boonsong Teriyapirom have
revived a plan to address the problem.
A research team headed by the governor of Chiang Mai has
been formed. Delegates from Chiang Mai University’s Information and
Technology Office, Chiang Mai Provincial Land Transport Office, Chiang Mai
Municipality and Chiang Mai Traffic Office have formed a working committee.
Views from relevant government organizations, local
authorities, the minibus union and the general public have been canvassed on
action to be taken. The project outline will be submitted to the government
for partial financial support.
In the short term, the municipality has obtained
financing to buy 26 buses, 24 of which will go into operation in the city
sometime between the beginning of July and October. They will cover major
points such as the train station, bus station, airport and hotels, and
service important tourist sites.
The first phase of the revitalized transportation system
will consist of a network of 33 routes covering 470 km, with 13 major
routes, seven minor routes and 13 side road routes. Buses will run between 5
a.m. and 10 p.m. During rush hours there will be buses every one to five
It is expected about 65,000 passengers a day will use the
bus service in the first year, with the figure reaching 130,000 a day after
The development plan to systematize the existing
transport system will stretch over three years. In the first year, red
minibuses will cover the middle ring road, covering an area of about 100 sq.
km over a six-month trial period.
In the second year, the number of red minibuses on the
circuit route will increase, with passengers being able to choose buses as
an alternative mode of transport. More routes will be added.
Finally, in the third year, every red minibus would be
restricted to the inner zone, with the other buses covering the other
Chaitawat Saowapon, director of the university’s
Information and Technology Office and manager of the mass transportation
system development study, said that previous research into an underground
system showed it to be too expensive, with a 10 billion baht estimated cost.
At present, 2,800 red minibuses ply their trade in Chiang
Mai. By the end of the three years, the current transportation concession to
the Nahkon Lanna Transport Cooperatives would be ended. The Chiang Mai
Provincial Land Transport Office would set out regulations
requiring each minibus owner who wants to continue
operating on the ring road along with buses to register with the
authorities. Red mini-buses that are more than 15 years old must undergo
regular roadworthiness inspections before being put into public service. The
300 or so mini-buses that do not pay tax to the government would not be
allowed to go into public service.
“The development project outline for the Chiang Mai
mass transportation system will be submitted to Pramaun Rutjanaseri, deputy
minister of the interior, for approval in principle,” Chaitawat said.
The main bus routes would include several schools and
universities, to lessen traffic jams there. There was also a recommendation
that students in uniform would be able to ride free at certain times of the
day. It is also possible that the public may get free bus rides in the first
three months to publicize and popularize the project.
A public company would be formed to run the mass
transportation system, with the government holding 70 percent of the shares,
local administration organizations 20 percent and the private sector 10
percent. The public company would be controlled and managed by the
government organizations, with professional marketing and using an IT
The cost of the initial implementation is estimated at 1 billion baht. It
is expected that the earnings from advertisements and fares would be 660
million baht, and government would need to cover the 369 million baht
Scorching temperatures send air-conditioning sales sky high
Sizzle to continue for another two weeks
Warasin and Autsadaporn Kamthai
The Meteorological Department predicts the scorching
weather will continue for the next week or two due to the closeness of the
sun to the region together with a low pressure system covering the North.
The temperature will peak at 2 p.m. and probably reach 40 degrees Celsius
swim in the city moat to escape the heat.
This year’s average temperature for March was 39.5
degrees Celsius, two degrees higher on average compared to last year,
according to Worapoj Kunawiwattanangkul, meteorologist at the Northern
Regional Meteorological Center.
Worapoj predicted that the highest temperature in Chiang
Mai this year would be between May 15-17 because the sun would then be
directly overhead. The highest temperature in the past 8 years (1996-2004)
was 40.1 degrees Celsius recorded in 1998.
One electrical appliance store reported the sales of
air-conditioners had increased by 16 percent over last year. On April 17
alone, they had sold 100 air conditioners, the highest number ever for a
HM King Bhumibol’s plan for reforestation renewed
Weir to be constructed in the Fang district
The chairman of the Joint Working
Committee for the Development of Rural Villages recently met with local
people to discuss the construction of a weir at Fang district in Chiang Mai
On April 23, Phanlop Suwanmalik presided over the meeting
to receive suggestions and ask for cooperation to support the project that
was initiated by the King to revive forests that are steadily deteriorating
in many regions of the country.
For Chiang Mai province, the committee has studied the
community situation and selected the upstream area of Huay Ngu Nai at Ban
Huay Ngu Nai, in Tambon Sansai, Fang district as the pilot location. The
construction of 80 small dams started on April 6.
Officials expect that more than 500 low budget dams will
be constructed using primarily local labor.
This royal project using dams was initiated as an
experiment at Huay Hong Krai Development Center in 1984. Since then, both
Thai and foreign observers have deemed it successful.
The survey of damaged forests will be accelerated and the
cooperation between the government and private sectors strengthened to
expand the project to help renew our forests.
City fire in Lampang causes 2 million baht damage
Four wooden houses razed
Four blocks of buildings were consumed by
a fire that raged through stores in the heart of Lampang’s Muang district
on April 24.
Over 10 fire trucks and rescue volunteers from the Civil
Disaster Prevention Foundation were called out at about 1.30 p.m. to fight
the fire. At the scene, they found four houses of the two-story wooden
construction were burning fiercely.
The fire officers and volunteers spent half an hour to
extinguish the flames. Official estimates put the damage bill at 2 million
Police officers from Lampang’s Muang district police
station were also called out and heard from witnesses that the fire started
at Charnchai Saelue’s house, but he was not at home at the time, and the
flames quickly spread to adjacent buildings.
Lampang Governor Amorntat Niratsayakul was also on the
scene to offer assistance. Forensic police officers are investigating the
cause of the fire.
Chiang Mai Zoo threatened by forest fire
Municipal fire department called in to assist
Firefighters took almost an hour to extinguish a fire that
threatened the orangutans, pandas and deer enclosures at Chiang Mai Zoo.
The forest fire broke out northeast of the zoo and five
fire trucks (two from the zoo and three from Chiang Mai Municipality) were
dispatched to bring the fire under control. Firefighters from the Forest Fire
Control Center, which is responsible for the Doi Suthep and Doi Pui areas,
were also called out.
fire near Chiang Mai Zoo threatened the orangutans area, which is situated
about 500 meters from the panda bear enclosure.
The fire threatened the orangutans area, which is situated
about 500 meters from the panda bear enclosure. The 5 rai area affected by
the fire is also about 200 meters from the deer enclosure.
Zoo director Thanapat Pongpamorn said that initially he
thought they would be able to control the fire themselves. However, when it
had spread to the zoo area by nightfall, he asked the municipality to send
its fire trucks as well.
Thanapat said the zoo had previously made a firebreak to
stop the forest fires that occur frequently during the dry season. He
suspected that the fire reached the zoo because of burning leaves blown
across the firebreak and into the area.
He was also concerned that the fire may have forced snakes living in the
Doi Suthep area to move down to the zoo and could potentially harm the zoo
Labor Ministry wants skilled Thai workers overseas
Training offered for interested candidates
The Chiang Mai Employment Office has endorsed the Labor
and Social Welfare Ministry’s policy in attempting to change the image of
Thai workers overseas from unskilled to skilled, by promoting registered
Thai boxing trainers, trained chefs and traditional Thai masseurs and
The ministry reports there is a considerable demand for
them in foreign countries. There are 30,000 Thai boxing camps overseas that
require Thai trainers. The Thai restaurant business has boomed overseas
where Thai cuisine has become a favorite for many westerners. There are
8,000 Thai restaurants overseas, with many needing trained chefs. Thai
traditional masseurs and masseuses are in demand in foreign countries due to
the popularity of the spa industry.
Chiang Mai Employment Office director Orachorn
Rattanamanee said the Middle East has expressed a demand for Thai chefs and
traditional masseurs and masseuse. “This shows that entrepreneurs abroad
realize the potential and good disposition of Thai workers who are always
willing to assist their colleagues,” she said.
The Chiang Mai Provincial Labor Skill Development Center
has provided low fee courses to improve the skills of Thai workers before
being sent to work abroad. Thais interested in improving their skills are
welcome to contact the center.
The Labor and Social Welfare Ministry also publicizes
overseas job vacancies on the Labor and Social Welfare Department’s notice
board in front of every tambon administration organization office in Chiang
People who want to work abroad should inform the Chiang
Mai Employment Office and pass a skills and qualifications test before
Thais with employment offers overseas will have to pay
for only the passport and visa. However, processing passport and visa
applications can take a long time, so many people turn to private employment
agencies that can provide them more speedily. This can be risky. Private
employment companies may be legally established but sometimes deceive job
seekers by pretending to provide more jobs than they have in order to get
more money through application fees.
“The Chiang Mai Employment Office advises workers to
check with the ministry whether those private companies and the positions
they provide are legitimate before applying for a job with them,” said
The Thai government is paying more attention to Thai
workers overseas because 355,837 Thais move to work abroad each year and
annually earn the nation 57 billion baht.
San Kamphaeng district chief officer tasked to revive PM’s hometown
There used to be more to the PM’s home town than brolly dollies
Krailerg and Saksit Meesubkwang
PM Thaksin Shinawatra has tasked San Kamphaeng district
chief officer Surachai Jongrak with the development, prosperity, reputation
and tourism growth of the district. The two men met during the PM’s visit
to his hometown during the Songkran festival.
PM Thaksin wanted San Kamphaeng district to be revived
and prominent as it was, “A land of beautiful women, gorgeous silk and
fine-looking handicraft” in the past. Moreover, the PM also asked that the
strategy for development should focus on cleaning up the district so that
tourists find it comfortable and attractive.
Faced with this gargantuan task, Surachai said that first
of all the government and private sectors would have to start working
together if they wanted to develop and revive San Kamphaeng district.
“Until now, it seems that they all work and live separately. For example,
some exporters who have certain markets do not cooperate with the public
sector, while OTOP (One Tambon One Product) manufacturers have to find
markets by themselves,” he said.
A committee for the San Kamphaeng’s development project
will be set up with Yaowapa Wongsawat, Member of Parliament for Chiang Mai,
and the PM’s sister as its president.
San Kamphaeng has three important communities - Bor Sang,
which is the well known umbrella village; Mae Oon, which has natural beauty
tourist sites; and the Naa Talard community (in front of the PM’s house)
which in the past used to be very popular for tourists to do shopping.
Between these three communities, Naa Talard is considered
to be the first place that needs to be developed, Surachai said. It had seen
a decline in popularity because of a lack of attractiveness and facilities.
To counteract this, many facilities should be established as a priority.
Recently, the district office temporarily relocated to
Wat Mai Rong Wua. Its 8 rai will be used as a parking area for tour buses,
public toilets and restaurants, as part of the “Khuang San Kamphaeng”
project. In addition, shops with OTOP goods, a tourist center, a San
Kamphaeng Museum and the Thaksin Tower dedicated to the PM’s history have
also been planned.
The district chief officer said that after the success of
the “San Kamphaeng Sarn Silp” fair the “Cultural Road” project, from
Poi Luang intersection to San Kamphang district, is planned to be launched
An opinion poll regarding the site of the district office
and the upcoming establishment of the San Kamphaeng government office
center, showed that 95 percent of respondents supported the idea that the
government office center be constructed at the old tobacco curing factory in
Bann Rong Wau Deang, said Surachai.
On April 19 public tenders for its construction were
invited and it is expected that building will commence soon. It will be the
first district government office center in the country.
The conflagrations continue
Areas in Doi Suthep and Doi Pui National Park flattened
Forest fires have caused extensive damage
in the Doi Suthep-Doi Pui National Park area, with firefighters having to
battle two fires that raged simultaneously on April 25.
The first fire started in the Monthatarn Water Fall area
and spread rapidly, causing damage to 10 rai of forest land. 30 firefighters
from the Forestry Department firefighting unit took about an hour to quell
Another fire broke out in the nearby Wang Bua Barn Water
Fall area, causing damage to 20 rai of land. This took 100 fighters that
were called out and battled for more than an hour to bring it under control.
The fire was close to the Wang Bua Barn, so the fighters had to walk many
kilometers to reach it.
It is not known whether the fires started spontaneously
or whether villagers started them to catch forest animals. An investigation
into the cause is underway.
The Doi Suthep-Doi Pui National Park is a conservation
area that abounds in various kinds of flora and fauna. The hot dry air may
have caused spontaneous combustion, setting fire to the abundance of dried
leaves and grass that had accumulated.
A reddish sky and the red of the flames on the mountain
could be clearly seen from a distance away from the park area.
Thais who harbor aliens being charged
False ID racket uncovered implicating headmen and government officials
Thai citizens who accommodate illegal alien workers
should face stiffer punishment. This was the recommendation from Pol Lt Col
Charnwut Watcharapuk, commissioner of the Bangkok Immigration Bureau, and
Pol Maj Gen Pornphat Suyanunt, deputy commissioner, at a press conference
held this week.
arrested illegal immigrants are paraded before the press, as immigration
police commissioner, Pol Lt Gen Charnwut Watcharapuk looks on at the Chiang
Mai Immigration Police Office.
It was reported that 182 alien laborers had been arrested
in the San Sai, Saraphee and Muang districts and seven Thai citizens had
been arrested for illegally accommodating the alien workers.
Pol Lt Col Charnwut said that immigration officers have
been pursuing alien laborers, counterfeit passports, trafficking in women
and children, and foreign criminals in Tak, Mae Hong Son, Chiang Mai and
Chiang Rai provinces.
The office has also launched an investigation into
counterfeit hill tribe ID cards and work permits for alien laborers. It
found that some community leaders and village headmen were in cahoots with
government officials in producing the counterfeit cards which they sold for
between 800-2000 baht each.
The Immigration Office traced the culprits, he said. “We will clamp
down on people who illegally accommodate alien laborers,” Pol Lt Col
Charnwut added. “The punishment for Thais who accommodate them should also
be made more severe because they are accomplices of these illegal alien
workers,” he said.
Temperamental pigs and bird flu cause price hikes
Overcharging vendors to incur official wrath
The price of eggs and pork has doubled, hitting
consumers’ pockets hard.
Pork has shot up from 65 baht to 110 baht a kilogram,
while the price of an egg has risen from 1.5 baht to 2.5 or 3 baht.
Wipada Trisat, chief of Chiang Mai provincial commercial
office, explained that prices charged are subject to the laws of supply and
demand. Many chickens were killed following the outbreak of bird flu and
people turned to pork instead. However, in the hot season, pigs are
temperamental and spend most of their time sleeping instead of eating, which
lessens their growth and weight. Consequently the supply of pork this season
is not enough to meet demand, which has triggered the rise in the price of
Wipada added that the Chiang Mai provincial commercial
office has asked vendors to clearly indicate the prices on vegetables and
meat and they would check to see if they were keeping to those prices. Any
vendors who overcharged faced possible action.
He said that not only had the bird flu affected the price
of eggs, but the increased price of chicken feed pushed up the price as
He predicted the pork and eggs prices should be back to
normal in July because the new chicken colonies raised on farms would be
distributed, matching consumer demand. He said that entrepreneurs should not
exploit consumers. If prices do not fall, the provincial committee
responsible for goods and service would call for profiteering entrepreneurs
to be officially admonished, Wipada added. And we wish him all the luck in
“If you go down to the woods today, you’re in for a big surprise!”
Nun nabbed for keeping habit in naughty house
Warrants of arrest are being prepared for the three Mae
Hia forest invaders who destroyed about 550 rai of forest land. Thanawat
Yodjai, chairman of the Tambon Mae Hia Tambon Administration Organization
(TAO), said people have invaded the Doi Suthep-Pui National Park in Ban Mae
Hia to build houses and plant fruit crops. 176 invaders were found
trespassing in the 500 rai forest and recently another seven were discovered
trespassing in another of 50 rai area.
Pol Col Prasert Chantrapiphat said he had enough evidence
to arrest three people on charges of invasion and deforestation in a
national park. They are a former head of the 4th National Park Protection
Team in Mae Hia, a teacher from the electricity department of a technical
college in Chiang Mai and a nun. They had destroyed forests to build
permanent houses in the area.
It was noticeable that the arrest warrants of “the big
capitalists” had not yet been effected, said Pol Col Prasert.
Mae Hia residents were dissatisfied with the slow action
of the government service, including the many sub-committees appointed by
the local provincial organizations, TAO and Muang District Office. They were
“frustrated with the irrelevancy of information that the Chiang Mai
Forestry office and the National Park possesses” and the long time it took
to verify it.
It was threatened that if there were no progress by
government agencies on the issue by May 6, the residents would break into
and burn down the houses and plant trees in the area.
However, the provincial committee has assigned the Mae
Hia TAO to check all 183 invaders and is seeing whether the people have
registered themselves as residents, and how they used their land.
The group of 176 invaders who trespassed on the forest in
1998 were subsequently allowed to occupy the land according to a cabinet
resolution of May 11, 1998.
However, 40 of them exchanged and traded their land. The
government therefore confiscated their land because their actions violated
Chiang Mai proposes itself to be the international health and spa hub
Thai Lanna Spa Association shows its intentions
The deputy governor of Chiang Mai, Kwanchai Wongnitikorn,
presided over the opening ceremony of Thailand’s spa business to worldwide
competition at Chiang Mai University’s Convention Center during the World
Congress of Holistic Medicine.
Spa operators from several countries were present with
more than 20 spas displaying their wares during the event.
The attempts to build up a spa network in the province
matched the provincial plans to push Chiang Mai as the health and spa hub in
the near future, said the deputy governor.
Prof. Dr. Kanika Pornpatjai, president of the Chiang Mai
Health Business Association, noted that this business could attract many
tourists from neighboring countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, Burma and
India to receive spa services.
The president of Thai Lanna Spa Association, Chitra
Klanprayoon, invited all spa operators in Chiang Mai to join so they could
find appropriate methods to upgrade the standard of their own spa
businesses. Examination of facilities would be carried out by the provincial
public health office.
The association focused on the image of spa businesses in
the province and divorced themselves from prohibited illegal businesses such
as massage and the flesh trade. The spa operators should strictly follow the
gazetted opening and closing times. Furthermore, all employees of a spa
center should pass the training programs and receive certification from the
provincial public health office.
Any spa entrepreneurs founded in violation of the law would be given
warnings and their membership of the association could be terminated. Any
persons violating the specified rules would face immediate punishment and
withdrawal of their certificates.
Second protest against runway extension in Mae Hia
Residents rising up against government’s unilateral edicts
The Tambon Mae Hia community is against a plan to expand
Chiang Mai International Airport, citing noise and air pollution.
Thanawat Yodjai, chairman of Mae Hia Tambon
Administration Organization (TAO), invited people who believed they would be
affected by the runway expansion to voice their opinions on the project with
the Southeast Asia Technology Co which had conducted a feasibility study. A
thousand residents and business owners from Tambon Mae Hia and Tambon Suthep
attended the April 25 meeting at the TAO offices.
The personnel from Southeast Asia Technology handed out
questionnaires and encouraged comments. The overwhelming sentiment was
against the runway extension of Chiang Mai International Airport, as it is
located near residential areas that would be affected by noise and air
This was the second time in the past few months that the
villagers expressed concern over the Airports of Thailand’s expansion
One of the residents of Moo 4, Tambon Mae Hia, who
preferred not to be named, said that if the government really aims at
contributing to the development of the region, the viewpoints of the public
should be taken into account before it decides on implementing any project.
Every member of the Mae Hia community preferred not to
see history repeat itself as in the case of the four month long protest led
by thousands of Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) utility
workers and union members who were against the privatisation of EGAT.
According to the Thai constitution, the power utility
workers were correct in their actions, as they were able to collect more
than five thousand signatures of those against the sell-off of EGAT.
However, the government still continued, blind to their demonstrations.
“Their only excuse is that it is the government’s policy, where citizens
have to follow unconditionally,” he said.
According to Thanawat, Mae Hia TAO is regarded as the
proprietor of the area in question. It is therefore bound to be held
responsible to the people who would be affected by the runway expansion
plan. Increasing the capacity of Chiang Mai International Airport as a
commercial airport should be seen against possible effects on the public.
“I have been elected by the people. Therefore I’m
surely on the same side as them. Two public reviews have been carried out
and the conclusion is the same - opposition to the expansion of the runway.
Therefore, both the government and the company that conducted the review
should consider this thoroughly,” he said.
We are the aviation hub - or will be soon, says Deputy Transport Minister
Plans afoot for infrastructure
Deputy Transport Minister Vichet Kasemthongsri recently
presided over a meeting to propose Chiang Mai province as the center of
aviation. The meeting held at the Imperial Mae Ping Hotel was attended by
the director-general of the Civil Aviation Department, Chiang Mai governor
Suwat Tantipat and 20 representatives from organizations concerned.
The attempt to develop the province as a regional
aviation hub has seen significant progress through plans to expand the
city’s airport buildings, runways, parking areas, petrol station systems,
inventory stores, and lounge areas.
In addition, many airlines offer new flight routes as
well as promote additional services for international flights, such as
Chiang Mai-Rangoon four times weekly, Chiang Mai-Bangkok-Narita in Japan
seven times weekly, Bangkok-Hong Kong-Taipei three times weekly, Chiang
Mai-Bangkok-Frankfurt five times weekly, Chiang Mai-Chittagong three times
weekly and Chiang Mai-Kunming twice weekly.
The Deputy Transport Minister said all parties wanted
Chiang Mai to become the aviation hub but not enough had been done to
achieve this. Chiang Mai needed more flights, a larger number of passengers
and sufficient facilities for tourists.
However, the abundance of accommodation and tourist
attractions all year round and the polite manner of Thai citizens would
impress tourists visiting Thailand, said the Deputy Transport Minister,
bringing with them an increased income for all business sectors.
Deputy Transport Minister Vichet suggested that every
sector should share responsibility and revise their plans for further
operations. Three weeks from now, his secretary is planning to proudly
announce Chiang Mai as the aviation hub.
Any problems with the plan should be raised immediately
so that solutions could be found together, to conform with the request of
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
Long-necked Karen not part
of Chiang Mai tourism
TAT boss denies local promotion
A local Thai Chiang Mai newspaper claims that a
long-necked Karen show will be held in the city’s Mae Ai district and
that the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) put up posters in Bangkok’s
Don Muang Airport inviting tourists to visit “Pandas, as well as
long-necked Karen, in Chiang Mai”.
This has caused some necks to get hot under the collar
as this contravenes immigration laws, as the Karen are here in Thailand as
refugees. The Karen are a minority who fled the fighting between Myanmar
government troops and minority groups inside Myanmar and are compelled to
remain in the refugee camp provided by Thai authorities in Mae Hong Son
Meanwhile, to put an official ring to it, Pol Lt Gen
Chanwut Watcharapuk, commissioner of the Immigration Bureau, said the
immigration police would arrest any long-necked Karen who moved out of
their confined areas in Mae Hong Son province to earn a living in Mae Ai
district at Tambon Thaton.
Commenting on the Immigration Bureau’s comment, the
TAT director said it was the immigration police duty to arrest any
long-necked Karen who contravened the law. Their arrest would not affect
the TAT because the long-necked Karen were not part of Chiang Mai’s
The director of TAT’s Northern Office, Region 1,
denied promoting a long-necked Karen show in Chiang Mai.
Chalermsak Suranan from the TAT said they did not have
a policy of intervening in the affairs of minorities, including
long-necked Karen, and denied putting up posters encouraging a visit to
any Karen shows.
“I believe only posters promoting the pandas were put
up there,” he said. He suspected that the private sector had printed and
displayed the posters advertising long-necked Karen. He even doubted that
the posters existed at all, as the local press claimed.
The number of visitors to long-necked Karen villages
has dropped by 80 percent, with a related loss of income of 1 billion baht
last year, added Pol Lt Gen Chanwut. Currently, there are 300 long-necked
Karen, of whom 150 are female, living in Ban Huai Pu Gang and Ban Huai Sue
Tao in Tambon Pha Bong and Ban Nai Soi in Tambon Pangmoo of Mae Hong
Son’s Muang district.
Alleged arsonist caught with five frogs and a lighter
Causes 2.25 mio baht damage
A 17 year old who allegedly started a forest fire to
panic animals into running into traps has been arrested, although his two
accomplices managed to evade capture by fire prevention officers.
Anant Sorn-ngai, head of Doi Suthep-Doi Pui National Park
Office, said a fire prevention patrol team on duty on April 21 spotted three
men lighting a fire along the road behind the Phu Ping Palace. The fire
blazed over 15 rai and caused losses of about 2.25 million baht.
The patrol team managed to catch one of the arsonists. He
is a resident in Tambon Baan Pong in Chiang Mai’s Hang Dong district but
cannot be named because he is a minor. The youth allegedly confessed that he
and his friends often looked in Hang Dong district for forest crops and
animals to sell, but it had become increasingly difficult to find these as
more and more people were doing the same. They decided to target the Phu
Ping Palace area as it abounds with wild animals and not many people dared
to trespass in the area.
He was sent to Phu Ping police station for questioning
and faces criminal charges. He also said the other two wanted men lived in
his village in Hang Dong.
Pol Capt Wittaya Winyayong of Phu Ping police station
said the suspect would be charged with the destruction of forest land and
with hunting and killing protected wild animals. The accused is reported to
be the first arsonist arrested. Evidence includes five forest frogs and a
cigarette lighter. If found guilty by the courts, he faces a heavy sentence
due to the state’s concern about the forest fire crisis in Chiang Mai.
Police are still searching for the other two accused men.
Businessman victim of Mafia style ambush and killing
Business jealousy presumed to be the reason
Krailerg and Saksit Meesubkwang
A former policeman, who became a wealthy businessman, has
been shot dead, possibly because of conflicts with rival businessmen.
Somporn Navig, a former police sergeant major, whose house was valued at
millions of baht and who owned several luxury cars, was found dead in his
delivery van at Ratchapuek Housing Estate in San Kamphaeng district’s
Tambon San Klang.
of the bullet holes in the van, perhaps the fatal shot, is clearly visible.
The investigating police team of Pol Maj Athipong
Thongdang of San Kam Phaeng police station accompanied by Surachai Chongrak,
San Kam Phaeng District Officer, and Pol Col Prayarch Boonsri, went to the
scene and found the van with the engine still running.
A five meter long wooden log was across the road,
obstructing the van. When they opened the door on the driver’s side,
Somporn’s body slumped out.
He had been shot with an 11 mm pistol, and his cousin,
Chatchai Worabutra, who had accompanied him, was seriously injured with a
gunshot to his hand. He was rushed to Chiang Mai Ram 2 Hospital.
Cash to the value of 120,000 baht, a gold necklace and
bracelet and important documents were left in the van, ruling out robbery as
Somporn had worked at Mae Ping police station but
resigned 10 years ago and received a concession from Chiang Mai Arcade Bus
Station to open a grocery store, “Yim Prasert”.
On the night he was killed, he had been driving home with
his cousin after closing his grocery business. Chatchai told investigators
Somporn asked his cousin to get out of the van to remove the obstruction. As
he did so, the hidden gunmen opened fire, continuing until they were sure
that Somporn had been killed.
Although Chatchai was injured, he waited until the gunmen
sped off on a motorcycle before asking villagers to call the police, he
The police suspect the motive for the murder may be business related
because Somporn had received a 20 year concession to continue his grocery
store at Chiang Mai Arcade Bus Station, while other concessionaires have to
renew their concessions every three years.
Karen army member killed and another injured
Thai-Burma border incident has police on alert
A bloody attack at Mae Ngao village in the Kun Yuam
district of Mae Hong Son, which included rocket-propelled grenades, has left
one dead and another injured.
An outside wall was marked with over 200 bullet holes
believed to be fired from M-79 firearms. An unexploded rocket-propelled
grenade was found inside the house.
The person killed was identified as 45-year-old Saraere,
and the injured man as 50-year-old Patu. Both are reported to be Burmese and
members of the Kaya Karen army who live along the Thai-Burma border.
The body was removed by his kinsfolk according to
religious custom. Patu was taken to Kun Yuam Hospital for medical treatment.
Villagers said that about 20 young men were seen hanging
around the village in the early evening of April 20. However, nobody thought
anything of it because it was assumed the strangers were simply visiting
relatives. At about 10.30 p.m., the sound of continuous gunfire was heard
coming from one of the houses.
It is thought the attack may be the result of a business
disagreement. The case has been reported to the station commander of the Mae
Hong Son police station.
It was believed relations between the Thai and Burmese
governments would not be affected by the incident. However, as it took place
in the Kun Yuam district which is close to the border, closer cooperation
between the district office, police, soldiers and Frontier Land Security
volunteers would be required.
Mobile phone thieves apprehended
The Sky Eagle has landed
Two robbers who plundered a mobile phone
shop in downtown Chiang Rai have been apprehended after being tracked down
with the help of the police spotters in the sky.
The two, brandishing a firearm, held up staff at the OK
Mobile Phone Center on Phaholyothin Road. Thanej Thongchompoo, the 18 year
old a staff member, told police the two robbers appeared to be drunk. One
smashed the glass showcase and stole a number of mobile phones in it before
they fled, breaking the glass front door on the way out. They made their
getaway on a black motorcycle, and he was also able to give police an
accurate description of the clothes they were wearing.
Police set up road blocks and the police Sky Eagle
helicopter team was also called in. 30 minutes later, the two suspects on a
motorcycle, were seen turning into a side road near the Mae Korn
Intersection, about two kilometers away.
Police officers apprehended 27 year old Sompong
Putthawong, (nicknamed “Mac”), as he was ducking into bushes in an
attempt to escape.
Thanej, from the phone shop, identified the suspect who
was then taken into custody for questioning at Muang Chiang Rai police
The second suspect, who was later arrested in Parn
district, is a 16 year old minor, so his identity has been withheld.
Police learned that after the two had been drinking,
Sompong persuaded the youth to accompany him into town on his motorcycle.
They stopped in front of the mobile phone shop and Sompong said he would go
inside to collect a phone that had been brought in for repairs.
When he saw there was only one staff member on duty, he
broke the glass showcase and snatched the mobile phones. He then called his
accomplice to help stash the phones into a plastic bag before they made
their getaway. They admitted that they had planned to sell the stolen phones
and keep some for themselves.
Police took them back to the scene to reconstruct the
crime, where they pointed out where they had dropped their weapon. They also
helped retrieve nine mobile phones.
The two suspects were charged with possession of a
firearm, threatening others with a firearm, carrying a firearm in a public
place without a licence, malicious damage to property, and theft.
They will now have plenty of time to ring up their
friends and ask for food parcels to be brought in!