City spruce-up to be completed in time for Cabinet visit
Good thing, as it’s causing even more traffic jams than usual
The improvement to the streets along Chiang Mai’s outer
city moat is expected to be completed before the mobile Cabinet meeting on
Chiang Mai governor Suwat Tantipat said that the road
improvements were being carried out ahead of the mobile Cabinet meeting. The
street surface has been removed, which has caused serious traffic jams. The
streets become muddy, especially when it rains, and there is concern that
the incomplete roadworks might give the province a poor image during the
upcoming cabinet meeting in the city.
Representatives of Chiang Mai municipality reported that
they have received additional funding, valued at 19,463,000 baht, from the
government to improve the surface of both outer and inner streets around the
city moats and 370 waste treatment wells.
During improvements to Maneenopparat Road, the municipality has liaised
with traffic police officers to assist motorists using that section. It is
anticipated that the improvements will be finished by May 15.
Illegal aliens being hunted
An improvement in the economy and a greater demand for
cheap labor are contributing to a large number of alien immigrants entering
Gen Prathompong Kesornsuk, the Royal Thai Army deputy chief of staff and his
delegation board a helicopter to inspect the border area and routes used by
This assessment comes from Lt Gen Prathompong Kesornsuk,
the deputy chief of staff of the Royal Thai Army. He said Chiang Mai
province at present faces the problem of huge numbers of illegal immigrants,
but military forces deploying along the borders, under the 3rd Army Region,
have launched preventive measures against them.
Military intelligence is also conducting investigations
into some of the manufacturers who employ alien workers, as they pay
salaries lower than the minimum level for Thai workers. “These aliens tell
their friends, relatives and neighbors to come to work in Thailand,” Lt
Gen Prathompong said.
He added that the illegal immigrants used the same routes
as smugglers, mostly entering Thailand in the North-West, such as Mae Hong
Son, Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai and Mae Sot district, Tak province.
Lt Gen Prathompong, as the head of the Illegal Immigrant
Workers Prevention and Control Board, visited Pha Muang Task Force to hear
reports on the current situation. It was apparent that illegal alien workers
were entering the country in border areas that coincided with areas of the
minorities controlled by village chiefs and headmen.
After being briefed, the deputy chief of staff and his delegation
continued by helicopter to examine the areas at Kiew Pha Wok border pass,
Chiang Dao district, and the checkpoint at Doi Kiew Hung, Mae Ai District in
Chickenpox epidemic hits 20,000
The Ministry of Health has warned of a
chickenpox epidemic sweeping across Thailand, with over 20,000 people now
infected. Figures collected from public health offices across the country,
disclosed by Permanent Secretary for Public Health Dr. Vallop Thainuea; show
that 22,833 people have been infected with the virus since the beginning of
the year, with the highest risk group being children aged 5-9 years.
The highest rate of infection is in the northern region,
with an infection rate of 63 per 100,000, while in the southern region the
infection rate is only 19 per 100,000. Dr. Vallop urged anyone infected with
the virus to take around five days leave from work or school in order to
help reduce the chances of contagion. (TNA)
Orange farmers meet to discuss lemons in their industry
Oranges told to become more competitive
The Thai orange is facing a serious threat
with the invasion of its cheaper cousin from China. The danger is considered
so life-threatening, a seminar was organized at Fang Chinuprathum School in
Chiang Mai’s Fang district with 400 orange growers, agricultural
academics, and farmers taking part. Anunt Dalodom, senator for Surat Thani
province and the president of the Thailand Horticultural Association,
The seminar looked at problems surrounding orange
planting and marketing and to inspire orange farmers to improve their
production and make their fruit more competitive.
Anunt said that, as a result of the Free Trade Area
agreement with China, many Chinese fruits are being imported into Thailand -
and at cheaper prices. This affects the sale of Thai oranges because
consumers have naturally turned to buying the cheaper Chinese oranges.
The seminar included talks on the development of orange
planting and marketing. Participants were faced with the question of what
kind of expansion the orange orchards faced.
Also discussed was the subject of the Bank for
Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperative (BAAC) and its loans to orange
The seminar also encouraged orange farmers to establish
associations or unions to help them develop their plantations and make their
oranges more competitive.
Free Trade agreements always tend to favour one side or
another, and the local oranges are finding they are turning into lemons.
Grassroots communities take pride in their forests
“Forest Pride Festival” from May 14-16
The Chiang Mai Art Museum will hold a
“Forest Pride Festival” from May 14-16 to mark the efforts and
activities of people at the grassroots level, the villagers throughout
Thailand who have been working to protect, regenerate and manage their
The festival will reflect their intentions in managing
their forests with pride or “with flowers in their hearts”.
These people have been using and managing their forest
areas in a responsible and sustainable way and conserving them for the
future of their own livelihoods, nation and global community of their own
Community Forest Networks from all nine northern
provinces, with support from related networks in the northeast, south, east
and west of the country have taken the initiative to hold this festival.
Around 30 other groups - including community-based organizations, NGO’s
and government agencies are helping to support and organize it.
On the first day, three study trips will be done in the
morning, taking a small number of people to visit communities in Lamphun,
Nan and Chiang Rai to discuss many topical issues. Those interested in
joining this group should phone 053 810 623-4. Numbers are limited.
At the museum, a series of exhibitions related to
community forestry and forest products will be on display from 4 p.m. Local
musicians and an award winning Thai youth chamber music ensemble will
perform in the early morning. A video narrated in Thai language will
introduce the issues raised during the festival and will be screened on May
14 and 15 at 8 p.m.
On May 15, the seminar entitled “Spiritual world of
grassroots people” will be held. Villagers from various ethnic groups
around the North will speak on forest ordination ceremonies, paying respect
to the forest, fire and water resource spirits, taboos around forest springs
and other spiritual ceremonies.
Academics from around the country will discuss “Local
energy and change in Thai resource management” in the afternoon, followed
by musicians, poetry reading and performances from each province.
On the final day, a thousand people are expected to walk
in procession to the foot of Doi Suthep. Christian, Buddhist and traditional
ceremonies will be observed at venues along the way. People will pay respect
to the Kruba Sriwichai statue. A smaller group will move up to the Wat
Prathat Doi Suthep to pay respect and take part in a Hmong spiritual
ceremony in a nearby village.
A Cabinet minister has been invited to take part in the
ceremony and receive a statement from local grassroots people on their
willingness and intention to manage the forest.
Unrest in Thailand’s south affecting the tourism trade
A statement issued last week by the Pattani United
Liberation Organization (PULO) warning foreigners to stay away from
Thailand’s southern provinces, has thrown the country’s tourism industry
A Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) spokesman told TTG
Daily News its overseas offices had been flooded with enquiries from anxious
travelers wanting to know whether it was safe to visit Thailand.
“We are trying to work out a response. All we can do is
to try to make it clear the threat is in the far south of the country, more
than a thousand kilometers from Bangkok,” said the spokesman.
Thai Hotels Association (THA) vice president, Prakit
Chinamourphong, said violence in the south had devastated holiday bookings
even before the tragic events when 107 people, mostly Muslims, were killed.
“But this PULO threat has considerably worsened the
outlook because it is not confined to Yala, Pathani, Narathiwat and Songkla;
it is also threatening neighboring provinces. We have to take the threat
seriously. These people are angry,” he said.
Meanwhile, the US, the UK, Germany, Denmark, the
Netherlands, France, Australia, Canada and numerous other countries have
posted advisories warning their nationals against non-essential travel to
The US advisory said, “We recommend against all
non-essential travel to these four provinces - Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and
Songkla.” Further updates to include Phuket and other southern were
The managing director of one of Thailand’s leading
inbound tour firms, requesting anonymity said, “Thailand is the cornerstone
of tourism to Asia. If the security situation deteriorates here the
ramifications will be serious for the whole region.” (TTG Asia)
Mae Hong Son gearing up for future Myanmar trade
Delegation visiting Myanmar to forge business links
Mae Hong Son is upgrading its border facilities and
efficiency to meet the growing business relations with its northern
neighbors in Myanmar (Burma).
To this end, the Office of Mae Hong Son Education, Zone
1, has planned training courses this month to improve the quality and
efficiency of the border personnel. Attention will be paid to learning more
about the living conditions of the people of Myanmar, to more effectively
develop border business and trade, as well as initiate investment projects.
A Mae Hong Son delegation left for an official visit to
Myanmar this week. Governor Suphot said the visit to Mandalay and Taunggy
provinces had been planned with the cooperation of the Thai embassy and the
Ministry of Commerce’s business and trade department.
The delegation consists of members from public and
private sectors, including representatives of the Chiang Mai Chamber of
Commerce, Tourism Business Association, and heads of local government
offices in the province.
The governor added that they would invite their
counterparts in Mandalay and Taunggy to visit Thailand.
Border gates to link with Taunggy would be opened at the
border village of Ban Huay Pueng, Tambon Huay Pha, in Mae Hong Son’s Muang
district, where the market place would also be set up. The Burmese
authorities are said to support the initiative.
Both sides have also pledged to further cooperate in the
suppression and prevention of smuggling of goods and products from Myanmar.
The border checkpoint will be manned by government troops, immigration
officers and custom officers. A “One-Stop Service Center” will be placed
at Ban Rong Haeng to cater for border trade.
Request to go to cabinet
to control hill tribes
Allocate land to stop the destruction of forests
Worawit Chuasuwan, director of the 6th Nakhon Sawan
National Park Conservation Areas Administration Office is suggesting the
Cabinet be asked to take a new look at its policies on keeping hill tribes
in order and to allocate land to tribesmen so they will stop destroying the
Last week Worawit led a team of more than 100 forestry
officials, forestry police and Mae Sariang Forest Conservation and Control
Division officials, who inspected conservation areas in the national park.
They found illegally paved land and over 100 rai of forest areas had been
slashed and burned.
During the inspection, the officials arrested a 30 year
old refugee, known only as Pabu, whom they found hiding in a shed. Pabu
admitted that he had sneaked out from the temporary hilltribe refugee camp
at Ban Mae Surin, Khun Yuam District to work. He said he earned 80 baht a
day for slashing and burning the forest. He was later transferred under
police arrest to face prosecution. It was not made apparent who was paying
Pabu 80 baht a day, or who might have paved the land.
On how to solve the deforestation problem, Worawit said
that in the long run it would be proposed to the Cabinet that it revise its
May 11, 1999 resolution to arrange the mountain communities in orderliness
and to allocate land to the tribesmen.
He felt this would help suppress the recurrent and
never-ending deforestation problem. “At present, the slash and burn type
of deforestation has destroyed the natural resources, ecological system and
water sources, resulting in more damage than those of the usual
deforestation a hundredfold,” he said.
At this time it is not known what action, if any, will be
taken against the businessmen and authorities that profit from the
Phrae governor trucks in water to stricken residents
Mae Son weir almost dry
Almost no water is flowing from the Mae
Son weir, fed by the Yom River in Song district because of the ongoing
drought. This is posing a serious threat to Phrae and Sukhothai,
Phitsanulok, Phichit and Nakhon Sawan provinces as the Yom River flows
through all of them.
On April 26 the water level in the only large weir on the
river was so low that only a little water was running through its gates.
Unless the area gets plentiful rains soon, the water supply from this source
The water levels at Kaeng Sua Ten dam in the Yom National
Park and in the river itself are also worryingly low. Kaeng Sua Ten is a
popular tourist spot, but it has not seen many holidaymakers this year
because of the drought. Some visitors said they were dissatisfied because
the water level was so low that they could not enjoy swimming in the river.
Phrae Governor Somsak Boonplueng has assigned each
district to dispatch water-trucks to supply water to residents in the
The Water Resources Department has also arranged a
seminar on the planning of the administration of water resources in the Yom
River basin to find ways to address the situation. The seminar proposed that
more weirs and dams should be built on the smaller rivers branching out from
the Yom River. Phrae province has already begun a project to act on this
Homes, orchards devastated by summer storm
A summer storm damaged 400 houses of villagers in Tambon
Huay Lan, Dok Kham Tai district and Tambon Huay Kaew, Phu Karm Yao
sub-district in Phayao province.
The storm on April 22 tore off the roofs of the houses.
Longan and lychee orchards over a 200-rai area were also
affected. Damage is estimated at 3 million baht. The local leader has been
assessing the damage.
This summer storm is the first major disaster to hit the
area of Tambon Huay Lan in 30 years.
The government is trying to provide basic assistance to
villagers affected by the disaster.
Opposition gears up for censure motion before May 10
The government is left with a matter of
weeks to cobble together a defense after the Opposition announced that it
would table a censure motion by May 10, while hinting that it could request
the impeachment of several government ministers.
Revealing for the first time the possible date of the
long-awaited censure motion, Democrat leader Banyat Banthathan said that the
Opposition was now preparing information on which to grill the government.
If the motion is tabled by May 10, the debate is likely to take place around
May24-25, although the exact date and the length of the debate depends on
the government and the Speaker. Although Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra
has mocked the Opposition by calling for a 10-day debate, the Democrat Party
has said that around five days should suffice.
Banyat also hinted that the Opposition could try to
impeach a number of other ministers in addition to Education Minister Adisai
Bodharamik, accused of violating the Constitution, against whom an
impeachment motion has already been lodged.
But he allayed fears that the Opposition could drag the
prime minister’s daughter into the debate on the alleged leaking of
university entrance examination papers, saying, “I can’t yet confirm
whether or not we will speak about the leaked questions and the entrance
examination, but we will not talk about children’s issues.”
Even before the censure debate, Banyat began laying into
the government, questioning the fact it had not made any declaration of its
performance over the past year, as stipulated by the Constitution. He also
accused Thaksin of failing to keep his pledge to engage in public issues
rather than enter politics simply for the purpose of political victory.
Death sentence passed
on 50cc scooters
51-year-old Customs act being finally enforced!
If you own a 50cc scooter, you might have just become a
criminal, according to a 51-year-old Customs statute. You are liable to a
fine of four times the value of the two wheeled device, and perhaps even
five years in jail to repent the error of your ways.
a heavily clandestine operation, doughty reporters from the Chiangmai Mail
managed to capture a photo of this, one of the delinquent scooters that are
on sale to the public. Beware! It is against the law to ride one.
To escape the long arm of the law, you may have to dump
it. Most of the scooters are considered to be illegal and the provincial
police bureau has ordered a crackdown on them, effective since the beginning
of April. This is in belated response to the announcement issued by the
Ministry of Commerce in 1998 that the scooters or their components are
prohibited as imports into the country.
According to the police commander of Chiang Mai
Provincial Police Division, the Provincial Police Bureau, Region 5,
“Anyone who owns or has any scooter with a capacity of not more than 50cc
will be charged,” Pol Lt Gen Kasem Rattanasoonthorn added.
He told Chiangmai Mail that there is a large number of
people who ride scooters with wheels under 10 inches in diameter in public.
Parts for these scooters were illegally smuggled into the country to be
assembled in Thailand. He said, “Therefore, they are all illegal product
under the Customs Act 1953, Article 27, which says that anyone who owns or
has such a scooter would be fined four times the price of scooters, or face
imprisonment of not more that five years or both.”
However, the good news for the scandalous scooter owners
is that those scooters registered before March 29, 1994 had been exempted,
ten years of age being the age of scooter majority. “But owners will have
to show the traffic police the official document to prove the registration
Meanwhile, Pol Cap Pichet Rungraksa, a Chiang Mai traffic policeman,
confirmed they had launched the crackdown on the city roads for the illegal
scooters. “If we find any roaming the streets, we could charge them
immediately,” he said. The Chiangmai Mail applauds this decision. Roaming
scooters under ten years of age should be sent home immediately to stay with
Over 1,000 dwellers rally to protest against over-eager forestry officers
Allowed to continue farming for personal use, for now
About 500 families in Mae Hong Son’s Sop Moei district
have carried out a street demonstration to protest against forestry officers
who had confiscated their harvesting land and arrested and threatened their
The protesters demanded that the officers release all
arrested dwellers and let them carry on their lives and farming as usual.
Finally, after the officers and dwellers came to an
agreement, the protesters dispersed.
Sop Moei district chief officer Phitsanu Senawin said in
an interview with Chiangmai Mail that the protest arose from the
disagreement between forestry officers and the dwellers and “a mistake”
by forestry officers.
Phitsanu added that before they arrested the villagers
who allegedly had been guilty of deforestation, the officers should have
informed the village headmen and responsible persons. He hoped that such a
protest would not happen in his area of jurisdiction again.
In reality, the dwellers farm primarily to earn a living
and they are “not involved with any capitalists,” said the district
Phitsanu said that after the protest ended, he negotiated
with both sides. The forestry officer also ceased their arrest because they
realized the area was a rice paddy. Thus, if the officers asked them to halt
harvesting their crops, they would refuse. The officers, then, allowed them
to continue growing their crops for the time being. They would find other
measures to solve the problem next year.
The Mae Hong Son governor ordered officials to examine
the area to check the number of farming families in the district. They were
to report back by May 4.
Chiang Mai governor asks hoteliers to smarten their properties
Part of Visit Chiang Mai 2006 project
Plans to build an international conference
center, open about 10 top class hotels, and run a night zoo are some of the
attractions to help promote the “Visit Chiang Mai Year” project for
2006. The upcoming World Horticulture Exhibition will also help attract
tourists worldwide to the city.
Governor Suwat Tantipat mentioned these points at a
recent meeting with tourism operators, whose help he has enlisted to develop
Chiang Mai as the aviation centre of the north.
He was following up on a call last month by Vichet
Kasemthongsri, deputy minister of transport and communications, that the
province fulfill the criteria necessary to become the aviation hub. The
governor said the Thai Hotels Association’s northern chapter had the
capacity to become involved in this.
He asked hoteliers to spruce up the landscape in front of
their hotels and fly national flags as part of the scheme to beautify Chiang
Tantipat added that a “mobile Cabinet meeting” would
take in Chiang Mai on May 17-18.
Record companies pursuing copyright violations
Now it’s the Chiang Rai Music Police
Music companies have enlisted police assistance to
inspect almost 100 entertainment outlets, including karaoke bars and
restaurants in Chiang Rai, to check for pirated CDs which violate copyright
Ten establishments have been found to have violated music
companies’ intellectual property. The owners of these establishments will
now face the music.
One of them asked why the entertainment companies were
acting as if the entertainment outlets were drug dealers or perpetrators of
serious crimes. They wanted the companies to be gentler with them because
even though they had broken the law, their actions were not as serious as
Pol Lt Col Susan Kulkanith of Chiang Rai’s Muang
District police station said that the law breakers would be sentenced by the
court. The usual fine would be at least 20,000 baht. The pirated CDs would
be confiscated as evidence.
She warned other owners of entertainment places and
karaoke bars that they should buy the rights to intellectual property.
“Typically, once people buy the copyright from the companies, they can use
the products all life long,” she said. For example, any shop owner can buy
intellectual property from R S Promotion Co at around 13,000 baht. Grammy
sell their intellectual property at 7,000 baht. However, if shop or bar
owners wanted to use the music companies’ intellectual property for
commercial purposes, they would have to pay 400 baht a month.
Walking Street going in the wrong direction?
Vendors selling space instead of souvenirs
The “Sunday Walking Street” is to be revamped to
return it towards supporting Lanna goods. This was the main thrust of a
meeting chaired by Chiang Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat, which was also
attended by Pornchai Jitnawasatian, the Chiang Mai Municipality’s
The governor said the Walking Street project had been
organized to promote tourism and jobs in the community. Nevertheless, some
of these objectives had been forgotten and the project had developed in
the wrong direction. Consequently, he called on all traders to assist the
province by making the street more attractive and interesting for
Pornchai asked the traders not to sell products which
are not Lanna handicraft and artwork - such as plastic toys from China,
factory made goods, and spaghetti straps and shirts. (Home made spaghetti
may be OK.)
The committee organising the Sunday Walking Street
admitted that it had received numerous complaints. These included bribes
being paid to municipal police officers and unfairness of space
distribution for trading stalls. The most serious complaint was that
sellers who had been allocated space on-sold it to other traders. The
municipality does not charge sellers space rentals, but they are supposed
to inform it weekly that they are continuing to trade there.
An ID card system for the traders will be introduced to
make it easier for officials to keep a check and sellers will no longer
have to report to the municipality every week.
Pornchai said misdemeanours could be reported to him on
01-6813444. “The charm of the Walking Street is fading, so sellers
should restore it by using Lanna art and culture as the selling point,”
Phrae hopes old shells will become eco-tourism magnet
Fossils discovered are over 200 million years old
Shell fossils dating back more than 200 million years
have been found in the teak garden opposite the Erawan cave at Ban Kang
Luang in Phrae’s Long district.
Pornsawat Wattagul, a lecturer in the geology department
of Kasetsart University (Bangkhen), and Aphichart Lamjuan, a freelance
researcher and formerly a geologist at the mineral resource department have
confirmed the age of the fossils.
This means that the region was once the seabed, said the
The province has declared the area protected and have
informed visitors this is another historic and geological spot of
Phrae Governor Somsak Boonplueng said the province would
include the area in its promotions of local tourist attractions. The
province has allowed lecturers from Kasetsart University to develop the site
and provide information to instruct visitors about its significance.
Phrae has promoted eco-tourism in Ban Kang Luang in the
Long district for some time, with Erawan cave as its most prominent tourist
attraction. There are many other activities provided for tourists, including
boating, canoes and mountain biking.
It is believed that the discovery of fossils in the
Erawan cave area will become a further magnet to attract more tourists.
Randy 30-year-old catfish caught in Chiang Khong
First catfish caught in two years
Pla buek (giant catfish) hunters from Chiang Rai have
caught three specimens in the Mekong River, the largest weighing a whopping
220 kilograms. The other two weighed in at 180kg and 170kg each. Pla buek is
the largest fresh water fish in the world and is found only in the Mekong
The fishermen were from Ban Had Krai in Chiang Rai’s
Chiang Khong district, and were so thrilled with their catfish catches that
a press conference was called, attracting Chiang Rai Governor Narin
Panichkij, Chiang Mai MP from Thai Rak Thai party Buasorn Prachamorn, and
Chiang Khong district chief officer Nipon Jangjan.
Poom Boonnak, chairman of the Pla Buek Club of Ban Had
Krai reported that two groups of fish hunters led by Sumnuek Suwanta and
Pitak Seangpetch hunted down the pla bueks. Pla buek hunting is a tradition
in the Had Krai village.
The pla bueks did not give up without a struggle, tearing
nets apart with their teeth. The crews, however, were very delighted with
the catch because they had come home fishless for the last two years.
The crew ironically suggested that everybody should help
conserve the pla bueks by keeping seaweed, on which they feed, in the Mekong
River. This would make sure they had enough conserved pla bueks to take
home, in other words, help keep them alive so that we can kill them.
Taweesak Charnprasertporn, head of Chiang Rai Fishery
Office, said the pla bueks were gigantic and almost 30 years old. “The pla
bueks are in the reproductive period and try to swim northwards to breed.
After the last hard rains, the fresh water may have stimulated their
reproduction,” he said.
The Fishery Office has removed their sperm to try
artificial insemination. This may take some of the fun out of being a giant
catfish, but may ensure that there are some for the villagers to catch.
Japanese language school opens in Chiang Mai
Konichiwa - not Sayonara!
Chiang Mai has a new Japanese language school. Saowalak
Shimada, managing director of Kokusho Education Co invited Chiang Mai Deputy
Governor Prinya Panthong and Katsuhiro Shinohara, Japanese consul-general in
Chiang Mai, to preside over the opening ceremony of the school. More than
200 guests and Japanese businessmen who have been doing business in Thailand
left) Rachan Veeraphan; Japanese consul-general in Chiang Mai Katsuhiro
Shinohara; Chiang Mai Deputy Governor Prinya Panthong; and Saowalak Shimada,
managing director of Kokusho Education Co Ltd at the opening.
The language school is on the 5th floor of the Chiang Mai
Siripanitch Building in Tambon Suthep, Muang district.
The deputy governor congratulated Saowalak and his
partners. “It is fortunate for Chiang Mai residents that there are
businessmen concerned about the importance of Japanese, as this is in
accordance with the government’s policy of promoting Chiang Mai as the
center of the Upper North and an aviation hub in the future.”
“Therefore, it is advantageous if Thai youth and citizens are capable
of speaking and writing Japanese. Thailand and Japan have had good relations
for a long time and many Japanese businessmen are investing in Chiang Mai
and the neighboring provinces,” he said.
EU denies travel ban to Thailand
On April 29 the European Union (EU)
dismissed fears that it had issued a warning against EU citizens traveling
to Thailand, but admitted that a number of individual EU member states had
advised their nationals to avoid traveling to the country’s southern
border region unless it is strictly necessary.
In a meeting that was supposed to be focused on the
expansion of the EU on May 1, EU representative Klauspeter Schmallenbach
found himself hounded by journalists wishing to know whether or not rumors
of an EU-wide travel ban were true. Denying the reports, however, Klauspeter
said that travel warnings were at the discretion of individual member
However, Dutch Ambassador, Gerard JHC Kramer, conceded
that a number of EU member states, including the Netherlands, had warned
their nationals against traveling to the southern region unless it is
strictly necessary. Nonetheless, he stressed that the Dutch ban applied only
to the three southern border provinces of Yala, Narathiwat, and Pattani, and
not to Thailand as a whole.
Meanwhile, Australia has also warned their nationals to
avoid traveling to Thailand’s southern border region and Malaysia’s
coastal areas. The warning was seen in the Australian Foreign Affairs and
Trade Ministries’ websites, saying that Australian people should avoid
traveling to Thailand’s four southern border provinces of Yala,
Narathiwat, Pattani, and Songkhla, which are the focus of this year’s
spate of violence and unrest.
The on-line warning also said that Australian nationals
should also exercise caution when traveling to Thailand’s southern Satun
Province and areas along the Thai-Malaysian border. A number of Australian
tourists visit Thailand’s southern resort islands of Phuket and Samui in
Surat Thani Province every year.
The warning said that Australian people should also be
more careful when visiting Malaysia’s coastal areas and the Sabah State,
where they are at risk of being targets of kidnapping and criminal gangs, as
well as separatists from the Philippines’ southern region. (TNA)
Artificial rain fails to make impact on parched land
Farmers hoping desperately for artificial rain to solve
weeks of drought received a disappointing message today; humidity levels in
some parts of the country are so low that artificial rain-making equipment
will simply not cause any rain to fall.
Announcing drought relief measures this week during his
weekly radio address to the nation, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said
that the Cabinet had approved an initial 4 billion baht to battle this
year’s severe drought conditions. Nonetheless, he conceded that in a
number of places the absence of humidity meant that artificial rain would
not be a solution to the problem.
Thailand is suffering from one of its worst droughts on
record this year, with several parts of the country facing severe water
Phrae lashed by successive storms
Many families left without roofs
A second thunderstorm has lashed Phrae
over two days, wrecking the rooftop of Phra Thart Chorhae temple hall,
damaging the Provincial Community Economic Center as well as de-roofing
houses of over 100 families.
The first thunderstorm had destroyed more than 300 homes
in many districts on the previous day.
At Phra Thart Chorhae Temple in Tambon Chorhae, several
pieces of roof tile were blown away, with showers drenching the interior.
The abbot, Phra Kru Wimolkittisoonthorn, ordered the hall entrance closed
for fear that the roof could collapse and worshippers injured.
Located on the opposite side from the temple’s front
gate, the Provincial Community Economic Center (where Phrae’s OTOP ‘One
Tambon One Product’ wares are displayed and sold), part of the steelwork
of its rooftop collapsed and smashed into many houses located downwind.
Kasorn Plalas, mayor of Tambon Chorhae, asked municipal
members to help storeowners take out the undamaged goods, as they were
afraid the entire roof could collapse.
It was also reported that a windstorm wrecked official
buildings and houses in Tambon Wiang Ta, Long District, while in Tambon
Wiang Thong, Sung Men District, dozens of families were left homeless.
Damage from the first day’s thunderstorm was still
being assessed by the provincial authorities when the second struck one
struck at almost the same time 24 hours later.
Public asked to come to the rescue as Thailand faces bleaker future for its senior citizens
Elderly population expected to double in next 20 years
The percentage of elderly people in
Thailand is expected to double in the next 20 years. Death from old age will
rise from 400,000 to 700,000 a year. And every fourth elderly person will
face chronic diseases and have weakened health.
These statistics were presented by Deputy Minister of
Public Health Sirikorn Maneerin.
The deputy minister was speaking at this year’s Rod Num
Dam Hua ceremony for the elderly on National Elderly Day held on April 30 at
Chiang Mai University’s Convention Hall.
Elderly people from the province’s 22 districts and two
sub-districts marked the day in a parade from in front of the university’s
Art Museum to its Convention Hall.
During the ceremony, Sirikorn said senior citizens
constituted 10 percent of the population at present, but the percentage was
“In the next 20 years, the number of old people is
expected to double to about 13.7 million, while the figure of newborn babies
will decline because more and more couples are tending not to have babies
and more and more women are inclined to remain single,” Sirikorn said.
“Meanwhile, the figure of death at old age will rise
from 400,000 to 700,000 a year and one out of four older people will face
chronic disease and have weakened health.
“Therefore, the government will have to encourage
people to stay healthy before reaching old age.
“As a first step, every tambon should promote the
establishment of clubs for the elderly as centers to take care of their
physical and mental health,” Sirikorn said.
The Public Health Ministry wants at least 50 percent of
the senior citizens in Thailand to become members of such clubs that should
offer activities for them every month.
The deputy minister also encouraged networks working for
elderly people in Chiang Mai to be the country’s leaders in arranging
activities for them and collaborating with the Provincial Public Health
Production of a million ya ba tablets thwarted
Police confiscate 2 kg methamphetamines
Phrae provincial police have arrested two alleged drug
dealers with enough ingredients to produce nearly a million ya ba tablets.
Anurak Yano, 33, a resident of Chantaburi province’s
Tamai district, and Samarn Rodjaroen from Bor Rai district in Trat province
were arrested in Loei province in the northeast region, on May 1, while
attempting to smuggle over two kilograms of ingredients to make the tablets.
The suspects were arrested after a tip-off to a police
operation headed by Pol Col Sutheera Punnabutra, deputy commander of Phrae
Provincial Police Division. Police were informed that the dealers would pass
by on the Chiang Rai-Phayao-Ngao-Song route. Officers and a special
operation unit were stationed at the Nang Fah checkpoint in Phrae’s Song
district to search every suspicious car passing through.
Eventually they discovered the drug dealers’ vehicle
with over two kilograms of the methamphetamine precursor for producing ya
The two men arrested confessed that they bought the
substance from hill tribes living in Phu Chee Fah in Chiang Rai’s Toeng
district and the substance would have been used to produce about a million
pills. They now have time to think on the million reasons why this was not a
Two faculty of engineering students charged with theft
Caught with large booty of stolen goods
A Chiang Mai University engineering student and a recent
CMU faculty of education graduate have been charged with theft after they
allegedly pried open motorcycle seats and entered university dormitories and
two suspects, Surachai Waisupa and Pichitpong Lampaopatong, are students at
CMU’s faculty of engineering.
The suspects are Surachai Waisupa, 24, from Saraphi
district, and Pichitpong Lampaopatong, 25, from San Kamphaeng district.
The evidence seized includes 30 mobile phones, five Sony
and Panasonic video cameras, an ATM card, a Colt 11mm pistol, five rounds of
ammunition, a Honda motorcycle and four sets of car stereos.
cards, ATM cards, driving licenses and other official document as well as
other valuables such as mobile phones and computers, and a handgun were
While police questioned the two, many victims went to the
police station to reclaim some of the stolen items.
Pol Cap Jarun Kampar, investigation officer of Phu Ping
police station, said that many victims had notified the police about the
thefts. An investigating team was therefore set up. Police found that the
thieves usually wandered around the targeted places, observing the goings
on. When they found nobody around, they would pry open the cushioned seats
of motorcycles to steal belongings which were kept in them.
Some of the stolen items were sold for money to be spent
at nightclubs, while the thieves kept others for their personal use.
The two students allegedly confessed that they stole
other belongings as well for almost a year.
Pol Col Prachuab Wongsuk, superintendent of Phu Ping police station, said
that initially the two were charged with theft and illegal possession of a
firearm and ammunition. Victims should go to the police station to check
whether their stolen possessions are among the items police seized, so they
could be reclaimed.
50,000 ya ba tablets seized
Claimed for personal use - a large habit!
Police have seized opium and almost 50,000
ya ba pills from a Lahu tribesman.
The 60-year-old accused man, Japeu Yajiw, living at Ban
Pahran, Moo 3, Huay Chompoo in Chiang Rai’s Muang District, was allegedly
caught red-handed with the huge amount of amphetamine tablets.
The arresting police also confiscated 190 grams of opium
buried in the ground within his dwelling area. The accused apparently has
confessed that the drugs had come from a foreign agent and that he had been
keeping them for personal use and to sell when friends dropped by. Police
weren’t impressed, for if he was to consume the total amount he was caught
with, he would need to consume half a gram of opium every ten days and 14 ya
ba tablets every day for the next ten years. More likely, he has lots of
Pol Capt. Somporn Chaibarn of Mae Yarng police station in
the Muang District admitted that the landscape of Tambon Mae Yao was
mountainous and said, “Anyone can easily walk into and out of Myanmar.”
For this reason of easy access, the area is favoured for drug transportation
and as a temporary stopover for drug dealers, who are difficult to catch.
However, cooperation from everybody would result in more efficient raids on
dealers and confiscation of drugs.
Orange farmer arrested
of national park land
Implicated state officials have been warned
An orange orchard owner has been charged with invading a
national park to set up a 700 rai orange plantation.
Pol Maj Gen Sawek Pinsinchai, commander of the Forestry
Police Bureau, accompanied by more than 200 national park officials and
Border Patrol Police on April 29 raided the Thanathorn Orange Orchard 2 in
Tambon Monpin in Chiang Mai’s Fang district.
The police had earlier been informed that the
conservation area had been taken over as an orange plantation. The owner,
Banthoon Jirawatthanakul, was also alleged to have built an illegal dam,
using water from Mae Maw reservoir for his personal use, affecting other
farmers and residents living nearby. It was also claimed that he employed
122 alien workers on the plantation.
Police arrested Banthoon and initially charged him with
invading the forest and national park areas, offering shelter to aliens, and
interfering with a natural water source.
Pol Maj Gen Sawek said they had conducted the raid with
such a large contingent because the tip-off had come from a trustworthy
source. He said, “This was the first arrest of investors overrunning the
national parks and conservation areas in Fang, Mae Ai and Chai Prakarn
districts. The arrest had been carried out “under orders of his superior,
“If any officials are found during our raids to be
conspiring with those investors, a report will be sent to Prime Minister
Thaksin Shinawatra for further penalties,” the commander warned.