Fire razes warehouse in Hang Dong
3 million baht damage caused by oxy-welder
The United Arts Company warehouse was consumed by
conflagration on May 8, according to the Hang Dong police, led by Pol Lt.
Col Thanapol Noisuwan, who liased with the fire fighting units at the scene.
from oxy-acetylene welding caused a major fire at the United Arts Company
The blaze had a huge hold on the handicraft factory’s
warehouse. Eight water trucks from Hang Dong district office, nearby Tambon
Administration Organization, Chiang Mai Provincial Administration
Organization and Chiang Mai Municipality were sent to fight the fire.
The blaze spread very quickly because of the flammable
materials and goods in the warehouse. Firefighters were also afraid the
blaze would spread to the adjacent warehouse. The employees assisted by
transferring remaining products out of the burning building. In the end, it
took around 30 minutes to put out the fire.
United Arts Company is apparently owned by Piyawart
Buacheen, the daughter of Dr Thawil Buacheen, a well known business person
in Chiang Mai.
On the day of the fire, a mechanic was called to repair the warehouse’s
roller door. The mechanic had been doing oxy-acetylene welding and sparks
flew onto a pile of paper boxes resulting in the blaze. Police took in the
mechanic, Mongkol Junwan, for questioning. It is estimated that the fire has
caused 3 million baht loss to the company.
Flash floods are here again
Regional Irrigation Office has plans - but will they work?
With the heavy downpours and flashfloods in Chiang Mai
City last week, many residents in the flooded areas have lodged complaints,
asking why it happens like this every year.
The flash floods occurred mostly on Huay Kaew Road and
Suthep Road, and resulted from the overflow from the Klong Chollaprathan
canals (irrigation canal system) starting from Tambon Suthep in the north to
Tambon Mae Hia in the south of the city.
One official said, on the condition that his name not be
disclosed, that the flashfloods were caused by the irrigation canal system
that was built to attempt to move flood waters southward to the agricultural
land in the area of Tambon Padaed, Muang district and Tambon Mae Hia, Hang
Dong district in the southern part of Chiang Mai.
Many streams or creeks crossing the irrigation canal
system, such as Huay Mai, Huay Kaew and Huay Changkien, are supposed to flow
through pipes beneath the canal system but this does not work.
City development has also continued, with builders
supplying insufficient drainage to allow water to get to the Ping River
The office has a plan to build dams at a cost of 262
million baht, which has been sent for approval to Suwit Khunkitti, the
minister of natural resources and environment. Three of these are proposed
for the foot of Doi Suthep Mountain, and near Mae Taeng district.
‘Big fish’ among those caught appropriating land in national park
And they’re not Pla Bueks!
People described as “influential” and
“in uniform” have been revealed among those guilty of trespassing in the
Doi Suthep-Pui National Park.
Thanawat Yodjai, chairman of the Mae Hia Tambon
Administration Organization in Chiang Mai’s Muang district, admitted that
committee members appointed to investigate trespassing, are “feeling heavy
hearted” because “uniformed, influential persons” are involved in
He was speaking at a meeting of the working sub-committee
investigating the illegal invasion of the national park. The meeting was
called after the announcement of the names of 176 persons who had to clarify
their right to possess land in the park before the May 4 deadline.
The next step would be to send the sub-committee to
inspect the land in question, accompanied by their owners. Following this,
the results of their inspection would be summarised and a report sent to the
provincial committee and the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and
Those persons found guilty of breaking the law would be
prosecuted and hopefully found guilty.
Thanawat, one of the investigating committee members
admitted, “I feel heavy hearted about the inspection, as more than 50
percent of the total 176 people named includes uniformed, influential
Regulation ahead for spa and health
Chiang Mai to be the Health Hub
The law to control spa and massage service
industries will be applied by July this year, as health and spa industries
are still being backed as main businesses for Chiang Mai, said Dr. Paisarn
Tanyawinichkul, the deputy provincial chief medical officer of Chiang Mai.
He stated that Chiang Mai Provincial Public Health Office
is raising the standard of the spa and massage industry in the province and
wants to encourage every spa to register with the Public Health Office.
The laws on spas and the massage industry in the country
are going to be applied to control the national standards. Thai spa and
massage industry standards would then be universal, said Dr Paisarn.
There are three main categories in the health industry in
Chiang Mai, being medical and dental treatment, spa, massage and herbal
products, declared Dr. Paisarn.
There are 10 hospitals that have high potential for
providing good medical services and dental treatment. The office has plans
to promote Chiang Mai’s medical and dental treatment, along with Chiang
Mai’s tourism, in their road show to add value to its tourism. “It is
estimated that medical treatments will provide the province with hundreds of
millions of baht as revenue,” he added.
At present, Chiang Mai province has 30-40 spa outlets and
on average each one earns about 30,000 baht a day, bringing in an estimated
300 million baht per year from this industry, said Dr. Paisarn.
There are around 100 massage service shops with 1,000
masseurs and masseuses in Chiang Mai. The massage industry earns the
province approximately 500-600 million baht annually.
Regarding the herbal products, universities in the North
have assisted by doing research on herbal goods to upgrade and improve the
“In the previous year, the province gained about 2
billion baht from the health industry and this year’s earnings are
targeted at 2.5 billion baht.”
Now if they can also fix the air pollution problem we
should all live healthily and happily forever.
New water pipes to supply sufficient water to zoo
Worries about drought affecting drinking water for animals
Thammasak Tiansawas, director of the Regional Water Works
Office, Zone 9 in Chiang Mai, revealed that he has plans to lay new water
supply systems to Chiang Mai Zoo.
It will be an integrated solution for the problem of
insufficient water supply for the animals’ needs occurring during the dry
season. Levels actually fell so low in the reservoirs that the zoo had to
truck in 2,000 baht of water each day.
At present, he said, the provincial Water Works Office
normally provides water supply and service to the zoo, but reticulation
problems within the zoo area compound the lack of water.
10 million baht will now be spent within the zoo confines
to alleviate this, as the zoo requires 400 cubic meters per day, he added.
He said that the Water Works would lay a new water pipe
system starting from Ratchamangkala Institute of Technology and direct it
into Chiang Mai Zoo, which he is confident would make sure the supply is
Task force to protect the forests counts its successes
Lots of wooden faces in court
A total of 278 people have been arrested in connection
with deforestation in the north during April alone, with 52 already having
Wiriya Chuaybamrung, chief of the Chiang Mai Provincial
Forestry Office and head of public relations for the Northern Special Task
Force, announced these details last week.
The task force to work in the northern provinces was
established on the orders of PM Thaksin Shinawatra, after H.M. the Queen
visited Chiang Mai’s Omkoi district.
Wiriya said the minister of natural resources and
environment, Suwit Khunkitti had appointed him as its commander, while Wichai
Laemwichai, deputy director-general of natural parks, wildlife and plants has
been promoted to its director and Pol Maj Gen Sawek Pinsinchai, commander of
forestry police bureau has been named as deputy director.
There are two mission bases, one at Ban Mae Soon, Fang
district in Chiang Mai and at Mae La Noi district in Mae Hong Son. The areas
of the current mission are then divided into the Upper North and the Lower
Wiriya said the Upper North provinces of Phrae and Nan had
seen the highest percentage of illegal teak deforestation during April. In
the areas under the 13th Conserved National Park Control and Management
Office, the second ranked province was Lampang, with Chiang Mai and Lamphun
ranked equally in third place.
Suspects were arrested in connection with deforestation of
over 8,000 rai in the forest area of Mae Hong Son and at Mae La Noi Juncture,
while at Mae Soon Juncture in Fang district, suspected deforesters of over
1,000 rai have been captured.
Drought prompts calls for artificial rain in rainy season
The extent of Thailand’s drought crisis
was brought home on May 9 when the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives
conceded that it might have to extend its artificial rain program to cover
the upcoming rainy season in order to ensure sufficient rain for the
Amphon Kittiamphon, permanent secretary for agriculture
and cooperatives, said that the ministry had asked the Royal Irrigation
Department to work with the Bureau of Royal Rainmaking and Agricultural
Aviation to come up with a plan.
It is hoped that the project will help ensure sufficient
rain during next year’s hot season by boosting water levels in reservoirs
across the country. The project, which will give the Royal Irrigation
Department an accurate picture of available water resources, would both help
relieve drought and assist in the drafting of future water management plans.
Chiang Mai temples urged to improve their surroundings
Nine temples indicated by deputy governor
Chiang Mai’s deputy governor has urged
nine temples in Chiang Mai to do something about their appearance. The call
was in line with the overall scheme to upgrade and beautify Chiang Mai.
Among the wats inspected by deputy governor Prinya
Panthong and his working team are Wat Suan Dok and Wat Jed Yod. They are
among the nine temples urged to carry out restoration by landscaping and
expanding green areas, in keeping up with the “Green and Clean” and
“Beautiful Chiang Mai City” themes.
Wat Jed Yod is an important temple, where the 8th World
Revision of the Buddhist Tri-Pitaka Scripture took place and which has a
The nine temples which the deputy governor feels need
refinement and landscaping are Wat Chedi Luang, Wat Chiang Yuen, Wat
Buppharam, Wat Suan Dok, Wat Chai Sripoom, Wat Chai Mongkol, Wat Jed Yod,
Wat Nantharam and Wat Ram Poeng Tapotaram.
“Apart from being an important religious site, temples
are also places of wisdom and an important tourist visiting site,
contributing to the distinction of Chiang Mai,” he said.
The project to restore the temples is expected to start
by the beginning of next month.
Police tear down illegally erected shops
Vendors say they were only trying to earn an honest living
Municipal police have begun to demolish 34 food stalls
and shops located along the sides of Nong Hor Reservoir behind the King Rama
IV Lanna Public Park in Chiang Mai. The action against the vendors, who
mainly sell local foods and beverages, began on May 6.
usual number of customers that used to go there to eat.
Two day earlier, Chatri Churahmanocharn, deputy mayor for
public works, warned them to demolish their stalls and shops and move out as
they were trespassing on public area. The warning followed an order by
Chiang Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat to the municipality to evict all 34
stalls and shops from the area because of complaints from parents that these
had become a hangout for their children during school hours and for
teenagers at night.
demolish the illegal food stalls and shops.
The municipality issued its first warning to the vendors
in September last year. The vendors, however, negotiated a stay on their
removal until they found an alternative place to ply their trade. The
municipality therefore allowed them a period of grace to remain until last
Anussara Butratip, 36, one of the vendors affected, said
that they accepted that they had invaded a public area. However, they wanted
the officials to find them a new place to go because they would have no
income if they moved out without an alternative. The vendors could earn
about 3,000 baht a month and almost 1,000 baht a day during special festival
times, revealed Anussara.
“We want to move to Huai Mae Yuak, in Tambon Mae Yuak,
Muang district to run our businesses. This is the only source of income many
of us have. Many of the vendors are uneducated,” said Anussara.
They have already contacted the property owner for
permission to set up their stalls in the Huai Mae Yuak area, but do not yet
know whether they will be allowed to do so because of concerns that their
stalls will destroy the surroundings and atmosphere at the Huai Mae Yuak.
In response to the complaint about their shops being a
hangout for teenagers, another vendor insisted that they had helped the
province by not allowing students at their stalls during school hours and
had put up signs prohibiting youths aged below 18 from loitering there.
However, he accepted that it was difficult to control and stop teenagers
from doing so.
Decha Pooplub, from the municipality, said that after all the vendors
move out, the municipality plans to landscape the area along the Nong Hor
Reservoir to use it as a public park.
Motorists, motorcyclists rush to beat price hike deadline
There’s no fuel like an old fuel!
Cars and motorcycles flocked into petrol stations in
Chiang Mai City on May 6 after news spread that the government had approved
a forthcoming petrol price hike of 60 satang a liter.
“The peak was around 3 p.m. today,” said Nikom, a
petrol pump attendant at a service station on the Chiang Mai-Hang Dong Road.
However, the rush continued well into the night.
petrol attendant on Suan Dokh Road fills up the tank of a motorbike. Three
cars in the background also wait to fill up before the increase in the price
of petrol came into effect.
Although it was announced that only the price of 95
octane petrol would increase, many apprehensive 91 octane and diesel users
turned up at service stations as well, so that supplies of the 91 octane
fuel quickly ran out.
Motorcyclist Kam Machaiya, 65, said, “The
government’s going to raise the oil price, so I came to have my motorcycle
filled up.” When asked how he had heard about this news, he replied with a
smile, “It’s been said,” before riding off with a tank full of
Another petrol station near Chiang Mai Psychiatric
Hospital was also busier than usual with motor vehicle drivers and
motorcyclists. The petrol attendants said they were even “too busy” to
be interviewed. Many customers also seemed to be in a hurry, wanting to make
sure they had filled up their vehicles before the midnight deadline for the
The government has agreed to the increase in the retail
price of petrol to relieve the burden on the Energy Fund Administration
Institute (EFAI) which has had to subsidize fuel, keeping it at 16.99 baht
per liter of petrol (actual cost 19.79 baht) and 16.19 baht per liter of
diesel (actual cost 16.48 baht). EFAI spent 7.5 billion baht on fuel
subsidies in 116 days, and 140 million baht daily in the past few days
Analysts reveal that the world oil price increased after
an oil facility in Saudi Arabia, located at the industrial port of Yanbu in
the Red Sea, was attacked by gunmen who killed five personnel of the ABB
European Engineering Group and a member of the Saudi Arabia National Guard.
Another factor was the interruption in oil supplies as a result of the
increasing conflict between Iraqi fighters and U.S. armed forces.
Has drought problem been solved for Chiang Mai?
Throw money at it seems
to be the official response
Chumporn Intathep, head of the Chiang Mai Public Disaster
Prevention and Relief Operations Office, stated that during this year from
January to April, the office recorded that 21 Chiang Mai districts had
become drought stricken and only the three districts of Muang, Saraphi and
Chiang Dao were not classified.
90 tambons and 454 villages had suffered the drought
With 135,704 people left short of water for consumption,
the office, with cooperation from local administration organizations such as
the municipality, Tambon Administration Organizations and district offices,
supplied over 10,686,000 liters of water to those in need.
This year, Chiang Mai has a budget, to be allocated under
the authority of Chiang Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat, of 50 million baht.
Each district would be distributed 1 million baht to help relieve the
Six districts including Doi Saket, Hot, Mae Ai, Om Koi,
Fang and Mae On sub-district have been drawing on their budget and Doi Saket
has already used their allocation and requested 800,000 baht more.
Chumporn concluded by saying this province has already
spent 4,679,392 baht to help relieve the drought. In future, Chiang Mai will
have to find extra water resources to respond to the growth of the city.
shows positive growth
for first quarter
No SARS this year, but avian flu took its toll
The economy in the north has recorded positive growth up
until March, the Bank of Thailand (Northern Region) reports.
The production of the industrial sector expanded to meet
the demands of the international markets, while the service sector also
grew, as it was not affected by the impact of SARS, unlike last year.
However farmers’ income was reduced because of a drop
in the price of agricultural crops, Bank of Thailand (BoT) officials said.
The consumption of chicken meat and eggs slowly picked up
but remained erratic in line with the fluctuating news about the avian flu.
The consumption spending index looked good, but the
general consumer goods price index recorded a high increase. The percentage
of bank deposits among commercial banks increased to some extent, but they
also reported a large rise in credit to the commercial sector and for
investment in improving manufacturing in the agriculture processing
In general, the BoT said the northern economy grew well
in the first quarter, as the consumption of the private sector was an
Manufacturing in the industrial section increased in good
response to exports.
The service sector improved from the previous quarter as
a result of low-cost airlines and the addition of direct air flights to
Chiang Mai, and the increase of seminars of both governmental and private
However, earnings from the main agricultural crops and
chicken raising decreased, while the investment in construction, especially
for housing, slowed down as a result of the haste in housing purchases
before the termination of tax relief measures last year, and the rise in
Motorists getting really pumped up as Chiang Mai gets to serve itself
Customers can now fill up
their motorcycles and cars themselves at the Bang Chak Petrol Station on
Ratcha Chiang Saen Road. This petrol station and another on Charoenmuang
Road are now offering self-service facilities, to the amazement of some
motorists and delight of other customers who have just recently had their
first experience at pumping by themselves.
International drug video-conference calls for plea bargaining
This does require the drug suspects to remain alive
According to the video conference
conducted between officials working with drug suppression and solutions in
Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Hawaii and San Diego, the most interesting issue was
that of negotiation with the drug suspects.
The conference discussed that if the arrested drug
dealers and traffickers could link or trace the top ringleaders or the
mastermind of the whole networks, the traffickers’ penalties will be
Another issue that was addressed was the close
collaboration necessary between drug suppression officials and public
prosecutors to allow effective sentencing of those found guilty.
Pittaya Jinawat, Narcotics Control Board northern office
director, said that the second issue could be applied immediately and the
recent dismissal of the important drug case of Laota Seanlee should be used
as the case study for this issue. The plea bargaining issue will be looked
at further, he said.
In the meantime, it is presumed that extra-judicial
Ban Chiang Mai Home
for Boys receives approval
Meets Children Protection Bill criteria
Ms Boonmee Sawangtharm, director of Ban Chiang Mai Home
for Boys, revealed that the Social Development and Human Security Ministry
had gazetted the places approved under Children Protection Bill 2003 and Ban
Chiang Mai Home for Boys was included.
The Children Protection Bill 2003 was enacted according
to Article 80 of Constitutional Law of the Thai Kingdom, to protect juvenile
welfare and rights, preventing any problems from occurring among children.
At the provincial level, the deputy governor would be appointed as the
The main issues are as follows: children must not be
discriminated against and the highest benefits to them are to be considered
important. No advertisement is allowed to publicize through press or any
kind of media, if aimed at harming juveniles spiritually, according to the
treaty guaranteeing children rights.
This convention compels the public to refrain from
behavior that would be brutal to children both physically and mentally.
The guardians must not abandon, neglect or impede the
child’s development. No illegal exploitation, hazardous employment or
improper conduct is permitted. Violations are subject to imprisonment for 3
months or fines of not more than 30,000 baht or both.
Ban Chiang Mai Home for Boys meets the responsibilities
according to the promulgation of Children Protection Bill 2003. At present,
there are 188 children under its control.
A new bus terminal for Chiang Rai
After internal squabbles are resolved
Chiang Rai province is preparing to build a second
transport terminal and expects to pay up to 30 million baht for it. An
area of 10 rai in Tambon San Sai of Chiang Rai’s Muang district has been
earmarked for the development.
The development of a second terminal has been given the
approval of Chiang Rai governor, Narin Panichkij and the Chiang Rai
Provincial Administration Organization (PAO) also approved the scheme
because it realizes the new terminal’s impact in supporting the economy
in the province. The PAO owns 10 rai and the idea is that the transport
terminal will be moved to be under control and administration of the PAO.
However, the terminal will be built according to the
Land Transportation Department’s plan and the 10 rai of land for the new
terminal will belong to the department afterwards.
The Land Transportation Department will shortly call
for tenders from the private sector to build the new bus station. If the
department finds no suitable bidder, Neua Sud Sri Wilai Co, Ltd will be
assigned to do the construction.
Chiang Rai governor, Narin Panichkij has also said that
the province requires a two-rai area in the new terminal for OTOP shops.
Chiang Mai-Lamphun road
link almost finished
“Twin Cities” project moving ahead
The road that will link Chiang Mai and Lamphun, running
parallel to the railway line, is over 80 percent complete, and will be open
to traffic by next month.
Pojchanee Kajornpreedanon, director of the Chiang Mai
Public Works and Urban Planning Office, reported on the progress of the
roadwork this week that will realize the government’s policy of developing
Chiang Mai and Lamphun as “Twin Cities”.
The Cabinet accepted the 1995 resolution to develop this
road link to relieve traffic congestion on both Highway 106 and Highway 11
linking the Chiang Mai and Lampang super-highway, and at the same time,
promoting Highway No 106 as “the cultured road” with rubber trees
growing along each side.
The Public Works and Urban Planning Department of the
Ministry of Interior took responsibility for the planning of the
construction, Pojchanee said. She added that the road link would promote
Lamphun, the ancient city that went back to the reign of Princess Charma
Dhevi over 1,400 years ago, and Chiang Mai, which is more than 700 years
old. “There is also the historical remains of Wiang Kum Kam situated
between the two cities,” she said.
There are several construction phases. Firstly, the road
runs along the railway track on the eastern side for 28 kilometers from
Chiang Mai railway station to Doi Ti Junction, Lamphun (Highway No 114). The
road has an asphalt-concrete surface, two traffic lanes and is six meters
wide, with one meter wide verges on each side.
In the second phase, the road runs along the railway
tracks on the western side, with the total distance of 8 kilometers, from
Mahidol Road (Highway No. 1141) until Pah Dad Junction (Saraphi railway
station). This road is asphalt-concrete, two traffic lanes and is five
meters wide, with 0.5 meter wide verges on each side and two meter wide
There would also be development to some areas, including
the construction of parking lots and landscaping of the area in front of the
The third phase would be the development of Chiang Mai
and Lamphun as “twin cities”.
The budget required to complete the first phase was 146
million baht and for the construction of the 14 connected routes 100 million
Anonymous Clinic reports
an increasing numbers of clients
17 new cases of HIV infection isolated
The Chiang Mai Anonymous Clinic under the supervision of
the Thai Red Cross Society, Chiang Mai Branch reported an increasing number
of patients during the past two years. The period from December 2003 to
February this year was the busiest.
In the past 12 months there the clinic has received over
1,000 patients, with the majority requesting blood testing for HIV,
Hepatitis B, CD4 and syphilis. There were also many who presented just for
advice, or rang in seeking assistance.
Of those having HIV checked, 124 had negative results,
while 17 were found to be HIV positive.
Over 85 percent of the clinic’s patients were Chiang
Mai residents. The age group that consulted most was aged 21-30 and males
outnumber female patients.
Drugs officials warn of narcotics amassed at the border
Narcotics suppression officials based in
Chiang Mai warned that despite the government’s strict law enforcement
policies, drugs producers are stockpiling huge quantities of drugs at the
border and are changing their transportation routes into the kingdom.
Phitaya Jinawat, director of the northern office of the
Narcotics Control Board, said that Rangoon’s conciliatory policies towards
minority groups across the border from Thailand are sending drugs producers
in a panicked rush to get their products over into Thai territory. At the
same time, drugs producers are shifting their transportation routes towards
Tak and Uttradit Provinces.
A meeting was held with Tak officials in order to thrash
out measures to address the problem. The urgency of the issue was
highlighted by a recent poll of residents in 10 provinces in the northern
region, who said that methamphetamines were beginning to pour into the
country again, after several months hiatus following the government’s war
on drugs last year. (TNA)
Thais stranded in US complain to Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Claims promised jobs a myth
Thais who flew to the United States with promises of
working on farms have complained to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that
most of them have been duped.
Orachorn Rattanamanee, chief of the Chiang Mai Employment
Services Office, revealed last week that the ministry had alerted the
Department of Employment Services about complaints referring to Global
Horizons Manpower Inc., which had allegedly offered Thais jobs on American
The Thai workers stranded in the US claimed that the
employment agency had not adhered to the employment contract, as most of
them were provided with neither a job nor welfare services. Only a few had
been offered work, but at a very small wage, they claimed. They had been
given no explanation and were now trying to look for jobs in the US by
To protect other Thai job seekers and prevent a
repetition of this situation, the Department of Employment Services said it
has suspended granting permission for Thais applying to work in the US
through Global Horizons Manpower Inc.
The Department of Employment Services also revealed that
it had been informed by the Employment Services Office of Thailand in Hong
Kong that several Thai workers had entered Hong Kong as tourists. Their
tourist visas expired after 30 days, but they worked illegally in Thai
massage parlours. However, immigrant workers are not allowed to work as
masseurs or masseuses, as this is a reserved career in Hong Kong. If caught,
they would be considered as illegal aliens and not protected under Hong
Kong’s labour laws.
Chiang Mai Employment Services Office issued a warning to
any Thai interested in working in Hong Kong that they should consider
carefully and check on work restrictions and travel details beforehand.
In case of doubt, job seekers should seek clarification
from Employment Services Office officials or call 053-223325.
Fast baht from football
Shock of shocks - gambling still exists in Thai society
Comment by Chiangmai
Mail editorial staff and feature by Autsadaporn Kamthai
The fact that gambling exists in Thai society should not
surprise. What is surprising is that people are surprised by this fact!
Gambling has long been a part of every society, all over the world,
including Thailand. The government-accredited lotteries are, in fact, just
another form of gambling. A chance to win big money from small money. Just
another gamble, hoping that your numbers come up.
However, while a government backed gamble is legal, other
forms of gambling in Thailand are not. That goes from the large casino style
operations (frequented and some owned by Thais in Cambodia), to small
suburban card games and football results.
gambling tickets are easily purchased - just enter shops under some
dormitories on Santitham area. These shops run other businesses as a front
for their illegal trade.
Football gambling in the UK and Europe is one reason for
the popularity of the game and the vast sums of money tied up in the
football leagues. Certain high-flying Thai businessmen have recognized this
fact and are cashing in on the football boom.
bars are crowded with football lovers to cheer their favorite teams,
especially with big matches like Manchester United Vs Liverpool.
However, the small-time Thai punters who would like a
footy flutter have to go ‘underground’ to indulge themselves, as opposed
to their brothers and sisters abroad. Chiangmai Mail reporter
Autsadaporn Kamthai took a look at soccer gambling - the chronic and
neglected problem. Her report follows.
Gambling has spread widely among adults as well as
teenagers, especially amongst the males and its addicts have increased in
hang out at bars with live telecasts of major football matches.
There will be those who say that football gambling seems
to cause crime in the country, not only adult crime but also teenage crime.
To cite an example, there was a report of two men charged with theft who
said their motive for the crime was to pay debts from football gambling.
So who is really to blame for this? Thai society?
Inefficient Thai police? Bribery? Influential persons who dominate this
business or is it an unanticipated cause just from the existence of football
“As long as football exists, football gambling still
goes on,” said 19-year-old Chad, who admitted he was a football gambler.
He admitted that betting on football made him enjoy watching football. By
laying a bet he received more pleasure from the matches. Toi, another
football gambler agreed that gambling added color and excitement to the
football matches he watches.
Football news magazines are very advantageous for punters
to study, opined 22-year-old Toi. They give useful analyses and advice on
playing style, techniques, players in each team and potential winners of
So how much money are they prepared to wager? Even though
Chad is in his teenage years and still studying, he occasionally wagers
5,000 baht on some football matches. Sometimes luck is on his side and he
can win over 10,000 baht from the gambling. However, Chad said he would not
let his mother know he had been gambling since he spent the allowance that
his mother gave him on laying a bet. Chad realizes it is illegal but he does
not want to stop doing it since it earns him a great deal of money. Chad
said that he does not think he is addicted to football gambling since he
stopped gambling when he was penniless.
“The owners of gambling dens are influential and bribe
police so they can run their business,” Chad bravely revealed from his
experience in the football gambling circle. Football gambling dens are
located in Chiang Mai on Huay Kaew Road, Charoen Muang Road, Santitham Road,
and Kotchasarn Road.
Rak, another informant who owns a small bar on Santitham
Road, said that group rented his bar as a gambling den during daytime, while
at night it was a regular bar. A number of people, aged from 15-40, go to
his bar for gambling. Lamentably, some students even go there while wearing
Commonly, there are two classes of football gambling den
- large and small. The large dens accept only bets over ten thousand baht
while small dens accept less. The gambling dens’ owners collect 10-20
percent of the wagered money from each winning gambler. A middleman who acts
as courier between the dens and the gamblers will be paid 2 percent of the
money he collects from the punters.
Muang District Police Station reported that there were
only 10 people charged with football gambling last year and this year there
have been only three. Obviously the number of arrested punters is very far
from the actual numbers of football gamblers, intermediaries and den owners.
Fines are only 500-1000 baht and imprisonment is rare. The punishment is
not enough to stop the gambling, and may even stimulate punters, adding that
little extra risk to the ‘sport’.
Ride-by robber arrested
Traced by using stolen mobile phones
Wasun Pansuwan, a resident of Tambon Chang Klan, in
Chiang Mai’s Muang district was arrested for a series of ride-by
Evidence seized included hauls of mobile phones, a Guy
Laroche wallet, a talking dictionary, black jacket, grey helmet and red
The offender admitted to two robberies. On May 2, Wasun
snatched belongings of Ms. Supawadee Supannapayak on Arak Road in Tambon Sri
Phum while he was riding his motorcycle and wearing helmet to avoid
identification. On May 3, he grabbed belongings belonging to German woman,
Ms Andrea Wintermantel.
Pansuwan (middle), was arrested by Muang District police officers led by Pol
First Lt Kraisri Jurapak (right), deputy investigation inspector, and Pol
Cor Amnaj Plalart (left).
Both the victims notified police officers of the thefts.
Police officers from Muang District Police Station led by Pol First Lt
Kraisri Jurapak, deputy investigation inspector, traced the culprit by
investigating his use of the stolen mobile phones’ numbers.
The police officers found that the ride-by robber worked at the Mitra
Barber shop and with a search warrant found stolen goods and finally
arrested him. Wasun will now be getting short back and sides from the prison
Drug production continues despite suppression
But manufacturers changing presentation and formulation
Pittaya Jinawat, Narcotics Control Board northern office
director, said that after the government ordered strict suppression of drug
trafficking, everyone, including soldiers, police and narcotics suppression
officers, had been pursuing the manufacturers and dealers so that
traffickers in the North did not risk continuing.
They believed the officials’ actions also caused drugs
to gradually fade away from the kingdom, especially trafficking in ya ba.
They did acknowledge that there were still many large amounts of drugs
outside Thailand’s borders, waiting for the right time to be shipped in.
Director Pittaya said that some manufacturing groups were
formulating new ingredients of drugs to trick the officials and make their
suppression and arrest more difficult.
Recently, the officials confiscated new kinds of ecstasy
which were orange in colour and looked quite different from the usual
presentation. The new tablets were sold for 500 baht each, a much higher
price than the usual ya ba tablets.