Blast at gas refilling plant leaves one dead
Owner charged with negligence and culpable homicide
An employee at a gas-refilling factory was killed
instantly when the tank he was refilling exploded. The accident left one
person dead, two injured, and damage estimated at 1 million baht. A
six-wheeled truck for transporting gas containers and 50 gas tanks were also
The explosion occurred at the Mae Ping Oxygen Limited
Partnership gas-refilling plant and Pol Lt Col Komdej Jantaramanee of San
Sai police station in Chiang Mai was summonsed. At the scene, police found
the factory building had been badly damaged by the blast. Human remains and
debris from gas tanks were strewn over a large area.
The dead man was identified as twenty five year old
Phansa Palama, of Ban Perng, Tambon Muang Jee, Muang district, Lamphun.
The owner, Weera Chuanchaisit, told police that the plant
refilled gas tanks for distribution in Chiang Mai. Phansa and a colleague,
Sen Saikuensri, had refilled the first tank without incident. Phansa then
proceeded to fill the rest of the lined up tanks. There was an explosion
which tore open the roof of the plant, killing the worker immediately. Weera
and Sen, who were sitting 20 meters behind Phansa, were only slightly
Wichai Pipatsoonthorn, director of the Chiang Mai
Industry Provincial Office, inspected the scene and said he suspected the
explosion was due to tanks and equipment not meeting safety standards. Pol
Lt Col Noppakhun Kiratikarnkus of the Chiang Mai Police Forensics Department
inspected the factory accompanied by the owner, and examined the evidence.
Equipment, including the valve used to open and close the gas hose, was
found to be sub-standard or old.
The owner, Weera, has been charged with negligence and
culpable homicide, and his license has been revoked.
The factory is situated far from the residential area, so that no
residents were injured or affected by the explosion.
Entertainment venue closing time debacle remains as clear as mud
Government, police and entrepreneurs all have different alarm clocks
The confusion over the government’s social order
campaign to force nightspots to close earlier is just as muddled as it was
from the outset.
In Chiang Mai, the entertainment entrepreneurs are doubly
confused because the police insist on a midnight closing time, although the
law still allows entertainment venues to remain open till later.
Chanasuek Noochai, assistant district chief officer of
Muang Chiang Mai Office, met with entertainment venue entrepreneurs on May
12 to discuss the impact of changes to opening and closing times of
restaurants, bars, karaoke bars, pubs and discotheques which the government
is trying to enforce.
Santi “Tong Bossy” Pitikram, president of Chiang
Mai’s Entertainment Business Club, and Naiyaneth Wairatchapanich, the club
secretary, took part in the discussion, attended by over 200 entrepreneurs
of entertainment outlets in the city.
This meeting was a follow-up on a previous one which took
place five days earlier at the Muang District Office between the Chiang Mai
Public Health Office, provincial authorities and police.
At that meeting, it was agreed that all entertainment
outlets must close at 1 a.m., except those which have licenses in line with
Article 3(1), that may stay open till 2 a.m. - particularly outlets in
designated entertainment “zones”.
Contradicting this agreement, however, police have been
ordering nightspots to close at midnight, “due to the law”. As a result,
entrepreneurs do not know whether they have to follow Article 3 (1) or
To add to the confusion, Chumporn Saengmanee, Muang
district chief officer, has stated that the province announced a “zoning
measure” of entertainment outlets. The measure, applicable since March 26,
includes the setting of opening and closing times of entertainment outlets
and emphasizes entrepreneurs must strictly follow “the law” since there
were some petitions against outlets which did not do so.
The instigators of the suppression, the Ministry of the
Interior, puts emphasis on its standing policy and urges officers to
carefully monitor entertainment outlets on strict adherence to opening and
closing times, prohibition on drugs, prohibition on minors in these venues,
not providing obscene shows, the ban on carrying firearms in these venues,
and whether owners have the necessary license to carry out their
According to the Royal decree on zoning, opening times
for categories of venues governed by Article 3(1) zoning have been set for 9
p.m. to 2 a.m. and outside zoning from 9 p.m. to midnight, Article 3(2) from
11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. to midnight, Article 3(3) zoning from 4 p.m. to
midnight and outside zoning from 6 p.m. to midnight, Article 3(4) zoning
area from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. and outside zoning from 6. p.m. to midnight and
Article 3(5) zoning from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m.
At present, entertainment outlets are still allowed to
stay opened until 1 a.m., except outlets that fall under Article 3(1) which
can operate until 2 a.m. in anticipation of the ministerial regulation’s
Meanwhile, Santi, of Chiang Mai’s Entertainment
Business Club said that the government’s social order was a good thing
because it could make society “ordered and neat”. Nevertheless, the new
law that brings forward the closing times affects entrepreneurs’ incomes,
especially owners of discotheques. The government and associated
organizations should take this into consideration, was the feeling of the
If you can fully understand the provisions of Article 3
(1, 2, 3, 4 and 5) please see the entertainment operators near you - they
need you! The commonly supposed idea that Thailand means the “Land of the
Free” obviously needs total revision too.
No Burmese trade embargo as Mae Hong Son and northern neighbour strengthen links
Myanmar junta happy to do business
A delegation from the Mae Hong Son
provincial government officials, and the private sector involved in border
trade and tourism, has travelled to Yangon for negotiations with the Myanmar
Minister of Foreign Affairs. This was announced by Mae Hong Son Governor
Myanmar is reported to be ready to do business with Mae
Hong Son province and appointed the town of Taunggy, about 300 kilometers
from Mae Hong Son, as a commercial “twin city”.
However, there are still some obstacles in easy access to
Taunggy. The Myanmar Minister of Interior has indicated he will speed up
improvements to the route from Taunggy to Ban Hua Muang on the Thai-Myanmar
Taunggy and Mandalay require electrical appliances,
second hand cars and motorcycles, and consumer goods.
Thai goods from Mae Hong Son are reported to be very
popular across the border, especially in Taunggy. The majority of the Thai
Yai population from Shan State also lives in Taunggy, having previously
lived in Mae Hong Son.
Goods from Taunggy that are sold in Mae Hong Son include
crafted and processed wood, and marble. The results of the negotiations on
trade and tourism are being described as “very successful indeed”. While
this may be good for Mae Hong Son and Taunggy, it does not fit in with the
international attitudes towards Burma.
Commercial cooperation on the Mekong unites four countries
China promises to stop damming the river upstream
The four countries located along the
Mekong River are signatories to a project to improve commercial cooperation
on the river.
Seventy-seven ship navigation signs have been erected,
while China has confirmed that the dam located in its territory upstream
will not be closed, letting the water flow as usual.
The Joint Committee on Coordination of Commerce on the
Lanchang-Mekong River met for the signing ceremony at a Chiang Rai Hotel.
The committee consists of representatives from China, Laos, Myanmar and
At present, the project has progressed to its third
Chiang Mai Zoo visitors
to get bird’s-eye view
Skytrain proposed to show Chiang Mai’s Zoo’s Who
Chiang Mai Zoo plans to add a new, fast monorail
skytrain. This will run above the zoo, in a circle of about two kilometers
in length, for the convenience of visitors and to give another viewpoint of
Sanwong, deputy director of Chiang Mai Zoo.
Kanjanachai Sanwong, deputy director of Chiang Mai Zoo,
said the project has been contracted to a private company, Sanphoo
Engineering Co Ltd, who will have a 20 year concession to operate the
skytrain. Construction is expected to cost over 119 million baht.
He said the zoo initiated the development plan to provide
tourists with modern services. Each train carriage will be able to
accommodate 60 passengers and it is expected there will be at least 20
carriages. Tickets will cost an average of 40 baht per person.
During the first 10 years of the concession, Chiang Mai
Zoo has to stand surety for the expected returns from the skytrain being 32
million baht annually.
However, if the income is higher than this amount, 50
percent of the excess would go to the zoo, and 50 percent to the concession
For the second 10 year period of the concession, the
contract agreement is being drafted.
Kanjanachai added that a committee had yet to approve the blueprint for
the concession project. Construction would be started soon after approval.
School uniform prices remain reasonable
Controlled by Products Prices and Services Act of 1996
Parents seem to be okay with the prices of school uniforms
this year, saying they’ve risen only slightly.
Before the start of the new school year around the third
week of May, many parents with their children head for the shops at Kad Luang
or Ton Lamyai Market in Chiang Mai.
this one for size?” Pairs of shoes in different sizes and styles are placed
before these young students to try on.
This year was no exception, despite price hikes for
consumer goods and fuel.
“People have started coming in to buy student uniforms
since the beginning of this month,” a shop assistant in the clothing
department on the second floor of the market said.
Uniform prices vary according to the school grades.
The average price for a set of shirt and pants or skirt
for kindergarten students is 100 baht, while that for an elementary school
student is between 100-200 baht, depending on the size. The price for
secondary school students can rise to about 300 baht.
Puangthip Chuarsuwan, who came to buy uniforms at the
market with her grown daughter and three other young children who are in
grades 1, 4 and 7, said, “I could not afford buying them everything at
once. There are many expenses in the family. I am going to buy them new
school shoes this time and the sizes must be slightly too big so that the
kids can at least wear them until next year as well.”
However, she said she was not upset by the current cost of
the items. “The prices have not gone up much - about 10 to 20 baht,”
Chanika Soikabkaew, who was shopping for her grade 1
daughter who accompanied her and her son at home, agreed that prices had not
However, she didn’t buy a whole new set of uniforms, but
only a new shirt for her son and shoes for her daughter.
The prices have not risen much because of the Cabinet resolution passed in
March that listed student uniforms as one of the 21 products that fall under
price controls, in keeping with the Products Prices and Services Act of 1996.
Province proud of more communities producing quality products
Local hooch gets OTOP approval
Six more communities in Chiang Mai province have received
certificates approving their products as meeting OTOP (One Tambon One
Product) standards. Provincial Deputy Governor Kwanchai Wongnitikorn
presented the communities with their OTOP certificates issued by the Chiang
Mai Provincial Industry Office.
San Kamphaeng Agricultural Cooperative received a
certificate for its alcohol, fruit wines and herbal wines, while Sorasart
Alcohol Co Ltd in Muang district was recognised for its grape wine.
In the costumes category, Tin Jok Weavers Group at Ban
Thongfai in Mae Chaem district was selected. In the ornaments category,
Tambon Pah Bong in Saraphi district received an OTOP certificate for its
Ban Tawai Handicrafts Group in Hang Dong district and Ban
Baimai Group in Doi Saket district received official approval for their wood
Deputy Governor Kwanchai told representatives from these
six communities that the people of Chiang Mai province were very proud of
them. They were contributing to the province’s reputation and earnings at
the same time.
Chiang Mai estimates the income from OTOP products at 800
million baht this year. “So far, 600 million baht has been brought in, the
other 200 million baht will not be too hard to achieve,” said the deputy
He encouraged the producers to aim for even higher
standards as the government had put its faith in them and would promote OTOP
products on the international market. Fifteen Chiang Mai communities have
previously been awarded OTOP certificates.
- Editorial Comment: When is football gambling not football gambling?
When the government wants to buy a football club
Ngoo Pla Pla
Last week, the Chiangmai Mail ran a piece on the
problems associated with football and gambling. While gambling on football
results is against the law, the government is heavily involved in another
type of football gamble – the much publicized purchase of a 30 percent
share of the English Premier League soccer club Liverpool.
It was originally thought that the PM Thaksin Shinawatra
was going to delve into his very deep cookie jar and come up with the money
– a cool five billion baht – but now it seems that this may not be the
case. The public purse is to be involved.
It has been reported that the Tourism and Sports Ministry
wants to run a special football lottery to raise not five billion, but ten.
This legal government gamble offers a one billion baht first prize, half a
billion for second and 15 third place lucky numbers picking up 100 million
baht each. There will also be ‘minor’ prizes of ten, five and one
million baht. Still worth a flutter for the paltry ticket cost of only 500
or 1,000 baht. It is all government guaranteed, with the Ministry of Tourism
and Sport favourites to run the lottery.
So rather than spending time in dimly lit bars watching
Liverpool play and hope to win a few thousand baht, tomorrow’s young
football gamblers can go for the big one, and perhaps come away one billion
baht richer. And it’s all legal, thanks to the forward thinking PM, who
can recognize a good bet when he sees one.
Border villages and schools receive army largesse
Part of a project to increase stability and security in the border area
The commander-in-chief of the Royal Thai Army, Gen
Chaiyasith Shinawatra, visited the Pha Muang task forces in Chiang Mai
province and distributed equipment to schools and villages. This was part of
a project to increase stability and security in the border area, following
His Majesty the King’s initiative.
Chaiyasith, commander-in-chief of the Royal Thai Army, visited the Pha Muang
task forces in Chiang Mai province and distributed equipment to schools and
The general brought equipment used in long distance
education, including satellite dishes, 25 television sets and video players
for schools. Six computers were also given to Ban Nar Mon School, four to
Ratch Rath Uppathum School and five to Ban Huai Krai School in Wiang Haeng
district and another five computers and kitchen appliances to Arunothai
School in Chiang Dao district.
Gen Chaiyasith told the villagers the most significant
contribution they could make was to help the government by cooperation with
officials, informing and warning them about problems within their
He hoped that the equipment granted to the schools would
help in the education of the local students and youth. He asked them to make
good use of it.
He also told the students that if they wanted any sports
equipment, they should make a request to him via his website
www.uncletui.com and he would provide it. (“Uncle Tui” or Loong Tui is
Gen Chaiyasith Shinawatra’s nickname.)
He said the operations of the Pha Muang task forces along the border were
progressing well, although they lacked some electronic military equipment to
make the border areas secure, such as X-ray and scanning machines for
preventing drug smuggling and border crossings of illegal immigrants.
Two day conference focuses on human trafficking
End results well known, but the framework to stop it not as evident
Deputy Prime Minister Purachai Piumsomboon has now
declared war on human trafficking. He says the problems of human trade are
becoming greater and the solutions of the past are no longer effective.
Deputy PM Purachai last week presided over the opening
ceremony of a two-day seminar on the topic in Chiang Rai, and gave a talk on
the policy and strategy of the Thai government in attempting to prevent and
solving the human traffic problem. He said the government in the past has
focused on the war on drugs, but the drug trade and human trade were
actually related and of comparable importance.
“Human trade is a serious crime as it not only destroys
human value and dignity, which is against Articles 4 and 5 of the
Constitution, but it also affects the nation in terms of the country’s
development and social structure,” he said.
The Department of Social Welfare presented figures
showing the rescue of 166 foreign children in 2000. However, that figure
rose to 414 last year. In 2002, 66 Thai women were rescued and 95 last year.
He said these statistics were only of reported cases. The
exact number of women and children who had been trafficked was probably much
higher. Many of them had fallen victim to human trade networks and waited to
be rescued by the government.
“It has been ascertained that Thailand is a transit
base for the export of children to other countries. The human traffic ring
uses Thailand as the center of human exploitation, such as the commercial
delivery of women to hotels and massage parlors, and of laborers to
factories, beggars in public places, garland sellers, home maids and some
construction site laborers,” Purachai said. An effective solution to human
trafficking had not been found and a clear policy was lacking.
“Trafficked children must not be treated as criminals
or offenders but sheltered as witnesses,” he said. “However, those
involved in human trade rings should be severely punished.”
“The community must be strengthened to cooperate in
solving the problem by informing officials about human trafficking and
people in upcountry areas must be provided vocational opportunities so they
are not lured into the trade in humans or sell their children to human
Sora-art Klinprathum, minister of social development and
human security, said the problem of trading in women and children had became
more complex, as it was a lucrative business. “This crime is connected to
the sex industry, labor exploitation and being held captive. There is also
the practical obstacle of lack of cooperation among law enforcement
organizations to eradicate the problem,” the minister said.
Over 300 representatives of the government and private
sectors, consulates and international organizations attended the seminar.
The Office of the Permanent Secretary of the Prime Minister, Ministry of
Social Development and Human Security, National Police Office and United
Nations project against trafficking in women and children were in
Parents face back to school money problems
Gold and TV sets popular items to ‘pop’
Many parents facing financial difficulties with back to
school fees, books and materials are expected to head for pawnshops to get
the money required. Awaiting the onslaught, Chiang Mai’s municipal
pawnshops have set aside over 50 million baht.
Senee Wilaijit, manager of Chiang Mai Municipality
Pawnshop 1, and inspector of Pawnshops in Region 7, said that the new school
year placed financial burdens on many parents.
Three pawnshops fall under the aegis of the municipality
- in front of the Buddha Sathan religious place, at Chang Puak bus station
and at Pratu Chiang Mai gate.
There is no doubt that these shops are both popular and
needed by the cash-strapped society. This year, at Municipal Pawnshop 1,
7,080 people had pawned items valued at over 49 million baht; at Pawnshop 2,
items valued at over 53 million baht had been pawned by 7,629 people; and at
Pawnshop 3, items worth 70 million baht had been pawned by 9,802 persons.
The most popular items pledged were gold ornaments.
According to the law, they can be pawned at no more than 80 percent of the
gold price of that particular day. TV sets and stereos were also popular
items to be pawned.
Computer game shops targeted
The electronic nanny has her plug pulled
Computer game shops in Chiang Mai are being accused of
aiding and abetting truancy by letting students skip class and play games
during study hours.
It is claimed many students spend between four and five
hours a day playing computer games, which negatively affects their studies
At the beginning of March, police were assigned to check
how many computer shops there were in their area of jurisdiction. It was
found that there are 366 computer game shops in Chiang Mai - of which 210
are located in the Muang district alone.
Police at the same time checked on every shop’s licence
and their video games, laser disks, digital video disks, video CDs and CD
However, there is concern about the online gaming service
because at present there is no law to control and cover games downloaded
from the Internet.
Computer game shop owners have been asked to cooperate by
prohibiting students from entering their shops during school and study
School administration departments and student
superintendents are being asked to keep watch and prevent their students
from spending study time playing computer games. With the schools reopened
in Chiang Mai, police will strictly enforce measures against offending
computer game shops.
Canals to be dredged in Nan province to counter drought
Waste not, want not, to fully use its water irrigation system
Nan province’s drought and flooding problems are easily
solved, authorities have decided. Simply drain its canals and build
breakwaters along their courses to let water run off onto adjacent
agricultural land, is the plan.
Provincial Governor Suwat Choksuwattanasakul examined the
problems that occur in Nan every year. It was discovered that there are more
than 200 moats and canals that need to be improved. Each of these can be
used as a source of water for agriculture in the dry season - which would
simultaneously drain off water and prevent flooding in the rainy season.
The 150 kilometer Nam Kan Canal, located in the Phu Pieng
sub-district, has previously been dredged, solving the annual flooding in
that area. A similar project is now being planned to dredge the San Keu
Canal at Ban Thung Setthi, Tambon Pah Singha in Nan’s Muang District. It
falls under the control of the Pah Singha Tambon Administration
Concrete breakwaters with water gates will be constructed
along the canal, which will put a stop to flooding that affects the two
villages of Tambon Pah Singha.
The operation is expected to cost 15 million baht.
Plans set to help Om Koi’s citizens
Poverty, public utilities and tourism earmarked
Om Koi district is concentrating on three main issues in
its integrated development strategy - war on poverty, improving fundamental
public utilities, and tourism and culture promotion.
The plan was outlined by Pakorn Polsri, senior assistant
district officer of Om Koi district. He said over 465 million baht has been
set aside - 86.21 million baht for the war on poverty, 352,98 million baht
for public utility development, and 23,97 million baht for promoting tourism
District officials requested the budget from the mobile
Cabinet meeting, Provincial Administration Organization, Tambon
Administration Organizations and municipalities. It is estimated that the
district will take about five years to accomplish its three-pronged
The major objectives are to improve the citizens’
standard of living, ensure they have adequate incomes, do away with drugs
and corruption, and conserve natural resources, the environment and their
art and cultural identities.
During the visit, citizens complained to the PM Thaksin
Shinawatra and asked him to help them cope with the drop in the price of
crops and with the lack of public utilities.
“Om Koi’s weak points are its citizen’s poor status
and health conditions, while its strong points are the beauty of its nature
and tourist sites,” said Pakorn.
Om Koi district has 23 villages and four polling booths
that are not even accessible by road. Helicopters must be used to collect
voting boxes at election time.
“The annual average income of Om Koi’s citizens, most
of whom belong to hill tribes, was only 2,500 baht per head in 2002,
although it rose to 6,300 baht in 2004. However, the increase in average
income does not indicate that Om Koi’s citizens are escaping poverty. The
district therefore has decided to help all citizens so that they earn at
least 20,000 baht each annually,” Pakorn announced.
Spy on students to prevent
drug abuse advised
The ‘snooze and sniffer snoops’ are watching
Owners and supervisors of student dormitories have been
asked to keep a closer eye on the students in a new offensive in the War on
Drugs. Following the central government’s lead, Chiang Mai province has
declared the second War on Drugs which started on March 8 and will end on
during the dorm wars seminar.
The call was made at a seminar organised for the Chiang
Mai Private Dormitories Entrepreneurs Network at Srithana Commercial and
Technological College on May 12. Several experts from the northern Office of
Narcotics Control Board (ONCB), Chiang Mai Provincial Social Development and
Welfare Office, Chiang Mai Municipality, Phuping police station and Tambon
Suthep Administration Organization were present.
Dormitories are regarded as one of the six enterprises
which, under the Narcotics Control Act, require “attentive management”
as the lodgers are students who do not stay with their parents.
Susheap Kotcharin, an official of Policy and Planning
Analysis at the ONCB northern office, told the meeting, “A recent poll
conducted among students, both at vocational college and university levels,
shows that 36 percent of them are highly susceptible to narcotic addiction.
Dormitories are dangerous places for drug parties, as are pubs, discotheques
Dormitory owners are required to observe, inspect and
supervise the behavior of lodgers so that they do not become involved in
Participants at the seminar (fewer than 30 dormitory
entrepreneurs attended the seminar, although more than 90 had been invited)
were advised that each dormitory should keep records of inspections and
visitors as proof to officials that they are seriously trying to prevent
wrongdoings involving drugs on their premises.
“Any commercial lodging house which has five or more
undergraduate students not over 25 years old is certainly counted as a
dormitory,” explained Manasaporn Pamornbutra from the Chiang Mai
Provincial Social Development and Welfare Office.
Apart from the Narcotics Control Act, dormitory
entrepreneurs were also compelled under the Dormitory Act of 1964 to keep
profiles of tenants, covering details on personal information, educational
institutions and phone numbers to contact in case of emergency.
Each dormitory must also be suitable as a residence and
for studying, protect from temptations and have adequate health and safety
standards. Student dormitories must also be clearly segregated for male and
“After entertainment outlets close around 1-2 a.m.,
young people continue to enjoy the night by having drug parties in their
dormitory rooms,” Pol Capt Banjongsak Kamjai from Phuping police station
told the seminar. Dormitory supervisors should be aware of their lodgers’
comings and goings and observe suspicious behavior, smells and fumes coming
from tenants’ rooms. “Cocaine smells like vanilla,” he said.
However, the police advised dormitory owners against
directly warning lodgers or entering their rooms to conduct searches without
being accompanied by a police official. Instead, they should note suspicious
incidents and inform the police. “This is to prevent revenge attacks
against the owners or lodgers filing invasion of privacy lawsuits against
them,” Pol Capt Banjongsak said.
One of the seminar attendants commented that the
Dormitory Act was impractical, because it requires dormitory owners “to
ensure lodgers do not fall pregnant prematurely or become infected with
Manasaporn, from the provincial Social Development and
Welfare Office, agreed that the Act had been passed years ago and was
undeniably outdated, “But many measures in the Act, if properly adapted,
are useful to both owners and tenants,” he argued.
Manasaporn also announced that officials with police
sniffer dogs would conduct random raids on dormitories, and urine tests for
narcotics would also be conducted between May 24 and June 4.
Sorasak Wajeesath, deputy permanent secretary of the
Tambon Suthep Administration Organization, added that students are
circumventing the measures of the Act by renting private houses in groups.
This shows a remarkable ability to see through the regulations.
For more information or consultation on dormitory management or inquiries
about measures stipulated by legislation, contact the Chiang Mai Provincial
Social Development and Welfare Office.
Tropical heat too much for European car?
Or perhaps it was just a little too old
Some people believe that many vehicles built in Europe
are unsuitable for tropical Asian countries. Whilst this might have been
true once, the manufacturers today would deny this vociferously.
fire fighter battles to extinguish the fire.
An old Volkswagen was the latest to succumb to the
Chiang Mai heat on May 1. Pol Lt Col Chakrit Eakasingha of Phuping police
station was informed there was a burning car parked in front of Kru Bah
Sri Wichai monument. A fire engine from Chiang Mai Municipality fire
brigade, located over 10 kilometers away, was dispatched to put out the
fire. However, by the time it reached the scene, almost the entire car had
fire drew quite a crowd.
After the flames were extinguished, the vehicle was
positively identified as belonging to Patchara Sawetsritawan of Bang Rak
district in Bangkok.
She had taken her family to visit Chiang Mai and left
the car at the foot of Doi Suthep Mountain, continuing up the mountain by
red minibus instead, as she was not experienced in driving in mountainous
When they returned from Doi Suthep, the driver was
unable to start the car and then saw smoke coming from the engine, which
burst into flames.
Pol Lt Col Chakrit said that he suspected the fire started by
auto-combustion as the car had been standing in the heat the whole day.
This particular auto certainly showed combustion! Damage was estimated at
Cooking gas to cost more, but won’t affect inflation, says official
His wife must only use electricity!
The cost of cooking gas has increased by 1
baht a kilogram to 16.81 baht a kilogram since May 7. A 15 kilogram gas tank
that used to cost 237.17 baht now costs 252.15 baht. This is the first time
the price has increased since December 5. This announcement came from Metta
Bantoengsook, director of Energy Policy and Planning Office.
According to government policy, the rise in the price of
cooking gas will help reduce the Fuel Reserve Fund’s burden. The Fund has
to use 160 million baht a day to fix fuel prices, and to date it has spent 8
The increase in the price of petrol and cooking gas will
not affect inflation, according to Metta, because these fuels are not used
in general goods and services on the market.
The increase of in the cooking gas price will cause the
cost of rice with curry to increase by 0.03 baht and taxi drivers will pay
an extra 20 baht per 12 hour shift. Households will have to pay 15 baht more
a month - or 0.50 baht a day - for a 15 kilogram tank of cooking gas.
Industrial factories which mainly use gas in their production, will increase
their expenditure by 36 million baht a month.
So provided you do not cook with gas at home, eat out,
buy anything produced in a gas-fired factory or catch a taxi, there are no
increases as the Energy Policy and Planning Office says.
Task force patrolling
Chiang Rai border kept busy
72 kg heroin intercepted in past six months
The Pha Muang Task Force, the 1st Cavalry Department
special unit, has intercepted 72 kilograms of heroin at the Mae Sai border
in Chiang Rai.
The force gave a report on its activities over the past
six months, stating that as well as the 72 kilograms of heroin, more than
700,000 ya ba pills and 1,900 grams of the “ice” drug were confiscated.
Col Wilart Arunsri, commander of the unit, said it was
assigned to guard the 224 kilometer border between Chiang Rai province and
In the period between last October and March this year,
the unit seized two displaced soldiers and carried out constant ambushes on
drug caravans. The unit also obstructed contraband import and export along
Its intervention in combating the illegal trade across
the border had increased the government’s tax collection by 58 million
baht - a 10 percent rise over last year’s tax collection.
Taiwanese drug dealer caught with 40,000 tablets in biscuit boxes
Planned to export them to Taiwan at 25-40 x profit
Police who pulled over a Mae Sai-Bangkok bus caught a
Taiwanese drug dealer who was transporting 40,000 amphetamine tablets hidden
in biscuit boxes.
On May 17, Mae Sai police with the help of the Chiang Rai
Highway Police searched the bus that had been stopped at the Tambon Huay
Krai police box and found the tablets stashed in nine biscuit boxes. Yi Sae
Ji, a 27-year-old Taiwanese, admitted to be the owner.
He confessed to having bought the tablets in Myanmar at
20 baht each and would sell them in Taiwan for between 500-800 baht each.
Police took the drug dealer into custody before handing
him over to investigators. It was discovered that Yi belongs to the same
network as Tien Tichuan, a Taiwanese who police caught the previous night.
This Taiwanese drug network is believed to have a branch
in Bangkok, from where the tablets are transported to Taiwan.
Investigations are continuing and police expect to make
Retired American shot
dead in his home
Returns from golf game and surprises burglars
A wealthy American has been shot dead as he tried to
fight off burglars in his Chiang Rai house.
Fifty-six-year-old Bradley John Taylor returned from a
game of golf and found burglars rummaging through his belongings. He
accosted them, but sustained a gunshot wound.
The burglars made off with valuables taken from the
At 3 p.m. on May 14, Pol Sec Lt Supoj Suwan of the Muang
Chiang Rai police station was informed of the burglary and shooting at Ban
Rai community, Moo 5 in Tambon Ban Doo. Accompanied by police colleagues, he
went to the scene, a large European style house built on more than 1 rai.
Bloodstains were found at the front gate that the wounded victim had
apparently crawled to in order to summon help. There were signs of a
struggle inside the house.
Police also collected as evidence a bullet casing they
found lying on the floor.
Taylor was taken to Chiang Rai Rajaprachanukroh Hospital
with a bullet wound to the chest and several bruises. He succumbed to his
injuries a short time later.
Taylor’s 36-year-old wife, Chornapah Harkai, told
police that he had previously lived in California and they had been married
for many years. Three years ago they moved to Chiang Rai. He was a wealthy
man who used to be a computer programmer in the US before he retired and
moved to Thailand.
Chornapah said she was taking their children and his
relatives from America on a trip to the checkpoint at Mae Sai border when
she was informed by mobile phone that Taylor had been murdered.
After their home was checked, it was ascertained the
burglars had made off with a notebook computer, over 150,000 baht in cash,
and a platinum and gold bracelet and necklace valued at over 200,000 baht.
Police believe there were at least two burglars. Police
took fingerprints and notified the American consulate to send officials to
take part in the investigation.
Drug dealers feeling pinch, moving to Lao border
Royal Thai Army keeping a close watch
on Thai-Burma Friendship Bridge
The commander-in-chief of the Royal Thai Army expressed
concern over the narcotics problem at Thai-Burma border, as drug networks
shift their transportation routes northeast along the Lao border.
Gen Chaiyasith Shinawatra was visiting the soldiers of
the Pha Muang Task Force stationed on the Thai-Burmese border.
He also checked progress on the construction of the
Thai-Burma Friendship Bridge at Ban Wieng Hom in Chiang Rai’s Mae Sai
He was received by Brigadier Gen Mien Saw, a
representative of the Myanmar Ministry of Defense, Col Ko Ko Maung,
Myanmar’s deputy military attach้ to Thailand, and other officials
from Myanmar and Thailand.
Gen Chaiyasith said there has been a decrease in
narcotics smuggling across the 2nd Thai-Burma border bridge, thanks to the
good cooperation from Myanmar in suppressing the drug trade and arresting
However, he is concerned that these positive results are
leading to drug networks shifting their routes to the northeast at the Lao
border to transport drugs into Thailand.
The military has adapted its strategies to intercept
The new friendship bridge under construction would
benefit both Thailand and Myanmar. It would serve as a gate and commercial
path to the south of China, the general said.
Ebb and flow of drugs tracked
Successes in war noted
The amount of heroin seized in the north has more than
doubled as a result of the government’s war on drugs, while the number of
arrests for amphetamines has dropped.
Pittaya Jinawat, director of the northern Office of
Narcotics Control Board (ONCB), has disclosed that 40 kg of heroin a month
are seized, compared with a previous monthly average of 19 kg.
The number of amphetamines intercepted has dropped from
26 million tablets to 70,000 tablets a month.
The ONCB and National Fighting and Victory Over Drug
Center believe the situation has improved due to the anti-drugs war.
However, Pittaya says, the north is still a preferred
channel for drug smuggling into the country, and this remains a serious
problem. About 60 percent of drugs are sneaked in through Chiang Mai and
Chiang Rai, 30 percent through Tak and Mae Hong Son and 10 percent are
beginning to get in through the northwestern provinces of Phayao, Nan and
Mae Sot district in Tak and Uttraradit province are
reported to be sensitive areas, as statistics indicate an increase in
narcotics-related arrests there.
The latest arrests in Phrae province show drug smugglers
are bringing in amphetamines in powder form, to be made into pills inside
the country for distribution. They are also reported to be constantly
developing new methods to deceive narcotics officials.
“Ketamine drugs and cough remedy mingled with dorein
(particles of opium), which used to be seen in the south of Thailand, has
moved to the north to a certain extent,” Pittaya reported.
According to the director, the National Fighting and
Victory Over Drug Center in March estimated the success in drug suppression
at over 87 percent.
However, while the number of drug dealers in each
community has reportedly decreased, the number of users is said to be
An estimated 500 million amphetamine tablets have been
smuggled into the country so far this year, which represents a decrease from
past years. But more heroin and new sorts of narcotics such as Ecstasy and
Ketamine drugs are entering Thailand.
The ONCB’s northern office disclosed that it has a
blacklist of between 80 and 100 drug dealers and is cooperating with the
Provincial Police Bureau, Region 5 and 6 to investigate and find evidence in
order to nail these wrongdoers.
“Information about the drug network in the north will
be continuously updated in order to keep up with the current situation. The
narcotics suppression officers in the border areas will not be put off
guard,” according to Pittaya.
Solving the drug problem is regarded as more difficult in
urban than rural areas because it is related to other juvenile and criminal
problems. The ONCB has organized seminars with different groups, such as
youth groups and non-governmental organizations, to assess the narcotics
“We are asking these groups to work together with us
and local administration organizations in drug suppression,” says Pittaya.
There are more than 508 urban communities and rural municipal areas in the
north, where the ONCB has allocated over 15 million baht.
Heavily armed policeman arrested on deforestation charges
Needed rocket launcher to grow oranges?
A police officer, who wanted to grow
oranges, has found himself on the wrong side of the law and has been
arrested. His arsenal of weapons has also been confiscated.
Pol Sgt Maj Adul Phusua, 48, of Wiang Haeng district
police station in Chiang Mai was charged with trespassing into a national
forest, a conservation area, and resisting arrest. The police officers
seized him along with his weapons that included an M-16 firearm, an M-72
missile launcher, a rifle and a chain saw, perhaps the latter for when all
Officials of the 16th Conserved Forest Area
Administration Office together with forestry police and local police
officers investigated a case of invasion into the Mae Ngad national forest
at km marker 69 of the Chiang Mai-Phrao Road in Tambon Long Khod of Chiang
Mai’s Phrao district.
During the course of their investigation, they found Pol
Sgt Maj Adul clearing a path and deforesting an area of 100 rai to grow
When they tried to apprehend him, he threatened the
police with his weapons and tried to escape. The officers encircled the area
and summonsed his relatives to convince him to surrender.
He finally agreed and surrendered after two hours. The
weapons have been confiscated to be traced to their source.
Meanwhile, another two invaders were arrested in Chiang
Mai’s Mae Ai district and charged with invasion into 900 rai of conserved
forest in the Fang River basin to again cultivate oranges. A large water
irrigation pump valued at over 2 million baht was confiscated.
With the legitimate farmers complaining that they cannot
sell their oranges because of cheap Chinese oranges, one wonders at the
rationale behind the illegal growers’ thinking.
Yunnanese drug dealers killed in shootout with undercover police
10 million baht sting operation also nets 450,000 Ya Ba tablets
A gunfight between an undercover drug
suppression police team and Chinese drug dealers that lasted for over 15
minutes ended with three of the dealers killed. Those killed were Amnuay
Saeyang, and Jintai Saeseu, both 22, and another unidentified man. All three
were reported to be Yunnanese (southern China) and lived in Pai district,
Mae Hong Son.
The drug exchange was arranged on the Chiang Mai-Pai Road
in Ban Pang San, Tambon Pah Pae in Chiang Mai’s Mae Taeng district. While
handing over the amphetamines to undercover police, in exchange for 10
million baht, the drug dealers suddenly realized this was a sting operation
and drew their firearms. During the gun battle, two attempted to run away,
but were shot while fleeing, said the police.
The drug suppression group seized 450,000 amphetamine
tablets and three firearms including an AK-47 assault rifle, plus ammunition
left behind by the dealers in their pick-up.
Police said that the Yunnanese drug network had been
transporting amphetamines from the Thai-Burmese border in Mae Hong Son to
deliver to clients in Thailand.