National Geographic slams Chiang Mai as tourist destination
After the rhetoric, here comes the truth
Chalermsak Suranant, director of TAT, Northern Office,
Region 1, admitted that the TAT is concerned after the National Geographic
Traveler magazine March 2004 issue ranked the world’s 115 tourist sites
into three categories: The Good, Not So Bad and Getting Ugly, and placed
Chiang Mai and Phuket in the latter category (Getting Ugly).
Chiang Mai was ranked 29 out of 37 and the negatives
included the environment, the negative change of the Chiang Mai
socio-cultural structure and poor tourism management.
Director Chalermsak stated that he had urgently informed
Suwat Tantipat, Chiang Mai governor, and Boonlert Buranupakorn, Chiang Mai
mayor, who are the area’s chief executive officers, to collaborate in
solving the problems.
Governor Suwat said that he had ordered the authorities
responsible to discuss and review the magazine’s criticism. Suwat also
assigned the provincial tourism promotion board and the concerned groups to
adapt their strategies in competing in the tourism business. A conference
about this would be arranged as soon as possible next week.
Boonlert Perela, president of Chiang Mai Tourism Business
Association, admitted that Chiang Mai had changed so that outsiders felt the
city was not the same as before. The three aspects that the magazine had
criticized Chiang Mai for were undeniable, especially that of environment.
“If Chiang Mai City does not improve itself, its role in the world tourism
will be lessened,” he noted.
Perhaps now is the time for the city fathers to address the fact that
tourists cannot get about easily. Red minibuses with no marked destination
are not tourist friendly and packing tourists off early to bed is in
contradiction of the world trends. Even Singapore has relaxed its previously
enforced early closures. Perhaps now is the time to enforce zoning and allow
those venues zoned for entertainment discretion on closing times. The long
awaited electric transportation system would assist environmental concerns
if the current public transport is then phased out.
Entertainment venues warned to toe the 48-year-old line
The fun police are watching you
Chiang Mai has toughened up its stance on entertainment
venues that violate the law. Offenders face being closed for 30 days as
District chief officer Chumporn Sangmanee has set up a
team to patrol the venues and enforce the law even more strictly.
Sangmanee, Muang district chief officer, at the weekly press conference at
Chiang Mai City Hall.
He announced at a press conference at Chiang Mai City
Hall that six clauses in the Entertainment Outlets Act of 1956 had to be
followed - or else.
The patrols will monitor the following:
* Entertainment venues are not allowed to be open outside
* No illegal drugs are allowed at those venues;
* The ages of clients must be strictly controlled;
* No obscene shows are permitted;
* The carrying of firearms or other dangerous weapons is
* The type of business each outlet runs must match its
The governor must authorize the 30-day closure of a venue
if the owner violates the law. Since October last year, 18 entertainment
outlets so far have been punished or are in process of facing closure. The
majority of violations have been with closing times and underage patrons.
Another 100 entertainment venues have been penalized for less serious
Chumporn claimed that Chiang Mai, as a tourist city, was
different from other tourist destinations such as Pattaya and Phuket.
“Chiang Mai is unique because it is a city of arts and culture, ancient
monuments and ruins, surrounded with many educational institutions,” he
“High ranking officials also expect it to be more
strictly patrolled as it is the hometown of the prime minister. Therefore,
only good things should be happening in the city, in keeping with government
policies and the path that PM Thaksin has set as a precedent.”
He continued, “For example, no business owners in
Chiang Mai should ever become involved in paedophilia or drugs.”
Somewhat confusingly, he said that entertainment outlets
should conform to the concept of tourist cities, but at the same time
strictly follow the rules.
The Muang District Office, as one of the organizations
directly responsible for law enforcement, is therefore working together
closely with Mae Ping, Phuping, Chang Puek and Muang district police
stations, the Provincial Public Health Office, regional revenue office and
the regional excise office to uphold these 48-year-old statutes.
The district office also carries out undercover
investigations, but the procedure to enforce the 30-day penalty has become
more complex as prosecutions must be brought within 15 days.
The entertainment venues being closely watched in the
Muang district include 10 discotheques that under Article 3(1), must be
closed before 2 a.m.; one tavern registered under Article 3(2); six massage
parlors under Article 3(3); and 306 karaoke lounges, restaurants and pubs
with music performance registered under Article 3(4). The latter three
categories have to close at 1 a.m.
A Royal Decree on zoning has been proclaimed and covers
the area from city hall to the police booth in San Pheesua district in front
of Ruan Phrae Restaurant, and no licence will be issued for any new outlets.
At present, the Muang District Office patrol team
consists of the deputy district officer and officials from district and
provincial Territorial Security Volunteers who take turns in inspecting the
outlets. The team submits a daily report to the district officer and reports
are presented once a week to the provincial authority.
“We will not allow any favoritism in the inspection,
and if any district officials are found to have accepted bribes, they will
be relocated,” the district chief officer warned. It was not made
immediately clear whether this relocation would include any legal action.
He added that if the public had information about
entertainment venues transgressing the law, they can inform at the Muang
District Office at any time.
All that must be done now is to tell the tourists what time they have to
go back to their hotels. But will they understand why? And be willing to
come back next year?
Youth cultural exchange hoped to defuse Southern border problems
Youths from the north and from the south have enriched
each other immensely in an inter-Thai “cultural exchange” programme,
claims the commander of the 3rd Army Region.
Lt Gen Picharnmeth Muangmanee, the commander of the 3rd
Army Region has praised the excursion program for the youths from the
northern and southern borders, saying it will establish good inter-regional
relations and offer them the chance to learn about each other’s cultures.
He was speaking at the Phoo Klar (Brave Men) Grounds, in
the Mengrai the Great Military Camp on May 28, where he received 255 youth
representatives from Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Mae Hong Son, Nan and Tak.
Afterwards, they left on a Royal Thai Air Force plane from Chiang Rai
Airport on an excursion to the southern border provinces.
The trip was part of the Rom Thong Thai (under the Thai
national flag) Project under the Internal Security Operations Command. It
was aimed at offering youths in the border provinces the opportunity to meet
and learn about the landscape, and social, economic and cultural aspects of
one another’s homes.
Lt Gen Picharnmeth also said the cultural exchange
program between the youths of the two regions would form good relations
between them and help them solve local problems in the future.
On the same day, a group of 225 youth representatives of
the southern border provinces of Songkhla, Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat and
Satun arrived in Chiang Rai. They spent two days travelling around the
province before going on to Bangkok, where they linked up with the northern
youth representatives for joint activities.
Schoolchildren taught respect during Visakha Bucha
Wat Pan On holds Thai good manners contest for students
20 pairs of primary students and 27 pairs of secondary
students from Chiang Mai and nearby provinces were entered in the Bencha
Kapradith Thai good manners contest. The main objectives of the contest was
to conserve Thai traditions and suitable manners among the young generations
and promote practicing performing the wai in the correct manner.
Visuthikul, chief monk in Chiang Mai province presided over the awards
presentation ceremony to the students and teachers of Wattanothai Payap
School at Buddha Satharn on May 27.
Sirimangkalajarn School was selected as the winner at the
primary level with Kowit Thamrong Chiang Mai School and Ban Mae Rim Tai
School as the first and second runners-up.
At the secondary level, students from Wattanothai Payap
School were the winners with students from Kowit Thamrong Chiang Mai School
and Wat Ping Muang Municipality School first and second runners-up
Apart from the Thai good manners contest, the contest on
knowledge of Buddhist issues was held on the same day at Buddha Satharn
The students from Dok Ngurn Municipality School won at the primary level
while students from Kawila School and Yupparat Wittayalai were the winners
from secondary and high school levels respectively.
Venus transits the Sun
On June 8, this coming Monday, people around the world
will have the opportunity to witness an event which has not been seen for
more than a century. During a six hour period, Venus will transit the sun.
The disk of Venus is large enough that even the unaided eye, provided
proper precautions are taken, can see the small dark dot which is the
planet Venus as it moves across the bright image of the sun.
The full transit is visible from all of Central and
Northern Thailand. First contact, when the outer rim of Venus touches the
outer rim of the sun, will occur at 12:13 in the afternoon. Fourth contact,
when the last bit of Venus leaves contact with the edge of the sun will
occur at 6:20 p.m.
How to see it
Do not ever look at the sun directly with your eyes for
any length of time. The damage to your vision can be irreparable. But this
doesn’t mean you have to miss the event. Here are three ways you can see
it safely and conveniently.
a picture of what a transit looks like, taken on May 7, 2003 when Mercury
transited the sun. The image was taken with an 8 inch f6 Newtonian
telescope using eyepiece projection. (Photo by Tom Matty)
The safest way is to use a thin piece of cardboard. Use
a pin to punch a small hole in the cardboard. Position this piece of
cardboard above a white piece of paper so that the sun’s image shines
through and onto the paper.
Still very safe is to try to find a number 14 welder’s
glass of high quality. This is dark enough for you to view the entire event
safely looking directly through the glass.
It has sometimes been recommended that you take a piece
of clear glass and hold it over a burning candle. The soot from the candle
flame will coat the glass and make it dark enough to use. This method is
not recommended as it may not bar all types of radiation sufficiently for
If you have a telescope, binoculars or other optical
enhancement device you can use this to get a close up of what is happening.
Never look directly through the eyepiece at the sun. What you do is put a
large piece of white cardboard or paper six to twelve inches back from the
eyepiece. Use this to align your optics so that the suns disk is projected
onto the board. Focus by moving the cardboard back and forth until the
image becomes sharp. You also can see sunspots this way.
There’s lots more information available about this on
the internet for anyone who is interested. If you have any questions I can
try to answer them for you. Contact Tom Matty at 01 883 3013, email
Enjoy this rare and wonderful natural event.
Minor earthquake shakes Chiang Mai
Seismic activity also on Myanmar border
A slight earth tremor rattled Chiang Mai shortly before
midnight on May 30. The meteorological office of the Ministry of Information
and Communication Technology reported that the earthquake, measuring 2.0 on
the Richter scale, occurred at 11.53 p.m. Its epicenter was about 13
kilometers northeast of the seismic measurement station in Chiang Mai based
at the foot of Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep Mountain.
The quake was restricted in the San Sai district of Chiang
Mai, where some residents felt the tremor. No casualties were reported,
Meanwhile, the seismic measurement station of the Royal
Thai Navy’s hydrographic department reports that another tremor measuring
5.2 on the Richer scale was felt at 8.53 a.m. on May 31 along the border
between Thailand and Myanmar. Again there were no reports of casualties.
Brave young woman beats motorcycle bandit at his own game
The mouse that roared!
Motorcycle snatch and flee thieves have been carrying out
their brazen crimes without restraint daily in many areas of Chiang Mai.
However, a plucky young woman retrieved her stolen handbag from a ride-by
thief, in a daring reversal of fortunes, resulting in the arrest of the
Meethawee Phrommanee, 20, a female dental clinic employee
had her shoulder bag snatched shortly before midday on May 31. Not giving
up, she instead gave chase on her own motorcycle. Catching up with the thief
at the traffic intersection at the King Rama IV Bridge on Rattanakosin Road,
she kicked over the thieves motorcycle, sending both it and the rider
tumbling. The thief got up and ran off on foot down the Ping riverbank in an
attempt to escape.
In the meantime, Pol Lt Col Samphan Sirima of the Chang
Puek police station received an emergency call about the event and alerted a
police patrol vehicle. Pol Sgt Maj Boontuan Yudee and Pol Cpl Pattaraphop
Mookam responded and found Meethawee beside the thief’s unlicensed
motorcycle. She had already retrieved her shoulder bag, which contained
documents, her purse and mobile phone, which the thief had dropped as he
made his getaway.
He was described as a teenage boy with short hair and
wearing a green T-shirt and black pants, seen fleeing in the direction of
Muang Mai Market. People fishing in the Ping River told police patrol
searching for him that they had seen someone fitting his description walking
along the riverbank. They suspected he might be heading to hide in a house
near the Muang Mai Market.
Hot on the trail, the police officers found the culprit
and arrested him. He appeared to be under the influence of drugs.
The 16-year-old suspect, who may not be named because he
is a minor, lives at Tambon Huay Sai in Mae Rim district. The youth admitted
he had previously used the same modus operandi to steal many times before.
Urgent renovations needed to save Chedi at Doi Suthep temple
Temple says it needs another 2 million baht
The Fine Arts Office, Chiang Mai, plans to renovate the
Great Pagoda at Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep temple which has deteriorated into a
Sahawat Naenna, the Fine Arts Office director, said that
it was initially decided that the Chedi’s pinnacle would be renovated
first. However, after the Fine Arts Department conferred with others, it was
concluded that it would be risky, for fear of collapse. They suggested that
the renovation should be done at the central base because it could keep the
It was finally agreed that renovation of the main Chedi
had to be done. It will take about three months to complete the restoration,
and if the temple can afford it, the whole pagoda will be renovated during
the winter season.
Examinations revealed that the main Chedi is in bad a bad
state - especially its interior, which is subject to high humidity. Sahawat
said that humidity was not the only cause of damage, but also there had been
inadvertent deterioration from previous attempts at restoration. This had
been carried out in 1998, but was unsatisfactory as the artisans had
inserted iron rods inside the main Chedi which subsequently caused parts of
it to swell.
Since the Chedi is covered with brass and gold plates,
the humidity inside cannot be released. To make matters worse, water leaks
in through cracks, and the marble paving around the Chedi also prevents
The main structure of the Chedi is made of bricks and
lime which have a high water absorption quality, again adding to the
humidity inside. When the temperature changes rapidly, condensation develops
inside, making the brass plates covering the pagoda turn green.
A survey shows that the north-eastern side of the Chedi
is most at risk because the land on that side is sloping, was previously
land-fill and not fully compacted.
Sahawat said it is extremely costly to control the humidity inside the
Chedi. The Fine Arts Department recently gave the temple 5 million baht, but
the caretakers of the temple are afraid this will not cover renovation
costs, which are estimated at 7 million baht.
Important financial considerations for visa holders
Minimum income re-stated by Immigration Bureau
In accordance with the Immigration Bureau’s order No.
110/2546 subject to regulations and requirements of stay for foreigners
which has been effective since July 10, 2003, and for the visa extension
concerning business and Thai Sponsor or Permanent Resident sponsor, which
will be effective from July 10, 2004.
The Immigration Bureau states the foreigner’s minimum
income regulation which will be effective from July 10, 2004, as following:
1. Income necessary for
Visa extension for business of foreigners
(Nationality) Japan, U.S.A., Canada: (Stipulated minimum
monthly income) 60,000 baht. Europe, Australia: 50,000 baht. Korea, Taiwan,
Hong Kong, Great Britain, Singapore, and Malaysia: 45,000 baht. India,
Middle East, China, Indonesia, Philippines: 35,000 baht. Myanmar, Laos,
Vietnam, Cambodia and Africa: 25,000 baht. Correspondents: 20,000 baht.
2. Visa extension
concerning Thai or Permanent Resident Sponsor
For foreigners who sponsor a Thai or Permanent Resident,
he/she must have not less than 400,000 baht in a savings account or not less
than 40,000 baht monthly income.
For foreigners who obtain sponsorship from a Permanent
Resident, such Permanent Resident must have not less than 400,000 baht in a
savings account or not less than 40,000 baht monthly income.
Not everyone is happy to have Hollywood shooting in their back garden
Villagers file protest with authorities
Chiang Mai’s Mae Taeng district residents are angry
that an overseas film crew has disturbed their peace and annoyed them with
noise pollution caused by helicopters, bombs and gun fights scenes,
frightening elephants roaming in the area. “This is a violation of our
individual rights,” a spokesman for the villagers said.
On May 30, villagers of Ban Kidchang, Tambon Kidchang,
Mae Taeng district said that both the mental and physical health of many
elephants were affected by the film shoot. Some of them were pregnant or
The disturbances occurred during April and May when
scenes for the action film “Into the Sun” were being shot. Famous
Hollywood names including Stephen Segal star in the film. The film crew
together with six helicopters and a herd of elephants from Surin province
were brought in for the shoot.
Local villagers were opposed to it and complained of
“the deafening scenes that caused the elephants to become fierce and
dangerous, which in turn made the villagers frightened.”
The agitated elephants posed a danger of destroying their
property and attacking them. The crew at the time was shooting a scene of
smuggling opium from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Myanmar. The scene was
accompanied by loud bomb blasts and gunfire. Frightened elephants took
flight and some ran into trucks which were damaged.
Although the film producer expressed his “deep
regret” to the villagers and paid some compensation for the damage caused,
the locals have not been placated. On May 20, the villagers lodged a
complaint with the authorities concerned with wildlife and animal
organizations, as well as environment bodies, especially the representative
of World Wildlife Organization.
Pandas showing interest in precocious sex
Patter of little Panda feet soon?
The two pandas at Chiang Mai have been a hit with the
public, and authorities are making sure they stay that way. Sophon Dhamnui,
director of the Zoological Park Organization of Thailand, says they will be
given a vaccine to protect them against distemper, as Thailand has many dogs
and cats, and these animals could infect the pandas.
The two pandas have not been vaccinated previously.
The vaccine has been produced through genetic engineering
of the infectious ferret distemper. The vaccine is distributed commercially
and can be used on pandas, raccoons, wolves, lions, tigers and leopards.
inject the pandas with a distemper vaccine.
China has approved the vaccination for its ‘on loan’
pandas. The results will be sent to China, so that authorities can use the
vaccine on other pandas there.
During this summer school break, the number of people who
visited the pandas fell by 20 percent, so Chiang Mai Zoo will run a special
promotion by letting two people visit them on only one ticket, the director
The veterinarians who watch over them said they are ready
to breed, even though the male Tewan is only three years and eight months
and the female Tewee is only two years and eight months old. They are in
good condition and have started to show sexual interest in each other.
However, officials say that they will inform China about
this new development. They also believe that as daytime lasts longer in
Thailand than in China, the pandas would have more time and be sexually
aroused more quickly.
Premature breeding may not be such a strange matter. It would be good
news for both Chiang Mai locals and Thais if they soon hear the patter of
little panda feet.
Chiang Mai’s Consumer Protection Committee protecting whom?
Not the purchasers it seems, but the sellers
Meesubkwang and Jiraphat Warasin
The 50cc scooter problem just doesn’t want to go away.
On the one hand we have the owners who claim they have bought the small
scooters, in good faith, from registered motorcycle dealers, and on the
other hand we have the upholders of the law who say they are illegal and
cannot be ridden on Chiang Mai’s busy streets. Where can the aggrieved
owners turn? To the Chiang Mai Consumer Protection Committee? Not so, it
Rattanadilok na Phuket, head of Chiang Mai Provincial Transport Office.
Chiang Mai’s Consumer Protection Committee has come out
to say that the consumers purchased these small motorcycles with the
awareness that no unlicensed vehicle can be legally ridden on public roads.
The 50cc scooters are not excluded from that law. The office’s committee
and officials reiterated that it was a law that the general public must
know, and apparently ignorance of the law is no excuse.
Our automotive expert informed us that it is legal for a
dealer to sell an unregisterable motorcycle (just as it is legal to sell a
riding lawnmower – but it isn’t legal to take that mower out onto the
streets and downtown to pick up your groceries). “The smaller bikes are
supposed to be ‘fun’ bikes for riding around the scrub, or in your back
yard. It is caveat emptor. If you buy a bigger bike from the dealers they
will register it for you, and you buy it with the government insurance and
number plates pending.” They of course cannot, and will not, do this for
the smaller bikes.
is not legal to ride these scooters on public roads, and the authorities say
that they will stop and fine you if you do.
However, a case might be made for requiring dealers to
inform unknowing buyers of this law, perhaps by placing a sign in the
display area or by attaching stickers to the bikes stating that it is
against the law to ride them on public roads.
Chiang Mai Traffic Police Works noted that the police
must uphold the law, so they have to arrest riders of 50cc scooters.
Otherwise, the traffic police would be charged with negligence of their
Asdsathai Rattanadilok na Phuket, head of Chiang Mai
Provincial Transport Office, said that, according to the law, each vehicle
with an engine under 50cc and wheel diameter below 10 inches cannot be
registered. The fact that these small scooters are assembled here or
overseas does not change the situation. The law has always been there.
He added that this was an endless problem as no one
organization looks at it seriously, and while roaming around the city roads,
the owners did not pay road tax to the government. “It is up to the
traffic police to arrest the riders of these 50cc scooters,” he said.
We approached Pol. Maj. Gen Kasem Rattanasoonthorn,
commander of Chiang Mai Provincial Police Division and Pol. Lt. Col.
Weerayut Prasobchoekchai, the head of Chiang Mai Traffic Police Works, who
told Chiangmai Mail that they had not been assigned by their
superiors to take action yet.
It was observed that the police did not take the case
seriously. The police at the superintendent level refused interview, but
threw the case to suppression police inspectors or those at the lower ranks.
Since the police seem to be turning a blind eye to the extremely
dangerous lack of wearing of helmets by riders of all sized motorcycles, the
50cc furor is perhaps attracting much more attention than the situation
Killer flood’s costly trail of destruction assessed
6,000 people affected
The devastating floods in the north have brought the
Deputy Minister of the Interior up to inspect areas damaged by the recent
flash floods in Mae Ramat district in Tak province.
Pramual Rujaneree, accompanied with Phongpayom Wasaputi,
the director general of the Department of Public Disaster Prevention and
Relief, and an inspection committee came to inspect the damage caused by one
of the largest and worst floods in the area.
More than 6,000 people were affected and 39 houses were
swept away by the current. Hundreds more were damaged. Government service
officials delivered rice, dried foods and drinking water to those affected.
Each family, whose house was damaged, stands to be
allocated compensation of between 200,000-300,000 baht, Pramual announced.
The flood was exacerbated by forest and environmental
destruction. Thousands of felled trees ended up in the inundated areas.
Initial estimates put the cost of the damage at more than a hundred million
The bodies of a couple, 90-year-old Ta Wanpoon and
63-year-old Kampang Wanpoon who drowned, have since been recovered but two
other persons are still missing, 58-year-old Kankam Kampala and 46-year-old
Yongyuth Supanakorn. They all lived under the same roof in Tambon Mae Ramat,
Mae Ramat district and their house was completely carried away by the
The deputy minister asked villagers to be alert for
deforestation, because that is one reason why the floodwaters could flow
unhindered. He also suggested ways to prevent a repeat of the disaster.
Firstly, the reservoir should be enlarged. Secondly, the Mae Ramat Creek
should be dredged to let the current flow easily. Thirdly, the forests and
the natural sources should be preserved.
Dr Surasen Tangtong, director of the Education Office,
Region 2, Tak said that five schools located in the inundated area were
ordered to close. It was also discovered that several school buildings were
damaged and money for repairs must be allocated quickly.
Banks and financial institutions to hold home auction
Going once, going twice, going three times, Sold!
The Thai Bankers’ Association in cooperation with RK
Media Holding, Seuwattasarn Co., and 14 financial institutions will hold the
“2nd House Fair Auction 2004” with many special and promotional
campaigns to attract buyers. The fair will be held June 11-13 at Chiang Mai
Central Airport Plaza.
Suwat Tantipat, Chiang Mai governor, said that Chiang
Mai’s real estate business in 2004 contributed more than 400 million baht
in taxes to the province. It is also expected that this business section
will grow 33 percent in this year, following the lowering of interest rates,
making it easier to purchase homes. Foreigners can purchase homes at the
auction, subject to the usual restrictions.
Dr. Thawatchai Yongkittikul, secretary of the Thai
Bankers’ Association, said that in the past Thais did not favor
second-hand homes but that attitude has changed, as these houses are being
sold at lower prices and the consumers are also able to choose their
required locations, as they have so many on offer.
A home auction fair had been very successful in Bangkok,
and this is why they have brought the concept to Chiang Mai, as the banks in
Chiang Mai have several properties for sale. At the auction the banks will
be offering different lines of credit, and prices can be negotiated.
3 billion baht proposed to increase local tourism
Locals will benefit, say pollies
Chiang Mai MPs plan to spend about three billion baht
promoting tourism and thereby increase the incomes of the local population.
This is their strategy in response to the Thaksin Shinawatra inspired “war
They plan to increase the budget for the 2005 fiscal year
to push Chiang Mai City, which is regarded as the northern transportation
hub, and to welcome the World Horticulture Exhibition in 2006. Pakorn
Buranupakorn, Chiang Mai MP for the Thai Rak Thai party, announced he would
submit the budget for next year.
One long term plan is for an electric train service
linking with districts located outside Chiang Mai to be run under the
supervision of the Chiang Mai Municipality.
The municipality has been assigned to carry out a
feasibility study of this project for the years 2006-2008. The results of
the study would be discussed by the Cabinet.
The MP’s also propose the construction of a large 300
million baht aquarium to promote tourism to the region. Other ideas include
increasing financial support for the Chiang Mai University’s Fine Arts
department to help survey and promote the Wiang Takarn ancient remains
located in Tambon Ban Klang, San Patong district. This could be developed as
a historical site for tourists.
Taking up the PM’s call, Pakorn wants to create job
employment and decentralize the income distribution in the local area. The
Thaksin administration envisages that the region’s income will be
increased from 50 billion baht to 110 billion baht in the next five years.
Chiang Mai bird flu no cause to worry
Thailand’s new round of bird flu is not widespread, as
it has been found only at Chiang Mai University’s experimental farm,
according to Deputy Agriculture Minister Newin Chidchob.
Speaking on May 28 he said that a number of chickens at
the experimental farm had died, and their carcasses had already been
After samples from the chicken’s carcasses tested
positive to the avian flu, the area in a one-kilometer radius around the
farm had been put under close monitoring.
Newin said that authorities had no concerns about the
return of bird flu in the northern province of Chiang Mai, as other farms
are unaffected, unlike the outbreak earlier this year. He also expects no
impact on the country’s exports of chicken meat. (TNA)
Police tighten security for foreigners
To be watched over and watched out for
Mae Rim police will be keeping a careful watch on
foreigners, both to ensure the safety of tourists and to be on the lookout
for international terrorists.
Pol Col Pornchai Pakpongsri, superintendent of Mae Rim
district police station, said that the Provincial Police Bureau, Region 5 on
May 31 issued an urgent instruction that police in the district more
strictly monitor foreigners’ security at tourist sites and at the
international school area in Mae Rim.
Detectives attached to the police station have also been
told to discreetly scrutinize the behavior of foreigners that may suggest
links to international terrorism and crime and report to their superior
Police are to keep a particular watch on the Mae Sa
Elephant Camp on the Mae Rim-Pong Yaeng Road and Prem International School
in Tambon Huai Sai. Patrols will be increased in frequency in these areas
because there are many foreigners staying in the region.
Teens making homemade grenades
A new OTOP best seller?
A 17-year-old youth has been arrested for possession of a
home made explosive devise, which was later found to be a kind of grenade.
A local resident informed police from the Muang district
police station that a group of teenagers had gathered in front of a karaoke
bar on Moon Muang Road on May 24 and it appeared a sociable fight was in the
police officer from Muang district police station shows the homemade
Police rushed to the scene, but the youths fled when they
saw the officers arriving. However, they managed to apprehend one of the
gang, a 17-year-old who cannot be named, as he is a minor. Performing a
quick frisk, they found he was carrying the explosive devise. He claimed
that it was not his, but belonged to one of the gang members who had already
legged it. The youth said he had been waiting for his girlfriend who works
at the karaoke bar, and his friend left the grenade with him for safe
He told the police officers that they made the grenades
themselves and carried them as protection from their “many enemies”.
He was charged with carrying a dangerous explosive in a public area
without a suitable reason. (It is hard to imagine a suitable reason!)
Ya ba pills found in pickup outside police station
Owner already in remand
38,000 ya ba tablets were found in a vehicle parked at
the San Sai district police station. Police discovered the tablets under the
tray bed protector of a Nissan pickup that had been parked in the police
station’s parking area for a month.
help pull out the tray bed protector to search for the ya ba, as Tewarit
The confiscated vehicle belongs to Tewarit “Joe” Sae
Wang, 26, who has been in Chiang Mai Central Prison since April 20 after
being found guilty of possession of more than 400 ya ba pills that he was
keeping for distribution.
Police advised the superintendent of Chiang Mai Central
Prison, asking permission to secure a temporary release for Tewarit to guide
the officers to where he had hidden the drugs. Meanwhile, forensic police
officers were called in to pry open the car’s tray bed protector to search
for ya ba, where they discovered 38,000 ya ba pills in 18 batches.
batches of ya ba were pulled out from beneath the confiscated pickup
vehicle’s tray bed protector.
After Tewarit’s arrest in April, police not only seized
the 400 pills but also a Toyota pickup, Nissan pickup, Honda motorcycle and
three mobile phones. The estimated value of the confiscated drugs and
vehicles was 5 million baht.
Pol Col Sukij Setthinunt, superintendent of San Sai
district police station, said that the court had sentenced Tewarit to seven
years imprisonment. The offender has since petitioned the Supreme Court for
his conviction to be overturned.
In light of the new discovery, Tewarit’s request for a
retrial will most likely be granted, but it is unlikely the outcome will be
what he was hoping for, and he could face an even stiffer sentence.
Drug running increases
in wet season
Commander of the 3rd Army Region warns three northern provinces
Lt. Gen. Picharnmeth Muangmanee, commander of the 3rd
Third Army believes that the incidence of drug running across the borders
will increase for the next few months. He said the drug traders, who are
more experienced with the routes and able to travel by foot along the
hillsides to smuggle in the narcotics, are favoured by the seasonal weather.
Gen. Picharnmeth Muangmanee, commander of the 3rd Army Region.
Commander Phicharnmeth said Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai and
Mae Hong Son provinces must be closely watched, as they are the provinces
which are connected to the neighboring countries that are making drug
deliveries. These three provinces are mountainous and cannot be traversed
with vehicular transport. Even using helicopters for surveillance is
difficult with the thick undergrowth and they are forced to use foot
Neighboring countries Burma, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and China also have
concerns over drugs. However, the best way is if everyone in the nation
alerts state officials when they have evidence of drug transactions taking
Want an eye-catching number plate?
Want to own a “cool” vehicle number plate? Willing to
pay over 50,000 baht for one? The Chiang Mai Provincial Transport Office is
to auction 301 number plates on June 24-25, and you are invited.
Starting bids at the auction will range from 500 baht to
50,000 baht and the income generated will go to the Road Safety Fund to
spend on promotional campaigns and road accident prevention.
Asdsathai Rattanadilok na Phuket, head of the Chiang Mai
Transport Office, said that after the auction, the “Kor Yor” category of
number plate may start being displayed. The numbers are grouped into four
main types, with different deposits and opening bids for the auction.
The first type covers the quadruple identical digits,
1111 to 9999. Bidders have to put down a deposit of 5,000 baht. The starting
bid will be 50,000 baht, with 5,000 baht increments in bidding.
The second type of number includes nine of one single
digit (e.g. 8), nine of two repeating digits (e.g. 88) and nine triple digit
(e.g. 888) numbers. Deposits are set at 2,000 baht and the starting bid is
10,000 baht with 2,000 baht increments.
The third type includes numbers like 1000, 2000, 1155,
2299, 5775, 4343 and others. The starting bid for this type is 3,000 baht
with a 1,000 baht increase per bid. The deposit is set at 1,000 baht.
The last type is of numbers like 1122, 1133, 1001, 1221,
1010, and 1212. For this type, bidders have to put down 500 baht as a
deposit and the auction starts at 500 baht with 500 baht increments per bid.
Asdsathai said, “Apart from gaining merit, people who
take part in the auction would possess cool number plates which can be
inherited by their descendents or be resold at a higher price.”
The number plates at this upcoming auction are
beautifully decorated with graphics which will be distinguishable from the
common plates seen on the streets.
People interested in taking part in the auction should
register in advance, before June 23 between 9 a.m. - 4.30 p.m. on working
days, at the Chiang Mai Transport Office 2 or call 053 270 412. To register,
they will have to bring photocopies of their ID cards or the certificate
from a juristic person or passport or a letter of attorney in cases where
people cannot act on their own behalf.
The auction will take place at the Phumirapee Room of
Chiang Mai Phucome Hotel from 8.30 a.m. to 3.30 p.m.
Northern workers drugged into fisheries sector
Workers from Thailand’s northern region
are being tricked into the fisheries sector through the use of drugs,
alcohol and violence, head of Chiang Mai’s employment office warned.
Orachorn Rattanamanee said that the provincial employment office was well
aware that fisheries operations were using unscrupulous methods to trick
people into working for them, and was working hard to solve the problem.
The latest incident involved northern workers accosted by
agents at Bangkok’s Hualamphong Railway Station and in Samut Sakhon
Province. After being taken to a hotel in the southern province of Songkhla,
the workers were drugged or made drunk, and knew nothing more until they
found themselves in fishing boats in the middle of the sea. The Department
of Fisheries describes such incidents as ‘common’.
Urging workers to exercise caution and beware of job
offers from strangers, Orachorn said that workers could search for
employment vacancies at the provincial employment office. (TNA)