HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

EGAT protests generating a strong undercurrent

Fire causes 0.5 mio baht damage to city building

Alien laborers can register for employment next month

Public library upgrade to learning and info-centre

Army unit teaches hill tribes the value of forests

Dissatisfied? Then drop your governor a personal note

Innovation on Chiang Mai streets makes life safer

Ping River banks to be upgraded to family recreational area

Municipality ready to tackle city flooding

Mobile cabinet meeting heads north again

Ugly posters to come down

Landslides and flash floods alert

World Environment Day marked in Chiang Mai

Undercover police goal to suppress gambling on goals

Mystery surrounds police investigation into death of German’s wife

International organized crime seminar held in Chiang Mai

Human trafficking ring exposed

Chiang Mai monk implicated in drug trade

EGAT protests generating a strong undercurrent

Well-organized opposition to PM Thaksin’s privatisation plans

Saksit Meesubkwang

The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) protests against privatisation just won’t go away, PM Thaksin Shinawatra is beginning to realize. About 1,000 EGAT employees from Mae Moh lignite plant in Lampang province, and from Provincial Electricity Authorities (PEAs) in the six Northern provinces assembled in Chiang Mai on June 4.

They arrived and began distributing leaflets to the public in the city. These, as well as VCDs and CDs drew attention to “the negative impact” of the privatisation plan by the state enterprise being listed on Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET). They cited Argentina’s economic plan “that has caused the country’s economic collapse” and say it is being followed by PM Thaksin Shinawatra.

The EGAT and PEA employees, dressed in red T-shirts, distributed leaflets to passers-by, saying the EGAT must belong to the Thai people and not be listed on the SET. They picketed the city’s roads and main intersections like San Kamphaeng, Airport and Kuangsing, as well as government offices.

At 1 p.m., the protesters gathered at Thapae Gate grounds, where they carried out heated debates on the issue, attacking the Thaksin government’s policy on privatisation.

“This plan has been opposed by EGAT employees who have voiced the opposition to the government for more than three months, but the government still ignores our protest,” they claimed.

At 3 p.m., the protesters, led by Sudchai Somchorm of the PEA Union, moved to the City Hall to submit an official protest to Chiang Mai Deputy Governor Prinya Parnthong. He acknowledged receipt of the letter, which was to be forwarded to PM Thaksin Shinawatra.

After handing over the letter, Sudchai said they also planned to launch more protests by distributing leaflets throughout the country, so the general public knows about the government’s plan and its impact.

He said that protesters from Phitsanulok, Phetchabun and some Northeastern provinces will stage more protests against the government again and again in front of Government House in Bangkok.

He stressed that the government’s plan would have a profound affect on everybody. “To give you a clear example, the general public will not be able to avoid increases in the price of electricity. If any privatisation plan and listing on the SET proves successful, privatisation of other state utilities like waterworks and the highway department will follow,” he warned.

Fire causes 0.5 mio baht damage to city building

Cause of blaze still unknown

Saksit Meesubkwang

A fire in the heart of the city has destroyed a third-floor dormitory, causing damage of over 500,000 baht. Six water trucks from the Chiang Mai Municipality fire brigade and police officers of Muang District police station were called to extinguish the fire on Ratcha Chiang Saen Road on June 4.

A fire fighter inspects a burnt dormitory room.

Flames and smoke prevented the fire-fighters access via the stairs and a cherry picker had to be used to hoist the fire-fighters to the third floor. However, by the time they reached the centre of the blaze, the fire had spread rapidly and caused extensive damage.

The dormitory’s owner, 55-year-old Amporn Prasongyon, said a neighbour alerted her to the fire while she was cooking on the first floor. She said that her late husband took a bank loan to build the dormitory. She lives with her 30 year old son, Anupong Prasongyon, and still has to pay off the monthly mortgage to the bank. To make matters worse, she has just undergone an expensive operation.

Pol Lt Col Athirat Saenpanya of Muang District police station said the fire started in the son’s room. Initial suspicions were that it was caused by a lighted candle and incense; however, Anupong denied causing the fire, which he claimed had started while he was meditating at Muang Mang temple.

Police think it may have been caused by a short circuit; however, forensic police will investigate to determine the actual cause.

Alien laborers can register for employment next month

12 month work permit for B. 1,800!

Nopniwat Krailerg

A Cabinet endorsement will allow Burmese, Laotian and Cambodian laborers and their employers to register them for employment during next month.

Orachorn Rattanamanee, head of the Chiang Mai Provincial Employment Service Office, said the Cabinet on April 27 approved a Labor Ministry proposal allowing Burmese, Laos and Cambodian labors who are in the kingdom to apply for work permits.

This applies to laborers who registered at district offices, sub-district offices and municipalities last year and those who have never previously done so.

Registered alien laborers will have right to reside in the country for one year. Moreover, their employers must register with the Employment Department within the appointed time or they will not be allowed to employ alien laborers.

Registration by both aliens and their employers will take place July 1-31. After registering, employees will have to pass health checks at hospitals approved by the Ministry of Public Health, between July 22 - November 15.

The laborers will have to pay 3,800 baht when making an application which covers 600 baht for the health check-up, 1,300 baht for health insurance, 1,800 baht for the one year work permit and 100 baht for administration fees.

Employers and alien employees will be invited to attend a conference to be better informed about the registration procedure.

Public library upgrade to learning and info-centre

Current affairs information to be included

Jiraphat Warasin

Chiang Mai’s provincial public library on Huay Kaew Road is to get a facelift and be modernized to make it a more user-friendly learning center.

Chuchart Liamwanitch, director of the Chiang Mai Provincial Informal Education Office, said the public, staff and heads of several organizations in the city have lent their support to develop the library.

The library will be provided with more materials and facilities such as computers, air conditioners, desks, tables, and chairs to make it more convenient for users of the facility in the future.

The library staff has also prepared more computer training courses, as well as a research and reference room for current affairs and economics issues taking items from more than 22 newspapers and journals (undoubtedly scanning the Chiangmai Mail for what is really going on).

The library will also run careers training activities including making scented and herbal candles, paintings and other skills and development projects.

For more information, contact the Chiang Mai Public Library at Jaeng Hua Rin city corner daily, except public holidays.

Army unit teaches hill tribes the value of forests

Royally initiated project will have huge impact

Saksit Meesubkwang

Hill tribes are unaware of the effects of deforestation, claims the Royal Thai Army’s 32nd Mobile Development Unit. To counter this, it plans to run a royally initiated woodland villages project that will teach them about forest conservation and rehabilitation, as well as improve their quality of life.

According to Col Chaikrit Aiyapark, commander of the army’s 32nd Mobile Development Unit in Chiang Dao district, the hill tribes would be made into “quasi-forestry officers”. The unit chose Ban Siri in Tambon Mae Na at the Ping River water mouth as the pilot village.

The project focuses on firewood, dying forests and cash producing tree cultivation.

The first focus is to produce firewood for hill tribes by planting fast-growing trees like chan thong wood, bamboo, rattan, pa du wood on 1,500 rai of forest land. For forests where the wood is dying, more fast-growing trees are planted on 247 rai of teng rung forest for hill tribes to use to build their homes and fences.

Lastly, perennial plants like lychee, longan, mango and coffee are planted to earn the hill tribes an income. Recently, rubber trees have also been planted on 1,160 rai of commercial forest this being the first rubber tree plantation for hill tribes in the country.

Before the unit revived and developed the area, it was a very deteriorated forest without any new plantations that was only used as hiding places for drugs and drug traders.

Dissatisfied? Then drop your governor a personal note

King Ramkamhaeng’s initiative revived

Nopniwat Krailerg

Chiang Mai’s governor has set up a complaints box in the front of his residence on Charoen Prathet Road. The concept is that this will give the governor a quick overview of residents gripes.

This system of having a box to receive public complaints goes back to the reign of King Ramkamhaeng, but has been taken up again by PM Thaksin Shinawatra.

Governor Suwat Tantipat said he wanted an avenue of redress for Chiang Mai residents who suffer because of public services.

On May 28, PM Thaksin installed his own box at his Ban Phitsanulok residence to receive complaints from people throughout the country, though it is expected that only locals will make the trip to the front gate.

Minister of the Interior Bhokin Bhalakula has also ordered provincial governors to set up their own mailboxes. All letters of complaint will now reach the governor directly. He will consider the complaints before ordering the agencies concerned to take remedial action.

Innovation on Chiang Mai streets makes life safer

Pedestrian walk lights merrily buzzing away

Autsadaporn Kamthai

Chiang Mai has caught up with most modern cities by installing pedestrian crossing lights. The municipality is using a 34 million baht loan from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC, formerly the Overseas Economic Cooperation Fund) to install the pedestrian crossing lights at 52 heavy traffic spots, said Boonlert Buranupakorn, Chiang Mai mayor.

Cross lights have been installed to assist pedestrians at 52 spots throughout Chiang Mai City.

The computer-controlled system has been brought in from England, and so far, 42 have been installed ion the city.

During the initial phase, there are worries that drivers and motorcyclists will be unfamiliar with the system and there may be accidents on the crossings. The mayor has asked vehicle users to be aware and to stop to allow pedestrians to cross the street safely where these lights are installed. If anyone breaks the rules by not stopping, they will be penalized, he warned.

Pedestrians can activate the light by pushing the button on the light pole so that the word “Ror” (Wait) appears on the monitor. After about 45 seconds, a green light will appear meaning that it should be safe for pedestrians to cross. It will hold the pedestrian red for a further eight seconds to give disabled people enough time to get to the other side of the road. During this time, even while the light for pedestrians is red, vehicle users are not allowed to continue.

Blind people are catered for as well. They should hold on to the pole after pressing the button as a vibration in the pole will alert them when it is safe to cross. A sound emitted from the pole will also tell them where one is located.

City Hall says that budgetary constraints prevent the municipality from installing more lights.

Ping River banks to be upgraded to family recreational area

Saksit Meesubkwang

The banks of the Ping River are to receive a facelift to make them a more pleasant and safe family recreation area.

The municipality has launched a project to solve the problems of the river’s shallow water level, vegetation invasion and wastewater drainage. Central government has supplied 50 million baht for the project.

Students from Chiang Mai schools attended the launching ceremony, also getting a free electric ‘lift’.

Chiang Mai Mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn, Chiang Mai MP Pakorn Buranupakorn, and Dr Ken Santitham, permanent secretary of the municipality, officiated at the launch of the development project on June 4.

Students from local schools, including Montfort, Chairoj Wittaya, Regina Coeli and Chiang Mai Christian Schools had an electrifying experience on board the electric vehicle crossing the Naowarat Bridge to the municipality building.

Many areas of the riverbanks are to be upgraded, including around the foot of Nakorn Ping Bridge, at the foot of Chan Som Bridge, the areas in front of the 1st Christian Church and the sandbank at the foot of Nakorn Ping Bridge.

The mayor said, “Chiang Mai is growing fast and the development is resulting in a negative impact on the river bank. As a result, people are not able to use it to its full potential.”

Improvements will include railings to prevent children from falling into the river. The municipality will also pave the area along both sides of the river with cement blocks, build a public park, sala and picnic table sets.

“The municipality aims to make the Ping River bank a new recreation place for families and other citizens,” the mayor said.

Municipality ready to tackle city flooding

All hands to the pumps!

Nopniwat Krailerg

So that it is not caught unprepared with its Wellington boots in the cupboard, the Irrigation Office has water pumps on standby in case of flash floods on Huay Kaew Road during heavy downpours this rainy season.

Kraisin Chantarasuthee, chief of the 2nd Mae Taeng water distribution division of the 1st Irrigation Office said that it is responsible for Chiang Mai city’s Mae Taeng, Mae Rim, Muang, Hangdong, and San Patong districts.

He said that the additional pumps will help pump out flood water along Huay Kaew Road, starting from the Chiang Mai Public Library and Rincome intersections to the Chiang Mai Phucome intersection. This area is well known for being flooded for days on end every year.

In addition, he said, the Chiang Mai Municipality will provide four pumps to be set up at the two points at the canal areas of Ban Changkien, and in front of Chiangmai Phucome Hotel on Huay Kaew Road.

Each pump could redirect an average of 1,500 cubic meters an hour into the nearby irrigational canal system.

Kraisin added that the Office will make a further 20 pumps available if it receives requests for urgent assistance from the five district officers.

Mobile cabinet meeting heads north again

Let’s hope it gets here this time

Nopniwat Krailerg

The mobile Cabinet meeting to be held in Chiang Mai this month will focus on drugs and persons of evil influence, tourism, city and urban planning, and environment and preservation of nature campaigns.

Chiang Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat reported that the Cabinet has set up the mobile meeting for June 28-30.

“Issues to be discussed will be in line with the current situation, especially the development plans for natural resources and preservation of the environment,” he said.

Other topics will deal with finding solutions to local problems, in order to maintain growth in the city and help develop its economy.

Suwat said he will raise the problem of the traffic jams and congestion, as well as tourism hub hopes, transportation, and trade development.

Ugly posters to come down

But beautiful ones can stay?

Nopniwat Krailerg

Posters and billboards that are an eyesore are being taken down, in keeping with Chiang Mai’s “Clean and Green” efforts.

Following the downgrading of Chiang Mai as a tourist destination by the National Geographic magazine, some action has started.

Boonlert Buranupakorn, Chiang Mai mayor, said that the municipality was taking a new look at posters that offended the Green and Clean project used to promote the city as tourist hub. “The municipality is asking for cooperation from residents and shops in the municipal areas to change or remove posters and stickers that are old and untidy.” It will be interesting to see if all the old election hoardings will come down too.

To put up new posters or billboards in municipal areas, the owners have to get permission from the municipality. Violation of the local regulations may result in prosecution.

For more details on municipal regulations and on the Green and Clean campaign contact the Building and City Plan Control Division, Public Works Department of Chiang Mai municipality.

Landslides and flash floods alert

Seven districts at risk

Nopniwat Krailerg

The Mineral Resources Department of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has issued a public warning to be prepared for landslides that are expected to occur during this rainy season in the Upper North.

The department, in cooperation with the Northern Meteorological Center, warned residents in flood prone areas, as well as areas with sloping terrain and watershed areas near the mountains.

The department said the areas especially at risk are Mae Chaem, Chiang Dao, Mae Taeng, and Doi Saket districts in Chiang Mai province, Chiang Rai’s Mae Suay and Wieng Papao districts, and Mae Hong Son’s districts.

It said the south-westerly monsoon over the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, combined with the low pressure areas in the Upper North, could result in heavy rains that may cause landslides and flash flooding.

Prevention measures are to be stepped up. Residents in villages at risk, especially near high mountains, should be prepared for natural disasters that can claim lives and damage property.

The public is advised to follow up the department warnings. Contact the department on tel. 02- 2023918, 02 -2023926 for more information.

The Northern Meteorological Center of the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology says that it has observed scattered rain storms in the district areas of Chiang Dao and Mae Taeng with thunderstorms and strong winds.

World Environment Day marked in Chiang Mai

Stretches over 5 days

Saksit Meesubkwang and Nopniwat Krailerg

June 5 was World Environment Day, but the eco-friendly Environment Office, Region 1 based in Chiang Mai put aside five whole days to promote it.

Chiang Mai Deputy Governor Prinya Parnthong getting ready to ride a bicycle with the Sunday Bicycle Club at the Huay Kaew Botanical Gardens.

It arranged an environment exhibition, drawing competition and stage performances at the Botanical Gardens on Huay Kaew Road from June 1-5. A photographic contest with pictures of Doi Suthep was also held.

Deputy Governor Prinya Parnthong officiated at the ceremony to mark the United Nations’ appointed Environment Day, when he presented young saplings to heads of governmental offices, village headmen and students.

As part of the day’s activities, members of the Sunday Bicycle Club and volunteers to protect the environment planted trees along the Chiang Mai-Lamphun Road. The committee of Mae Ping and Environment Cooperation and Conservation also held a seminar on forest conservation.

The UN each year gives a topic around which World Environment Day activities are planned. This year it was “Wanted! Seas and Oceans - Dead or alive?” which the Environmental Quality Promotion Department translated as meaning, “Help to Protect and Conserve Thai Seas”.

Chiang Mai Deputy Governor Prinya Parnthong (standing center), with the group of people who received plants distributed by him on Environment Day.

Undercover police goal to suppress gambling on goals

The Office of Royal Thai Police has set up centers to suppress gambling for the EURO 2004 football fest.

The Office has ordered police to keep a lookout for football bookmakers during the tournament from June 12 to July 4. Police spokesman Pol Maj Gen Pongsaphas Pongcharoen said Acting Police Chief Pol Gen Sunthorn Saikwan has ordered all police bureau, both metropolitan and provincial from Regions 1-9, to set up local gambling prevention and suppression centers.

They are empowered to investigate any gambling on football results, and undercover police teams will be patrolling entertainment outlets, hotels, food shops, bars, cafes, Internet cafes and other places that provide football telecasts.

Anyone found guilty of running football gambling will be charged immediately, and the venue where the gambling takes place will be closed and may lose its operating licence, the spokesman said.

The police will also be working with commercial banks, to inspect bank accounts that are used for money laundering. The account holder faces arrest and confiscation of assets and property, as well as legal proceedings.

Mystery surrounds police investigation into death of German’s wife

Jiraphat Warasin

Gnter Flick, 43, a German electronics engineer, has asked Chiang Mai police to make greater efforts in investigating the murder of his Thai wife. Yupin Paengkaew was murdered in 2002, and her murderer has still not been found.

Flick and Yupin’s 27-year-old daughter, Napa Kamsanongsri, also met with Pol Maj Gen Kasem Rattanasunthorn, commander of the Chiang Mai Provincial Police Division, to press him for action on the investigation. His deputy, Pol Col Suthep Dechraksa, has now been assigned to follow up the case and track down the murderer. He promised he would also send police officers to protect Flick and Napa.

Gunter Flick (seated left) and Napa Kamsanongsri (seated center), a daughter of the dead woman, submit the petition to Pol Col Suthep Dechraksa (right), deputy commander of Chiang Mai Provincial Police Division.

The couple was married in June 2000 and had been living together in Germany. Yupin returned to Chiang Mai and was killed in Tambon San Mahapon, Mae Taeng district on November 11, 2002. She was struck over the head with a blunt instrument, which caused her death. Her gold necklace, gold bracelet and three gold rings were missing.

The case was initially assigned to Pol Maj Anek Chaiwong of Mae Taeng district police station as the investigating officer. He eliminated seven possible motives for the murder without apprehending the killer.

Napa Kamsanongsri said on the night of her mother’s funeral, police had approached her and said they had found a ya ba pill on her mother. This made her suspect the police were trying to manufacture evidence and make false accusations, as she asserted that her mother had never been involved with drugs.

Napa said that her mother had told her that a policeman’s wife had asked her mother to negotiate with another woman whom Yupin knew well and with whom the policeman was involved. She was asked to try to get the woman to stop their extramarital relationship. Yupin’s involvement angered the policeman, she alleged.

Napa and her relatives have been following the case but the police said they do not have enough evidence to arrest the murderer. They also claimed that before Yupin was killed, she spoke 10 times with police.

The daughter claimed a lawyer had also asked her for 100,000 baht, part of which he said he had to pay to the police. She refused.

Before submitting the petition to the Chiang Mai Provincial Police Division, she had approached the Office of the Secretary General of the Prime Minister and the Crime Suppression Division late last year, but without success.

There are certainly some answers yet to be forthcoming in this case.

International organized crime seminar held in Chiang Mai

American Embassy and ONCB get together over problems

Saksit Meesubkwang

International organized crime and how to rid the world of this scourge were the weighty subjects of a seminar held in Chiang Mai from June 2-4.

The Appeal Court, Region 5, organized the seminar which dealt with drug trafficking, trafficking in firearms, human trafficking, smuggling of migrants, terrorism, and money laundering. International experts participated in the seminar, which was held at the Sheraton Hotel.

Participants at the seminar on ‘Transnational organized crime’, held at Sheraton Hotel, Chiang Mai.

Prasobsuk Boondech, president of the Appeal Court, Region 5, presided. In his address, he said that the objectives of the seminar were to enhance knowledge and understanding on the situation and the impact of international organized crime and to develop more effective strategies to combat it.

The United Nations has realized the magnitude of the problem of international organized crime. Consequently, it approved a convention for member states to combat it.. International terrorists are also involved in crimes like trafficking in firearms, human trafficking, smuggling of migrants and money laundering.

It is necessary for justice officials, especially judges, to comprehend the form and impact of these internationally organized crimes. It was hoped that this seminar would be beneficial for the Appeals Court, Region 5 and the 16 provincial courts in the Upper North, which all have to deal with international criminals.

The seminar was financed by the Budget Bureau of the ONCB and the United States Embassy in Thailand, which also supplied the resource persons.

Other attendees included Pol Gen Chidchai Wannasatit, secretary-general of the Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB); Lt Gen Picharnmeth Muangmanee, commander of the 3rd Army Region; Sermsak Pladthura, vice-president of the Supreme Court; Wichai Kiyapat, director of the Budget Bureau of ONCB; Brian M. Pearce, resident legal adviser of Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs; and 30 chief judges from 16 northern provinces.

Human trafficking ring exposed

Samphan Changthong

Mae Sai police have tracked down a gang producing false ID cards used by human traffickers and illegal alien workers. Police arrested three suspects and confiscated equipment used to make fake documents.

Pol Maj Gen Chamnong Kaesiri, commander of the Chiang Rai Provincial Police Division, said that a police team from the Mae Sai police station, led by Pol Lt Col Shinawit Wichaithanapat, searched a house in Mae Sai.

As a result, Somboon Saimor, the ex-assistant village headman and a village health office volunteer, Teeramesawa Rongkhankaew, 26; and Yikaew (no surname given), 25, were arrested. Yikaew is a Burmese national from Kengtung town in Myanmar, who was using a fake Thai ID using the name Kandanai Saengkam.

The police confiscated more than 40 items as evidence, including rubber stamps for use on Thai official documents and Thai mountaineer’s zoning permits. The police also seized counterfeit Thai ID cards, yellow cards, Thai mountaineer’s ID cards (light blue, pink, blue), and application forms for Thai citizens and Thai mountaineers ID cards.

Investigations allege that Somboon worked as the head of the counterfeit gang, Teeramesawa as the agent finding clients, and Yikaew as the middleman who brought aliens to hide in Mae Sai district.

Each illegal migrant worker or mountaineer paid between 20,000-50,000 baht to the gang for producing the fake ID cards to allow them to reside and work in Thailand.

It was revealed that the gang had been running its operation for a long time and hid in Somboon’s house, as he knew the legal loopholes as an ex-assistant headman, to produce the counterfeit official documents.

Pol Maj Gen Chamnong Kaesiri said the police were confident of making more arrests of those involved in the network. Many human traffickers and illegal alien laborers had received help from Somboon’s gang over the past six years, so that many aliens had flocked into the country illegally.

Somboon and friends have found that the charge sheets and arrests were genuine!

Chiang Mai monk implicated in drug trade

A few beers after prayers did not help his case

Saksit Meesubkwang

A Chiang Mai monk has been implicated in a drug trafficking ring in Samut Prakan.

On June 3, Pol Gen Chidchai Wannasathit, deputy chief of the Royal Thai Police Bureau and secretary general of the Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB), said that eight alleged drug dealers arrested with a haul of 350,000 Ya Ba tablets and ingredients for manufacturing amphetamines in Samut Prakan province had links to the local monk.

Pol Gen Chidchai Wannasathit (right) questions Phra Kwan Wirat Nantawiriyachai of Wat Thep Amnuay in Fang district.

Pol Maj Gen Suwira Songmetta, commander of the Samut Prakan Provincial Police Division, in liaison with the ONCB officials arrested another drug dealer and seized 298,000 Ya Ba tablets and 15 kilograms of the drug Ice. After questioning, the alleged dealer confessed and pointed the finger at a monk in Chiang Mai.

Police officers armed with a warrant then searched the abode of 34-year-old Phra Kwan Wirat Nantawiriyachai (AKA Chatchai Muanglang), who was deputy abbot of Wat Thep Amnuay in Tambon Wiang Fang, Fang district.

They found three cans of beer. The monk gave the excuse that he sometimes drank beer “to help control his pressure”. What he did not realize was that the pressure was just beginning. He was escorted to the police station for further questioning.

It was alleged that Phra Kwan Wirat was the coordinator of a drug trafficking ring which delivers Ya Ba by parcel post and was also a member of the network with major drug trafficker Laota Saenlee at the head. Laota is currently in jail with his two sons after the Criminal Court convicted them last month.

The monk looks as if he will be re-joining the Laota clique, but this time on the inside.