Vol. III No. 26- Saturday June 26 - July 2 2004
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NEWS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Dangerous dengue hemorrhagic fever outbreak in Chiang Mai

Road accident statistics released

Chiang Mai Chamber has ambitious plans

Free Aung San Suu Kyi and restore democracy to Myanmar called for

AIDS workers choose Chiang Mai to exchange information

Northern successes listed in televised back-slapping

No more poverty by 2008 says government

Eco-friendly solar electricity saves money

Minister warns get ready for landslides

British philanthropist to rebuild children’s dormitory

Electric vehicles in trial run on school route

Zoo celebrates birthday but gives away the presents

12-story ‘eye sore’ whittled down to size

Solidarity shown for Aung San Suu Kyi

Alien workers eligible for two year work permits after 2005

Chiang Mai students get lucky with state lottery

Children being used to smuggle drugs into Thailand

Forensic science in the service of justice

Motorcycle crashes into speeding pickup truck at intersection

Army claims successes in drugs and weapons hauls

Rajabhat University students busted for allegedly selling drugs

Dangerous dengue hemorrhagic fever outbreak in Chiang Mai

Symptoms to look out for, especially in children

Nopniwat Krailerg

Public health officials have issued a warning of an outbreak of dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF).

Dengue hemorrhagic fever is a severe, often fatal, complication of dengue fever, a flu-like viral disease spread by mosquitoes.

The Chiang Mai Public Health Office has so far recorded one death from DHF: a resident of San Patong district who was reported to have died last month. San Patong district has 10 patients suffering from DHF, Chiang Dao has nine and Mae Rim seven patients. Another 61 patients in Muang district have been diagnosed. Public Health Office statistics for the period from February 3 to June 16 show that sixty percent live in municipal areas.

"Dengue hemorrhagic fever is very dangerous and in children can be fatal," the Health Office warns. "Between five and eight days after being infected by the common house mosquito, they develop high temperatures for between two days to a week. They also display symptoms of severe headaches, muscle and joint pains, pain behind the eyes, stomach cramps and vomiting."

With DHF, some children might have nosebleeds and develop rashes on their bodies. DHF patients usually have red faces and similar symptoms of fever without coughing and running noses. Some patients who are at an advanced stage of the infection may also go into shock.

While their temperature may be speedily reduced, they will be depressed, tired, and some may even have internal bleeding.

Patients with severe symptoms should be taken to hospital for urgent treatment, without which they could die within 12-24 hours. Children who have a fever above 38.5 degrees Celsius and suspected of being infected should also be rushed to hospital. In case of high temperature, parents should use wet towels to wipe their children’s bodies and get them to drink large volumes of water.

During this time, people are advised to empty out any containers of standing water, as these are the breeding grounds for the mosquito. A good quality repellant containing DEET is also advisable, as are long trousers and long sleeved shirts.


Road accident statistics released

Surprise! Most fatalities involve motorcycles

Nopniwat Krailerg

Statistics from the Ruamjai Rescue Foundation show a very high number of road accidents in the first five months of this year.

The Foundation said, based on its road accident statistics between January-May, it rendered basic aid to and transferred 1,024 injured victims to hospital, of whom 752 were male and 272 female. It also recorded 107 fatalities, of whom 85 were male and 22 female. Most of the accidents involved motorcycles, and alcohol or reckless riding were implicated.

Kuang Singh intersection was reported to be the most dangerous site, with 27 accidents taking place there. San Pa Koi ranked second with 20 accidents, San Dek 17 casualties and Nimmanhaemin intersection fourth with 12 accidents.

Autsadathorn, Nawarat and Nong Pratheep cross roads, the foot of Pa Tan Bridge, and the intersections on Chiang Mai-San Kamphaeng Road were also the scenes of many road accidents.

However, the number of accidents at Wat Jed Yod crossroad and the crossroads on the Chiang Mai-Hang Dong Road dropped as a result of the installation of the traffic lights at these intersections.

Crashes involving motorcycles and cars or three-wheel vehicles happened most frequently with 342 casualties while collisions between motorcycles were the second most frequent cause of accidents with 207 cases recorded.

With Thailand variously reported as having the sixth worst traffic accident experience in the world, can we ever hope to see the traffic laws that are already part of the statutes being enforced? Wearing suitable motorcycle helmets would cut the death rate by at least half. Unfortunately the powers that be cannot see, or are not listening.


Chiang Mai Chamber has ambitious plans

Bullet train proposed to link Chiang Mai and Bangkok

The Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce (CCC) has big plans for the city and will propose them to the government’s mobile Cabinet meeting next week.

The CCC is looking at four mega projects including an ASEAN SME’s EXPO 2006, Chiang Mai-Bangkok bullet train, Chiang Mai-Chiang Rai rail link, and Chiang Mai Planetarium.

The Chamber said it would propose its ambitious plans to the Cabinet meeting on June 28-30 in Lamphun through Chiang Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat.

The CCC will offer to organize the ASEAN SME Expo 2006 being the first SME fair of the Association. The venue will be the SME Center, which is expected to be constructed by early 2006. The proposal is to hold the exhibition six months before the World Horticultural Fair.

A rail link between Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai is envisaged, with the intention to create a new tourism train route linking Phrae, Den Chai, Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai and Bangkok. It would also support transportation of agricultural products between Thailand and China.

The Chiang Mai Planetarium is planned as an educational and scientific center to give students the opportunity to learn astronomy and natural phenomena of the earth and universe in tangibles ways.

The bullet train project to Bangkok will cater for public demand for mass transportation. It will have a top speed of up to 300 km/h. "If these projects are realised, they will directly link the capital with the North and sustain economic growth from the southern China and the Greater Mekong Sub-Region," said Narong Tananuwat, Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce secretary.

He added that the four mega-project proposals had been chosen from the total of 11 topics raised by the Committee of Trade and Investment Promotion.


Free Aung San Suu Kyi and restore democracy to Myanmar called for

“Freedom for One is Freedom for All”

Autsadaporn Kamthai

Burmese political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi’s birthday was marked by a seminar on freedom in Myanmar and to call for her release.

The seminar "Freedom for One is Freedom for All" was held on June 18, a day before her birthday, at the Women’s Study Center of Chiang Mai University.

Piphob Udom-ithiphol (left), Sunee Chairos (2nd left), the Thai human rights commissioner and some Burmese Women’s Union members at the seminar.

The seminar focused on the hardships in Myanmar endured by political prisoners and ethnic women and related to Aung San Suu Kyi’s situation. It also aimed to raise public awareness and to call for her release.

Three Burmese ex-political prisoners, Yin Htwe, Yi Yi Htun and Aye Aye Khiang, who were involved in the democratic movement during the 1990s and later imprisoned, recounted their painful experiences to the seminar. They spoke of how prisoners are severely punished and the terrible conditions inside the prisons.

Yi Yi Htun (left) and Aye Aye Khiang (right), former Burmese political prisoners speak at the panel discussion during the seminar.

Yin Htwe said that in the 1990s many male political prisoners died because of severe punishment and ill treatment. The other two Burmese speakers said female political prisoners were put together with criminals and treated in a similar manner.

Thai Human Rights commissioner Sunee Chairos, who was on the former Constitution Law drafting committee, also shared her tough experiences of life in jail after she took part in a demonstration. She faced the most bitter moments of her life twice when she was severely beaten by other prisoners who were put up by the authorities to do so, and when she had to bring up her baby in jail for nine months.

Apart from the issue of poor treatment of prisoners, the Karen Women’s Organization representative, Blooming, told the seminar about sexual violence against ethnic women in Myanmar.

The Burmese women present at the seminar asked women in Thailand for solidarity and to help women’s movements in Myanmar.

It was registered by the participants that "Myanmar is a dark spot of the world", and the international world should help its suffering people by helping to bring about democracy and Aung San Suu Kyi’s quick release.

The participants encouraged the Burmese people not to give up and continue fighting for their democracy.

The following brief overview of the Aung San Suu Kyi situation was given at the seminar. Aung San Suu Kyi and Michael Aris met when she was studying in Oxford. At the time he was a student of Tibetan civilization. They married on January 1, 1972 and had two sons, Alexander and Kim.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s husband supported her actions. She returned alone to Burma, as Myanmar was called at the time, in 1988, initially to nurse her dying mother. But she arrived just as popular demonstrations against the military broke out nationwide. The demonstrations were crushed and a new set of generals replaced the military dictator Ne Win. Aung San Suu Kyi was arrested in 1989, accused of inciting unrest, and placed under house arrest for six years.

In 1990, while she was still confined, Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NDL) won a landslide election victory that the junta refused to accept. The opposition leader was released in July 1995 but remained under strict travel restrictions. She was again put under house arrest in September 2000 when she defied the restrictions and tried to travel to the central northern city of Mandalay.

During that second stint of house arrest, her telephone was cut off, but she was regularly able to meet top NLD leaders and visiting diplomats such as United Nations special envoy Razali Ismail. She also had visits from her sons and grandson.

This was in stark contrast with the previous period of detention, when she was often in solitary confinement and for several years was not allowed to see her family.


AIDS workers choose Chiang Mai to exchange information

Forerunner to the Bangkok AIDS conference

Autsadaporn Kamthai

AIDS workers worldwide will meet in Chiang Mai next month to discuss effective techniques in responding to the pandemic.

The "AIDS Competence Knowledge Fair" will take place from July 7-9 in advance of the International AIDS Conference in Bangkok from July 11-16.

The AIDS Education Program of Chiang Mai University’s Education Faculty, in collaboration with the United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and the Salvation Army UK, has organised the event, to take place at the Lotus Pang Suan Kaew Hotel.

It will allow AIDS organizations worldwide to speak about the experience they have gained from working in their local communities, to seek effective techniques in dealing with the pandemic, and agree on topics to be further discussed at the Bangkok conference.

Some 175 participants are expected to attend, including representatives from UNAIDS, UNITAR, the World Bank, the French AIDS ambassador and the Salvation Army.

Fifteen experts are expected to deliver lectures, including Geoff Parcell and April Foster from the African Facilitation Coordinating Network, Dr Jean-Louis Lamboray from UNAIDS and UNITAR, Dr Ian Campbell and Alison Radar from the Salvation Army UK.


Northern successes listed in televised back-slapping

Everything in the north is coming up rosy?

Saksit Meesubkwang

The upper northern provinces have been giving feedback on their successes in the so-called Strategies of Integrated Administration.

The governors reported back to Minister of the Interior Pracha Maleenont during a conference at Chiang Mai City Hall in a program televised live on Channel 11.

Suwat Tantipat, Chiang Mai governor, chaired the conference which was also attended by 40 heads of associated government offices. In accordance with the attempt to promote the Upper North as pivotal in linking up with the Greater Mekong Sub- Region and Southern Asia, each province had set strategies to coordinate with its targeted countries.

The Mae Hong Son representative reported that it targeted building connections with Mandalay and Tuanggy in Myanmar, while Lampang said that it had expanded its ceramics market in the United Arab Emirates. The UAE bought ceramic products worth 16.5 million baht from Lampang, and it is expected that it will continue importing ceramics to the value of at least 150 million baht.

Chiang Rai province exhibited its products to Chinese people at the Kunming Fair. It also discussed collaboration in tourism and trade with Kunming, Lijiang, Tali, and Jing Hong in Yunnan province, southern China. China has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding to buy 200,000 tons of rice from Chiang Rai.

Chiang Mai reported that it strengthened relations with Shanghai in China and gained cooperation on Chinese acupuncture and the establishment of Chinese and Thai traditional doctors in Chiang Mai. It also promoted the sale of longans in China and Shanghai has initially ordered 4,400 tons of the fruit.

In line with the campaign to promote border trade, it was reported that in the last six months, products worth 4,216 million baht have been sold at border markets. This is about 56 percent of the target set.

The most trade was done at Chiang Rai’s border market, with sales worth 3,850 million baht. Agricultural products were ranked the most popular products sold, followed by consumer products and fuel.


No more poverty by 2008 says government

Much rhetoric but not much concrete proposals

Jiraphat Warasin

A seminar was held recently in Chiang Mai to address social and poverty issues in the community, with Chiang Mai Deputy Governor Thongchai Wongrianthong presiding over the opening.

180 people from the province’s districts attended the seminar at the Lotus Pang Suan Kaew Hotel, organized by the Chiang Mai Community Development Office. This was in response to government policy to find integrated solutions to community issues.

After the seminar, Udom Maneekud, chief of the Chiang Mai Provincial Community Development Office, said poverty alleviation was a national problem and needed to be tackled urgently.

"We would like to get rid of poverty by 2008 by increasing people’s income, decreasing expenditure and creating more opportunities for people to boost the Thai economy to make it more competitive on the world market."

The Ministry of Interior has assigned the Community Development Department to register the number of poor people and check on the accuracy of its figures, data and information.


Eco-friendly solar electricity saves money

3 mio baht saving, but will the consumer see it?

Damnoen Tuamjork

A solar power plant in Mae Hong Son has been operating since May 20 to save on electricity generated by the province’s hydro-electric and diesel power stations. The plant is situated in Tambon Pha Bong in Mae Hong Son’s Muang district.

"It is more beneficial to use solar cells than the diesel power plant because energy produced in this way does not pollute and is sustainable," said Jerasak Tongsuk, the manager of Mae Hong Son Diesel Plant. It also does not release carbon dioxide into the environment, unlike diesel power plants.

The cost of electricity generated by solar cells is 10 baht a unit, which is 0.5 baht cheaper than from diesel power plants.

Mae Hong Son province’s hydro-electric power plant produces the cheapest electricity - up to five times cheaper than its diesel power plant. However, the province has a limited quantity of water, so the hydro-electric power plant cannot operate during the hot season when the water resource dry up.

The solar cell plant will increase the capacity of electricity in Mae Hong Son by 500 kilowatts. Because it generates power during the day, the other two forms of electricity generation need kick in only at night, according to Jerasak. Consequently, solar energy will save an estimated 215,385 liters of diesel fuel, almost 3 million baht a year.


Minister warns get ready for landslides

Even better, help prevent them

Nopniwat Krailerg

Some 155 villages in Mae Hong Son province, 61 villages in Tak, and 39 in Chiang Mai are at high risk of landslides, according to a recent survey conducted by the Department of Mineral Resources.

According to the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, the threat of landslides persists in the country, and they are expected to be severe in the high risk areas.

The minister of natural resources and environment, Suwit Khunkitti (centre) at the seminar on landslides held in Chiang Mai.

Minister Suwit Khunkitti said landslides were prevalent in the rainy seasons. One measure to help tackle the problem was for people to cooperate in taking care of natural resources and their environment.

"Now is the time for good management in terms of sustainable utilization to help preserve natural resources. Everybody must cooperate to address the landslide problem which is created by people indulging in slash and burn cultivation, forest invasion and deforestation. This leads to disaster because there are no tree roots to hold soil. As a result the trees and the soil are swept away, when we have heavy rains, causing landslides," he said.

The minister was speaking at a seminar on "Networking to Watch for Landslide Disasters" held in Chiang Mai. He was accompanied by Dr Plodprasob Surassawadi, permanent secretary for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, and Somsak Photisat, director general of the Mineral Resources Department.

He said that flash floods and landslides resulted in loss of lives and extensive damage to property. For that reason, the seminar was being held to forewarn and alert people of the potential natural disasters.

Suwit said this year there had already been landslides in many provinces and forest mountain areas because of extensive deforestation. He added that a group of Tor Sor Mor volunteers will soon be set up to save the natural resources and environment of villages, starting in Sop Moei district, Mae Hong Son.

"These volunteers will be ready to confront the natural disasters, and help with reforestation and forest preservation. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment will allocate 3,000 baht per rai to the villages to help protect the forests," he added.


British philanthropist to rebuild children’s dormitory

Chiangmai Mail article results in restoration

Michael Vogt

Steve Graham, managing director of E.S.C. Thailand contacted Chiangmai Mail having read last week’s article on the newly built dormitory in Baan Long Phe being washed away by flash floods (CMM Vol. III No. 25, page 7). He immediately decided to step forward, and informed us that "No matter what it costs, we will take care of it and rebuild the dormitory."

Steve Graham, managing director of European Safety Concepts Thailand.

Chiangmai Mail contacted Annelie Hendriks, the representative of FERC (the organization taking care of the dormitory), who was initially incredulous but was later reassured following her conversation with Steve. Later this week, Steve will meet with Annelie to discuss and arrange scheduling, and most probably undertake a site inspection to obtain first hand information about the damage and the impact the floods have had on the students’ lives.

Steve Graham said his motivation was just that after having lived in Thailand for a number of years, he feels that it is his obligation to give something back to the community, and that he is delighted that some of less privileged in the community will benefit from his success in business. Chiangmai Mail will keep the readers informed on the progress with the dormitory.


Electric vehicles in trial run on school route

Autsadaporn Kamthai

Two 14 seater electric vehicles from the Electric Vehicle (Thailand) Company are on a free trial of service for students at schools located on Charoenprathet Road, Chiang Mai.

They have been in use since June 11 as part of Chiang Mai Municipality’s attempts to solve the city’s traffic crisis and pollution and run at a speed of 35 km/h.

Two 14 seater electric vehicles from the Electric Vehicle (Thailand) Company are on a free trial at schools located on Charoenprathet Road, Chiang Mai.

If their abilities meet the municipality’s satisfaction, it may purchase them to be used as part of city’s transportation. However, the municipality at the moment is still seeking budget approval from central government to support its mass transportation system and electric vehicle service.

When the three month trial period ends, the six minibuses that have been used to transfer municipal officials from the Carrefour outlet to the municipality’s building (part of its project to reduce pollution and solve the lack of parking at its office) might be used to continue serving the students.

"Apart from the Charoenprathet Road route, the electric vehicles might be deployed on Kaew Navarat Road on which two prominent schools, Dara Academy School and Prince’s Royal College, are situated," said the head of the Municipal Commerce Control Division, Panyapol Mongkolcharoen.

The electric vehicle’s route starts next to the Park Hotel, moves to Chang Klan Road, Charoenprathet, Soi 13, and passes the Montfort College, Sacred Heart and Regina Coeli and Chairoj Schools. After dropping off students at their schools, the vehicles continue to Sri Donchai Road, Chang Klan Road, passing the Chang Klan Plaza and the Empress Hotel before heading back to the Park Hotel.


Zoo celebrates birthday but gives away the presents

View the pandas in pairs with free tickets

Nopniwat Krailerg

The Chiang Mai Zoo celebrates its 27th anniversary this month. To mark the occasion, the zoo is holding a promotional campaign called ‘Giving Back Profit By Giving Presents’ by offering free tickets for visitors who arrive in pairs to view the pandas, and the animal shows for the rest of June are free, said Rodsukon Chuikamwong, its public relations officer.

The campaign is part of the zoo’s marketing strategy during the rainy and low season and the back to school period.

On June 19-20, it held stage performances and an exhibition of the development of Chiang Mai Zoo throughout its 27 Year history to celebrate its birthday.


12-story ‘eye sore’ whittled down to size

30 mio baht saving

Nopniwat Krailerg

Academics have protested against the proposed construction of the new 12 story Chiang Mai Municipality building, saying it will spoil the view along the Ping River banks.

The academics from Chiang Mai University, led by Dr Tanes Charoenmuang, also called the high-rise building unnecessary.

Chiang Mai Mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn has agreed to a redesign of the building, saying it would now have only seven stories. The municipality building will be constructed on the two rai area of the former residence of the municipality’s permanent secretary and was to have been built at a cost of 100 million baht. Reducing the building by five stories could save the government over 30 million baht.

The building has an underground parking space for about 200 cars. The electricity used in the building will be generated by solar cell panels. Windows and doors have been designed to maximize the light from outside to illuminate the interior and help save electricity costs.

Construction is expected to start in August and take 18 months to complete. The building will be built in Lanna style architecture and use Lanna decor.


Solidarity shown for Aung San Suu Kyi

Public rally draws crowds of supporters

Saksit Meesubkwang

The Friends of Burma Coalition organised a rally at Thapae Gate grounds in Chiang Mai to mark political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi’s 59th birthday.

Hundreds of representatives from foundations, Burmese people and students, Chiang Mai University undergraduates, Burmese non-governmental organization workers and international human rights activists gathered to celebrate the occasion on Saturday, June 19.

Free Aung San Suu Kyi activists celebrate her birthday with a grand cake.

The gathering, with the theme "Freedom for One and Freedom for All", was organised by Sunee Chaiyarot of the National Human Rights Commission, journalist A. Suttisakorn, the Karen Women’s Organization and former political prisoners.

Three speakers spoke on the unfairness of the dictatorship of the Burmese Junta government.

About 200 artists, poets and singers from bands Su Sa Nae and Chi Suwichan performed in Thai, Burmese and English languages, calling for her release from detention.

T-shirts in red and black declaring "Burma, Asean’s shame" were on sale. Asean countries have been urged for some time to demand the establishment of freedom and democracy in Myanmar.

Speakers attacked the junta that refused to recognise the landslide victory of Aung San Suu Kyi’s party in her country’s last democratic elections, and attacked the current dictatorship in Myanmar.

The participants also lit candles in a symbolic gesture for "the restoration of light and peace" in Myanmar soon.


Alien workers eligible for two year work permits after 2005

But only Cambodians, Burmese and Laos

Nopniwat Krailerg

Migrant workers from Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia will be issued two year work permits for employment in Thailand after 2005. The Thai government is planning to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with those countries to this effect.

"The ministries of Labor, Foreign Affairs and the Interior will sign the MoU with its three neighbours to allow their citizens to become legal migrant workers," said Orachorn Rattanamanee, head of the Chiang Mai Employment Services Office.

According to the MoU, the alien workers will have to have passports to prove their citizenship, which will guarantee their right to work in Thailand for two years. After it expires, the work permit can be renewed for another two years.

In the meantime, alien workers are urged to register between July 1-31 this year to get a one year permit to work in the kingdom. This registration will be beneficial for them because, after the MoU is signed, they will already have proven their citizenship and be issued with passports.

Statistics indicate that 29,000 alien workers were registered in 1996, but the figure last year dropped to 17,105. The missing laborers from the 2003 registration list either returned to their countries of origin, or moved to Bangkok or other cities without keeping their registration up to date.

The government has set up a working group with the deputy chief of staff of the Royal Thai Army, Lt Gen Prathompong Kesornsuk, as chairperson, to be responsible for the suppression of illegal migration along the border, in response to rising concerns about the increase in illegal migration as a result of the latest registration and MoU moves.

The working group will act in cooperation with the army, police, and relevant organizations falling under the Ministry of Labor to monitor the affected areas.

Checks conducted on many businesses last month uncovered hundreds of illegal alien laborers. This showed that the incidence of illegal migrant workers was gradually increasing, according to Orachorn.

Chiang Mai Deputy Governor Kwanchai Wongnitikorn has also given the assurance that Thai soldiers and police will remain vigilant in border villages, and that the border communities are important defenders against illegal migration of alien workers.

The Pha Muang Task Force is responsible for the suppression of illegal migration along the Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai borders, while the Surasri Military Force in Mae Hong Son and Tak and the border patrol police are responsible for Phayao, Nan and Uttaradit provinces.


Chiang Mai students get lucky with state lottery

10 mio baht divided up between them

Autsadaporn Kamthai

Over 10 million baht generated from government lottery ticket sales has been used for scholarships for 1,180 disadvantage students in Chiang Mai.

The Thai government shares its income from the last 3 digit and 2 digit number lottery sales for poor Thai students.

In Chiang Mai, the scholarship project is supervised by the provincial Social and Welfare Development Office, which falls under the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security.

The project targets primarily orphans or students whose parents have abandoned them or are in prison. In addition, students whose families earn less than 50,000 baht a year, who are well-behaved, not involved in drugs and have not received bursaries from other sources are welcome to apply for the government scholarships as well.

Scholarships totalling 10.04 million baht have been awarded to the Chiang Mai students. This was divided into 6,000 baht scholarships for 640 primary and kindergarten students; 10,000 baht scholarships for 460 secondary and vocational students; and 20,000 baht scholarships for 80 higher level vocational students and university students.

According to official government statistics from the Office of Provincial Social and Welfare Development, there are approximately 120,000 households that earn less than 20,000 baht a year. That means there should be at least the same number of students from families earning less than 50,000 baht a year in Chiang Mai and are eligible to apply for these scholarships.


Children being used to smuggle drugs into Thailand

44 adult suspects on wanted list

A training and refresher course in drug suppression was held for police inspectors and deputy police inspectors of the Chiang Rai Provincial Police recently.

Experts gave advice on how to track down drug dealers and their networks, which have recently changed their strategies to deceive law enforcement officers. It was noted that drug dealers have adapted their operations by using children and hill tribes people to smuggle drugs into Thailand from neighboring countries for distribution.

Provincial authorities have also arranged the 10th "Doing Good Things for the Country" project at the 1st Territorial Security Volunteers Company in Chiang Rai.

Since the government re-launched its "War on Drugs" campaign on February 1, the distribution of drugs has been suppressed in many, but not all, areas.

The National Drug Combating Operation Center instructed relevant organizations to monitor more closely those suspected of being involved in drug dealing. The suppression operations in Chiang Rai have drawn up a list of 44 suspected drug traffickers, of whom three are from Muang district, three from Chiang Saen, nine from Wiang Chai and 29 from Wiang Kaen district.


Forensic science in the service of justice

Fast neutrons to trap fast criminals

Saksit Meesubkwang

The Office of Forensic Police displayed equipment used in providing evidence in criminal cases at the newly opened Forensic Police Center.

Chiang Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat (2nd right, front row) and Forensic Police commander Pol Lt Gen Thavornsak Thepchatree (right, front row) presided.

The center also has the cooperation of the Fast Neutron Facility research center of the Physics Department at Chiang Mai University’s (CMU) Institute for Science and Technology Research and Development.

Prof Pongsak Ungkasith, vice president of CMU, and a physics specialist Assist Dr Somporn Singkharat and pharmacy specialist Assist Dr Suraphol Thanakarnkitkul were in attendance. They gave briefings of forensic related work and presented some equipment to support the Forensic Police.

Forensic police display equipment and tools at the Chiang Mai Forensic Police Center.

Forensic Police commander Pol Lt Gen Thavornsak Thepchatree said Chiang Mai is a large province that has many criminal cases, and serves as the nerve center for police work in the North.

Cooperation would further focus on the drug profile project, crime scene re-enactment, fast neutron facilities, supporting scientific work and forensic science experts.

"This cooperation will also expand to other universities in the region. In the past, our forensic work has experienced good cooperation from Chulalongkorn and Mahidol universities in Bangkok," said Pol Lt Gen Thavornsak.

Chief Justice Preecha added, "It is a welcome sign that Chiang Mai University has provided good cooperation in terms of equipment and academics to the center.

The Office of Royal Thai Police organized the opening ceremony on June 15, in Chiang Mai’s Zone 7 of the Forensic Police. Governor Suwat Tantipat and Forensic Police commander Pol Lt Gen Thavornsak Thepchatree presided.


Motorcycle crashes into speeding pickup truck at intersection

Two fatalities, one seriously injured

Nopniwat Krailerg

A 15-year-old boy and a young woman on a motorcycle were killed instantly when they crashed into a pickup truck, while the third person on the motorcycle was seriously injured.

Staff at the intensive care unit at Kasemraj Hospital attend to the seriously injured young man.

The motorcycle with three-up went through a red traffic light at the Kuang Sing intersection at about 1 a.m. on June 17. They were hit by the pickup truck which was reported as travelling across the intersection at high speed.

Changpuak police station was informed, and officers rushed to the scene together with a rescue team from the Ruamjai Foundation. They found the bodies and the badly damaged motorcycle about 20 meters from the intersection.

Changpuak police move the pickup truck out of the way after the accident with the motorcycle.

The 15-year-old was identified as Lue Woona, from Mae Rim district. His body was thrown five meters away from the unidentified young woman.

The third youth, identified only as Aiekong, was rushed to the intensive care unit of Krasemraj Hospital in a critical condition.

The pickup truck driver, identified as Archeng, told police he had gone through the green light at the intersection when the motorcycle crashed into his vehicle; however, he has been charged with negligent driving, leading to death and injury.


Army claims successes in drugs and weapons hauls

Self praise a questionable recommendation

Saksit Meesubkwang

The Royal Thai Army’s commander-in-chief, Gen Chaiyasith Shinawatra chaired a press conference to report on weapons and drugs seized in the northern border province of Mae Hong Son province.

The meeting was held on June 21 at Wing 41 conference room, and the top brass was accompanied by Maj Gen Thawatchai Wattana, the commander of Naresuan Force, and Pol Col Thanayin Thepraksa, the superintendent of Pai police station, as well as Third Army Region commander Lt Gen Picharnmeth Muangmanee and Mae Hong Son governor Suphot Laowansiri.

Gen Chaiyasith Shinawatra chairs the press conference.

Maj Gen Thawatchai Wattana said that 11,000 ya ba pills, 1.3 kg of heroin and one .38 pistol, two cartridges, 43 rounds of ammunition, another 89 rounds for 9 mm pistols and 824,000 baht in cash were seized in Pai district, Mae Hong Son on June 19-20.

Hauls seized from Mae Hong Son’s Pai district.

Gen Chaiyasith praised the work of the 3rd Army region, as well as the "good cooperation" from Mae Hong Son provincial authorities, the drug combat center and local residents.

"This is a good sign in the suppression work in the border areas," he said.


Rajabhat University students busted for allegedly selling drugs

Police have arrested two Rajabhat University students and a teenager suspected of dealing in drugs. They allegedly are connected to the drug ring run by the influential person Lao Ta.

Police initially arrested 22-year-old Sam Saenju, a student who works part-time as an assistant chef in a city restaurant, on possession of nine ya ba pills on June 17. Sam confessed that he and some friends received the drugs from the Lao Ta drug ring for sale in the city.

After further investigation, the police charged Sam’s alleged accomplices, a 17 year old who cannot be named as he is a minor, and 22 year old Sunee Chaimai, also a university student. They said they planned to sell drugs they got from a person called Rattanapol Rattanaworachote.

The police searched Rattanapol’s room and found packs of drugs, which were confiscated, and details of three bank deposit accounts. Rattanapol, who belongs to the Lisu hill tribe, confessed that he had received the drug from the Lao Ta network.



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