A most happy birthday to HRH Princess Chulabhorn
Born on July 4, 1957, Her Royal Highness
Princess Chulabhorn is the youngest child of Their Majesties King Bhumibol
Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit of Thailand.
HRH Princess Chulabhorn has two daughters, Their Royal
Highnesses Princess Siribhachudhabhorn and Princess Adityadornkitikhun.
Her Royal Highness graduated from the Faculty of Science
and Arts at Kasetsart University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in
Organic Chemistry, First Class Honors, in 1979. Her Royal Highness completed
her doctorate work in organic chemistry in 1985, and received her Doctor of
Philosophy Degree from Mahidol University in July of the same year, and has
a supreme record of academic achievement.
She undertook postdoctoral studies in Germany in 1987 and
has since been a visiting professor at universities in Japan, Germany, and
the United States of America. She holds Honorary Doctorate degrees from no
fewer than nine universities around the world. In 1986, she was appointed as
an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry in London and was
awarded the Einstein Gold Medal of UNESCO.
Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn is chairperson of
the Working Group on the Chemistry of Natural Products collaborative program
between the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science and the National
Research Council of Thailand.
HRH Princess Chulabhorn has received international
recognition for her scientific accomplishments, in her appointment to
various United Nations posts, namely special advisor to the United Nations
Environment Program and member of the Special High-Level Council for the
International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction of the United Nations.
As a result of her experience as a scientist Princess
Chulabhorn became aware of the difficulties Thai researchers have in
obtaining the necessary funding for their research. In 1987, she established
the Chulabhorn Research Institute to provide a new fundraising agency. This
institute now acts as a focal point for the exchange of intellectual and
other resources in Thailand for the purpose of solving urgent problems
confronting the country in areas of health, environment, and agriculture.
As president of the Chulabhorn Research Institute, the
Princess currently directs five special research projects; the AIDS program,
a program on restoration and integrated development of the flood-affected
areas in Southern Thailand, seawater irrigation for cultivation of economic
marine species and preservation of mangrove, the rabies eradication program
and a special project for accelerated immunization in five southern
provinces in Thailand. Through these programs the Princess plays an
auspicious role in improving the environment and living standard of the
villagers in a number of Thai provinces.
High speed chase as drunk tries to outrun cops
Even VW’s have their limitations
In a high-speed chase reminiscent of an American movie,
police chased a drunken driver who had crashed into two cars then tried to
shake off his uniformed pursuers.
At 1.30 a.m. on June 27, police were informed that the
obviously inebriated driver of a Volkswagen had crashed into two cars parked
in front of a food outlet near Wat Saen Fang on Chang Moi Tad Mai Road in
Chiang Mai. He made his escape along Ratchawong Road heading towards Muang
driver Thanakitch Pitchawong may have tried to convince police he was
serfectly pober, but his crunched VW, and the damage he left in his wake,
The police center contacted patrol cars to set up a road
block to stop the driver who was by this stage spotted driving across the
Wat Papaeng intersection.
The patrol police tried to intercept the Volkswagen, but
the driver accelerated through the red light traffic at the intersection.
While trying to shake off the police car at the Assadathorn intersection,
the driver veered across a footpath and hit a fence at a second hand car
yard, where it was finally brought to a halt.
The police arrested the driver, identified as 35 year old
Pol Lt Col Tharayos Plaekthongdee, the police inspector
of Changpuak police station, ascertained that Thanakitch had dinner and
drinks earlier that evening at the Riverside Restaurant before getting into
his car to drive home.
He was charged with reckless driving, causing damage to
the other cars and private property and with being drunk in charge of a
Cabinet meeting discusses our air and transportation
Chiang Mai’s air pollution worse than Bangkok
Pollution in Chiang Mai has worsened, to now have
pollution levels five times that of Bangkok.
This situation was highlighted at the mobile Cabinet
meeting which took place in Lamphun on June 29. Prime Minister Thaksin
Shinawatra expressed great concern at the air pollution problem in Chiang
Mai city, after the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB)
tabled a report on dust and air pollution in this northern capital.
Federation of Northern Farmers and People’s Organization carried a coffin
representing the murdered environmental activist Chaoroen.
Chiang Mai city has the highest measured dust density in
the country at 291 microns per cubic meter, according to the report. By
comparison, in Bangkok the level is 50 microns per cubic meter.
Outdoor burning of agricultural products is blamed on the
critical air quality. Chiang Mai atmosphere contains this high level due to
the bowl shaped topography of the region.
PM Thaksin said cooperation from the public is needed to
solve the problem. He added that any construction development project
planned for the city must first engage in an environmental impact
assessment, though this is obviously closing the stable door after the horse
After the Cabinet meeting, Dr Chakrapob Penkae, the
spokesman of the Office of the Prime Minister, and his deputy Torpong
Chaiyasarn, gave a press briefing. He said Cabinet had discussed the
possible development of a mass transportation system linking the three
northern provinces of Chiang Mai, Lamphun and Chiang Rai. It has asked the
NESDB to urgently study existing proposals for this development plan as well
as look at other options.
Previously, Chiang Mai conducted a feasibility study with
the Chiang Mai Provincial Administration Organization (PAO) to develop the
city’s mass transportation system at a cost of over 6 billion baht. The
city hoped it would help solve traffic congestion and promote tourism and
trade links in the Upper North.
The budget has been approved in principle by the three
provinces. Chiang Mai would contribute 1.8 billion baht, Lamphun 1.2 billion
baht, and Chiang Rai 2.1 billion baht.
The mobile cabinet meeting did not pass without comment
from the people, with various groups showing PM Thaksin that the country has
many grievances they wish to air.
The Karaoke operators asked for flexibility in the
copyright of music and the always vocal Federation of Northern Farmers and
People’s Organization demonstrated against the inactivity in bringing the
influential people behind the murder of environmental activist Chaoroen
Wat-aksorn to justice. With the local groups often feeling that they have to
fight for ‘justice’, they were carrying a coffin to represent the martyr
who had protested against the influential people at Bornok power plant in
Prachuab Khirikhan province.
A second coffin was also paraded to draw attention to the
residents in the Mae Moh district at risk from environmental pollution from
the Mae Moh lignite-fired power plant and still awaiting relocation.
This group was also calling for financial assistance for
the farmers to allow them to continue with sustainable farming locally.
The last group to air their views were workers from the
electricity and water supply agencies in the north, continuing in their
fight against the proposed privatization of their industries.
Chiang Mai people sing the anti-drug tune
And pick up money too
Photos by Saksit Meesubkwang
10,000 baht in prizes went to the winners of a singing
contest to increase public awareness of the fight against drugs.
Chiang Mai Municipality held a range of activities at
Thapae Gate grounds to mark World Anti-Drugs Day. One of the events was the
choral contest, under the overall theme "To be Number One", with
cash prizes put up by the municipality.
appreciative audience listening in.
The winners were an ensemble from the Kawila district
area. They received 5,000 baht and a shield of honor. First runner-up was
the team from Srivichai district, while the second runner-up was the team
from Nakhonping district.
The activities were aimed to encourage people in the four
municipal districts of Nakhonping, Kawila, Srivichai and Mengrai to unite in
fighting the drug problem and as a response to the "People Power to get
rid of Drugs" campaign.
New PAO president says he is ready to hear residents’ problems
Will increase lamyai prices and decrease flooding - he’ll be busy
Thawatwong na Chiangmai has been officially announced as
the new president of the Chiang Mai Provincial Administration Organization
The election commission made the announcement on June 29
after months of doubts about the transparency of the election that took place
on March 14.
The commission led by its chairman Kitti Prommarat
congratulated Thawatwong in front of 500 provincial council members, kamnan
and village headmen and the public.
(center) among the well-wishers.
Kitti announced that the Thailand election commission
president Pol Maj Gen Wassana Permlarbalso recognized the new president
Thawatwong as having won unanimously with a landslide victory.
Thawatwong said he felt happy after the last few months of
reviews to finally receive official recognition. At the beginning, he said,
he was not happy when the opposition claimed the election was not transparent
and submitted letters of complaint to the commission calling for a recount of
the ballot papers.
"I will do my best in the changing world, and as I am
trusted by the Chiang Mai people, anyone with any problems should contact me
directly," he said, adding that he would help tackle the problem of low
lamyai prices. He would also ensure flooding prevention and relief operation
measures be stepped up.
He announced his three vice-presidents who will be
officially appointed on July 7. They are Praphan Buranapakorn, Udom
Witthayasakdanont and Wallop Saetieo.
Upper Northern provinces want to be more competitive regional centers
Plenty of desires, but where are the plans?
Nopniwat Krailerg and
Lanna groups from eight provinces in the Upper North have
asked their governors to pass on development strategy proposals to the
Ministry of the Interior.
Chiang Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat, on behalf of the
groups from Chiang Mai, Lamphun, Lampang, Mae Hong Son, Phayao, Phrae and
Nan provinces, said the plans were submitted via video conferencing to the
Minister of the Interior, Bhokin Pholakul in Bangkok.
The main proposals include an "aggressive
strategy" aimed at creating a new economic center that would be linked
with countries located along the Mekong River in the Greater Mekong
Sub-Region and South Asia. This region would be promoted as the gateway for
tourism and trade.
Other plans concerned a "value-added economy",
tourism, handicrafts, and agriculture as well as a "sustainable
development strategy" that could also support the culture, environment
and natural resources of the Lanna region.
These proposals also suggest the establishment of
organizations for a "dynamic and integrated drive" for the eight
provinces. This would lead to them enjoying more security and stability.
In this way, human resources could be developed to make
the region able to compete with other countries for the world market in the
These are all very noble concepts, but there is still a
lack of publicized proposals that we can get behind. Rhetoric and endless
meetings do not accomplish much per se. Concrete plans do.
Workshop on Communicating for Advocacy
To provide a forum for smaller groups
From July 5-7 there will be a workshop based on community
work, to be held at the Holiday Garden Hotel and Resort in Huay Kaew Road.
The Communicating for Advocacy project began in 2002 and is managed by
Healthlink UK and key partners Health Action Information Network (HAIN,
Philippines), Cambodia Health Education Media Services (CHEMS) and Social
Assistance and Rehabilitation of the Physically Vulnerable (SARPV,
The goal of the project is to develop the capacity of
community groups so that they are better able to influence policy and
practice in their regions and countries. In particular, the project aims to
develop capacity for information exchange and skills transfer by health and
At present, poor and marginalized groups in Asia have
little voice, and there is often little recognition of rights. This project
aims to provide opportunities for people to express, analyze, coordinate and
influence decisions on the policies that affect their lives. The diverse
experience and knowledge of many community groups and individuals is often
lost with little or no exchange of ideas and learning from good practice -
or even bad! Central to this is the belief that people have the right to
achieve an adequate standard of living, health and well being, and the right
of access to information.
The aim of the workshop is to exchange experiences in
this field of work between organizations, which work with community groups,
and to develop needed skills towards "Communicating for Advocacy".
More information can be obtained from Luc Masschelein,
Director FDC Thailand or by email from lucmarijkechiangmai @hotmail.com
Hot bids for cool numbers raise millions
Was there 1 4 U?
The "coolest" car number plate in Chiang Mai
brought a whopping 1.8 million baht at auction last week.
Thanasorn Rattanafuwong, 45, the owner of O Court
Apartments, made the highest bid at the auction for the number car plate
"Kor Yor 9999". The Oriental Hotel proffered the winning bid of
1.5 million baht for "Kor Yor 8888" which will be attached to its
VIP guest limousine.
Other highly-desired number plates also fetched
impressive amounts. "Kor Yor 1111" was auctioned for 1.2 million
baht, "Kor Yor 2222" for 820,000 baht, "Kor Yor 3333"
for 610,000 baht, "Kor Yor 4444" for 560,000 baht, "Kor Yor
5555" for 730,000 baht, "Kor Yor 6666" for 300,000 baht and
"Kor Yor 7777" for 605,000 baht.
Champasut (left), director-general of the Land Transportation Department,
and Autsathai Rattanadilok Na Phuket present the "coolest plate"
to Thanasorn Rattanafuwong (center).
Thanasorn said she had been invited to the auction by the
Chiang Mai Provincial Transportation Office. "I prepared for the
auction for over a month and brought 2 million baht with me to buy the
Rattanafuwong celebrates her winning bid for the ‘coolest’ number plate,
"Kor Yor 9999".
Piyapunt Champasut, director-general of the Land
Transportation Department, told Chiangmai Mail that he was satisfied
with the auction price for the "Kor Yor 9999" number plate,
although it was lower than that that paid in Rayong province for a similar
eye-catching number. Chiang Mai residents will have another chance to bid
for "cool" numbers when the cycle of initials on number plates
begins again in about 18 months’ time.
Autsathai Rattanadilok Na Phuket said that the number of
people who attended the auction surpassed his expectations and the income
generated would be given to the Road Safety Fund. The department also raised
1.647 million baht in registration fees from 1,180 people who signed up for
the auction at the Chiang Mai Provincial Transportation Office.
Bio-diesel for municipal buses
French fry fuel to beat pollution problems
Nopniwat Krailerg and staff
Construction on a distillation factory for bio-diesel
fuel, to be used in buses and garbage trucks, is to begin this month, while
mobile pollution monitors will be stationed at various points in the city
Chiang Mai Municipality plans to produce the bio-diesel
fuel by recycling used oil it will buy from major fast food franchises and
the vendors who sell fried chicken, pork and Chinese croissants in municipal
areas. It expects to be able to buy 2,000 liters of used oil each day.
Mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn said that due to the
deteriorating air quality in the city, the municipality has cooperated with
Chiang Mai University’s Energy Management and Conservation Center (EMAC),
led by its director Assoc Prof Prasert Rergkriangkrai, in taking up the
"It will initially be used to run 26 municipality
buses and the garbage trucks as a pilot project from October. EMAC will
design a fuel-distillation factory which is expected to be located at Ban
Den. The factory will not emit any pollution. Its construction will start
this month and take about four months to complete," the mayor said.
He admitted that even though bio-diesel fuel is two baht
more expensive than ordinary diesel, residents will have a better standard
of life as bio-diesel generates less sulphur and carbon monoxide and helps
keep the environment clean.
"The municipality also plans to install pollution
monitors at five spots where many vehicles pass - Hua Lin corner, Ku Hueng
corner, Thapae intersection, in front of Monfort College (primary level) and
on Charoenprathet Road," Boonlert said.
The comparison between the acceptable and actual
pollution levels will be shown on the monitor. If the actual level is higher
than the acceptable level, a red sign will be displayed. Yellow will
indicate dangerous levels, while green will mean safe levels. This will
allow residents to be aware of the daily pollution situation.
The municipality is awaiting Cabinet approval and
financing of 40 million baht for the pollution monitors. Boonlert said he
expects the monitors to be installed early next year.
The bio-diesel concept is not new, with Rudolph Diesel’s
first engine running on peanut oil, the original bio-diesel. Diesel engines
do not need to be modified to run it either and bio-diesel can also be made
from any fat or vegetable oil - even used cooking oils as proposed for
Chiang Mai, though the usual source overseas is from soybeans. Environmental
benefits are reported as impressive, with 100 percent bio-diesel eliminating
sulfur emissions and cutting particulate matter and some other pollutants by
about 50 percent.
However, there are also downsides, with the low sulfur
content adding to the wear factors in diesel engines, though this can be
overcome by the use of special oils and additives but at more expense.
Bio-diesel also increases emissions of one smog-producing pollutant,
nitrogen oxide, or NOx. Although technical solutions can partially overcome
this problem, such as adjusting engine timing, environmentalists are yet to
fully embrace bio-diesel.
Bio-diesel has also not done as well in the government
fuel sources, as was hoped. The US government’s 1992 Energy Policy Act was
amended in 1998 to give credit for bio-diesel use and encouraged the federal
and state governments to run their vehicles on alternative fuels. Sales of
bio-diesel multiplied 30 fold since 1999 to 15 million gallons (56 million
litres), but the federal government requires only that the fleets run on a
mix of 20 percent bio-diesel, 80 percent petroleum diesel; the agencies
seldom buy more than the 20 percent mix.
Eco-friendly petrol station opens in city
PM mans the pumps
Bio-Diesel B2 was launched as a pilot project in Chiang
Mai on June 28, by Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, accompanied by Dr
Prommin Lertsuridech, Minister of Energy. Bio-Diesel is being put forward as
an alternative source of fuel to help the country save energy.
PM Thaksin who was seen manning the pumps at Chiang Mai’s
new Bio-Diesel refueling station, on Mahidol Road. It is priced between
0.3-0.5 baht a liter. A Bio-Diesel plant is also planned to be built in the
San Kamphaeng district.
The new fuel station was introduced to Chiang Mai
residents by the Department of Alternative Energy Development the of
Ministry of Energy, in cooperation with the Naval Dockyard.
One of the research projects is to use Bio-Diesel in song
taews, or red mini buses, in Chiang Mai. Used vegetable oil from fast food
outlets and cottage industries frying crispy pork skins in Chiang Mai and
nearby areas are to be used as the main source of oil to generate 2,000
liters of Bio-Diesel a day. 1,300 mini buses will be participating in the
campaign, using B2 Bio-Diesel, which is being distributed by Bang Chak
Petroleum and PTT.
The Ministry of Energy wants to set the price of
Bio-Diesel lower than straight diesel fuel. Chiang Mai uses 695,000 liters
of diesel fuel a day. It is postulated that millions of baht per year may
eventually be saved by changing to Bio-Diesel. It is also believed it will
reduce the amount of carbon dioxide released into the air by 400 tons a
Following Chiang Mai, Bio-Diesel will be introduced to
other provinces like Chonburi, Phuket, and Surat Thani and be used in buses
of the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority.
Bangkok Subway to open early; on July 3
Bangkok’s newest mass transit system, the subway, is to
open on July 3, one month ahead of schedule. His Majesty King Bhumibol
Adulyadej will graciously preside at the formal opening ceremony at the main
Bangkok railway station, Hua Lamphong, on July 3 at 5.30 p.m.
The first 99,999 commuters on the opening date will also
receive souvenirs. From the opening date, until August 12, the royal
birthday of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit, commuters will be allowed to use the
subway at an especially low rate of 10 baht for all routes.
All the revenue from the fare during that period will be
donated to Royal charities and foundations under the patronage of Their
Majesties the King and Queen.
From August 13 - July 3 2005, the fare will rise to the
15% discounted rate of 12 - 31 baht, depending on the distance traveled, and
rise to the normal rate of 14 - 36 baht thereafter.
The subway is owned and operated by the Mass Rapid
Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) and the Bangkok Metro Company Limited
(BMCL). Its original date of opening was set at August 12, 2004. However, as
the test runs have been largely successful, it was decided to open it
earlier due to public demand.
The subway will run from the city’s main railway
station, Hua Lamphong, under two major thoroughfares, Rama 4 Road and
Ratchadaphisek Road. It will make a major contribution to attracting more
visitors to Thailand and boosting the average length of stay in Bangkok by
linking several hotels, shopping centers and business districts, as well as
the Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Governor Juthamas
Siriwan said, "The subway will supplement the existing Bangkok Skytrain
that is already playing a major role in helping visitors, business people
and convention delegates get around easily and conveniently. It will
significantly enhance the attraction of visiting and staying in Bangkok, one
of the most exciting cities in Asia."
All the subway stations are air-conditioned and well
equipped with elevators, escalators, shops, ATM machines, public telephone
kiosks and ticket vending machines which accept both notes and coins as well
as return change.
Special park-and-ride facilities have been established to
help reduce traffic congestion. The Lat Phrao Station has a parking building
for 2,000 cars while the Thailand Cultural Centre Station provides a
building of up to 200 cars. Parking is being provided especially for subway
passengers at a nominal rate.
Moreover, the MRTA has also cooperated with the Bangkok
Mass Transit Authority (BMTA), operator of the city bus service, to link
seven subway stations with 18 bus lines for commuters who live in the
suburbs and do not always wish to take their cars.
Safety has been a primary consideration in the
construction of the subway. In addition to security guards, the highest
international standards have been used for the design of accident prevention
and evacuation systems. It is well equipped with fire alarms, fire fighting
systems, ventilation fans and emergency escapes.
The MRTA also plans to expand Bangkok’s other mass
transit system, the Skytrain, which opened in December 1999. By the year
2010, the Thai government plans to expand the two mass transit systems to
cover a total of 291 km, linking all parts of the city. A budget of 446.6
billion baht has been approved for the route-expansion projects.
Juthamas said, "Bangkok is the first point of
arrival for 85% of the total visitors to Thailand. These mass transit
systems will go a long way towards ensuring that all visitors have a
pleasurable and trouble-free stay."
How to build a better mousetrap
Tourism Minister addresses seminar in Chiang Mai
On June 28, H.E. Sontaya Kunplome, Minister of Tourism
and Sports gave an overview of government policies during the MICE seminar
entitled the Future of Chiang Mai Tourism, held at the Chiang Mai Orchid
During his one hour address to some 200 participants of
the seminar organized by the Tourism Council of Thailand and the Chiang Mai
Tourist Business Association, the minister stressed the government
strategies to make Thailand the "Tourism Capital of Asia" in 2006
and attract 15.7 million visitors in 2008.
Minister of Tourism and Sports, Sontaya Khunplome (third right), Dr Joe
Goldblatt (2nd right) from Temple University, Jack Kelly (4th right),
competitiveness consultant from J.E. Austin Associates and Kenan Institute
Asia, and Boonlert Perera (5th from left), president of Chiang Mai Tourist
Business Association and other guests at the seminar. (Photo by Autsadaporn
The minister predicted that Chiang Mai should be no more
just a cheap destination because of the development of the Meetings,
Incentive, Convention and Exhibition (MICE) market together with Wellness
and Spa, Golf and Eco-Tourism.
To reach this ambitious goals, there is approval of the
campaign "The Place to Meet, Amazing Thailand" and it is projected
to raise the spending of MICE visitors from 3,700 baht to 10,000 baht per
day, while the average stay will be 8 days from the present 7.7 days within
the next 3-5 years.
Approved projects for Chiang Mai are the establishment of
an aviation hub along with Phuket, a new convention hall, night safari park
and aquarium. To guarantee that Chiang Mai will become a "World Class
Convention and Exhibition Center" they will hold the
"Horticultural Fair" in 2006.
Jack Kelly as Senior Competitiveness Consultant of J.E.
Austin Associates Inc. and Kenan Institute Asia based in Chiang Mai,
introduced the seminar’s keynote speaker, Dr. Joe Goldblatt, Professor and
Executive Director of the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management from
Philadelphia, who gave an animated talk to demonstrate "how to build a
better mouse trap" by focusing on the various strategies needed for
Chiang Mai to be successful in the global MICE industry. Through the
formation of the "Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau" the
MICE market will be researched, designed, planned, coordinated and
evaluated. If the strategists have their way, Chiang Mai may be well
positioned to become one of the leading MICE tourism centers and value
driven destinations in Asia by 2010. For that, Chiang Mai must have both the
support from the government sector and private industry to accelerate
repositioning and redevelopment.
For further information, please contact Reinhard Hohler,
GMS Media Travel Consultant by email sara@ cmnet.co.th
New high-rises going up get thumbs down
Psychological threats implied and real threats given
The general public will be asked to boycott high-rise
hotels in order to discourage the construction of new ones. This amazing
statement was made at a seminar on the development of Chiang Mai in relation
to the impact of high-rise buildings.
It was organized by the Social Research Institute of
Chiang Mai University in collaboration with the Public Health Research
Institute, City and Urban Development Foundation, and Chiang Mai Networks
for Traffic Jam Solutions, and took place at the BP Hotel.
Dr Chao Duangdearn na Chiangmai, president of the Chiang
Mai Cultural Council, presided over the seminar which was attended by
hundreds of academics, government officials, religious leaders, business
entrepreneurs, local politicians and NGOs.
Dr Thanes Charoenmuang, a lecturer in Chiang Mai
University’s Political Science Faculty, said the government’s policy on
regional city development envisaged Chiang Mai as the center of the Upper
North with an increase in the number of people moving to the city to work.
This "5th National Economic and Social Development
Plan" of the government would lead to an increase in the number of
high-rise buildings in the city as a consequence of the economic growth and
in the number of hotels put up by investors. "Some people strongly
disagree, however, saying such development can affect people
psychologically," he said.
In 2002, Chiang Mai Municipality planned to construct a
12 storey office building near the Ping River bank and invited the public to
tender bids. A stream of complaints from many organizations followed and
research on the health impact was done. The research revealed many negative
impacts from high-rise buildings and a proposal to cease the construction
was sent to the Municipality. It was also asked to institute a moratorium on
new high-rise buildings being constructed in the municipal area and other
Tambon Administration Organization areas.
Last week’s seminar on the impact of high-rise
buildings was held to provide opportunities for ordinary people to share
their opinions and discuss the issue. Dr Nirundorn Photikanont, president of
the Sunday Bicycle Club, speaking as one of the members of the public, said
that he would instil awareness among local people by lobbying them not to
arrange events at high-rise hotels. This would indirectly dissuade
"other capitalists" who would like to invest in the construction
of new high-rise buildings.
30 mio speed tablets smuggled into Thailand
Soldiers catching up with speedy distribution
Millions of ya ba (speed) pills are being discovered by
drug suppression authorities. Gen Chaiyasith Shinawatra, commander in chief
of the Royal Thai Army, reports that the Special Task Force’s 17th
Infantry Department confiscated 480,000 ya ba pills in its latest
During the previous week’s raids, the soldiers seized 1
million ya ba pills, 1.3 kg of heroin, 14 firearms, ammunition and 820,000
baht in cash, according to Gen Chaiyasith.
This week, the soldiers inspected Doi Sarm Muen Mountain
between Ban Muang Noi and Ban Lisu in Mae Hong Son’s Pai district
following earlier arrests of drug dealers and confiscation of drugs at Ban
San Tong. They found ya ba tablets hidden in a buried 200 liter bucket.
It is believed the tablets were produced in a Wa drug
factory in Ban Kay Luang inside Myanmar and smuggled into Thailand through
villages involved in drug trafficking.
Gen Chaiyasith added that because a total of 30 million
pills have been brought into Thailand from neighboring countries, more
soldiers will soon be deployed along the borders to suppress drug
Mysterious death of drug dealer
Police not around when it happened
A drug gang member has been murdered in what police say
may have been a double-cross.
Pol Maj Gen Chamnong Kaewsiri, commander of the Chiang
Rai Provincial Police Division, said police received a tip-off that Jagor
Jator, a Lahu hill tribe member living in Ban Kong Ngarm, Tambon Pa Sang,
in Chiang Rai’s Chan district, would be bringing a large haul of ya ba
(speed) pills for sale in Mae Chan.
Pol Col Kittisin Kungthaweepan, superintendent of Mae
Chan Police Station, and a team of undercover police arranged to buy drugs
from the dealer in a sting operation in Ban Huay Mae Pern village on June
22, arranging to meet him at 11 a.m.
However, before the transaction could take place, police
received a report that Jagor Jator had been murdered. Investigating police
found 1,200 ya ba pills next to the body. Police then found a further
64,000 pills in a nearby hut.
Despite the fact that the illegal haul had been left
behind, police believe that Jagor was killed by other ya ba gang members.
No doubt there will be a speedy result to this complex case.
Gold shops nationwide attract police attention
Crackdown on loan sharks and substandard gold
Jewellery shops providing illegal loans and selling gold
of questionable quality, beware. The police are investigating.
pour over the evidence in search of wrongdoing.
On June 21, Crime Suppression Division police from
Bangkok, led by Pol Lt Gen Sodthinunt Kuntawong, in cooperation with local
police of Chang Puak police station and Muang police station, inspected a
local gold shop on Muang Samut Road in Chiang Mai’s Tambon Chang Moi. They
also made snap inspections of two other gold shops in Saraphi and San
police and Crime Suppression Division police inspect the gold shop business.
A plain clothes police officer asked to buy a gold
necklace from the Chiang Mai shop’s manager, and then seized the necklace
for quality inspection. Later police produced a search warrant to inspect
the shop. They seized the gold items inventory in the shop, contracts of
purchase, letters of guarantee, memos of meetings, computers and compact
disks with details of the shop’s information and deposit accounts. Police
also checked the details of all the employees.
and revenue officials inspect the gold shop’s business documents.
If the police find evidence that the shop is running an
illegal business, action will be taken.
Faith-based organizations gear up for AIDS conference
Faith-based organisations will have a major voice at the
largest global meeting of HIV and AIDS experts, which Thailand is to host
next month. They will highlight the vital, but often unrecognised role they
play in fighting the spread of the virus and caring for those with it.
A wide range of organisations from Buddhist, Christian,
Muslim and Jewish faiths will be represented at the International AIDS
Conference (IAC) in Bangkok from July 11-16. They will share how they meet
the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of those living with HIV and
AIDS and debate the challenges involved in combating stigma and preventing
the spread of the virus.
"With more than 100 faith-based organizations (FBO’s)
set to attend, the faith community will be at the heart and soul of the
conference, alongside scientific experts, world leaders, people living with
HIV and AIDS and non-governmental organisations," said a statement
released by the Geneva-based Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance.
More than 15,000 official delegates will converge on the
Thai capital for the AIDS conference. Tens of thousands more people will
pass through the conference’s Global Village - "a melting pot where
everyone from sex workers to saffron-robed monks, massage therapists to
meditation leaders, and artists to AIDS activists will share ideas and
The Alliance added, "The voice given by the
conference to the faith-based community is in recognition of the massive
range of work done by FBO’s and the key role they play in educating
communities, shaping values and providing care."
Past conferences had tended to overlook this and yet in
Africa, for example, church members play the leading role in caring for
people affected by HIV and AIDS, especially children.
In Thailand itself, Buddhist monks are active, said the
statement. For example, Thai Buddhist monk, Phra Phongthep Dhammagaruko,
established a temple hospice for people with AIDS in Chiang Mai. Called Baan
Peuan Cheewit (Friends of Life House), it assists people with AIDS who are
abandoned by their families and trains families to care for people with
Dr Prawate Khid-arn, of the Christian Conference of Asia,
said for the first time the faith community was positioned to stand as
equals with the medical and scientific communities. "The opportunity
for people of faith to speak out at the Asia based 15th International AIDS
Conference is timely. Asia is not only home to the world’s major religions
but their influence is crucial to countering HIV and AIDS in the region and
combating stigma," the Alliance said.
Linda Hartke, coordinator for the Ecumenical Advocacy
Alliance, said, "Faith communities and religious leaders all over the
world have been judgmental and hurtful to people living with or affected by
HIV and AIDS. At the same time, there are many examples of leaders who have
rejected stigmatizing behaviour, and communities that have embraced people
who are affected. As churches, we are still struggling to accept the reality
that we are all living with HIV and AIDS," she stated. "We have a
huge task ahead of us to build communities of faith that welcome all and
Representatives of churches and Christian organizations
will have a "pre-conference" meeting in Bangkok on July 9-10 to
debate the challenge of HIV and AIDS.
According to the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance more than
250 global delegates will address sensitive issues such as abstinence versus
condom use; the church, HIV/AIDS and sexuality; faith communities
collaborating with networks of people living with the virus; and theological
training on HIV and AIDS.
At the same time, Buddhist and Muslim groups will hold
parallel conferences to address similar issues. On July 10, an interfaith
gathering will bring the three groups together for an orientation to the
conference and to see how they can all work together.
Two ya ba tablets turn into almost 2,000
You can always trust your drug dealer - to turn you in!
A suspected drug ring member caught with
only two ya ba pills led police to arrest three more drug dealers with
almost 2,000 tablets.
Pol Maj Gen Kasem Rattanasunthorn, commander of the
Chiang Mai Provincial Police Division, said police initially charged
27-year-old Veena Surinta with possession of two ya ba pills on June 21.
After chatting with him, they arrested three more drug
dealers, 52 year old Sanan Chansiri with 495 ya ba pills, 28-year-old
Songkiart Batboonruang, with 210 tablets, and 35 year old Master Sergeant
Chumpol Saiwong with a haul of 1,200 ya ba.
The police commander said the three suspects were also
charged with belonging to the same drug network that had brought ya ba
shipments from Chiang Dao district and been trapped in a police sting
During that operation, police arrested 29-year-old Ekawit
Laomee and 34-year-old Mejimoh Laomee who were caught in possession of 1,000
ya ba tablets.
Pol Maj Gen Kasem said the traffickers had smuggled the
drugs in from Myanmar to sell in Chiang Mai City.