HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

PM gets involved in cleaning up Chiang Mai’s air

Gamblers shown the red card in Euro 2004

Thais invited to make their mark for their Queen

Young criminals rehabilitation under the spotlight

The Thai brand - your key to success, says DEP

American expert cautions Thailand on energy crisis

AIDS statistics still frightening

Public transport plans move into higher gear

Five “Chiangs” in six days promote new route

Cooperation the key for city’s tourism industry

Regional Economic Co-operation

Big budget for big plans for Chiang Rai

Burmese laborers in high demand

Speedboat chase on Mekong turns up 140,000 speed pills

Fire destroys condos

Alleged human traffickers caught with alien service girls

Chinese immigrants choose drug trade over chow mein

Driver hits pedestrian causing severe injuries

Busy day for narcotics police

Lamphun Provincial Court finds 10 guilty of invading public land

PM gets involved in cleaning up Chiang Mai’s air

We need more money to be ‘Clean and Green’ it seems

Saksit Meesubkwang

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is so concerned about air pollution in Chiang Mai City that he has called an urgent conference to tackle the issue.

Chiang Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat met with heads of several government offices at the City Hall on July 6 to prepare for the meeting on July 20, which the PM will chair.

Suwat Tantipat Chiang Mai governor met with government officers in preparation for a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra on July 20 to tackle Chiang Mai’s pollution.

Sa-nga Euangtrakul, director of the Chiang Mai Resource and Environment Office; Aphiwat Kunarak, director of the 1st Environment Office; Nuntawat Kawila, head of the Chiang Mai Irrigation Office; Sombat Tanbutra, head of the Rural Highway Office; and 50 representatives of Chiang Mai Municipality, Chiang Mai Provincial Police Division, Transport Office and Chiang Mai Transportation Cooperatives were present.

Suwat said the PM expressed his concern at the June mobile Cabinet meeting after finding that Chiang Mai has the worst air pollution in the country. This would definitely affect the economy, tourism and the health of the local population.

Initially, the government provided 344.7 million baht for the province to solve the pollution crisis. This will be divided into 87.6 million baht on solving traffic pollution in the next five years; 54 million baht on solving pollution from sources like burning off waste, dust and factories; 26.2 million baht on burning off in the open air; 156 million baht on landscaping in the city; and 20.9 million baht on enhancing air pollution administration and management abilities.

The governor said that the province had been attempting to solve the problem through its “Chiang Mai Clean & Green” campaign. “However, if the government supplies more money to tackle the issue, it will be more easily solved,” he said.

Gamblers shown the red card in Euro 2004

Staff reporters

The local losers in the Euro 2004 soccer tournament are 38 people in eight northern provinces who have been charged with illegal gambling.

The Provincial Police Bureau, Region 5 announced that they were arrested June 10 - July 5. Of those charged, 24 were punters and 15 bookmakers.

Fifteen football punters were arrested in Chiang Mai, six in Phrae, five in Phayao, four in Chiang Rai, three each in Lampang and Lamphun, and one each in Nan and Mae Hong Son.

Police said they seized a total of 29,940 baht in cash as evidence of the gambling. Up to 1.77 million baht had been wagered during the European football fest.

A football gambling program on a diskette was also confiscated, together with a personal computer and two mobile phones.

The Provincial Police Bureau had been on the lookout for the football gambling during the Euro 2004 season in three areas - prevention, suppression and public relations.

The Bureau also instructed its officers to strictly suppress any gambling and insisted they catch all those involved. It reiterated the police should not get involved in the gambling themselves or accept bribes.

It also cooperated with academic institutions, owners of dormitories and houses to rent, and the press to publicize information about the ban on football gambling, and asked parents to assist by keeping a watch on their children’s activities.

The Bureau also set up a post box for people to report gambling in order to help eradicate it.

Thais invited to make their mark for their Queen

Nirun Boonkaew
Public Relations Department,
Mae Hong Son

Thais throughout the country are invited to sign their names on Tung flags and make blessings for HM the Queen on the occasion of her 72nd birthday and celebrations on August 12. The Tung is being placed at every provincial city hall for the public to carry this out.

The Public Relations Committee Center which is organizing the grand celebration for the royal birthday has assigned the Working Group to create royal Tung (flags) and give them to all provinces throughout the country to allow their people to sign them and give HM the Queen blessings and wishes for a long and healthy life.

Mae Hong Son Governor Supoj Laowansiri signed on July 5 at the city hall and asks everyone to follow.

Young criminals rehabilitation under the spotlight

Judge wants youths to talk to community leaders

Jiraphat Warasin

The criminal behavior of children and youth was the focus of a workshop in which community leaders reviewed their development policies. Organized by the Juvenile Training Center, Zone 7, and the Chiang Mai Office of the Ministry of Justice’s Department of Juvenile Observation and Protection, it took place at Chiang Mai Phucome Hotel on June 29.

Ubonrat Lepatthanakit, chief judge of the Juvenile and Family Court of Chiang Mai who chaired the workshop, said it was the responsibility of the department to take care of children and youth with problems by considering them and focusing on their better qualities.

“We have been supported by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and use family group conferencing. We have apprenticeships for youths to become sculptors, handicraft workers, souvenir producers and therapists so as to prevent them from getting involved in crime and becoming repeat offenders,” said Judge Ubonrat.

The workshop was attended by community leaders, village headmen, tambon administration organization members and provincial administration organization members, so that they can use the knowledge gained to help children and youths.

Most of those found guilty were regarded as ‘ordinary’ children and youths before they transgressed the law.

Ubonrat suggested that such children and youths should also participate in such a workshop to exchange their ideas and experiences so community leaders could hear them and help them falling foul of the law in future.

The Thai brand - your key to success, says DEP

But where is the word ‘Quality’?

Jiraphat Warasin

Thailand cannot compete with countries like China for low prices, so the Kingdom has to find other ways to make its products attractive. This was the message given at a seminar on “Building and Strategic Brand Management” organized by the Department of Export Promotion (DEP) at the Imperial Mae Ping Hotel on June 28.

Pongsak Raktapongpaisarn, Deputy Minister of Commerce, at the seminar on ‘Building and Strategic Brand Management’.

Deputy Minister of Commerce Pongsak Raktapongpaisarn, who presided over the opening ceremony, said, “We cannot compete with others by reducing our prices, especially with China. Hence, exporters have to use and sell what we have developed under the Thailand brand name.”

“International experience has shown branding means making the buyer feel a loyalty to a product or service, to make it valued in the consumer’s heart. I hope all entrepreneurs will take this knowledge and information from this seminar to apply it in their businesses,” Pongsak said.

Wipasri Chalapavat, director of the Product Brand Promotion Division, said it helps the DEP create brands and image, and with promotion. “At the same time, the DEP is inviting Thai companies as well as government and private sector representatives who have succeeded in their brand business to share their knowledge about strategic brand management, brand equity and designing marketing communication strategies with the seminar participants.”

Permphan Neowakul, a representative from Albatross Co., Ltd. said, “Branding is one of the most misunderstood concepts in marketing, even among the so-called professionals. People think successful branding is about awareness, but it is not.”

“Branding is much more than just a logo or name. It is the reason why people support you. Real branding raises your bottom line revenue, lowers customer acquisition costs, increases customer retention and profitability,” said Permphan.

“So before you hire anyone for branding, make sure you know what you are looking for. It is not about getting your prospective customer to choose you over your competition; it is about getting your him or her to see you as the only option,” Permphan said.

American expert cautions Thailand on energy crisis

Renewable sources called for

Jiraphat Warasin

Ken Cohen, the vice-president of the giant American conglomerate Exxon Mobil Corporation was guest speaker at a Chiang Mai seminar entitled “The Outlook for Energy during 2003-2020” organized by the Ministry of Energy.

He said that energy was essential for economic growth, especially in developing countries of which about 80 percent would have a higher demand of energy consumption. The world’s annual economic growth rate is predicted at an average 2.8 percent until 2020, he noted.

Ken Cohen, vice-president of the United States Exxon Mobil Corporation

Cohen anticipated that the highest growth rate of all countries in the Asia-Pacific region was expected to be five percent; China’s growth rate could be as high as 6.6 percent.

“Oil and gas will remain the main sources of energy and the population in this Asia-Pacific region still needs these, doubling its consumption in 2030 to up to 40 million barrels,” he said. Consumers of more than 80 percent of energy were in the Asia-Pacific region, and crude would continue to be imported primarily from Middle East countries. “Oil and gas investment costs will increase to US$200 billion a year,” Cohen predicted.

He stressed the importance of using renewable energy and replacing oil and gas. He also spoke of the significance of using hydrogen as a source of energy in the future. “There will be no gases released into the atmosphere, but it will be very costly to produce energy from hydrogen,” Cohen said.

Cherdpong Siriwitch, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy, warned, “If we do not save on energy usage and prepare ourselves today, we will have to spend a lot of money to buy energy.”

In 2003, about 14.51 percent of the country’s GDP was spent on energy consumption, or 11.8 percent of expenditure on all imports. More than 400,000 million baht is spent on importing crude oil annually.

Cherdpong said 37 percent of energy was used on transport and communications, 36 percent in the industrial sector, 21 percent in the housing or residential sector, and six percent in the agricultural sector.

He said the Ministry of Energy wanted to reduce the volume of energy usage within 10 years, which would lead to massive savings for the country. “Thus, we have a three pronged strategy to help address the energy shortage problem. We should use energy more efficiently, we can utilize the natural gas from the Gulf of Siam for another 33 years, we must looked at alternative sources like solar power, power from garbage, and the use of ethanol,” Cherdpong said.

AIDS statistics still frightening

Almost 18 percent of Chiang Mai female sex workers have HIV

Jiraphat Warasin

HIV/AIDS statistics for Chiang Mai province show that 17,765 cases were recorded from 1988 to April 2004, and one third of those died in Chiang Mai City.

The main route of infection, in over 90 percent of cases, was through sexual intercourse. Mother to child transmission of the virus accounted for 6 percent, while 2.5 percent of patients were drug addicts who shared needles.

Laborers were the largest group of HIV/AIDS patients at 71 percent, and 48 percent of those infected were in the 25-34 years age group.

Dr Surasingh Wisarutrat, deputy head of the Chiang Mai Public Health Office, said the number of people with HIV/AIDS had dropped. “But this does not mean a reduction in the number new people infected,” he warned. It takes 7-10 years from the initial stage of being infected with HIV to when symptoms appear.

Sampling of blood tests in at-risk groups showed the infection rate of female sex workers dropped in 1995-1996, while it rose among drug addicts. But recent records showed 18 percent of female sex workers were infected, less than 2 percent of unemployed female workers and 8 percent of male workers.

A survey of Grade 11 students shows that sexual relations among male students has risen by 8 percent compared to 1999. Most male teenagers have sexual intercourse with their girlfriends and less than 50 percent use condoms.

A total of 6,605 children were reported to have been infected through mother to child transmission and most of them are younger than 10. Children with HIV/AIDS are found in every district of Chiang Mai.

There are 1,767 AIDS orphans and 1,826 children with one of their parents having died of AIDS.

Public transport plans move into higher gear

Electric power on the mass transport agenda

Nopniwat Krailerg

Chiang Mai’s mass transportation system may get off the ground sooner than expected. The mobile Cabinet meeting in the North, held at the end of last month, has in principle approved the budget for the project’s feasibility study.

“The Ministry of Transport is to hold a meeting on public transportation management, and Transport Minister Suriya Juengrungruangkitch will be in charge of the project himself to ensure it makes progress,” said Chaithawat Saowaphon, a member of the mass transit project working committee.

“The Cabinet has in principle approved 147 million baht, and has assigned the Office of Traffic and Transport Policy and Planning in the Ministry of Transport to do a feasibility study, as well as help develop public electric transportation vehicles.” The study is expected to be finished by 2006, Chaithawat said.

It will look into the exact design and form of the public transportation system, and whether it will use a monorail or twin rails.

“Further studies must be conducted before the launch of electric cars or other kinds of public transportation in 2006. The government will also first study the proposals on the rail routes in the feasibility study,” he said.

Five “Chiangs” in six days promote new route

Autsadaporn Kamthai

The caravan of the Four Countries Friendship Auto Venture’s Rally with over 100 drivers took off from the Three Kings Monument on June 24. It was supported by the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Chiang Mai province, and the Committee of Economic Quadrangle Cooperation with the aim of introducing a new travel route in the Economic Quadrangle areas.

An elderly Laotian in Luang Prabang (Chiang Thong) in Laos ties the sacred thread around Chalermsak Suranunt’s wrist, director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Northern Office, to welcome him and his crew. (Photo Courtesy of TAT, Northern Office, Region 1)

The caravan took six days, and passed through five prominent cities in four Greater Mekong Sub-Region (GMS) countries - Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai in Thailand, Chiang Thong in Laos, Chiang Rung in China, and Chiang Tung in Myanmar.

The caravan en route to Laos. (Photo Courtesy of TAT, Northern Office, Region 1)

The caravan was initiated as part of the Eight Lanna Provinces Strategic Group Plan, which concentrates on tourism promotion under the framework of the “Five-Chiang Project” in the GMS region.

It is expected that the rally will be used to promote the new route passing through the four countries and encourage more drivers to try it. Increasing tourism between the GMS countries is the main aim.

Cooperation the key for city’s tourism industry

Well heeled tourists wanted - not backpackers

Saksit Meesubkwang

Graduate students of Chiang Mai University’s Tourism Industry Management School are actively promoting the city as a regional tourism center. They arranged a seminar “Enhance Chiang Mai Tourism as the Regional Hub” at the Imperial Mae Ping Hotel on July 2, with an estimated 200 participants including graduate students, tourism-related operators and entrepreneurs, representatives from airlines and tourism guides.

Krerkkrai Jiraphaet, Deputy Minister of Tourism and Sports, presided over the seminar that was also attended by Chaisak Angsuwan, deputy director-general of the Aviation Transportation Department; Anunt Sirisun, adviser to the Thai Tourism Business Association; and Rachan Weeraphan, chairman of the Committee of Economic Quadrangle Cooperation and Chamber of Commerce, Region 9-10.

Anunt said he felt that former governments did not understand and give significance to tourism in the way the present government was doing. He also asked for cooperation between relevant stakeholders.

He advised airlines to have definite and annual marketing plans and coordinate their operations in order to achieve their goals. “The airlines need more collaboration with tourism companies, agents and entrepreneurs to attract more revenue,” Anunt said.

Rachan said that the development of transportation was a priority for the growth of the tourism and travel industry. At last month’s mobile Cabinet meeting, the construction of a subway in Chiang Mai was proposed, but he thought it was unnecessary, as what the city needs now are just buses.

He agreed with the target to increase the number of tourist arrivals by 20 percent, but those tourists should be wealthy. “I don’t want to see larger numbers of backpackers because they do not earn the country as much income that will stimulate economic growth.”

Regional Economic Co-operation

EU and GMS Development Strategies

Reinhard Hohler

During July 2-4, the Center for European Studies of Chulalongkorn University in collaboration with the EU-LDC (European Union - Less Developed Countries) Network, held a regional conference at Mae Fah Luang University in Chiang Rai.

Dr. Charit Tingsabadh, Director of the Center for European Studies, welcomed more than 60 international participants and spearheaded regional co-operation and economic development strategies among the countries of the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) by presenting trade and investment models offered from Europe.

Myanmar delegates were conspicuously absent, but the spirit of co-operation was strong between Thailand and the other member countries within the Mekong River Commission (MRC), Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.

Dr. Chamnarn Pongsri, Director of the Environment Division of the MRC Secretariat, gave notice that the MRC moved from Phnom Penh in Cambodia to Vientiane in Laos on July 1st and vigorously defended dam construction in Yunnan/China and Laos for hydroelectric power. He also identified Tonle Sap in Cambodia and the Mekong Delta in Vietnam as future hot spots of water distribution.

The Mekong River, with 60 million people within its basin, is the 12th largest river in the world, but is second only to the South American Amazon River Basin regarding bio-diversity. To make conservation a high priority, deforestation and pollution must be strictly avoided.

Max van der Sleen, the Dutch Executive Secretary of the EU-LDC Network, made the point that it took 20 years to pollute the Rhine River in Europe from industrial waste and 30 years to clean it up. There are lessons to be learnt, so that the less developed countries (LDC) should not be careless in the future and will successfully struggle for solving the cross-border environmental problems.

Another strategy to follow in the GMS is the development of human resources and institutional capacity to enhance regional competitiveness. In this respect, the UN-ESCAP is handling transit border issues, financially supported by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). But the question remains unanswered as to whether the less developed countries can pay back their loans under the given frameworks.

The EU is more and more looking East after a long period of dependency from the United States. This is now the time and chance to receive the “know-how” and expertise from Europe to develop the GMS as the hub into North, South and East Asia.

The three day conference included a field trip to the Golden Triangle to make a boat trip to the Lao side of the border at Don Xao Island and then to continue to Mae Sai, Thailand’s northernmost town at the international border to Myanmar. The delegates also stated they really enjoyed the traditional Northern Thai hospitality at the Chiang Rai Rimkok Resort Hotel situated on the bank of the Mekok, a tributary of the Mekong River.

For further information, contact Reinhard Hohler, GMS Media Consultant, by email [email protected]

Big budget for big plans for Chiang Rai

Public Relations Department, Chiang Rai

Chiang Rai province has received more than 400 million baht to further develop border trade and tourism. The Cabinet approved this amount at its recent mobile meeting in Lamphun.

Chiang Rai will be given the money for this year’s development plans for economic development in the border areas, especially around the new second Chiang Saen port, the newly developed industrial estate, construction of a four lane road and improvement to the water resources and tourism promotion.

Chiang Rai Governor Narin Panithchakitch, making the announcement, said another 230 million baht would be allocated to construct the new City Hall buildings on 70 rai of public land near the Mae Fah Luang Bridge, tambon Wiang in the Muang district.

He said, Chiang Rai would be the center of logistics and the distribution network of local products to countries located along the Mekong River, China, Myanmar and Laos.

He added that the new City Hall building would be four storeys high, of a similar design to Chiang Mai City Hall. Construction is expected to be completed in 2006. The old City Hall will be refurbished into a college for monks and novices to further their studies in Buddhism.

Burmese laborers in high demand

Staff reporters

More than one thousand Chiang Mai employers have given notice that they want to employ alien laborers.

Orachon Rattanamanee, head of the Chiang Mai Provincial Employment Service Office, announced that 1,215 employers applied to the Office during July 1-5 to hire laborers from neighbouring countries. That was after the Office informed prospective employers they must make a request and register it.

Housework laborers were in highest demand with 541 Thais requesting permission to employ them. This was followed by calls for farm workers (259 requests for registration), and construction workers (172 requests).

Orachon has called on all employers who have hired alien laborers to register them at the 700 Year Anniversary Stadium during this month. Employers who do not do so will not have the right to hire any alien laborers, she noted.

Speedboat chase on Mekong turns up 140,000 speed pills

Smugglers shot and drown in river

Worachat Kongkaew Public Relations Department, Chiang Rai

Two drug dealers were shot by Thai police and the Mekong Marine Operations Unit and drowned in the Mekong River while they were attempting to smuggle ya ba (speed) pills into Thailand.

The unit spotted a speedboat on the Mekong River with a flag of unknown nationality. Police and the unit called it to stop for a search, but the pair aboard opened fire on the police as they tried to escape.

The Thai police officers returned fire, wounding the traffickers who fell into the river and, weighted down by the extra led in their system, drowned.

Police searched the vessel and found 140,000 ya ba tablets, which they confiscated and took to Chiang Saen district police station.

It is believed the traffickers were trying to deliver drugs to dealers in Sob Ruak village in Chiang Rai’s Chiang Saen district.

A source had tipped off police that large amounts of ya ba tablets were being prepared for delivery into Thailand via the eastern half of the upper northern province borders. Most drug trafficking takes place through Phu Chee Fah, Ban Salaeng, Chiang Kam district in Nan province and passes through Phrae province’s Song District before being sent to the Central Plains.

Fire destroys condos

Frenchman loses 4.5 mio baht

Saksit Meesubkwang

A late-night fire broke out in a Chiang Mai City condominium, causing about 4.5 million baht damage to two rooms owned by a resident Frenchman.

Firefighters and police inspect the fire damage.

The Phuping police station was informed about the fire at about 10 p.m. on July 4 and officers attended with four fire engines. The fire fighters took about an hour to bring the fire under control in Rooms 714 and 715 in the 10 storey 103 Condominium, Project 4, situated in Soi Wat Pratharnporn on Klongchollapratharn (Irrigational canal) Road in Muang District.

They belonged to 78-year-old Frenchman Maurice Bosc. Bosc was not in the building at the time of the fire.

The condominium manager, Chantima Butrasayarassamee, said that most of Bosc’s belongings were destroyed. They included collections of paintings from South Africa and silverware from Thailand worth about 500,000 baht. She said the two rooms, which cost 2 million baht each, were also damaged.

Pol Lt Col Sawas Larkad of Phuping police station said an electric short circuit in one of the rooms could have sparked off the fire. However, the forensic science police would be called in to ascertain the cause.

Alleged human traffickers caught with alien service girls

Public Relations Department, Chiang Rai

Provincial police in Chiang Rai have raided a gang of suspected human traffickers and made 18 arrests.

Chiang Rai Governor Narin Panitchakitch said on July 3 that Wandee Luangsaen, Kaew and Saipetch (surnames unknown), and 15 Burmese nationals were arrested, and an amount of money and a Honda car seized.

The police, armed with a search warrant, raided the house in tambon Wiang in Mae Sai district that was rented by Sompong Luangsaen, a Chiang Mai resident and mother of Wandee. They found 15 Burmese aliens aged 18-25 - nine females and six males.

When police arrested Sompong, she offered them a 30,000 baht bribe.

PM Thaksin Shinawatra has assigned Chiang Rai province for a pilot project to suppress human trafficking. He has ordered that all the suspects be transferred to Bangkok by plane from Chiang Rai as soon as possible.

From the initial report of the investigation, Pol Maj Gen Chamnong Kaewsiri, commander of the Chiang Rai Provincial Police Division, said the female illegal immigrants from Burma wanted to work as service girls in Bangkok and in the Hat Yai district of Songkhla province. Fortunately for them, the government is now flying them to the capital!

Chinese immigrants choose drug trade over chow mein

Nopniwat Krailerg

Mae Hong Son police and soldiers have made a breakthrough against drug traffickers in a village of Chinese Haw immigrants.

Col Sontisak Wittaya-anekkornant, commander of the 17th Special Task Force of the Infantry Department collaborated with provincial police under the supervision of Pol Col Thanayin Thepraksa, the superintendent of Pai District police station, in searching the house of Kowang Saejing in Santichon village in tambon Wiang Tai, Pai district.

The owner had been apparently tipped off about the imminent raid and escaped, but left behind a black plastic bag containing 170,000 baht in cash, 1,200 ya ba tablets and a M-72 gun.

Suwit Srisanga, Pai district chief officer, said the drug problem in Santichon was still a big concern as drug dealers continued to operate in the community. About ten families resident in Santichon village reportedly moved into Myanmar to hide from Thai officers after they were reported to be involved in drug trafficking. “Most residents in Santichon are Chinese Haw and have a major problem of development in every aspect because they do not cooperate with government officials for fear their illegal trade will be uncovered”, according to Suwit.

Driver hits pedestrian causing severe injuries

Answering mobile phone whilst driving drunk

Nopniwat Krailerg

The driver of a pick-up, who hit a pedestrian causing severe injuries, admitted to drinking heavily before driving, and to the fact that he lost control while attempting to answer his mobile phone.

The pickup truck at the scene of the accident at the Rincome intersection.

The 16-year-old pedestrian was waiting at the Rincome intersection at the side of the road when she was hit by the pick-up.

The driver, 27-year-old Jedsada Daratid, told police he had been drinking heavily at two pubs earlier in the evening. While driving at high speed, his girlfriend called him and when he picked up his mobile phone to answer it, he lost control of his Ranger pickup truck.

Jedsada was charged with reckless driving, causing injury, and with drunk driving. The charges are of little use to the girl who was injured, however.

Busy day for narcotics police

Six small fish fried

Nopniwat Krailerg

Chiang Mai police arrested six alleged drug gang members in the city in separate operations.

The four suspected drug dealers at the Chiang Mai police division.

Officers caught a youth at Big C department store, charging him with stealing a motorcycle from the Talard Tonpayorm market behind Chiang Mai University. They then found some ya ba tablets on him which he said he had bought from a dealer, 40 year old Kampan Muangwilai, in Ban Maeking community area in tambon Changklan.

The youth’s arrest led police to believe drug traffickers were smuggling the drugs from Fang border district to sell to young people in Chiang Mai city.

A sting operation led by Pol Maj Gen Kasem Rattanasunthorn, commander of the Chiang Mai Provincial Police Division was set up. This led to the arrest of two more young men who lived at Kiang Doi Place dormitory, behind Wat Ched Yod temple as they were leaving with 180 ya ba pills to sell.

The suspected traffickers were identified as 23-year-old Chamras Boonruang from Mae Ai district and 23-year-old Pairoj Suriyama from Fang district, also said Kampan was their supplier.

They alleged Kampan sent packages of the drugs, priced at 10,000 baht per package, by mail to Chokchai Charoenyoo in Nakhon Ratchasima province.

Meanwhile, in a separate operation police searched another room in Kiang Doi Place after a tip-off that they would find Thai Yai drug dealers from Mae Ai district and Fang district there. They arrested 40-year-old Jittikorn Kongsin and 36-year-old Pitak Chaemngern, charging them with possession of methamphetamines for sale.

Lamphun Provincial Court finds 10 guilty of invading public land

Nopniwat Krailerg

A Lamphun court has sentenced a Wiang Nong Long sub-district resident and 9 others for encroaching on and using 1,000 rai of public land for the past 14 years.

Su Kaewfunfu and his 10 accomplices were sentenced to one year in prison. They were charged after they prevented Land Office officials surveying land in the Wiang Nong Long sub-district, claiming the land belonged to the public and they had used it for a long time. However, some officials had issued documents granting title deeds for the land to a Chiang Mai businessman to run an orchard, and additional land which is to be put up for sale.

After sentence was passed, Winich Lumlue, chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of the Law Council, asked for leave to appeal.

Meanwhile, the National Anti-Corruption Commission is investigating the alleged illegal issuing of land title deeds.