Chiang Mai receives huge jade Buddha image
Jade found by friends of Burma’s leader
A huge Buddha image in jade has become the symbol of acts
of faith of many in the Chiang Mai Buddhist community. Phra Kru Phisan
Boonnivith, the abbot of Wat Ou Sai Kham told Chiangmai Mail that he
wanted people of the following generations to have a heritage property that
was originally produced in this era.
a Buddha image from jade has important value in terms of artistry and in
people’s faith. This new carving is a very rare type of Buddha image,”
said Phra Kru Phisanboonnivith.
“Life span of human beings is very short, around 70-80
years only. But the sacred articles built by people of ancient times are all
more than 600-700 years old,” said the abbot, looking ahead to the future
which will have this ‘new’ jade Buddha.
Buddhist monks gathered for the Buddhabhisek ceremony on July 24.
“I started during a journey to India and visiting
Bodhagaya, the place where the Lord Buddha gained enlightenment. At this
place, I made a wish that the sculpting of a jade Buddha image could happen
and that there would be people with Dhamma charisma come to help me to
successfully achieve this.
senior Buddhist monks gathered to consecrate the jade Buddha image.
“After that, my wish came true. I went to the source of
jade in Myanmar without any money; however, I tried hard to coordinate with
all parties until Buddhist monks and Buddhist people in Myanmar helped me.
“I met Aung Kham Thi and Nevin Tun, close friends of
Gen. Khin Nyunt, the prime minister of Myanmar. They were concessionaires
for jade mining.
They both agreed to find a huge piece of jade for
sculpting a Buddha image and such piece of jade would be given as a
memorable article to Thailand.”
The search for a large piece of jade took two years of
digging in area of Mandalay until six pieces were found. After cutting and
checking colors and fissures, five of them were rejected, but the sixth was
141-570 million years old and weighted more than two tons.
“We were very lucky because there would never be
another piece of jade as big as this one. The price of this piece of jade
was 15 million baht. However, with assistance from Myanmar, the price was
lowered to 2.5 million baht,” he added.
The temple at Wat Ou Kham Sai then received assistance
from Pakorn Buranupakorn, the Chiang Mai MP, to arrange a Kathin ceremony
collecting donations from Buddhists to pay part of the price of this piece
The piece of jade arrived in Chiang Mai on September 10
last year. It was then taken to a workshop in Mae Sai district, Chiang Rai
province, for cutting. After that it returned to Wat Ou Sai Kham to be
sculpted as a Buddha image by sculptor Lek Ratanawimon.
It took nine months before completion. The weight after
carving was a little more than 800 kilograms. There were some parts of jade
left afterwards and the temple used them to make sacred articles (small
Buddha images) such as Jade Buddha images of Lamphun series; Benjapakee jade
Buddha images; Phra Kong; and Phra Sing Yok Lek (tiny jade Buddha images).
The Buddhabhisek ceremony to consecrate these images was held on July 24
this year with a gathering of 108 senior Buddhist monks.
On July 31, a ceremony took place in the grounds in front
of Thapae Gate for the relics of Lord Buddha to be kept inside the Phra
Buddha Sihing jade, the new jade Buddha image.
Somchai Wongsawas, permanent secretary at the Ministry of
Justice; Pakorn Buranupakorn, MP for Chiang Mai, Region 1; and Suwat
Tantipat, Chiang Mai governor, jointly presided over the ceremony. This was
the first time in 700 years that such a ceremony had been held in front of
“This Jade is invaluable material and is very rare. It also has its own
natural beauty. Sculpturing a Buddha image from jade has important value in
terms of artistry and in people’s faith. This new carving is a very rare
type of Buddha image,” said Phra Kru Phisanboonnivith.
“Less than brilliant” credit card thief apprehended
Gave her address to department
store for deliveries!
One of the world’s less forward-thinking thieves was
arrested in the Buak Had community, Tambon Phra Sigh, Muang District, Chiang
Mai. She had been dressing like a university student, mixing with the
younger students and calmly walking off with their bags and cases.
Mrs. Jirawan Sattapunsiri, 32, was arrested by Pol. Cap.
Anuparp Chaisiri, assistant detective inspector of Phu Phing police station,
after police made a search in her room and found stolen articles, including
three mobile phones, eight wallets and purses, five shoulder bags, gold
ornaments and 59 other items. The police took her into custody and
The police found that the thief had used a credit card
stolen from one of the university students to purchase goods from a
department store on Huay Kaew Road and asked the store to deliver the
article to her home, leaving her address with them.
She confessed that she had been doing this for a long
time. Most of the stolen articles were sold, but she kept some for personal
Her favorite haunts were Rajabhat University, Chiang Mai
University and Payap University. In committing the crimes, she disguised
herself as a student of each targeted institution. The most recent was where
she dressed herself as a medical student and mingled with medical students
at the Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University. While one of the fifth
year medical students was not watching, she stole her purse. After that she
used the student’s credit card to purchase items until she was traced and
Mayor targets untidy Waroros Market and Night Bazaar
Will he remember how it was when he worked there?
Chiang Mai Mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn has indicated his
next project is to beautify both the Night Bazaar and the Waroros Market. He
said he plans to implement this immediately and that it should be completed
by December this year.
at the Night Bazaar
The ugly and untidy stalls must be changed. Transparent
material will be used instead of zinc plates for the walls on both sides of
the stalls. Stallholders in front of the market will be moved to the space
on both sides of the road parallel with the Ping River, from the base of
Nakhonping Bridge to the Waroros Market.
All this is being done for cleanness, tidiness and
beauty, says the mayor, who began his working life selling kapi with his
brother from a stall in the market.
Unsightly billboards will also be removed during this time, he said.
at the Waroros Market
Dual nationality traffickers blamed for drug upsurge
Suppression has produced more inventive ways of transporting
On August 4, Pittaya Jitranawat, the director of
Narcotics Control Board, Northern region, was the keynote speaker at a
workshop on ‘Case Studies on Drug Suppression and Solutions; and
Geographic Study’, hosted by the Commander of 3rd Region Army at Lotus
Pang Suan Kaew Hotel.
director of the Narcotics Control Board, Northern Region, Pittaya
Jitranawat, at the workshop.
Pittaya said that 20 drug traffickers on the black list
were aware of being traced by the authorities and had fled to live in
Another 40 traffickers who were not included on the black
list also escaped to neighboring countries. The fact that they possess
identification cards issued by two countries as having both Thai and Burmese
nationalities has become a major obstacle in searching for them.
Although the ya ba trade in the north had been reported
initially as lessening, traffickers have come back again with such groups as
the Go Gang, Wa and other minority groups.
The hill tribe teenagers and youths from minority groups
and aliens who work in the city are being hired to transport drugs for these
dealers. The director warned hill tribe youths, who might be thinking of
conspiring with drug traffickers, to be aware they are being used as tools
and it could cost them their future and/or their lives.
New methods are being used to transport drugs to fool the
inspection officials. For example, drugs are being hidden in a brassiere,
underwear or even inside the rectum. If the quantity was quite large, the
drugs would be hidden inside a spare tire hanging under a vehicle, or hidden
inside car seats.
Pittaya mentioned that in the North, heroin, cocaine, ice
and evaporative substances are being hawked among people in night
entertainment outlets, rather than ya ba.
He added that the Board’s performance on reduction of
opium planting in the North met the target. By next year, the NCB will
completely eliminate all opium growing areas.
The NCB has run two operations with military and police
offices. The first is to deal with the new influx of narcotics into Thailand
through 288 routes and the second is to stop precursor substances from being
sent out from Thailand. Once they are sent out, they are used for producing
ya ba in the neighboring countries.
The NCB found some improvements were still needed. Racial
discrimination still exists. When villagers lack security they will not
assist the authorities to keep a watch on drug trafficking. There are also
some government officials who are still involved with drug dealing.
Lt. Gen. Picharnmeth Muangmanee, commander of the 3rd
Army Region, said he was invited by the Myanmar authority to meet with the
commander of its Southern Army. It was reported that Myanmar authorities had
arrested and punished one high-ranking Myanmar military officer who was
involved in a deal of several hundred thousand ya ba tablets.
China also reported that a heroin trafficker was arrested
recently in northern China and several hundred kilograms were confiscated.
These were mentioned to demonstrate that neighboring countries have placed
more importance on, and extended more cooperation with each other in
solutions for drug problems.
With the main factory production sites being in the neighboring
countries, one is tempted to point out the old adage that ‘one swallow
does not make a summer’!
Millions of methamphetamine pills destined for Thailand
Thai anti-narcotic officials have warned
that the country may be facing a flood of drugs in the near future. There
are millions of methamphetamine pills, or ‘ya ba’ currently stored in
many secret spots along Thailand’s northern border, which are waiting to
be smuggled into Thailand later, according to the Office of the Narcotics
Control Board (ONCB).
Thailand’s war against drugs last year forced many
drug lords to flee into neighboring countries. These drug barons may try to
take advantage of any relaxation by the Thai authorities along the border
to try to get back into business, according to senior ONCB official,
Thailand’s anti-drug officials have detected a
resurgence of heroin and other narcotic drugs lately, as a result of drug
suppression operations in China and Myanmar.
Heroin smuggling has more than doubled so far this year,
compared to the same period last year, according to ONCB officials. More
“club drugs”, like ecstasy, cocaine and ketamine have been found in
entertainment places in northern Thailand.
“Drug smugglers might change their transport routes
back into Thailand and find new groups of carriers such as hill tribe
teenagers and local students to try to deceive officials,” Pittaya said.
Around twenty drug lords have fled to Laos and Myanmar.
The Thai authorities are cooperating with the two countries to get these
traffickers deported to Thailand.
No newly produced methamphetamines have been found in
the latest seizure of the pills smuggled into Thailand. Pittaya also
dismissed reports that PCP - the new narcotic substance - was being
smuggled into Thailand. So far there have been no seizures of PCP in the
country, he said. However, some PCP had been detected in some fishing
travelers, but only in very small quantities, he added.
The ONCB is confident that Myanmar’s recent tough
measures on drug suppression and its cooperation with Thailand along their
common border will help stamp out the cross-border traffic in drugs. (TNA)
THAI blames weather
for Mae Hong Son crash
Undercarriage collapsed on landing claimed
Thai Airways International (THAI) insists its TG 198
aircraft landing in Mae Hong Son on Saturday, August 7 suffered from an
undercarriage failure following a rough landing due to bad weather and high
Tewan Damronghat, THAI’s manager at Mae Hong Son Airport
said the aircraft’s nose wheels did not fail to fully extend before
landing, despite all the reports in the popular media. He claimed that the
collapse of the undercarriage was due to a heavy landing on the runway caused
by the changeable strong wind and rain at the airport that afternoon. He
added that the conditions in Mae Hong Son changed very quickly, and high
winds could spring up without warning.
The plane was a THAI ATR-72 aircraft, flying from Chiang
Mai to arrive at Mae Hong Son airport at 4.35 p.m. In the landing, it scraped
along the tarmac for 100 meters, sliding to a stop across the runway. None of
the twenty-eight passengers or four crew members were injured.
The stricken plane was removed to the old terminal the
next day. The cost of the damage is yet to be confirmed as THAI will wait for
the mechanics from the THAI HQ in Bangkok to confirm the damage.
Chiang Mai mayor announces administration team changes
Three months trial over
Boonlert Buranupakorn, Chiang Mai Municipality mayor, has
announced changes to his team following the three months trial period from
April - July 2004 for his new council.
He added that the changes were based on ability and
appropriateness, not because of internal conflicts.
The changes are Manas Sirimaharaj, the deputy mayor for
finance being moved to public health, Poolsawas Worawal, from public health
to public works and Chatree Chuamanocharn, from public works to finance.
Mayor Boonlert said all his deputy mayors would work most
efficiently and at full capacity; however, there will be more team
evaluations in the next 3-6 months, so that they could work to meet the
municipality’s goals and targets.
Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever outbreak in Mae Hong Son
103 cases reported
The Communicable Disease Control Division of Mae Hong Son
Provincial Public Health Office reported 103 people were infected with
Dengue Haemorrhagic fever in Mae Hong Son province.
The breakdown showed 53 lived in the Muang district, 40
were from Mae Sariang district, 4 from Sop Moei, 3 from Pai, 2 from Khun
Yuam district and 1 from Pang Mapha district. Hemorrhagic fever struck in
all Mae Hong Son’s districts, except Mae La Noi district, said the
Last year only 83 cases were reported with Dengue
Haemorrhagic Fever and the rise to 103 is worrying, despite the fact that
the Muang and Mae Sariang District Public Health Offices have attempted to
control the spread of this disease by spraying chemicals to kill mosquitoes
and have encouraged residents to get rid of mosquito breeding grounds.
1 million fish celebrate Her Majesty the Queen’s birthday
Saluay Niramai, Public
Relations Department, Mae Hong Son
Officials announced that 1 million fish, all local Thai
fish strains, would be released in response to HM the Queen’s initiatives
in promoting Thai natural resources.
Chod Charnarong of the Mae Hong Son Provincial Fishery
Office said that pla soi kao, pla baa, pla tapian kao, and pla tapianthong
were released on August 12 in the Mae Hong Son natural water resources.
The first batch of 119,000 fish were released at the Mae
Hong Son Provincial Land Development Office area in Tambon Pangmoo, Muang
District, and the rest are being distributed to the public in each district,
until all one million have safely swum away.
Wat Suan Dok community protests building extensions
Insult to Buddhism being claimed
People in Suan Dok community have protested against the
construction of a three storey dormitory into six storeys, claiming it will
be an eye-sore and an insult to the religion. Signatures were collected in
front of the main sermon hall of Suan Dok Temple on Asarnhabucha Day, July
were signed in front of the main sermon hall of Suan Dok Temple.
A petition was drawn up that was later given to the
Chiang Mai MP at the Thai Rak Thai party office, to the Chiang Mai governor,
and to the Chiang Mai mayor, to request them to review the impact of the
construction on the temple.
The local residents protested against this once before
when Prawit Srisophon was governor. As a result, the construction was
stopped for over two years before suddenly starting again. Chiang Mai
Municipality has been asked the question of how permission for such
construction has been granted.
construction can be seen from the temple.
The three storey building is situated outside the
perimeter fence of the temple but in front of the main sermon hall.
Surapol Wiriyapan, the chairperson of Baan Chum Muang Yen
Club of Maha Chulalongkorn University, Suan Dok Temple, and the former
chairperson of Suan Dok community, said people in this community felt that
it was inappropriate to build a high building in the area close to Suan Dok
three-storey building which the owner wants to make into six storeys.
The face of the main Buddha image enshrined inside the
hall is pointing to the dormitory. If the extension was completed and there
were people living there, they could hang their clothes and undergarments
there, which would be a religious insult.
There is also the situation of heavy construction trucks
and the impact on the environment.
Dwellers will have to use temple parking spaces. There
will be vehicles driving in and out day and night, which will cause a
nuisance for people living close by and for the pupils of Suan Dok School.
It was reported that the owner of the dormitory being
extended claimed that she came from a royal family of Chiang Tung and she
knew high-up people in this country. It was alleged that she had asked the
building contractor to threaten people to keep away from becoming involved
in this situation.
The protesters are looking for action from responsible
agencies in finding out whether permission for this construction is in line
with the Building Act. The dormitory previously requested an extension to a
height of 26 meters but what is being extended now is for 30 meters high.
Related agencies must give clear explanation to the temple, people living in
this community and other Buddhists living in Chiang Mai.
Chiang Mai Mayor Pakorn Buranupakorn said the
municipality would ask for the dormitory construction to be suspended while
an investigation is conducted to find out whether permission for the
construction has been granted properly. The municipality has assigned staff
working in the building control section to check this against municipal
As prescribed in such regulations, the maximum allowable height of any
building in an area within 100 meters of a temple or school is 16 meters.
Deputy PM speaks on human trafficking
Chiang Rai is the gateway says Wissanu
At a seminar in Chiang Rai, Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-Ngarm
said Chiang Rai could become a transit route for human trafficking, a
situation that worries the Thai government, as well as the United Nations.
“This human flesh trade is regarded as an international problem, when
Chiang Rai is the gateway to Burma, Laos and southern China,” he said.
PM Dr Wissanu Krea-Ngarm (3rd right), and Dr Jakrapob Penkair, the
government spokesman (2nd right) at the seminar. (Photo by Saksit
“It (Chiang Rai) can be the transit point for human
trade,” he remarked, adding that “human trafficking still exists in the
country because some government officials are involved with it,” he said,
without indicating which officials, or which departments.
Jadoon Apichartabute, an inspector at the Ministry of
Interior, said Thailand has been blamed by international agencies for
relaxing vigilance on the use of alien labor, as well as trafficking in
women and children.
The UN has paid interest in Thailand’s human flesh
trade, especially the service girls transported from Thailand abroad.
“This human trafficking is considered and counted in the national agenda,
such as the war on poverty, war on drugs and war on corruption. Many sides
concerned would come to help solve this social problem, and find the right
management even if it will be with the tough action that is pledged by
Deputy Prime Minister Purachai Piumsomboon,” Jadoon said.
The latest report announced was that the Thai government
would spend 500 million baht to tackle the flesh trade, and other social
problems. PM Thaksin said that the government would deal with human
trafficking the same way it dealt with illicit drugs. The report did not
elaborate on how this would be done.
However, Dr Wissanu added that the government wants to change the
infamous Golden Triangle from the negative impacts to become positive.
Solar cells for Chiang Rai
Will power two fluoro’s and the government TV channel
Chiang Rai Provincial Electricity Authority is installing
solar cells to 5,213 households in rural areas to provide them electricity
under the rural development budget. This will cost 146 billion baht.
Currently, the installation was being done in Chiang
Rai’s Muang district, Mae Sai, Terng, and Mae Chan districts, stated
Surachai Rongjamras, assistant head of the marketing division of the Chiang
Rai Provincial Electricity Generating Authority.
By the winter season, solar cells will be furnished to
targeted households in Parn, Wiang Papao and Mae Suay districts since these
households are located in areas where the officers can not reach during the
The solar cell can generate 120 watts of electric power.
However, this solar cell can power only two fluorescent lams and a 14 inch
television. The cell can be used to provide them light during the night and
a channel to receive government information and news, said Surachai.
It is estimated that the installation to all 5,213
targeted houses will be finished within 9 months. After installation, Tambon
Administration Organizations would oversee and provide maintenance for the
solar cells within their responsible areas. The solar cell is said to
generate electricity for approximately 15-20 years.
Dromedary dies in Chiang Mai zoo after tea
A female dromedary (camel) has died at Chiang Mai zoo,
not long after giving birth to four babies. Veterinarian Chatri Kuhataeparuk
suspected that the camel might have succumbed to pneumonia.
of the camels left at Chiang Mai Zoo.
An autopsy will be carried out at the Lampang Animal
Disease Autopsy Center. The actual cause of death will be known next week.
The 11-year-old camel was bought from Australia and two
months ago gave birth to four baby camels. Three of them are now feeding
independently, while the fourth will now have to be fed by the zookeepers.
One humped camels are called dromedary camels, which have their origins
in the North Africa continent. They are well adapted for extreme climates
and harsh terrains, especially in the dessert. Hairy ears and heavy eyebrows
with long eyelashes cover the face from the sun and blowing sand. They eat
vegetation that other desert animals cannot tolerate. Since they sweat very
little, dromedary camels can go long periods without water. The hump stores
fat for times when food is scarce.
Locals looking for reopening of Kiew Pha Wog Burmese border checkpoint
Ministry of Interior has the power
Villagers of Ban Arunothai, Moo 10 (formerly Ban Nong
Ouk) want the Kiew Pha Wog border crossing to be reopened. Their business
and incomes have been negatively affected in the past two years since the
checkpoint was closed.
of the 133rd Calvary Battalion, Pha Muang Task Force is located in front of
the Kiew Pha Wog checkpoint.
Boonruang Karnman, a member of Chiang Mai Provincial
Administration Organization, as the representative of these people,
submitted a letter to Chiang Mai provincial authorities in early June 2004
but received no response. He then submitted the case again to PM Thaksin
Shinawatra during the mobile cabinet meeting in Lamphun province on July 28,
Muang Task Force bunker opposite the closed Thai-Burmese checkpoint.
This time, the issue received some action and a letter
was prepared for submission to the local Thai-Burmese Border Committee (TBC)
for considering reopening the Kiew Pha Wog checkpoint.
Somsak Ninbancherdkul, commander of a special unit of the
133rd Calvary Battalion, Pha Muang Task Force responsible for the area, said
that the power to open or close the checkpoint belongs to Chiang Mai
Provincial Authorities led by the Chiang Mai governor, who need approval
from the Ministry of Interior.
Muang Task Force soldier on patrol around the Ban Arunothai border village
near Kiew Pha Wog checkpoint.
The Kiew Pha Wog border crossing was first opened on
October 24, 1997. Since then it has opened and closed many times. Now all
that is needed is an announcement from Chiang Mai provincial authorities for
This year, the MDX Group Company of Thailand has been
allowed through this checkpoint. The company has been contracted to build
the Tha Sang dam located at the Salween River inside Myanmar 150 kilometers
away from the checkpoint. This is a part of a Thai-Burmese collaborative
project to generate electric power to sell to Thailand.
So far, the company has made only a few trips into Myanmar to conduct
surveys and transport some materials. Once the actual construction begins,
50-100 trucks loaded with materials and equipment would go through this
checkpoint each day.
Chiang Rai-Laos cable car idea needs more discussions
Provincial governor in Laos sees potential, but needs government approval
Tao Somporn Wannasi, the governor of Huay Sai province in
Laos, said he would be pleased to support the Chiang Rai provincial
authorities, by assisting with the cable car construction project; however,
he must consult with the Laos central government first.
On August 7, Chiang Rai governor, Dr Narin Panichakitch
assigned Bampen Binthaisong, the district officer of Wiang Kaen, along with
Buasorn Prachamon, the Chiang Rai MP, to further negotiate with the Laos
authorities over the progress of the cable car plan.
Tao Somporn of Laos said they were happy to cooperate
with Thai authorities and this was a development project for international
relations as well as tourism promotion in this Golden triangle region.
He said he was not against the ambitious Thai plan, but
this project had to be approved by the Laos government first.
Chiang Rai Governor Narin Panichakitch initiated the
plans for the cable car system across the borders to Burma and Laos, in the
Chiang Saen district. This plan is also supported by the Thai government.
However, there was no indication given in the latest
communiqu้ from the Chiang Rai Public Relations Department as to who
would foot the bill and who would collect the revenue from ticket sales.
The 1st Cavalry Division and Pha Muang Task Force move towards an e-Army
Riding electronic horses?
Modern technology is being incorporated into the
operation of military units for several reasons. Firstly is to respond to
Army policy that suggests the use of technology to enhance capability and
efficiency of military units is part of modernization.
military operation to control aliens crossing the Mekong River in Chiang
Another reason is the fact that the area under the
responsibility of the 1st Cavalry Division and Pha Muang Task Force is quite
large, with many units under their supervision.
Maj. Gen. Manas Pao-rik, commander of the 1st Cavalry
Division and Pha Muang Task Force, is incorporating full use of IT and other
modern technologies into military operations in the areas of control and
equipment being used by the task force personnel to assist operations.
Currently, Pha Muang Task Force is already using IT
systems in its activities. This includes a paper-less office system, video
conferencing through hi-speed communicating systems, and installing
additional circuits to maximize the power of Army radio communications. With
all these in place, Pha Muang Task Force is considered as having made best
use of technology among all units in the 3rd Army Region.
Training for military personnel is also important. Pha
Muang Task Force emphasizes training of its personnel on how to use the new
Trouble looming regarding
Long Necked Karen peoples
Aliens ask PM Thaksin for help
Suphot Laowansiri, provincial governor of Mae Hong Son,
has admitted that representatives of long necked Karen people living in Ban
Nam Piang Din and Ban Huay Sua Thao, tambon Pha Bong, Muang district, Mae
Hong Son province, submitted a letter to PM Thaksin Shinawatra last month.
child and baby long necked Karen in Mae Hong Son.
The letter was to request his assistance in finding two
of their relatives who were abducted by businessmen in 1997.
According to Mae Hong Son Governor Suphot, “The long
necked Karen people originally came from Khya State in Myanmar. They escaped
as refugees from the war inside Myanmar and have lived in the area of Mae
Hong Son province for more than 10 years. They have now become an important
tourism symbol of Mae Hong Son. It is not right for capitalist business
entrepreneurs to take these long necked Karens out of the area to use as
tourism attractions. Taking them out of the confinement in the Mae Hong Son
area is also considered as a violation of immigration laws on the grounds it
is bringing illegal aliens into the country. Furthermore, it is also
employment, which is not in line with the objectives defined in the
regulations covering alien registration. It’s not right for capitalists to
take long necked Karen to show outside the area, as they should be allowed
to live naturally in their own way,” said the governor.
It was revealed that the two Karen reportedly abducted
were Miss Moo Pli, 24, and Miss Moo Tue, 23. They were taken to Ban Ya Pha
in Tambon Tha Ton, Mae Ai district, Chiang Mai province, where long necked
Karen people are being shown to tourists.
Meanwhile, Adisorn Khammerdsiri, Mae Ai chief district
officer, admitted that there are some entrepreneurs who have set up a
village of long necked Karen people. The entrepreneurs have already taken
all 20-30 Karen people living in this village for registration as alien
Further examination of the problem has shown that in Mae
Ai district, there are currently not one, but two long necked Karen villages
in tambon Tha Ton. One of them is Ban Kor Ae. This village is 5 kilometers
from Ban Ya Pha and is the village to which the allegedly abducted two long
necked Karen people from Mae Hong Son were taken.
The businessmen who planned the abduction is a Lahu hill
tribesman known only by his nickname ‘Addy’. He and some lowland
business people worked together in the tour business. There were officials
who facilitated the abduction from Mae Hong Son to this village.
Apparently their relatives tried several times to search
for them. However, the influential businessmen stopped the Karen people from
Ban Nam Piang Din from entering the village at Ban Ya Pha where the two long
necked Karen girls were being held. The relatives then heard that PM Thaksin
Shinawatra would visit Mae Hong Son and prepared a submission to the prime
minister requesting his assistance. The prime minister is the last resort in
their quest to see their relatives again.
The Mae Hong Son governor finished by saying, “As this
problem has been raised, an investigation will be made clearly and
thoroughly. The report will then be submitted to Suwat Tantipat, Chiang Mai
governor. If the data obtained relates to the missing women from Mae Hong
Son, they will be sent back immediately,” he added.
It would appear that there is more than one group keen on using these
refugees as tourist attractions, but are quite happy to keep them as aliens,
where they can be controlled more easily. There are many questions still
unanswered, and it will be interesting to see if the PM responds.
Chiang Mai Administrative Court presents three year results
Arlai Ingkawanich, director-general of Chiang Mai
Administrative Court has reported on the ‘Chiang Mai Administrative Court
Meets Lanna People’ project.
The forum was held at Duang Tawan Hotel, Chiang Mai
province, and attended by more than 500 people from Chiang Mai and
neighboring provinces, personnel from government and private sectors, as
well as students from various institutes in the North.
Arlai stated that Chiang Mai Administrative Court is the
first ‘Administrative Court of the First Instance’ established
upcountry. The court began functioning in 2001 and now has seven judges.
Chiang Mai Administrative Court provides services
covering nine provinces of the upper north including Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai,
Mae Hong Son, Lampang, Phrae, Nan, Phayao, Uttaradit and Lamphun with plans
for setting up another administrative court in Phrae.
Over the period from 30 July 2001 to 28 July 2004, a
total of 624 cases have gone through the Administrative Court in Chiang Mai.
Among these, 95 cases have already had verdicts passed, while another 529
have been settled out of court. Legal action in the entire region totaled
967. Chiang Mai was the highest, followed by Chiang Rai (120), Lampang (82)
and Uttaradit (57).
by Chiang Mai Customs officials
Officials from the Customs Office at Chiang Mai
International Airport revealed that during the past two years they have
intercepted contraband goods totaling over one million baht per month.
vehicles at the Customs Office.
The principal items include automobiles, electric
appliances, clothes, luxury goods such as wine and cigarettes as well as
Booncherd Jantrawatana, head of the Customs Office at
Chiang Mai International Airport said they have confiscated six vehicles
this year with a duty value of over 4.5 million baht.
The smuggling methods were diverse. Some are hidden in
containers with non-auto goods, whilst others are disassembled and brought
in as parts, with the lower duty applicable. They are then reassembled in
Cross-border smuggling is generally getting vehicles out
of Thailand, rather than into Thailand, he said. Smuggling automobiles into
the country across the northern border seems impossible since the route is
too. Most illegal imports come from the south where the road is in good
condition. Most of the vehicles come from Malaysia and Singapore and of the
high price brands as Mercedes, Jaguar or BMW.
So far, the auto smugglers have not identified vehicles as a big
business. Most cars are smuggled in by persons who want to have them for
their own use.
3,800 ya ba pills found at border village
Three arrested, including one Burmese
The Pha Muang Task Force has released a statement that
the Ban Arunothai Village committee members in cooperation with Pha Muang
Task Force have charged three drug traffickers in their village.
The local people tipped off the authorities, led by Lt
Gen Manas Pao-in, the commander of Pha Muang Task Force. On August 6, the
village safety and security guards and the Task Force arrested the three
suspects: Laosue sae Yang, 30, a resident of Ban Arunothai, with 400 ya ba
tablets; Kaungju sae Joe, 29, also from the Ban Arunothai, and Archai sae
Huang, 30, from Burma, with hauls of 3,400 ya ba tablets.
The ya ba was confiscated and all the accused were
brought for further questioning at Tambon Nawai Police Station, Chiang Dao