Vol. III No. 39 - Saturday September 25 - October 1 2004
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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Body of murdered Pattani Provincial Court judge returned to Chiang Mai

Several northern provinces report floods, landslides, road blockages

Hill tribes line up for ID cards

Charitable fund for ailing monks

Mae Hong Son airport expansion

Thailand to be tourism capital of Asia?

Clean-up of Java weeds from Mae Kao canal

Japanese former governor awarded Knight Grand Cross

200 people assemble to save the Ping River

Motorists with dark tinted windows face 2,000 baht fine

Two schoolboys drown in Nan River after heavy rains

Classes offered to prepare yummy Thai dishes

Flooded Chiang Mai gets ready for dry season

Clean food tastes good at only 221 restaurants and 53 food stalls

Governor’s eye in the sky surveys flood damage

Here come the Fun Police volunteers

Entertainment venue closing times now gazetted

Body of murdered Pattani Provincial Court judge returned to Chiang Mai

Saksit Meesubkwang and Nopniwat Krailerg

The body of Pattani Provincial Court Judge Rapin Ruankaew has been returned to his hometown in the Saraphi district in Chiang Mai. Judge Rapin was shot dead on September 17 by Islamic youth activists.

A reception ceremony was held at the airport with Chiang Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat, Udom Wattatatham, chief judge of Region 5, Chiang Mai Provincial Court officials, and over 200 prosecutors, lawyers, soldiers, police and his relatives to receive the coffin. Phra Raja Sithacharn, the abbot of Phra Thart Doi Suthep temple, performed a funeral rite at the airport.

Punada Ruankaew, 4, Judge Rapin’s daughter at the reception.

Judge Rapin, 37, was shot dead by a group of Muslim youth activists in front of his one year old son, Punayuth Ruankaew, and his mother Pensri Ruankaew, while he was on the way home to pick up his wife Duangnapha, who is also a judge. While stopped at a traffic light three youths on two motorcycles rode up; one shot him with a .38 and the other with a 9 mm pistol.

Police in Pattani have reported they have been able to arrest one of the suspects. He is Abdulloh Pasi, 20, a student of Triam Suksa Wittaya in Muang district. They found a concealed 9 mm pistol when they searched him.

Meanwhile, Defense Minister Gen Chettha Thanajaro said he suspects the motive for the killing was that Judge Rapin had sat on at least eight court cases dealing with violence in the South.

From now on, more police and soldiers are to be assigned to guard high-ranking officials in an attempt to impede the threat Southern rebels are now posing to them. There is reportedly a high bounty being paid for killing these officials.

Minister of Justice Pongthep Thepkanchana said his ministry has asked Dr Pornthip Rojanasununt, deputy director of the Institute of Forensic Science, to investigate the case and collect all evidence at the scene. He also warned all judges in the deep southern provinces to be careful and called for cooperation from local people to help keep watch on the rebels.

Several northern provinces report floods, landslides, road blockages

Staff reporters

In Lampang, a heavy rainstorm hit Hang Chat district, causing flooding in 115 villages. Public relief workers with the provincial authorities had to evacuate more than 3,000 villagers from high-risk and dangerous areas, but they were hampered by rapid flash floods.

In Chiang Rai, the Kok River water level rose rapidly and caused soil erosion along its banks. The owners of six houses had to moved from the high-risk areas, while more than 5,000 households were affected by the floods and some farms were destroyed, especially those in Phya Mengrai, Toeng, and Muang Chiang Rai districts and municipal areas.

The provincial authorities are providing those affected with food, drinking water and other necessities.

Somkid Phanukarn, chief of the Mae Hong Son Provincial Office of Prevention and Public Disaster Relief Operations, said the province was damaged by floods between September 8-13, particularly in Pai, Pang Mapha and Khun Yuam districts. Damage was estimated at more than 24 million baht, with more than 9,000 people affected and more than 5,000 rai of agricultural farmlands destroyed.

Moreover, it was expected damage by the floods that occurred between September 14 -17 would be much higher.

On September 17, landslides and uprooted trees blocked Highway 1095 (Mae Hong Son-Pai-Chiang Mai) at the Kiew Lom checkpoint area in Pai district. More than 40 vehicles were stuck, paralysing traffic flow. Highway district officers and workers are still tackling the road blockages.

The road linking Ban Sobsoi and Ban Naisoi in tambon Pangmoo was also blocked by landslides at more than 10 spots. The high-risk areas were located near the Pai River in Muang district.

Highway 1095 (Mae Hong Son-Pai) was also reported to be blocked by landslides and fallen trees. Workers were dispatched to clear the road.

In Phayao, the provincial governor issued a warning of imminent floods caused by overflowing lakes and rivers, as well as forest flash floods. Governor Boworn Rattanaprasit asked the public to be alert and prepared to be evacuated as the water levels on the Ing and Yom rivers and Phayao Lake had risen dramatically.

Hill tribes line up for ID cards

Staff reporter

The Local Administration Department in Mae Ai district Chiang Mai has launched its identity card project for tribal minority group members who have not yet been granted Thai citizenship.

The Interior Ministry has issued regulations through the General Registration Affairs Division that those over the age of 12 years who do not have a Thai ID card must get one. This ID card is printed with the bearer’s name and a 13 digit code. Everyone will be recorded in the census registration data. The ID card has to be renewed every six years.

According to Amporn Prasit, the head of the naturalization process, under the Census Registration Section of the LAD, the ID cards for the tribal minorities are similar to the local Thai ID cards.

18,435 people are eligible to register: 6919 hill tribesmen, 151 former Chinese Kuomintang nationalist soldiers, 351 independent Chinese Haw tribesmen, 681 Burmese displaced persons, 1,344 Burmese immigrants, 105 Thai Lue tribesmen, 8,884 hill tribe community members.

The procedure will last until October 1 and then be carried out in other districts of Chiang Mai in November, and in the other provinces next year.

Charitable fund for ailing monks

Public invited to donate to fund for sick monks

Autsadaporn Kamthai

A fund to support ailing monks in the North was established on September 11. Dr Worapun Unnajak, director of the Heart Centre of Chiang Mai Ram Hospital, Chiang Mai Mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn, and Sampot Tianthong, director of the fund, chaired the conference, at the Lotus Pang Suan Kaew Hotel, to launch the fund.

The aim is to support monks in ill health, and provide equipment at the Sujinno Building of Maharaj Nakhon Chiang Mai Hospital, which offers free treatment for them.

To celebrate the 60th anniversary of HM the King’s reign next year and HM the Queen’s 6th Cycle birthday anniversary this year, the Heart Emergency Centre of Chiang Mai Ram Hospital donated 5 million baht to the fund.

It will help relieve the financial burden of the Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University, that pays over 24 million baht a year to support and take care of the monks who obtain medical treatment at the Maharaj Nakhon Chiang Mai Hospital.

A Pha Pa merit-making ceremony (a Buddhist ceremony to present yellow robes to monks) will be arranged on October 9 at Wat Phra Singh Woramahawihara temple in Chiang Mai to raise money for the fund. Senior monks from 16 northern provinces will attend the ceremony.

The public is invited to make donations to the fund. Please contact the fund coordination centre in Bangkok at 0-2939-0714-7 ext 109, 120 or Heart Emergency Centre, Chiang Mai Ram Hospital at 0-5322-4861 ext 4400.

Mae Hong Son airport expansion

Buddhist temple, houses to make way for runway

Staff reporters

Mae Hong Son provincial authorities have met to discuss a plan to expand the local airport.

The provincial committee overseeing the project said PM Thaksin Shinawatra approved the 262 million baht improvement during his recent tour to this northern Thai border province.

Mae Hong Son Deputy Governor Sithichai Prasertsri, speaking on behalf of the chief of the working group said, “The plan is to extend the runway 200 meters, but this will impinge upon the present location of the old temple Wat Banmai, and 30 households, which will have to be relocated.”

About 102 million baht has been allocated for the relocation, while the rest of the money will be spent on the improvement and expansion of the runway on 109 rai of mostly forest land, and another 14 rai belonging to nearby villagers.

An un-named Mae Hong Son airport official said that Wat Banmai should be replaced by another temple at a new location.

Thailand to be tourism capital of Asia?

Government wants more Western tourists

Phitsanu Thepthong

“How To Sustain Our World’s Tourism” was the theme of an international conference held at Chiang Mai Rajabhat University and presided over by Krirk-krai Jirapaet the Deputy Minister of Tourism and Transport.

The conference was to provide a forum for international academics, students, educators, scholars, researchers, tourism industry operators, executives and government officials to explore issues related to the world’s sustainable tourism. 60 people in the tourism industry from 10 countries in the Asia-Pacific region attended.

“Tourism is one of the country’s main generators of revenue. So the Thai government wants to draw more and more tourists,” said the deputy minister. Adding that the government wanted to see billions of US dollars earned annually from tourism.

After the 1997 economic slump, the Thai tourism sector needed to recover and be upgraded under “modern tourism management”. Today, Thailand was ranked only fourth after China, Hong Kong and Malaysia in the Asian region, he remarked.

“There seems to be more and more Chinese restaurants, but I would like to see more farang (Western) tourist arrivals,” he stressed.

Last year, six to seven million domestic tourists traveled within the country. “In the North, Chiang Mai is still so charming and attractive to attract visitors and tourists, as it has been long rich in arts and cultural tourist spots, local handicrafts production and souvenir products, and warm hospitality of the beautiful northern women,” he said.

However Chiang Mai City had more and more cars on the roads. It had changed. “There are many waitresses in mini-skirts instead of dressing in traditional Thai costumes. Cultural dressing up seems to be fading away in this northern capital,” he said.

The TAT’s goal for 2008 was 20 million tourist arrivals from outside the country. “That is as our ambitious goal, to promote Thailand as the tourism capital of Asia, with world-class standards in service, high quality of tourist spots and efficient tourism marketing strategies.”

The Thailand tourism area could be expanded into the neighbouring countries of southern China, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam in the Great Mekong sub-region, the conference was told. “Tourism cooperation is very important and better than each country working separately. Local participation is also needed for tourism promotion and development,” he added.

Krirk-krai pointed out that some highlights of tourism issues today are how to manage tourism influx and deal with the overcrowded tourist spots which should be upgraded, like those promoted in the “Unseen in Thailand” tourism programs.

The two-day international conference was organized by the Tourism Industry Department, Faculty of Business Management.

Clean-up of Java weeds from Mae Kao canal

Saksit Meesubkwang

The Mae Kao canal in the Pimuk Housing Estate area in tambon Tasala in the Muang district is now being cleared of Java weeds, thanks to students from Wat Kha Jao and soldiers from the 33rd Military Circle (Kawila Camp).

The clean-up is being coordinated by the Chiang Mai Provincial Administration Organization (PAO), in cooperation with the tambon Tasala Administration Organization (TAO).

Soldiers from the 33rd Military Circle (Kawila Camp) are getting rid of Java weeds in Mae Kao canal in the area of Pimuk Housing Estate in tambon Tasala, Muang district, Chiang Mai.

PAO deputy president Udom Suwitsakdanont said that the PAO realized the significance of water resources for people and agriculture. The weeds had triggered floods to nearby areas and troubled residents.

The PAO therefore wanted to improve the 20 km long canal, which is of considerable importance to Chiang Mai residents as it flows through five districts and areas falling under 10 TAOs.

The clean-up will run to September 30. The PAO is cooperating with soldiers and communities along the canal, and relevant official organizations like Harbours Department have been assisting.

Japanese former governor awarded Knight Grand Cross

For initiating OTOP 25 years ago

Nopniwat Krailerg

The international conference “One Village One Product (OVOP) Summit” with the unwieldy title, “Uplift Grassroots Economy Sustainability” took place from September 16-19 at Chiang Mai University’s Convention Center in Chiang Mai.

PM Thaksin with Morihiko Hiramatsu, former governor of Oita province in Japan, who was given the Knight Grand Cross (First Class) of the Most Noble Order of the Crown of Thailand.

More than 500 people participated, including 65 of Thailand’s resident ambassadors; representatives from 14 countries running OVOP projects; representatives from export promotion agents in 30 countries including ASEAN countries, Japan, China, Taiwan, South Korea, India, Tunisia, New Zealand and Australia.

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said that the Thai OTOP (One Tambon One Product) project has been successful beyond expectations. Before this project, the total sales figure of tambon producers in the communities in 2001 was at 215 million baht. However, since the introduction of the OTOP project, sales had soared, to earn almost 24 billion baht in 2002 and 33 billion baht in 2003.

PM Thaksin added, “From the social aspect, this project will be the solution to slow down the immigration to big cities such as Bangkok because each tambon or village will be making products and earning income. The government’s main objective is to continually sustain grassroots economy stability.”

“Moreover, this project accords with the self-sufficient economy method initiated by His Majesty the King. It will lead the country to learn how to develop its own base and economy stability,” said the PM.

After his address, PM Thaksin presented the Knight Grand Cross (First Class) of the Most Noble Order of the Crown of Thailand to Morihiko Hiramatsu, the former governor of Oita province in Japan who began the “One Village One Product” concept more than 25 years ago.

At the summit, there were also exhibitions where products from Thai OTOP ventures and other participating countries were displayed and sold. These included 51 domestic producers and 21 foreign producers from India, the Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Malaysia, Taiwan and Italy.

The main Thai products on display dealt with home decorations, handicrafts, arts, clothes and costumes, Thai herbs, food and beverages.

200 people assemble to save the Ping River

Saksit Meesubkwang

A seminar on implementing an environmental conservation and development plan for the Ping River and its tributaries was held on September 17 at Lotus Pang Suan Kaew Hotel, Chiang Mai.

Deputy Governor Prinya Panthong (left) and Prasertsuk Jamornmarn (right), director of the Natural Environment and Art Conservation Division, Office of Natural Resources and Environment’s Policy and Planning presided over the seminar.

200 people attended, including the Natural Environment and Art Conservation sub-committee, representatives from Chiang Mai, Lamphun, Tak, Kamphaeng Petch and Nakhon Sawan, as well as district chief officers and representatives from local administration organizations took part.

The seminar aimed at informing relevant organizations and the public about the plan and raising awareness of the value of the Ping River in history, ecology, community art and tradition.

A rehabilitation plan was necessary following the deterioration of the Ping River and its tributaries. The river is vital to not only Chiang Mai people but also those living in provinces through which it flows.

Deforestation along the Ping River bank and at the watershed mouth area has triggered soil erosion and caused a drop in the water level. It also makes flooding more prevalent in the city. To keep a balance of the river’s ecology, the Office of Natural Resource and Environment, Policy and Planning has produced a master plan to revive and develop the environment of the Ping River. For this, cooperation from all relevant organizations and people is required.

Deputy Governor Prinya Panthong and Prasertsuk Jamornmarn, director of the Natural Environment and Art Conservation Division in the Office of Natural Resources and Environment, Policy and Planning, presided.

Motorists with dark tinted windows face 2,000 baht fine

Nopniwat Krailerg
and editorial staff

Motorists with vehicles fitted with dark tinted windows have been warned: they will be fined as these are illegal.

Pol Lt Col Sompong Chamrunphan, deputy superintendent of the Chiang Mai Provincial Traffic Police said that traffic officers have been informed by the National Police Bureau to take action against motorists breaking the law.

He said that this measure has been enforced by Deputy Prime Minister Jaturon Chaisaeng who is chairman of the National Disasters Prevention Committee.

Some of the car windows installed with reflective dark windows may have caused road accidents by oncoming motorists being blinded by the reflection of bright lights at night.

Some motorists might also use dark tinted windows to commit crimes, as people outside could not see into the vehicles.

Pol Lt Col Sompong said that the traffic police would take strict action to crack down on offenders, “If any vehicle owner violates the Traffic and Vehicle Act of 1979, he or she will be charged and fined 2,000 baht,” he said.

Chiangmai Mail approached a motoring spokesman for another view on this problem, since over 90 percent of cars in Thailand run tinted windows. His report outlined that since there are many grades of sunscreen tint, it is presumed that some of these will pass police scrutiny, but is this specified in the 1979 Traffic Act? Cars without window tinting will also use much more fuel as the air-conditioner units have to run more frequently to keep cabin temperatures lower. This runs contrary to the latest push towards energy conservation. To suggest that felons will be thwarted by having no window tinting borders on the ludicrous. Similarly, any reflections that return to a driver from oncoming traffic are less than the intensity of light being received by the oncoming traffic from the first driver’s vehicle. Window tinting across the top of the windshield would result in almost negligible reflections. Other countries specify the degree of tint and perhaps Thailand should be enforcing this standard in the shops that supply the window tinting film.

Two schoolboys drown in Nan River after heavy rains

Staff reporters

Two schoolboys drowned in the Nan River when the floods hit the provincial town of Nan. Following many days of heavy rains, the waters damaged 100 households and farming land in the municipal areas.

Ban Puangpayorm and Ban Thali were flooded by the water overflowing from drainage pipes and the river, while Ban Suan Tarn Community and Ban Donsriserm were also flooded, especially along Norkham Road, and sois in the villages were impassable.

Nan provincial authorities and the Nan Provincial Administration Organization (PAO), led by Governor Dr Suwat Chokesuwattanasakul and PAO president Narin Lao-araya, have dispatched teams with food and other necessities, including survival kits, to assist those affected.

The tragedy on the river occurred when sixteen year old Veeeradej Sungnoen, a Mathayom 1 student at Wiangsa School and another schoolboy from Thawangpha district were practicing for the upcoming boat race competition, an annual tradition for the two districts of Wiangsa and Thawangpha. Their bodies had not been found by the time this item went to press.

Classes offered to prepare yummy Thai dishes

Nopniwat Krailerg

Chuliporn Sighanetra, director of Chiangmai Vocational College, said the Thai government has launched a policy to promote Thai dishes to become international favourites. To follow this, the Office of Vocational Education Committee together with Chiang Mai and Lamphun Vocational Colleges are now holding six-hour vocational courses to teach many famous Thai dishes.

Some of the participants in the training course to prepare tom yum kung, one of the 15 main dishes in the Thai menu, “From Thai Kitchen to World Kitchen”.

More than 100 participants from Chiang Mai and Lamphun provinces are now joining the training courses conducted by the teachers from the Nutrition and Food Science Department and the Domestic Science Department of Chiang Mai Vocational College.

The main aim is to teach how to cook Thai food to high standards of ingredients, taste and cleanliness, with tips for each dish.

All the dishes included in this course are popular among Thais and gourmets worldwide, such as tom yum kung (clear prawn soup with lime), pad Thai (fried noodles, Thai style, tom kha kai (chicken in galangal soup), gaeng kiew waan kai (green chicken curry), panaeng moo (pork in red curry), hor mok moo (steamed curried pork wrapped in banana leaves), tod mun pla krai (fish pastry cake), gaeng phet pedyai (roasted duck in curry), yum nue yang (grilled beef salad), kung padpong karee (fried prawn in Indian-style curry), pad krapao kai (fried chicken with basil), kai padped med mamuang (fried chicken with cashew nuts), gaeng karee kai (chicken in Indian-style curry), and moo sate (BBQ curried pork).

The aim is to produce quality cooks and chefs able to cook standard food, and to add knowledge and extensive experience in cooking which will enable them to work in Thailand and abroad.

Tassanun Juansang, head of the Nutrition and Food Science Department of Chiangmai Vocational College, cited tom yum kung as a world-wide famous Thai dish with a unique taste. “Prawns are available in any country, but not the herbs like galangal, lemongrass and Citrus hystrix leaves. Even though these herbs are also available in some countries, chefs might not know how to cook it properly and they will give the food a bad taste. Galangal and lemongrass will give an appetizing and seasoning odour only when they absorb heat,” she said.

The technique to cook delicious tom yum kung is that prawns should be cooked at the end. As they consist of protein, they will get stiff and dry when exposed to a long period of heat and their sweetness might be lost.

All the participants are taught how to preserve the tenderness of prawn meat. “The sweetness of prawns should be retained. In the past, the prawns were fried in oil, to be dropped into the bowl of soup. However, chilli paste and milk are used instead nowadays,” she said.

Tassanun anticipated that the course will be conducted annually. All entrepreneurs who want their chefs and cooks to receive a course certificate are welcome to contact the Nutrition and Food Science Department, tel. 053-221493.

Flooded Chiang Mai gets ready for dry season

Public boat service along Ping River to reduce traffic jams

Saksit Meesubkwang

The House Commissioners for Local Administration have called on heads of many organizations in Chiang Mai to discuss a plan for water sources and supply during the coming dry season and Ping River excavations.

Wanchai led the press on a tour of the Ping River, pointing out where invaders had encroached. He also showed them excavation work on the river.

On September 17, Maj Gen Intarat Yodbangtoey, chairman of House Commissioners met Chiang Mai senators Thaworn Kiatchaikorn and Dr Arkom Tandilok, and other North-eastern and Southern senators as well as Wanchai Sarntoontat, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Transport, members of the Forestry and Irrigation Departments and heads of public organizations in Chiang Mai.

Wanchai said that in previous years, the Harbours Department was assigned to help excavate the Ping River for a distance of 20 kilometres to solve the problem of shallow waterways and overflowing. This year, after two weeks of heavy rain, Chiang Mai had experienced less severe flooding than in previous years, he said.

When the department started to excavate the Ping riverbank, landowners living close by protested, as did senior ministers, politicians and high-ranking soldiers. The department sued them - about 300 people in total - to have the riverbank declared public property. Some of the protestors agreed to move out and only 30 cases were still under legal process at present.

“However, the Harbours Department is facing a financial shortage,” said Wanchai. “The previous excavation did not cost much, but it faces greater expenditure for the 2005 excavations.”

The permanent secretary added that after the excavation was finished, the department planned to license public boat ferry taxis to create new types of tourism and water transportation for Chiang Mai. “The boats will directly reduce the traffic jam in the city and save time for people who go to work outside the town,” he said.

The first boat landing will be at Don Kaew village in Mae Rim district. The boat route will pass in front of the municipality building and end at Meng Rai Bridge in front of the Sheraton Hotel.

Chiang Mai senator Thaworn said the city faced a drought during the dry season, but in the rainy season it suffered from floods. He therefore suggested Chiang Mai have a water supply for the dry season, and the Irrigation Department should consider this. “There should be check dams along the Ping River to control the amount of water flowing through. However, the check dams must be constructed in both Chiang Mai and Lamphun because the river passes both cities.”

Watershed conservation and development was important, so the Forestry and Land Department should keep watch on the watershed to lessen the severity of drought. In addition, he also suggested that posts should be used to mark the boundary of the river in order to prevent invasion by “capitalists”.

After the conference, Wanchai led the press on a tour on the Ping River to observe the river boundary where some invaders had encroached, but where the state had seized it back.

Clean food tastes good at only 221 restaurants and 53 food stalls

Autsadaporn Kamthai

The Chiang Mai Public Health Office on September 21 presented a “Clean Food Good Taste” sign to 221 restaurants and 53 food stalls in Chiang Mai municipal areas, to guarantee their food quality and taste.

The project was initiated by the Health Department in the Public Health Ministry in 1999 to standardize all food shops and restaurants in the country and indirectly promote the province’s tourism and economy.

Before “Clean Food Good Taste” endorsement is given the Chiang Mai Public Health Office carries out random checks.

Before the restaurants and food stalls were awarded the “Clean Food Good Taste” sign, the Public Health Office has randomly sent inspectors to spot checks at each venue for food quality and hygiene. Only businesses whose food and containers were clean and hygienic receive the endorsement to display.

This year, 221 out of 229 restaurants and 53 out of 154 food stalls were approved. With only one third of food stalls within Chiang Mai municipal areas passing, it was noted that all food stalls have to be careful in their garbage collecting and management, container washing and clothing of cooks and assistants.

Deputy Governor Kwanchai Wongnitikorn chaired the ceremony at the Novotel Hotel.

Governor’s eye in the sky surveys flood damage

Farms and fisheries worst hit

Editorial staff

Chiang Mai’s governor flew over the city last weekend to inspect areas hit by the floods, especially along the Ping River and it tributaries to estimate the cost of the damage caused.

The Ping River nearly overflowing its banks as it passes through Chiang Mai City. (Photo by Nopniwat Krailerg)

On Sunday, September 19, Governor Suwat Tantipat was taken by Border Patrol Police, Region 3 helicopter to inspect the areas from the Mae Taeng, Doi Saket and San Kamphaeng districts in the north to the northeastern and southeastern parts, before heading southwards, then finally flying over the Chiang Mai municipal areas.

He said the rainfall and flooding had decreased, though the worst hit areas were still suffering. The cost of the damage was still being evaluated, he said. The most damaged areas were fish farms and farmland.

“The government is helping the victims of the natural disaster,” he said, adding that local organizations like the Provincial Administration Organization, tambon administration organizations, municipal and district offices and provincial authorities could help with relief immediately, without waiting for central government approval for the budget.

Governor Suwat was accompanied by Thawatwong na Chiang Mai, president of the Provincial Administration Organization, and heads of government divisions and public organizations to hand out survival kits and clothes to over 300 flood victims in 10 tambons and 60 villages in the San Kamphaeng district.

PM Thaksin Shinawatra did similar presentations last week in tambons in Chiang Mai’s San Kamphaeng district, his local electorate.

Here come the Fun Police volunteers

Customers found in venues after closing time face 2,000 baht fine

Nopniwat Krailerg

Chiang Mai administrative officials are to check that entertainment outlets toe the line laid down by the government’s social order. A royal decree on September 16 announced compulsory compliance with the closing times as gazetted, plus not allowing entry to anyone aged under 20 to certain venues, no weapons to be taken into entertainment venues, no obscene shows, no drugs and operating the businesses in accordance with their license.

One of the famous entertainment venues at the Chiang Mai Lands area on Changklan Road where night entertainment is available.

Chiang Mai’s officials have been advised to apply these rules strictly as the government will measure and evaluate their work. If the result of their enforcement is below 80 percent adherence, their evaluation score will be zero. This will also affect the governor, and district officers will be blamed as well.

Chanasuek Nuchai, assistant Muang district officer responsible for provincial security, said that since the government measure of social order was launched, Muang district officials had strictly controlled venues on a nightly basis.

Additionally, 24 territory security volunteers were appointed to work with the existing patrols to check violations of the rules. Inspections include checking for illegal activities.

Chanasuek said that so far 30 venues in Chiang Mai had been closed. For the first offence, an outlet will be closed for 30 days. The second violation will result in a 60 day closure while the third will mean a 90 day closure. After the fourth violation, the business license will be revoked.

“All outlets have to cooperate with the government, especially on disallowing youths aged under 20 to enter. They have to check all guests’ ID cards on entry, and must close at the appointed time,” said Chanasuek.

Customers who are found in venues after closing time face a 2,000 baht fine, while the owner will be fined up to 10,000 baht.

For ‘khao tom’ shops that also sell liquor and play music and close in the early hours of the morning, the police have charged some of their owners with selling alcohol outside the appointed time. If these shops still continued selling alcohol after the appointed time, the administration division would penalize them, said Chanasuek.

The patrol team is keeping a watch on the growing numbers of small pubs and beer bars along the streets. The team looks for youths aged 18-20 who are not allowed to enter entertainment outlets and instead turn to drink at these roadside bars.

Entertainment venue closing times now gazetted

Zoning holds the key

Nopniwat Krailerg

The Ministry of the Interior (MOI) has spoken again, and closing times for entertainment venues are no longer open to debate. It has now promulgated the Interior Ministerial Law, published in the Royal Gazette of September 16 and effective from September 17. Venue owners must strictly follow Section 3(1)-(5) of the penal code or face punishment according to the law.

The Act setting the operating times of entertainment venues first came into being in 2003, and distinguishes between five categories of service locations.

According to Section 3(1), dance venues (with or without partners) within the zoned area and locations operating before this Act may open from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Those outside the zoned area can only open from 9 p.m. and close at midnight.

According to Section 3(2), venues where food, alcohol, tea or other beverages are sold or served may operate from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. to midnight depending upon whether it is inside or outside zoned areas.

Section 3(3) covers showers, massage parlors or saunas inside the zoned areas and locations that were operating before this Act, with service persons, may operate from noon to midnight. Those outside the zoned area may open from 6 p.m. to midnight.

According to Section 3(4), any venue where food or alcohol is sold or served with music performances or other entertainment; or where singers, dancers or waiters are allowed to accompany the customers; or where singing equipment is available to customers; or which has a dance area or where dance performances take place or are allowed to take place, providing it is within the zone and the other venues being operated before this Act may be open from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. The others outside the zoned area may only open from 6 p. m. to midnight.

According to the Section 3(5), venues where food and alcohol are sold or served with music or other performances, which cease at midnight, may operate from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m.

General restaurants where food, beverage and alcohol are sold or served with music, but without live music performances, are not considered entertainment service locations. These may remain open 24 hours; however, music and the sale of alcohol are not allowed after midnight.

To additionally complicate matters, the Ministry of Interior is considering to amend the legislation covering entertainment service locations of 2003 (Act 4) by adding another category: Restaurants similar to service locations according to the Section 3(4) but without music performances and temporary structure restaurants where alcohol is sold and karaoke jukeboxes are available will be grouped together in order to fill a gap in the regulations.

As they are mostly located in community areas, they might be annoying and bothersome to nearby residents, and give rise to threats to the safety of persons and property. The matter is being considered by the Legislation Office in the Ministry of the Interior and will be submitted to cabinet later.

So to provide a short pr้cis, if you know whether you are inside the proscribed zones and your establishment is covered by 3 (1) or 3 (2) then you can stay open until 2 a.m. If you are under 3 (3) then you can open at noon, but must close by midnight. 3 (4) can stay open till 1 a.m. and 3 (5) can also stay open till 1 a.m. Restaurants can stay open 24 hours, but cannot sell alcohol after midnight.

A restaurant that supplies service girls who dance and do massage will be covered by further legislation that will be enacted to cover all possibilities!

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