Bird flu health alert again in Chiang Mai Province
Checks for human-to-human transmission
Public Health officers are keeping a careful watch on the
re-emergence of the bird flu virus in the lower northern provinces
subsequent to an outbreak in Kamphaeng Petch province and the fear of
The Chiang Mai Public Health Office reported there were
no bird flu-affected patients and poultry in the province, but is keeping a
watch on the situation. The Provincial Livestock Office has been inspecting
the suspected areas to make sure the disease is not spreading.
The Ministry of Public Health reported that from July 1 -
September 25, one patient was confirmed as having bird flu, and five were
suspected cases. Four of them lived in Kamphaeng Petch and one in Nonthaburi.
Three of the five have died.
The epidemic in Kamphaeng Petch province is considered
the worst outbreak, as another two infected persons are still carrying the
The possibility of human-to-human transmission is under
investigation after Pranee Thongchan, a 32-year-old patient in Kamphaeng
Phet, possibly contracted the disease from a relative who may have died of
bird flu. Her son is also infected.
However, Public Health Minister Sudarat Keyuraphan said
there was no evidence of human-to-human transmission from a patient called
Pranom after tests results from the Medical Science Department and Siriraj
Hospital failed to show virus mutation.
Pranom and her relatives Pranee, 26, and Sakuntala, 12,
are reported as having had direct contact with chickens at Pranom’s house.
Charal Trinvudhipong, Health permanent-secretary, gave the assurance that
the government and Public Health Ministry would inform the public if the lab
test showed human-to-human transmission occurred.
Lord Buddha’s relics come to Chiang Rai
Final resting place overseen by HRH Princess Ubolratana
HRH Princess Ubolratana was in Chiang Rai this week to
accept relics of the Lord Buddha that have now been housed in front of the
Phra Buddha Nava Lantue image in Chiang Saen district.
This Buddha image, also called the four-nation Buddha, is
one of the most revered and respected in Chiang Rai province.
The Supreme Patriarch presented the relics to the Chiang
Rai provincial authorities to preserve. They were flown up from Bangkok and
the Chiang Rai provincial governor Dr Narin Panitchakitch, Buddhists, and
residents of Chiang Rai and neighboring provinces joined with the princess
to pay respect to the relics, sent from Chulalongkorn University through the
Thai Red Cross Society in Bangkok.
The relics were first worshipped at a ceremony held in
front of the King Mengrai monument allowing the general public to pay their
respects. The relics were then taken to the four-nation Buddha image which
in Chiang Saen district.
While in the North, the princess also presented 1,500
survival kits of dried food, drinking water and other necessities to victims
of recent floods around Chiang Khong, Wiang Kaen and Chiang Saen.
She later flew by helicopter to Bhud Tarn farm in Doi Mae
Salong in Mae Fa Luang district to present 2,000 sports kits and other items
to students of the Border Patrol Police School, planted tea bushes and
presented high grade strains of the tea plant to villagers. This was done to
promote tea-growing so that the local people can produce extra income from
the highland agriculture and development projects.
Chiang Mai province responds to human-to-human spread of bird flu
Fighting cocks to be issued their own ID cards
Nopniwat Krailerg and
Bird flu could spread during the coming winter season,
the head of Animal Health Development in the Chiang Mai Provincial Livestock
Office, veterinarian Somporn Pornvisetkul, has warned.
Somporn Pornvisetkul, the head of Chiang Mai Provincial Livestock Office has
warned the public to be aware of the spreading epidemic and the fears of the
Flock of birds from countries like China would migrate to
Chiang Mai and could cause a recurrence of the avian influenza here, Deputy
Governor Kwanchai Wongnitikorn added. This could affect Chiang Mai’s
tourism season, which starts in early October.
Somporn gave an assurance that the Livestock Office had
ordered all districts to set up special working groups to keep a watch on
the epidemic, control the movement of all poultry, eradicate infected
poultry and cooperate with relevant organizations.
All districts have to report the bird flu situation in
their area to the Livestock Office which would forward the information to
the Ministry Agriculture and Cooperative, Livestock Department and Chiang
Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat.
According to the examination of birds in the five
districts - Mae Rim, Mae Taeng, Chorm Thong, Doi Lor and Hang Dong - the
virus found in the poultry is called “Newcastle” which is the strain
mostly occurring in Thailand, not the H5 N1 virus.
The Livestock Office has culled a thousand chickens in
Hang Dong and Doi Lor districts after the bird flu reemerged. Its officials
are also on standby with medicines, antibiotics, protective clothing and
Of greatest concern are fighting cocks and free-range
poultry, as they are considered the main vectors for the spread of the
disease, as opposed to farm chickens. This concern was raised during a
conference between the Public Health Offices and Livestock Offices in six
Northern provinces at the 10th Disease Prevention and Control Office, Chiang
It was noted during the conference, held on September 28,
that free-range poultry and fighting cocks are more robust, so they can
carry the virus longer, giving rise to a greater risk of spreading the
Veterinarian Wittaya Timsard from the Animal Health and
Hygiene Office in Chiang Mai said that fighting cocks would have to have ID
cards and before they were relocated, their owners had to inform the
All poultry being transferred out of the province have to
have their droppings checked at the Veterinarians Promotion and Development
Center in Lampang first, said Somporn.
All poultry has to pass two checks over eight days to
make sure they were free of the virus. Poultry owners would not be allowed
to move them before the expiry of the two week period.
The Livestock Officials are also coordinating quarantines
and local police are setting up checkpoints in many districts to verify all
poultry being transferred are healthy. The Livestock Office is also running
its own checkpoint at Khun Tarn and Li district in Lamphun to prevent
poultry being smuggled out of the province.
Somporn asked all residents to be alert if they suspected
poultry to be infected. “If they find a large group of poultry dying, they
should please inform the office at 0-5389-2516,” he said. “When
destroying poultry, people should wear gloves, masks, bury the carcasses,
and thoroughly wash their bodies and change their clothes afterwards.”
He also suggested people should not buy cheap poultry meat from any
vendor without knowing the source.
Night vigil highlights International Peace Day celebration
Women’s League of Burma calls on EU to act
Activities to show solidarity with peoples in Iraq,
Russia, Myanmar, the south of Thailand and elsewhere in the world beset by
conflict, were held at the Thapae Gate in Chiang Mai on the evening of
September 21 to mark International Peace Day.
the music performances on show at Thapae Gate grounds on September 21 to
present the “Anti War” campaign.
Music, dance and art performances created by a range of
artists including Tuk Brasserie, Sudsanan and Karen singer “Chichi” were
provided to celebrate the day. Statements on peace issues in Thailand,
Myanmar and across the world were read out to raise public awareness. The
highlight of the evening was a candlelight vigil and the release of peace
The peace movement Women’s League of Burma (WLB) said
that 42,000 people from Myanmar and the international community had signed
their petition urging the European Union to refuse to invite the Burmese
military dictatorship (SPDC) to attend the upcoming Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM)
in Hanoi, Vietnam.
According to the WLB, the petitioners also urge ASEAN
(Association of Southeast Asian Nations) to reevaluate “the constructive
engagement” policy towards the military regime and recommend that the EU
and ASEAN put in place a process to ensure the 2006 chairmanship is filled
by the democratically elected leaders in Myanmar.
The WLB presented the petition to the EU chairperson, EU
and ASEAN member nations on International Peace Day, said Thin Thin Aung,
joint general secretary of the WLB.
Member organization of the WLB who are based in Myanmar,
Thailand, India and Bangladesh collected thousands of signatures in their
countries and at the People’s Forum in Hanoi for its “Campaign to Shame
ASEAN for SPDC’s Participation” and to demand ASEAN hold the SPDC
accountable to honor its commitment to implement the “Declaration on the
Elimination of Violence Against Women in the ASEAN Region”, signed in June
A recent incident of sexual assault on girl nuns in Karen
State provides indicates the impunity taken by the troops of the military
regime in Myanmar. It was reported that on September 5, troops from SPDC IB
51 on a military operation in the southern Karen State entered a monastery
and stripped six young girl nuns, aged between 8 and 14, attempting to rape
them. “Fortunately, the girls were able to escape,” a source said.
“That the troops dared commit such a crime against
young nuns in the sacred grounds of a Buddhist temple validates conclusively
the assertion in the WLB’s recent report ‘System of Impunity’ that a
climate of impunity exists for military rape in Myanmar. The regime on
September officially denounced the WLB report as baseless, insisting that
action is taken against those who commit rape, regardless of status,” the
The WLB has strongly condemned the regime for its continued sexual
violence against women and called for genuine political reform in Myanmar.
The world clamoring for the taste of ‘Royal’ Thai veggies
Royal Project now supplying 40 airlines
The Royal Project is rushing to produce more vegetables
to supply over 40 international airlines worldwide. The Royal Project is
supplying Thai Airways International’s kitchen and other carriers. On the
menu are red cabbage; red, yellow and green sweet peppers, celery, Japanese
cucumbers, Chinese cabbage, aubergine (eggplants) and zucchinis.
asparagus, until some years ago unknown in Thailand, can now be supplied to
international kitchens worldwide.
Next year, the Royal Project plans to add carrots,
tomatoes, and sweet white Chinese cabbage.
Due to an increasing demand of organic vegetables in both
domestic and overseas markets, the Royal Project has had to increase
production. During July-August, this year, the Royal Project produced 193
types of vegetables with a total weight of 666.25 tons, generating 5.16
million baht to be ploughed back to the planters.
Meanwhile, more export companies have contacted the Royal
Project to export its vegetable products to Taiwan and Singapore. They
include sweet corn, cabbage, sweet peas, lettuce and Chinese kale. Australia
has also proposed to visit the Royal Project vegetable and herb plantations
with an eye on imports to Australia.
Important planting areas for vegetables are the Royal
Project centers Nong Hoi, Inthanon, Angkhang and Mae Phae. Each center will
plant vegetables according to the planting season. Only Grade 1 and Grade 2
crops will be selected to be exported, with emphasis on their quality and
Royal Project’s planting and production process were
qualified and recognized by the Agriculture Department in the Ministry of
Agriculture and Cooperatives, and its food production process and food
packaging system were approved by the Office of National Agricultural
Products and Food Standardization.
The Royal Project was initiated by His Majesty the King many years ago,
with the intention of developing highland agriculture, improving the
standard of living of hill tribes, eradicating opium plantations and
reviving water sheds and resources. The Royal Project has assisted many hill
tribe people living in the highlands by showing them how to be financially
TOT celebrates its 100,000th Wireless Local Loop telephone subscriber
A celebration was held in Duangtawan Hotel, Chiang Mai
last week, after subscriber numbers met TOT’s target of 100,000 in the
initial phase of its operations before expanding nationwide.
Deputy Finance Minister Varathep Rattanakorn said that
this success story would mean greater cash flow in the country and raise the
standard of living for the community and the nation, especially for people in
the remote and rural areas.
He said that TOT had installed wireless telephones for
100,000 subscribers under the Wireless Local Loop (WLL) system designed and
developed by Kyocera Corporation. It has a potential of up to 240,000
telephone lines for its clients, mostly targeted in remote and rural areas
throughout the country.
“TOT is working with the Ministry of Finance to develop
the economy and help decentralize the cash flow from the cities to
communities and villages.
Wasukree Klaiparee, deputy managing director of TOT and
chairman of the working committee on the wireless business project, added
that the figure of subscribers would soon pass 100,000 as there was good
feedback showing a great public demand. “Some of the features are the
special discount rates for telephone installation and special rates for local
calls,” he said.
Wasukree added that to help the rural population with a
lower income, TOT would offer a discount rate of 1,500 baht for wireless
telephone installation until December. New subscribers would also get a free
Stop smoking, start smiling
But it’s diesel engines, not cigarettes
A “Stop Smoking, Start Smiling” campaign has kicked
off in Chiang Mai City with the aim to reduce air pollution caused by
The Pollution Control Department in the Ministry of
Natural Resources and Environment, Chiang Mai province and municipality, and
Beloil Co., Ltd. are behind the project.
Governor Thongchai Wongrianthong (center), and Mingkhuan Witchayarungsarit
from left, standing in front), director of the Air and Sound Pollution
Management Office among the air pollution campaigners.
It was launched at a press conference on September 22 at
Lotus Pang Suan Kaew Hotel and promoted in front of Central Kad Suan Kaew
department store and Waroros Market.
The campaign targets diesel-engined vehicles
predominantly pick-up trucks and delivery vans and encourages owners to
maintain their engines to help reduce emissions. It has already been
promoted in Bangkok where air pollution is a major problem, almost as much
as in Chiang Mai.
Sixty vehicle emission clinics were offered at car
service outlets in Chiang Mai between September 22-30, with engine checks
and oil change free of charge.
Last year, 950,000 new vehicles were registered in Chiang
Mai with 250,000 of them cars and the rest motorcycles. “These figures
show that Chiang Mai has many sources of pollution, including diesel-engined
vehicles like the red minibuses,” said Deputy Governor Thongchai
Mingkhuan Witchayarungsarit, director of the Air and
Sound Pollution Management Office also pointed out that pollution increased
during winter because of forest fires. “The air quality usually exceeds
the recommended levels by a factor of four, during wintertime.”
“Checks in Chiang Mai show 54 out of 100 vehicles emit
black smoke,” stated Mingkhuan. A study conducted in Bangkok showed good
maintenance of a vehicle’s engine could reduce air pollution by 14 percent
and reduce fuel consumption by five percent.
Singhkham Nanti, president of the Lanna Transport Cooperative, sprang to
the defense of the red minibuses, saying people should not accuse them as
being the main source of pollution, as the number of personal cars in Chiang
Mai (about 700,000) far outnumbered minibuses (about 2,000). He also claimed
that all minibuses had to pass engine checks every six months according to
Transport Office regulations, while private motorists rarely have their cars
Air pollution figures improving?
Less burning off – but it was the wet season
If you are an extremely positive person, the good news is
that the level of air pollution in Chiang Mai has dropped, according to the
A fourth survey conducted over the two two-day periods
August 21-22 and August 30-31, taken between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. showed that
pollution caused by burning in open spaces - the supposed main source of air
pollution - dropped by 3.27%.
congestion in Chiang Mai City last week.
During the latest survey, 355 incidents of burning off
took place, especially on August 30 when people burnt gold paper as part of
the ancestry worship ritual. The survey recorded a total of 726 incidents
where smoke resulted: The 355 incidents of burning off in an open space plus
another 253 times at grilled food stalls, 55 times in traffic, 36 times at
construction sites, and 27 times from industry and garages.
The Behaviors Study Project is addressing the air
pollution problem in Chiang Mai City with the Social Research Institute of
Chiang Mai University obtaining a support budget from the Thailand Research
Fund (TRF) to conduct surveys in the city for the 12 months leading up to
According to them, the main source of air pollution is
burning leaves and twigs, garbage, and weeds in open spaces. The reason for
the recent drop in burning-off is most likely related to the rainy season or
perhaps because of the public awareness campaign that it is illegal to
dispose of waste in this way. However, some people have changed their time
of burning to after 7 p.m., when it was not obvious to those who conducted
Some government agencies such as universities, the
Forestry Department, the Highways Department, some schools in the city area
and temples are still burning off (and crematoria, though it would be
difficult for them to continue their work without it).
People living in small streets and sois said that municipal officials do
not collect garbage so they are obliged to burn it. The Behaviors Study
Project called on the municipality and tambon administration organizations
better manage waste.
Thai-Burmese cooperation in fighting drug
The Third Army Region has evaluated the cooperation in
Thai-Burmese border village development, as part of the drive to stop the
trafficking in drugs.
The Third Army Region’s deputy commander, Maj Gen
Pravit Klinthong and Pittaya Jinawat, the director of the Office of
Narcotics Control Board (ONCB), Northern Office chaired the evaluation that
was held at Nakhonping Palace Hotel, Chiang Mai on September 23. 150
commanders and officials of the Third Army Region attended.
Deputy Commander Maj Gen Pravit said Thailand had
developed villages in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Mae Hong Son and Tak
“This project was initiated early this year … so far
we have found that the people living in the border region have learned about
village self-defence, resulting in greater national security,” said Major
Third Army Region commander Lt Gen Phicharnmeth
Muangmanee has also put army troops under his command on alert and to patrol
the border villages.
Furthermore, prevention measures have been stepped up to
help control drug smuggling along the border. Thai and Burmese troops now
jointly patrol the border villages.
Pittaya Jinawat, director of the ONCB, said that he met
with high-ranking Burmese officials many times and the Burmese authorities
assured him that they agree with and support the Thai initiative.
The Burmese say they have a limited budget and have asked
for support from the Royal Thai Army. “We can give the Burmese side more
help with regard to crop replacement programs with various cash crops and
seeds to replace the opium crops,” Pittaya said.
He added, “Sometimes the Burmese authorities arrest
drug suspects inside Myanmar and hand them over to the Thai authorities.
This shows good cooperation by our neighbours. This kind of close
cooperation has put pressure on drug traffickers along the Thai-Burmese
border. We expect the drug trade and smuggling along the border to decrease
in the near future as the Burmese authorities have begun to take serious
action against dealers. This is a good sign for Thailand,” he said.
Motorbike Club donates bicycles for disadvantaged rural students
The North Comet Club in Chiang Mai has donated 20
bicycles to the Pha Muang Task Force for poor students in rural areas. These
bicycles will go to students of Wat Pa Daeng School in Chaiprakarn district
to commute between home and their classes.
of Pha Muang Task Force and members of the North Comet Club with the donated
The donation was part of the “Bicycles for Needy
Students” project that the Pha Muang Task Force has been operating in many
schools in rural and border areas. It hopes that the ability to get to
school will encourage them to continue their studies.
Anyone who is interested in donating bicycles to the
project should contact the Pha Muang Task Force at 0-5321-1054 ext 15.
Col Chartchai Chuenbandit, Chief-of-Staff of the task force presided over
the handing over ceremony on September 23. “The Pha Muang Task Force
realizes that these students are new hope of the nation,” said Col
Mae Hong Son to wage war on corruption
Mae Hong Son provincial authorities have announced a
“War on Corruption” against official corruption. The war was set to be
launched on October 1 with the inspection of work done by local
“If found guilty of corruption, an official will be
sacked or face further investigation by the Anti Money Laundry Office (AMLO),
which may seize his or her assets, and criminal procedures may be
instituted,” said Mae Hong Son governor Suphote Laowansiri.
He added that from now on, the provincial authorities
would take serious action against corrupt officials, especially in the
provincial administration organization (PAO), tambon administration
organizations (TAO), and municipalities. “Many letters of complaint have
been lodged by the general public against allegedly corrupt officials in
these organizations,” he said.
Governor Suphote said at present four local
administration organizations were being investigated. “Many people have
approached me with complaints about the lack of basic infrastructures and
corrupt government officials.”
He said that after he set up his PO Box 101, in Muang
district, Mae Hong Son, he received on average more than 10 letters of
complaint every week.
“To date, I have got more than 2,000 letters. Some
issues dealing with public and social problems like roads, accessing remote
villages, power supply shortage, illegal alien workers, nationalization
among the tribal group members and corrupt officials have been tackled,”
An average of one letter of complaint a week needs to be
forwarded from Mae Hong Son to PM Thaksin Shinawatra, the governor reported.
U.S. grants USD 4.5 million assistance to Thailand
For anti-narcotics, law enforcement, regional activities
Embassy Information Resource Center
U.S. Ambassador Darryl N. Johnson and Department of
Technical and Economic Cooperation Director General Ambassador Piamsak
Milintachinda has signed an agreement through which the U.S. will provide
more than USD 4.5 million of assistance to nine narcotics and legal projects
The projects cover the areas of criminal justice, law
enforcement, trafficking in persons, intellectual property rights, drug crop
control, demand reduction and regional cooperation.
Since 1974, the U.S. government has provided a total of
over 85 million dollars to Thailand under the bilateral assistance program
for anti-narcotics and law enforcement activities. Thai-U.S. bilateral
cooperation in narcotics control is in the four program areas of opium crop
control, demand reduction, law enforcement, and regional anti-narcotics
Assistance under the Crop Control Project began in 1978
to help the then newly organized Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB)
establish a crop control division. This was to provide hill tribe farmers
with viable alternative crops. After economic alternatives were in place in
most areas, the Royal Thai Government (RTG) in 1984 initiated the opium
eradication campaign. Thailand has now emerged as a leader in the drug
control area and has begun to provide alternative development assistance and
information sharing and training programs of its own for officials in
neighboring and other countries.
Assistance under the Demand Reduction Project provides
modest funding support for RTG and NGO anti-drug community outreach through
a nationwide network. Funding also supports epidemiological and drug
prevention studies in selected hill tribe villages and provides small grants
to public and private institutions throughout the country in order to
maximize impact at the community level. Finally, it provides assistance in
establishing a methamphetamine outpatient treatment program based using the
Matrix model, as well as a support for a Narcotics Control Technology
The Law Enforcement project’s main thrust is
institution building. Through training and capacity building programs in
investigation and intelligence, support for development in the criminal
justice system and provision of limited equipment such as computers, radios,
GPS, vehicles, and body armor, the project aims to find and bring to justice
The Regional Project supports the RTG leadership role in
working with regional states on narcotics control issues by funding regional
meetings, workshops, and training.
The International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in
Bangkok is a joint Thai-US endeavor, which supports international
cooperation and developing skills among Asian law enforcement professionals
to confront the problem of transnational organized crime. Since this
bilateral agreement was signed September 30, 1998, over 3,000 law
enforcement professionals from around the region have been trained at ILEA.
A new training facility was completed last May.
The project against Trafficking in Persons provides
training and limited commodity support to a variety of Royal Thai Government
agencies or non-governmental organizations that have responsibility to
investigate and prosecute persons involved in trafficking of persons,
especially women and children. Resources may support training, production of
instructional manuals, establishment of specialized facilities such as
interview rooms or shelters.
Measures against Intellectual Property Rights protection
provide training and technical assistance to Thai police and customs
officials to combat intellectual property piracy. Measures against money
laundering are designed to provide technical support to AMLO, the Royal Thai
Police and the Department of Special Investigations to prevent money
laundering and meet the requirements of the Financial Action Task Force.
The project on Criminal Justice Sector Development is
designed to enhance integrity in all sectors of the Thai criminal justice
Chiang Mai’s “Getting Ugly” city problems addressed
The government and private sectors in Chiang Mai are
still smarting from the criticism given in the March 2004 issue of the
National Geographic traveler magazine which ranked Chiang Mai and Phuket as
“Getting Ugly” cities.
row, from left, Jumpol Chutima, president of Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce,
Governor Suwat Tantipat and Mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn during the
A seminar was held in July20 to address this, but did not
come up with any solutions. Another seminar last week continued to look at
the local situation, with people being appointed to present solutions to the
three main problems: environment, culture and tourism management.
Chiang Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat said that government
had chosen Chiang Mai to be the regional center of economy, trade,
investment, aviation business and foreign trade. “To attract investors,
Thai traditions, merchandise and service are important, especially public
infrastructure,” he said.
Mai is being upgraded to be a representative city to compete with other
cities in developed countries.
He cited Shanghai, Beijing, and Tokyo as examples of
cities which had been developed into tourist and industrial cities with
targeted development plans. “We will do the same. Chiang Mai is being
upgraded to be a representative city to compete with other cities in
developed countries. Provincial government sectors and its people are
helping to improve it. It has only just begun. From now on, a CEO management
system will deal with the problems. Specific people will be appointed, and a
time period will be fixed,” he added.
Assistant Professor Teerapat Wannarumon, deputy dean of
the Faculty of Humanities at Chiang Mai University, as a culture
representative, said that the new generation refused to speak the northern
dialect for fear of sounding old-fashioned. There should be a dialect course
in the school syllabus.
Government and private schools should found a
“hometown-loving camp” to give youth the proper awareness. Moreover, a
PR campaign to promote native costumes and give information about Lanna
architecture should be launched. Temples, homes, and schools should teach
youth morals, he added.
Montri Wongkasem, vice-president of the Chiang Mai
Chamber of Commerce’s environment development section, as an environment
representative, said, “We should solve the problems of neglected
advertisement signs, waste water emission into the Ping River; as well as
traffic and public transport problems, especially red mini-buses belching
black exhaust smoke.”
“It is not clear either how they pass the checking
center tests - or maybe these centers are not qualified. The town plan
should be strict regarding tall buildings near the Ping River, city canals
and religious venues as buildings may cause an imbalanced city view. A
municipal law should be issued for all of these problems.”
He added that burning garbage in open spaces caused air
pollution. One excuse that people made was that there were no garbage trucks
to pick up cut leaves and branches. All divisions of tambon, municipality,
and province are responsible for providing people garbage trucks for this
purpose. The law should be strictly implemented, he said.
Junnapong Saranak, director of the Tourism Authority of
Thailand, Region 1, Northern Office, said that tourist attractions should
provide brochures since most tourists lacked proper information about
visiting religious sites, such as opening hours and improper clothing.
Community members should help tourist guides by giving
correct information about sites. Advertising signs on footpaths should be
managed. Taxi car parking should be disciplined. The Night Bazaar market
should improve its goods and style to have a northern uniqueness.
Lanna cultural performances should be held for tourists. Thai massages
should have higher standards. Tourist police, local police, and
entrepreneurs should better assist tourists enquiring about services,
accommodation or tour packages, he said.
Helmet motorcycle bandits arrested through quick police action
Not thinking about road safety, just trying to avoid recognition
Two young miscreants from Lampang who wore helmets to
conceal their identity, were arrested on September 16, through the joint
work of police in Chiang Mai and Lampang, in connection with a robbery three
residents Sittipong Manarat, 21, and Chartchai Pingmuang, 20, were arrested
in connection with a robbery in Chiang Mai.
Sittipong Manarat, 21, and Chartchai Pingmuang, 20,
robbed Petch Udomsuk at gunpoint in early morning of September 13 in front
of Dumrong Aommuang Gas Shop in tambon Hai Ya, Muang district, Chiang Mai.
They had worn helmets to hide their faces.
The victim notified the police at Muang district police
station. After questioning the victim and witnesses, the police deduced that
the names of the suspects were “Moo” (later revealed to be Sittipong)
and “Chart” (later revealed as Chartchai) and that they rented a room in
a dormitory in tambon Tasala.
Police checked the room but the two had fled to Lampang.
Police found a white helmet and spare parts of the gun in the room and
impounded the motorcycle they used.
Arrest warrants for the two suspects were issued by the
Chiang Mai Court on September 15. Police found they were staying in a rented
house in tambon Sobtui, Lampang’s Muang district, and coordinated with
Lampang’s Muang district police station to arrest them.
The two were returned to Chiang Mai for further police questioning.
Thieves take more than a fancy to OTOP fair
PM’s presence no deterrent
An overseas trader was robbed during the recent OTOP
(One Tambon One Product) Summit Fair which was presided over by PM Thaksin
Shinawatra at Chiang Mai University’s Convention Hall.
On September 18, Rohunni Russell, a 57 year old
Malaysian trader who brought her Malaysian-made souvenirs to the fair
notified the police at Phuping Police Station that she had been robbed of
10,000 baht cash.
Rohunni said she left her wallet, together with her
passport, in a drawer at her booth. Later she found the wallet was
missing. Other traders in the area said they did not know anything about
this, which led her to believe it was stolen. She asked the Malaysian
consul to help her in notifying the police. Police have questioned her and
sent a team to investigate, but so far there have been no arrests.
Two drug trafficking suspects arrested after gun battle
But three others escaped
Two hill tribe members have been arrested on suspicion of
dealing in drugs after a border conflict with the Pha Muang Task Force,
133rd Cavalry Battalion Special Operations Unit, Office of Narcotic Control
Board (ONCB) officials and police.
The Task Force officers clashed with five hill tribe drug
traffickers at the border in Wiang Haeng district, arresting two while the
others managed to escape.
The authorities had lured a group of Kokang drug dealers
into a trap while they were smuggling the drugs, accompanied by armed men at
Ban Piang Luang village in tambon Piang Luang. A five-minute gun battle
ensued. None of the Thai officers were hurt.
Two of the gang, 30 year old Ata Laonor from Ban Khunkong,
tambon Tungkaopuang, Chiang Dao district, and 38 year old On Pintakam from
Ban Piang Luang Wiang Haeng district, were caught with 300,000
methamphetamine tablets. Both are Thai Yai hill tribesmen and both are on a
blacklist of 20 suspected drug dealers who have previously escaped to
Maj Gen Manus Paorik, the commander of Pha Muang Task
Force, and Pittaya Jinawat, director of ONCB, Northern Office, said the
suspects confessed that they have been dealing in drugs for a long time.
The commander said the ya ba tablets bearing various
brand names like WY, Chinese letters, or embossed as 888 tablets, were from
old and hidden stockpiles which were smuggled from the Kokang minority
group, Thai Yai and Wa groups.
Director Pittaya said an increasing number of drugs was
being trafficked so the authorities had to employ more efficient measures to
stop drugs pouring into Thailand which needed the cooperation of neighboring
Assets worth 20 million baht seized from Lisu drug suspect
Property and a luxury vehicle, valued at 20 million baht,
property of a Lisu suspected drug dealer have been confiscated by the
Provincial Police Bureau, Region 5 in San Sai district, Chiang Mai.
On September 24, police seized three houses belonging to
27 year old Narong Sinchao of J.R.AIR. Chiang Mai Co., a BMW and 21 other
items found in his houses.
The houses are located in Suan Nam Sai Housing Estate,
San Sai district; Pimuk Housing Estate in San Sai district; and Muang Thong
City Home Housing Estate in Saraphi district.
However, police were unable to locate Narong either at
home or his business, and assume he was tipped off and escaped.
The police action followed the arrest of three alleged
Lisu drug dealers, 30 year old Sorasak Saesuan, 27 year old Akaradech
Mussayapanich, and 21 year old Issara Saewang, found with six bags of heroin
weighting 2,100 grams, and a pick-up truck, a Honda motorcycle and five
mobile phones were seized on September 18.
The three were captured while they were transferring
heroin to a house in tambon San Sai Noi, San Sai district, Chiang Mai.
They told police their boss was Narong, who they claimed
coordinated drug dealing and trafficking. He allegedly launders money from
the drug trade by purchasing new houses and investing in his own business.
Pol Col Sarawut Chantraprasert, superintendent of the
investigation division, said that Narong had become rich by trafficking in
drugs and acting as a coordinator in a drug cartel that smuggles the drugs
from the north to Bangkok.
Four injured in bomb explosion on Burmese border
Karen National Union blamed
A bomb explosion at the Mae Sam Laep market on the
Thai-Burmese border in Mae Hong Song resulted in three Burmese Army
personnel being wounded and one Thai man critically injured.
The explosion occurred in the Sri Thong Restaurant.
Details from witnesses were sketchy, but reports would indicate that eight
Burmese soldiers had been sitting in the Sri Thong Restaurant where they
were seen drinking. The initial feeling was that the bomb, presumably a hand
grenade, was thrown by another customer in the restaurant, annoyed by the
Burmese soldiers’ behaviour. Hand grenades can easily be found on the
Pol Maj Noppadol Sanpuan at Sop Moei district police
station was investigating the incident.
In the explosion, a Thai man who had also been sitting in
the restaurant was wounded by bomb fragments. He was identified as 51 year
old Ea Joo from tambon Sob Mae Sam Laep. He was critically injured and was
taken to the Sop Moei Hospital, but was later transferred to Mae Sariang
Hospital because of the severity of his wounds.
The three injured Burmese were sent by Thai authorities
to the Mae Sam Laep health center near the scene for first aid. After they
received first aid treatment, other Burmese soldiers immediately took them
back across the border.
Thongchai, a son-in-law of the injured Thai, Ea Joo, said
that the explosion took place at the Mae Sam Laep weekend market, where Thai
and Burmese merchants bartered their goods. Many cattle traders were present
at the time.
An informed source, that declined to be named, said that
the bomb was thrown by members of the Karen National Union (KNU), a minority
group dealing with the Burmese. It was alleged that the Burmese soldiers
received levies from livestock traders but refused to share the money with
KNU members as agreed. This dissatisfaction among the KNU members resulted
in retaliatory action.