Student mob forms over decision to discontinue student loans
By Nopniwat Krailerg
About 150 higher vocational students and teachers from 10
government and private institutions are angry at the decision to discontinue
They assembled in front of Chiang Mai City Hall on
September 28 to submit a petition to PM Thaksin Shinawatra through Chiang
Mai Deputy Governor Kwanchai Wongnitikorn.
The students have faced difficulties in furthering their
study for vocational diplomas (4th
and 5th year study in vocational
education) after the educational loan committee decided not to continue
their study loans.
According to the petition, Pannipa Yaemchuti, chairperson
of vocational education division of the Chiang Mai Private School
Association said that the loans committee this year altered some regulations
and affected a number of students, who were unable to pay for their studies
and who were therefore forced to quit school.
The loan concept was established in 1996 to support needy
students and provide them the opportunity to further their study in higher
levels. The loan had helped many and relieved poor parents, said Pannipa.
Chiang Mai and Lamphun vocational institutes had earlier
conferred and agreed to submit the petition to PM Thaksin to call for change
of the regulation. The petition asks the committee to permit former
borrowers to continue getting a loan while studying.
Somsak Tarchai, deputy director of Educational Area 1,
said that the committee stopped supporting these students because it had an
inadequate budget to support all needy students.
He said that the committee had to give priority to
students at vocational certificate level (students in the first three years
in vocational education) due to the 43rd
article of the Thai Constitution which states all Thai students have to
attend school for at least 12 years. The vocational certificate level is
still included in these 12 required years so that the committee has to
provide the loan to new borrowers in vocational certificate level first,
The central government knows about the problem and is preparing to
address it, stated Somsak.
Provincial politicians quit PM’s party after claims of intimidation
Meesubkwang and Nopniwat Krailerg
All 24 members of the Chiang Mai Provincial
Administration Organization (PAO) have walked out of the incumbent Thai Rak
chairman Chaichatree Limcharoon (seated center), and PAO members at the
press conference after the council meeting.
Led by Chaichatree Limcharoon, the PAO council chairman
and PAO representative for Mae Wang district, they announced their
resignation at a press conference after the 2nd extraordinary assembly of
the PAO Council on September 30.
Thawatwong Na Chiangmai, president of Chiang Mai PAO reading a prepared
statement during the council meeting.
Two resignation letters - one to party leader PM Thaksin
Shinawatra, and the other to the public were tabled, giving their reasons
for resigning. They said they quit because the Thai Rak Thai MP’s in
Chiang Mai had caused internal interference and conflict within the PAO.
“Unbearable conflicts” that arose, forcing them to
resign, included the rejection of the 133 million baht budget to repair a
bridge and build dams in Om Koi and Mae Ai districts.
Some members said that these MPs, whom they claimed had a
close relationship with PM Thaksin, forced the council to refuse the budget
submission. When the budget vote was taken, 10 PAO members “who were under
the supervision of these MPs” were absent and five were forced not to
The result was that only 25 members supported the
proposal, while at least 28 votes out of the 42 members in attendance were
needed for it to be adopted.
When on September 27, the council met to put forward the
budget again, 10 border patrol police were observing the meeting, the letter
stated. It said they claimed a soldier with close ties to the MP’s had
ordered them to be there.
Chaichatree said something like this had never happened
within the organization before and it was as if these MP’s were using
state power to threaten the PAO members. He added that the behavior of these
MP’s was “dangerous for the local administration organizations” and
against the government’s policy to eradicate influential persons from
He and his members decided to resign from the ruling party to make PM
Thaksin aware of the behavior of these people close to him and tell to him
this incident would affect his party’s future in the upcoming general
Fresh blood to target criminals and the corrupt
Aims to counter corruption, not a corruption counter
If new brooms sweep clean, criminal elements had better
beware: the new commissioner of Provincial Police Bureau, Region 5, took up
his position in Chiang Mai on October 1.
Lt Gen Panupong Singhara na Ayutthaya, the new commissioner of the
Provincial Police Bureau, Region 5.
Pol Lt Gen Panupong Singhara na Ayutthaya has replaced
Pol Gen Lt Chorlor Chuwong, who is being promoted to take over the new
position as the commissioner of Provincial Police Bureau, Region 1 in
Pol Lt Gen Panupong said when he initially arrived in
Chiang Mai that his policy would be to stress good governance and counter
corruption as his main tasks.
He instructed police under his command to carry out the
same policy, which has been drawn up by the National Police Bureau chief,
and provided them with guidelines.
The new commissioner said he would administer the police
work here through the decentralization concept, and support public
participation in police work and operations.
He would “wage war on corruption”, as well as
increase the trust and confidence the public had in the police. He said
justice and fairness were paramount, and an attitude of service.
Pol Lt Gen Panupong said the police were involved in about 63 working
projects and 198 activities that he would support.
Fat cows make fatter profits
Mae Hong Son provincial authorities are encouraging their
villagers in all seven districts located along the Thai-Burmese border to
raise healthy and fat cows for sale, so they can get better prices and raise
the income among the 15,000 lower-income households. Governor Suphote
Laowansiri said a survey showed most of the villagers were Thai hill
An increasing number of very lean cattle are being
imported into Thailand from neighboring countries for farming and breeding
here. Governor Suphote said about 60,000 cows are imported into Mae Hong Son
from Myanmar each year.
About 600 farmers, owning 2,000 cows, have applied to
attend the three-month breeding promotion run by the provincial authorities.
A fatter cow is worth at least 3,000 baht.
Tambon Mae Nawang residents want flood-damaged bridge repaired
Despite PM’s recent largesse, nothing to make bridge safe
A hundred residents in tambon Mae Nawang in Mae Ai
district, Chiang Mai have asked the province for 22 million baht to repair
the ruined Mai Sueb bridge.
Wuttinunchai, a former member of Chiang Mai Provincial Council, (holding a
microphone) negotiates with Chareonnit Sa-nguansak (second right), an
official of the Chiang Mai Provincial Administration Office.
Chareonnit Sa-nguansak, an official of the Chiang Mai
Provincial Administration Office, negotiated with them in front of the city
hall on behalf of Chiang Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat, who was attending an
urgent bird flu conference.
Prasit Wuttinunchai, a former member of the Chiang Mai
Provincial Council who acted as leader of the protest group, said that the
residents wanted to know why the governor had rejected their previous
request for 22 million baht for repairs.
hundred residents from tambon Mae Nawang, Mae Ai district, Chiang Mai,
gathered in front of city hall to call for a 22 million baht budget to
repair the Tah Mai Sueb bridge.
They were dissatisfied as Chiang Mai Provincial
Administration Organization president Thawatwong Na Chiangmai had assured
them during his visit to Mae Ai on September 20 that the money to repair the
bridge had already been earmarked, said Prasit.
However, when tambon Mae Nawang submitted the budget
proposal to the governor, it was rejected by both the governor Suwat and a
majority vote of Chiang Mai PAO’s Council by 3-2.
Chareonnit replied that the governor had to deny the
request as he could not raise the money right now.
However, after he spoke to the governor on phone, Suwat
pledged to make a request to the PAO to take from its special saving fund to
repair the bridge.
The 20 year old Tah Mai Sueb Bridge is the only access
for students to commute between home and school, and for farmers to deliver
their crops to be sold outside. But parts of it were damaged by the flood in
September 2003, said Prasit. This had caused great inconvenience to locals
for more than a year and recently two students were injured while crossing
the dilapidated bridge on their way to the school, he added.
After receiving the assurance from the governor, the crowd dispersed.
No to GMO and FTA, say experts
But yes to acronyms!
The volatile subjects of free trade agreements and
genetically modified foods touted by PM Thaksin Shinawatra’s Thai Rak Thai
party have given rise to heated discussion.
A seminar on Free Trade Agreement Areas (FTA) and
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) took place at the Women’s Study
Center, Chiang Mai University on September 24.
Participants included Witoon Lianchamroon, director of the
Bio-diversity and Thai Local Wisdom Institute; Kiartti Sitthi-amornporn,
president of the International Chamber of Commerce of Thailand; and Suwat
Horachaikul, a lecturer in the Political Science Faculty of Chulalongkorn
Director Witoon said that the United States had tried to
reach an agreement on foreign trade involving GMO with other countries,
“It is hoped that the US will sign an FTA of crop seeds
with Thailand because the US companies occupy over 90 percent of GMO markets
in the world. If Thailand does not correspond to the FTA with the US, Thai
farmers will be at disadvantage by only importing the seeds from them,” he
Kiartti added that the Thai government was determined to
sign the FTA with 13 other countries. “This is interesting because even a
developed country like the US only signs free trade agreements with not more
than two countries at the same time because many details have to be
thoroughly considered and negotiated first,” said Kiartti.
“Besides, what the Thai government has been doing is
different from the developed countries like USA,” said Kiartti. “In the
US, the details of an agreement will be proposed to the council to consider
and approve and a mutual study of the impact is done and a measure to cope
with the problems have to be stated before its government signs the FTA with
In contrast, the Thai government did not pay any
significance to these matters. However, it provided 11 million baht to be
spent on impact studies into doing free trade with other countries.
After the US conducted research on GMO tree plantations
between 1996-2002, the GMO plants were shown to have increased the amount of
crops but caused the required amount of chemicals used in the farming to
increase by 23 million kilograms. “This is not really a good outcome,” he
Many countries, including India and Indonesia, were also
good examples of the failure of GMO tree plantations. From this, it was
evident Thailand did not need GMO for farming.
“Thai people have local wisdom as a strong point in
operating plantations on their own, like organic agriculture and farming
which can give higher productivity rate of crops, if appropriately
managed,” Kiartti said.
For examples, by putting fish in their rice fields as a
form of integrated farming, farmers could produce yields between 30-50
percent higher than if they used chemicals, pesticides, insecticides or
“These crops from integrated farming of organic plants
can be sold at a higher price and the fish become another source of income of
the farmers,” he said.
Thailand threatens to resign from World Horticultural Club
China proposing to host a world expo six months before Thailand
Thailand’s World Horticultural Club has threatened to
pull out of hosting 2006 International Horticultural Show after China
announced it would also hold one six months before the event.
Wattanachai, director of Agriculture Research and Development Office, Region
1, Chiang Mai.
Thailand’s World Horticultural Club would announce its
decision to resign to the Thai Cabinet because China had violated the
club’s agreement, said Chaiwat Wattanachai, director of Agriculture
Research and Development Office, Region 1, Chiang Mai.
However, PM Thaksin Shinawatra has asked the group to
stay the resignation and insisted that Thailand will go ahead and host the
“The Prime Minister has not responded to China’s
action yet but has told the organizers to continue preparing for the
event,” said Chaiwat.
PM Thaksin and associated organizations are to hold a
press conference in the near future to inform the public about the problem
and its resolution, either in Chiang Mai or at Government House in Bangkok.
Chaiwat said that the cabinet had approved 1.5 billion
baht for the event and improvement. Construction of the Agricultural
Research and Development Office on 470 rai of land has been completed, and
work preparations for the World Horticultural Show have progressed by 40
Thailand is preparing to host the International
Horticultural Exposition Ratchaphruek 2006 after it was appointed to do so
in 1990 and all member countries of the World Horticultural Association had
agreed to this. However, China now has announced it would hold a similar
event from May 1-September 30, 2006 at Xian Yang district, said Chaiwat.
The official Thai event is scheduled to be held in Chiang Mai from
November 1, 2006 - January 31, 2007 in honor of the 60th anniversary of his
Majesty the King’s reign and his 80th Birthday in 2007. Over 25 countries
have indicated they will exhibit and exchange horticultural knowledge and
technology at the show. An estimated six million people would be expected to
attend, 30,000 visitors daily.
Strategic development plan pushed through by PAO
A three year city development plan involving eight
projects costing a whopping 6.4 billion baht has been approved by the Chiang
Mai Provincial Administration Organization (PAO).
members at the meeting held on September 30 to approve the strategic
An urgent motion for the 2005-2007 development plan was
passed by thirty-three to one with eight abstentions during the second
extraordinary assembly held at the PAO on September 30.
The plan concentrates on eight areas to be developed:
public infrastructure and transportation (1.775 billion baht); economic
development sector (47 million baht); development of tourist spots (334.7
million baht); natural resources and environmental improvement campaign
(1.451 billion baht); education, religion and culture (174.4 million baht);
quality of life and health, as well as strengthening the communities (516.83
million baht); administration and internal organization management (582.4
million baht); and disaster relief (110.6 million baht).
However, some members expressed their displeasure at
council chairman Chaichatree Limcharoon, as he sent the draft plan to them
just two days before the meeting. They said they were unable to read the
whole draft and asked for a postponement before they were asked to vote on
it. However, he rejected the request.
Chaichatree said they could submit further proposals for other projects
at a later date. He also said, “The plan will cover all 22 districts and
two sub-districts in Chiang Mai.”
Public warned about rogue insurance agents
You think you’re covered till you claim
Chiang Mai Provincial Insurance Office has issued a
warning about agents claiming to represent Eua Arthorn Insurance. It is
claimed they are keeping insurance payments instead of forwarding them to
the company. At least 231 people in Chiang Mai and 709 in Lamphun provinces
have been taken in by this scam.
Piyanart Kusumoljan, head of the Chiang Mai Provincial
Insurance Office, has warned the pubic to beware of Eua Arthorn Insurance
agents run by Jirapob Manoros. Jirapob has allegedly asked customers to pay
490 baht and given them fake receipts issued on Nationwide Insurance. The
company cannot issue the insurance policies because they have not been
forwarded the money collected.
Piyanart said that people who had been duped could show
their receipts to the Insurance Office at Chiang Mai or Lamphun for further
resolution. She insisted that the 490 baht payment was not for the
government Eua Arthorn Insurance but was pocketed by the agent. General
agents were not empowered to sell the Eua Arthorn Insurance. “Please be
careful and check all agents carefully before deciding to sign a contract
with them,” she urged.
People can contact the insurance office for more
information on insurance fraud. For more details, please call the Chiang Mai
Provincial Insurance Office, tel. (053) 222469, 214065, 357441.
Nan northern province eyes becoming golden gate to Indo-China
The Upper North province of Nan is being developed to
become the “Gateway to Indo-China” when the road linking Nan-Huay Koan
to Muang Ngern and Pakbeng in Laos is completed in the next two years.
Huay Koan border checkpoint between Thailand and Laos in Chalerm Phrakiart
district, which is being promoted as the Golden Gateway to Indo-China.
More foreigners have shown interest in investment
projects in this region, according to officials who attended a seminar on
September 27 at Dhevaraj Hotel, organized by the Nan provincial authorities,
on promoting foreign trade and investment project in Nan province.
Nan Governor Dr Suwat Choksuwattanasakul said that Nan
had great potential for investment and development, and was getting ready to
be the “Golden Gateway” to countries in Indo-China.
Investors were interested in settling in Nan, because of
its low investment costs, inexpensive land prices, low wages, sufficient raw
materials - especially appropriate for poultry farms for food and canned
food production for export.
Japanese businessmen have shown interest in farms and
factories for farming products such as corn to be used in animal food
“As well as this, Nan province has a very low crime
rate,” said Governor Suwat.
He added that the road construction from Nan through
Chalerm Phrakiart district’s Huay Koan border checkpoint to Laos’s Muang
Ngern and Pakbeng towns – which covers a distance of only 50 kilometers -
will begin by the end of this year. “Construction will take two years.
After that, Nan province will be booming as regards trade and tourism,” he
The Huay Koan border checkpoint would be upgraded to
permanent and international status to serve a large number of visitors and
tourists wanting to cross into Laos.
More hotel and investment projects are expected, as well
as public transportation and services, earning more revenue for the people
of Nan, including those active in agricultural production.
Nan’s promotional products such as hill tribe silverware, pha lai nam
lai cotton and other textiles are expected to bring in more than 10 million
baht a year.
Tourists not scared of bird flu, says official
Not even any sign of ruffled feathers
The return of bird flu to Thailand will not affect Chiang
Mai tourism during the coming peak season believes Boonlert Pelera,
president of Chiang Mai Tourism Business Association. “There have been no
signs of foreign tourists canceling advanced bookings,” he said.
Pelera, president of the Chiang Mai Tourism Business Association.
“Media reports on the re-emergence of bird flu in
Thailand has not frightened tourists, as they are now more educated about
the disease. They understand it cannot be easily transmitted from either
animals or other humans,” Boonlert said.
Official figures would indicate the number of advanced
bookings at Chiang Mai hotels for the coming peak season has increased by 10
percent over last year.
However, there was no noticeable increase in statistics
of domestic tourists to Chiang Mai booking in advance because Thai tourists
were inclined not to do so.
Boonlert said good marketing and organizing many
activities in Chiang Mai were the chief motivators attracting more foreign
tourists to the province.
The municipality had allocated more money for the upcoming Loy Krathong
festival than in previous years because it was also a significant tourist
attraction, according to Boonlert.
Ya ba drug ring broken
Dealers were supplying students
Two alleged drug pushers who sold ya ba pills to students
at dormitories have been arrested in the heart of Chiang Mai City.
Following a tip-off, police attached to the Chiang Mai
provincial police sub-division, led by Pol Lt Col Thawatchai Yoomak searched
the dormitory behind Wat Suan Dok Temple, Soi 7, and charged Sukhum Thathip
and Adirek Yarangsri, both from Chiang Rai, who were caught in possession of
33 ya ba tablets.
They confessed they had been selling the tablets to
students at nearby dormitories for a long time. They also indicated that
they had dealt with some Muser hill tribe drug traffickers in Chiang Rai.
Both of them were charged for possession with intent to
sell and arrested for further questioning.
Tour bus driver arrested after tourist finds money missing from luggage
Smart thinking by tour guide foils theft
Vigilant tourist police have charged a bus driver with
stealing money from an Italian tourist.
Sawas Buaphan, 47, a Bangkok resident who worked for the
Tourism Co., Ltd. from Nonthaburi province as a tour bus driver was
apprehended while driving a group of Italian tourists from Dusit Island
Resort Hotel in Chiang Rai to the airport for their flight to Bangkok.
The Italian tourist had kept his spare money in euros and
the tour guide had made photocopies of the banknotes as a precautionary
measure. When the tourist found that the notes were missing, he complained
to the tourist police, and Pol Senior Sergeant Major Sawai Deengarm was the
officer to implicate the bus driver, as he believed the driver had the
opportunity to look through the tourist’s luggage.
After stopping the bus, euros were found in the
driver’s wallet, and the photocopy check showed that this was the money
belonging to the Italian who had lodged the complaint. The amount was
equivalent to 26,000 baht.
Bus driver Sawas was charged with theft and taken to the
police station for further questioning.
Candle for Buddha worship sets building alight
The three storey building of Chiang Mai Advertising Co.,
Ltd., on Sarm Larn Road at the side of Wat Phra Singh temple caught fire on
on the job to extinguish the fire.
Pol Capt Duangrit Thamchai of the Muang District police
contacted the Chiang Mai Municipality firefighting unit and three fire
trucks were dispatched to extinguish the flames before they spread to the
Soonthorn Yarmsiri, deputy mayor responsible for the
Public Health division, supervised the fire fighters.
The owner of the building, Nakapol Theepawisut, 46, said
that the fire started on the third floor caused by a candle to pay worship
to the Buddha image. After lighting some candles, they went downstairs for
The fire fighters contained the fire on the third floor,
which consisted of bedrooms and a Buddha image room. The fire fighters,
wearing suits and masks, had to use a ladder to climb up to the front of the
building and a hammer to smash the window for their hoses. It took around 20
minutes for them to put out the fire.
They found a candle had fallen down on a towel near the set of Buddha
image tables, and the fire had spread quickly.
Woman accused of stealing bag from market vendor
A 26 year old woman from Hang Dong district has been
arrested after allegedly snatching a bag from a vendor at Muang Mai market
on Muang Samut Road in Chiang Mai.
questioning Chaowanee Sukho, a suspected thief caught by vendors from the
Muang Mai market.
Chaowanee Sukho tried to flee the scene, but other
vendors helped to catch her. The incident occurred in front of the “Je
Muay Kai Sod” shop.
Khemaporn Limthanaporn, 36, the owner of the shop, told
police of Chang Puak police station that she and her employees were
cleaning up before closing. She put a black bag containing 1,500 baht, ATM
cards and list of her customers on the freezer at her stall and the went
to the toilet.
As she returned, she saw Chaowanee snatching her bag.
She screamed for help and followed her until they were in front of Sin
Machinery building where the woman threw her bag under a parked pickup
truck. She and other vendors managed to catch her there and took her to
the police station.
Chaowanee denied having taken the bag. She claimed she
had gone to the market to meet some people. On the way home, she passed
the building and saw a man throwing a bag underneath the truck.
The victim brought her employees as witnesses to testify that they saw
the woman wandering around the stall to observe the place before snatching
the bag. The police are investigating carefully, but it seems quite clear
at this stage that the bag did not run off on its own.
Lampang villagers enlisted
in second “War on Drugs”
Beware of thy neighbor seems to be the concept
The Drug Combating Center in Lampang Muang District,
assisted by the “people’s power” is ready for the second wave in the
“War on Drugs” campaign.
The Center and provincial authorities hosted an event to
create more networking to keep a close watch on the drug situation. This is
the response to the government’s campaign to prevent the drug problem
returning to the area.
Ruangrit Chormsuek, district chief officer of Lampang
Muang District, presided over the launching ceremony at the district office,
together with over 500 people including the region’s Buddhist leaders,
private sector, chiefs of the local government offices, including kamnans,
village headmen, and the “People Power Club” in the villages.
The target of the operations will be primarily
entertainment venues, services locations, dormitories, slums, educational
institutions, the border and sources of international crime.
The authorities will set up X-ray scanning operations in
the district areas to search for drug suspects, addicts and traffickers.
Addicts will be taken to rehabilitation centers, and drug intelligence
agencies will be set up.
The campaign places special emphasis on cooperation by
communities to strengthen the villages in a sustainable fight against the
drug problem. One in 10 households will be assigned as monitors for drug
This second “War on Drugs” will be waged until
December 3, with continual follow-up measures, according to the district