NEWS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Uncollected garbage piles welcome tourists

Chiang Mai-Lamphun road restricted

Blind to have Braille signs installed at bus stops

Germany volunteers to enlist in Thailand’s war on drugs

Thai traders get wings clipped as Laos slaps ban on poultry

Firecracker reduction called for during Loy Krathong

Newborn giraffe dies after mother rejects it

Young people must be smarter to defeat poverty

New army assistant head draws the line against drugs

Most suicides in Thailand occur in the North

Tourists promised more convenience with new minibus office

Communities enlisted to crack down on drugs

Mae Hong Son throwing money at tourism, rather than agriculture

Thailand still a key player in the drug smuggling scene

Fair deal turns into fiasco

Unlicensed teen driver damages 5 motorbikes

Sex kittens, filmmaker among those held for shooting porn VCDs

Controlling human trafficking

Uncollected garbage piles welcome tourists

Maybe that’s why we received the ‘ugly’ tag

Saksit Meesubkwang

Chiang Mai Municipality is in trouble with its garbage dumping site, and the many alternative sites are voicing opposition to having a garbage dump in their areas. In the meantime, the piles of rotting garbage accumulate in streets and sois all over the municipality.

Chiang Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat told Chiangmai Mail that the provincial authorities would call an urgent meeting to speed up locating new dumping sites.

The contract has ended at the Doi Tao dumping site for garbage disposal, used for the past few years.

Residents of Chiang Mai City have lodged complaints that garbage has not been collected for over a week, resulting in foul smells and flies. The public has asked for officials to help take care of the problem urgently, but many roads in the tourist city center as well as residential areas are covered with uncollected garbage.

Lek Meeyaiyo, 54, a resident on Bamrungraj in tambon Wat Kate, Muang district, said municipal garbage collectors usually removed trash daily, but no one had come for a week, “Very bad smells are going around now, and it has interfered with our work. Please inform the collectors to get rid of these garbage piles,” she said.

Sathaporn Rodseng, 36, a grocer at the Chiang Mai Arcade Bus Terminal, said normally the collectors removed garbage at 5 a.m. every day, “But during the past two days, we have not seen any garbage collectors despite there being many food shops and restaurants producing a lot of waste and garbage piled up mountain-high around this tourist city,” he complained.

The first impression that tourists and visitors get is piles of garbage at the bus stations with bad smells. This gave Chiang Mai a bad reputation.

“We want the garbage piled up in the bus terminal areas to be removed as a priority,” said one observer, “or tourism will fade away.”

Dr Surapong Tovichakchaikul, an advisor to the opposition in parliament, recently took the media to see the conditions around the Three Kings Monument area in the heart of the city, saying that the municipality and Chiang Mai provincial authorities should solve the garbage problem immediately. He will also lodge a letter of complaint with Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Governor Suwat Tantipat said this problem is the responsibility of the Chiang Mai Provincial Administration Organization and Chiang Mai Municipality.

“I really hope that the municipality can help solve this garbage problem. They (municipal officials and PAO officials) have yet to contacted me for urgent assistance to tackle the garbage,” he told Chiangmai Mail.


Chiang Mai-Lamphun road restricted

Staff reporters

A ban has been slapped on heavy trucks using the Chiang Mai-Lamphun road that runs parallel to the railway line. The Chiang Mai provincial authorities have placed the prohibition order to maintain the condition of the road surface, following an order from the Ministry of Interior.

Chiang Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat said the Public Works and City Planning Department has designated the entire 27km stretch of road, construction of which has been completed, to be free of heavy equipment.

The road was built for the local community to use. At present, many trucks are using this road but with immediate effect only trucks under 12 tons may do so.

The police have been instructed to enforce the prohibition and weight limit.


Blind to have Braille signs installed at bus stops

Nopniwat Krailerg

All bus stops will soon have signs in Braille and audible signals to help blind people, thanks to a project of the Chiang Mai Municipality.

A bus stop which will be installed with signs in Braille.

Chiang Mai Mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn said that current mass transportation services of Chiang Mai still contained some barriers for the blind. Many collide with bus stop poles because their sticks cannot effectively recognize where they are placed. Because there were no amenities for blind people at bus stops, signs written in Braille and audible signals should be provided for them.

“Bus drivers do not stop at every bus stop and nothing is provided to inform them when they arrive at their destination. These factors have are stopping them traveling by bus,” he said.

The Association for the Blind of Thailand had asked for service utilities for the visually impaired to increase their safety and the municipality agreed to supply these amenities,” the mayor said.

“The municipality welcomes any suggestions or comments on its attempt to serve blind people and is willing to assist immediately,” said Boonlert.


Germany volunteers to enlist in Thailand’s war on drugs

Nopniwat Krailerg

Germany has signaled its willingness to help Thailand eradicate the production of opium in the Golden Triangle.

Dr Thirawat Wongtan (left), director of the Drug Rehabilitation Center, leads Germany’s representative, Marion Caspers-Merk, on a tour of the facilities.

Germany’s Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Health and Social Security toured the Drug Rehabilitation Center in Chiang Mai and said she was willing to cooperate with Thailand to help eradicate the drug scourge.

As part of an official visit to observe Thailand’s drug suppression and AIDS operation and prevention, Marion Caspers-Merk visited the rehabilitation center of the Public Health Ministry in Mae Rim district on October 7.

Germany’s parliamentary state secretary to the federal minister for health and social security, Marion Caspers-Merk (second right) listens to a summary of Thai drug suppression at the Drug Rehabilitation Center in Mae Rim district, Chiang Mai.

Pittaya Jinawatra, director Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB), Northern Region and Dr Thirawat Wongtan, director of the Drug Rehabilitation Center, welcomed her.

Germany has previously assisted Thailand in attempting to solve the problem of opium plantations, through the Thai-German Highland Development Program for 17 years, and still maintains an interest in the government’s “War on Drugs”.

Pittaya said that the state secretary had shown keen interest in the ONCB’s joint work in drug suppression with neighboring Myanmar and Laos, particularly a project called “Yong Kha” that had been initiated in Myanmar.

The German government was also interested in AIDS prevention and operations in Thailand, following the recent International AIDS Conference, Pittaya said.

German economic support to fight drugs had been reduced after the Thai economy strengthened, but it might resume increased assistance after this official visit, Pittaya predicted.

Germany, with a population of 80 million, had 100,000 drug addicts. It was not clear whether most of the drugs came from Thailand as other countries such as China were suspected of being a primary source of drugs coming from Myanmar, she said.


Thai traders get wings clipped as Laos slaps ban on poultry

Staff reporters

Laos has prohibited importation of poultry from Thailand following the resurfacing of bird flu, and poultry traders in Chiang Saen district, Chiang Rai are feeling the pinch.

A fine of 500 baht will be enforced on anyone who brings Thai poultry into Laos. As a result, Lao people living in Ban Ton Pueng and Huay Sai, Bo Keo province have stopped buying poultry from Thai traders.

Kongkaew Saensanunchai, a trader who has for over six years sent chickens and ducks to sell at the two villages of Ban Ton Pueng and Huay Sai, said the bird flu had seriously affected his business. Lao traders and consumers now did not dare risk purchasing poultry from Thailand.

“The epidemic has also caused the price of ducks to drop from 50 baht to 30 baht a kilogram,” said Kongkaew. Prior to the epidemic, he used to sell 50-100 kilograms of free-range chickens daily. Now he can only sell about 10-20 kilograms.


Firecracker reduction called for during Loy Krathong

Saksit Meesubkwang

Students from 35 schools in Chiang Mai have joined up in campaigning for a reduction in firecrackers and waste from hot-air balloons during the Loy Krathong festival.

Dr Duangchan A. Charoenmuang, of Chiang Mai University’s Social Research Institute and head of the project to encourage community participation in combating air pollution, arranged a meeting on October 6.

About 50 volunteers from 35 schools and academic institutions, including Montfort College, Sacred Heart College, Regina Coeli, Prince’s Royal College, Yupparat and Dara Academy, attended.

They discussed campaigning for a reduction of pollution during Loy Krathong, appointing a “Clean Air Day”, and also campaigning for ‘clean’ mass transportation.

Dr Duangchan said that setting off firecrackers and hot-air balloons during Loy Krathong was a cause of air pollution. During this year’s festival, which will last nine days to attract tourist income to Chiang Mai, even more air pollution would be result.

“Tourism is beneficial for the city as a whole, but leaders should consider the effect on people’s health as well,” Dr Duangchan said.

In the past, only a few firecrackers and balloons were set off by temples during the festival, according to Thai custom and tradition. Today, factories and shops make big business out of manufacturing and selling them.

Firecrackers not only cause air pollution but can also cause injury or death. Two years ago, firecrackers fell on the roof of a shop in Waroros market and caused a fire. No one was found liable for the loss, said Dr Duangchan.

He said that the volunteers accepted that firecrackers and hot-air balloons gave rise to air pollution. Therefore, they plan to call a press conference at City Hall and submit a letter to Chiang Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat to consider the matter.

They also produced stickers and signs to campaign for the reduction of firecrackers and balloons and inform people about air pollution.

The team set December 4 of each year to be a “Clean Air Day”. This year, activities, an exhibition and a stage performance to publicize the project will be arranged at Chiang Mai University’s Art Museum.


Newborn giraffe dies after mother rejects it

Veterinarians unable to help

Autsadaporn Kamthai

A giraffe at Chiang Mai Zoo gave birth to a female baby giraffe during the night of October 8. Unfortunately, the newborn giraffe died three days later.

Other giraffes still left at the zoo.

The cause of death is currently not known, and the Animal Disease Autopsy Center in Lampang was carrying out a post-mortem, said Chatri Kuhateparak, a veterinarian at Animal Hospital of Chiang Mai Zoo. Results are expected next week.

Initially, Chatri assumed that the giraffe died because it had been ignored by its mother who did not feed it. “The veterinarians and zoo staff tried to feed the baby giraffe milk but it could not absorb the milk,” said Chatri.

“For a newborn giraffe, the most appropriate way is to be suckled from its mother,” he said. It was often the case for giraffe mothers to ignore their offspring, so it is hard for newborn giraffe to maintain their health. “If another giraffe has maternal instincts,” it may feed a newborn giraffe as a surrogate mother,” Chatri said.

The zoo still has another four giraffes for visitors to view.


Young people must be smarter to defeat poverty

Gen. Prem Tinsulanonda gives his views

Phitsanu Thepthong

Thailand, the country that I care about: that was the topic of a speech by General Prem Tinsulanonda, privy council chairman, statesman and former prime minister.

Gen Prem Tinsulanonda speaking on the Thailand he cares about, and how it can overcome its problems.

He was guest speaker at a gala dinner hosted by Payap University in Chiang Mai on October 9 on the occasion of its 30th anniversary.

Gen Prem said that he had long been concerned about the future of Thailand as a developing country. He told the audience of several hundred, including students, at the Sai Tharntham Hall in the Mae Kao campus that the country and its people still faced poverty as the main problem.

“It’s an urgent issue that needs solutions, and the people concerned seem to have difficulty in finding them. If we can solve this poverty problem, we can also solve the other problems like drugs, and public life and security of assets,” he said.

Guests of honor at the gala dinner

He had learnt about the suffering and the plight of the people during his two terms of prime minister. “I could see with my own eyes that the poor people were really less educated, homeless, unemployed, and had little income. Therefore I want to see the government carrying on this war on poverty which Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra declared in 2002 and which he has promised to rid the country of, within six years,” he said.

“I am happy to see that the Thaksin administration has carried on this important issue, and I wish him success in tackling the problem of poverty, which is also the wish of everybody in the country,” he said.

The former prime minister said that, to eradicate poverty, young people should follow His Majesty the King’s philosophy of a self-sufficient economy and methods to survive.

Secondly, education, employment, and good health are necessary and important issues need to succeed. Success depends upon well-planned schemes in line with the government’s strategic plans, he suggested. Gen Prem said that “love and care” and “well-wishing” are also significant. “If we love people, love organizations, then we will be willing to work hard for the sake of everybody.” The most important thing, he said, was to love to work with colleagues and follow rules and procedures.

To solve the poverty problem, it is essential for the government, especially the Ministry of Education, to play a major role “as now we want to have smarter and better people”. However, he feels that the ranks of intelligent people is in decline, “particularly among the young people”.

“The new generation likes to play or surf the Internet or chat-rooms, which is very dangerous for them. These young people are likely to become self-centered instead of using rational thinking or principles,” he noted.

The elder statesman added that teachers are important in the educational system. “We want to see more professional teachers, not just plain teachers,” he said.

Administrators of organizations and the general public should be more aware of values such as “merits” and “ethics” to help avoid corruption. He said there are still corrupt people, including government officials, in society buying votes, positions and contracts, while some people avoid paying government tax.

“I think corruption will be in our society for a long time. However, people should be aware of it. The people have the right to vote for their representatives who have both merits and ethics to run the country. But this seems to be difficult,” he said

The country’s rulers should be honest in their work. “I am still worried that there are two dangerous things for the general public at present - environmental problems and human conflicts leading to war and terrorism,” he concluded.


New army assistant head draws the line against drugs

Nopniwat Krailerg

The new assistant commander-in-chief of the Royal Thai Army has visited Pha Muang Task Force in Chiang Mai to stress that the suppression of drug smuggling is a hot issue.

Gen Lertrat Ratanawanitch, the assistant commander-in-chief.

Gen Lertrat Ratanawanitch, assistant to Commander-in-Chief Gen Pravit Wongsuwan, visited the task force on October 8 to familiarize himself with the drug situation in its area of responsibility.

He came to the North to attend the task force’s briefing on drug prevention measures and drug suppression, including the Thai-Burma cooperation plan to help develop the villages along the Thai-Burmese border.

At the briefing, Lt Gen Picharnmeth Muangmanee, commander of the 3rd Army Region, Maj Gen Manus Paorik, the commander of Pha Muang Task Force, were on hand to welcome him.

Afterwards, Gen Lertrat said many drug suspects had been apprehended and 14 million ya ba tablets had been seized, reducing the number of tablets distributed in Thailand. He also spoke of the rural development plan and looking after the work of the people, especially the 50 royally initiated projects, in cooperation with the Third Army Region’s personnel.

Other issues raised were national security and peace along the borders with neighboring Myanmar and Laos.

Apart from the development projects along the Thai-Burmese border, joint military patrols and exercises between Thailand and Myanmar will be intensified next year. Next month, a meeting of the Thai-Burmese Border Committee, in which Burmese Prime Minister Gen Khin Nyunt has shown interest, will take place.


Most suicides in Thailand occur in the North

Autsadaporn Kamthai

The North has the highest rate of suicide in the country. This chilling fact was brought out at a seminar “Update on Suicide Prevention: National and International Experience” held on October 11-12 at the Chiang Mai Orchid Hotel. 150 psychiatrists and associated medical personnel attended.

Director-general of the Mental Health Department ML Somchai Chakaphant speaks on the suicide situation in Thailand.

Keynote speakers were Dr Udomsilp Srisaengnarm, as well as Dr Chee from the University of Melbourne, Australia and Dr Afzal Javed from the University of Warwick, UK who spoke on suicide prevention in Australia and England.

“The Northern region has the highest rate of suicide and suicide attempts in the country,” said ML Somchai Chakaphant, director-general of the Mental Health Department. The suicide rate in the North is over 15 per 100,000 people which is twice that of other regions.

Dr Udomsilp Srisaengnarm delivers his keynote address at the seminar.

“Suicide is linked to severe diseases like HIV/AIDS, alcohol dependence and depression. Thus, it is really a social disease,” said the director-general.

A gradual increase of patients with depression (from 3,721 in 1999 to 4,755 in 2003) and alcohol dependence (from 711 in 1998 to 1,513 in 2003) at Suan Prung Psychiatric Hospital predicts a multiplying suicide rate within the region.

Young adults (aged over 20 years) are the major victims of suicide while elderly people are ranked second. Taking poison, tranquilizers and pesticides are common ways for people to commit suicide. Main causes of young adult suicide are family and social problems, while for the aged it is physical problems.

ML Somchai said that compared with other countries, Thailand’s suicide rate should not be considered high. Countries with high suicide rates are European countries, Japan, and Sri Lanka.

Prevention has been planned to cope with the problem, such as risk group identification, access to effective treatment, family relationships, control of pesticides and public education.


Tourists promised more convenience with new minibus office

Nopniwat Krailerg

A new three-storey office belonging to the yellow minibus service was officially opened on October 11. It is situated behind Wat Loke Molee temple and cost 4.1 million baht. The new office replaces the old building at the cramped area of Erawan market in tambon Chang Puek which had limited parking.

Pol Col Prasert Chantrapipat and guests of honour join in the opening ceremony of the new building.

Nakorn Chiang Mai Transport Cooperatives, which manages the yellow minibus operation, spent 2.1 million baht to buy the land and another 2 million baht for its construction. It is hoped that the new office will be more convenient for both Thai and foreign tourists in contacting the center and using its services.

The new 3-storey office of the yellow minibus service, situated behind Wat Loke Molee temple, was officially opened on October 11.

In Srikammoon, board chairman of the Nakorn Chiang Mai Transport Cooperatives, told Chiangmai Mail that if any tourists required transport to any tourism sites such as Doi Inthanon Mountain or Mae Hong Son - the cooperatives were well prepared to provide vehicles for them immediately. He also guaranteed inexpensive prices and the safety of all vehicles because the drivers were experienced and the vehicles in good condition.

The cooperatives have been operating a transport service between Chiang Mai City and other districts such as Mae Rim, Chiang Dao, Fang, Wiang Galong, Wiang Papao, Mae Chaem, San Kamphaeng, San Patong, Chom Thong and Chiang Rai.

At present, the cooperatives have over 1,000 members and 969 vehicles. In future, the cooperatives will apply for route improvements from the Land Transport Department and new registration plates for its air-conditioned vans to be registered to serve the public on more routes in other provinces.

The cooperatives were also running a project to enable its members to borrow money from the Cooperatives Promotion Department at low interest in order to improve their cars’ condition and performance.

“In the past, the cooperative faced many problems from a concession on the same routes but now coordination between red and white minibuses has increased and helped reduce the problem,” he said.

Contact for transport service to tourism sites could be done at its new office or by calling 0-5321-5343 or 0-5322-4655.

Pol Col Prasert Chantrapipat, deputy commander of Chiang Rai Provincial Police Division who is the advisor to the cooperative, Autsathai Rattanadilok Na Phuket, head of Chiang Mai Lands Transport Office and Singhkam Nunti, board chairman of the cooperatives, presided over the opening ceremony.


Communities enlisted to crack down on drugs

X-rays to be used

Staff reporters

The new Chiang Rai provincial governor has ordered X-ray machines to be installed to be used for drug searches, and wants community leaders, kamnan and village headmen to play a greater part.

Governor Veerakiart Somsoy said after he had outlined government policy to the community leaders in Mae Chan and Mae Sai districts, that Chiang Rai had stepped up measures throughout the province to track down drug addicts and dealers.

Strict measures will be enforced to suppress drug ringleaders and their networks of traffickers by working in cooperation with volunteers in the communities, including kamnan and village headmen. X-ray surveillance has been installed in the villages.

Veerakiart added that using the X-Ray measure in the province is implementation of government policy. The approach involving the community is expected to lead to greater efficiency and success.

The Tambon Administration Organization has also allocated money for the prevention and suppression of drugs at grassroots level.


Mae Hong Son throwing money at tourism, rather than agriculture

Staff reporters

Mae Hong Son provincial authorities have drafted a 3 year plan assigning four organizations to improve roads and tourism sites.

A budget of 63 billion baht has been allocated for the improvements, to be carried out between 2005-2007 by the Highway District Office, Accelerated Rural Development Office, Agriculture Office and Natural Resource and Environment Office.

“The plan puts emphasis on the city’s tourism as it is its main source of income, together with border trade,” Mae Hong Son Governor Suphote Laowansiri said.

“Mae Hong Son is different from other provinces in that it has only seven percent of arable land. The proportion of agricultural space to its population does not balance, so the province must concentrate on tourism instead,” he said.

The Mae Hong Son tourism sector has to distribute income to all communities. The province has targeted Ban Rak Thai in tambon Mok Jampae and Ban Huay Sue Tao in tambon Pha Bong, Muang district to be developed as new eco-tourism sites to attract revenue.


Thailand still a key player in the drug smuggling scene

Nopniwat Krailerg

More heroin is expected to be smuggled into Thailand, with the traffickers changing their transit routes to bring it in via Laos instead of Myanmar.

The Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB), Northern Office said international relations between Thailand and its neighbors Myanmar and Laos have improved, and Thailand is ready to adjust its strategic plan in the second “War on Drugs” in this region.

The prospects of future cooperation between Thailand and Myanmar are said to be bright. The Burmese authorities have cooperated well in reducing drug production among the minority groups, as well as helping to repatriate drug suspects fleeing Thailand to hide in Myanmar.

The Laotian authorities are also reported to be cooperating with Thai authorities to arrest drug suspects who hole up in Laos. According to an ONCB official, there are more than 50 names on blacklists who have crossed the borders to hide from the Thai authorities.

ONCB director Pittaya Jinawat said that drug dealers were likely to smuggle along the water route of the Mekong River, passing through Laos into northeastern Thailand. “Drug dealers arrested in Bangkok and nearby areas confessed that more and more drugs are being smuggled through Isaan,” he said.

The major drug routes in the north are likely to be Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Mae Hong Son, and Tak provinces.

“Most of confiscated hauls at present are drugs that were smuggled a long time ago and stockpiled. Only one case was found to be from a new batch of drugs seized by the Drug Suppression Division police,” he said.

It seems more heroin is coming into Thailand as there is a smuggling route going north to China. However, the Chinese authorities have set up checkpoints in cooperation with Burmese anti-drug units, but “Thailand is the network and transfer location for drug smuggling to third countries,” he added.

As a result of official analyses, the strategic anti-drugs plan would be adjusted and continuously revised with the cooperation of officers in the Third Army Region.

The authorities have reduced the amount of drugs entering Thailand since the government launched the first “War on Drugs”. This second time, the government’s policy will put pressure on drug users and dealers.

“We will focus on major drug traders who help smuggle ya ba pills and heroin into Thailand,” he said.


Fair deal turns into fiasco

Chiang Mai Brand turning sour

Nopniwat Krailerg

The much-touted Chiang Mai Brand Fair has turn into a Chiang Mai fiasco.

Not only has the fair, originally planned for October 6-10 at Thapae Gate ground, been postponed to next year, now the organizers are struggling to find a venue.

Governor Suwat Tantipat had even been invited to open to ill-fated fair, but Chiang Mai Municipality, at the last minute, wanted the venue to welcome the Paralympics medallists and hold the Pha Pa religious ceremony.

The municipality then asked the Chiang Mai Brand Association’s members to reduce the fair’s duration to only three days - from October 6-8 - to avoid overlapping. However, the association refused, afraid of losing its investment if such a large fair were held over only three days. They decided to postpone.

Witoon Kritphol, president of the Chiang Mai Brand Association, told Chiangmai Mail that permission to hold the fair had been forwarded to the Chiang Mai Commerce Office, submitted to Chiang Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat and sent to the municipality to ask for the permit to use the Thapae Gate grounds.

Unfortunately, the document transfers went very slowly because everybody was too busy preparing for PM Thaksin Shinawatra’s visit at the One Village One Product Summit in Chiang Mai.

Witoon said that at first the municipality had agreed to allow the fair to be held at the venue, so the association released the details to the media, but as the request form was sent to the municipality very late, and the celebration to welcome the Paralympic medallists was considered more of interest to the general public, the application for the fair was then turned down.

Not only was the application turned down, but the municipality wanted the fair shortened to three days. “Three days are not enough for the fair since the association has now wasted almost 100,000 baht for electricity, cleaning, advertising and 30 members had paid in advance, while another 30 are preparing to pay in a few days,” said Witoon.

Many of its members were heartbroken by the cancellation, as they had paid for the fair and altogether had lost tens of thousands of baht, he said.

It is hoped the fair will now be held in January and the municipality has pledged to co-organize it to make it bigger than expected, and to run it monthly.

Pradit Phuplab, assistant head of the Chiang Mai Commerce Office, told Chiangmai Mail that at first he did not expect any problems but there were other schedules on the lists. Consequently, the fair can only be held on weekdays.

After the association requested the fair to be held monthly, he was unsure of the pledge from the municipality, and again feared last-minute cancellations.

Meanwhile, Chiang Mai Brand products are being displayed and distributed at the Sunday Market in the vicinity of the Three Kings Monument, said Pradit.


Unlicensed teen driver damages 5 motorbikes

Saksit Meesubkwang
and Nopniwat Krailerg

Five DJs from Chiab Radio and Magazine have petitioned Pol Lt Gen Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, the new commissioner of Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 about alleged improper police procedures after they laid a complaint about a traffic accident involving a prominent media mogul.

Four of the five owners of the damaged motorcycles hand the petition to Pol Lt Gen Sarawut Jantraprasert, investigation superintendent of Provincial Police Bureau Region 5.

Sarina Jantranil, Jintana Rujiyapanont, Ruengwimol Wongmun, Anusarn Saenmahoong and Weerapol Soonklang laid the complaint through investigation superintendent Pol Lt Gen Sarawut Jantraprasert, against police officers at Muang district police station.

Five motorcycles damaged by a youth driving the media owner’s car.

Their motorcycles were damaged while the bikes were parked in front of the company office on Tippaneth Road, in tambon Haiya, by a 16 year old youth driving a car belonging to Terdsak Jiamkijwattana, a well-known personality who operates his own local newspaper, television program broadcast on Channel 11, a radio transmission base and rescue team called “Wihok Saifar”.

The DJs notified the police and Pol Col Boontham Kamrai investigated. Initially the youth allegedly said that Terdsak’s wife had asked him to take the car to have its batteries recharged but he could not drive very well and did not have a driving license.

However, at the police station, he changed his statement, saying he stole the car to go for a drive. This was to protect Terdsak and his wife, claim the five DJ’s.

The five claim that the police did not make a record of the case and did not take any action against the youth.

The five DJs claimed unfair treatment and improper police procedures including not seizing the car after the accident, releasing a driver who did not possess a driving license, not opening a police file, not fining a careless driver and the car’s owner who bore co-responsibility for the damage to the motorcycles.

After receiving the petition, Pol Lt Gen Sarawut pledged to help resolve the matter to satisfy both parties.


Sex kittens, filmmaker among those held for shooting porn VCDs

Police keeping a close watch on suspect VCDs (933 of them)

Staff reporters

Alleged skin-flick movie stars, a film director, and others have been arrested in connection with the production of pornographic movies that included a schoolgirl.

Pol Lt Col Chakrit Aiemchaengphan, deputy superintendent of the Crime Suppression Division (CSD), Bangkok, on October 5 arrested alleged service girl provider Jintana Suthanin, aged 37, her husband and VCD film director Prasobchoke Kaminkaew, 47; Nonthaburi resident Yothin Krutprong, 36; and Bangkok-based male and female actors.

The CSD police said that the arrests followed the apprehension by Chiang Rai police of some suspects in the North and seizing of X-rated VCDs on sale in Chiang Rai. The movie was shot and produced in Nakhon Nayok province and the VCDs sold in Mae Sai district in Chiang Rai.

The suspects confessed that they had brought some female actors from Mae Sai area for the VCD, according to the police.

It was initially reported that a schoolgirl in Chiang Rai province was in one scene of a movie on sale in Mae Sai District, Chiang Mai.

Following a tip-off, the Chiang Rai police with the CSD police arrested the three suspects who allegedly produced the pornographic VCDs.

This in turn alerted Pol Maj Gen Chamnong Kaewsiri, commander of the Chiang Mai Provincial Police Division, who ordered Pol Lt Col Sunthorn Chantarangkoon, deputy superintendent of Mae Sai police station in Chiang Rai, to investigate the case.

It is alleged that there is a group which has been looking for female students in Chiang Rai to act in the obscene movies.

The police planned to trap the culprits by asking to buy the VCDs last month, which led to further arrests and the seizure of the VCDs titled “Waan Yod”, “Fakbumrua, “Satreewit School” shot by hidden camera, and “Tarzan”. In all, 933 VCDs were seized.


Controlling human trafficking

Staff reporters

Frank Weicks, longtime resident of Chiang Mai was recently invited to speak at a workshop organized by the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) on law enforcement issues related to the trafficking of women and children in South East Asia.

Frank J. Weicks representing the United States during his speech at the workshop in Kuala Lumpur next to Irena Vojackova-Sollorano from the International Organization for Migration, Chief of Mission for Southeast Asia.

The three day workshop in Kuala Lumpur brought together experts in combating trafficking from Europe, the United States, Indonesia, Australia and Cambodia, and worked to develop a national plan of action for the country of Malaysia.

Controlling human trafficking, whether for purposes of labor or prostitution, is particularly difficult in locations where migrants can flow freely across borders and especially in geographic locations where the border of a developing country abuts that of a wealthy neighbor.

In his opening address, vice chairman of Suhakam, Tan Sri Simon Sipaun urged cross border sharing of information, security operations and networking between ASEAN countries. “Collective efforts from all countries are needed, these being the countries of source, transit and destination.” He noted that Malaysia was doing its best to tackle the problem, but that over 15 thousand foreign women involved in the flesh trade had been arrested in the two year period from August 2002 until August 2004. Some were trafficked against their will, but others came in search of economic opportunities.

Frank Weicks addressed a plan to identify victims of trafficking, whether adults or children, through a comprehensive system of information based on relationships with individuals and organizations. These relationships must be built on trust and nurtured over a period of time. The individuals and organizations must trust that law enforcement will handle victims appropriately. “It is vital,” he noted, “that victims of trafficking be treated as victims and not as perpetrators.” In the past it has not been uncommon for them to be arrested and tried for illegal entry or vice-related crimes.

Frank Weicks, who is a United States Federal Court-Qualified Expert in child sexual exploitation and child pornography, detailed the components of interviewing victims of trafficking, particularly child victims. He stated that the sexual exploitation of children is not a new problem, but is exacerbated by certain economic and political conditions. Developing countries and countries that have suffered economic crises are particularly vulnerable. On a micro level, children from poor and/or psychosocially disorganized families, no matter what their country of origin, are also at risk. He noted that the problems of these families, even in prosperous countries such as the United States, make their children particularly vulnerable to sexual predators.

He discussed child sex tourism in Southeast Asia, and noted that many western countries now have laws allowing them to prosecute offenders for crimes committed in other countries. A pedophile that comes to Thailand from the United States, for instance, can be prosecuted in the United States for any crimes committed against children in Thailand. This calls for coordination between law enforcement agencies in both countries.

Workshop presenters were invited to dinner hosted by the charge d’affaires of the United States Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Robert A. Pollard. Mr. Pollard led a lively dinner discussion of issues related to the workshop and pledged his support of the work.