HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

50,000 baht reward for capture of escapee who shot policeman

Police revise strategy against robbers who target foreign tourists

CMU to conduct study on electric tramcars for mass transport

Wiang Haeng residents give coalmine go-ahead

Training needs in Greater Mekong sub-region to be ascertained

Chiang Mai Journalists Club donate to Mae Hong Son villagers

Over 50,000 tourists visit Bua Tong Flower Field

Men enter priesthood to make merit for the King

Remaining Loy Krathong Program 2004

Thailand snubs world body by holding horticultural fair

Two suspected murderers arrested

Forestry police to sue Thanathorn orange orchard for encroachment

We all sit in the same boat

American charged with illegally entering country

Three overseas tourists robbed on same night, shaming Chiang Mai

Dormitory fire near CMU causes estimated 0.5 million baht damage

Auto theft gang arrested in Chiang Mai

Police apprehend Hong Kong smuggler and intercept Thai Yai traffickers

50,000 baht reward for capture of escapee who shot policeman

Nopniwat Krailerg

Pol Senior Sergeant Maj Wittaya Jansamrarn was shot and injured on November 18 by prisoner Ming Jaiman, 50, who broke out of Chiang Mai Central Prison 12 days earlier with Akkradech “Ood” Kongkrajang, 40.

Pol Lt Gen Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, commissioner of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5, visits Pol Senior Sergeant Maj Wittaya Jansamrarn who was shot by escaped jailbird Ming Jaiman.

The police have been hunting for them and issued identikits for the general public and police in Chiang Mai. This resulted in villagers informing Pol Senior Sergeant Maj Wittaya at the Mueng Kaew Police Box in Mae Rim district that Ming was around the rice field in Ban Pa Phai in tambon Mueng Kaew, Mae Rim district.

The police from Mae Rim district police station, led by suppression inspector Pol Maj Niwat Jomjai and investigation inspector Pol Maj Naruebarn Jittayanont surrounded the rice field area to recapture Ming.

When Pol Senior Sergeant Maj Wittaya confronted Ming, he ordered him to stop and surrender. However, Ming shot at Wittaya with a .357 pistol five times. Wittaya returned fire with his .38 service revolver. Wittaya was shot in the left leg but Ming managed to escape unhurt.

Pol Senior Sergeant Maj Wittaya was taken to Nakorn Ping Hospital for treatment and Ming’s gun was seized as evidence.

Prisoner Ming Jaiman, 50, who escaped from Chiang Mai Central Prison on November 6. The reward for information leading to his recapture is 50,000 baht.

After the shooting, Pol Lt Gen Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, commissioner of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5, Siriwat Sairat-in, Commissioner of Chiang Mai Central Prison, Pol Col Chamnarn Ruadrew, Deputy Commander of Chiang Mai Police Chief and Pol Col Montri Sumboonnanont, superintendent of Mae Rim District Police Station, commandeered over 200 officials to encircle the orchard in Ban Ton Phueng in tambon Mueng Kaew, Mae Rim district where they believe the prisoner was headed.

However, they were unable to apprehend Ming and later found out that somebody had helped him escape to Chiang Mai’s Muang district on a motorcycle. The police searched 11 of his relatives’ houses, but in vain.

“Police have eight more places (to check) outside the Chiang Mai area where he may be hiding. Police in that area have been contacted to hunt for him”, said Pol Lt Gen Panupong.

Pol Lt Gen Panupong visited Pol Senior Sergeant Maj Wittaya at Nakorn Ping Hospital and told him he admired his bravery in carrying out his duty. He pledged to give him further assistance. The police have offered a 50,000 baht reward for Ming’s arrest.

Ming was arrested for robbery and gun possession on August 26, 2002 and was sentenced to a prison term of 10 years and one month. He also has five previous criminal offenses on record at Muang district police station and three at Mae Ping district police station between 1999-2003. He has been charged with possession of weapons, drug-related offences and robbery.

Akkradech was arrested on April 12 this year in connection with five cases of theft. He is a member of the gang of Nong Kon Kru Temple’s abbot in San Sai district, Chiang Mai, which steals Buddha images throughout the North.

Police revise strategy against robbers who target foreign tourists

Nopniwat Krailerg

Following three robberies of foreign tourists since the start of Chiang Mai’s peak tourist season, police met to plan new strategies to act against young thieves.

Pol Lt Gen Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya (left), commissioner of Provincial Police Bureau Region 5, talks with Deputy Tourist Police Chief Pol Col Sakolrat Theerasawas (right) after the meeting.

Pol Lt Gen Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya said that under the supervision of Provincial Police Bureau Region 5, Central Investigation Police Bureau and Chiang Mai Provincial Police Division, tourist police were appointed as reserves to the Chiang Mai Provincial Police Division to suppress young gangs and criminals who target foreign tourists.

At the meeting, both preventive and investigation strategies were revised to improve performance. The strategies will help prevent the same crimes happening to other foreign tourists and maintain the image of Chiang Mai as a tourist city.

The police had clues to trace the thieves who recently injured and robbed the three foreigners and had collected evidence to arrest them, according to Pol Lt Gen Panupong. Initially, the police suspected that the three foreign tourists were robbed by the same miscreants who could be drug addicts and gamblers. He pledged that they would be arrested.

The heavyweight two hour meeting was attended by Pol Lt Gen Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, commissioner of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5; Pol Maj Gen Chaiwat Chotika, deputy commissioner of the Central Investigation Police Bureau; Pol Col Sakolrat Theerasawas, Deputy Tourist Police Chief; Pol Maj Gen Jiruj Pohmmobol, Chiang Mai Provincial Police Chief; Pol Col Chamnarn Ruad-rew, Deputy Chiang Mai Provincial Police Chief; Pol Col Prayat Boonsri, superintendent of Muang district police station; Pol Col Prachuab Wongsook, superintendent of Phu Ping Palace police station; Pol Col Yutthachai Puaprasert, superintendent of Mae Ping district police station; and Pol Col Thaweechai Prateep-u-sanont, superintendent of Chang Puak district police station.

CMU to conduct study on electric tramcars for mass transport

Nopniwat Krailerg

With 147 million baht approved by the government to investigate Chiang Mai’s mass transportation, the Traffic and Transport Policy and Planning Office in the Ministry of Transport and Communication has assigned Chiang Mai University (CMU) to conduct a study over 10 months, starting next month.

Director of the CMU’s Information Service Center, Chaithawat Saowaphon.

The Traffic and Transport Policy and Planning Office has approved an electric tramcar project after the director of CMU’s Information Service Center, Chaithawat Saowaphon, presented the proposal for the mass transportation.

The Traffic and Transport Policy and Planning Office, Chiang Mai Municipality and Chiang Mai province will work together with CMU.

During the 10 month study, the general public is welcome to make suggestions to the working group on both the electric car and pollution issues.

Chaithawat said the study is divided into three stages. Firstly, the CMU will study technology for the type of electric tramcars. Then, it will study how appropriate is their use within Chiang Mai City. The third stage is to designate the system and construction.

“The transport will not be a sky train because people will protest against it,” said Chiang Mai Mayor Boonlert Buranuprakorn, “The study will decide whether it will be a railed electric car or not.”

Some routes for the electric tramcar service include tambon Mae Hia (Night Safari area) to International Conference Center in Mae Rim, and Chiang Mai International Airport to Chiang Mai Railway Station. Other routes will head to the inner city area like Night Bazaar and Thapae.

Wiang Haeng residents give coalmine go-ahead

Autsadaporn Kamthai

It is estimated that sixty percent of local people in the Wiang Haeng district in Chiang Mai have given approval to the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) for an open cut coalmine covering 3,500 rai in tambon Saen Hai and tambon Piang Luang.

Speaking at a meeting of the Wiang Haeng Mine Development Project Cheewin Panunt, chairman of Wiang Haeng District’s Village Headman Club, said less than 10 percent were against the plan, while another 20 percent were neutral.

According to the local people, they have resisted for four reasons: fear of losing arable lands, fear of being removed from their areas of residence, lack of concern about the coal supply of the nation as a whole, and fear of the negative impact from the coal mine, said Burapa Mahaboonyanont, former Chiang Mai Provincial Election Commission member. “We have to admit that ways of publicizing facts and information about the mining excavation were inadequate for the local people,” he said.

Making information about the open cut mining known, especially the positive potential development, was the most significant measure in building people’s confidence about the project, according to Deputy Governor Thongchai Wongrianthong. “To make people understand the difference between the Wiang Haeng coal mine and Mae Moh power plant is also important because most people fear they will suffer like Mae Moh people.”

The main obstacle to the subcommittee’s work, which focused on evaluating the Social Impact Assessment (SIA) and Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) was non-participation of some NGOs and local people, said Aphiwat Kunarak, director of the Environment Office Region 1. “They were invited to join the subcommittee and they refused, but now are objecting to the project.”

The protesters group used the Community Forest Act as the core of their opposition to the project, while the subcommittee insisted that the coal mine covered only state properties, including forest areas, military areas and some recently announced as a national park.

The Wiang Haeng District Development Plan under supervision of the subcommittee and support of EGAT focuses on development on the seven fields of tourism, environment, education, public health, religion and culture, occupational promotion and plan administration.

The SIA and EIA, which concentrate on public participation, were being carried out by the Language and Culture Research Institute, Mahidol University and the Engineering Service Center of Engineering Faculty, Chiang Mai University respectively. After the study, local people will be allowed to make input on the study to measure whether they want the coal mine or not.

Wiang Haeng district contains an estimated 20 million tons of coal to supply the country for 20 years and help save the country about 15 billion baht on buying energy from other countries. This coal resource is planned to be used as the main fuel for Mae Moh power plant in Lampang.

The coalmine is expected to be excavated in the year 2008, on condition it gets SIA, EIA and local approval.

Training needs in Greater Mekong sub-region to be ascertained

Autsadaporn Kamthai

Mae Fa Luang University has cooperated with the Labor Skills Development Department to produce research on training needs in the Greater Mekong sub-region (GMS) and the Chiang Rai border area.

Five groups of academics have worked in Kunming, Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and many areas in northern Thailand to collect data from top administrators, academic institutions, entrepreneurs and workers.

According to Dr Preecha Uppayokin, lecturer at Mae Fa Luang University, the researchers discovered that each country had a high demand for skills development for laborers in technology, information technology, electrical engineering, construction and handicrafts.

A presentation of the final research results will be held in January next year to disseminate the information to the general public. Meanwhile, a curriculum for the Greater Mekong sub-region laborer’s skills development will be drafted.

For further information on the research and presentation, contact Dr Preecha Uppayokin at 0-5391-6305, 0-5391-6113.

Chiang Mai Journalists Club donate to Mae Hong Son villagers

Saksit Meesubkwang

Thani Suwattana, president of the Chiang Mai Journalist Club, and 100 journalists donated clothes, blankets, sport equipment and dried foods to hill tribes and local people in tambon Mae Ou-Kor, Khun Yuam district in Mae Hong Son.

Saowalak Saeliew (left), deputy president of the Mae Ou-Kor Tambon Administration Organization; Sornchai Prasart (third right wearing eye glass), director of the Ban Mai Pattana School; and Saksit Meesubkwang (fourth right) from Chiangmai Mail, at Ban Mae Ou-Kor.

Thani said that the club received a request from the Mae Ou-Kor Tambon Administration Organization to donate clothes and other necessities to hill tribes and local people in the area. Many residents of Mae Ou-Kor village need clothes and blankets during winter.

The Chiang Mai Journalist Club has been in existence for over six years. During this time, it has supported many needy people, including the abandoned elderly, as well as children of hard-pressed journalists. Financial support is given according to requests made to the club.

The trip to Mae Ou-Kor to assist the locals also provided the journalists with the opportunity for a field trip. After making the donation, they visited the Bua Thong Flower Field and other tourist sites in Mae Hong Son.

Over 50,000 tourists visit Bua Tong Flower Field

Saksit Meesubkwang

Over 50,000 Thai and foreign tourists have visited the Bua Tong Flower Field in Khun Yuam district, Mae Hong Son since the beginning of November when the flowers began to blossom, according to Surapol Sattayarak, Khun Yuam district chief officer.

Blooming Bua Tong flowers on 5,000 rai are waiting for tourists to visit. The Bua Tong Flowers will be in full blossom until the end of December.

Despite it being the start of winter, the temperature at Bua Tong Flower Field has been very pleasant, according to the tourists.

“The Bua Tong will be blossoming beautifully until the end of December and this year’s flowers are much prettier than in previous years,” Surapol said. “The annual Bua Tong Flower festival earns the local people about 200 million baht,” he said.

Tourists could be assured of their security as the police, soldiers and security officers of Khun Yuam District Municipality would be on patrol on a 24-hour basis, according to the district chief officer.

Other interesting tourist sites in Khun Yuam are the World War II Museum, Mae Su-rin Waterfall and hill tribe villages.

Men enter priesthood to make merit for the King

Nopniwat Krailerg

On November 20, 78 men entered the monkhood to make merit for His Majesty the King on the occasion of his 77th birthday. The ordination ceremony was held at Wat Phra Singh temple in Chiang Mai.

The ordination to honor the King was held simultaneously in every region, making a total of 546 men nationwide to undergo the ceremony of devotion to honor the King.

The 78 novices in procession after the main event.

The main objectives of the ordination are to allow Thais to show their loyalty towards the monarchy, make great merit for his auspicious birthday, and to promote tradition and religious beliefs among Thais.

This nationwide ordination has been supported by the 33rd Army Region, Ministry of Interior, Community Development Office, Crown Property Bureau, Chiang Mai Cultural Office, Chiang Mai monks, Chiang Mai Municipality, Siam Commercial Bank (SCB), Chiang Mai’s Helping Hand community radio station, DTAC and UCOM.

The 78 Chiang Mai monks will stay at Wat Ram Pueng in Chiang Mai until December 6.

Remaining Loy Krathong Program 2004

Saturday, November 27

3 p.m. – 10 p.m. Lanna art show, traditional art show and competition at Three King’s Monument

3 p.m. – 10 p.m. Walking Street on Ratchadamnern Rd. and Three King’s Monument

3 p.m. – 10 p.m. Cultural fair at Thapae Gate

6 p.m. – 12 p.m. Large Krathong competition of which the winner will be awarded a Royal Cup on Ratchadamnern Rd. and in front of the Municipal Office

7 p.m. – 12 p.m. Yee Peng Beauty Queen Contest and Yee Peng Junior Beauty Queen Contest (final round) at Thapae Gate

8 p.m. – 12 p.m. Lantern and fireworks show in front of the Municipal Office

9 p.m. – 10 p.m. Light and sound show on the floating podium in front of the Municipal Office

Thailand snubs world body by holding horticultural fair

Nopniwat Krailerg

The Agricultural Department is to organize the “Ratchapruek 2006: International Horticultural Exposition for His Majesty the King” without the administration of the International Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH) after it had allowed China and Malaysia to arrange the same horticulture fairs before the Thailand dates.

Chaiwat Wattanachai, director of the Agricultural Research and Development Office, Region 1, said Ratchapruek 2006 will take place at tambon Mae Hia, in Chiang Mai’s Muang district from November 1, 2006 to January 31, 2007. The main objective will be to honor His Majesty the King celebrating his 80th birthday and to mark his status of “Father of Thai Agriculture”.

“The government has earmarked almost 1.5 billion baht for the event,” said Chaiwat.

After the Department of Agriculture resigned from the AIPH on September 23, the AIPH demanded 20 percent of the fair organization’s insurance money (2,100 euro - 110,000 baht) from Thailand. However, Thailand has refused to pay as it has pulled out of the world body in protest against the AIPH’s actions in allowing China and Malaysia to hold the same event during the same period.

Two suspected murderers arrested

Nopniwat Krailerg

Two alleged gunmen, Sirichai “Mac” Ruensai, 41, and Punkaew Pohmmalar, 51, have been arrested on suspicion of murder.

Pol Lt Gen Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya (left), commissioner of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5, with the alleged gunmen at a press conference.

Sirichai was arrested at Chiang Mai’s Arcade Bus Terminal while he was preparing to leave Chiang Mai on November 17. Punkaew was arrested a day later at his house in Pasang district, Lamphun.

The two allegedly killed 50-year-old Narong “Daeng” Funmoon on November 13 while he was sleeping at home in tambon Nambor Luang, San Pathong district. Narong was a skilled sculptor and a village volunteer. He was well loved by his pupils and the villagers.

After Narong’s killing, his relatives petitioned the police to arrest the murderer and provided some useful clues. Police from the Chiang Mai provincial police station worked in cooperation with the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 in collecting evidence. The police surmised that the motive for the murder was Narong’s conflict with a local villager, and that the two gunmen had been hired to kill him.

“The two gunmen denied the accusation, but the police were sure the evidence they had was enough to take them into custody,” said Pol Lt Gen Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, commissioner of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5.

The two gunmen have been previously arrested on charges of murder, illegal possession of weapons and drug-related offences, but successfully defended the charges in court.

Forestry police to sue Thanathorn orange orchard for encroachment

But gives them two months advance notice?

Nopniwat Krailerg

The Forestry Police have gathered 90 percent of the evidence and documentation needed to sue the Thanathorn orange orchard in tambon Monpin, Fang district, Chiang Mai within the next two months. Thanathorn orange orchard is alleged to have encroached onto 618 rai of the national reserved forest.

This was announced by Pol Maj Gen Sawek Pinsinchai, commissioner of the Forestry Police. He admitted that the police had faced many obstacles in getting cooperation from other associated organizations during the collection of evidence.

“Other orange orchards are being investigated now,” said Pol Maj Gen Sawek. “Any entrepreneurs who would like to invest in any land should check carefully whether it belongs to the state or not,” he said.

We all sit in the same boat

The hills are alive with the sounds of - globalization!

Reinhard Hohler

During the international conference “Impact of Globalization, Regionalism and Nationalism on Minority Peoples in Southeast Asia” held at the Amity Green Hills Hotel in Chiang Mai on November 15-17, some 300 participants experienced a fantastic show of co-operation and networking.

The Lua elders bless the conference. (Photo by Autsadaporn Kamthai)

Supported by the Rockefeller Foundation and the Canadian Embassy in Bangkok, the high-powered event was co-organized by Dr. Kwanchewan Buadaeng from the Social Research Institute, Chiang Mai University, and Dr. Don McCaskill from Trent University, Ontario in Canada. The conference successfully aimed to strengthen future collaboration between scholars, government officials, NGO’s and ethnic minorities in Yunnan/China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

There were 60 papers read as part of an academic forum presented in panel discussions, round table sessions and workshops. The keynote address from Prof. Charles F. Keyes, Department of Anthropology, and University of Washington, went into that difficult question of what globalization, regionalism, and nationalism really mean, highlighting the case of Thailand and Vietnam.

As an example of the ongoing Mekong Project, Prof. Liu Jinrong, School of Ethnic Culture, Yunnan Nationalities University examined the impact of the hydropower station of Nuozadu Town in Lancang Lahu Autonomus County in Yunnan’s Simao Prefecture. There, three large villages will be submerged to give way to a dam that will be 10 times larger than the natural Dian Lake in Kunming.

Prof. He Shaoying and Miss Luo Ping, Yunnan Nationalities University introduced the concept of theme parks to promote Dai Park in Yunnan’s Xishuangbanna. Five villages are incorporated in a kind of paradise on earth to showcase and preserve Dai culture with nearly 2 million visitors expected annually.

On the second day of the conference, there was an afternoon joint academic and indigenous people’s forum on rights and policies, where two independent researchers from Chiang Mai gave outstanding presentations. American Ken Kampe cited a catalogue of complaints by hill tribe farmers towards the policies of their respective governments, such as no consultation, no progress, poor policies, rampant corruption, no dialogue, and violent confrontation. American Ron Renard reported about his recent visit to Kokang and Wa States, a region in Myanmar, which wants to eradicate opium production in 2005.

Besides a small GMS Photographic Exhibit and documentary film presentation, was another interesting session on modernity and marginality moderated by Prof. Tsing Yuan, History Department, Wright State University, Ohio, USA, when two Australian researchers presented the case of the Akha people of Northwestern Laos. Prof. Paul T. Cohen and Chris Lyttleton, Department of Anthropology, Macquarie University, Sydney argued three issues in connection with road construction and massive Chinese immigration, namely a rising social engagement, health and AIDS problems.

The conference closed with a memorial lecture for Dr. Peter Hinton (1939-2004), an Australian field researcher on the Karen in Thailand during the 1960’s. Dr. Anthony R. Walker, Associate Professor of Anthropology, and Sociology, University of Brunei Darussalam underlined the importance of the vision that Lahu and Karen are close to being brothers of the same clan, going back in history. And was this not what was the conference all about? We all sit in the same boat, when it comes to globalization and the path of destruction of our environment.

American charged with illegally entering country

Further investigation ongoing into more serious allegations

Saksit Meesubkwang

An American charged with entering and living in Thailand illegally has been accused of seducing young Thai girls to have sex with him.

Peter Ramon Jwaller, 36, was charged on November 16 after Mantana Tansupan, a teacher of Nong Thong Wittayakom School in Hang Dong district called on police to investigate him.

Jwaller was suspected of seducing young female students to have sex with him, according to Mantana. He would leave notices at many public telephone boxes and school notice boards saying he was looking for good-looking female friends aged under 15, for whom he would give free English lessons.

Jwaller had done this for a long time and his behavior seemed dangerous for the female students, said Mantana.

Police questioned him and found that he did not have a visa. The police therefore charged him with illegally entering the kingdom. However, the police are further investigating the allegations made by the teacher and the school authorities.

Three overseas tourists robbed on same night, shaming Chiang Mai

Saksit Meesubkwang

Three foreign tourists were robbed by gangsters on November 17, with the potential of giving Chiang Mai a bad reputation as the tourism peak season starts.

Annelaure Tavernier, a 36 year old French tourist was robbed at 1 a.m. on Kotchasarn Road Soi 1 in tambon Chang Klan while she was on her way to visit a friend, Gan Neval, who lives at Pim Apartment on Suthep Road.

Annelaure told the police at Muang district police station the thief was about 30 years old, 165 cm tall and wore a black T-shirt and jeans. The thief was riding an unregistered motorcycle, and snatched her shoulder bag from her. Annelaure lost 1,100 baht in cash, a digital camera, international driving license and an electric torch.

Julia Stenhouse was robbed on the same day by four thieves while she was on her way to her guesthouse. The first two thieves riding a motorcycle stopped her while the other came up. They robbed her at knifepoint. She tried to run away but the thieves grabbed her around the neck and pressed the knife to her right arm. She lost 200 baht in cash, two mobile phones and important documents. Her arm was slightly wounded.

An Australian tourist, Rachelle Anderson, 19, was robbed on Thapae Road Soi 4 in tambon Chang Klan. Rachelle was wounded as four thieves slashed her right hand. She had to be taken to Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital. It was reported that she had one tendon severed and she had to receive treatment.

Rachelle lost 4,000 baht in cash, her passport, ID card and other important documents. She said she had been encircled by the four thieves on two motorcycles. The thieves tried to seize her bag from her but she resisted. As a result they slashed her hand with a knife.

Pol Maj Gen Jiruj Prommobol, commander of Chiang Mai Provincial Police Division, instructed the police to arrest the culprits as quickly as possible as “their actions destroy Chiang Mai’s image as a tourist city”. Meanwhile, Pol Lt Gen Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, commissioner of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5, ordered police in Chiang Mai and other northern provinces to keep a watch for gangs of thieves during this high season, and to increase security for all tourists.

As these three tourists were all unaccompanied females, perhaps a warning should be issued by the authorities before the situation gets out of hand.

Dormitory fire near CMU causes estimated 0.5 million baht damage

Saksit Meesubkwang

A fire broke out in Room No. 403 at Sujaritkul dormitory next to Chiang Mai University (CMU) in tambon Suthep on November 17, causing damage estimated at half a million baht.

Firefighters look through the room after extinguishing the fire.

According to reports, two Chiang Mai Municipality fire trucks rushed to the scene to extinguish the flames, but as it took 30 minutes for them to arrive, everything in the room was destroyed. Firefighters battled for another 30 minutes before they brought the fire on the fourth floor under control.

Three CMU students are reported to have lived in the room. Officials were unable to ascertain the cause of the fire and forensic police have been asked to investigate.

Jaroon Sujaritkul, 65, the owner of the dormitory, said the fire started about 10.30 a.m. when most of students were at lectures. He only noticed the fire after one tenant on the fourth floor raised the alarm.

Following the fire, some tenants were considering moving out because they are afraid the building may collapse.

Auto theft gang arrested in Chiang Mai

Nopniwat Krailerg

Five suspected gang members were arrested on November 17 in Uttradit in connection with swindling vehicles from their victims.

Pol Lt Gen Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya (first right in uniform), commissioner of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 observes the five swindlers, one of which is Assadang Pol-in (seated right).

Chalom Yoosri, Thanita Chan-im, Pranee Lamyai, Wasinee Longkhathorn and Assadang Pol-in were arrested through teamwork of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5, Ban Thi district police station and Uttradit provincial police station.

Two victims, Chatchawarn Ing-maenamtar and Boonsri Kittipanya, notified police that their secondhand Toyota and Mitsubishi pickup trucks had been sold to the gang who used fake documentation to buy them. The gang then disappeared without paying any installments. Khan Chantapoon was reported as the purchasing agent.

It was later ascertained that the cars were sold to middlemen on the black market in Myanmar via Mae Sod district, Tak province.

Chalom and Thanita got the orders to procure cars from someone known as “Hia Sui”, who gave the gang financial backing. These two would send accomplices to dupe sellers of secondhand vehicles in Lamphun.

The gang members confessed that they had been doing this for over two years.

Pol Lt Gen Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, commissioner of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5, said that the police had to trace the source of the fake documents to check whether any administrative officials or police were involved. The Provincial Police Bureau Region 5’s E-COP computer system will be used in the investigation procedure.

Police apprehend Hong Kong smuggler and intercept Thai Yai traffickers

Staff reporters

A Hong Kong man, Yong Hang Wai was arrested in Mae Sai district, Chiang Rai while attempting to smuggle 68 measures of heroin weighing 350 grams.

The 20-year old Yong was arrested by the special task force of 3rd cavalry department, Pha Muang Task Force and police of Mae Sai District Police Station which set check points at Ban Tham Pla, in Mae Sai district. The heroin was found hidden inside his shoe.

Yong confessed that he bought the heroin from Chinese Hor and Red Wa people in Tachilek Burma for 500 baht each measure. He told the police that he had intended going back to Hong Kong.

This was the second time that he came to Thailand to buy narcotics, according to Tong. His first smuggling attempt was successful because he swallowed the narcotics.

In the second case, three Thai Yai, holding Burmese nationality, tried to cross the Sai River into Mae Sai district, Chiang Rai with a sack containing 40,000 tablets of ya ba.

The special narcotic suppression police of Chiang Rai Provincial Police Station, special task force of the 3rd Cavalry Department, Pha Muang Task Force found them during their patrol and called on the three Thai Yai suspects to stop.

However, they were armed and fought back, and the police and soldiers had to defend themselves. After the gunfire died down one of the three suspects was found dead while other two had fled.

The police found they had left the sack with ya ba, plus firearms and the ID card of the deceased drug runner. It turned out that the dead man was a member of Red Wa network, for whom the police had many arrest warrants.