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Thousands turn out to wish the best for HM the King

Provincial police to use GIS technology in next year’s general election

Chiang Mai prepares for summer drought, appeals for blankets for winter

North gets ready for forest fires

Globalization must bring us together, says seminar

PM Thaksin Shinawatra opens SMEs Center

Finance Ministry bullish over Thai economy

Annual plea for blankets and warm clothing for the needy

Drug suppression and property confiscation operations in the north

Pha Muang Task Force soldiers assigned to deal with drugs, border security

More on the War on Drugs II

Thief arrested with items worth 300,000 baht

Thousands turn out to wish the best for HM the King

Ceremony held to show loyalty and reverence for our beloved King

Saksit Meesubkwang

On the occasion of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great’s 77th birthday, thousands of Chiang Mai citizens, led by Governor Suwat Tantipat, joined the entire Thai nation in showing their loyalty to the King and wishing him good health and long life. The local ceremonies took place in front of Chiang Mai City Hall.

Approximately 5,000 people, including government officials, soldiers, police and the public joined in the celebrations on that day.

Fireworks were set off in all provinces of Thailand at the appointed time to show harmony and the loyalty of Thai people throughout the kingdom.


Provincial police to use GIS technology in next year’s general election

Nopniwat Krailerg

Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 will use the Geographic Information System (GIS) during next year’s general election, said Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, commissioner of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5.

With the GIS, police will go to election sites to control the situation and can run immediate checks with associated organizations.

The Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 was assigned by the Royal Thai Police to keep the election free from corruption. On November 13, the bureau commanded the eight northern provinces to set up election preparation centers, said Pol Lt Gen Panupong.

Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 is the first region that has applied GIS technology to watch over the general election. The GIS could make detailed checking at all election sites so that if any riots or crime took place the police could pinpoint the problem, said Pol Lt Gen Panupong.


Chiang Mai prepares for summer drought, appeals for blankets for winter

Saksit Meesubkwang

A plan to prepare for drought in 22 districts and two sub-districts of Chiang Mai next summer was presented on November 23 by Chiang Mai Deputy Governor Kwanchai Wongnitikorn.

District offices and Tambon Administration Organizations will cooperate in checking water resources in their areas of responsibility in advance, to be well prepared.

Kwanchai said that 389 households and 2,401 rai of agricultural land in four tambons of Chom Thong and Hot districts have faced drought every year. The district reserve funds of 1 million baht from 2003 would be used to assist affected dwellers. “If this is inadequate, the districts can ask for extra funding from the provincial governor as the government has earmarked 50 million baht for Chiang Mai to use in case of disasters,” said Kwanchai.

As the weather is getting cooler, a survey found that 87,824 people in Chiang Mai required blankets and winter coats and the province had distributed just 10,000 blankets, said Kwanchai. These needy people are mostly hill tribes in Mae Chaem, Omkoi and Phrao districts. The Chiang Mai Disaster Prevention and Relief Office and Chiang Mai Municipality have donated over 150 blankets to the city for distribution.

“Chiang Mai province is now appealing to people to donate blankets and winter coats to those in need, Kwanchai said. (Since by simple maths they are 77,674 short, there is obviously a much greater need than is being met by the authorities.) He also warned people to beware of fire hazards, as the air is getting dry.


North gets ready for forest fires

Drought predicted for 2005

Saksit Meesubkwang

The Chiang Mai-Lamphun Forest Fire Operation Unit has planned new strategies to combat fires in 2005. Surapol Leelawaropas, its director, said keeping watch on forest fires, campaigning and getting cooperation from local administration organizations are also crucial.

Surapol Leelawaropas, director of the Chiang Mai-Lamphun Forest Fire Operation Unit.

“Forest fire control teams in local villages have been formed to network and cooperate in covering all areas at risk in Chiang Mai and Lamphun,” Surapol said.

This preparation was done following a report by the Southeast Asia Fire Danger Rating System Project of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). The report, released on October 13, said that Thailand’s northeast region was at high risk for forest fires while the upper and lower north and central regions were at intermediate risk.

The Climate Prediction Center of the United States National Weather Service also announced that warm currents in the Pacific Ocean and the El Nino phenomenon would continue in 2005. El Nino would trigger drought in early 2005 worldwide, especially in Indonesia, according to the Climate Prediction Center.

This announcement was of great concern to Thailand because Indonesia was one of the ‘indicators’ of Thailand’s forest fires, said Surapol. “If Indonesia faces severe forest fires in any year due to the El Nino, Thailand will experience forest fires as well,” he said.

Due to these predictions, Chiang Mai and Lamphun need to be well prepared to cope with the situation, said Surapol.


Globalization must bring us together, says seminar

Saksit Meesubkwang

Chiang Mai hosted the 6th Meeting of the International Cooperative Alliance Regional Assembly for Asia and the Pacific at Lotus Pang Suan Kaew Hotel on December 1, in cooperation with the International Cooperative Alliance of Thailand and Mae Jo University.

Deputy Prime Minister Jaturon Chaisaeng (center) and Ivano Barberini (3rd right), president of the International Cooperative Alliance’s Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific.

Deputy Prime Minister Jaturon Chaisaeng and Ivano Barberini, president of the International Cooperative Alliance’s Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, presided over the opening.

Participants at the 6th Meeting of the International Cooperative Alliance Regional Assembly for Asia and the Pacific.

Wirat Aueyuth, president of the Committee of the International Cooperative Alliance, said that the meeting would also help strengthen international relationships and stimulate members to improve their administration systems and build networks in this free trade era.

Barberini said that all cooperatives need to receive a new vision and operation methods in this challenging age of globalization. “Global economy has close bonds with global trade and culture, so the cooperatives have to have a long term vision and flexible policy,” Barberini said.


PM Thaksin Shinawatra opens SMEs Center

Nopniwat Krailerg

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra opened the Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) Center on Toong Hotel Road in Chiang Mai, next to the Industrial Promotion Center, Northern Region 1 on December 1. He also opened the 14th Handicraft and Souvenir Fair. Minister of Industry Pongsak Raktapongpaisarn also attended.

PM Thaksin Shinawatra with a model of the Northern Region’s SMEs Center which will be built on a 400-rai area nearby the 700 Year Anniversary Stadium. Industry Minister Pongsak Raktapongpaisarn (5th right) informs him about the project.

The SMEs Center is a pilot project in the northern region. It provides a range of services including product and package design, product testing, information and advisory services, and training courses for SMEs and local entrepreneurs. The center is used to hold SME product fairs.

PM Thaksin Shinawatra chats with an artisan at the SMEs Center.

PM Thaksin said that, as someone born in the north and the country’s leader, he wanted to thank the Ministry of Industry for building the center. He also commented that the main obstacles for regional entrepreneurs were money, modernity of products, production technology, and marketing strategies. However, he admired local entrepreneurs’ talent and spirit in producing the products.

Models wearing clothes from the Young Designer Contest 2004 at the opening ceremony.

A Design Center would be established in Bangkok soon to support and produce new, talented designers, and the center would be expanded to regional areas in Chiang Mai, PM Thaksin said.


Finance Ministry bullish over Thai economy

Nopniwat Krailerg

The Thai economy will thrive next year, GDP will increase over 2004, and domestic investment will be emphasized, according to the advisor to the Finance Ministry, Assistant Professor Dr Oran Chaiyaprawat.

Professors, students and other interested people listen to this lecture.

Dr Oran delivered a public lecture on “Thailand’s monetary and financial policy” at the Convention Hall in the Faculty of Economics of Chiang Mai University. More than 200 professors and students in Economics and members of the public attended.

Assistant Professor Dr Oran Chaiyaprawat, Counselor to the Finance Ministry.

Dr Oran said that the Thai GDP in 1996 was six percent in deficit. In 1998, the current account showed a slight surplus. Recently, the account has been in surplus by six percent of GDP.

He declared that, from December 1, 2004, it will be a remarkable event in Thai economic history because the country has now less foreign loans than the national reserves.

He also mentioned the monetary management policy of this government to produce national monetary stability. The Thai economic structure has changed. One main factor driving the economy was changing from consumption and export to consumption and domestic investment instead.

He said, “PM Thaksin Shinawatra said that the last 4-5 years were the period of reparation, the upcoming years will be the period of consolidation.” This government has pushed the production capacity up to 72 percent, he told the auditorium. It can be said that this government has geared up to implement the domestic and foreign policy through the exports and tourism to ensure economic stability and growth.


Annual plea for blankets and warm clothing for the needy

Chiang Mai Disaster Prevention and Relief Office begging

Nopniwat Krailerg

Patrawan Sadudee, chief of Disaster Prevention and Relief Office, Chiang Mai said that from November until February of each year, some Chiang Mai citizens suffer badly from the cold, especially people living on high mountains or exposed rural areas.

This year, the Meteorology Department has said that the high air pressure and cold air mass from China has gradually covered the northern region of Thailand, and as a result, the temperature will keep dropping.

It is claimed that Chiang Mai does not receive enough money to provide warm clothing for its citizens. Therefore, to prevent this repetitive problem, the Public Welfare Prevention and Alleviation Department in Chiang Mai will ask for donations of blankets and warm clothes to help needy people in the Chiang Mai area.

For more information, the donation center is at the Public Welfare Prevention and Alleviation Department in Chiang Mai, 118/4 Sigh Monument Rd., tambon Chang Peuk, Muang district, 50300 or tel/fax 0-5322-1470 and 0-5321-2626 during office hours.


Drug suppression and property confiscation operations in the north

Saksit Meesubkwang

The results of a two month operation of the 2nd War on Drugs in the eight Northern provinces were declared on November 4 at the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5.

Commissioner of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5, Pol Lt Gen Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, and Provincial Police Chief of the eight Northern provinces presented a report at the press conference.

Commissioner of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5, Pol Lt Gen Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya (second left, second row), Pol Maj Gen Wutti Wittitanon, deputy commissioner (right, second row) observe the confiscated drugs and weapons.

Eleven suspects and 181,796 ya ba tablets, a 10 wheel truck, four pick-up trucks, two motorcycles, two AK-47s and 27 bullets, a shotgun and nine bullets, a grenade and 280,000 baht in cash were displayed as evidence.

The names of four of the suspects were released. They are Daeng Meekam, 41, a Burmese Thai Yai; Kam Jailuang, 35, from Wiang Haeng district; Jawa Jakue, 50; and Jajoi Ja-or, 35 from Mae Taeng district.

In this 2nd War on Drug, from October 4 to December 4, the eight northern provincial police divisions under the supervision of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 were able to arrest 1,334 drug dealers and users, confiscate 487,700 ya ba tablets, 22,450 grams of heroin, 3,500 grams of opium and 4600 grams of hashish, declared Pol Lt Gen Panupong.

The police have confiscated 70 million baht from the culprits, eliminated 145 drug networks, and arrested 18 drug network supporters.

In 175 cases, arrests were made following information given by previously arrested dealers and users, and 94 of the suspects already had arrest warrants issued against them.

During the last two weeks of the operation, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai provincial police arrested one dealer, confiscated 1,600 ya ba tablets, an AK-47, ammunition and grenades. During some arrests, the suspects fought back and seven died in the skirmishes.

The country’s biggest dealer, Jeerasak “Ar-Seu” Chatworaniti, was named at the press conference as the most wanted suspect in the region. It was reported that he changed his name and escaped to stay along the Thai-Burmese and Thai-Lao borders. He has a transportation company in a neighboring country.

Many of the arrested dealers were found to belong to Jeerasak’s networks and the police confiscated property and cash worth a total of 600 million baht from this network, said Pol Maj Gen Wutti Wittitanon, deputy commissioner of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5.

The Royal Thai Police is offering a 1 million baht reward for his arrest. However, Jeerasak is very influential in Myanmar as the Burmese soldiers had reported to the Thai police that people who wanted to inform the police and tried to catch him would be killed before they succeeded, said Pol Maj Gen Wutti.

A reward of 5,000 baht has also been set for people who inform the police of any dealer’s whereabouts and if the dealer is arrested, the reward will be doubled. People can inform the police at www.p5.police.go.th

As the New Year Festival approaches, police will intensify their suppression of troublesome teenage gangs, who always cause violence and trouble during the festival, said Pol Lt Gen Panupong.


Pha Muang Task Force soldiers assigned to deal with drugs, border security

Nopniwat Krailerg

190 Pha Muang Task Force soldiers have been assigned to deal with drugs and security, specifically targeting villages along the Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai borders with Myanmar and Laos.

Maj Gen Manus Paorik, commander of Pha Muang Task Force.

Many villagers in the two provinces continue to experience problems related to national security, drugs and illegal workers entering Thailand. To encourage them to participate in solving the problems, Maj Gen Manus Paorik, commander of Pha Muang Task Force, dispatched his men on December 1.

They also set up 10 local public relations centers in four border villages in Chiang Mai and six in Chiang Rai. They have been tasked to elicit cooperation in poverty alleviation in Baan Lee Saw Pa Kluay, tambon Piang Luang, Wiang Haeng district, and in securing peace in Chaiprakarn district, Chiang Mai, and the Mae Sai and Chiang Saen districts of Chiang Rai.

They will conduct camps for youths, community leaders and volunteers as a sign of the country’s gratitude. Public speakers from the Pha Muang Task Force will speak on drugs, moral values and leadership. This project is aimed to involve 80,000 leaders and volunteers.


More on the War on Drugs II

Saksit Meesubkwang

A press conference to announce progress in the 2nd War on Drugs was held on December 2 at Duang Tawan Hotel, Chiang Mai.

Suwat Jan-ittipol, deputy secretary of ONCB (Office of Narcotics Control Board) said that from now on the ONCB would concentrate on people and places. All known traffickers and users would be targeted while drug conduits along the border remain under scrutiny.

Suwat Jan-ittipol (center), deputy secretary of Office of Narcotic Control Board (ONCB); Pol Maj Gen Wutti Wittitanon (3rd right), deputy commissioner of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5; Pol Maj Gen Rachata Yensuang (third left), deputy commissioner of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 6; Col Pairat Thongjatu (second left), deputy commander of Pha Muang Task Force and Pol Col Kosin Boonsang (left), deputy commissioner of the Border Patrol Police Bureau Region 3.

Arrest and property confiscation are main measures for traffickers while rehabilitation will be provided for users. At present, there are approximately 50,000 drug users.

More armed soldiers will be positioned at border areas and a close relationship between Thai and Burmese border villages will be built, said Suwat.

Youth is the group most at risk, so attitude change and alternative activities are important to keep them away from drugs.

Col Pairat Thongjatu, deputy commander of Pha Muang Task Force said that they are watching spots starting from Tak, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Mae Hong Son borders. Mae Fa Luang district of Chiang Rai is the most scrutinized border area.

Strong suppression by the 3rd Army Region reduced the amount of drugs being stocked along the border, said Col Pairat.

Pol Maj Gen Wutti Wittitanon, deputy commissioner of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 suggested that to eradicate the drug cycle, attention needs to be paid to the very primary level; for instance, limiting the number of roadside bars and selling liqueur and cigarettes to youths.

The Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 has a list of 4,000 wanted drug dealers, and they set a bounty of 5,000 baht for each arrest.

Pol Maj Gen Rachata Yensuang, deputy commissioner of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 6 reported that his team has arrested 660 drug dealers and confiscated a total of 50 million baht in property. Three large networks have been broken up. The Provincial Police Bureau Region 6 covers 9 lower North provinces: Kamphaengpetch, Tak, Nakornsawan, Pichit, Phitsanulok, Petchaboon, Sukhothai, Uttradit and Uthaithani.


Thief arrested with items worth 300,000 baht

Nopniwat Krailerg

Investigation police from Mae Ping police station arrested a 26 year old who allegedly stole valuables from mansions and condominiums in Chiang Mai’s Muang district.

Pol Col Chamnarn Ruad-rew, Chiang Mai deputy provincial police chief (left), and Rachan Suriyapor (second left) at the press conference stand in front of some stolen property.

Rachan Suriyapor was arrested on December 2 with 35 items of property in his possession, including a gold necklace and bracelet, gold plated Buddha image, notebook computer, game play station, mobile phones, watches, television, stereo, walkman and cash, together worth about 300,000 baht, all of which was seized as evidence. This arrest follows many reports of theft made to the Mae Ping and Phu Ping Palace police stations.

According to the investigation, Rachan usually wandered around the mansions and condominiums in Muang district and targeted rooms he saw were empty. Then he used a screw driver and spanner to pry open the door to steal property.

He kept some of stolen belongings for himself and some were sold to fences. During questioning, Rachan revealed that he had committed theft many times and some of his targets were Angkade Pavillion, S.R. Condominium, Payap Mansion, P.P. Condominium, Sri-A-nunt Condominium, and Ban Krung Thai building, which are under the responsibility of Mae Ping police station; View Doi Condominium and Hillside Condominium, which are in areas under the jurisdiction of Chang Puek police station; and Sri Thana Condominium and Sirinart Dormitory in the Phu Ping police station area.

Anyone who suspects that their belongings were stolen by the accused can contact the police at Mae Ping police station.