ICTC opens at Chiang Mai Immigration
The new Thailand Immigration Bureau Commissioner, Pol.
Lt. Gen. Amarin Niemsakul opened the Information, Communication and
Technology Centre (ICTC) at Chiang Mai Immigration on Airport Road on
of Chiang Mai Immigration’ after the presentation of plaques.
The new computer network links the administration,
investigation and service (visa) sections in preparation for the
introduction of the National Data system currently under development and
trial in Bangkok.
More than 200,000 baht worth of equipment was donated by
local businesses and “Korr-Torr-Torr-Row” (KTTR - the National Police
Monitoring Committee). Pol. Lt. Col. Kanokpun Roobkajorn, inspector in
charge of administration said, “Local companies and individuals were happy
to help with equipment and services for the new computer room, and we are
most grateful for their assistance.”
Foreign Advisor and KTTR committee member Alastair Connon
demonstrated the new system and gave a PowerPoint presentation to the
The commissioner and Chiang Mai’s new superintendent,
Pol. Col. Phirojana Paresakul, presented letters of appreciation and a
commemorative plaque to the ‘Friends of Chiang Mai Immigration’ after
the opening ceremony.
A new coffee shop “De Tor Mor” was also opened next to the visa
section for visa applicants.
Chiang Mai Municipality has 763 million baht budget for 2005 fiscal year
Estimates 741 million in expenses
Chiang Mai Municipality has estimated it will receive
763,857,000 baht in revenue but also has 741,217,250 baht expenses for this
coming 2005 fiscal year.
The budget will be divided into: 229,256,580 baht for the
Public Works office, 145,334,870 baht for the Permanent Secretary’s
Office, 74,278,560 baht for the Health and Environment Department, 774,640
for the Medical Department, and 724,170 baht for the Internal Audit Offices.
eye view of downtown Chiang Mai and municipal areas.
In 2005, 31 projects are expected, including roads,
footpaths, drainage, crossing lights and cremation furnaces; school
buildings and other maintenance.
Part of the budget will be used for buying two blocks of
two storey detached buildings for 7 million baht, constructing smokeless
cremation furnaces at Sun Ku Rek graveyards for 6.7 million baht, and
installing crossing lights for 5.2 million baht.
Munus Sirimaharaj, Chiang Mai deputy mayor declared that
most of the expenses for the upcoming year would be for improving the
standard of living of urban citizens. More green areas would be reserved to
make Chiang Mai a non-pollution city. The public utilities and benefits
would be developed. Chiang Mai would be encouraged to become a developed
city with pleasant tourist sites and preservation of local cultures.
Chiang Mai citizens would also be encouraged to
participate in administration, where some of the budget would be poured into
social and communal services, domestic and community projects, public heath
plans, education, and social welfare.
These plans are aimed to develop the environment,
electricity, health of Chiang Mai people.
The budget will strengthen the efficiency of the garbage
disposal system, decrease air pollution and improve water purification,
traffic management and mass transport in the city area.
The 2005 budget expenses will be decentralized to four areas of the
municipality: Nakhornping, Kawila, Meng Rai, and Sriwichai districts to
distribute public services to urban peoples. These areas can be managed
freely by the locals under the Chiang Mai municipality committees’
Pigs, pigs and more pigs
coming from Belgium
The Belgian government has given 16 Pietrain pigs,
weighing approximately 800 kilograms, to the Royal Project of His Majesty
King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
Pietrain pigs from Belgium
The 16 pigs arrived at Chiang Mai International Airport
on December 16. The pigs will be given to the Royal Project for breeding
Initially, the pigs have undergone health checks by the
Livestock officials at the Animal Pedigree Research and Improvement Center
in San Pathong district, Chiang Mai.
After 30 days quarantine, the Belgian government will
carry out the official handing over ceremony to bestow the pigs to the Royal
Komchak Pichaironnarongsongkram, an advisor at the
Livestock Department, said that the pigs resulted from contact by Kamthon
Sinthuwanont, with the Belgium Embassy to ask for the Pietrain pigs. His
main aim is to help improve the pedigree of Thai mountain pigs because the
Pietrain pigs have more muscle and less fat than Thai mountain pigs.
Pietrain pigs originated in Belgium and previously Thailand only received
pigs from the United States and elsewhere, but never directly from Belgium.
The effect of FTAs on Thai Education
Assistant Prof Pong-in Rakariyatham, vice president of
CMU’s academic department, says that most people view Free Trade
Agreements (FTAs) with Thailand as good for trade, investment and economic
However, being a scholar who is familiar with Thai
education for 30 years, he believes that FTAs will have both positive and
negative effects on education.
In terms of business, foreign investors can put money
into setting up universities with competitive tuition fees; resulting in
more foreign universities to give more choices for Thai students.
As for the negative side, if our current Thai private
universities fail to adapt their course syllabus or fail to buy modern
educational equipment to compete with foreign universities, they must
certainly be obliged to close down. As a result, this will all affect
For the positive side, these foreign universities will
give more chances to students because, so far, the competition between
educational institutes is not obviously very great in Thailand. When the FTA
begins to become implemented, foreign institutes will invest more and, as a
consequence, this will stimulate all private and government Thai
universities to develop their educational quality. In addition, parents of
students who aim to continue to higher studies will have more choices on
where to let their children study. It is not necessary go abroad to study as
in the past. They can save a lot of money from travel expenses.
Assistant Prof. Pong-in Rakariyatham added that foreign
universities that would like to join our Thai system should be prepared,
concerning their academic personnel. They should open up more educational
fields which our system still lacks, such as medicine, engineering and
computer sciences studies. The costs involved in these fields are too high
for the Thai system to invest. If the overseas universities are interested
in launching these fields of study, it will give better chances for Thai
students. However, the tuition fees will be higher than Thai government
universities since the investment cost is comparatively high.
New Year’s road toll discussed, alcohol indicted
Go by bus – it’s safer
A meeting took place at Chiang Mai City Hall to discuss the
New Year festival local road toll, which last year was recorded as 16 fatalities
and 1,646 injured. The majority of these were in the city of Chiang Mai.
Mai deputy governor, Prinya Panthong holds a wreath in memory of last year’s
Those present at the meeting included the Chiang Mai
Provincial Disaster Relief Office, the Chiang Mai Provincial Lands transport
Office, Chiang Mai Provincial police, Chiang Mai Public Health Office, the
Department of Highways and Monk committees. The meeting was held for planning
preventive measures to decrease the road toll.
The meeting was presided over by Prinya Panthong, Chiang Mai
deputy governor, who said, “Accidents, casualties and property loss during the
holiday festivals have been increasing each year. The cause of these road
accidents is mostly due to drunkenness.” He added that during the festivals,
people should not drink and drive.
Autsathai Rattanadilok Na Phuket, the Chief of the Chiang Mai
provincial Lands Transport Office said, “The department always checks the
mechanical condition of every vehicle used for public transport before it can go
into service for the public and tourists during the New Year’s holidays. There
are now 3760 buses from private companies to provide more services. The bus
station will be open 24 hours a day from December 29 until January 4, and
blankets are provided for passengers waiting at the station. For any request for
information or emergencies, call 1584 to ask and to speak with our officers.
“Tourists coming to visit Chiang Mai should not be
concerned about the bus service as all bus drivers will be checked for alcohol
consumption. If there has been any consumption, the driver will be changed. For
all destinations over 400 kilometers, a new driver will be substituted in each
leg,” he added.
20 police checkpoints will be manned over the holiday period
and public health officers will help inspect buses and private cars. High speed
radar speed detectors will be used all around Chiang Mai. Coffee and drinking
water will be provided for private cars.
(Considering that all previous statistics have shown that
motorcyclists are the group most killed, it is doubtful that the emphasis on
buses will affect the figures very much.)
Afghan delegation visit
Looking towards self development
In the context of a high-powered European Union
development project, a seven person delegation from Afghanistan arrived in
Chiang Mai to study alternative lifestyles, comparing the Eastern region of
Afghanistan with conditions prevailing in Northern Thailand.
Afghan delegation at Chiang Mai’s Tribal Museum.
Heimo Posamentier, adviser to the project and employed by
the German Technical Co-operation (GTZ) International Service Asia, was
welcomed by German Honorary Consul Hagen Dirksen, who arranged the program
for the study tour.
As well as visiting the cultural jewel of Chiang Mai, Wat
Phra That Doi Suthep, the group was introduced to the Northern Narcotics
Control Office (NNCO) in Mae Rim. Its director, Pithaya Jinawat, gave an
overview of the significance of the Golden Triangle opium production and
Thailand’s successful opium eradication program. Very enlightening was the
visit to the Chiang Mai Drug Dependence Treatment and Rehabilitation Center
(CM-TRC) in Mae Rim, where Dr. Thirawat Wongtan revealed that there are
300,000 drug addicts in Thailand. The center treats 3,000 inpatients and
6,000 outpatients, and has a 50 percent success rate.
The highlight of the study tour was a two day excursion
from Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Son to visit the project area of the former
Thai-German Highland Development Program (TG-HDP). Leaving for Pai District
in Mae Hong Son province on December 12, the group was welcomed by the ‘nai
amphur’ and the Imam of the Al-Israa Mosque in Pai to underline that in
Thailand members of different religions can peacefully live together (in the
North at least).
Arriving in the Nam Lang area of the TG-HDP in the Pang Ma
Pha District of Mae Hong Son, the Afghan delegation inspected the drug-free
Lahu villages of Ban Bo Khrai and Ban Pha Charoen where the introduction of
alternative development strategies had ultimately changed the livelihoods of
The TG-HDP was established there in 1983 and is a showcase
of an application of participatory, community-based approach to highland
development throughout Southeast Asia. The TG-HDP ended in 1998 and was a
joint effort between the Royal Thai Government and the Federal Republic of
Germany conducted by the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) and the
German Technical Co-operation (GTZ).
In the final phase of the project, the focus was on
assisting the villagers to manage their own natural resources, implementing
an effective drug abuse control strategy, developing non-agricultural
activities and disseminating technical know-how to institutions and areas
beyond the targeted villages in the project.
After visiting the Tribal Museum in Chiang Mai’s Rama IX
Park on December 14, the Afghan delegation left Chiang Mai with valuable
insights and experiences. It is hoped that the lessons learned in Thailand
will also apply to conditions in Afghanistan and that the Afghan government
can successfully follow the path of development of its country for the
The Japanese Emperor’s 71st birthday marked in Chiang Mai
Japan and Thailand have had a long association, much
longer than most realize, going right back to the Ayutthaya period. There is
also a closeness between the Imperial family of Japan and the Royal family
Since the Japanese Consulate General was established in
Chiang Mai almost one year ago, the friendship between the two countries has
expanded into Northern Thailand, and will be strengthened through a number
of cultural festivities in early 2005.
Shinohara and his wife Tamiko meet the guests. (Photo by Nopniwat Krailerg)
Eight days before the Japanese Emperor’s official
birthday on December 23, Chiang Mai’s diplomatic and business community,
supported by dignitaries from Lamphun, Lampang, Mae Hong Son, Phrae and
Phayao, assembled at the Sheraton’s Grand Ballroom to be individually met
by Japanese Consul General Katsuhiro Shinohara and his wife Tamiko. After
the two loyal toasts, everyone enjoyed a banquet of Japanese food and each
The Japanese ladies also showed their pride in their
culture with a most colorful display of beautiful traditional Kimonos.
Chiang Mai Winter Fair almost here
The Chiang Mai Winter Fair will be held over 13 days from
December 29 to January 10. The area behind the Chiang Mai City Hall is the
venue for the fair.
The fair will provide opportunities for governmental and
non-governmental organizations to show their works and strategies to general
public and for the Chiang Mai Red Cross to raise funds for its charity
This upcoming Winter Fair will be more special than in
previous years in that it would include census registration, tax payment,
air ticket, train ticket and bus ticket purchases and petitions to the
Intensive occupational training courses from the Chiang
Mai Labor Skill Development Center and Chiang Mai Non Formal Education
Center will also be available at the fair. Another activity is the orchid
competition. The Miss Chiang Mai Pageant is another highlight.
Chiang Mai province is prepared to solve the problem of
dust at the fair with what is hoped to be a dust-free car parking area for
Minister of Natural Resources and Environment visits Chiang Mai Zoo
The Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Suwit
Khunkitti, visited Chiang Mai Zoo on December 18 to review the Chiang Mai
Zoo operation and development plan. He was welcomed by Sophon Kamnui,
director of the Zoology Park Organization of Thailand and Thanaphat
Pongpamorn, director of Chiang Mai Zoo and the zoo staff.
of Natural Resource and Environment, Suwit Khunkitti with Chiang Mai
children after visiting the pandas.
After the report on the zoo operation and development
plan, Minister Suwit was taken to the Thai-Chinese friendship ambassador
pandas Chuang Chuang and Lin Hui who have been resident in Chiang Mai for
over one year. Chuang Chuang is now 140 kilograms in weight and Lin Hui is
90 kilograms. Both pandas’ weights have increased as they dine on bamboo
leaves from the Ang Khang Royal Project.
Minister Suwit also visited the proposed construction
site of the zoo’s aquarium. The government has earmarked 300 million baht
of the year 2005 budget to support the project to be added to another 300
million baht from private investment. It is planned to start construction in
2005 and it will be completed by 2007.
Claims of skeletons and buried treasure in Mae Hong Son
Japanese government sends experts to investigate
The Japanese government has sent a team of experts from
Japan’s Ministry of Public Health and Ministry of Environment to
investigate claims that skeletons and brassware found in a cave in Pang Ma
Pha district, Mae Hong Son are the remains of Japanese soldiers from WW II.
Tarakuso, one of the experts said that a Lahu living at
Ban Kao Larm, Pang Ma Pha district, Mae Hong Son, sent a document to the
Japanese government. He claimed that, while searching for bee hives last
summer, the he and other hill tribe men found skeletons and brassware at the
Pha Daeng cave which is on the old route used by Japanese soldiers during
the WW II.
This month, Sahawat Naennar, director of the 8th Fine Art
Office, Chiang Mai was assigned to inspect the area. Shinawut Winyalai, a
C-6 archeologist has been sent to assist the Japanese and cooperate with the
336th Border Patrol Police Camp in tambon Pang Moo, Muang district, Mae Hong
Son. The border patrol police were sent to guide them to the scene and take
care of security around the cave.
The expert team entered the 30 meters deep cave with
ropes and in front of the Pa Daeng cave, they found a hole 20 meters deep.
Excavating the hole they found four skulls and other utensils, such as pots,
axes, stone bracelets, and a crucible.
They will examine the skulls to see if they are the
remains of Japanese soldiers from WW II. The skulls have been sent to the
Fine Art Department for a detailed examination.
Lahu hill tribesmen living in the area said that they
always find skulls in the cave. The elders said that the caves were refuges
and a place used by Japanese soldiers as a treasure trove before the war
ended. The villagers also believe that there are other caves where Japanese
hid treasure and popular rumor says they are full of gold bars and valuable
Entertainment outlets hit with noise abatement
Starting from December 18, entertainment outlets that
produce noise over 91 decibels will be closed under the direction of
Thailand’s Act of Public Health.
The X-Zone pub on Chiang Mai-Lamphun Road is the first
outlet being charged under this provision of the Act. Its case has been
submitted to Chiang Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat for consideration.
On December 12, prior to enforcement of the Act, 400
entertainment outlet owners were informed about the Public Health Act. This
strict enforcement was a consequence of His Majesty the King’s concern on
the light and sound in some of the entertainment outlets.
Apart from noise levels, the light from the outlets has
to be safe for the club goers and each outlet has to furnish firefighting
equipment and have clearly marked fire exits for customers. Despite
warnings, some outlets still ignore the provisions of the Act.
During December 13-17, 30 district officials and
municipal police were random checking outlets within Chiang Mai’s Muang
district and found many of them did not keep the noise below the stipulated
91 dB, under the newly announced regulation. At that stage, the officials
and municipal police just warned them to bring their places in line with the
Chiang Mai’s Muang District Chief Officer Chumporn
Saengmanee said that the law would be strictly enforced after December 18.
Apart from the noise control, if any outlets still violated the law by
remaining open after 1 a.m., allowing teenagers to enter, have obscene
shows, allow weapons inside or are not in possession of a license, they will
be officially closed. The closure might be permanent.
Songsak Ma-ou, assistant to the Muang district chief
officer, said that the licensed beer bars on Loi Kroh Road have to close at
1 a.m. He said that no more licenses would be issued for new outlets outside
the zoning area.
Restaurants with no license that sell alcohol can
continue to operate but must close at midnight. Restaurants could not be
located nearby any temples, schools and hospitals, said Songsak.
Another prevalent problem was restaurants with hostesses
for the customers that could be classified as entertainment outlets and
would be also breaking the law, said Songsak.
Buddhists still up in arms on hotel’s use of Buddhist items
The Buddhism Office and Chiang Mai Provincial Public
Works and City Planning Office held a seminar on the “Buddhist Art and
Lanna Architecture in the Globalization Age” at the Wat Loke Molee on
December 8 to give the general public a better understanding on the
appropriate use of Buddhist items and Lanna architecture.
Buddha Pojana Varaporn, abbot of Chedi Luang Temple and Chiang Mai monks
participate in the seminar to provide better understanding and raise
awareness on appropriate use of Buddhist items at Wat Loke Molee.
During the seminar, Chiang Mai Buddhist Networks
distributed a questionnaire asking participants’ opinions on the use of
Buddhist items and symbols in commercial ways at many hotels in Chiang Mai.
According to the questionnaire, 93 percent of respondents (of whom 26
percent were government officials, 20 percent were monks, and 13 percent
were students), answered that the commercial use of Buddhist items is
inappropriate while only 3 percent said it was suitable.
After this survey, suggestions were ranked in priority,
beginning with one that the hotel should change the location where the
Buddhist items are used, secondly move the hotel, third the hotel should be
changed to become a museum for educational and conservation purposes and the
hotel pay compensation to the local community as it violated residents’
rights in preserving their wisdom according to the Thai Constitution.
Some participants suggested that permission to allow
hotel construction was improper. That reflected the weakness of the Monk
Institute, the Office of National Buddhism and the Cultural Council.
On the other hand, Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai assistant
managing director, Wipawanee Buakheaw, revealed that the hotel intends to
reproduce the Buddhism architecture for its staff and guests to pay respect,
not to be used commercially, and have a strong intention to promote Buddhist
Wipawanee added that following criticism about
misplacement of many Buddhist items at the hotel, all of the items were
Burmese regime actively suppressing Kaya Karen, close to Mae Hong Son
The suppression of minority groups took a turn for the worse
after an incident 12 km from the border, when Burmese troops fired on a Kaya
Karen camp. According to information received, the Burmese aggression was
carried out according to the policy of Lt. Gen. Soe Win, Burma’s new prime
minister. According to the intelligence source, Lt. Gen. Soe Win has begun
hunting down the minority following the demands of Senior Gen. Tan Shwe.
Previous Prime Minister Khin Nyunt’s administration was
said to compromise with the minority groups too much and went against the ideas
of Senior Gen. Tan Shwe.
The latest attack took place on December 18, when Burmese
troops positioned opposite Ban Na Kwai in tambon Pang Moo, Muang district, Mae
Hong Son, attacked the Kaya Karen group which resided 12 kilometers from the
Thai border, southward to Mae Hong Son’s Ban Nai Soi.
The Burmese troops fired on the Karen camp with mortars and
the Karens responded with gunfire that could be heard in the Thai villages along
the border areas. The attack went on for three hours.
During the attack, 500 soldiers from the 71st Infantry
Division, 336th Border Patrol Police Camp, Mae Hong Son Territory Security
Volunteers had been sent to positions at the borderline in case of invasion.
Decha Satthaphol, Mae Hong Son’s Muang district chief
officer, has directed Thai officials to keep watch on the Burmese students who
reside at the refuge camps in Mae Hong Son. Decha said he is confident that the
attack would not affect Mae Hong Son tourism.
Chiang Mai students star in pornographic video
Former students of a famous Chiang Mai secondary school were
hired by the producers of X-rated videos to perform sexual intercourse at the
Huay Kaew Waterfall in tambon Suthep, Chiang Mai. The video has been distributed
in Chiang Mai, selling for 200 baht.
Following the release of the pornographic videos, the school
informed police that the young couple was former students who used to study at
grade 8 level and had been dismissed from the school before they entered the
X-rated film business.
Pol. Col. Prachuab Wongsukh, superintendent of Phu Ping
Police Station, commanded the investigation police to trace the production team
and its distribution network. After checking, the police ascertained the names
of the two young students.
Pol. Col. Prachuab warned all parents, school and academic
institutes and student superintendents to keep a watch on their student’s
behavior. The police were also commanded to observe the Huay Kaew Park, Doi
Suthep areas, and other entertainment outlets to prevent this incident from
It is reported that other university couples have acted for
the X-rated video production team.
Four kidnappers arrested in Mae Ai
Asked for 10 million baht ransom
Four kidnappers were arrested after abducting the son of
a well known orange orchard owner in Mae Ai district, Chiang Mai.
The four men, a Chinese Haw Ped Poolar, two Lahu Java
Jajae and Pranae and a Lisu Apeta Laoyeepar were arrested on December 19.
They had 4 AK 47 rifles with them in Mae Ai district, Chiang Mai. Apeta
claimed that he was a relative of the drug dealer, Laota Saenlee.
The four kidnappers dressed in Red Wa uniforms were armed
with rifles when they abducted Chaiwat Kwanmorn, 19, the son of the orange
After the abduction they contacted Chaiwat’s parent to
exchange his son for 10 million baht cash or else he would be killed. His
parents asked for assistance from the commissioner of Provincial Police
Bureau Region 5, Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya.
However, on their own, Chaiwat’s parents compromised
with the kidnappers to reduce the ransom to six million baht. The parents
handed over the agreed ransom and received their son back. The parents had
not informed the police about handing over the ransom as they were worried
about their son’s security.
After releasing Chaiwat, the police questioned him about
his kidnappers and police set up a plan to arrest the gang.
The kidnappers confessed that they used the Red Wa
uniforms to disguise themselves and shift the blame on the Red Wa troops.