HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Let the electoral battle begin

Village headman victim of daring hit in Chiang Mai Municipality grounds

Unruly teen gangs disrupt fair

Police in eight northern provinces donate 2 million baht for tsunami victims

Local residents causing big stink over garbage disposal

Officials look at road toll figures

Burmese to build their own long-necked Karen village

Mae Rim district office a model for the country

Gearing up for the election

Chiang Mai Public Health Office targets polio, leprosy and uterine cancer

Diethelm Travel Asia Phuket comment

Young girl presumed abducted

Elderly in focus

Northern economy looking good, imports still high

Pha Muang Task Force and Provincial Police turn up two drug runners

Female prisoners to be allowed to meet relatives

Northerners demonstrate compassion and generosity

Let the electoral battle begin

Party supporters enjoy first day of candidate registration

Saksit Meesubkwang

The first day of registration for the candidates for Chiang Mai constituency zones was heralded by supporters from all parties.

The Chiang Mai Provincial Administration Organization (PAO) building was used as the registration centre for candidates hoping to end up as MP’s for Chiang Mai. The general election will take place on February 6.

Many supporters began gathering as early as 7 a.m. The first registration for Chiang Mai’s 1st constituency zone was at 8.30 a.m. when Democrat Party candidate Dr. Duentemduang Na Chiangmai registered. Pakorn Buranuprakorn from Thai Rak Thai Party arrived at 9 a.m. Pakorn and Dr. Duentemduang are men of note in that Pakorn is the former Member of Parliament for the 1st constituency zone while Dr. Duentemduang’s father, Thawatwong Na Chiangmai, is the former Deputy Treasury Minister and Member of Parliament for Chiang Mai. The Na Chiangmai family has been respected by Chiang Mai residents for many years.

Chiang Mai Province has 10 constituency zones. Last election Thai Rak Thai won 9 zones while the Democrat Party won only one. This year, three political parties, Thai Rak Thai, Democrat and Mahachon are fielding candidates in all 10.

Now that the electioneering heads towards the final countdown, the usual aggravations become apparent with rival campaign posters being torn down or defaced.

Thailand uses a mixed electoral system with electoral district and party lists. There will be a total of 500 MP’s with 400 from electoral districts and 100 from the party list. The elected MPs will have 4 years in office, unless the government dissolves parliament before its term ends.

Village headman victim of daring hit in Chiang Mai Municipality grounds

Chiang Mai rapidly losing its peaceful image

Saksit Meesubkwang

Saming Ruenplee, a village headman of Ban Noi in Doi Tao district, Chiang Mai, was the victim of a murder attempt, being shot while at the Chiang Mai Municipality offices on January 12.

Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya (left), commissioner of Provincial Police Bureau Region 5, and witness Sumit Sitthi-on at the scene.

Saming, together with another 22 village headmen and Tambon Administration Organization officers from Doi Tao district had been to a meeting regarding garbage management hosted by the Chiang Mai Municipality.

He was surrounded by 10 others but this did not did not deter the assassin, who shot him in the forehead. He was rushed to the nearby McCormick hospital where, at the time of writing, he is in the intensive care unit in grave condition.

One presumed motive for his murder is a business conflict concerning garbage pond management, said Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, the Commissioner of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5.

Saming had a conflict with his business partners and he is litigating concerning this conflict, said Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong. The police had previously called on both partners to compromise.

Political conflict could also be a possible reason behind the attempted murder but the business motive was most likely, said the commissioner, as police have a record of his conflict and lawsuit.

The attempt on Saming’s life has caused deep concern amongst locals as it occurred in broad daylight inside the government office precinct and ahead of the general election.

Sumit Sitthi-on, who was talking to Saming before being shot, said that he did not hear the gunshot even though he was sitting close to Saming. After the shooting, he and the others ran to hide fearful that they too might also be targeted.

Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong said that the hitman who shot Saming had to be a professional and was well trained. The gunman might have hidden near the scene and intended to shoot Saming when he reached his car, but as Saming was not moving whilst talking with his fellows the gunmen decided to shoot, surmised Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong.

The commissioner said that he did not expect too much difficulty in solving the case as the police had knowledge of the conflict and a list of his potential enemies.

Unruly teen gangs disrupt fair

City has more problems than just garbage

Staff Reporters

Several teen gangs, refused admission, disrupted the Chiang Mai Winter Fair, frightened fairgoers and then went on a rampage through Chiang Mai. This evidently was the result after police refused gang members admission.

Around midnight on January 8, a gang consisting of an estimated 20 teens threatened beer bar owners, demanding free liquor or risk their bars being trashed. The frightened owners called the police to ask for help but by the time the police arrived, the gang quickly dispersed.

15 minutes later, teen hoodlums suspected of being members of the same rowdy gang seen at the Winter Fair, assailed six members of a rival gang with samurai swords on the Chiang Mai-Lamphun Road in tambon Wat Ked. The six youths ran for their lives, leaving their motorcycles behind. The gang then burned one of the motorcycles, terrifying passers-by who did not dare put the fire out or stop the gang.

By the time the police arrived at this scene they found only the discarded samurai swords. The burned out motorcycle was taken to the Mae Ping Police Station.

Simultaneously, another teen gang riding 10 motorcycles rode noisily around the Im-boon housing estate ambushing passers-by. Police were called and fortunately they dispersed the gang before anybody was hurt.

At 1 a.m., a teen gang riding 60 motorcycles entered Thapae Road, the most popular venue for tourists. Armed with wooden sticks and samurai swords, they threatened pedestrians and shop and bar owners. The police managed to disperse these as well.

Meanwhile, another estimated 20 teens with firearms were making trouble at Thai Samut housing estate in tambon Mae Hia. The security guard tried to stop them but they threatened him, shooting over his head. The police were called to disperse them.

Pol. Col. Chamnarn Ruad-rew, deputy Chiang Mai police chief, surmised that the teens became unruly after visiting the Winter Fair after some groups were not allowed by the police to enter the fair.

He admitted that there were not enough police to control and suppress the teen gangs, and that they had recently become a serious problem. However, more police have been assigned to patrol the Winter Fair to assure the security of the fair visitors, and around the city to suppress disruptive gangs.

Police in eight northern provinces donate 2 million baht for tsunami victims

Saksit Meesubkwang

Commissioner of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5, Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya received a donation of necessities and two million baht cash from the eight northern provincial police divisions on January 4. These included dried food and clothes to be sent to the grief-stricken victims of the tsunami disaster in the southern provinces.

Donations being loaded in the police operations vehicle.

The donation was voluntary by the police in the northern provinces, said the commissioner. The commissioner said that he admired the great spirit of the police who had shown concern and empathy with the people in the affected areas.

Donations from police in the eight northern provinces at the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 before being sent to the affected southern provinces.

Local residents causing big stink over garbage disposal

Intrigue and nocturnal subterfuge in the life of the collectors

Saksit Meesubkwang

The Chiang Mai Municipality’s garbage “management” is causing trouble for both city residents and outlying communities. Back in October 2004, people in Hot and Doi Tao districts protested against the municipality’s garbage management which brought the garbage collected from the municipal area to be buried in privately owned land in their districts. The stench of the garbage triggered annoyance to Hot and Doi Tao dwellers.

Chiang Mai Municipality garbage trucks line up on Haiya Road after the municipality failed to find a place to dump garbage.

Residents complained, so the municipality appeared to take a new direction – subterfuge. Without informing anyone, people in Hang Chat district, Lampang found that the garbage carried in the 6 wheel trucks was secretly being disposed of in the district’s areas at night.

This night shift disposal squad did not go unnoticed, however, and 500 people in San Kam Phaeng district, Chiang Mai, petitioned the district chief officer Surachai Chongrak, submitting a request to Chiang Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat regarding the Municipality’s urgent need to find a permanent garbage dumping area.

In the meantime, some olfactory sleuthing was carried out and on the morning of January 4, 2005, it was revealed by residents and personnel of a private company on Rattanakosin Road in tambon Chang Puek that garbage was being secretly buried in community land. The stench of the garbage led them to the burial area. The people said they were afraid that the buried garbage would become a source of disease.

From the observation carried out by the Chiangmai Mail, we learned that the area is 15-20 rai wide. There were guards patrolling the area to prevent entry by the general people. Fences were placed to prevent people observing the action.

One of the workers, after promises of anonymity, told Chiangmai Mail that the garbage was buried secretly at night when nobody was around. Two backhoe trucks were permanently at the site to dig holes for garbage burial. The worker said that the land was leased by a lawyer who was allowing “somebody” to bury the garbage in his land.

Chiangmai Mail phoned Governor Suwat, who said the matter was a responsibility of the Chiang Mai Mayor Boonlert Buranuprakorn and Deputy Chiang Mai Governor Prinya Panthong. We have been unable to obtain a statement from anyone at this stage.

At present, uncollected garbage is seen piled up on almost every corner of Chiang Mai City. Garbage management is becoming one of the unsolved critical problems of Chiang Mai City, the future (garbage) hub of the Greater Mekong Sub-region.

Officials look at road toll figures

Suggest banning alcohol sales during festive season

Nopniwat Krailerg

The New Year death toll of 17 with 516 injured is a wake up call to Chiang Mai to review its measures to deal with road accidents, said Deputy Chiang Mai Governor Prinya Panthong at a meeting attended by officials from the Chiang Mai Highway Office, Transport Office and Public Health Office at Chiang Mai City Hall.

Deputy Chiang Mai Governor Prinya Panthong

It was reported that most accidents occurred on December 31 and Jan 1, with five deaths each day. Road accident prevention measures need to be reviewed to re-plan in accordance with the real causes, said Prinya.

Most victims were men and most accidents occurred after midnight. Highways proved more dangerous than roads within municipal areas.

Of the 17 dead, 13 did not have driving licenses; 12 were motorcyclists without helmets and nine were drunk, and many motorists had not fastened their seat belts. This reflects poor preventive measures, said Prinya.

Leaning towards control rather than enforcement, Deputy Governor Prinya said that to reduce road accidents effectively, it needs to be considered whether the law should prohibit the sale of liquor during the festive season.

Prinya pointed out that San Kamphaeng district, which has frequent accidents, has almost 1,000 roadside bars and pubs. He condemned the Excise Office for allowing such a number of bars and pubs to proliferate in the area.

Prinya suggested people who purchase motorcycles need first to have driving licenses. He pointed out that the law was deficient in that it did not cover this matter. It is worrying that more young people are using motorcycles and often die in accidents. He believes that an appropriate law will help to reduce road accident injuries and deaths.

(The Chiangmai Mail has pointed out previously that helmet standards and compulsory wearing of helmets would cut the death toll by at least 50 percent, but this is still not being addressed by the authorities.)

Burmese to build their own long-necked Karen village

Conflicts predicted between rival Burmese groups and Thai entrepreneurs

Saksit Meesubkwang

Col. Tun Kyaw, deputy chairman of the Kayinni National People’s Liberation Front (KNPLF) is to build a new village at the site of a former Kayinni National Progressive Party (KNPP) outpost, with the concept of bringing long-necked Karens to live there and bring tourists across the border from Mae Hong Son.

The new village is estimated to be three kilometers from Ban Nam Piang Din in tambon Pha Bong, Muang district, Mae Hong Son. Construction is estimated to be finished in mid 2005.

When the new village is completed, long-necked Karen residing at Ban Huay Sua Tao and Ban Nam Piang Din of Mae Hong Son might be called back to reside at the new village to be tourist attractions.

Col. Tun Kyaw said that the KNPLF’s construction of the new village has the support of the Burmese government. Col. Tun Kyaw will be responsible for the economic affairs at many Thai-Burma borders such as the area adjacent to Ban Nam Piang Din in Mae Hong Son, the border pass at Ban Sao Hin in Mae Sariang district, Mae Hong Son and some areas in Tak province.

According to Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) statistics, over 10,000 tourists visit the long-necked Karen at Ban Huay Sua Tao and Ban Nam Piang Din in Mae Hong Son each year. The establishment of a new village for the long-necked Karens will definitely affect Mae Hong Son tourism.

The Karen is one of the minority tribes in Burma living along the border and is not armed like other tribes. Formerly, the long-necked Karen were under control of Maj. Gen. Bee Htoo, the KNPP leader. With the KNPLF calling the long-necked Karen to live in its new village, conflict between the KNPP and KNPLF will occur.

Mae Rim district office a model for the country

Thaksin given 6.5 million for tsunami victims

Nopniwat Krailerg

PM Thaksin Shinawatra presided over the official opening of the Mae Rim District Office and Mae Rim District Conference Hall on January 10. The new 18.4 million baht Lanna architectural style building replaces the old building which has been used for over 30 years.

PM Thaksin Shinawatra (centre) cuts the ribbon to officially open the new Mae Rim District office.

Chiang Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat and Chiang Mai Mayor Boonlert Buranuprakorn used the occasion to hand over 6.5 million baht that had been donated by Chiang Mai residents to aid the tsunami victims.

PM Thaksin Shinawatra carrying an infant, whose birth was registered at the new Mae Rim District Office.

PM Thaksin said the new building was beautifully designed and worth the money spent as it will provide non-stop service to the people through the many government organizations there and in addition free internet access is provided for the public.

Mae Rim District Office is the pilot project for the country, said the PM. Nationwide, the district offices would be upgraded and developed. All service at district offices had to be fast and up to date to serve the people.

“I was born in San Kamphaeng, brought up in Chiang Mai and worked in Bangkok. At present, I have a house situated at Green Valley Housing Estate in Mae Rim district and plan to build another one in Ban Pong Yaeng of Mae Rim district. So, you can call me a Mae Rim resident,” said PM Thaksin.

It was noticed that the PM was escorted by some Thai Rak Thai candidates but they were prevented from campaigning in the district by the strict regulations of the Election Committee of Thailand.

Gearing up for the election

Chiang Mai Provincial Election Committee on lookout for breaches

Saksit Meesubkwang

Pol. Maj. Gen. Pimol Sintunawa, chairman of the Chiang Mai Provincial Election Committee, arranged a workshop on January 7 for the Election Committee’s financial personnel to learn more about the law and electioneering regulations.

Pol Maj Gen Pimol Sintunawa, chairman of the Chiang Mai Provincial Election Committee.

The main duty of financial personnel is to inspect the purchasing behaviour of Chiang Mai candidates during the campaigning season, they were told.

All candidates and parties are restricted by election laws and all campaign posters need to be in line with the Election Committee of Thailand’s (ECT) regulations and speeches made by candidates must not denigrate other candidates.

The purchasing behaviour of the candidates is one of the most critical points monitored by ECT. This can be used as evidence to prove vote buying in violation of election laws. Any candidate who has violated the law will be warned and their status as a candidate can be revoked by ECT.

Chiang Mai Public Health Office targets polio, leprosy and uterine cancer

Nopniwat Krailerg

Rattawut Sookmee, Head of Chiang Mai Provincial Public Health office, said that the health campaign of Chiang Mai Public Health Office for 2005 will focus on polio, leprosy and uterine cancer.

Whilst polio is largely under control in Thailand, as Chiang Mai is near the border and many migrants settle in the city, polio is still a disease about which the Public Health Office has to remain vigilant. As the distribution of polio vaccine does not cover all children in the province, a twice yearly polio vaccination campaign for children is required. The Ministry of Public Health distributed the first round on December 21, 2004 and will distribute more on January 18. Children can receive the vaccine at Chiang Mai Provincial Public Health Office, hospitals and public health centres free of charge.

In 2004, more than two women in 100,000 died from uterine cancer. Immediate identification of first stage cancer patients will help decrease the mortality. Cancer examinations will be held January 14–20 at all Public Health Ministry hospitals. The main target group is women between 30 and 45 years old.

The Royal Seminar of Citizens also takes place in the same week. This seminar is one of His Majesty the King’s royal projects to eradicate leprosy, a serious problem for the Public Health Office. It is known that some areas such as Chiang Dao, Mae-ai, Fang, and Om Koi districts have one leper per 100,000 citizens. Some leprosy sufferers are anticipated in other areas, as migrant labour moves to Chiang Mai district. If the initial symptoms, such as a rash or spots or muscle weakness (foot drop) appears, a physician should be consulted promptly, since the illness can be cured, but delayed treatment may result in permanent disability.

Diethelm Travel Asia Phuket comment

John Watson, CEO, Diethelm Travel Asia, provided comment on the current situation in Phuket following his visit this weekend.

“There has been a remarkable transformation in Phuket further to the tragic events of two weeks ago. The world will never forget the victims of the tsunami or the efforts of the wonderful people who eased the pain and suffering and led the recovery.

John Watson, CEO, Diethelm Travel Asia

“We must, of course, look to the future. Accurate and factual reporting can serve only to help the people, and the economies, within the affected areas. There is no doubt in my mind that Phuket is open for business. The infrastructure is safe and sound and I have no concerns for the provision of healthcare for locals and tourists.

“The vast majority of beaches and roads are in pristine condition. The water and electricity supplies are in good order. The hotels, bars and restaurants are ready, willing and able to provide their legendary quality standard of cost-effective cheerful hospitality. I have already booked my spring holiday in Phuket.

“At a time like this, it goes through one’s mind that it could appear mercenary to promote tourism so soon after a tragedy. However, it is my strong belief that the best way to help the Thai people is to tell the truth, and that truth is that areas like Phuket are truly open again for business. Tourist dollars will ensure people remain in employment, improve morale, and facilitate the healing process.

“My message is clear, come to Thailand and come now. The generous, warm and friendly people of Thailand need your support, now.”

Young girl presumed abducted

Family feud may hold the key

Saksit Meesubkwang

24-year-old Anchalee Srinoi, daughter of the Chiang Mai Gate PTT petrol station owner, has disappeared after transferring 1 million baht cash to the PTT Bangkok branch at the Bangkok Bank, Airport Branch on January 4.

Rampen Srinoi, the mother of the missing Anchalee Srinoi, feels that her daughter has been kidnapped.

The mother of the missing woman, Rampen Srinoi, 53, notified Pol. Col. Sarawut Chantraprasert, superintendent of the Chiang Mai Provincial Investigation Division that her daughter was missing on January 5.

Before she disappeared, she phoned her mother to ask whether the mother wanted something for the evening meal, but Anchalee did not return home.

Rampen suspected that her daughter being missing might be involved with an old conflict between her son, Chatchawarn Srinoi and Payungsak Yodbangtoey, the brother of Maj Gen Intarat Yodbangtoey. In the past, Chatchawan was accused of hiring a gunman to murder Payungsak.

Since then, Rampen and Anchalee have taken care of the petrol station instead of her brother, and have been fearful for their lives.

Pol. Col. Sarawut said that the mother’s fears may well be real, but Anchalee’s siblings will be called for questioning before any further investigation is carried out.

Elderly in focus

One Hospital One Aged People Clinic promoted to serve elderly

Nopniwat Krailerg

The Department of Medical Services, Ministry of Public Health is focussing on the “One Hospital One Aged People Clinic” project to provide non-stop services in physical and mental treatment for elderly people throughout the country. Together with aged peoples’ clinics, a network of aged people clubs in each tambon will be formed.

At a training course for aged people clubs and networks, Dr Chatri Banchuen, director general of the Department of Medical Service, said that a study had revealed that most aged people had chronic, non-contagious diseases. The survey showed that 68 percent of the elderly suffer from backache and stomach ache, 40 percent have blood problems, 22 percent have high blood pressure and stomach problems, 13 percent have heart disease and 11 percent have cataracts.

As elsewhere in the world, females live longer than males so consequently, Thailand has twice as many women aged over 75 than men.

There is growing tendency for aged people to be neglected and live alone as a result of the weakening of traditional values and the extended families as young people leave their homes to seek employment in urban areas and remain single.

At present, Thailand has approximately 6 million aged people, which is 7 percent of the national population. In the next ten years, aged people will increase in numbers to 10 million and a proportion of 12-13 percent of the population.

This increase in the number of the elderly indicates that the country needs a system to maintain their quality of life, said Dr Chatri. Due to the change in the social system, old peoples’ networks within communities are increasingly important.

In 17 Northern provinces, 73 of out 1131 tambons or 6.4 percent do not have old people clubs and the department will now hasten to initiate such ventures.

Northern economy looking good, imports still high

Tourism benefits from southern security problems

Nopniwat Krailerg

The industrial sector showed a positive increase in the last quarter of 2004, as did tourism and exports, reported the Bank of Thailand on January 4; but imports also rose.

The upward trend, according to the Bank of Thailand, Northern Region, was due to increased expenditure by the government and private sectors as well as increased exports due to increasing foreign demand.

The electronic industry scored well with exports from the Northern Region Industrial Estate (Lamphun) soaring by 8.3 percent or USD 124 million. The principal customers were Japan, Singapore and the US, where the demand for electrical circuits and other electronic devices is increasing. However, the demand for motors, transformers, electronic spare parts and medical equipment has dropped.

Tourism in the north, perhaps benefiting from security problems in the south of Thailand, has also improved. Seasonal festivals, especially Loy Krathong, were becoming a prime attraction to visitors from European countries, the US and Japan and this has stimulated both government and private sectors.

Accommodation rates have risen by 4.4 percent compared with the same period in 2003. The average hotel room price has also increased from 963 baht per night to 1,047 baht. Tourist arrivals at the airport have increased by 30 percent. VAT returns from hotels and restaurants have jumped by 8.8 percent compared to last year.

As for foreign trade, exports via the northern custom offices have risen by 12.1 percent, or USD 171 million. Exports from the Northern Region Industrial Estate and border areas are up by 8.3 percent, or USD 124 million.

Exports through the Burmese border increased by 30 percent, or USD 37 million. However, imports via the northern customs offices have also risen by 12.2 percent, or USD 113 and via the Northern Region Industry Estate by 10 percent, or USD 100 million — mainly raw materials for processing in Thailand. Imports through land borders have increased by 30 percent, or USD 11.4 million. Burmese imports, especially fishery goods, have risen by 70 percent or USD 4.9 million.

Pha Muang Task Force and Provincial Police turn up two drug runners

Nopniwat Krailerg

Commander of the Pha Muang Task Force, Maj. Gen. Manus Paorik directed the soldiers of the Special Task Force of the 2nd Cavalry Division to work in collaboration with the police of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 and local police of the Chaiprakarn District Police Station to search for drugs in targeted villages in Chaiprakarn district, Chiang Mai on January 1. This New Year narcotic search led to the arrest of two dealers who had smuggled 10,000 ya ba tablets into Thailand.

The search began at early morning of the New Year day. 50 soldiers and police encircled and searched many suspected households in Ban Mai Nong Bua in tambon Nong Bua but they found no drugs.

Finally, the team found 10,000 tablets of orange ya ba at the house of Ke Kijnarueroj and Wanchart Saejueng at Ban Mai Nong Bua. The ya ba pills were found hidden under the seat of Ke’s pick-up truck.

The arrested men are reported to be residents of Ban Huay Nam Dang in Mae Taeng district, Chiang Mai. They usually transferred drugs from the border point via Ban Mai Nong Bua. They rented the house at the village to be a resting point while waiting for the best time to transfer the drugs to downtown Chiang Mai.

Both men confessed that they had done this transfer many times. The two men were arrested and jailed at Chaiprakarn District Police Station.

Female prisoners to be allowed to meet relatives

Chiang Mai Women’s Correctional Institute invites visitations

Nopniwat Krailerg

Naowarat Thanasrisutharat, the director of the Chiang Mai Women’s Correctional Institute, declared that the first 2005 relatives’ meeting days will be held for prisoners March 14–25, two hours twice a day during weekdays.

The aim is to give a chance for well behaved prisoners to visit with their relatives face to face and without barriers. They will have the opportunity to have lunch together. This will encourage good family relations and improve the morale of the inmates. It is hoped that this will add to the self-esteem of these women, increase their ability to re-adapt to society and encourage them to live better lives.

Thais qualifying for the visitation programme will be those with medium level sentences (no more than 10 years). They must be first time offenders and should have been well behaved in accordance with regulations.

Foreign prisoners sentenced to death or undergoing a disciplinary penalty will not be allowed visitors. Visitors to foreigners must be close relatives: mother, father, wife, husband or offspring. In case they have no relatives, the director will allow other people visit after appropriate consideration.

The correctional institutes will start to accept the applications at the activity section, Chiang Mai Women’s Correctional Institute, January 15 – February 28, during working hours, and reserve the dates. Identification documents or other documents issued by the government are requested on arrival. Relatives living in other provinces can call for reservations on 0-5322-1231.

On the meeting days, officials will thoroughly examine articles brought by the relatives on entry and exit. Alcohol, drugs, and weapons are prohibited and those in violation will be prosecuted.

Northerners demonstrate compassion and generosity

Almost 5 million baht donated for those affected by tsunami

Staff reporters

The Helping Hand programme on Channel 11 on behalf of tsunami sufferers brought an immediate response from northern people and almost 5 million baht was donated within a few hours by people in the eight Northern provinces, said Chiang Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat.

Governors from the eight Northern provinces were surprised when their joint appearance on the programme calling for assistance resulted in such an immediate response and the switchboard was swamped with calls from those wishing to donate to the relief effort.

Chiang Mai government officials have donated 10 million baht and with the generous private donations, the North and Chiang Mai have very much helped those affected, said Governor Suwat.

The province has received excellent cooperation from people donating clothes, food, money and other necessities. The effort continues and those wishing to donate can do so at the Chiang Mai City Hall and the Provincial Disaster Relief and Prevention Offices. Receipts will be issued for every donation.