Mass raid on drug lord’s property nets 50 million baht
Minister of Justice and AMLO rubbing their hands
Nopniwat Krailerg and
A 100-strong police posse in Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son
descended on 14 houses belonging to Col. Mahachar (aka Lee Jue Kao) and
Mahasang of the multiple aliases (aka Chao Fa, aka Chao Ping Liew, aka
Juengching Saelee), reportedly the leaders of armed minority troops and drug
networks of warlord Wei Hseuh Kang. The February 1 raid resulted in arrests
and and confiscated property worth 50 million baht comprising cars,
motorcycles, title deeds, gold and jewelry. There is a warrant and a large
reward from the US for the arrest of the drug baron Wei Hseuh Kang himself.
Pic 1: Minister of Justice Pongthep Thepkajana (right) at the press
conference in Chiang Mai.
In the houses raided in Mae Hong Son and Chiang Mai,
police seized 15 important documents from Mahachar’s and his sister’s
Mahasang and his daughters live in a house in S. R. Land
in tambon Sannameng, San Sai district while his relatives and cohorts occupy
others. Documents relating to illegal alien workers found in another Chiang
Mai property also led to the arrest of Mahasang’s brother, Boonjerd
Chuenjitra, for accommodating unregistered alien workers.
Police of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 have been working on the
cases of Mahasang and Mahachar for over 20 years in an attempt to prove them
guilty of heading drug networks and commanding minority troops assisting the
Burmese Junta. These troops frequently attacked Thai soldiers and police
trying to prevent drug ingress along the border.
Thai Rak Thai battling hard for the North
Thaksin claims ten TRT candidates will win in Chiang Mai
Lagging behind the Democrats in the North, PM Thaksin
commenced his northern campaign tour in San Sai on January 23 to boost the
chances of his candidate Wittaya Songkam. The sitting Democrat candidate,
Kiengkan na Chiang Mai, wife of Thawatwong na Chiang Mai, president of the
Provincial Administration Organization (PAO), is still well in the lead
according to the opinion polls.
TRT party led by its Leader Thaksin Shinawatra goes walkabout in downtown
Moving to his home region Phrao where he faces Pakdeeporn
Sujaritkul, popular wife of former Prime Minister Chuan Leekphai, the leader
of TRT made his usual extravagant claims saying that to solve all the
country’s problems simultaneously, it is necessary to support TRT party to
gain a majority in the cabinet. He maintained that he had already solved all
systematic procedures and would, if successful, solve all Thailand’s
problems, in his next term.
Subsequently in Fang district the PM lent his arm to TRT
candidate Julaphan Amornwiwat. Julaphan’s sitting Democrat contender,
Yongyut Suwaphap, still leads the polls.
Finishing up his tour in Chiang Mai he walked the streets
with TRT candidate Pakorn Buranupakorn basking in the plaudits and receiving
bouquets from his supporters. Chiang Mai District 1 will be hard fought as
the Democrat contender, Dueantemduang na Chiang Mai, is from the leading
family in Chiang Mai. Dueantemduang graduated in the US with a PhD in
economics. She is the oldest daughter of Thawatwong na Chiang Mai. Pakorn is
the former TRT party representative of the District 1. His brother is Chiang
Mai Mayor and this may increase his chances among Chiang Mai citizens.
Thaksin, obfuscating, claimed that Chiang Mai was his home town and
seemed to think that, therefore, all 10 TRT candidates in Chiang Mai region
must win this election. One has to wonder why all politicians, and not just
the home-grown heroes, always claim that they will solve everyone’s
problems in the next term. Why did they not manage to do it this term?
Befuddled citizens vote in round one
Chantawee Punmira and
The Chiang Mai election board conducted the first round
of the national vote for people from other provinces, but living in Region
1. These people had to register for the vote before January 8 to vote on
January 29-30 in Chiang Mai.
atmosphere of the Chiang Mai first round of the national election.
The tension was palpable as voters crowded in searching
for the voting booth that appeared to be hidden away. As usual, some persons
were not found on the list of voters and tempers ran high as voters all
claimed that this election method was too complicated since they were
obliged to check their names on the list, tell the election board officers
their numbers, sign the form and show a permission document before signing
their names and receiving the vote card.
Dr. Jithi Oranratanamanee, Chiang Mai election board director of Region
1, acknowledged that there were problems saying, “The officers had not
anticipated the number of voters. Nevertheless, all of them tried very hard
to facilitate the election method.” He accepted that voters swamped
officers by their numbers and said, “The system is complicated because
officers want to make sure the voters really have the right to vote.
Besides, the officers had put up signs indicating the election booth
location but the voters entered by another door and missed the signs.
“However,” he promised, “the election board will be more prepared
after this first round.”
General election result online
Easy if you have the e-facility
Suroj Lamsam, senior vice-president for marketing and
services of TT&T, presented to Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na
Ayuthaya, commissioner of the Provincial Police Bureau, the high speed
internet system to disseminate the general election results.
Suroj said that the TT&T had worked to support
communication systems in both public activities and governmental
In preparation for the general election on February 6,
TT&T have cooperated with the Provincial Police to install an online
reporting system for the general election results via high speed internet.
Suroj said that the online report would keep the Northern
residents updated with the results every minute, despite the fact that vast
swathes of the region are without internet access or even landline
telephones in their area.
The online report is intended to link information from 42
election units in 37 constituency zones of eight Northern provinces that
include Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phayao, Lampang, Lamphun, Phrae, Nan and Mae
The results of general election will also be available at
the TT&T’s websites www. ttt.co.th, www.tttbroadband .com,
www.tttonline.net and the websites of Provincial Police Bureau Region 5
Wildfires have ravaged
the upper north
El Nino effect blamed
Wildfires in the last 12 months in the upper north
occurred 32 times and destroyed 427 rai of land of forest land, revealed
Surapol Lelawaropas, director of the Northern Wildfire Office.
Forecasting that the 2005 occurrences will be determined
by “El Ni๑o”, the wildfire director said, “The change of
temperature on the surface of the Pacific Ocean is one of the important
factors in the severity of wildfires in Thailand. If the seasonal wind
blowing from Peru to Indonesia is three degrees Celsius higher than usual,
El Ni๑o will certainly occur and affect Thailand. This will further
increase the aridity of the north and more wildfires will result,” he
No mention was made of the USA’s refusal, alone amongst
rich nations, to cut harmful emissions that are seriously contributing to
On January 16-19, Sahat Boonyawiwat, Lord Chamberlain of
the Bureau of the Royal Household Special Section and the Wildfire Bureau
for the north, co-operated in the training of 110 local volunteers in
11 villages to fight fires in Baan Pong, Hand Dong district. These
volunteers have helped to put out fires before fire officers arrived on the
To keep them busy when not fighting fires, firefighting
volunteers will be also trained in vocational handicrafts and agriculture.
The Lord Chamberlain promised that the bureau would find markets for their
International coal conference
in Lampang produces protest
More than 200 overseas and Thai experts met on January
24, 2005 with Amornrat Niratasaiyakul, Lampang governor; the head of the
Mae Moh Electricity Division and other officers at an academic seminar
organized by Coltrane Thailand and presided over by Viset Juphiban,
Assistant to the Energy Minister.
Viset said he was pleased to welcome the delegates and
that Thailand is honored to be one of the eight countries hosting the
meeting this year, which aims to discuss the development of coal to its
fullest extent as an energy source.
The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand
(EGAT), which has run the local organization for 36 years, was the main
host of this event. He expounded on the fact that the energy industry
plays a key role in the economic growth in many countries and it is
necessary to seek means of generating electrical energy to serve
Coal is important to the electricity generating process
and Thailand has huge lignite coal deposits in Mae Moh district, Lampang
and lignite mining to generate electricity has been carried out there for
50 years. Thailand does not need to import lignite from other countries
and domestic coal is cheaper than any other energy source.
He claimed that Thailand is proud to produce clean
energy that does not affect or pollute the environment. The next step, he
continued, is to gain the confidence of the citizens so that they may
continue to exploit this resource unhindered by protest.
The process should not pollute the surroundings, and
EGAT has been disseminating propaganda about the coal mine to the locals,
such as the installation of the sulfur dioxide gas eradication system.
Some countries, of which Thailand aims to be one, have good policies and
regulations to suppress any side effects from the coal electricity plant.
Despite this upbeat rhetoric, in front of the hotel
there were more than 100 (professional) protestors led by rights
campaigner Vanida Thantiamornpitak, all waving banners calling for a ban
on the coal burning plant. They claimed that the emissions caused sickness
and death and the plant polluted the environment.
The protestors claimed that EGAT administrators and the
Thai government look only for economic benefits from lignite coal
electricity production, rather than the well-being and property of its
citizens and natural resources and the environmental concerns for the
In accordance with the seemingly accepted Thai police
directives that people have to conform or be suppressed, a police task
force led by Pol. Col. Yongyut Narongin, superintendent of Lampang police
station, rushed to the scene to curb the protest. Preparing for more civil
disorder they called in the reserves to increase the security guard force.
The protestors nevertheless continued to vent their ire
using loud hailers and staged a sit-in on the middle of the road until
nightfall when they became hungry and went home to eat. Some protestors,
actually from Mae Moh, had earlier joined the throng, claiming that they
will refuse the coal project and keep on protesting until the board gives
in. Bigger and louder protests are planned.
Human traffickers offering work in France
But be prepared to return home
The Chiang Mai Provincial Employment Office is warning
Thai people who are offered work in France, or other countries in Europe, to
check the alien workers information since a gang of human traders is
operating but their Thai victims were discovered in November last year.
Orachorn Rattamanee, the head of the Chiang Mai
Provincial Employment Office, said that the office had received a report
from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that the Thai Embassy in France had
been contacted for help by twelve Thai men and a Thai woman.
The French government enforces laws to stop illegal
immigration, just as the Thai government does here. The Thai Embassy asked
the Thai Thumpratheep Temple in France to provide them temporary board and
lodging whilst it was arranging with the French government to send them back
At this moment, there are more than 100 illegal laborers
sent by the Thai gang to Europe. The gang preys on Thais, Laotians, and
Cambodians who are sent to work illegally overseas. These Thai workers often
hide once they have arrived in their destination to avoid paying the
exorbitant 300,000 baht fee.
Chiang Mai warned to guard against a new round of bird flu
As the bird flu situation in Vietnam is critical, Veterinary
Somporn Pornvisetsirikul, head of animal health development office in Chiang Mai
Livestock Division, warned that although there are only three infected provinces
at this moment, a drop from last year, the end of winter and the beginning of
summer could be a dangerous period. The next round of national X-raying will be
carried out from February 1–28, 2005.
flu X-ray 1- Vet. Somporn Pornvisetsirikul, head of animal health development
office, the CM Livestock Division.
Some patients with symptoms similar to bird flu disease were
identified in the Chiang Mai region in January this year. It has been reported
from sources, that from October 2004 – January 2005, 16 patients, all of whom
had been in direct contact with slaughtered poultry, contracted bird flu.
Procedures to guard against bird flu include the
establishment of the Division of Special Disease Control comprising Chiang Mai
livestock division officers, animal health division officers and the 5th
section of the Public Health division, all of whom are preparing to work in the
affected area. Officers from the Ministry of Public Health and Agriculture also
help deal with disease inspection and oversight of animal migration, animal
destruction, disease eradication and public relations. The ministry has also
prepared information about poultry. Medical equipment and drugs such as
anti-bacterials are also provided. In February, it is claimed that all villages
will be bird flu free.
The procedures consist of the inspection for bird flu based
on information from the disease center and Cloacol Swab inspection,
concentrating on slaughtered poultry. This is done once every two years,
specifically for hens and fighting cocks.
Animals imported into Chiang Mai must have negative results from laboratory
tests. There are two quarantine stations in Khun Tan and Le district in Lamphun.
If the result is not clear or remains doubtful, no animal is allowed into Chiang
Mai. The bird flu Committee board is now trying to standardize fighting cocks
regions. Every cock must be identified. So far, officers have received good
cooperation from owners in San Kam Paeng district.
Doctor removes swollen leech in man’s throat
Doctors at Nakorn Ping Hospital find leech in windpipe
Dr. Chatchai Koonrangsrisomboon of the Nakornping
Hospital identified and then removed a bloodthirsty leech that had attached
itself to the windpipe of a patient. The greedy leech was so swollen that it
was stuck in the trachea.
Dr. Chatchai said that the patient, a resident of Mae
Chaem district, had first received treatment at a clinic where a doctor
assumed that he had tuberculosis but, finding no signs of TB in the x-ray,
sent him to Nakornping Hospital. The doctor used a laryngoscope to examine
the patient’s throat and identified the alarming cause.
The doctor surmised that the leech had entered his
windpipe when the man drank water from a stream whilst wandering in the
The intrepid doctor said that it was his first case of a
leech getting stuck and sucking blood from patient’s windpipe. Normally,
such patients have leeches stuck in their esophagus (the muscular tube that
connects the throat to the stomach).
Unfortunately, hospital staff incinerated the writhing
parasite before our doughty photographer could risk life and limb to
Malefactor monitoring maintained
Commander of the national police force visits the north
Pol. Gen. Kowit Wattana, Commissioner-General and his
entourage visited the north on January 28 to oversee malefactor control
measures in place in Region 5 before the national election on February 6.
Pol. .Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara na Ayuthaya, commissioner of the Provincial
Police Bureau Region 5, welcomed the group and reported the movements of
gunmen and drug traffickers who might take advantage of the election to
transport illegal goods.
Pol. .Lt. Gen. Panupong informed the Commissioner-General
of three steps taken: more than ten commissioned police officers and warrant
officers who failed to behave neutrally during the election have been put on
inactive duty; police forces are now keeping an eye on the listed gunmen
often used by some politicians, but have not detained either the gunmen or
the politicians. Some gunmen are, apparently, from government divisions,
however, they are all blacklisted by the central police task force and the
police will arrest all malefactors if anyone is shot or other crimes of
intimidation are committed.
Since some people view the northern area as the pathway
for drugs and human smugglings, the border patrol police have co-operated
with the army’s narcotics suppression officers to deal with the problem
and have found, not surprisingly, that the source of these are neighboring
countries. The police have also found more than 200 crossing points used by
The Commissioner-General, stated that he was now informed
about the situation in the eight upper northern provinces. He would like to
emphasize to police in every area that they should suppress any cheating by
politicians or their supporters. All police officers should stay neutral and
officers should help on Election Day as well. Any abnormal situation
involving gunmen or smugglings should be informed to the Provincial Police
Bureau Region 5 commissioner or the Commissioner-General. All reports will
be dealt with as soon as possible to suppress any kind of violation. During
the election, the police should be aware of traffickers who might take
advantage of the occasion to transport drugs. Specifically, the police
should keep an eye on every crossing point on the border to prevent drugs
coming into Thailand.
Panty-less go-go girl attempts to seduce arresting officer
The boredom of police officers at Ban Thum Pla check
point, Chiang Rai, was relieved recently when a go-go girl from Pattaya
tried to seduce them in order to deter them from searching her.
Nevertheless, the voluptuous Naree Poompuey, 35 was arrested on January 27
by an officer whose probity or orientation rendered him immune to her wiles.
Three days earlier Cheun Huanju, 33 from Taiwan had been
arrested at the same checkpoint with 8.4 kilograms of heroin valued at five
million baht, vastly exceeding that of the go-go girl’s hoard, which was
only 400 orange speed drugs, a new type from the Wa group but, to the
consternation of the arresting officers, it was discovered in her more
private area, covered only by her slip — whilst the mundane hiding place
of the Taiwanese national’s heroin was under the back seat of his car.
Naree, the go-go girl, was intimately acquainted with a
drug dealer in Chiang Rai (whose name was not revealed) who had asked her to
smuggle drugs from Mae Sai to Chonburi. It was concluded that the drugs had
been brought from Burma and imported at the Mae Sai border.
The Pa Muang Task Force and the Mae Sai police, Chiang
Rai, had set up the checkpoint after a tip-off. Was it following a complaint
from a surprised customer, one wonders.
Chiang Mai Municipality to clean up waste water with EM technology
The hygiene office of the environmental section of the
Chiang Mai public health and environment division will provide
bio-microorganism dubbed Effective Microorganisms (EM) to the Chiang Mai
Municipality or other organization concerned about improving waste water and
the environment in the province.
Canal in the Chiang Mai Municipality area
Boonlert Buranupakorn, Chiang Mai mayor, explained that
EM has been used at six waste water plants prior to release into the Mae Kha
Canal that runs parallel to the Ping River and flows east of the old city
center, which is surrounded by a moat.
The points being treated are at Rakaeng Rd. near Mae Kha
Canal Bridge; at Ausadathorn Road beside the Chang Puak branch of the
Government Saving Bank; at Thapae Road near the Thapae Inn hotel, at Sri Don
Chai Road, at Mae Kha Canal Bridge, and at the back of Wat Lok Molee.
EM is a liquid culture of aerobic and anaerobic
micro-organisms mainly sourced from human food processing and from nature.
It consists of lactobacilli, yeast, photosynthetic bacteria, ray fungi and
filamentous fungi. It does not contain any genetically modified organisms,
is safe and easy to handle, and harmless to human health even if
EM offers benefits in the fields of aquaculture, solid waste management,
sewage and effluent treatment, hazardous waste treatment, hygiene
management, farming, animal husbandry and care and environmental