TRT wins all seats in Chiang Mai
TRT and Thaksin Shinawatra in momentous landslide victory
Nopniwat Krailerg and
Chiang Mai showed its spirit by turning out in strength
for the election (80 percent of eligible residents voted) while TRT (Thai
Rak Thai) led by current PM Thaksin Shinawatra, created history by becoming
not only the first prime minister of Thailand to win a second term, but also
the first to win the majority of votes in Chiang Mai, thus putting all 10
TRT candidates into parliament. TRT also increased its representation in the
14 Northern provinces from 55 to 71.
thousands participated at the latest TRT election campaign.
TRT again becomes the governing party with 382 seats in
parliament being 307 seats from district divisions and 75 from the party
list. This overwhelming majority allows him to form a one-party government
making the opposition ineffective. PM Thaksin Shinawatra will now have no
excuse not to fulfill his election promise, “To solve all Thailand’s
problems,” in his second term.
Results in detail are:
Pakorn Buranupakorn, the former representative from the 1st
district, won against democrat Dr. Deuntemduang Na Chiang Mai; Payap
Shinawatra, the PM’s brother, becomes representative for the 2nd
district where Yaowapa Wongsawat, the former representative, switched to
being a party list candidate.
In other districts, Boonsong Teriyapirom, the former MP,
received the majority votes from the 3rd
district of Mae Rim and Mae Tang. Wittaya Songkam delayed the result by
contesting the vote count in the 4th
district. In the 5th district of
Sun Kampang, Doi Saket and Mae On sub-district, the hometown of Thaksin
Shinawatra, Pornchai Autrapreeyangkul from TRT defeated Pongprayul Rajapai
from the Democrat party. In the 6th
district, Nopakhun Ratpathai, the former MP, gained more than 70,000 votes
to secure his seat; while Suraphon Kiartchaiyakorn from the 7th
district regained his former seat. In the 8th
district, Phanittra Pakkasem won; Julaphun Amornwiwat, the son of Pol. Gen.
Sawat Amornwiwat, won in the 9th
district and Sunthi Tunsuhat in the 10th
Escaped prisoner dies in gun battle with police
At large for four months with 50,000 baht bounty
A prisoner who escaped from Chiang Mai’s Central Prison
four months ago was killed by police after he fired on officers who had
cornered him in a mango orchard in Nong Jom, Chiang Mai on February 7.
Jaiman, the escaped prisoner killed in the police fusillade.
Ming Jaiman, 50, died at the orchard after firing on
police who tried to negotiate his surrender. Ming used a 0.38 mm gun to
threaten the police. Three bullets were left in the gun.
Ming had been sentenced to 10 years for robbery and
kidnapping but escaped from Chiang Mai Central Prison on November 6, 2004
together with Akkradech Kongkrajang, 40. Police nearly apprehended him on
November 18 last year in Mae Rim district but he escaped when a policeman
was shot in the leg (Chiangmai Mail previous report).
The police had set a 50,000 baht reward for Ming’s
arrest and a villager recently informed the police that he had seen Ming
with his wife in a rented house in the area behind Mae Jo University. When
the police descended on the area in their usual stealthy fashion in a
cavalcade of vehicles with wailing sirens, the perhaps prescient Ming sensed
a police action and fled, but was cornered in the mango orchard. Ming
refused to surrender and declared he would fight to the death. He then lived
up to his threats.
The police fired tear gas where Ming was concealed then opened fire with
a hail of bullets that lasted for 20 minutes. Ming was, not unsurprisingly,
found dead when the firing frenzy finally died down.
APEC Study Center of Thammasat University teaching international economy
to Chiang Mai teachers
The APEC Study Center of the Bangkok-based Thammasat
University, in liaison with the Ministry of Education, intends to widen
Chiang Mai teachers’ knowledge of international economy following the
training course that was held at the Empress Hotel from February 3-4.
Surapol Nitikraipoj, president of Thammasat University
400 teachers in the North attended the training course
presided over by Dr. Surapol Nitikraipoj, president of Thammasat University.
At the opening session, Dr. Surapol said that he was
delighted that so many Northern teachers had joined the course as it was
important that Thai people are equipped with knowledge of the movement of
international economies and trade and understand global change, to benefit
Thailand as a whole, and increase national competitiveness.
The APEC Study Center does not only provide knowledge on APEC but also
APEC’s impact on international economy and global societies.
Day is marked in Chiang Mai
National Soldiers Day on February 3 was marked at the
Office of the Combat Soldiers Welfare Organization on Chotana Road, Chiang
Soldiers Day at the Office of the Combat Soldiers Welfare Organization on
Chotana Road, Chiang Mai on February 3, 2005.
Maj. Gen. Jane Kiritaweep, the commander of the 33rd
Military Circle, presided over the ceremony attended by a hundred veterans
of the Vietnam War, Indochina War and other wars. A two minute silence was
observed in memory of the soldiers who died in the service to the nation in
Maj. Gen. Jane praised soldiers for their heroism as well
as their devotion to the nation and expressed concern towards their families
and soldiers now on battle operations.
To recognize and reward their devotion and brave hearts, the Combat
Soldiers Welfare Organization was formed to assist them in health
conditions, social welfare and a good standard of living, said Maj. Gen.
Rajabhat Chiang Mai University celebrates its 80th anniversary
Asst. Prof. Dr. Ruengdech Wonglar, Director of the
Chiang Mai Rajabhat University (CMRU), announced the Academic Fair will be
held during February 12-14 and the CMRU Home Coming will be on February 12
to mark the 80 year anniversary of the university.
Prof. Dr. Ruengdech Wonglar (Center), Director of the Chiang Mai Rajabhat
University, Asst. Prof. Jarin Chatphan, deputy director (left), and Uthai
Suekrasae, Chairman of CMRU Alumni Club.
As the fair is an annual event, this year’s fair would
be special to commemorate the auspicious 80th
anniversary of the university, said the rector.
This year’s fair will feature the three main
strategies of the university: development of teachers, language teaching
improvement in which foreign university lecturers are invited to discuss
topics of teaching the Thai language to foreigners and teaching foreign
languages to Thais, and the cultural conservation project, in which local
cultural experts will present their work and discuss cultural issues. The
CMRU faculty, alumni and general public are all welcome.
At the Home Coming on February 12, 80 hot air balloons will be released
to mark the celebration and hopefully not represent the coming semester.
17 steps to a Healthy Thailand
Chiang Mai Provincial Public Health Division’s Utopian policies
The government has launched a new policy to encourage
Thais to be more concerned about health, their intelligence, social
relations, and intellect. People should live decently and think of
economic self-sufficiency; according to a speech given by His Majesty the
King. Thais should maintain good family values and healthy surroundings.
Society must support learning and mutual help. Everyone should take part
in leading Thailand to be “Healthy Thailand” until we are able to
claim truly that Thailand to be a healthy country.
Dr. Ratthawut Sukmee, Head of Chiang Mai Provincial
Public Health Office, said that the Chiang Mai Provincial Public Health
Office has set 17 principles in response to the “Healthy Thailand
1. Thais must have higher I.Q. and E.Q. levels
2. Thais aged 6 years or more must do exercises in
every village, tambon, commune, division and place.
3. Thais have the right to continue their studies until
the age of 12 and have a chance for further education in order to gain
knowledge about health and life skills.
4. Thais should maintain good families: children and
old people should receive attention from the family.
5. The average healthy life span of Thais must extend.
The numbers of deaths from illness should decrease.
6. Every Thai has a right to receive standardized
7. Thais should be able to have good food with
nutritional values for the body’s need. The food must not be
contaminated. All markets, restaurants and food stalls must have health
concern standards. Food must be produced under the GMP standard.
8. Thais should reduce alcohol intake and give up
9. The average rate of casualties and deaths must be
10. The number of suicides and mental illness should be
11. Thais must be safe from crimes and deadly violence,
loss of property, mental abuse and sexual harassment.
12. Thais should earn a decent income.
13. Thais must live in hygienic places, have enough
clean water to survive and live in healthy surroundings.
14. Thais must refrain from gambling and drugs.
15. Thais should have knowledge, love, unity and
16. Thais should deal with problems in a peaceful and
17. Thais should believe in religion and traditions.
Chiang Mai provincial Public Health Office would work
in line with the government policy and to reach the target.
Whilst excellent targets to aim for, the 17 golden
rules are Utopian dreams as they do not show the ordinary Thai in the
street or village, just how their IQ and EQ levels can be raised, let
alone the other 16.
and money situation in 2004
The economic situation of the North was recently
summarized by Somsak Wongpanyathavorn, senior director of the Bank of
Thailand (BoT), northern region:
In 2004 the overall northern economy expanded well,
driven primarily by private consumption and private investment, in spite of
some deceleration in the latter half of the year in light of a farm income
slowdown, rising oil prices, and dampened consumer and investor confidence
that prompted successive adverse uncertainties. On the external front,
exports rose significantly, resulting in an increase in manufacturing
production particularly that of export-oriented, nonetheless, export growth
slowed in the second half of the year as foreign demand decreased. Services
activity expanded well. Headline inflation accelerated from the previous
year. Commercial bank deposits appeared to accelerate, but credits
decelerated from the same period last year.
Farm income rose slightly whilst manufacturing production
expanded at a decelerated rate but remains at a satisfactory level in
response to foreign demand in the events of the Euro 2004, the Athens
Olympic Games, and the US presidential election.
Services conditions improved from last year’s depressed
level triggered by the news of the SARS outbreak, benefiting from tourism
promotion by private and public entities, price competition among budget
airlines, and concerns over the unrest in three southern provinces of
Thailand that prompted tourists to shift destinations to the northern
region. Hotel occupancy rate increased by 4.2 percent, while hotel average
room rate was at 888 baht per room night.
Private consumption activity expanded well. VAT collected
from wholesale and retail businesses rose by 16.2 percent year-on-year,
reflecting improved economic activities in most northern provinces.
Overall private investment activity expanded. Capital
investment accelerated both in the areas of export-oriented production and
domestic oriented production. Government budgetary expenditures increased by
8.6 percent to 113,181 million baht whilst current expenditure grew by 6.1
percent. Capital expenditure rose by 14.3 percent, especially in the area of
subsidies that stemmed from disbursement of Tambol Administrative
Organizations (sub-district administrative organization). As for government
income, revenue rose by 13.8 percent.
Taxation grew by 15.6 percent, particularly specific
business tax, corporate income tax, and value added tax (VAT). As a result,
budgetary balance registered an increased deficit of 97,907 million baht
Export value increased by 28.8 percent to 2,162 million
US dollars. Border-trade export value increased markedly, even though
exports to Southern China declined, as exports to Myanmar and Laos PDR
Import value rose by 21.3 percent to 1,353 million US
dollars. Border-trade import value also expanded well as imports from every
neighboring country increased, especially Burma. Trade balance registered a
surplus of 810 million US dollars, compared with a surplus of 564 million US
dollars in 2003.
The Consumer Price Index rose from the previous year by
2.8 percent, accelerating from 1.9 percent in 2003. Food prices increased by
4.8 percent as prices of meats, fish and seafood rose in response to
consumer demand prompted by concern over the avian flu outbreak; while the
price of fresh vegetables increased in light of diminished supplies.
Non-food prices grew by 1.6 percent largely as a result of increases in
prices of retail benzene gasoline, electricity price per unit, and motor
vehicle maintenance. Core Consumer Price Index increased by merely 0.1
The northern region labor force stood at 6.8 million
whilst the unemployment rate, nonetheless, increased from 1.6 percent in the
same period last year to 1.8 percent because agricultural employment was
adversely affected by drought conditions.
At end-November 2004, commercial bank deposits
outstanding expanded by 6.2 percent to 296,205 million baht. Meanwhile,
commercial bank credit outstanding grew by 7.7 percent to 215,628 million
baht, decelerating slightly from the same period last year in line with
economic activities, with credits being extended export businesses,
especially rice and processed agricultural products. The ratio of credits to
deposits was 72.8 percent, improved from 71.7 percent in November 2003.
More official details may be found at:
/RegionEcon/northern/public/econ_e/ch1_e/4712NRE con_ e.htm.
Opium crop destroyed
Third Army realizes 82 percent of target in two months
The Third Army Region reported over 469 rai of opium
plantations were destroyed from November 20, 2004 to January 30, 2005.
The operation accomplished 82 percent of the targeted 568
rai set by the Institute of Narcotics Crop Cultivation Survey of the Office
of Narcotics Control Office or INCCSONCO. Another remaining 45 rai of
suspected opium cultivation are still under observation.
The opium eradication campaign was carried out by the
Drug Combating Center, which is now located in Chiang Mai.
The Third Army Area’s Tactical Operation Center Task Force has launched
a website http://www.pin47th. net to publicize the information on the
eradication of opium plantations throughout the country.
Lampang provincial strategies budget approved
Lampang deputy governor Athikom Supanpong revealed that a
budget of 21 million baht has been allocated to support the provincial
development of Lampang’s competitiveness and potential.
The fund will handed out in two stages. The first tranche of
10.5 million baht will be provided shortly and the second awaits finance
The fund will be used to cope with urgent problems that
directly affect the population and for which no other budgets can be tapped. It
will be used to aid and support the government’s policy of developing rural
areas and communities and boosting the quality of its management and
Provincial development strategies that focus on making the
city livable, a tourist attraction and ceramic center takes forty percent of the
fund and another forty percent will be kept for solving urgent problems. Ten
percent of the fund will be hoarded for service quality in the government
sectors and suppression and prevention of corruption and another ten for
administration of the change. These categories make access to the fund more
easily available to the administering officials.
The spending plan will soon be submitted to the Governor for
Take time to smell the roses
Low temperatures on Doi Inthanon summit temps tourists
Most of the North is still enjoying low temperatures,
especially in remote mountain areas. The cold heralds the annual blossoming
of wild roses on Doi Inthanon, Chiang Mai.
Around four to five thousand tourists jam the winding
mountain road to this magnificent mountain peak at weekends to wonder at the
rare beauty of the wild roses, (called “Thousand year roses” in Thai).
The wild roses are not the only attraction for Thai
tourists who also enjoy the seldom experienced cold and crisp mountain air
and wild birds flying in the forest. Bangkok may have its expressways in the
sky, but in Chiang Mai we still have birds overhead.
Sumphan Sirisumphan, Doi Inthanon’s wildlife
conservationist, said that the wild roses can only be found at the
1,500-2,000 meter level on Doi Inthanon and begin blooming mid January or in
February. Their short-lived glory ends after February. Wild roses are
similar to normal roses but with sturdier trunks, more like perennial
Don’t miss the chance to view these wonders now or you
will have to wait for next year. The temperature on Doi Inthanon is now
about 3.5 to 10.5 degrees Celsius.
City allocates 90 million baht to tackle air pollution
A budget of 90 million baht has been allocated by the
Department of Pollution Control for Chiang Mai to tackle its air and noise
pollution crisis, said Prinya Parnthong, Chiang Mai Deputy Governor.
sight in Chiang Mai
The severity of Chiang Mai’s air pollution is reputedly
reduced as a result of campaigns and strict control on sources of air
pollution. Air quality measurements taken indicate minute dust particles at
approximately 60-80 micrograms, lower than the danger level of 120
The decrease is due to a decrease in forest fires,
prevention at construction sites and stricter checking of vehicle exhausts.
The success is attributed to eight working groups.
Another budget of 9.43 million baht is allocated for the province to
tackle agricultural crop and trash burning. The target was set to encourage
at least 500 farmers in 2,000 rai of farmland to plough in unused crops and
leaves instead of burning to help reduce air pollution.
Daring attempted murder of Saming Ruenplee could be solved
Coffin maker arrested for attempting to fill his product
Boonlert Pohmphad, 38, a former village headman of Moo 3
village in Hang Dong, Chiang Mai, was arrested by the Provincial Police
Bureau Region 5 as one of the murder team that attempted to kill Saming
Ruenplee, a village headman of Bongtan, Chiang Mai on January 12 at the
Chiang Mai Municipality Office (as reported in Chiangmai Mail).
Saming was shot in the head on the day he attended a
meeting on garbage management of Chiang Mai city whilst surrounded by a
group of ten colleagues in the municipality parking area. He is still in a
coma at the McCormick hospital in Chiang Mai.
The police arrested Boonlert at his coffin factory in
tambon Hang Dong, after determining that a team of five people, of which
Boonlert was one, was behind the hit said Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong.
During the usual interrogation, Boonlert freely admitted
that he was one of the team and has had a business conflict with Saming
regarding the garbage tip, as the police suspected. He and his fellows had
previously tried three times, unsuccessfully, to murder Saming.
The police know the names of the other team members and
they expected to make arrests soon, said the commissioner.
Mae Hong Son targets
border trade with Burma
Thailand promoted border trade with Burma in 2004 and
agreed to export consumer and technical products in exchange for buffaloes,
jade, diamonds and sesame oil. This trade exchange is believed to strengthen
relationship between Mae Hong Son and Burma at the local level.
A new border market at Huay Pueng checkpoint in tambon
Huay Pha Mae will be opened on February 15. Initially, the border market is
set to open only on weekends but plans to be open more regularly if
negotiations with Burma succeed.
The current conflict between minority groups and the
Burmese government is said not to affect the province’s border trade but
the Burmese government has yet to guarantee security to traders along the
border areas and no one is holding their breaths.
Poonsak Sunthornpanichkil, newly elected president of Mae
Hong Son Chamber of Commerce said he would soon strengthen the relationship
between Mae Hong Son and Taunggyi in Burma. He added his opinion that, if
the province was too hung up on national security, trade and economy would
Once the Huay Pueng market is open, the Chamber of
Commerce will additionally promote trade at Nam Pieng Din village, Ban Sao
Hin and Mae Sam Laeb.
The main income of Mae Hong Son is from tourism and
border trade. In 2004, 1.5 billion baht circulated in the province from
tourism related businesses and services, and border trade brought at least 2
billion baht to the province, stated Poonsak. He urged the government to
give significance to the province’s border trade equally to its concerns
for national security.