Mass transportation has arrived for Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai Mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn stated that Chiang
Mai Municipality has bought 26 minibuses, two maintenance minibuses and one
route-checking minibus to be used as our foray into mass transportation. The
cost of 62 million baht was supported by the government to fund promotion of
Chiang Mai as an aviation hub.
The new 32-seat minibuses will operate on three main
routes which the yellow minibuses cover. The first runs from Nong Prateep
intersection to the foot of Doi Suthep (behind Chiang Mai University), the
second route runs from Nong Hoi to Infantry 7th and the third from the
Railway Station to Huay Kaew Waterfall.
The Municipality has purchased the minibuses because of
an increasing number of personal vehicles in the city and the resulting
traffic congestion. Effective mass transportation will help reduce traffic
problems and air pollution and hopefully the number of personal vehicles on
Constant complaints about the red minibus service were
also a reason for the purchase of the 32-seat public transport.
The mayor guaranteed that the newly-purchased minibuses would be in
service soon to respond to people’s needs. The minibuses have been painted
to make them attractive.
Hans Blix states his views on what happened in Iraq
Identifies the real threats to world peace and unity
Photos: Watcharapong Jingkaujai
Dr. Hans Blix, chairman of the international Weapons of
Mass Destruction Commission, former executive chairman of the United Nations
Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission and director general
emeritus of the IAEA, is one of those rare international experts who can
call a spade, a spade – with authority.
In his closing remarks, given during his address at the
CMU to those who can still think for themselves, he said, “In foreign
affairs, as in medicine, you cannot have successful operations unless you
make correct diagnoses. You need to apply critical thinking to get these
diagnoses. If you do not, but instead create a virtual reality, that reality
may collide with the reality on the ground. This, in my view, is what
happened in Iraq.”
He was brought to Chiang Mai by the International Peace
Foundation under Chairman Uwe Morawetz, and the interest in the man and his
opinions was extremely high. The CMU auditorium was filled past capacity and
an adjoining room had to be opened for the hundreds of students to allow
them to understand the plight of a man who tried (unsuccessfully) to
convince the world and its leaders that weapons of mass destruction were not
found during 700 inspections at 500 different sites.
He stated that due to misinformation and the lack of
cross examination, and with political leaders seizing upon unconfirmed
“evidence”, was it possible for the Iraq war to happen. He compared the
situation with seeing black cats in a street, then leading to the conclusion
that there must be witches around.
auditorium at the Faculty of Science at CMU was filled past capacity and
students had to sit in a different room.
One of his main points was that terrorists do not live on
clouds but must have their feet on the territory of states, so the
international community should uphold the principle that each government has
an obligation to ensure that its territory is not used as a base for attacks
on other states.
However, Dr. Blix said he knows that for most people in
the world the priority security issues are hunger, poverty, disease, and
civil disorder. He does not believe that another world war is on the way but
that global warming and environmental threats are much bigger concerns for
man’s long-term security. “The United Nations has a role to play in
helping to provide such security. Examples are easy to find. After the
tsunami catastrophe, better warning systems are now discussed regionally and
globally. Whether we want it or not the gradual global integration that is
being brought about by the technical, economic, and information evolution is
gluing us together. Increased interdependence and proximity will push
relations between blocs and continents toward peace.”
But he also expressed concern over attempted nuclear
armament of states such as North Korea and Libya and spoke on the
implementation of “smart” economic packages, to help those countries,
even Iran, to exit from poverty and starvation, as has happened in China.
Solutions through negotiations! Dr. Blix spoke on the ways in which the
world fights terrorism, about intensified international cooperation in the
day-to-day field work of national intelligence, mentioning national police
and financial institutions to trace persons, resources, weapons and
But it was not all doom and gloom. He said with a twinkle
that, “There is hope. The diplomatic game is still on – which is better
than seeing it off!” Despite that, he urged the media to be careful with
speculations about the bombing of Iranian installations and about Iranian
retaliation and added that he hoped that all sides feel the seriousness of
It was a complex address, but with very salient concluding remarks
looking towards the future, towards more balance of power and the
possibility to make the world a safer place.
A mandate does not mean everything in the garden is rosy
Hill tribes tell TRT that there are problems in
the north as well as the south
Tribal leaders of the seven hill tribes living along the
river (comprising Karen, Hmong, Yao, Lawa, Lisu, Lahu and Tai Tribes) met on
February 7 at the Mae Hong Son Community Office. Pongpipat Meebenjamas, the
organizer of the Natural Resources Management office reminded the TRT to be
more concerned about grassroots problems, in particular those of the Mae
Hong Son hill tribesmen, who make up 80 percent of the Mae Hong Son
Most of their problems, it was said, deal with land
deeds. The land is predominantly mountainous and will soon be proclaimed as
national reserves. The citizens earn their living from fruit plantations in
these mountains and are presently being harassed by police and the army, and
prosecuted for intruding on their own traditional homeland.
The government needs to be alerted to solve the issue and
launch a clear policy in terms of the land in the national reserves, said
Pongpipat. Mae Hong Son people chose TRT thinking that TRT’s management
would be more effective and transparent and the government would listen more
to the peoples’ requests. Time will tell if that rose-colored view was
Mae Hong Son Chamber of Commerce makes its first demands
Mae Hong Son looking for new roads and increase in Burmese trade
Phoonsak Soonthornpanichkit, president of Mae Hong Son
Chamber of Commerce, said he believed that with a one-party government, TRT
would bring positive prospects to the country’s management. Sounding an
unusual note of caution, he said that he was, nevertheless, concerned about
the possibility of a dictatorship that might arise from the party’s
landslide victory. “We should monitor the government after the new cabinet
has been set up to see if there is any improvement in Thailand’s
The Mae Hong Son Chamber of Commerce supports the
government because it received the majority of the votes and this shows real
democracy in action, he said.
Two Mae Hong Son MPs are now in parliament and the
Chamber believes that they will try as soon as possible to develop the
province according to the strategies set by the provincial administration.
Of particular interests is the construction of the roads to Mae Hong Son
(highways 108 and 1095) and the road from Samoeng to Chiang Mai via tambon
Huay Pu Ling to Mae Hong Son. The Highway Authority of Thailand is now
studying these for environmental impact.
The Samoeng–Mae Hong Son Road will be a main indicator
of the efficiency of the MPs. The Chamber sees this road as a boost to Mae
Hong Son tourism and an alternative to air travel.
The president added that the MPs must encourage trade
along the border with neighboring countries. The market crossing point at
Baan Huay Peung and other channels should be open permanently to do business
with tradesmen in Tong Kee province in Burma. Mae Hong Son gains most of the
provincial income from tourism and border trade and the Chamber expects
their elected representatives dealing effectively with these issues.
to continue their fight
KNU’s attempts to negotiate with the Burmese government at a standstill
On January 31, Gen. Bo Mya, chairman of the Karen
National Union (KNU), and approximately 1,000 KNU soldiers and Karen people
joined the 56th anniversary at Miapoo Military Camp of the 201st battalion,
which lies opposite Ta Song Yang district of Tak.
KNU secretary general Pado Mahn Shah said that the KNU
has 70,000 members who are trained in political issues and military tactics,
and are well prepared to cope with any incidents.
Negotiation with the Burmese government has been at a
standstill since October 2004 when Lt. Gen. Khin Nyunt, former Burmese Prime
Minister was removed from office, said the secretary general. KNU still has
contact with the Burmese government but it is unknown when negotiations will
“The KNU wants the Burmese government to use peaceful
means to handle every national issue. If the government is really sincere,
all political prisoners should be released and it should negotiate with all
minority groups and stop using violence,” said Pado Mahn Shah.
Lt. Gen. Mu Too, commander in chief of the KNU Army, said
that negotiations with the Burmese government have to be based on equality
and the government has to honor agreements with the KNU.
“Although we have negotiated to stop assaulting each
other, government troops still attack the KNU camp and people; this shows
their insincerity”, said the commander in chief. “We have been fighting
for 56 years and are still strong. We will never let our Karen tribe be
wiped out,” he vowed.
Two deaths from Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever in 2004
However 762 cases reported during the year
Chiang Mai Provincial Public Health Office reported
that last year there were 762 cases diagnosed and reported as having
Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever in the region. This is equivalent to a ratio of
48 per 100,000 of the population. The largest group of patients (474) were
aged 5 to 24 with only 26 patients aged below 5. Males slightly
outnumbered females by a ratio of 1.15 to 1.
Of the 762 reported cases, only two people died from
Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever last year.
Alien labor - government gives in to reality
Work permits for alien laborers to be issued from February 1
Chiang Mai Provincial Employment Office announced that
work permits for Burmese, Laotian and Cambodian workers would be issued from
February 1 this year.
Orachorn Rattanamanee, head of the office, stated that
some work permits requested by Thai employers in July 2004 had been issued.
Apparently the process takes only eight months.
The Chiang Mai Provincial Employment Office will, from
February 1, be distributing work permit applications. From now on,
applicants can pick up applications at the service centers of the Chiang Mai
Provincial Employment Offices.
However, before general excitement sets in, some of the
previously requested work permits were still being processed.
For more information, please contact the service center
of the Chiang Mai Provincial Employment Office at 0-5322-2767 during office
Resort found employing alien laborers
Pol Col Montri Sampunnanont, superintendent of Mae Rim
District Police Station along with 60 of Mae Rim district’s police and
administration officials searched the Erawan Resort in tambon Pong Yaeng,
Mae Rim district after the resort was alleged to be employing alien
At the rear of the resort, the police searched 10 houses
used by the workers and found that 50 Hmong were living there. The police
and officials asked for their ID cards and highland ID cards but none of
them had either.
Pol Col Montri said that he was informed that the resort
brought these alien workers from Petchaboon and Tak and employed them as
gardeners and general employees. The owner now was trying to issue work
permits and other important documents so these workers could be sent
The police arrested all undocumented workers and are
preparing to deport them. They are also questioning the owner.
Student exhibition held
at Central Airport Plaza
Thai Vijit Silp and Chang Mai International School held an
exhibition to show off their students’ talents at Central Airport Plaza.
Public Health Sudarat Keyurapun observes the students’ works at an exhibition.
Sudarat Keyurapun, minister of public health, presided over
the opening of the exhibition on February 12, saying that the exhibition
reflected students’ interest in arts and business administration. She enjoyed
the exhibition and activity as it was promoting students to spend useful time
and develop their skills and abilities.
The exhibition presented works from students at higher and lower vocational
levels of both schools. Their works vary from drawing, painting, sculpture,
commercial arts design and packaging design, architectural design and
construction plan drafting.
Red minibus turns turtle
in Mae Rim district
Inoperative traffic lights and speed indicted
It was the battle of the minibuses at the intersection
where Pack Squadron Chiang Mai Camp links with the ring road which people
use to commute between Mae Rim and San Sai district.
minibus turned turtle in a joust with a white minibus.
In a spectacular joust, the red minibus of Kamron Tanoi,
45, was overturned by the fully laden white minibus (Mae Taeng minibus)
driven by Subin Norkaew, 46. Unfortunately, it was a rather Pyrrhic victory,
as the snout of Subin’s charger was severely damaged, though his cargo of
passengers was unscathed.
During questioning, Kamron said that his minibus turned
right and headed to Huay Tueng Tao reservoir but the white minibus which was
heading to Mae Rim district, crashed into him. Subin of course, saw this
another way, and the wrangle needed Pol. Maj. Chatchawal Saengboon,
inspector of Mae Rim District Police Station, to adjudicate. The doughty
police officer was also needed to untangle the ensuing traffic jam at a peak
time for traffic in the area.
Locals say the intersection has been used for a year and road accidents
occur there because the traffic lights are usually inoperative or turned
off, especially at night. They also say that people commuting on that route
usually drive too fast, thus making it a regular black spot for road
The unhappy lot of women
Women and Children Protection Center’s shocking statistics
Every human is born with free will. However, it is
surprising that some look down on other people and impose themselves to be
more superior than others, even their own mothers. We have learned since we
were young that humans are social animals, consequently they need attention
from their fellows. Every human needs love from their family.
is unfortunately a very familiar picture, not just on the streets of Chiang
The starting point for everyone is at home. Some people,
especially women and children who come from fragile families, have it hard;
they are obliged to face a life full of with difficulty and oppression. And
that oppression comes from relatives, brothers and parents. Everyday, the
news headlines show that this problem never fades away in our society. The
suppression of women in Thailand is a huge societal problem.
The solution is somehow not easy. Although laws covering
human rights are in the statute books, women and children are still taken
advantage of. This repetitive problem is considered a national and global
concern. The north of Thailand has this problem of oppression of women and
children too. They are tortured physically, mentally and sexually. They are
taken advantage of, forced into prostitution, illegal laboring, and abused.
Every authority concerned should seriously work towards solving this
The Chiang Mai Women and Children Protection Center
revealed the fact of women and children being regularly abused physically
and mentally in the north, including Chiang Mai. During the last six years,
73 women have been tortured physically and sexually by their fathers and
another 52 by their stepfathers. 40 of them have been tortured by their own
mothers. 97 cases refer to harassment by relatives. Boys are also victims,
as 96 boys have been reported as being tortured.
Rossukon Thariya, a social welfare officer who dedicates
herself to helping women and children, believes that the situation is
explosive. “The situation of oppression of women and children in Chiang
Mai and in the upper Northern provinces is considered critical. The center
has frequently been receiving information about abused women and children -
physically, mentally and sexually. They are forced, bought, sold,
transported, detained, deceived, and hidden. Many women from neighboring
countries are being forced into prostitution, or become illegal workers, or
beggars. This immoral situation happens in Thailand and other countries as
well; and Chiang Mai is used as the receiving province, the passing trade
route and sometimes the final destination of these women. It is considered
negation of the human rights of women and children and is an international
and transnational crime. The government and the private sectors should take
this problem seriously and try to solve it as soon as possible.”
The Women and Children Protection Center has efficient
divisions to tackle the problem; such as the inspection section consisting
of the Social Welfare Division and the Section 5 police force; a treatment
section consisting of doctors, nurses, and officers in hospitals; the
finance section which distributes the budget from government; the public
relations section which publicizes the organization and its aims via the
government mass media; the evaluation section under the control of the
provincial administration, police force, and the Women and Children
Division, doctors, and social workers.
These people need help. Everyone has a duty to help them by informing the
center of human rights abuses. However, this problem will never fade away
from our society if women and children are poorly treated by their own
relatives or even their own parents. The proper solution is to encourage
moral values through education which is the basis of the country’s
Rehabilitation offered for female prisoners
Concerned women and vocational associations in Chiang Mai
have cooperated to establish the “Return Criminals to Society with Thai
Traditional Massage” project. So that released prisoners may be
rehabilitated and rejoin society as useful members, it is necessary to train
them in some vocation so that they may earn their living when their
incarceration is over. The project is under supervision of Yaowarat
Shinawatra, the president of the National Women’s Association under the
patronage of His Majesty the King.
right), the president of the National Women Association’s, and member of
Businesswomen and Vocational Associations in Chiang Mai.
Yaowarat stated that this project was originated by the
Chiang Mai Women’s Sanctuary to rehabilitate those who have gone wrong
and, it is hoped, they will not return to criminal life on release.
Mai women inmates enjoy the Thai traditional massage project.
The project aims to teach them freelance professions so
they can exercise their newly won vocational knowledge and become employed.
The Chiang Mai Women’s’ Sanctuary also accepts others who are interested
in attending vocational courses with the 150 selected former prisoners.
Apart from Thai massage course, the Chiang Mai Women’s Sanctuary will
provide vocational courses according to their talents and capabilities, such
as Thai cooking, silk weaving and flower and tree cultivation.
Rally to raise funds
for CMU Faculty of Medicine
Chiang Mai University (CMU) Faculty of Medicine held a
fund-raising rally on the 120 kilometer trip from Chiang Mai – Mae Rim and
Mae Taeng to raise money for the medical equipment fund of the CMU’s
Faculty of Medicine.
begin the rally to raise money for medical equipment.
Assoc. Prof. Watchara Rujivejpongsathorn, deputy
president of CMU, launched the rally caravan on February 12. The
participants also competed for the trophy of Her Royal Highness Princes
The rally was the first charitable activity of the
Faculty of Medicine in 2005 and received overwhelming support from both
governmental and private sectors and 80 cars took part in the rally.
Assoc. Prof. Dr Watchara said that the medical equipment would be used by
students of the Faculty of Medicine in the building that was built to honor
the 50th anniversary of King Bhumibol.
From Farm to Table project launched to promote agricultural product lines
The Chiang Mai Public Health Division in collaboration
with the Agricultural Products Research Center and CMU launched the “From
Farm to Table” project, aiming to provide knowledge and promote
agricultural product lines.
“From Farm to Table” project in action at the Canal Research Station.
This promotion follows the nationwide “Thai Kitchen to
International dish” promotion, and Suwat Tantipat, governor of Chiang Mai,
presided over the exhibition at the Canal Research Station earlier this
Governor Suwat said that this exhibition is to respond to
the policy of safe and standardized food in the “Thai Kitchen to
International Dishes” project of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. The
Chiang Mai administration has set the standards of the restaurants in Chiang
Presently 482 farms are participating in the project, and altogether
1,771 rai of land are allocated for the production in 14 districts. They can
produce 5,078 tons of fresh food which is sold at city hall, schools in
Chiang Mai, such as Dara College School and Mae Rim Public School, medical
service places such as Dara Rassamee Hospital and Nakornping Hospital,
markets, and other standard restaurants.
Seminar seeks information
on the depths of the Ping River
On February 11, at Lotus Pang Suan Kaew Hotel, World
Gemstone Exploration and Mining Consultants in cooperation with the Mineral
Resources Department, Ministry of Natural Resource and Environment held a
seminar on Exploration for Subterranean Property Management at the North
Ping River Area, which includes Mae Taeng, Chiang Dao and Prao districts.
Wasuwanich, deputy general director of Mineral Resources Department,
presides over the seminar.
Piphop Wasuwanich, deputy general director of Mineral
Resources Department, presided over the seminar and 100 government
officials, forestry officials, village headmen, officers of tambon
administration organizations and officers of private sectors took part in
A representative of the World Gemstone Exploration and
Mining Consultant said that the company was selected to run the exploration
for subterranean property management within the north Ping River area and
the exploration started in April 2004.
The exploration takes 200 days to finish. The Department
of Mineral Resources has assigned the company to focus on three main
activities, namely conference organization to brainstorm and encourage
public participation, subterranean property exploration to investigate
mineral resources, study and analyze thoroughly data collection.
Asst Prof Dr Nisit Pantamitra, a lecturer from the Faculty of Economics,
Chiang Mai University said that as number of world citizens was increasing
gradually, natural resources became insufficient for them and associated
organizations should plan and draft effective strategies to manage the
resources that are left.
Women warned of tricky cocktails
It seems that the young Thai males are resorting to
slipping drugs into women’s cocktails for sexual purposes, since they are
apparently not attractive enough by themselves. Over the years there have
been many such chemicals with supposed aphrodisiac qualities, including the
renowned ‘Spanish Fly’ which is Cantharides.
Phoonlap Nanthavijitwong, deputy head of Chiang Mai Provincial public Health
The latest being used by the over-sexed, but
under-achieving males is GHB (Gamma-hydroxybutyrate or Gamma-OH), warned Dr.
Phoonlap Nanthavijitwong, deputy head of Chiang Mai public health office.
Used by party freaks, the chemical is mixed in drinks as
it has no smell and only a slightly salty taste. Added to a drink, it
reputedly makes women uninhibited and its effect lasts for one to three
hours and is undetectable in urine samples taken four to five hours after
intake, though blood tests do reveal the substance.
GHB has a direct affect on the nerves and is classified
as a Class 1 banned substance and has been prohibited in the US since 1990.
GHB was previously used for inducing sleep and a narcoleptic medicine during
child birth and in the treatment of alcoholism.
GHB is often transformed into sodium salt in powders and
tablets but most often it can be found as a liquid solution which is clear,
colorless and a little salty. It is well known in the low-life market as
liquid x, liquid ecstasy or Blue Verve.
Dr. Phoonlap added that it is never found in reputable drug stores and is
illegally imported like Ecstasy. Penalty for use is incarceration for 1-15
years and fines of 20,000-100,000 baht for the producer, and sellers or
importers will be jailed for 5-20 years and fined 100,000 - 400,000 baht.
Deputy PM lectures police on corruption
Deputy Prime Minister Dr Witsanu Kruengam gave a special
lecture to inspectors in the eight Northern provinces under the supervision
of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 with the concept being work
efficiency and transparency.
Prime Minister Dr Witsanu Kruengam gave a special lecture to inspectors from
8 northern provinces.
To improve the efficiency of police operations in
accordance to the government’s policies, modern equipment should be used
to speed up police work, said Dr Witsanu.
Modern technologies like computers could help and police
in this era should be competent, not only in law process and investigation
but also in other fields and be capable to work in coordination with other
organizations, said the Deputy PM.
officers from 8 upper northern provinces.
Dr Witsanu added that when the reelected Thaksin
Shinawatra government took the reigns again, it would focus on transparency,
speed of operation and non-corruption at every governmental level. PM
Thaksin warns that if any organizations were found indulging in corruption,
they will be investigated and punished.
Some citizens view police in negative ways since some of
them used to take advantage of people, said Dr Witsanu. However, the deputy
PM admired Thai police operations since some police teams could solve
important cases very rapidly.
He asked all police to consider public participation as an important
factor for their operation and the new generation of police to support the
people and be honest.
Messenger with the wrong message kills employer
Absence of gun control claims another victim in Chiang Mai
Awhu Luja (aka Chai), 21, was arrested on February 9,
charged with being the killer of Wassana Wangjiangphun on February 7.
Another person, Thodsamas Suwanruk, was wounded in the shooting. The motive
for the killing was apparently that Wassana decided to fire her messenger
for inefficiency and bad time keeping.
Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara na Ayuthaya, commissioner of the provincial
police Bureau Region 5, during the press conference.
Police were looking for Chai after the shooting, and
arrested him when he returned to his home to celebrate the Chinese New Year
at Baan Muang Krong. He was taken to Chang Puak police station where he
confessed to being the gunman who killed Wassana and injured Thodsamas, then
stole 200,000 baht. Police confiscated a .38 millimeter Smith and Wesson
pistol with a loaded magazine and 211,000 baht cash. He was charged with
first degree murder.
The facts surrounding the case were revealed at the Provincial Police
Bureau Region 5, where senior officers of the Chiang Mai Police gathered at
Chang Puak station to look for the approval for their success in the
presence of the press.
Girl crashes outside hospital
Gets very speedy treatment
At 2 a.m. on February 13, the Chang Puek police were
informed by Lanna Hospital staff that a car had overturned in the road in
front of the hospital injuring the driver, Sunisa Archrachkij, 26.
Archrachkij’s overturned vehicle in front of Lanna Hospital.
Her car hit a fence and electricity pole and overturned.
The road had been closed for underpass construction.
Police believe that Sunisa became drunk at a local
entertainment outlet and attempted to drive back home in Nong Hoi.
On the way home she sideswiped a pickup truck and lost
control, then hit the iron fence and electricity pole.
Rescue staff from Ruam Jai Foundation and Lanna Hospital medical staff
extricated her immediately after the crash. It was fortunate that the
accident occurred in front of the hospital and she received immediate