Red, yellow, white and green
vs multicolored municipality buses
4,500 minibuses are revolting!
The red minibuses to which we are so reluctantly
accustomed are getting ready for a head to head with the new municipal
The president of the Nakorn Lanna Transport Cooperatives
(speaking from the Red corner) said that he had never been consulted by the
municipality and the study team. He worries that the income of the 2,700 red
mini busses will fall as the municipality busses plan to drive on the same
routes. He confirms that they will resist all measures to make the life of
tourists and residents of Chiang Mai easier and will present a petition
jointly with three cooperatives and a company representing 4,500 minibus
Singhkham Nunti, the president of the Nakorn Lanna
Transport Cooperatives told Chiangmai Mail that the municipality
intends to spend almost 60 million baht to release 26 busses to serve Chiang
Mai City residents and tourists. There are three routes on which the yellow
busses used to cover 15 years ago (all of which are not well remembered by
However, all the new busses have arrived in Chiang Mai
and they are in the process of licensing and painting, ready for service as
soon as the paint dries.
Singhkham hopes to present a peaceful petition to the
Chiang Mai governor, Chiang Mai transportation office, and the municipality.
If the conditions are not met, he is ready to present a petition every day.
He has consulted with Nakorn Lanna (red minibus), Nakorn Chiang Mai (yellow
minibus), Sankampaeng (white minibus) Transport Cooperatives, and Romluang
Co., Ltd. (green minibus) to resist the new busses.
Singhkham also said, “There has never been any
discussion among us to permit these interloping busses to run. The
municipally does as it likes, including the study team, comprised teachers
of Chiang Mai University who study transportation, and never confer with me.
During the recent mobile cabinet in Lamphun, the cabinet approved 145
million baht to construct an electric tram transport system for Chiang Mai
Municipality. A part of the funds is for renewing the red minibus routes but
I never knew about it. It seems that they are on their own, although red
minibuses are important.”
He raged on saying, “I presented a petition to Prime Minister Thaksin
Shinawatra about the new busses and a document was sent to Chiang Mai office
to pursue these events, but nothing happened. I confirm that if the busses
start to run, be warned, all members and I are going to do something,
Bus overturns killing two and injuring others
A notorious curve in the road at the Palaad slope near
Doi Saket claimed more victims on March 3 with a bus overturning and
falling around 40 meters into the ravine. The bus was carrying 39
university students and two teachers from Rajabhat Phuket University on a
field trip to the North.
tour bus carrying university students from Phuket overturned at the
Palaad slope near Doi Saket, killing two.
In the accident, two students Talabpetch Bumra, 23,
and Aseena Tora, 23 were killed, and the bus driver, Seksan Tatsuwan,
seriously injured. The remaining passengers were transferred to Doi Saket
and other Chiang Mai hospitals.
The cause of the accident is presumed to be excess speed for the
conditions and the topography.
China FTA problems surfacing, but not in the Mekong River
Severely affected by the drying out of the Mekong River,
Thai exports have decreased drastically. The import-export trading at Chiang
Saen port in Chiang Rai has also decreased.
busy port at Chiang Saen is now drying up, both figuratively (commercially)
The president of the Chiang Rai chamber of commerce,
Sermchai Kittiratanapaiboon, explained that it is not a lack of variety of
Thai goods, but the low water level in the river is causing businesses to
move to Laem Chabang and Klong Toei ports.
He said that after the Thai government signed the FTA, or
“Free Trade Area”, with China, the border in Chiang Saen district gained
an initial advantage from the trade balance. More Chinese goods, such as
electrical appliances and fruit, were imported.
Although the Mekong River has been affected by drought, there is no real
danger to national trade figures because there are alternative ports such as
Klong Toei port in Bangkok, and Laem Chabang in Chonburi. However, Chiang
Rai commerce should be supported, otherwise local businesses would be in
trouble, he said.
Decentralization discussed in Chiang Mai
A training workshop was organized in Chiang Mai for 200
administrators from local administration organizations and political science
students to instruct them in the roles and duties of providing basic
services to people and about necessary services that people deserve to
receive from local government.
Prof. Dr. Phong-In Rak-ariyatham presides over the workshop at Chiang Mai
The Office of the Commission for Decentralization of
Power to Local Administration joined with the Faculty of Political Science
of Chiang Mai University to organize the workshop on February 18, 2005, at
the Chiang Mai Hills Hotel. The workshop was presided over by Asst. Prof.
Dr. Phong-In Rak-ariyatham, vice rector for Academic Affairs, Chiang Mai
Asst. Prof. Dr. Phong-In Rak-ariyatham said that public
sector reform and the decentralization of power to local administration by
the Commission would be for people who lived in rural and upcountry areas.
Some work would be taken from the Central Administration and given to local
organizations. Because of these additional tasks, local organizations would
have more responsibility, but if the work passed from the Central
Administration was too excessive, inefficiency and dissatisfaction would
result. The transfer of functions, human resources and budgets from the
central administration and provincial administrations to local
administrations was important, as local administration organizations knew
better about the daily life-style of people and about the problems faced by
What local administration organizations had to do at the
initial stage was to provide basic services necessary to meet the needs of
the people. For example, collecting garbage, providing water utility
services, installing streetlights, conserving traditions, culture, natural
resources and environment.
However, he opined that even after five years of decentralization of
power we still face many obstacles. Local administrators did not have a lot
of experience in management and did not understand their new roles and
functions. All universities should be more concerned about this and provide
more technical services to communities, especially more education for
administrators of local administration organizations. After education, these
administrators would be able to provide better service.
Children and youth face difficulties in today’s society
The difficulties faced by the young, in a new society
lacking the traditions of the old, is being brought out by Dr. Amornwit
Nakhornthap, from Chulalongkorn University and manager of the Network of
Researches on Children, Youth and Education of the Thailand Research Fund.
seminar is well-attended.
At a seminar on February 18 organized jointly with the
Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, at Chiang Mai Hills
Hotel, Dr. Amornwit said that the seriousness of the problems of the young
in Thai society became more and more aggravating and the causes of the
problems could be summarized as:
Amornwit Nakhornthap, from Chulalongkorn University, addresses problems
faced you today’s youth.
(1) Lack of attention from the society at family level.
Busy parents left children alone more and lacking guidance the children
become involved earlier in sexual activity and other unwholesome
activities. (2) The influence of ‘consumerism’. Youths from wealthy
families would associate with peers and gangs playing cards and racing cars
on public roads. The youths in this group usually resided in urban areas.
(3) Media influence on sexual matters. (4) Free availability of alcohol.
After drinking, youths became sexually aroused. Research worldwide by Durex
concluded that Thai children rated number one in sexual precocity. (5)
Gambling. Based on research, Thai youths, especially males, were more and
more involved in gambling, losing 50,000-60,000 million baht per year.
Dr. Amornwit said, “Solving social problems is also important. When
Thai people become wealthier but youth lack knowledge related to ethics and
virtues, then the development of the country is meaningless. To become a
country that is secure enough to compete with others at an international
level, the population of the country must be qualified. There are several
other issues that the government should oversee, such as the media that
misleads the youth and the sale of cigarettes and alcohol. Education at
university level does not train students in behavior. A great number of
university students have passed examinations with high scores but failed at
developing human relationship and socializing with others. I would like
these things to be the issues for the government to oversee and pay more
attention to,” he concluded.
Economy to grow by no more than 6 percent
CMU economist predicts lower than expected results
The dean of the Faculty of Economics at Chiang Mai
University, Dr. Songsak Sriboonjit, expects Thai economy growth throughout
2005 to be 6 percent maximum due to the tsunami in the six southern Thai
provinces, as well as the rising cost of fuel.
Dr. Songwit told Chiangmai Mail that the
government increased the cost of diesel and benzene last week. The
government had fixed the prices for several months, though normally they
would let the price fluctuate according to the world market because Thailand
could not produce its own gasoline. When the government fixed the prices,
this affected every aspect of economy, immovable property, tourism, transit
and passengers. Businesses needed to increase their capital and some could
not afford to compete with others and were therefore forced to pay more
interest for loans from commercial banks. Many businesses were facing
bankruptcy or closure after commercial banks increased interest. However,
this was needed to follow the US interest rate.
He also said that the interest adjustment would influence
agriculture due to agricultural products this year being more expensive than
the previous year, but the demand is equal, so agriculture would earn more
income. The tsunami last year brought economic growth from 20 percent down
to 10 percent but it is now expected that growth would not be more than 6
Doi Tao district residents again protest garbage pits
On March 2, 800 villagers from several villages in Tambon
Bongtan, Doi Tao district, led by Boonsom Matha, chief of Tambon Bongtan,
protested in front of Doi Tao District office about a garbage pit. The
villagers presented a petition to the Chiang Mai governor to close the
garbage pit as it is malodorous.
Pol. Col. Somchai Intharasothi, superintendent of Doi Tao
Police station was assigned to check the scene but, before he could do so,
word came that there were holes being dug for garbage nearby; incensed
villagers immediately rushed to the scene and there learned that permission
had been received from the Department of Industrial works on January 31.
Boonsom Matha said that a businessman had purchased 173
rai of land from villagers and this purchase had been approved by Bongtan
Tambon Administration Organization on February 27. However, Inpha Mainuan,
president of the Bongtan Administration Organization, said that he was not
informed about this but a three year old permit from 2002, authorizing the
transfer of garbage to this area, did exist.
He said that the garbage had a definite affect on the
people and may be very serious as the area was located above Doi Tao Lake
and Bhumibol dam. Rain could wash residue down to Doi Tao Lake and cause
District officers, headmen, villager representatives and
administration organization officers consulted to find a solution but,
failing to do so, passed the muck to the Chiang Mai governor to satisfy the
Christians concerned over Burma organize “Run for Relief”
participants in the fun run had a fun day out whilst raising money for a
families participated happily.
Presently there are many Burmese families on the run from
the Burmese army hiding in the wild. Their possessions have been destroyed
and they cannot live a normal life for fear of guns, bombs and reprisals.
The Run for Relief was organized on March 5 to raise funds for the
refugees on the border with Burma. There were dozens of participants in the
five kilometer fun run, Thai and foreigners. It brought much happiness and
joy to the participants who were, however, relieved when the run in the sun
ended. Souvenir shirts were given to the refugees.
Municipal buses introduced despite
minibus operators protests
Chiang Mai mayor to negotiate with red mini bus drivers
Mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn invited the local mass media
to take a trip on the buses that would serve the people in Chiang Mai City
and to survey the three main routes. Currently, there are two busses running
on permanent routes, but this number is palpably not sufficient.
Buranupakorn, Chiang Mai mayor, invited the local mass media to ride the new
The two routes covered have been used for the past 15
years. The first leads from Nongpratheep intersection to the foot of Doi
Suthep (behind CMU), around 20 km. The second leads from Chiang Mai Airport
to Saikaew market, also a distance of about 20 km. Tickets are 5-10 baht and
buses will start from the station every five minutes during rush hours, and
every 10 minutes at all other times. It is expected that the municipality
will turnover 20,000 baht per day.
bus surveys the route
The buses are funded by a 62 million baht fund from the
Local Department of Provincial Administration, Ministry of Interior. The
fund is earmarked for the development of Chiang Mai’s mass transport to
match local needs. It is hoped that it will reduce the use of private
vehicles, thus improving the city’s environment, and increase tourism.
The municipality is being resisted by the red mini bus
cooperative led by Singhkham Nunti, the president of the Nakorn Lanna
Transport Cooperatives, who said he has the support of three Cooperatives
plus the transport company in Chiang Mai. There are about 4,500 minibuses
countering the new buses, because all will run on the same routes and this
will obviously decrease the income of the minibus drivers. Petitions will be
presented to Chiang Mai governor, Chiang Mai’s mass transport
organization, and to the municipality, to review and amend their plan. If
needed, he said with menace, they would protest, as it is their right to do.
The mayor responded, “Protest is not needed, but simply
negotiation. We will design bus routes and invite the representatives from
the minibus cooperative to consult, because we hope that these routes can
complement each other, such as getting a red mini bus to take you to the
municipal bus station. We think, furthermore, that not all people are red
minibus passengers, and our main purpose is to change the attitude of people
who have private vehicles to travel on the municipal buses instead.”
Autsathai Rattanadilok na Phuket, head of Chiang Mai provincial land
transport office said, “The municipality has petitioned for temporary
routes but it needs to apply for registration by submitting documents, have
the busses checked, and pay tax to the local provincial land transport
office. To transfer the temporary to a permanent route requires a separate
application but the municipality has not yet applied for permanent
for Chiang Mai
The Science Center at Rajabhat Chiang Mai University has
established a local observatory with the objective of astrological studies and
for local people to observe the sun, planets, and natural phenomena. The
observatory is supported by the University with 386,000 baht, and a loan from
World Bank of 415,000 baht, to buy an astrological telescope.
Dr. Ruangdech Wonglah, president of Rajabhat Chiang Mai University (2nd left)
presides over the opening ceremony of a local observatory.
Asst. Prof. Dr. Ruangdech Wonglah, president of Rajabhat Chiang Mai
University, named the observatory “80 year anniversary of Rajabhat Chiang
Mai”. Both faculty and alumni and others joined the ceremony on February 12 on
the deck of the Science Center building in Rajabhat Chiang Mai University to
Successful Thai-Laos cross border cooperation conference in Chiang Mai
High level delegates recently met for a cross-border
transportation seminar at the Empress Hotel in Chiang Mai.
Champasut, director-general of the Land Transportation Department and
Latanamanee Khuniwong, president of Laos Transportation.
Piyapunt Champasut, director-general of the Land
Transportation Department and the representatives of Ministry of
Communication met with Latanamanee Khuniwong, president of Laos
Transportation and representatives of Ministry of Communication, concerning
transport by land between Thai and Laos PDR.
The conference attendants consulted, exchanged opinions
and reviewed the results of the previous year’s plan, held in February in
Luang Phrabang, Laos. Both parties were satisfied with concrete results
towards goods and vehicle transportation.
A route between Thai and Laos PDR was opened March 1,
2004, and has been successful for goods transport. Dealers are able to
select convenient transportation, and expenses decreased by 20-30 percent.
International transport increased by 96 percent due to easier checking
systems for the parties involved. The border crossing opening times were
amended from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. until 10 p.m.
At the end of April 2004, successful, permanent transport
border posts between Thailand and Laos opened up on two main routes,
Nongkhai–Viangchan and Udonthani–Viangchan. The number of passengers
increased, and indications were that people wanted to open other border
posts. The conference discussed how to facilitate the increasing number of
passengers and it was agreed to open three additional routes,
Ubonratchathani–Champasak, Mukdaharn–Suwanaket and Nan–Luang Phrabang.
Latanamanee Khuniwong, president of Laos Transportation said, “We are
satisfied, as the previous year’s results have been a success. Minor
issues or conflicts were quickly solved by both countries. We are really
satisfied with the changes made by Thailand since Laos, lacking a seaport,
has difficulty in transporting goods to other countries. The support by the
Thai government is excellent.”
Doi Angkhang Royal Project using solar power to overcome high power bills
Faced by high power bills for pumping water to high lying
fields at the Royal Agricultural Project Station at Doi Angkhang in Fang
district of Chiang Mai, HSH Prince Bhisadej Rajani, the manager of Royal
Project Foundation is now using solar cells to power the pumps.
Paichit Thienpaitoon, the governor of Provincial
Electricity Authority (PEA) engaged Solartron Co., Ltd. to install the
pumping system using power from 64 solar cell panels (120 Watts each) plus
ancillary equipment. This system was installed at the pump station of a
reservoir to pump, in two stages, up to a storage tower of 30 cubic meters
capacity. The water is then gravity fed to irrigate the orchards, vegetables
and flowers of Doi Angkhang Royal Project.
This solar-power pumping system is able to supply about
90 cubic meters of water each day. The cost of the solar cell panels was 2
million baht, which came from the interest earned from the money deposited
with applications for power utility services. It is very cost effective as
the maintenance cost is only 2,000 baht per year and the solar cell system
could function for up to 25 years. After installing the system, the Project
would save 40,000 baht per year and, as the solar cell system does not have
any affect on the environment, PEA would also support other projects to use
in the corridors of power
Chiang Mai municipality installs four deputy mayors
Chiang Mai Mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn last week
appointed four new deputy mayors. Bureaucratic Musical Chairs was played
with former secretaries to the mayor now becoming deputy mayors and former
deputy mayors becoming secretaries. Each position will be occupied for one
year, and the mayor expects the move to revitalize the municipality. He did
not reveal what was intended after they had all occupied each other’s
posts for another year.
only woman in the game, Wipawan Worawuttipong, one of four Chiang Mai
Municipality deputy mayors.
Pornchai Jitnawasatian now has responsibility for the
education department, Pitak Tantisak for general sanitation and environment,
Wipawan Worawuttipong administration and Thai Rojanajinda public works. The
old deputy mayors, Manus Sirimaharach, Chatree Cheumanochan, Poonsawas
Worawan and Soonthorn Yamsiri become secretaries to the mayor effective
March 1, 2005.
Boonlert said that there would be an assessment of the four deputy mayors
every three months and the positions would be changed, if necessary. Shall
we start the music now?
Out of season tainted longan harvest unwanted
300 farmers demanding the government buy their produce
On March 1, Prateung Kongrod, president of the Northern
Export Development Group, along with 300 longan farmers gathered at Chiang
Mai City Hall to demand that the government tackle non seasonal longan
purchasing problems in Chiang Mai and Lamphun.
Chiang Mai and Lamphun longan farmers gather at Chiang Mai City Hall
Prateung said, “We are suffering losses of 7.32 million
baht per day. Every day, not less than 15 containers of fresh longan need to
be sold. Total damage has reached 74 million baht, and if the purchasing
problem is not solved quickly, the farmers will be in trouble. We request PM
Thaksin Shinawatra inform the minister concerned to solve the longan
problems for both Chiang Mai and Lamphun.”
Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat promises to present the issue to the minister
Having received the petition, the governor promised to present the issue
to the minister concerned, and to try to resolve the problem. Chiang Mai MP
Surapol Kiartchaiyakorn said that the cause of the problem was that the
longans were found to have food additives. However, purchasing was expected
if no harmful substances were found.
Governor to clamp down on beggars
City police swept through Chiang Mai on March 2, with
officers from the Social Development and Human Security Office, to clear the
municipal area of alien beggars. Twenty alien beggars of various ages were
arrested and sent to a residence operated by the Social Development and
Human Security Office.
police and the officers from the Social Development and Human Security
office round up alien beggars in the Chiang Mai municipality area.
The clean up was needed because beggars are perceived
troublesome to residents and tourists, both Thai and foreign. It also gives
Chiang Mai a poor image.
The beggars, who come from different countries, often
operated as a team; being dropped off at various points in the morning and
picked up in the evening. Most of them were children who had the mournful
and pitiful facial expressions down pat (when anyone was looking). Some
women also held a baby while begging.
The interesting item will be the nationality and identity of the
Strung out Italian hangs himself
An Italian expatriate resident, allegedly worried about
his health, appeared to have committed suicide last week. Dominic
Cossutta’s friendly ex wife, Pornapa Somsuk, 37, though no longer married
to or living with him, still took care of him and called to ask if he wanted
breakfast. When she received no reply she visited the building where the 76
year old was staying and found him stretched out with black pantyhose around
his neck tied to the door knob of the room next to the bedroom.
Pornapa Somsuk, who found the corpse, informs the police.
Pol. Sub. Lt. Askorn Rakdee, sub-inspector of Changpuek
police station determined that it was suicide and that the old Italian had
been dead no longer than 10 hours.
Pornapa said that she had been married to the deceased
and they had a son, but had been divorced for five years. Dominic then
married another Thai lady but they divorced last year. She said that she had
been concerned about his illness, pains in his bones and a recent heart
attack, so she helped him to cook a meal every day but without cohabiting.
During her last visit, Dominic had told her that he intended to travel to
The police sent the corpse to medical jurisprudence department of Maharaj
Nakorn Chiang Mai hospital for an autopsy.
New law thrown open to discussion first in Chiang Mai
An attempt at democracy
The Department of Special Investigation held a seminar
titled “Special Investigation Law Searching and Developing” to inform
the public about the “Special Case Investigation Act B.E. 2004”. Chiang
Mai is the first province where it has been introduced.
Pengdit (left), Department of Special Investigation deputy director general
at the seminar.
The new law entitles authorities to utilize hi-tech
equipment in order to pursue, investigate and survey criminals and/or
suspects. They may, for example, hack into a computer, or use surveillance
Tharit Pengdit, Department of Special Investigation
deputy director general said, “The seminar is to inform the public about
the new law and receive opinions from government and private sectors
concerning putting the act into force. This information, opinions and advice
will then be applied to develop the law. Thus will increase efficiency and
bring justice to the people. The department selected Chiang Mai as the first
area to hold the seminar, and it will be staged in other provinces later.”
Prinya Panthong, the vice governor of Chiang Mai who presided over the
opening ceremony on February 21 at the Central Duangtawan Chiang Mai Hotel
said, “The changing world situation and technology, communication and
transportation evolution results in more complicated crimes. Crime networks
thrive both at home and abroad. The criminals are clever and perpetrate
crimes by using loopholes in the law, so it is difficult to collect evidence
or to arrest them. The government has realized this problem so the
Department of Special Investigation has been established to control and
suppress crime. It can be said that several expert persons from several
disciplines will quell clever crime.”
Army blockades drug gang
Two deaths result and 15 kg of heroin recovered
A drug gang attempting to import heroin into Thailand
clashed with the army on March 5. After a 20 minute exchange of gunfire, two
dealers lay dead and two rucksacks containing 40 packs of heroin of about 15
kg each, two AK-47 machine guns, 153 bullets, three Chinese grenades and 29
ya ba pills were recovered.
Lt. Gen. Picharnmeth Muangmanee, Third Army Region
commander said that soldiers from the Seventh Infantry reinforced troops and
blocked the border in Pang Ma Pha district, Mae Hong Son, to prevent the
thugs from escaping into Burma.
It was assumed that the dealers were from a Tai tribe who
lived in Mae Hong Son. The heroin that was found was a new type produced in
neighboring countries without any of the usual identification stamps.
The producers could be an independent group cooperating
with minorities of neighboring countries and imported into Mae Hong Son in
preparation for transferring to other countries. The heroin was valued at
around 80 million baht in Mae Hong Son, and much more outside of Thailand.
Shootout at the Sansai corral
Four Red Wa traffickers killed
Mounting a sting operation, the Narcotics Suppression
Division led by Pol. Lt. Col Jitpisut Imsa-nguan pretended to purchase
100,000 ya ba pills for 2 million baht from a gang of avaricious dealers.
However, at the scene of the exchange (Third Ring Road in Tambon Sansai Noi,
Chiang Mai), the six drug dealers, noting that their clients had previously
been seen in shiny patent leather boots, opened fire, which was then
returned by police.
After the smoke settled it was found that four had been
killed, but two had escaped in a pick-up truck. It was then found that they
were Red Wa, employed as drug mules.
The dead drug transporters were all around 30-40 years of
age. Two sawn off shotguns, a shotgun, a grenade and 100,000 ya ba pills
were found at the scene. A motorcycle was also recovered from the scene.
The never-rest Pha Muang Task Force nabs Nepalese drug runner
Sherpa takes wrong turning
On February 27, informed by one of the ubiquitous
pigeons, a heavy force of police, border rangers and the cavalry set up a
checkpoint at Baan Tampla in Mae Sai district. After searching an air
conditioned bus, a suspicious Nepalese, Ngima Sherpa, 25, was noticed and
found to be apparently very well endowed.
Further examination of the faithful family retainer
revealed a strange lump of something wrapped in white paper in his
underwear, a favorite place for concealing jewels and other substances.
Deciding not to examine the man by using a test tickle, they unwrapped his
solitary lump. Inside the white lump were five smaller balls wrapped in
plastic, leading the police to believe that parthenogenesis had taken place
encouraged by the organs of generation. However, 70 ya ba pills were found
in each ball.
After this, the crafty Sherpa began tensing his stomach
and admitted he had swallowed another 11 smaller balls. He was later
admitted to Mae Sai district hospital to be X-rayed and laxatives force-fed.
A total of 16 packs of ya ba containing 1,120 pills were successfully
delivered anally. Prosecution awaits him as recompense for his Nepaling