Kantoke Feast for elephants
The 6th National Elephant Day was held at the Maesa
Elephant Camp in Mae Rim district on Sunday, March 13. It was a tribute to
an amazing animal, which plays such a great part in Thailand’s culture and
National Elephant Day is supposed to be a day with an
extensive meal for all elephants and it was pure joy to watch large, small,
old and young elephants, with their mahouts, majestically walk down from the
mountain to take their place at the huge banquet of bamboo shoots, grass and
all sorts fruits which was set up at the grounds of the Maesa Nursery.
When the hunger was sated, the spectators were treated to
a painting exhibition which left more than one person wishing they were as
artistic. Following this, the Thai Elephant Orchestra, surely the world’s
finest animal harmonica players marched in, joyfully dancing around the
Finally as a ‘digestive’ exercise there was a football match, a
basketball match and a ‘must’ for a Thai elephant - the Muay Thai Boxing
show that left the crowd laughing, gasping for air. It was as festive as it
was a great way in helping the endangered species to preserve this huge part
of Thai heritage.
Chao Kokaew Prakaykavil na Chiang Mai passes away in Bangkok
Chao Kokaew Prakaykavil na Chiang Mai, a prominent
member of Chiang Mai society, died on March 13 from a cerebral
hemorrhage. Her relatives moved her body to That Thong Temple, Bangkok
for funeral rites, for which HRH Princess Soamsawalee granted water for
bathing the body.
Kokaew Prakaykavil na Chiang Mai, a descendant of Chao Kaew Nawarat, a
former king of Chiang Mai.
Chao Kokaew Prakaykavil na Chiang Mai was born on May
16, 1935, the youngest of three daughters of Chao Kawilawong and Princess
Siriprakay na Chiang Mai, who were descendants of Chao Kaew Nawarat, a
former king of Chiang Mai City.
Having attended school at Mater Dei boarding school,
she later attended secondary and high school in Raven’s Croft,
Eastbourne, England and Southampton Technical College. Later, she moved
to London to study typing at Pitman College and etiquette with Lucy
Clayton, London. She later attended a finishing school in Paris.
Chao Kokaew was apprenticed to CTO Lines Company
during her studies in Paris. She worked for CTO Lines and various other
companies in Thailand after returning 1956, mainly in public relations.
She was a committee member of Mater Dei Alumnae
Association, a committee member of Europe Alumnae Association,
subcommittee of Thai Red Cross Society, Chaoneua Association committee,
advisor of Puan Ruam Jai Rak club, governor of Lady’s Lion region C in
1988, president of Lion-Ram, Bangkok between 1995-1669 and president of
Zonta International Association, Bangkok between 1992-1998. She
established “Sixth Century Anniversary of the King” building in
Chiang Rai completed in 1999. She was the first governor of Zonta
Thailand Association between 1999-2001.
She has been survived by one son, Thinnakorn Aussawarak.
Royal artificial rain to be used to dampen forests and prevent fires
Wetting the forest to prevent forest fires is the main
consideration in making rain said Somchai Reungsuthinaruphap, director of
the Northern Royal Artificial Rain Center, although topping up dams is
obviously another good effect.
Reungsuthinaruphap, director of the Northern Royal Artificial Rain Center.
“There are nine Northern provinces under care of the
center and artificial rain is to be made to add water in the four dams Mae
Ngad, Bhumibol, Mae Guang and Kewlome, as these dams can keep enough water
to meet requirements,” he said.
He also said, “There are 9 districts facing drought,
Chomthong, Hod, Omkoy, Mae Jam, Mae Aon, Mae Taeng, Chiang Dao, Mae Ai and
Prao. The Office has planed to make artificial rain for 200 days from March
to July, using aircraft belonging to the Air Force operating from Chiang
Mai. However, to be able to create artificial rain depends on the general
climate,” he added.
Problems facing them, he said, are insufficient rainmaking instruments
and the aircraft still operable lacked proper maintenance. Nevertheless, it
is not proposed to invoke the rain dancers yet.
Busy insects the bees knees,
says Department of Agriculture
Honey pot is large enough for everyone to get sticky fingers
A training workshop was held from March 8-11 at Chiang
Mai Hills Hotel for almost 100 participants, covering concerns such a bee
farm structure, farm management, efficiency, and other beesness.
Yukol Limlaemthong, director general of Department of Livestock presides
over the opening ceremony at Chiang Mai Hills Hotel.
Vet. Dr. Vimolporn Thitisak, director of Bureau of
Livestock Standard and Certification, said the Department of Livestock would
certify the qualifications and assess the standard of bee farms, in
cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives.
Vet. Yukol Limlaemthong, director general of the Department of Livestock
said, “Bountiful food sources such as lychee, longan and sunflowers gives
an opportunity to expand bee farming in Thailand. Thailand is able to
produce 10,000 tons of honey per year, of which 2,000 tons are designated
for export.” He added that bee farming is an affordable activity, giving
the lie to the maxim, “No money, no honey.”
Ton Lamyai market vendors trained in food hygiene
Locals and tourists enjoy the tasty eats on sale from
stall vendors at Ton Lamyai market, the main market in Chiang Mai and soon
they will be able to do so in confidence after the training in food hygiene
provided by Chiang Mai Provincial Public Health Office and the “Rak
Talad” (market protection) club.
receiving certificates from Dr. Rattawut Sukmee, the head of Chiang Mai
Provincial Public Health Office.
The training is aimed at improving standards of
manufacture, cleanliness, and food safety. There were 69 vendors at the
training session on February 22, each receiving a certificate on March 9 at
Chiang Mai Provincial Public Health Office.
In future, Chiang Mai Provincial Public Health Office will cooperate
with Chiang Mai Municipality to improve and modernize vendor’s stands and
the taste of the food, so wait for the golden arches on wheels.
Brainstorming for Regional Development
Department of Public Works holds seminar for action in northern areas
In a repeat of the same event last year, the Department
of Public Works and Regional Planning, Ministry of Interior, held a seminar
on March 8, entitled “Country and Regional Plan and Vision to Develop
Panthong, vice governor of Chiang Mai, presides over the opening ceremony.
This was to be accomplished by brainstorming and
receiving advice for future planning as well as to explain the plan for
developing the country and the six regions: Bangkok and boundaries, Eastern,
Central, North East, Northern and Southern regions. The plan would be
applied as a strategy for several sections development in relation to the
economy, social circumstances and environment.
Prinya Panthong, Vice governor of Chiang Mai, presided
over the opening ceremony and 250 participants of government, private sector
and other organizations attended the seminar at The Empress Hotel, Chiang
Surapol Kadchamath, director of the National and Regional
Plan department, said, “This seminar serves to develop our country to be
stronger, whilst realizing cultures and environment resources such as
providing Eco-tourism. In future, discrimination between city and suburbs
will be solved, agricultural areas will be protected, transportation will be
improved to minimize pollution, local wisdom will be encouraged, and there
will be experts to serve peoples needs as the development plans.”
“The first problems necessary to be solved in Chiang Mai are traffic,
ancient places conservation, and the Ping River’s purification,” said
Prinya Panthong. “Thai culture and ancient places, especially in the
North, need to be revived. Have you ever heard about ‘Taksa Muang’, it
means to watch over the city’s eight areas, and know how to satisfy
World Vision to reduce AIDS amongst migrant workers
World Vision Foundation
The prevention of HIV/AIDS was the subject of a Joint
Strategic Management Committee meeting held in February 2005. World Vision
Foundation of Thailand attended the first session this year at the Novotel
Chiangmai Hotel under the theme of “PHAMIT” or Prevention of HIV/AIDS
Among Migrant Workers in Thailand. Other organizations participating were
MAP; Pattanaruk Foundation; Care Foundation; Center for AIDS Rights (CAR);
Stellar Maris (SM) and Empower.
The discussion was about work guidelines and desirable
results in the 5-year plan for the AIDS epidemic involving migrant workers.
Each organization reported on performance and achievements based on
PHAMIT’s prime goal of reducing the number of HIV infections among migrant
workers, families in Thailand, the population in general and impending
danger areas in the fishing industry and factories.
WVFT informed the meeting that the organization has sent
teams of Thai and Burmese volunteers to help migrant workers and refugees in
Ranong, Chumporn, Mae Sot, Tak and Tup Lamut district, Phangnga province.
The volunteers have taught about sexual relations, safe ways for protection
against sexually transmitted diseases and health care and personal hygiene,
especially for pregnant mothers and post natally. This knowledge is
disseminated through various media such as leaflets, posters and documentary
videos produced in different languages and, in addition, public health
services are also offered to migrant workers and those affected with AIDS,
as well as sending them to the hospitals for further treatment.
World Vision also advises on family planning, skills for
living, ways to solve problems and supports in fishing livelihood. It
coordinates in helping migrant workers and refugees to set up self-help
groups among themselves.
For more information please contact World Vision Thailand
tel.0 5340 4182-4.
Two die and 756 contract Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever
Dengue hemorrhagic fever this year is twice as prevalent as
last year reports Dr. Ratthawut Sukmee, head of Chiang Mai Provincial Public
Health Office. He stated that this is due to the earlier hot season leading
mosquitoes to breed faster. Normally, a mosquito is fully grown within seven
days but the hot climate has enabled the process to speed up to three to four
“fogging” has been undertaken in some areas to reduce the threat of dengue
He requested people to eliminate breeding grounds for
mosquitoes in their own houses such as water ponds and particularly their
cherished swamps, and even to add chemicals to prevent mosquito larva growth.
There were two deaths and 756 patients with hemorrhagic fever
in the previous year. Dr. Ratthawut accepted that there were many sectors
responsible for preventing hemorrhagic fever but lack of cooperation from
responsible parties prevented this scourge being solved. In 2005, the Public
Health Department requests Chiang Mai Municipality to set up a team to control
hemorrhagic fever by using chemical substances to eliminate mosquitoes.
However, people sometimes do not cooperate with the team due to their concern
for pets such as ducks and chickens, and some families even let mosquito larva
grow for feeding fish. “Nowadays there is no new technology to eliminate
mosquitoes better than what the team use,” he concluded.
Garbage treatment machines to generate electricity
Refuse no longer considered revolting
Two garbage treatment machines arriving from England next
month can convert 200 tons of garbage into electric energy per day,
consuming 400 tons of garbage in the process.
Mai Mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn
Boonlert Buranupakorn, Chiang Mai mayor signed a
cooperation contract with SEPCO Company, England, on October 14, 2004 to
purchase these machines, which are now being shipped from England, and will
arrive in April. After one month installation at Haiya graveyard in Chiang
Mai, the machines will be ready for use in May.
The mayor said, “The two machines have no affect on the
environment because they are designed not to create toxic emissions. People
will be satisfied with them, as garbage will be cleaned and electricity
produced after only four hours of processing.”
The machines will also serve other provinces and will reduce reliance on
imported fuel oil. They can reduce the expense of garbage elimination from
590 baht per ton to 300 baht.
Nationwide rain may
break cycle of drought
On March 15 the Meteorological Department said that the
much-needed rain that fell across all regions of Thailand over the following two
days brought relief from one of the country’s worst droughts in decades.
According to Chalermchai Egkantrong, acting director-general
of the Meteorological Department, a depression moving over from China to
Thailand’s northeastern region coupled with a westerly wind passing over the
northern region brought thunderstorms and rain across much of the country
through March 16.
Temperatures in the northern region fell by as much as 4-5
degrees Celsius, with a 10-degree drop in the northeast. A repeat of these
weather patterns is likely to occur on March 18-19.
The southern region will, meanwhile, see heavy seas, and
Chalermchai urged vessels in the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea to
exercise caution. He also hinted of further rain in mid-April.
The current drought encompasses over 60 of Thailand’s 76
provinces, and has already led to huge economic losses and suffering for local
Elephants raid drought-stricken villages in search for food
Elephants in Thailand’s northeastern
province of Loei are descending from their mountain homes to raid villages
for food, as the north-eastern province becomes firmly gripped by drought.
Farmers, villagers and animals are all suffering from severe drought
conditions, which have pushed water levels in 13 of the province’s
reservoirs to under 20 percent.
Streams and rivers have dried up, and villagers are being
forced to purchase expensive bottled water from itinerant traders, who set
their prices in accordance with how far they have to travel.
Soy beans growing in thousands of rai of local fields
have dried up, while thousands of fish being raised in fish farms have died
due to lack of oxygen.
In Phu Rue district, roads that were once lined with
fields of cultivated flowers are now lying barren, as farmers in this mainly
agricultural province have no water with which to sustain their crops.
Residents’ woes are compounded by the fact that the
lack of water has led to the build-up of highly concentrated agricultural
chemicals in local water sources, which have already killed off the animals
drinking from them.
According to Adisorn Sunthararak, deputy head of the Loei
Conservation and Development Foundation, the drought this year has come
sooner than normal, and has lasted longer.
Mountainous areas have been particularly badly affected,
and animals living in the Phu Luang conservation area have found themselves
with insufficient food and water for survival. As a result, two large herds
of elephants have descended into villages, where they are destroying any
remaining crops. (TNA)
Revolutionary medical discovery at Chiang Mai University
Can Thai herbs stop cartilage degeneration?
A team of researchers from Chiang Mai University claims
it has discovered a method that is able to stop the degeneration of
cartilage. It will be assigned a patent for supporting the use of Thai
medicines and herbs.
Asst. Prof. Siriwan Ongchai, lecturer of Department of
Chemistry, Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University, who is the head of
the initial testing development project revealed that the research team
succeeded by utilizing a “Cartilage Explants Culture” method.
The team tested the medicine by using pig cartilage
tested in a bacterial culture. They tried many bio-molecular substances both
in the bacterial culture and in the pig’s cartilage. A substance was found
that they claimed could stop the degeneration of cartilage.
The project has also succeeded in separating and proving
the effect of a substance to search for type, structure and order inside
cells. The research result finds that several Thai herbs are effective and
could become modern medicines. Several medical companies abroad are
interested in the studies.
The project was supported by the Research Governance, the
Thailand Research Fund Regional Office and PERCH.
Authorities confident bird flu outbreaks under control
Thai authorities insist they can contain
the latest outbreaks of deadly bird flu in the country. Seven provinces are
currently under quarantine for three weeks in a bid to stem the spread of
Livestock Department director Yukol Limlaemthong told
journalists that most of the quarantined provinces were in the lower north
of the country, namely Phitsanulok, Kampheangphet, Nakornsawan, Pichit, and
Uttaradit. The other two provinces were Suphanburi, Nonthaburi.
“In many provinces, officials found local fowls
infected with bird flu. All were destroyed to prevent the virus spreading.
Now we will find ways to manage ducks,” he said.
He also said the provincial governors had reported that
culling programs and a ban on the movement of fowls had been strictly
In a related development, the livestock chief unveiled a
plan for the strict quarantine of all animals being imported for the
proposed Night Safari Zoo in Chiang Mai. The zoo is due to open to the
public next month on Songkran Day, April 13. (TNA)
People urged to remain calm amid earthquake rumors
On March 11, the disaster prevention and
mitigation office in Chiang Mai urged local residents to remain calm amid
rumors that there might be an earthquake and cave-ins in the province.
There have been rumors about the cave-ins in Jom Thong
districts and adjacent areas, a chief disaster official, Phattharawan
Sadudee, admitted. This has led to local residents evacuating to other
She dismissed the rumors as groundless, saying if there
were any earthquake or cave-ins, local authorities would inform the local
residents. She said, however, that areas where the earth is mainly limestone
could be vulnerable to cave-ins. She dismissed fears that the cave-ins could
happen on a large scale.
Phattharawan urged local residents to report to local
authorities any geographic irregularities, including abrupt emergence of
fountains or turbid water in wells. Planned evacuation drills had been
scheduled for March 16 after being postponed from March 5. (TNA)
Karen workers underpaid on local government contracts
Lawyer claims influential builder just said “Sue me!”
Claiming government influence and threatening reprisals,
P.R. Construction (1993) Co., Ltd., working on the Heuypooling Sub-district
Administration Organization office, is reported as having terrorized its 200
Karen workers into submission and underpaid them.
On March 7 the worm turned and they presented a petition
to Sitthichai Prasertsri, vice governor of Mae Hong Son, claiming they had
been paid no wages for six months for work on the building that had been
completed in September 2004.
Chadchai Ummarin, a lawyer for the Labor Protection and
Welfare Office said that the company was informed about the wages owed and
had said that it would negotiate with the Karens, but no action was taken.
Later, the case was sent to court. He believed the court would uphold a
ruling that the employer had to pay the rest of the wages and, failing
compliance, they would be sued in a criminal court.
It is known that the company has been assigned to build
almost all the government sector offices in Mae Hong Son and has close
relations with almost all provincial heads of the government.
Perhaps benefiting government officers obfuscated when
appeals were made with claims that they could not contact the owner of the
company, although he had been seen prominently moving about the city and
visiting these officers. The company has several times had similar
conflicts, especially concerning the Karen tribe. Previously when wages owed
were demanded, the owner did not deny his debt but arrogantly replied,
Police train police teachers
Want to make an example at police stations
Provincial Police Region 5 training entitled “Training
152 Teachers of Non-Commissioned Police Officers to be an example of each
police station” (TOTOPOTETEPS) was held to teach other police officers how
to cooperate, use weapons, and fight using modern methods.
Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, commissioner of the Provincial
Police Bureau Region 5.
Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara na Ayuthaya, commissioner of the
Provincial Police Bureau, explained the concept of the seminar to the 152
participating trainees, that the training also aimed to lift the standards
of Non-Commissioned Police Officers to be more efficient, as the
Commissioned Police Officers were frequently moved to other police stations,
whilst NCOs were not.
Phantom drainage ditch bandit detained
Police were aghast when they were told that a drainage
ditch had been stolen in the municipality area in broad daylight, but, on
rushing to the scene of the crime, found that they had been misinformed and
it was only the ditch cover that was missing.
Buranupakorn, Chiang Mai mayor
Following some intensive sleuthing, a daring ditch lid
detacher was arrested and confessions showed that it was not a solo effort,
but a team of brigands were in the process of taking the items to be melted
down at a factory in Rayong province.
Pipat Oonkam, 38, a dealer in second hand items and
specializing in ditch lids, was located muscle-bulged with evidence such as
the cover stolen from Arak Road Soi 5. He was interrogated and soon ditched
his accomplice saying that a certain Wilai had received the stolen cover
first. The police searched Wilai’s shop and found eight more covers. The
dealer confessed that the items were to be sent to a factory in Rayong for
melting down. With this information, and in cooperation with Rayong police,
a truck from Chiang Mai with 47 covers was stopped and Suwit Ketprom
arrested with evidence valued at almost a million baht.
Boonlert Buranupakorn, Chiang Mai mayor, said that the
government lost several million baht each year due to theft of drainage
ditch covers, currently selling at 7 baht per kilogram. It was also a
decided nuisance to unwary residents and tourists who fell into the
Following the apprehension of the 47 covers, the price of ditch lids fell
on the SET by several points to end up as 6.5 baht per kilogram, though
experts expected them to be lifted by the weekend.
Fake car license books on stolen cars found in Chiang Mai
Scamsters are using a new twist to sell stolen cars in
Chiang Mai. The cars are real, but the license books are not.
On routine checking of registration police officers found
that the license book was a fake. The purportedly unwitting owner told them
he had purchased the car from second hand dealers who had approached him at
home with an offer he could not refuse, several hundred thousand less than
main dealers. Ingenuously he agreed and they returned with the car license
book in a shorter time than normal.
Rattanadilok Na Phuket, head of Chiang Mai Provincial Transport Office
compares a fake and real license.
Chiang Mai Provincial Transport Office is now warning
residents to beware of a gang of fake license book makers. A great many cars
are smuggled in from abroad or stolen from other cities and sold with fake
license book at a ‘bargain’ price.
The car owner only discovers he’s been duped when he
tries to renew the road tax and compulsory government insurance and learns
that the license book was not registered and the car probably stolen.
The Land Transport Office is collecting evidence with police
investigators to pursue and arrest the gang.
Prominent local family killed in private plane crash
A weekend pleasure jaunt for the CEO of Niyom Panich Co.,
Ltd. and his family ended in tragedy when their plane crashed near Bhumibol
Dam runway on March 12.
The party flew from Lamphun and enjoyed the scenery
around Bhumibol Dam when the pilot, CEO Apichai Ratanawanit, 51, radioed the
tower to prepare for landing. At that time, there was no indication of
However, a very rough landing caused the aircraft to
bounce hard and slew into a wooded area. It caught fire and the fuel tank
exploded only 100 meters from the Air Traffic Control office.
The pilot was the secretary-general of Chiang Mai
Provincial Flying Club but, even though a licensed pilot with many hours
flying time, he appeared to be unfamiliar with this borrowed 4-seater Cessna
aircraft. His wife Ratchanee and his adopted son Patipol Taotrakul also
perished in the accident.
Cremation rites will be held at Wat Prasingh in Muang,
Apichai Ratanawanit, a millionaire businessman, was well
known in Chiang Mai. Niyom Panich Company is a car, electricity supply and
motorcycle agent, which has many branches in and around Chiang Mai and in
Senior police threatened with tougher penalties
Gambling dens main target
Police commanders and commissioners will
face tough disciplinary action if gambling dens are found in their
jurisdiction, National Police Chief Pol. Gen. Kovit Watana warned.
“Senior police officers must be aware of what is going
on in their areas,” Pol. Gen. Kovit said. The national police chief said
he would not buy the usual excuse that senior officers were unaware that the
gambling dens exist in their jurisdiction. He said he had received several
complaints accusing police officers of taking bribes to turn a blind eye to
the gambling dens in their areas.
In the past, when a gambling den was raided, usually by
the Crime Suppression Division, the five top officers at the station were
punished for inefficiency, Pol. Gen. Kovit said. These officers were the
superintendent, his deputies for suppression and investigation, and the
suppression and investigation inspectors. The police must also be less lazy
and treat the public more politely, he added. (TNA)
More than 10,000 drug dealers targeted
Thailand’s anti-drug authorities will
target more than 10,000 major drug dealers in the next phase of the
government’s “war on drugs”. Most of the dealers are believed to be
hiding somewhere in Thailand, while others have fled to neighboring
countries, the deputy secretary-general of the Office of the Narcotics
Control Board (ONCB), Pinyo Thongchai, told reporters.
The third stage of the government’s “war on drugs”,
due to begin in April, will also involve increased cooperation with
neighboring countries in a crack down on drug producers and traffickers. The
government aims to make Thailand free from illicit drugs by 2008.
Drug smugglers have shifted their smuggling routes from
the north of the country to the northeast, as well as the eastern and
central regions. “These include Ubon Ratchathani, Surin, Sa Kaew, Trat,
Kanchanaburi and Chantaburi,” Pinyo said.
Drug addicts have turned to ecstasy and crystal
methamphetamine, known as “ice” because of the shortage of previously
popular drugs, including heroin and methamphetamine, known locally as ‘ya
ba’ (or crazy drug), as a result of the government’s continued crackdown
on drugs, according to Pinyo. (TNA)