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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Summer storm damages Chiang Mai Provincial Administration Organization building

Chiang Mai organizes 55th Royal Wedding Anniversary celebration

PM Thaksin Shinawatra raises the sixth constellation at Lok Moree Temple, Chiang Mai

Clashes continue on Burmese border

Wei Hseuh-kang commands a troop of Wa militia to attack Tai Yais

Use of x-ray machines leads to drug arrests

Cobra Gold 2005 exercises commence

Traffic Police cooperate with Goodyear in safe driving campaign

Chiang Mai suffers 17 traffic accident deaths during Songkran festival

Concerned about sabotage, Chiang Rai Airport officials destroy abandoned motorcycle

San Kamphaeng district office and Bor Sang culture route opened

Mae Hong Son residents object to Nok Air flights replacing Thai Air

Chiang Mai (PAO) to celebrate King Naresuan Pagoda on April 24-25

Chiang Mai drives towards health center status

Monks help with suicide problems

Safe food on Suthep and Huay Kaew roads

French lady unable to resist Thai lingerie

Government proclaims renewed war on drugs

Thai singer and movie stars visit female prisoners in Chiang Mai

Pha Muang Task Force arrests drug dealer

Border Patrol policeman dies during firefight with unknown troop in Mae Ai

Summer storm damages Chiang Mai Provincial Administration Organization building

Nopniwat Krailerg

Earlier last week, a strong storm passing over Mae Rim and Muang districts caused severe damage to several houses and buildings, including causing the collapse of a D-TAC telephone mast crushing nearby shops.

A summer storm caused damage to the Chiang Mai Provincial Administration Organization building.

Trees at Chiang Mai City Hall area and government officials’ residences fell, causing traffic jams on Chotana Road linking Muang and Mae Rim, and cut off electricity from Chang Puek area to Mae Rim district.

However, the officers at Chiang Mai Provincial Administration Organization, Muang and Mae Rim municipalities quickly solved the problems. The summer storm raged for about 20 minutes, accompanied by heavy rainfall.

A Chiang Mai Provincial Administration Organization building was affected as windows on the 5th floor blew in but fortunately all officials escaped unhurt. It appeared that the 5th down to 3rd floors were severely damaged, and the building had to be vacated.

The initial damage was estimated at 3-4 million baht, as mostly furniture, computers, air-conditioners and other items on the 5th to the 3rd floors were damaged, including the office of the deputy PAO president. Four vehicles in the car park were also damaged.


Chiang Mai organizes 55th Royal Wedding Anniversary celebration

Watcharapong Jingkaujai

Chiang Mai province will organize a celebration on the auspicious occasion of Their Majesties Wedding Anniversary on April 28, to bless Their Majesties the King and Queen, and to demonstrate Thai citizens, and especially Chiang Mai residents, faithfulness to them.

Chiang Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat said that for this occasion, Chiang Mai residents, in cooperation with government officials and private sectors, will set up Buddha images, pictures of the king and queen, and worship items at offices and proper places throughout Chiang Mai, to show their faithfulness and to realize their kindness. Lanterns and flags also will be decorated at government offices, hotels, banks and department stores beginning April 27.

Governor Suwat requests that residents make merit for Their Majesties the King and Queen on April 28 by presenting breakfast for monks at Thapae Gate. People can also gather to bless them at Chiang Mai University convention hall, where folks will strike bells and light candles.

The government will not allow the selling, purchasing and drinking of alcoholic beverages during this time, and entertainment places will have to remain closed.


PM Thaksin Shinawatra raises the sixth constellation at Lok Moree Temple, Chiang Mai

Nopniwat Krailerg

Chiang Mai province celebrated its 705th anniversary on April 12, and PM Thaksin Shinawatra traveled to Chiang Mai to preside over the raising of the sixth constellation ceremony at Lok Moree temple, Tambon Sriphum in Muang, Chiang Mai. Many high level government officials, army and police officers and local residents attended the important ceremony.

PM Thaksin Shinawatra, joined by Suwat Tantipat, covers the top of the sixth constellations with gold leaves.

Having paid respect to the elder monks, the PM raised the sixth constellation to decorate the top of a pagoda at the temple while holding a white cotton string that was linked to officials and the people.

Lok Moree is an ancient temple established by former kings 600 years ago, and Pha ya Kuena, the sixth king of the Meng Rai dynasty, invited 10 Mon monks from Phan City to rest in this temple. Former Burmese kings inhabited the temple until the period of Kaew Nawarat, Chiang Mai king, who arranged for a Buddha image for this temple. During WW II, Lok Moree Temple had no abbot, so it was rented out to the government, and became a deserted temple.

PM Thaksin Shinawatra lifts the sixth constellations, whilst officials and Chiang Mai residents watch.

Later, Doi Suthep Temple asked permission from the Department of Religion to re-instate the temple and the monks’ residences, and cast the main Buddha image to become a complete temple again. Monks were invited to live there permanently. From April 12, 2001 until April 12, 2005, the temple has built a pagoda of sixth constellations, and invited the PM to perform the ceremony. It could become one of the more important temples in Chiang Mai, and be a place of pilgrimage.

Dignitaries such as Payap Shinawatra, Surapol Kiartchaiyakorn, Chiang Mai MP, Lt. Gen. Picharnmeth Muangmanee, Third Army Region Commander, Suwat Tantipat, Chiang Mai governor, Prinya Panthong, vice governor of Chiang Mai, Kwanchai Wongnitikorn, deputy governor, Pol. Maj. Gen. Wutti Wittitanon and Pol. Maj. Gen. Suwat Kruengkrai, deputy commissioners at Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 attended the ceremony.


Clashes continue on Burmese border

Third Army Region Commander visits soldiers along northern border

Saksit Meesubkwang

On April 16, Lt. Gen. Picharnmeth Muangmanee, Third Army Region commander visited Baan Mai Lan at Tambon Pang Mapah in Pang Mapah district, Mae Hong Son to comfort and encourage the villagers while affirming that Thai officers could control all border events, and would never let the villagers be troubled by fighting of the two Burmese minor groups.

Lt. Gen. Picharnmeth Muangmanee, Third Army Region commander, visits with Thai troops along the Mae Hong Son border with Myanmar.

Later, he went on to encourage soldiers at the Thai army base located in Baan Mai Lan, only one kilometer away from the scene of the fighting. Having listened to their report, the commander stressed that officers should be ready for confrontations between the two tribes by patrolling areas near the base.

Moreover, the Third Army Region obtained the use of two 120 mm mortars on April 13, after having learned that Red Wah and Tai Yai (SSA) tribes were fighting. However, if it appears that skirmishes continue to increase, the Fourth Artillery Battalion will have to take over responsibility for that border.

The commander said that the skirmishes may be the result of a drug conflict, but Red Wah tribes could negotiate with the Burmese government, and receive government support to attack the Tai Yai tribe. It could not be predicted when the situation would end, but it was assumed that the confrontations would not last long unless the Burmese government got involved. However, Thai people are not affected by the fighting, and the battalion will enlist modern technology weapons to protect Thailand.

Col. Yodsuek, an SSA leader, revealed that during the fighting between April 12-14, Red Wah, in cooperation with the Burmese government, attacked the SSA base with 2,025 rounds of ammunition, but since the SSA had the advantage of controlling the higher ground, the SSA only lost 3 soldiers and suffered 21 injuries. The Red Wah, however, suffered heavy casualties, with 113 dead soldiers and 163 injured.

Clashes continue in Pang Mapah district, Mae Hong Son between both Red Wah and the SSA base at Doi Pook Sam. When the Thai commander arrived at Baan Mai Lan in the early morning, about 30–50 Red Wah soldiers crossed the border into Thailand to search residents’ vehicles at Doi Ma Ngan and demanded that Thais not give food to the SSA or Tai Yai tribe. Later, Thai soldiers drove out the Red Wah armies from the Thai border and demanded an apology from the Burmese government, as the collision led to a bomb falling in Thailand.


Wei Hseuh-kang commands a troop of Wa militia to attack Tai Yais

Mae Hong Son governor instructs district chief officer to protect residents

Saksit Meesubkwang

After Wa tribes attacked Tailang base, Mae Hong Son, on April 12, it was learned that Wa armies belonging to Gen. Wei Hseuh-kang attacked the Tai Yai tribe with artillery weapons at Baan Mai Lan Doi Tailae, Mae Hong Son, only a kilometer away from the Thai border.

The Tai tribe countered with mortars for 30 minutes and, after a break, fighting broke out again, with 30 bombs falling on Thai soil.

The fighting caused many Red Wa deaths, but the Tai Yais did not appear to suffer losses, as their base has the advantage of high ground.

Meanwhile, the 7th Infantry Regiment special task force surveyed the border to prevent the two troops from encroaching into Thailand. The army was ready to counter any incursion if necessary.

Mae Hong Son Governor Supoj Laowansiri, director of Thai-Burmese border command, assigned Wirasak Sirisit, Pang Mapah district chief officer, to protect residents at Baan Mai Lan, Tambon Pang Mapah in Pang Mapah district, as it was unknown how intense the fighting would become.


Use of x-ray machines leads to drug arrests

Drug Suppression secretary-general supports high-tech equipment use to control drug transfers

Staff reporters

Pol. Maj. Gen. Wutti Wittitanon, deputy commissioner of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5, said that the use of an X-ray machine at Gew Thap Yang to check passing vehicles has led to the arrest of six drug dealers traveling in both directions between Thailand and Laos. These results have come after using the machine for only a few days.

Pol. Lt. Gen. Kritsana Pol-anan, secretary-general of the Drug Suppression Division, has lent his support to the use of this high-tech equipment to control drug transfers.

The secretary-general also said that policy and strategy to suppress drugs should include helping Laos and Burma to quit drug production and to set up checkpoints leading to arrests in the area. PM Thaksin Shinawatra agrees with this strategy and consultations between the countries are currently in progress.

By using this equipment and setting up more checkpoints, police expect drug trafficking in the area to decrease, as it becomes more difficult for drug traffickers to reach the mountain ridge to get to Muang or Mae Suai district in Chiang Rai.

The secretary-general visited the area on April 17 with his team of officers. The entourage met with the vice governor of Chiang Rai and other dignitaries, then traveled to checkpoints along the border in Chiang Rai, starting from Gew Thap Yang in Mae Chan district, Chiang Rai to Tham Pla in Mae Sai district.

They later received a report from Mae Sai customs house.

Pol. Maj. Gen. Wutti Wittitanon told the secretary-general that during the first four months of the year, officers have been watching 2,500 listed drug dealers, resulting in 200 arrests and the seizure of properties worth almost 100 million baht, thus reaching the initial target. He added that drug abusers are continually being rehabilitated.


Cobra Gold 2005 exercises commence

US soldiers help rebuild the North

Saksit Meesubkwang

Cobra Gold 2005, the annual military exercises between Thai forces and United States Special Task Forces, commenced quietly at the beginning of April.

Exercises are being conducted in Chiang Mai and other provinces in the east and northeast. Chiang Mai has been chosen as the headquarters for the event.

Thai Air Force jets do a fly by during training exercises for Cobra Gold 2005.

Whilst here, some of the US forces are using their free time to help build schools and improve infrastructure in the area. In Sukhothai, Tak and Phitsanulok, the US soldiers constructed two study buildings and conference buildings in each province.

Sqn. Ldr. Somsak Hkongtone, who is leading the construction in Phitsanulok, said that 40 US soldiers started construction of a conference building on April 6 at Tambon Mae Raka in Wang Thong district, Phitsanulok, and a study building at Tambon Tahpoe in Muang, Phitsanulok. He said they expect to finish these within a month; after that the buildings would be transferred to the sector concerned.


Traffic Police cooperate with Goodyear in safe driving campaign

Watcharapong Jingkaujai

Chiang Mai Provincial Traffic Police cooperated with Goodyear Thailand Co., Ltd. with a “Good Drive by Goodyear” campaign to remind Chiang Mai residents and visitors to drive and ride safely during Songkran festival. Pretty girls handed out cool towels at 20 intersections in Chiang Mai. There were also other media advertisements campaigning for people to ride and drive safely, without drinking alcohol.

Traffic Police and Goodyear campaign to drive and ride safely in Chiang Mai.

Steven J. Atchison, marketing director of Goodyear Thailand Co., Ltd. said, “Our company has realized that the result of the Songkran festival or other long holidays is losing lives, destroying not only the economy, but also the minds of people who have lost family members. Therefore, the company is cooperating with Chiang Mai Provincial Traffic Police to promote an accident reduction campaign during the Songkran festival, as Chiang Mai is well known for this festival, and this activity is one of our policies to repay the community, hoping that it will have a long-term impact.”

Pol. Lt. Col. Sayan Janjamkrajang, inspector of management and plan works at Chiang Mai Provincial Traffic Police said, “One cause of accidents is that the drivers or riders disregards traffic rules, and therefore Chiang Mai Provincial Traffic Police are cooperating with the company to advise people to follow traffic rules, wear helmets, turn on front lights, abjure alcohol before driving or riding, and so on. We hope that the number of deaths can be reduced.”


Chiang Mai suffers 17 traffic accident deaths during Songkran festival

Injury rate down almost 3/4

Nopniwat Krailerg

Chiang Mai officials have summarized accident rates during Songkran, from April 8-17, as follows: of the 17 deaths in Chiang Mai over the holidays, 12 were males and 5 were females. The number of deaths was up 2 over last year.

Chiang Mai police, with a pile of motorcycles wrecked during Songkran in the foreground, announce the death toll from road accidents.

The most common cause of death was yet again head injuries suffered by people riding motorcycles without a helmet.

However, the injury rate decreased from the previous year by 73 percent, from 1,705 down to 463. Of the 463 injuries; 327 occurred to males and 136 to females.

During what Chiang Mai officials declared the “10 dangerous days”, from April 8-17, authorities set up a traffic accident prevention and resolution center with 49 fixed and 41 mobile checkpoints.

People riding without helmets or driving drunk were arrested, and officers did not allow elders and children to enter the traffic on the main routes on April 16-17, the two worst days in Chiang Mai. There were also alcohol tests for drivers and riders during these two days.


Concerned about sabotage, Chiang Rai Airport officials destroy abandoned motorcycle

English teacher in for a surprise on his return

Staff reporters

Officers at Chiang Rai Airport destroyed a motorcycle in Chiang Rai’s airport car park, before a Thai Airways airplane was given permission to land. They learnt later, however, that a foreign teacher had parked the motorbike, and left it there before his departure to Bangkok. The vehicle was there for several days.

On April 13 at Chiang Rai airport, Acting Flight Off. Wisit Euiprapha, head of the Chiang Rai Airport Authority of Thailand (AOT), led a team to check the abandoned motorcycle at the parking lot, requesting a bomb squad, soldiers and air force to protect people and deal with the situation.

The officers later decided to destroy the motorbike. This caused a loud noise and fire, but a fire engine was able to keep the fire under control, much to the relief of frightened onlookers.

After the dust settled, the officers kept the wreckage and did not allow the media to take pictures. Sutham Kaewboonsong, 30, a government official working for the Public Relation Office had to destroy the film he took of the event.

It was found that Achawit Sornsriwichai, 46, was the owner of the motorbike. He had rented the bike to a British teacher at Chiang Rai kindergarten.

The superintendent reported that the officers needed to destroy the vehicle as a training exercise for the officers.


San Kamphaeng district office and Bor Sang culture route opened

PM Shinawatra presided over the opening ceremony

Watcharapong Jingkaujai

On April 16, PM Thaksin Shinawatra presided over the opening ceremony of San Kamphaeng district office. Chiang Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat informed the PM of all the details.

“It should become part of San Kamphaeng’s district history that it has improved during the period of PM Thaksin Shinawatra, who is a resident of this district,” Suwat said.

PM Thaksin Shinawatra addresses the attendants during the opening ceremony of the new San Kamphaeng district office.

This building is a result of the PM’s request to San Kamphaeng’s residents to adapt their district to be as renowned as in the past, and government officials, Tambon officers, heads of villages, TAO, and residents decided to move the official office, to apply it to be a center of OTOP goods, and to establish San Kamphaeng’s Museum.

This area is called Kuang San Kamphaeng, matching its culture heritage, and funded with 29 million baht.

A new office for the Ministry of Finance was allocated 108 rai of land at Mae Aon tobacco station, Tambon Saimoon in San Kamphaeng municipality area. The construction of the building will be Lanna style and cost nearly 8 million baht. State enterprises are building new offices and other ancillary buildings.

The PM said that even though he had many responsibilities he would always pay attention to his hometown, and, after learning that every sector had cooperated so fruitfully, he was sure that San Kamphaeng district would be quickly developed.

He very much appreciated the residents’ active participation. He assigned Yaowapa Wongsawat, MP Pornchai Atthapreeyang-goon, the Chiang Mai governor and district chief officers to look after these movements and to facilitate people after finishing.

He also approved funds to develop the hot springs, and assigned the highway department district office to expand routes linking the hot spring to support Mae Aon sub-district.

After performing those duties at the new district office, the PM went to Bor Sang crossroad in San Kamphaeng to preside over the opening ceremony of Chiang Mai-San Kamphaeng culture route on super highway number 1006.


Mae Hong Son residents object to Nok Air flights replacing Thai Air

Saksit Meesubkwang

Rumors have it that Thai Air will quit flying the loss making Chiang Mai-Mae Hong Son route and has requested Nok Air, a private airline, to take over, starting on May 1.

Choti Naramontol, head of Mae Hong Son Chamber of Commerce’s tourism business section, said that people are confused about this issue, so Thai Air should properly inform the public. However, after the rumor spread, the chamber consulted with tourism businesses and private sectors concerned to present the following petition:

1. They would like Thai Air to maintain its services, without stopping its flights.

2. They would prefer not to have another private sector airline.

3. They would like to be consulted about the private sector airline, but if Thai Air thinks it is necessary to add flights by offering additional flights to other airlines, it should be under the control of Thai Air.

4. The responsible officers have to inform local residents about the changes, while considering advantages and disadvantages.

5. The officers concerned have to confirm Mae Hong Son flights to assure tourism packages for visitors to Mae Hong Son.

The chamber of commerce has presented this petition to Taewan Damronghad, manager of Thai Air, Mae Hong Son branch, as well as to Panya Jeenakham, MP of Mae Hong Son area 1, and Adul Wanchai-thanawong, senator of Mae Hong Son, in order to encourage Thai Air to continue flying the route.

“Mae Hong Son Chamber of Commerce considered that Thai Air is a state enterprise serving people, so it should not think only of its own benefit, even though it loses money. It has flown this route for 50 years, if it is at a loss, Thai Air could not have done so for this long period. To transfer flying routes to other airlines means that the local residents will have more difficulties, and it could have a negative affect on Mae Hong Son’s economy; therefore we appeal to Thai Air to reconsider the decision,” the president explained.


Chiang Mai (PAO) to celebrate King Naresuan Pagoda on April 24-25

Nopniwat Krailerg

Thawatwong Na Chiang Mai, president of Chiang Mai Provincial Administration Organization (PAO), said the PAO will organize a celebration of the King Naresuan Pagoda April 24-25.

The celebration will be held to pay homage to the king, to give thanks for his protection of Thailand during its wars with neighboring countries and to allow the new generation to realize the sacrifices made by all Thai kings, resulting in a free Thailand.

This ceremony will be organized on April 24 at 09.39 a.m. by pouring golden liquid on 400 small Buddha images called “400 years of Phra Gring Naresuan Maharaj”, in front of the Phra Naresuan Maharaj pagoda in Chiang Dao district, Chiang Mai. The PAO will invite all famous monks in Chiang Mai to chant an incantation over the images, and after this ceremony, the molds used for this casting will be destroyed.

On April 25 at 09.39 a.m. there will be a propitiation ceremony with 10 monks and 108 novices being presented breakfast, and offered the four essential requirements of life. Then, the monks will carry out a propitiation ceremony for the soul of King Naresuan.

A Lanna local dance called Forn Leb will be performed, and fighting performances, using ancient weapons, will occur.

At night, an activity to honor the king will be a son et lumiere performance, starting at 8 p.m. Everybody interested in witnessing this spectacle should contact Chiang Mai PAO, or phone 0-5389-1500-6 # 226.


Chiang Mai drives towards health center status

36 health-related businesses awarded certification documents

Saksit Meesubkwang

Doctor Rattawut Sukmee, the head of Chiang Mai Provincial Public Health Office, said that the Ministry of Public Health is supporting a plan to promote Thailand as the Medical Hub of Asia. Chiang Mai is one of the four pilot provinces applying this plan.

Chiang Mai governor, Suwat Tantipat (seated center) presents certification documents to health business owners at the Chiang Mai Provincial Public Health Office.

Chiang Mai Provincial Public Health has assessed various health-related businesses in the area, separating them into categories such as spas for health, massage for health, and massage for beauty. 36 businesses that have shown support for this program have received certification documents from Chiang Mai Provincial Public Health.

Suwat Tantipat, Chiang Mai governor, presented the certification documents on April 12. He said that the government would like Chiang Mai’s private hospitals, dentistry clinics, Thai herb and massage businesses to implement the province’s strategies.

To show its support, the government approved 800,000 baht in 2003, 3.8 million baht in 2004, 2.5 million baht in 2005, and maybe 60 million baht next year, to assist Chiang Mai to become the Medical Hub of Asia.


Monks help with suicide problems

Staff reporters

Chiang Mai Public Health and several other sectors have cooperated to set up a network of monks to look after people who are in serious mental condition and depressed, full of fear and sadness, to solve suicidal problems in Chiang Mai.

Dr. Rattawut Sukmee, the head of Chiang Mai Provincial Public Health Office, said that problems that led to negativism, worry, despair and insomnia could still be solved by certain methods.

The Public Health Department found that residents are suffering, causing many suicides. These people need mental refuge, and therefore a monk network is an alternative choice that they may believe in and have faith that it is able to give advice to relieve their despair.

The Public Health Department has therefore established a monk network in different areas to give preliminary advice to deal with depression. People who need help can contact 0 5321 1996 and 0 5327 8967 # 121, to ask for advice.


Safe food on Suthep and Huay Kaew roads

Chiang Mai Public Health continues “Clean Food, Good Taste” program

Nopniwat Krailerg

Chiang Mai Provincial Public Health Office is continuing the government’s “Clean Food, Good Taste” policy, and is now stressing that this should emphasized from the farm to the table.

Restaurants and vendor stands will be checked and controlled to ensure they reach the required standard for hygiene. If during these checks it appears that a restaurant or vendor stand has reached the required standard, they will be awarded with the “Clean Food, Good Taste” certificate.

So far, 1,459 restaurants and vendor stands in Chiang Mai, 73.2% of the total number of food outlets here, have received this certificate.

In 2005, the Chiang Mai Public Health Department is going to continue this program with restaurants, caf้s and vendor stands on Huay Kaew and Suthep Road, in cooperation with Chiang Mai municipality, Tambon Chang Puek Administration Organization and Chiang Mai Restaurant Club.

There are 65 food businesses comprising 31 vendors’ stands and 96 restaurants that are expected to reach the standard level, or 70% of the entire target group on the two roads.


French lady unable to resist Thai lingerie

Nopniwat Krailerg

The police, in their customary precipitate fashion perhaps intensified by the sex of their suspect and the nature of her crime, last week rushed to the hotel room of a French lady who, it was alleged by staff of department stores, had helped herself to some expensive and provocative underwear.

After all but breaking down the door of her room at the Sri Tokyo Hotel, they found to their disappointment a fully clothed French national, Fontan Ilona Jadwiga, 44, with a number of costly items such as brassieres, pants and other underwear that had been stolen from the departments store in Chiang Mai, including Central Airport Plaza and Central Kad Suan Kaew.

Her desire to own these items apparently overcame her caution and she foolishly returned to the same stores several times to repeat the thefts, leading to her identification.


Government proclaims renewed war on drugs

Staff Reporter

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra renewed his commitment to the war on drugs on April 11 at a meeting attended by Deputy Prime Minister Pol. Gen. Chitchai Wannasathit and the Minister of Interior, Suwat Liptapanlop and other dignitaries.

Officials are instructed to cooperate to control and eradicate drugs in every region of Thailand.

“Today is an important day when we join together to warm Thais hearts by saving our children from drugs. Even though we have already done this twice before, the government will continue to pursue results ... and eliminate the drugs that destroy our country’s future,” the PM said.

He added that the first drug eradication activity showed successful results, and the second was done to prevent a reoccurrence, but he accepted that drugs had spread again as government officials had many duties and responsibilities, and had neglected the drug problem. However, the government had cooperated with national authorities to get rid of drugs within three months, to block drug transfer routes that had been moved from Burma’s border to that of Laos and Cambodia. Most, but not all, of the drug dealers were influential gangs living in neighboring countries.

“I tell all of you not to be afraid of drug dealers, even if they are in Thailand or in neighboring countries, because nobody is greater than the law, and I ask you to do your own duty with an all out effort. The government promises to protect you and repay you for your efforts—but if there is any section ignoring drug dealings, officials concerned will be seriously prosecuted,” Thaksin affirmed.

He said that governors should take his lead to suppress drugs, including cooperation with neighboring narcotics suppression divisions to request reports about drug transfers, because the number of wholesale drug dealers has decreased but retail drug traffickers remained. Finally, he gave a modern technology drug checker to Chiang Mai Provincial Bureau Region 5 office responsible for Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Lampang, Mae Hong Son, Nan, Phayao and Lamphun.


Thai singer and movie stars visit female prisoners in Chiang Mai

Saksit Meesubkwang

On April 13, Chiang Mai Women’s Prison invited a Thai singer and movie stars, Supoj Janjareun, aka Lift (a singer), Natthanan Khunwat (an actor), Pimphan Jantha, aka Yui (an actress), Nirawan Niritisai, aka Ying (an actress) and Siraprapha Sookdamrong (an actress) to entertain the prisoners. The inmates and their visitors had a real good time with the singer and movie stars.

Thai celebrities join the activity at Chiang Mai Women’s Prison.

The president of Chiang Mai Women’s Prison explained that she tried to organize activities for prisoners to relieve their depression. These prisoners are offered career training, such as tailoring, cooking and massage, and academic courses. 13 prisoners have graduated with bachelor degrees and 30 are still studying.

The prison invited the celebrities to entertain prisoners on the occasion of the Songkran festival, to enjoy Thai tradition even with their limited freedom. It was predicted that many activities would be repeated for the prisoners.

There are 1,300 female inmates at the Chiang Mai Women’s Prison, narcotics offenders making up 80 percent, 66 persons are sentenced with life imprisonment, and five are on death row. The latter are a result of the prisoners’ involvements with drugs.


Pha Muang Task Force arrests drug dealer

Staff reporter

On April 14, Maj. Gen. Pairat Thongjaktu, commissioner of Pha Muang Task Force, announced that he had commanded the Second Calvary special task force on another drugs crack down, this time in Chiang Dao.

During their operation, troops searched a motorcycle belonging to Kittipong Phothipamai, 20, from Tambon Hang Dong, Chiang Mai, and found 9 ya ba pills in a box.

Kittipong admitted that he purchased these from a Tai Yai laborer who was working in Fang district. He was remanded into custody at the Chiang Dao Police Station.

Afterwards, Maj. Gen. Pairat announced that the Pha Muang Task Force is in the process of expanding their investigations into other drug traffickers.


Border Patrol policeman dies during firefight with unknown troop in Mae Ai

Small, unknown troop robbing Thai citizens

Staff reporters

On April 15, villagers reported that a gang, probably foreign militia, with weapons was robbing a house belonging to Samarn Kaewtha, 35, at Tambon Mae Ai, and stole clothes and dry goods before escaping towards the wilds behind the house. Pol. Sen. Sgt. Maj. Boonchop Moonmuang, led 334 border patrol police in cooperation with the Pangsan-krue village safety team in pursuit of the robbers.

While following the unknown troop to a forested hill, the troop returned fired at the officers with war weapons for about ten minutes. Later, it appeared that Pol. Sen. Sgt. Maj. Boonchop Moonmuang had been wounded with two bullets. The officers called for help from the border patrol police, who threw bombs and countered the fighting until the area was cleared after an hour.

Pol. Sen. Sgt. Maj. Boonchop was admitted to Radpracha-nukraw Hospital, but died later from loss of blood.

Later Pol. Lt. Col. Sipanun Sornkhunkaew, commander of 334 Border Patrol Police, led a team to check the area and after having found bloodstains, they assumed that the some of the unknown troops were hurt or dead. The border patrol police had blockaded all routes and let K-9 boot camp trainees pursue the troop.

Lt. Gen. Picharnmeth Muangmanee, Third Army Region Commander, surmised that the unknown troop consisted of only 4-5 persons scrounging for food at the village, when the village safety team raised the alarm. A Burmese army shirt was also found, but there was no confirmation that the shirt indeed belonged to a Burmese soldier because it might have been stolen or bought.

The commander sent border patrol police to protect the villagers.

The Burmese government denied knowledge of the troop.