Vol. IV No. 18 - Saturday April 30 - May 6. 2005
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NEWS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Kingdom of Thailand celebrates Coronation Day May 5

Thai Kingdom celebrates Royal Wedding Anniversary

Much anticipated bus service postponed

Paramotor pilots to patrol forest fires

X-ray car to combat terrorism and drugs

Chiang Mai goods prices maintained for three months

Tambon Inthakin conferred to solve garbage problem

Tourists warned of bad VCDs at Mae Sai

Thailand raises Burmese troop incursion at conference

Environmental journalists slam Night Safari

Garbage separation arrives at last

Celebrate the 50th birthday of HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn and Thai Heritage Conservation Day

Deputy Minister of Interior visits model OTOP village at Baan Tawai

Ten thousand elders attended National Elder’s Day in Chiang Mai

Summer hail storms damages many houses in Chiang Rai and Mae Hong Son

Drinka pinta milka day

Mae Rim police accused of sluggish reaction

Big Tree Competition

The president of a TAO gunned down on an OTOP stage

Blaze at CM-Computer causes damage

44 deaths, 1,359 injuries over Songkran in six Northern provinces

Lampang highway patrolmen find 10,000 ya ba pills

Police expect 30 million ya ba pills will be smuggled into Thailand

Drunk driving claims Defense Corps volunteer victims

Kingdom of Thailand celebrates Coronation Day May 5

May 5 marks the 55th anniversary of the Coronation of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great.

The day is celebrated as a national holiday, and all government offices and commercial banks will be closed.

Each year on May 5, the Kingdom of Thailand commemorates the day when, in 1950, King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great, the 9th in the Chakri Dynasty (Rama IX), was crowned.

His Majesty the King was pronounced successor to the throne in June 1946. After four years of studying in Europe, he returned to Thailand and was crowned during an elaborate and highly intricate ceremony that outdid all previous coronations in Thailand.

On April 28, 1950, a week before his coronation, H.M. King Bhumibol and Mom Rajawongse Sirikit Kitayakara were married. Following the coronation the King returned to Switzerland to continue studying.

The Coronation Ceremony reinforces the stature of the Kings of Thailand. The first such elaborate ceremony was performed when Pho Khun Phamuang succeeded Pho Khun Bangklangthao as the ruling King of Muang Sukhothai. Phaya Lithai, a former leader in Sukhothai, left a historical record in stone describing the coronation ceremony in Sukhothai at Wat Srikhum.

In the beginning of the Ratanakosin era, the first King in the Chakri Dynasty (King Buddha Yot Fa Chulalokmaharach) took the title of Rama I and moved the capital of Siam from Thonburi to the opposite bank of the Chao Phraya River, and constructed Krung Ratanakosin (Bangkok). In the process of building the Royal Palace and Wat Prakaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), the first King in the House of Chakri refined the coronation ceremony, establishing important protocol that has lasted to this day.

All Kings to follow not undergoing the coronation ceremony would be unable to assume the term “Phrabat” in front of the King s title of “Somdej Phrachaoyuhua”, and more significantly, the symbol of the nine-tiered umbrella would also not be permissible or officially recognized.

The elaborate coronation ceremony of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great included all the ancient rituals required for assuming the full title and the nine-tiered umbrella. King Bhumibol Adulyadej then bestowed the honor posthumously on His brother King Ananda Mahidol. King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s benevolent act raised King Ananda Mahidol’s regal status from seven to a nine-tiered umbrella.

During the reign of King Mongkut (Rama IV), Buddhist monks and Brahmin priests were incorporated into the coronation ceremony to conduct rituals to sanctify the auspicious occasion. Previously the ceremony was arranged and conducted by the Royal Palace staff and members of the Royal Household.

The annual commemoration of the coronation ceremony is currently a three-day affair, starting with a ritual “tham bun” ceremony on May 3 to honor the King’s ancestors. Later on the first day, another ceremony is performed, whereby flags of honor are issued to distinguish various military units.

The following day, Buddhist ceremonies continue with chanting rituals, prayers and Brahman priests announce the auspicious occasion of the next day (May 5).

On May 5, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great (Rama IX) conducts a merit-making ceremony, presenting offerings to Buddhist monks, and leads a “Wienthien” ceremony, walking three times around the sacred grounds at the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.

In the evening the King conducts another sacred ceremony: changing the yellow cloth on the Emerald Buddha, the guardian symbol protecting the Thai people, which was transferred from Thonburi to Wat Phra Kaew by Rama I.

Many rooms in the Royal Palace are opened for public viewing on Coronation Day. Auspicious ceremonies are performed and displays depicting royal achievements are exhibited to reconfirm the King’s stature.

His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great is now the world’s longest reigning monarch, 58 years, as the people of Thailand celebrate their beloved father of the nation and his dedication to the development and well- being of his subjects throughout his benevolent reign.


Thai Kingdom celebrates Royal Wedding Anniversary

April 28 marked Their Majesties 55th wedding anniversary

His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great and Her Majesty Queen Sirikit celebrated Their 55th wedding anniversary on Thursday, April 28. King! (Photo: Courtesy of the Bureau of the Royal Household)

This year marks the 55th anniversary of the Royal Wedding of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great and Her Majesty Queen Sirikit.

His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Mom Rajawongse Sirikit Kitayakara were married by Her Majesty Queen Sawang Vadhana, the paternal grandmother of His Majesty, at the Sra Pathum Palace in Bangkok on April 28, 1950.

Mom Rajawongse Sirikit, the daughter of the Thai Ambassador to France Mom Chao Nakkhatmongkol Kitayakara and Mom Luang Bua Sanitwongse, met the soon-to-be-King at the Thai Embassy in Paris in 1948. They were engaged to be married at the Windsor Hotel in Lausanne, Switzerland on July 19, 1949.

They returned to Thailand during the government of Prime Minister Field Marshal Pibul Songkhram and a stunningly beautiful marriage ceremony was held while the Thai military forces formed to honor and salute the Royal Couple.

Following the Royal marriage, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great ascended the throne, becoming the ninth King of Thailand in the Chakri Dynasty with all the pomp and pageantry befitting a Royal coronation on May 5, 1950.

Their Majesties have four children, HRH Princess Ubolratana, HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, and HRH Princess Chulabhorn.


Much anticipated bus service postponed

Still awaiting permission from the Land Transport Office

Nopniwat Krailerg

Chiang Mai’s 26 new buses are ready to serve the public, but permission from the Land Transport Office to run on the surveyed routes has not yet been granted. Initially, the permission was due in April, which would have led to the release of the buses in May. Now, the release has been postponed to June.

After several postponements, officials hope Chiang Mai municipality buses will begin serving residents in June.

Mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn showed his irritation about the delay, saying that the public transportation project has already been approved by the government, especially in view of its aim for Chiang Mai to be a model developing city and for tourism. Funding was granted in 2004 for the purchase of 26 buses to become mass transportation running on two routes within the municipal area.

However, prior to the release, consultations with the red mini bus members had to take place. Almost a thousand red mini buses in Chiang Mai City were requested to run on minor routes, with the municipal buses running on the two main routes. As buses running on minor routes would transport passengers to electric cars that were running on main routes, the municipality did not expect any problems between the two sides.

This plan would link the red minibuses or other mini buses with the project buses as well as the electric cars, and the three kinds of vehicles combined would become a systematic mass transportation system. Therefore, it could deal with traffic jams in Chiang Mai effectively.

The mayor said that he had conferred on this plan with the PM during his recent Songkran visit, and the PM agreed to apply the plan to Chiang Mai. He affirmed his support for the plan to encourage tourism, resulting in four billion baht earnings per year.

The population in Chiang Mai is estimated at 1,200,000. There are approximately 750,000 motorcycles and 200,000 private cars. Therefore, if there isn’t a public transportation plan, even more serious traffic jams are predicted for the next five years.


Paramotor pilots to patrol forest fires

Watcharapong Jingkaujai

The forest is an important natural resource of any country as it is a source of water which maintains life, but it is easily destroyed by forest fires, especially during the dry season. Therefore, the Thai Airport Authority Conservation and Development Foundation cooperated with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to provide a training workshop at the premises of Wing 41 on April 25-29, for paramotor pilots to patrol forest fires. Pilots would patrol either on the ground or in the sky.

Lt. Gen. Winit Sornritchingchail, president of Tango Paramotor (Thai Authority Airport Conservation and Development Foundation) said, “Forest fires are risky to put out which is why the training has been organized. This is the first time that formal training for paramotor pilots was organized, and it is going to continue throughout the whole country.”

Paramotor pilots from the Thai Authority Airport Conservation and Development Foundation.

Aircraft, like this one, are also used for patrolling.


X-ray car to combat terrorism and drugs

50 million baht X-ray car able to see through almost any vehicle

Saksit Meesubkwang

Pol. Lt. Gen. Kritsana released a black Mercedes Benz that houses an X-ray machine after learning that drugs would shortly be smuggled into Thailand. The vehicle radiates gamma rays to see through each passing vehicle, controlled by an effective computer system showing the result on a screen. The vehicle cost 50 million baht and belongs to the Narcotics Suppression Bureau.

The 50 million baht Mercedes Benz X-ray truck.

He said that whilst drug smuggling had lessened, producers, especially along the Thai-Burmese border, continue their heinous trade. It is suspected that drug transfer routes have been changed but the route in Chiang Rai is still expected to be used for speed, despite the fact that the cunning traffickers are constantly inventing new methods.

Hi-tech computer systems allow police to see through any car.

“The third war on drugs will emphasize domestic suppression and cooperation with neighboring countries to obstruct the sources. Thailand will inform neighboring countries after drug dealers have been arrested to let them know who the culprits are and the route used, then foreign police will block the route. We have received good cooperation from Burma and, although there is a battle along the Burmese border, we are sure that drug dealers cannot take advantage of this because we are fully prepared to protect Thailand, especially with the support of the X-ray car,” Pol. Lt. Gen. Kritsana said.


Chiang Mai goods prices maintained for three months

Nopniwat Krailerg

Raising fuel oil costs, especially for diesel, has directly affected goods transfers resulting in businessmen having to adjust their prices. Retail businesses in Chiang Mai, full of the milk of human kindness, realized that the increased prices would create hardship for residents; therefore they have decided, together with the Internal Trade Office Chiang Mai, Ministry of Commerce, to maintain their goods prices for three more months.

Fuengfah Tulathamakul, head of the Internal Trade Office Chiang Mai, said that there are 70 businesses in Chiang Mai who have informed the office that they will maintain goods prices for three months, from April to June, as requested by the Ministry of Commerce. So far, 37 business owners have already signed a memorandum, and the other businesses are expected to sign the cooperation contract soon.

The businesses promising to maintain prices include: Makro, Big-C, Eakachai Distribution System (Lotus Super Store), Carrefour, Central, Robinson, Conaco, Watson, Caltex, Power Buy, Rim Ping Chiang Mai and Black Canyon.

If prices are increased, or unannounced price increases are noticed, the public should call the hot line, 1569.


Tambon Inthakin conferred to solve garbage problem

Staff reporters

An application to run a garbage pit met the resistance of 2,000 villagers at Mae Taeng. Concerns about environmental effects and the fact that the area in question was only one kilometer away from a natural water resource sparked protests.

Tambon Inthakin Administration Organization met with Mae Taeng municipality, district chief officers and the Public Health Department to discuss the application of a private company. The company had previously run the smelly facility without permission and the process of garbage elimination was not efficient, according to villagers.

However, the company declared that it had requested legal permission and it appealed to the villagers to give it a chance to explain the process of garbage elimination, claiming it would not affect the environment as they planned to follow the process laid down by the Industrial Factory Act. Villagers agreed to give the company a chance to explain but would disallow the facility if they were not satisfied.


Tourists warned of bad VCDs at Mae Sai

Watcharapong Jingkaujai

Mae Sai Customs warned tourists not to buy VCDs from Burma, as they could be of poor quality, or even unrecorded CDs.

Pol. Lt. Gen. Kritsana Pol-anan from the Narcotics Control Board made the statement recently when he his team visited the Thai-Burmese border in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai, to check for illegal goods, drugs, contraband and obscene material. The officers collected many lewd CDs from visitors as well as cards and cigarettes.

The officers said that Burmese merchants sell four CDs for one hundred baht to tourists, but those CDs are of poor quality with lewd cover pictures. Customs informed tourists not to purchase them, as the items might be seized.

Whilst there, officers also used modern technology to hunt for drugs, and as a result several drug traffickers were arrested during the Songkran festival.

Meanwhile, Mae Sai border commerce is slow, and has not grown for several years for a number of reasons, such as the slow economy, rising fuel prices, tourism confusion, and competition from China. Even though there is a good route from Mae Sai to China passing through Burma, commerce is not lively as several tax collecting points are set up in Burma, which deters merchants.

Only a few tourists visit Mae Sai and the Thai-Burmese border, and this was evident even during the Songkran holidays. The Burmese government’s proclamation not to admit vehicles from Thailand traveling to China, but later approving Thai vehicles to enter Burma, has resulted in confusion for visitors.

Border trade in Mae Sai is not very popular and the Burmese government is in the progress of implementing traffic rules and facilities.


Thailand raises Burmese troop incursion at conference

Staff reporter

Thailand recently hosted the 40th meeting of local committees from the Thai-Burmese border in Chiang Rai. Good relationships on the local and national levels were confirmed and Thailand appealed to the Burmese to investigate the incursion of a troop of soldiers at Pangsan-krue village in Mae Ai, which led to the death of a border patrol policeman.

Such meetings are held monthly to allow efficiently bilateral cooperation and to prevent unexpected conflicts.

The Burmese government promised to follow up on cross-border drug traffickers and the Burmese government has already re-allowed transportation through Tah Kee Lek border post (at Mae Sai), after it had been closed for a short period.

The 22nd RBC conference will be held in Chiang Toong province, with both Burmese and Thai government representatives and the Chiang Rai chamber of commerce attending. The meeting will discuss the economy and bilateral relationships.


Environmental journalists slam Night Safari

Watcharapong Jingkaujai

The Thai Society of Environmental Journalists published a set of books called “Environment, the Hidden Facts”, describing the Night Safari as a black hole, sucking funds, toxic garbage from abandoned computers and mobiles, and predicting unexpected disaster from land subsidence.

“Night Safari a black hole sucking fund” at Baan Tharn Kaew, Payap University, presented by Environmental Journalists

Bunnaroth Buaklee, a reporter of the Manager Newspaper news office in Chiang Mai said, “There are three interesting points about the Night Safari: 1. It is not on time, as there are no animals on display. 2. Insufficient, meaning the allocated funds are not enough, without real and successful progress and 3. Uncertainty, as there is no movement to permit private organizations to set up food and drinks inside the area of the safari.”

Acharawadee Buaklee, editor of Northern Citizen Newspaper, criticized that it had been promised that the Night Safari would be presented to Chiang Mai residents on April 13, but it was not ready in any aspect, neither animals, nor cages, nor nature trails.


Garbage separation arrives at last

Staff reporters

The Department of Environmental Quality Promotion signed a cooperation contract with Chiang Mai and Lamphun to become pilot provinces to apply garbage separation and recycling for 25 percent reduction in garbage.

On April 22 Monthip Thabooga-non, inspector of the Department of Environmental Quality Promotion, presided over the opening ceremony for a project of garbage separation and recycling, and the signing of a cooperation contract with Chiang Mai and Lamphun where this project will be applied.

Too much garbage piling up on the walkways - an eyesore of the past?

Information for the year 2003 from the Pollution Control Department shows that Chiang Mai produces over 430 tons of garbage per day, and Lamphun 73 tons per day.

The inspector said that the main obstacles to solving the garbage problem are the lack of cooperation from residents abetted by ignorance of garbage resolution methods.

“For the public to actively participate in solving the garbage problems we need to inform them about garbage separation and recycling. The department will support them with a plan to deal with garbage to reduce it correctly and properly,” she said.

“It is predicted that this project could reduce the amount of garbage by 25%. If the residents cooperate well, we are certain to reach the target.”

Suwat Tantipat, Chiang Mai governor agreed that this project would be good for Chiang Mai, in conjunction with the province’s current “Beautiful Chiang Mai” development plan. The province is ready to support the project wholeheartedly.

Prayoon Wongpanich, deputy governor of Lamphun, said that to solve the garbage problem is an important target of the province. It would be a policy for all sectors concerned to act accordingly.

This project will be in progress from now until September 2005, applied in Chiang Mai province in the areas of administration organizations and municipalities of Muang, Mae Rim, Mae Taeng, Saraphi, San Kamphaeng, San Sai, Doi Saket, Hang Dong and San Pa Thong. The areas in Lamphun are the administration organizations and municipalities of Muang, Pasang, Mae Tha, Baan Thi, Ban Hong and Wiang Nong Long sub-district. If the project shows success, it will also be applied to other regions.


Celebrate the 50th birthday of HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn and Thai Heritage Conservation Day

Watcharapong Jingkaujai

Chiang Mai National Museum organized a special exhibition on the occasion of HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s 50th birthday, coinciding with Thai Heritage Conservation Day. Prinya Panthong, Chiang Mai vice governor, presided over the opening ceremony on April 22 at Chiang Mai National Museum.

Prinya Panthong, Chiang Mai vice governor points out interesting elephant wood carvings.

Wiset Petpradap, director of the Chiang Mai National Museum said, “April 2 was the birthday of HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, one who has at all times supported Thai heritage, therefore the government regards April 2 of each year to be Thai Heritage Conservation Day. This year is an important year for Thai citizens, as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Princess’s birth, so the eight national museums in the North have cooperated to organize an exhibition of elephants. This exhibition also serves to encourage the public to realize the important Thai heritage, the elephant.”

The elephant exhibition would reflect attitude, beliefs, local wisdom and lifestyle of people, in addition to being the Princess’s favorite animal. Antiques and handicrafts about elephants are displayed at the exhibition, divided into seven topics: elephant in nature, elephant in tails, elephant in art, elephant with Thai lifestyle, ceremonial elephant, Thai kings with elephants and HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn with elephants.

“It is a good opportunity for Chiang Mai residents to celebrate the Princess’s birthday and to conserve our own heritage,” the vice governor added.


Deputy Minister of Interior visits model OTOP village at Baan Tawai

Watcharapong Jingkaujai

The OTOP Community Development Department’s national committees have selected Baan Tawai at Tambon Khun Khong in Hang Dong, Chiang Mai as a northern area model OTOP village for 2005, one of four national example OTOP villages.

Somchai Suthornwat, Deputy Minister of Interior carves wood in Baan Tawai.

Somchai Suthornwat, Deputy Minister of Interior, along with Chaisit Ho-trakit, Community Development Department director general and Saroch Kadchamad, Local Administration Promotion Department director general, visited Baan Tawai in Hang Dong district, Chiang Mai, where they were welcomed by Kwanchai Wongnitikorn, deputy governor of Chiang Mai.

Worawit Chaisawat, acting Hang Dong district chief officer said, “The purpose of this model OTOP village is to become a role model for other communities, to develop their own products.”

“Baan Tawai is an attractive village because it has its own style of local wisdom and products, which is why the government has chosen to promote it to be an example village,” Somchai Suthornwat, Deputy Minister of Interior added.


Ten thousand elders attended National Elder’s Day in Chiang Mai

Watcharapong Jingkaujai

Elders from 24 districts throughout Chiang Mai attended National Elder’s Day organized by Age Net Chiang Mai at the convention hall of Chiang Mai University.

Elders attending the National Elder’s Day at the convention hall, CMU.

Prinya Panthong presided over the opening ceremony on April 22. There was a parade at Suan Dok Temple, and then they danced to the convention hall.

Prof. Dr. Pongsiri Pratthanadee said, “The object of this activity is to conserve Thai traditions. Youngsters should admire and pay attention to elders, and promote elder’s local wisdom.”

The organization of this activity received favorable cooperation from both government and private sectors, including the general public, who were eager to donate money, share strength and encouragement with elders.

Prinya Panthong mentioned that Thai culture and tradition has degenerated because of the economy and social changes; and materialism has led people to pay too much attention to income, forgetting culture and tradition.

“One of the many good Thai cultures and traditions is the reverence of elders because they have done precious things for the new generation, so this is a proper chance to realize their abilities and to admire them so that they can be happy and learn that they are still meaningful to the new generation.”


Summer hail storms damages many houses in Chiang Rai and Mae Hong Son

Saksit Meesubkwang and staff reporters

A summer hail storm damaged over 100 private houses at Tambon Huay Sak in Muang, Chiang Rai, in 12 villages.

On April 22, Prasert Jitpleecheep, Chiang Rai senior assistant governor, distributed necessities to residents whose houses were damaged by the hail on the night of April 21, particularly in Muang, Chiang Rai and Sobmeuy district, Mae Hong Son, where over 100 houses and some schools were destroyed.

Some roads were also damaged and could not be accessed, and electricity and public water was cut off because of giant trees collapsing on electricity posts and public water pipes, resulting in a blackout of the district. Much damage to crops in the area has occurred as well as three cars crashed due to road obstructions.

Srithan Cheungam, 51, said that the hail fell around 10 p.m. Strong rain and winds accompanied the hail and destroyed the roof of his house. In some areas, the destruction left only few household items intact so that government officers had to aid residents with basic necessities.

Luckily, there were no reports of deaths or injuries—except a few cows suffering from headaches.

Yet another hail storm damaged houses and plants in several tambons in Mae Hong Son, resulting in residents losing their homes. Several organizations have already aided them, while other districts were still surveying the damage, and had not yet submit reports.

The tropical storm blew into Sobmeuy district, Mae Hong Son, on April 20, causing the destruction of several houses and agricultural crops. However, Sobmeuy district office and Tambon Administration Organization have aided residents.

Narong Nakornjinda, Sobmeuy district chief officer, said that he had called in TAO in every area to survey the damage and to rescue victims, and if the damage appeared too great, help would be requested from the province. Pending the completion of the survey, the damage included almost 100 houses and several schools in various Tambons, plus a number of agricultural fields.

He added that the roofs of most destroyed houses were made of tiles and galvanized iron, and TAO had already transferred replacements and other construction materials to repair residents’ houses.


Drinka pinta milka day

Nopniwat Krailerg

Prawit Boonpaepol, president of the Up North Dairy Cooperatives Club, complained that 12 dairy cooperatives in Chiang Mai and Lamphun are confronted with raw milk flooding the market, a problem that has persisted since January.

The farmers have presented a petition to Governor Suwat Tantipat and Deputy Governor Kwanchai Wongnitikorn, who promised to deal with the problem through negotiations with the government sector concerned to decrease UHT milk supply by two million boxes and to purchase raw milk to pasteurize it instead. Government officials agreed to consult with the Dairy Cooperatives Club again on April 29.

The president said that the country’s milk consumption is 4,400 tons per day, while it could only produce 2,300 tons per day. Nevertheless, there is a milk oversupply caused by the government’s policy of allowing organizations that produce school milk to sell milk containing only one part milk and the rest made from cheaper imported powder. She said that these organizations or milk factories were taking advantage of free market prerogatives

The Dairy Cooperatives Club in the upper northern region had previously presented a petition to the PM, requesting that the entire milk supply needed to be sold, as some factories had to clear debt amounting to 20 million baht owed to some cooperatives. The PM then assigned the Department of Livestock to take care of those requests, and two points had already been solved.

Information from the Dairy Cooperatives Club revealed that there were 2,080,000 UHT milk boxes in stock valued at 12 million baht, which could be kept for six months.

The Dairy Cooperatives Club appealed to the governor to use his CEO right to assign TAO and PAO to consider purchasing school milk from diary farmers in Chiang Mai only, and spend a part of this year’s budget to purchase more milk for students, not only grade 1-4, but also 5-6. It also asked Public Health to purchase milk instead of milk powder, to feed HIV infected children and requested the government to promote milk consumption.

The two provinces produce 110 tons per day; however, only 15-16 tons are used as school milk.


Mae Rim police accused of sluggish reaction

Nopniwat Krailerg

On the night of April 25, an accident involving a motorcycle occurred on the Chiang Mai-Mae Rim Rd. (entrance to city lane), nearby the PTT gas station and only a hundred meters away from Mae Rim Police Station.

The rescue team attends the injured.

Two injured women lay unconscious near the traffic island with their motorbike on the shoulder. Helpful by-standers had to borrow a plastic funnel from the gas station to put on the unlit road to prevent additional accidents as vehicles were speeding by as usual.

People at the scene called several times for help to the Mae Rim Police Station but no officer bothered to appear, which led one man to become very agitated and criticize the police. Later, a news reporter called the police repeatedly to request rescue with no result.

Some time later the police station sent only one lethargic policeman without any first-aid kit, but armed only with a flashlight. Disgusted by the poor performance of the local police, the reporter had to call the 9th Narenthorn Center, Chiang Mai Province (1669 hot line), so that the two injured ladies could be carried to hospital.

It was later learned that the injured were Sawang Singkaew, 23, and Manthana Sripetkla, 28. They were riding the motorcycle to the city without helmets and swerved to avoid another car, which led to the accident.

Residents complained about the Mae Rim Police Station 191-hot line, and said there was often no answer, especially at night, despite the fact that this station is responsible for the area of PM Thaksin Shinawatra’s house located on Green Valley Village in Mae Rim.


Big Tree Competition

Staff reporters

Chiang Mai municipality has initiated a “Big Tree Competition” on the occasion of World Environment Day, June 4.

One of the big trees in Chiang Mai.

It is noteworthy that only a few big trees still remain in Chiang Mai and the municipality would like people to notice those trees and conserve them. The municipality invites residents to join the competition to conserve big trees in the Chiang Mai municipality area.

Boonlert Buranupakorn, Chiang Mai’s mayor, said that he was aware that the construction of many additional commercial buildings to serve people and investors affected the environment, increased the cost of land, and public parks and trees have suffered.

Chiang Mai municipality plans to develop parks and improve the environment, and is determined to cultivate the moral consideration of people to pay more attention to the environment and nature.

Contact for more details at 0 5325 9224.


The president of a TAO gunned down on an OTOP stage

Nopniwat Krailerg

Udon Khampira, 52, the president of Tambon Maenawang Administration Organization was shot dead while presenting the OTOP trophy to the winner on a stage at the OTOP exhibition center in Maenawang TAO office.

Karoon Klaikleung, president of the Tambon Administration Organization Association, Chiang Mai with Thanawat Yodjai, the president of Tambon Mae Hia Administration Organization acting as a secretary of the association and the committee presented a petition to Pol. Lt. Gen Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, commissioner of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5.

Police interviewed witnesses and determined the motive to be, surprisingly, either local politics or business related.

Later, Karoon Klaikleung, the president of Tambon Administration Organization Association, Chiang Mai and Thanawat Yodjai, the president of Tambon Mae Hia Administration Organization, presented a petition to commissioner Pol. Lt. Gen Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, to quickly find the gunman.

The commissioner said that the police were pursuing this case urgently.


Blaze at CM-Computer causes damage

Nopniwat Krailerg

A fire started in CM-Computer building, a center selling computer supplies located on Chiang Mai-Lampang Road nearby Kuang Sing intersection, from a room rented by K Direct Company on floor 4, and then quickly spread to others.

Five fire engines from Chiang Mai municipality fire department rushed to the scene and extinguished the fire after 30 minutes.

The police later found that the room in which the fire started was used for serving drinks and coffee to customers. Several pieces of equipment were destroyed.

It was expected that a faulty electricity system caused the fire, and damage was estimated at 300,000 baht.

This building belongs to Pornchai Jitnawasatian, deputy mayor of Chiang Mai. It rents space to computer and education businesses.


44 deaths, 1,359 injuries over Songkran in six Northern provinces

Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Center releases death and injury report

Nopniwat Krailerg

Lampang Area 10 Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Center reported there were 44 deaths and 1,359 injuries during the Songkran festival April 8-16 in the six Northern provinces of Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phayao, Lamphun, Lampang and Mae Hong Son.

Khanit Iamrahong, director of Lampang Area 10 Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Center, reported that from April 8-14, Chiang Mai had 17 fatalities (up by 2 over last year) and 428 injuries, the highest rate of the six northern provinces. There were 8 deaths and 329 injuries in Chiang Rai; 8 deaths and 144 injuries in Phayao; 5 deaths and 138 injuries in Lamphun; 4 deaths and 171 injuries in Lampang; and Mae Hong Son reported 2 deaths and 149 injuries.

The overall figures from April 8-16 were lower than the previous year. Drunk driving was the major cause of accidents and not wearing safety helmets was the major contributing factor to the severity of the injuries. Most of the accidents took place on minor roads rather than on main routes.


Lampang highway patrolmen find 10,000 ya ba pills

Staff reporters

The highway police in Ngao district, Lampang, arrested Aree Khaporn, 22, Chalermporn Khaporn, 44, and Wannarat Uttha-mana, 29, while driving from Chiang Rai to take ya ba from to Bangkok.

This gang was found at a checkpoint on Phahol Yothin Rd., Tambon Na Gae, Ngao district, Lampang. During the process of searching, the officers found unusual traces on the driver’s door, and after having checked it carefully, they found five packs of ya ba totaling 10,000 pills.

The suspects admitted that after visiting Chiang Rai during the Songkran festival, they had bought the ya ba from a neighboring country for 100,000 baht, and planned to take it to an agent in Bang Plee district, Samutprakan, to earn 400,000 baht. They had done this once before. All the profits would have gone on repaying football gambling debts.


Police expect 30 million ya ba pills will be smuggled into Thailand

Use of X-ray machine leads to arrests

Saksit Meesubkwang

New ya ba production units are proliferating in Myanmar for transfer to Thailand, many due to the need to fund inter-tribal warfare, some supported by Burmese army troops.

Nevertheless, Pithaya Jinawat, director of the ONCB Northern region, declared narcotics suppression during this year’s Songkran festival a success, mainly due to the installation of X-ray machines at Mae Sai, leading to more arrests. Even swallowed condoms filled with ya ba pills had been revealed in trafficker’s stomachs.

The director added, “There is an ongoing battle in Myanmar between two minor groups. Tribesmen support their troops by dealing in ya ba. However, cooperation between the ONCB, the army and the provincial police has largely prevented the import of drugs.”

It is expected that 30 million ya ba pills will soon cross the border into Thailand, along with 2,000 kilograms of heroin, and the drug dealers may change their route from the north to north-east, as controls in the north gain success.

Recently the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) has tried to expand the drug transfer area to the Thai-Burmese border opposite Sangklaburi district, Kanchanaburi, for cash to purchase weapons and food.


Drunk driving claims Defense Corps volunteer victims

Saksit Meesubkwang

Four Defense Corps volunteers from Sobmeuy district, Mae Hong Son died tragically on April 19 when the pick-up in which they were traveling apparently skidded and crashed on the Khun Yuam-Mae Sariang Road at Baan Nong Pakaw.

They had been escorting Norong Nakornchinda, chief officer of Sobmeuy district, to join the ceremony of pouring water on the hands of Mae Hong Son Governor Supoj Laowansiri.

Police at the scene saw skid marks and the vehicle had overturned after colliding with a post. The driver was Chamnong Inta, and passengers were Nipon Tianchan and Phasakorn Photao, both thrown out of the vehicle and later died at the scene. Three more injured were admitted to a nearby hospital, but one later died.

Police attribute the accident to drunk driving.



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