Vol. IV No. 20 - Saturday May 14 - May 20. 2005
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NEWS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Tenants flee Wiang Ping Mansion blaze

Invasion of the insects

Bounced checks baffle beauties

Burmese forests logged to supply Thailand

Chiang Mai hotels reach fire protection standard

400 Khun Sa soldiers surrender to the Burmese government

Chiang Mai gets into shape

Government spending 270 million baht to encourage different crops

Dog slaughter provokes outrage

Pawnshops stock up with funds before new school semester

Chiang Mai Y’s Men’s Club prepares for regional conference

Chiang Mai Night Safari lacks animals

More hail storms cause damage in North

Quis custodiet custodies?

Chiang Mai Zoo presents Masai tribe performances

The Thai National Bank in Chiang Mai declares growth in first quarter

Regional Environment Office 1 introducing mobile chemical safety

Community radio wave conflict

Disaster Relief Workshop closes

120,000 tablets and three Hmong apprehended

Police seize property and drugs

War III and the extra-judicial killings are on again

Illegal aliens nabbed

Border patrol police kill two black Lahu tribesmen during drug ambush

Photo-copied bank note pays for beer

Taiwanese arrested with heroin

Video conference equipment stolen from Chiang Mai City Hall

Tenants flee Wiang Ping Mansion blaze

Nopniwat Krailerg

Fire engines rushed to the scene of a reported fire on the 12th floor, Wiang Ping Mansion on Chiang Mai-Lampang Super Highway, May 7. Residents were fleeing the building in panic as smoke billowed out the top floor, but the doughty fire fighters, hoisted to the top floor with their advanced equipment, soon extinguished the blaze.

Police officers learned that the fire apparently started in room number 1212, belonging to Rob Low, 27, a British national, and rented by a Nick, an Australian who was out on that day. The cause of the fire was not immediately known. No deaths or injuries resulted and damage was estimated at around 250,000 baht.

Eye witness Saijai Khamsan, manager of Wiang Ping Mansion, said that she first saw smoke on the 12th floor when she walked out of the building and she and her staff tried to extinguish the fire before calling the police.


Invasion of the insects

34 fly larvae in one nasal cavity and a leech in a windpipe

Nopniwat Krailerg

A 39 year old woman, feeling a pain in her cheek went to see Dr. Thawee Thanu-paprangsan at Nakornping Hospital, Chiang Mai. When the doctor zoomed in with an otoscope, he found fly worms in her nasal cavity.

A medical team removed 34 worms from her nose under anesthesia. It was later learned that she had been feeding pigs, surrounded by many flies, and it is assumed that a fly flew into her nose and left eggs there. Doctors say the surrogate mother has totally recovered.

Earlier this year, a patient was found to have a leech, 8 cm in length, in his trachea. Dr. Ladawan Harnpairoj said the 19 year old had a dark brown moving object on his vocal cords, and it was later discovered to be a blood-sucking leech. Apparently, the patient drank water from a creek, resulting in the opportunistic leech leaping into his throat, while looking for the lost chord.


Bounced checks baffle beauties

Hell hath no fury like a ripped off beauty queen

Nopniwat Krailerg

Following their glittering wins in yet another beauty contest, Miss Songkran and her runner-up tried to cash their checks but were shocked to have them returned by Thai Farmer Bank. The ladies informed the police and it soon became the talk of the town. The company, challenged by the police, finally agreed to pay up despite claiming heavy losses.

Dokfah Puangtin, 20, Miss Songkran, and Maliwan Teuksiri, 19, the runner-up, said they had tried to get payment from the company without success. Finally the police were informed by Sunee Inthatpian, representing A.R. Entertainment Co., Ltd., Bangkok, that they had agreed to pay the ladies — she also told them that the company was facing a loss of more than 15 million baht.

Few companies find it worth organizing activities in Chiang Mai, as they always lose large sums unless they are well connected, is the rumor.


Burmese forests logged to supply Thailand

Saksit Meesubkwang

Supoj Laowansiri, Mae Hong Son governor, recently spoke about the government and the private sector supporting the import of timber from Myanmar through Mae Hong Son, as the province is next to Shan State, Burma and the Burmese government wishes to export timber to Thailand.

Wood imported from Myanmar.

To import wood from Myanmar requires permission from the National Security Council and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to prevent conflicts, and Mae Hong Son province had approved the import of wood from Burma, but required it all to be in order and legal according to Thai law.

Supoj added that Baan Nam Piang Din in Muang, Huay Ton Noon in Khun Yuam district and Doi Hang Lee in Mae La Noi district, Mae Hong Son, might be the areas for timber imports. However the province would consider if the forests in those areas were in any way negatively affected by the logging, even though Burma seemed unconcerned about exporting timber to Thailand.

There are still concerns about smuggling logs from Thailand to Burma, then re-importing it as Burmese lumber, as happened before in 1997. Mae Hong Son would attempt to prevent this by using the Global Positioning Systems (GPS) to control transfers from Burmese mills to Pathumthani or Ayuthaya.

Burma had approved the sale of five thousands logs in Mae Ja districrt, Loi Kaw province, Burma, located opposite Baan Huay Ton Noon in Khun Yuam, Mae Hong Son to Polpana Co., Ltd. Tripana Co., Ltd. had already set up a go-down at Baan Pang Moo in Muang Mae Hong Son to store imported timber from Burma.

Poonsak Soonthornpanichakit, president of the Mae Hong Son Chamber of Commerce, said that the government should approve importation of timber from Burma as the province’s economy was poor and, subject to all permits and authorizations, it would certainly boost the economy. He expediently believes that there would no affect on Mae Hong Son or Burma if officials acted according to their duties.


Chiang Mai hotels reach fire protection standard

Nopniwat Krailerg

Chiang Mai governor Suwat Tantipat presented certificates and fire protection flags to the 47 attending out of 65 hotels reaching the standard at an event organized by the Department of Labor Protection and Welfare, and in cooperation with the Thai Hotel Association Northern Chapter.

The governor repeated that hotel businesses and tourism are the mainstays of the province and improving standards will attract tourists to visit Chiang Mai, resulting in additional income for the city.

The governor stressed that hotel business owners must protect the lives and wealth of visitors, especially against fire and disasters such as earthquakes. The province already has teams prepared to deal with these situations in every area, and hotels can call on their services.


400 Khun Sa soldiers surrender to the Burmese government

Saksit Meesubkwang

Security officers of Mae Hong Son stated that on April 30, 400 Tai tribesmen (former Khun Sa troop militia) surrendered to the Myanmar government in Rangoon. The Tai tribesmen said that after the government had seriously oppressed the minority groups they had considered giving up rather than die or live as fugitives.

A series of meetings were held between April 29 to May 5, 2005 among 13 minority group militias who had not surrendered to the government. It was organized at Kolaheng base, Myanmar, located opposite Baan Mae Salid in Song Yang district, Tak, led by Pado Patin, the president of Karen National Union (KNU). Burmese opposition members also attended the conference.

The main points discussed at the conference were the conflict between the government and minority groups; how to deal with the conflicts and to select an assembly to negotiate with the government.

The government had persuaded minority groups who surrendered to attack others that had not given up the struggle, especially Tai Yai and Karen Ka Ya who were attacked by tribal militias supported by the government. The conference, therefore, also discussed means of protection from attack by other tribesmen.


Chiang Mai gets into shape

300 fitness freaks attended the First Aerobic Marathon on May 1 at Chiang Mai Municipality stadium, organized by the Platinum Fitness Center, and presided over by Udornpan Chantarawirot.


Government spending 270 million baht to encourage different crops

Saksit Meesubkwang

1,500 garlic farmers in seven districts in Mae Hong Son presented a petition at Mae Hong Son City Hall on April 26 to request the government to deal with the decreasing price of garlic, by purchasing their dry garlic at 30 baht per kilogram, as per the PM’s promise.

Supoj Laowansiri, Mae Hong Son governor, informed the farmers on May 4 that the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives had approved 270 million baht to purchase dry garlic from Mae Hong Son garlic farmers who had registered.

“As a policy of the cooperatives, it will purchase garlic, not over 15,000 tons, at 18 baht per kilogram, and purchase garlic from each farmer not over 350,000 baht,” the governor said. He added that these farmers had to grow other products instead of garlic, such as red onion, onion, lychee and longan or oranges, as requested by the ministry.

Garlic purchasing at a price well below the requested 30 baht starts from May until the farmers run out of garlic.


Dog slaughter provokes outrage

Thai Animal Guardians drafting laws

Nopniwat Krailerg

Dogs living in Don Chan Temple, under the protection of the monks, have been allegedly abducted, killed and eaten by alien laborers living nearby. Learning of this, Sanya Sookrasorn, legal consultant of the Thai Animal Guardians Association, took Chiangmai Mail reporters to see the remains of five brutally slain dogs at Don Chan Temple in Muang, Chiang Mai. The remains were thrown in a grove behind the temple. An eyewitness said that he saw alien construction laborers doing the cruel killing.

Sanya Sookrasorn, Thai Animal Guardians Association law consultant, showing skewers of dog meat.

Volunteers of the Lanna Dog Rescue excavated the dogs’ remains, and found a dog’s head and skinned body, but could find no entrails. The remains with legs of the dog and other skewered meat were found by two nearby bonfires.

Sanya said that there were almost 40 dogs left living in Don Chan Temple. The temple takes care of them in cooperation with Lanna Dog Rescue, an organization responsible for dog birth control.

Dog remains at the scene.

“In my capacity as the representative of the Thai Animal Guardians Association, I initially informed the police at Mae Ping Police Station, Chiang Mai, to pursue those heinous and savage killers,” Sanya said. He added that laws protecting animals are not very strong; therefore, in cooperation with the Dr. Parnthep Rattakorn Faculty of Veterinary Science at Mahidol University, he was drafting documents and regulations concerned with animal protection and maltreatment, hoping that this could help establish a law with teeth.

Wilaiwan Pechsoponsakul, coordinator of Lanna Dog Rescue criticized this savage act in a civilized world. However, the Lanna Dog Rescue team would take more action to rescue vagabond dogs in several temples in Chiang Mai such as Chedi Luang Temple, Suan Dok Temple and Don Chan Temple.

The following day, Sanya Sookrasorn, from the Thai Animal Guardians Association, gave more details on the savage dog killing at Don Chan Temple. There were apparently two more dogs killed, with eyewitnesses saying that this was done on temple grounds. So far, police officers have not pursued the killers; therefore he would report to the Commissioner General in Bangkok that there was no movement of provincial police.

Normally, Don Chan Temple is a residence available for 300 hill tribe students, and there is a construction site beside the temple with mostly Tai Yai and Burmese labors, being the persons suspected of killing the dogs.

Sanya and other volunteers of Lanna Dog Rescue team have now asked for permission from the temple abbot to move 40 dogs out of the temple. He moved ten dogs to Thai Animal Guardians Association, Chiang Mai office, covering 7 rai of land in San Sai district, and the other dogs were taken on by other volunteers.

“Not only dogs stay at the Don Chan Temple, but there are also10 wild pigs. If they are not moved from the temple I’m afraid that they will be killed as well,” said Sanya.


Pawnshops stock up with funds before new school semester

Hocking to cover the high costs of education

Saksit Meesubkwang

Se-nee Wilaijit, manager of Chiang Mai’s first pawn-shop and region 7 inspector, in charge of 17 pawnshops in the upper north, said that three pawnshops in Chiang Mai municipality area had prepared funds of 70 million baht to support parents before the new school semester. There were 200 customers a day in April giving the three pawnshops an increase of 10 percent over the same period last year.

Possessions brought to the shops were mostly gold ornaments and electrical appliances. However, the shops had offered lower interest rates from April 18 to August 15; 75 satangs interest per month is charged for amounts not over 3,000 baht, one baht interest for 3,000-50,000 baht, and 1.25 baht interest for 50,000-100,000 baht.

Some goods were rejected by the pawnshops such as VDO tape players and cars, but film cameras were allowed. The total amount lent may not exceed 100,000 baht.

“As the new school semester approaches, parents face additional expenses for their children and pawnshops may be a choice for those parents with insufficient income,” said Prapat Poojareun, Lamphun mayor.

He added that Lamphun municipality had borrowed 20 million baht, personally guaranteed by the mayor and a deputy mayor, from an individual and the manager of a pawnshop expected that this amount would be adequate for resident’s needs. Many more parents are taking advantage of pawnshops this year, probably because of higher costs for student uniforms and education supplies.

Jirasak Inbang, pawnshop manager in Phayao revealed that the government requested pawnshops to reduce interest rates during the new term from now to August 15, 2005, to help residents who receive only limited income.

Pipat Wiriyawongroj, a manager, said that pawnshops in Chiang Rai had set aside 25 million baht to serve residents, especially from April 18 to August 10 and he also expected an increase in customers. About 500,000 to 600,000 baht were spent per day, which is expected to increase to a million baht per day as the time of the new term draws closer.


Chiang Mai Y’s Men’s Club prepares for regional conference

Committee members of Chiang Mai Y’s Men’s Club held a Rod Nam Dum Hua presentation for all their past presidents. They are currently engaged in preparations for the South East Asia regional conference May 13-16 at the Empress Hotel Chiang Mai.


Chiang Mai Night Safari lacks animals

It only needs an additional 300 million baht

Nopniwat Krailerg

In order to actually display animals at the Night Safari, three things need to be realized: some animals need to be acquired; experts made available to manage and administer the animals; and to plan to develop the Night Safari to become a self-sustaining business.

To achieve this, Sopon Damnui, director of Thailand National Zoo (under HM The King’s patronage) a sub-committee responsible for the animals of the Chiang Mai Night Safari project, said that the Night Safari’s previous administrative areas have been transferred to the Organization for Tourism Development, Office of the Prime Minister.

The Chiang Mai Night Safari was initially established in 2003 with an opening planned for April 13, 2005, but it was delayed even though the construction was 90 percent completed. The lack of animals that were supposed to be imported from foreign countries was cited as the cause of the delay.

There were a few protests in Kenya and other countries including Australia about the export of the animals to Thailand.

Initially, a fund for providing animals was set at 37 million baht, but the sub-committee later found that it needed to spend about 160 million baht and it recently requested the cabinet for another 300 million baht to provide some animals to display.


More hail storms cause damage in North

Nopniwat Krailerg

Another heavy storm swept over three northern provinces on May 3, causing damage to farmland and houses. Lime-sized hailstones hit Fang, resulting in 180 houses at Baan Khoom, Tambon Monfin and Baan Luang being destroyed and other property, including vehicles, lychee and orange orchards severely damaged.

Food and blankets were handed out to residents affected by the hail storm and more support has been requested.

In Chiang Rai a heavy storm blew over Tambon Pangae and rain and hail damaged 1,200 houses and crops. Fifteen houses were destroyed at Toong-gua in Muang, Lampang, and many trees were destroyed in Mamaw district, Lampang. Schools houses and crops at Tambon Nasak and Tambon Sobpad were destroyed by the heavy hail.

The meteorology center in the northern region has informed locals to beware of more rain and hail storms.


Quis custodiet custodies?

Pirates raid pirated music customers

Watcharapong Jingkaujai

Led by Prasert Srikitrat (Guitar Mag), 40 musicians, restaurant owners and residents who were charged copyright fees gathered to request justice at Lok Moree Temple on May 3.

The unhappy musicians, restaurant owners and residents.

Prasert revealed that there were persons claiming to be representatives of a music company collecting song copyright fees, but were unable to present proper identification and documentation or warrants that could confirm their claim. They cooperated with some policemen to collect fees, which appeared to be extortion.

Restaurant owner Poramat Matjit said, “This group of people first act like other general visitors and ask to listen to music but later claim that the music has been pirated, threatening a criminal court case. We suspect that this group is cooperating with some policemen as we saw them with the police.”


Chiang Mai Zoo presents Masai tribe performances

Nopniwat Krailerg

Proud Masai tribesmen from Kenya join the animals at Chiang Mai Zoo in culture and lifestyle performances during the month of May.

Maasai warriors interacting with the audiences.

Thanapat Pongpamorn, director of Chiang Mai Zoo, said that performances would include hunting, day-to-day life, and traditional Masai dance performances and rituals, seldom seen outside Kenya.

The Masai live in Africa, mainly in Kenya and Tanzania. They are tall and well built and are hunters, warriors and cattle herders by tradition. Masai warriors drink milk mixed with cow’s blood, as they believe this makes them strong and healthy. The Masai are nomadic, moving with their herds from place to place. Usually their semi-naked bodies are draped in a leather cloak made from the skin of their own cattle. Masai value their cattle above their wives and still maintain their culture and lifestyle in a changing world.

Show time is three times per day at 11 a.m., 2.30 p.m. and 3.30 p.m. at the courtyard stage, Chiang Mai Zoo.


The Thai National Bank in Chiang Mai declares growth in first quarter

Saksit Meesubkwang

Somsak Wongpanyathaworn, academy administrator of the Thai National Bank, northern region, said that the northern region economy is growing, despite deceleration due to fuel oil costs and drought, while border trade leaps to USD 140 million and is predicted to continue to expand in the second quarter.

Even though farmers earned more, spending on consumer products decreased and services decelerated, probably affected by the disaster in the southern provinces.

Export value stood at USD 161 million, increasing from the previous year by 69 percent whilst import value stood at USD 20 million, increasing from the previous year by only 13 percent.

It is predicted that in the second quarter border trade will increase even more and the overall Thai economy is expected to grow by 4.5–5.5 percent. The main factors fuelling the growth of the economy are services and tourism.


Regional Environment Office 1 introducing mobile chemical safety

Watcharapong Jingkaujai

In today’s industrialized world, there are many accidents, and some of them take place because of the use of dangerous chemicals. The lack of a direct approach to this issue results in damaged property and even the loss of lives, endangering our health and environment.

This mobile unit has been fitted out with measuring tools and protection equipment, coming to almost three million baht.

Apiwat Kunarak, director of Regional Environment Office 1, said that chemical substance accidents occur because of ignorance and apprehension on using protective materials and tools that would stop chemical accidents.

The minister of natural resources and environment of the Pollution Control Department has now established a “chemical substance accident stop network”, by providing appropriate tools and materials to Regional Environment Office 1, and organized a workshop to train the officers.

A mobile unit has been approved fitted out with tools such as chemical substance protectors, oxygen measuring devices and measurers of chemical substance evaporation, plus many other measuring tools and protection equipment, coming to almost three million baht. There were also five experts staying at Chiang Mai City Hall to take care of chemical substance accidents in the northern region.

Regional Environment Office 1 will advise how to be ready for and deal with chemical substances, to provide workshop training for sectors that are responsible for chemical substance safety. The office also cooperates with other sectors to protect the environment from different chemical substances to protect natural resources and environment.


Community radio wave conflict

Saksit Meesubkwang

Government initiated community radio stations are, apparently, interfering with other radio stations and making reception difficult.

Jaruenpong Khamsawang, DJ of Radio Thailand Chiang Rai FM 95.75 MHz, responsible for Chiang Rai community radio, said that normally a radio antenna is not supposed to exceed 30 meters in height, with a maximum 30 Watt amplifier distribution. The audible distance should not be further than 15 kilometers and frequencies of individual antennas must not conflict.

However, the government had planned to raise the standard of transmission of radio stations in Thailand and if it appeared that stations would not meet certain requirements, e.g. no news program, no permits for DJs, or no recording of the programs, the stations could be shut down. He added that there should only be one community radio station per community.

At present, radio stations in Chiang Rai were much bothered by a radio station in Phan district, which also interferes with a radio station in Wiang Chai district, including television reception. There were 30 radio stations in Chiang Rai according to the records of Radio Thailand Chiang Rai, and most stations were broadcasting in Muang and Mae Sai districts, resulting in interference.

Sampan Changthong, head of local news office of TV channel 11 in Chiang Mai said that there were almost 60 radio stations in Chiang Mai facing similar problem as in Chiang Rai, because of close frequencies of each stations such as 100.200 and 100.250 MHz.

One DJ of a radio station said that many radio stations in each province reached the government’s target, and some stations charged a spot fee of only 300–1,000 baht per advertisement, cheaper than the main radio stations which charged 2,500 baht per advertisement. This causes many clients of the main stations to cancel their advertising. Furthermore, government radio stations were always scrutinized, and if only a few listeners were found, their staff got into trouble and had to work harder to compete with others.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-Ngam said that there was no rule concerning the set-up of a community radio stations, but these stations should be transferred to the Public Relations Department, and if it appeared that any station did not follow the guidelines and standards, it would be prosecuted and shut-down.


Disaster Relief Workshop closes

Lance Cpl. Cathryn D. Lindsay

Chiang Mai - The Indian Ocean Tsunami Disaster Relief Workshop held at the Lotus Pang Suan Kaew Hotel here during exercise Cobra Gold 2005 officially came to a close May 6.

The four-day workshop allowed leaders from more than 20 participating militaries from around the world to openly discuss how they contributed to the tsunami relief effort and what could have been done to help more people.

“The workshop was very useful,” said Australian Brigadier Dave H. Chalmers, the commander of the 7th Army Brigade. “The workshop helped us be more prepared in two ways; it gave exposure to all the issues and reinforced (military) relationships.

“Disasters of (the tsunami’s) magnitude can’t be handled alone,” said Chalmers, who was also the commander of Combined Task Force-629 in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, during the tsunami relief efforts. “Together we can be more effective in saving lives.”


120,000 tablets and three Hmong apprehended

Saksit Meesubkwang and Nopniwat Krailerg

Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, commissioner of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 holds a press conference to announce the capture of drug dealers and 120,000 ya ba pills.

On May 8, Chiang Rai Provincial Police in cooperation with Phayao Provincial Police and drug suppression division officers arrested Banya Saeyang, 46, from Sanian, Nan, and Pranee aka Mai Saeyang, 45, and Neng Saesong, 43 from Romyen in Phayao, at the car park of Chiang Kham Hospital in Phayao. The three Hmong tribesmen had 120,000 ya ba pills, an automatic pistol and three cell phones. Having not challenged the police to a pistol duel, they escaped with their lives, but were arrested and charged with possessing drugs and guns without permission.

Pol. Maj. Gen. Wutti Wittitanon, deputy commissioner of Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 with Chiang Rai and Nan police had learned that in November 2004, Banya cooperated with other Hmong tribesmen in Phayao and Laos to smuggle drugs along the border in Chiang Rai and Nan. Consequently, the officers set up a sting operation to purchase ya ba from them at the parking lot, resulting in their arrest.

Evidence: 120, 000 ya ba pills.


Police seize property and drugs

Finger of suspicion pointed at bail bondsmen

Nopniwat Krailerg

Police found 20,000 ya ba pills in a car abandoned by Sakchai Muangmala at Huay Luek Royal Project, but since he had disappeared, police confiscated his property, including a house, three cars, title deeds of land in Lampang and Lamphun, all with at an estimated value of 10 million baht.

Sakchai Muangmala operates as a bail bondsman at Chiang Mai City Hall while allegedly secretly dealing drugs in cooperation with Lao Ta San Lee, a known drug dealer in the Northern region. He allegedly smuggles drugs over the Burmese border into Chiang Mai and distributes them to clients in the northern provinces. He was the guarantor for Lao Ta when he was being charged. A manhunt for the malefactor is underway.

The police commissioner said that not only Sakchai, but also other guarantors are concerned in drug dealings and are on the police black list, as they guarantee bail for hill tribe drug dealers but also involve themselves in the dealings.


War III and the extra-judicial killings are on again

Pha Muang Task Force kills two and finds 20 kg of raw opium

Nopniwat Krailerg

On May 1, the special task force of 31st Ranger Regiment, Pha Muang Task Force, was patrolling the area at Doi Sam Sao, Chiang Rai, and found four men in civilian clothes passing around sacks.

The officers requested a search, resulting in the putative civilians throwing a grenade at the officers. This led to a 20 minute fusillade from the officers.

When the area was cleared the day after the event, they found thousands of empty cartridges, two unidentified bodies and 20 kg of opium.

The condition and whereabouts of the other two men who escaped the extra-judicial punishment is not known.


Illegal aliens nabbed

Staff reporters

A search by the highway police of a suspicious looking pick-up truck on the Mae Malai-Pai Road from Mae Hong Son, apparently fully loaded with cardboard boxes, exposed nine men, six women and two children. This did not come as a complete surprise, as they had been tipped off that illegal alien construction workers were to be transferred to a new site in Chiang Mai.

Suwan Surin, the driver, was arrested and after a little gentle persuasion, admitted that he was employed by an agent in Pang Ma Pha district, Mae Hong Son, to transport these laborers to San Sai, Chiang Mai for 800 baht. He admitted that he had done this several times in his specially modified truck without being caught.

The police, whilst saying the driver would be prosecuted for harboring and transporting illegal aliens, did not reveal what they intended to do with these unfortunates nor with the agent employing them, and the fate of the now empty cardboard boxes is likely to be the local recyclers.


Border patrol police kill two black Lahu tribesmen during drug ambush

Nopniwat Krailerg

Two black Lahu tribesmen were killed in a shoot-out with border patrol police during the crackdown on drug transfers. Border patrol police were led by Pol. Lt. Col. Sipanun Sornkhunkaew, head of border patrol police troop 334 and Pol. Capt. Niran Chairat, deputy head of patrol police troop 327.

The police had learned there would be a drug transfer in Mae Ai district, Chiang Mai, on the Fang-Mae Salak Road. Both policemen and the troops assembled on the road and stopped a motorcycle with two passengers. When they were told they would be searched, they ran away. The police followed them but the two men shot at the officers, resulting in a gunfight which lasted 20 minutes.

After the confusion, the two men were found to have been killed by the superior marksmanship and firepower of the police. The two men were identified as Adisak Pinij, 37, and Supap (last name unknown), 40, living at Tambon Thaton in Mae Ai, Chiang Mai. Both were black Lahu tribesmen.

A shotgun and 10,000 ya ba pills were found and later sent to Pol. Lt. Col. Kobjeud Deenamjeud, duty inspector at the Mae Ai Police Station.


Photo-copied bank note pays for beer

Nopniwat Krailerg

Wanting a bottle of beer but not wishing to pay for it, Kamon Kaewpriang, 28, of Hot district, Chiang Mai simply color-copied a 100 baht note and used that to buy the beer from Buajin Itti, 40, owner of a small wayside business.

Buajin was a bit suspicious of the color of the note, so called in the police. The wily counterfeiter, who admitted that he had done this successfully several times before, was duly arrested and will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, unless he can persuade some friendly people in high places to accept the copious copied notes he has left.


Taiwanese arrested with heroin

Nopniwat Krailerg

Tipped off that there would be a drug gang from Taiwan collecting heroin at Mae Sai border, Chiang Rai, Pol. Col. Kitti-sin Khongthawipan assigned police officers to be on the alert at all checkpoints.

Alerted police at Kew Thap Yang checkpoint in Mae Chan searched a suspicious van carrying four Taiwanese passengers. Heroin bars broken into small pieces were found around their stomachs, held in place by ladies knickers. The two men were Chan Yee Chen, 32, and Tai Choon Woon, 31, each holding two bags of heroin, totaling 1.5 kilograms. The police arrested them together with Huang Ter Chee, 42, and Chee Yeun Hua, 51, who traveled with them.

After the usual gentle questioning, Chan Yee Chen and Tai Choon Woon admitted that they worked for Huang Ter Chee to transfer narcotics from Thailand to Taiwan. 1.5 kilograms of heroin, four cell phones, 11,000 baht, 1,700 US dollars and 6,000 New Taiwan Dollars ($NT) were confiscated.


Video conference equipment stolen from Chiang Mai City Hall

Inside job suspected

Nopniwat Krailerg

Chanachai Plewpimai, 32, a technician from a network installation company, reported that video conference equipment valued at 600,000 baht was missing from a conference room on the 3rd floor of Chiang Mai City Hall.

Chanachai told police that the company for which he worked had been approved by the Ministry of Interior to install video conference equipment at city halls throughout the country. He was the head of the installation team to install the equipment in the conference room at city hall and, after the installation finished on April 7, there was one more step left before transferring to the government service.

Having installed the equipment, he locked the door and left a key with a city hall officer. He and the team later went to check the equipment to prepare it for the hand-over, but found nothing. Naturally, nobody knew anything at city hall, so he informed the police as, after deep consideration, he predicted that it was stolen.

Suwat Tantipat, Chiang Mai governor, said that it was not clear what actually had happened to the equipment and it did not actually belong to the government service because the hand-over process had not been done. It should be the responsibility of the officer who was taking care of the conference room in which property disappeared, being in a government service place. However, he assigned the officers concerned to check risky points of ingress to prevent further losses.

Later, an officer of Chiang Mai Provincial Office went to Chang Puek Police Station to see Pol. Lt. Pipat Naladech, duty sub-inspector, to protest his innocence after a rumor had it that he was involved with the robbery. He allowed police officers to search in his house at Tambon Chang Puek in Muang, Chiang Mai, but surprisingly they found nothing incriminating.



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