Vol. IV No. 22 - Saturday May 28 - June 3. 2005
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NEWS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Public busses create little stir

Cyclones and mudslide warning

Garlic farmers do not favor free trade

Alien business runs up against the law

Raid on teenage drug distribution venue fails

Thai workers to be evacuated from the Gaza Strip before July

Ya ba usage up – raising serious concerns

Police investigate Phrao district chief officer

Motorcycle taxi rule implemented in Chiang Mai

Seminar held on registering alien laborers

Major human smuggling gang arrested

Temple dog-killer apprehended

Hepatitis A spreads in Chiang Rai and Lampang

Chiang Mai province provides budget to help handicapped

Chiang Mai Provincial Public Health reports 60 DHF patients

Phayao to present development plans to mobile cabinet meeting

Rock pedestal debris found in Lamphun

43 illegal alien workers arrested. Some as old as three months!

‘Abhakorn Day’ remembers Father of Royal Thai Navy

D-Day for SIM card registration is July 1

Dutch businessman dies in massage parlor

DJ dealing drugs to youngsters arrested

Lurking police catch thief stealing from parked cars

Flying spark ignites building

Four escaped desperados arrested

War on Drugs III well underway in Chiang Mai

Another drug dealer’s extra-judicial demise in Chiang Rai

Burmese swimmer drowns

Public busses create little stir

Watcharapong Jingkaujai

Despite the hype, the first use of the new busses on a school route provoked little interest. Chiang Mai municipality got tired of waiting for permission from Chiang Mai land transport office and the municipality therefore provided busses under a program named “Safety School Bus” by running on Charoenprated Road to relieve parents of the burden of escorting children to school on a road which has seven schools located on it.

The public so far is not interested in public transportation.

However, the busses did not create much interest, as the bus route had not been used in Chiang Mai for almost ten years. Previous school passengers having graduated from university by this time. New students were wary, and some residents are afraid of accidents similar to one that happened in Bangkok recently, when a passenger was crushed. It looks as if promotion and assurances about the safety of public transportation will have to be undertaken for the timid.

Chiang Mai municipality should consult with school administrators and teachers to promote the service to students and parents. There would be questionnaires to seek the opinion of teachers, parents and students, to improve and plan for better service, and reassure the parents. This is expected to be finalized on June 9.


Cyclones and mudslide warning

Saksit Meesubkwang

Soonthorn Rewluang, director general of the Department of Disaster Prevention, Ministry of Interior, said that a depression having moved over central and eastern parts of the country, the south-west monsoon would arrive over the Gulf of Thailand, causing heavy rain in all regions. Low pressure over the Andaman Sea could also well develop into a cyclone, which would be expected to move north.

The Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation is warning people living in villages at risk, or on mountain ranges, to beware of mudslides, particularly in the following provinces: Mae Hong Son, Chiang Mai, Lamphun, Tak, Kamphaengphet, Nakhonsawan and Uthaithani, central provinces; Ratchaburi, Phetchaburi and Prachuapkhirikhan and southern provinces; Ranong, Phang-Nga, Phuket, Krabi, Trang and Satun.

“However, to prevent loss of life and possessions, the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation has established Centers in 12 areas and offices in 75 provinces to keep a close eye on developments. These offices will also inform residents immediately and move them to safer areas if necessary,” said Soonthorn.


Garlic farmers do not favor free trade

Watcharapong Jingkaujai

Garlic farmers from seven districts in Chiang Mai again gathered at Chiang Mai City Hall to appeal to the government to solve the low price of garlic, and to control the import of the agriculture product.

Garlic farmers gather at Chiang Mai City Hall to request the government purchase garlic at a reasonable price.

On May 17, almost 1,000 farmers from the seven districts Mae Ai, Fang, Chai Prakan, Wiang Haeng, San Sai, Mae Chaem and Mae Taeng, led by Thongsuke Booddee, president of Mae Ai Garlic Farmers Cooperatives, gathered at city hall to request the government purchase their fresh garlic at 12 baht per kilogram, and at 25 baht for dry garlic.

Moreover, as the government has supported a factory for garlic powder and pill production, the farmers requested the government find markets both at home and overseas and to support the circulation of money, including the cancellation or adjustment of the free trade agreement with China.

Kwanchai Wongnitikorn, Chiang Mai deputy governor, consulted with the farmers to find a method of dealing with the problem. (We wish him luck.)


Alien business runs up against the law

Watcharapong Jingkaujai

Pusadee Wattanapanich, head of Chiang Mai’s Provincial Business Development Office, said that the Department of Business Development, Ministry of Commerce, (responsible for alien business as per the Alien Business Act 1999), received petitions about alien businesses avoiding alien business status by letting Thai citizens be nominal shareholders.

This process is undertaken to avoid requesting alien business permissions, because they might think it was too complicated. Using nominee nationals as shareholders would result in three years imprisonment or a hundred thousand to a million baht charge as a fine, and both Thai shareholders and aliens would be prosecuted.

The Department of Business Development said that any alien business could run a legal business in Thailand if it registered legally as per the alien business law. The process of applying for the permissions was not difficult as there are officers to give advice.

However, (confusingly) an alien can run other businesses which are not listed in the Alien Business Act 1999 with Thai citizens becoming majority of shareholders.


Raid on teenage drug distribution venue fails

Leak in police department suspected

Nopniwat Krailerg

Pol. Lt. Col. Hanchai Rattanakit, deputy investigation superintendent of Provincial Police Bureau Region 5, led a squadron in cooperation with Chiang Mai Provincial Public Health Office officials, to check an entertainment place in Charuen Muang Plaza on Charuen Muang Rd. Chiang Mai. There had been more than 200 teenagers gathered there but, amazingly, almost all had decided to go somewhere else by the time the officers arrived. Only 60 youngsters were checked and only two returned a positive purple drug sample.

It was assumed that an administrative officer informed the proprietors or had entered ahead of the other officers and warned the teenagers. Police are now also looking for a leak, purple or otherwise, in the department.

This entertainment place reputedly stays open until 4 a.m. every day and many teenagers frequent it. It is rumoured that government officials are involved who left after being informed of the raid and before being arrested.


Thai workers to be evacuated from the Gaza Strip before July

Watcharapong Jingkaujai

Israel has decreed to move Jews out of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank before October 3, 2005. Meanwhile, the Thai government plans to move Thai laborers away from there before July, and requests the laborers’ relatives to persuade them to leave that area to prevent unwelcome events.

Orachorn Ratanamanee, head of Chiang Mai Employment Office said, “The Department of Employment has learned from the Thai Embassy in Tel-Aviv that Israel has withdrawn occupancy from Gaza and the West Bank, and their PM has commanded Jews to leave that area from July 1 until October 3, 2005. The government will force people there to move out and now the government is negotiating with 800 Jewish families to leave Guhkatif and is negotiating recompense with 600 Jewish families, while another 300 families refuse to move.

Consequently, the Thai government wants to transfer Thai laborers from Guhkatif, the most risky area, before July, while waiting for the approval of 4.7 million baht funding for the transfer process.

Chiang Mai Employment Office requests relatives of the laborers who work in Guhkatif to persuade them leave the risky area or travel back to Thailand to save their own lives and possessions. The laborers are able to inform the Thai Embassy in Tel-Aviv or their employing companies if they decide to leave the area, and relatives can ask for more information by calling 0 5311 2742 and 0 5311 2745-6.


Ya ba usage up – raising serious concerns

Saksit Meesubkwang

Napa Rangsiwearote, director of Northern Drug Dependence Treatment Chiang Mai, said there were 480 patients receiving treatment at the center, and while the total was lower than last year, the percentage of ya ba users was higher, with 60 percent of them addicted to ya ba and 30 percent alcohol-related problems.

In previous years, alcoholic patients were the majority, especially adults between 35 and 40 years old. She added that the number of ya ba patients might have increased because more of them are being arrested.

To treat patients, the center depends greatly on the patients’ adherence to therapy. There are several clinics available giving advice to the patients and projects for treatment at community level are being initiated. Two projects have been started at Baan Mae Hak in San Sai, Chiang Mai, and the third will be implemented in July.


Police investigate Phrao district chief officer

Saksit Meesubkwang

On May 17, Pol. Col. Suthep Koohawilai, inspector of Kranuan Police Station, Khonkaen traveled to Chiang Mai to inform Adul Songchaikul, Phrao district chief officer, that he was investigating land transfer deals when Adul served on Srichang Island in Srichang sub-district, Chonburi.

Adul Songchaikul had been the head of Srichang sub-district, September 13, 1987 to May 22, 1990, and approved land title documents for residents in Srichang sub-district, but it later appeared that the land was public or government services land. This had resulted in a court case which has been dragging on for more than 10 years. Adul and other officers concerned were accused of misdeeds, resulting in police officers from Khon Kaen traveling to Chiang Mai to further investigate the chief officer. Adul said that he was not afraid of the investigation and was willing to cooperate.

Pol. Col. Suthep Koohawilai said that he would not comment on this issue as he was aware of larger issues. However, Kwanchai Wongnitikorn, deputy governor of Chiang Mai, said that it was not an arrest, but only an investigation about the land document approvals during the time Adul was on duty in Srichang. He would continue to work as Phrao district chief officer for the time being.

Adul had only just become Phrao district chief officer two weeks ago after moving from Doi Tao, Chiang Mai.


Motorcycle taxi rule implemented in Chiang Mai

Nopniwat Krailerg

After the government finally realized that many motorcycles were being used as taxis throughout the country and that this business had become a way for gangsters to extort money and control motorcycle taxi drivers, the government decided that the answer was to implement rules for motorcycles taxis, forcing the riders to register the motorcycle, and obtain proper licensing.

Motorcycles for hire at Arcade terminal bus station.

On May 24, Autsathai Rattanadilok Na Phuket, head of Chiang Mai provincial transport office, reported that after a recent survey there were 53 places hiring out 1,045 motorbikes in Chiang Mai. As required by the Auto Act number 13, 2004 ratified on May 11, 2005, motorcycle taxi riders must have a hire license and the bikes must be registered as a public vehicle (yellow license plate). In return, Chiang Mai provincial transport office provided training for riders to take necessary exams for public vehicle driving. Those who passed the training and received the license were legally able to work as hired motorcycle rider.

This rule has to be implemented within 120 days from May 11 to September 7, 2005, and if it appears that private motorcycles are taking passengers, it will be deemed illegal. Vehicles have to be strong and safe, and have to install supplies for passenger safety such as foot rests, chain covers, side and back handles and install an exhaust cover.


Seminar held on registering alien laborers

Local laborers petition government for a better deal

Saksit Meesubkwang

Chiang Mai employment office and the Public Relation Office Region 3 Chiang Mai organized a seminar on the alien labor law, presided over by Orachorn Ratanamanee, head of Chiang Mai employment Office at the Chiang Mai University. She revealed that there were 79,614 registered alien laborers, with 48,000 on the waiting list. There were three nationalities allowed to register, Burmese, Laotian and Cambodian.

Orachorn Ratanamanee, head of Chiang Mai employment Office.

She said that alien laborers that needed jobs could register at Chiang Mai employment Office between June 1 and September 30, 2005, and the laborers that already had jobs, could renew their permits from June to September, 2006.

Both alien laborers and employers could register in time, but failing to do so would lead to prosecution. If it is found that employers employ illegal laborers, they would be prosecuted with sentences of three years imprisonment and a fine of 60,000 baht. Those who offered accommodation to illegal laborers would be subject to five years imprisonment and a fine of 50,000 baht; and those who import illegal laborers would be subject to imprisonment for 10 years with a 100,000 baht fine.

On the same day, the Northern Thai Labor Network gathered to present a petition concerning health, safety and welfare support of Thai laborers to Suwat Tantipat, Chiang Mai governor, and PM Thaksin Shinawatra. Nakorn Mukura, head of Chiang Mai Provincial Office of Labor Administration received the petition on their behalf.

Ratchanee Nilchan, representative of the Northern Thai Labor Network said that there were six kinds of workers represented, services, contractors, tribesmen, political refugees, those affected by the longan factory explosion, and farm laborers. Even though these laborers received small incomes, they had supported their families’ economy including social and national economies. The petition requested Public Health officers to be responsible for the health of workers, especially providing specific experts that could diagnose diseases and apply appropriate measures for each community, provide a system to verify standards of health service organizations and support safe work places to reduce occupational conditions affecting workers health.

Nakorn Mukura said he would present the petition to the governor, asking him to deal with the requests but there were some aspects of the petition matching what government is doing, so he expected that these requests would be approved.


Major human smuggling gang arrested

Saksit Meesubkwang

Pol. Maj. Gen. Thong-in Harnpajonsuek, from Mae Hong Son Province, revealed that on May 18, the arrest of a gang illegally smuggling alien workers was the biggest ever. The gang used motorcyclists to let them know if they spotted police checkpoints, and sometimes bribed officers if necessary. The laborers were transferred to Chiang Mai, Chonburi, Phuket and others.

Pol. Maj. Gen. Thong-in Harnpajonsuek, police commander of Mae Hong Son Province.

The gang was arrested by officers led by Pol. Capt. Somsak Tadang, head of Mae Hong Son. The officers had information that there would be illegal immigrants crossing the Thai-Burmese border at Baan Na Mone in Shan State, Burma. They would then be loaded into pick ups, passing Mae Hong Son-Khun Yuam on superhighway 108.

The police set up a checkpoint at Tambon Huay Pong and stopped four suspicious motorcycle riders. The four riders were not allowed to call the pick-up drivers, who then blithely arrived at the checkpoint.

The police arrested Nipon Methisantikul, 40, from Mae Hong Son, Uthid Sangkaw, 27, from Chonburi and Supakit Padoongkit, 26, from Mae Hong Son and confiscated the three pick ups, four motorcycles, 49,690 baht and three cell phones.

43 adults and 4 children were sent to Mae Hong Son Police Station for the prosecution process. The commander added that the smuggling mastermind’s possessions would be seized immediately after the arrests.


Temple dog-killer apprehended

Burmese laborers not guilty

Saksit Meesubkwang

The pursuit of the temple dog slayer has continued unabated since the Lanna Dog Rescue, Chiang Mai, said that they had found the remains of several slaughtered dogs in a grove behind Don Chan Temple at Tambon Thasala in Muang, Chiang Mai.

Initially the accusatory finger was pointed at Burmese laborers, but finally, police arrested Nateng Jongkahm, a Tai tribesman, 34, living at Baan Don Chai. He was a driver for the temple’s abbot and was arrested while working in Baan Don Chai.

Nateng admitted that he had killed the dogs because they were unmercifully harassing his pigs. He informed the lady who fed the dogs, but she had sympathy only for canine animals, not porcine ones.

His pigs being chased and their flesh torn by a pack of slathering dogs rankled with the man, so finally he decided to end it and used a robe to strangle the dogs and then killed them and, remembering ‘waste not - want not’, grilled their bodies.

Sanya Sookrasorn, law consultant of Thai Animal Guardians Association, but apparently indifferent to the fate of pigs, said that he was satisfied with the dog-killer’s arrest but, according to Thai law, he would only be fined for the offense although his act was very ruthless.

Sanya said, “A dog is a friend of man and he has similar mentality to humans, so Thai laws should be adjusted to punish violent people who hurt animals, to prevent this kind of killing.”


Hepatitis A spreads in Chiang Rai and Lampang

Staff reporters

Hepatitis A is spreading in Wiang Pa Pao and nearby districts, resulting in many villagers contracting the disease; with Dr. Somboon Panwong, director of Wiang Pa Pao Hospital, confirming that the disease exists throughout the areas.

Dr. Thepnaruemit Methawin, head of Chiang Rai Provincial Public Health Office, and the disease control department officers and Lampang campus epidemiologic science staff, have assisted Wiang Pa Pao Hospital by sharing Hepatitis A information.

Dr. Somboon revealed that the disease had been spreading rapidly in Wiang Pa Pao district while there were 200 patients in Mae Suay, Chiang Rai with the disease, and 10 patients being treated at the hospital. There were also 120 victims found in Wang Nua district, Lampang, near Wiang Pa Pao, and meanwhile six or seven hospital staff were also infected.

He added that Hepatitis A was first seen in April in some persons and mistaken for hemorrhagic fever, due to unconfirmed blood testing. The disease probably incubated during that period until it grew fully in May, and spread rapidly throughout the three districts.

“Those who are infected with the disease will become jaundiced, have fever, stomach ache, frequent diarrhea, resulting in debility lasting about two or three days. Hepatitis infection comes from consuming unclean water, but does not generally cause death.

However, Wiang Pa Pao Hospital and epidemiologic science staff have contained the disease and are encouraging the villagers to drink and eat clean hygienic food to prevent Hepatitis infection.


Chiang Mai province provides budget to help handicapped

Nopniwat Krailerg

Kwanchai Wongnitikorn, deputy governor of Chiang Mai, chaired a meeting amidst Crippled Life Development Chiang Mai sub-committees, and managed to gain approval for a loan for 52 handicapped people who had applied for funds for wheelchairs, at 20,000–40,000 baht per person, a total of 1,480,000 baht.

There were 928 people asking for loans, while the entire fund was 18 million baht. Development of facilities for the handicapped is under the responsibility of the Social Development and Human Security Office of Chiang Mai, and 11,214 handicapped people registered as poor citizens on April 30, 2005. On that day, the office also ran a program for supplying wheelchairs and organized a seminar concerning the rights of handicapped persons. Volunteers will be trained in June this year to collect information on the handicapped in every area and to survey their needs.


Chiang Mai Provincial Public Health reports 60 DHF patients

Saksit Meesubkwang

Dr. Surasing Wisarootratana, deputy head of Chiang Mai Provincial Public Health Office ran a seminar on the prevention of Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever (DHF). He reported that the DHF situation in Chiang Mai has so far affected 60 patients (from January 1-May 17), and one patient has died. However, Chiang Mai Provincial Public Health in cooperation with municipalities and other sectors had campaigned on how to prevent the disease and gave knowledge to the public to look for mosquito larvae in each house.

“There will be teams provided by Tambon Administration Organizations, district Public Health and health centers attempting to control the disease by calling at 1330 or 0 5321 1048 # 104, with 24 hour cover,” he said,

He added that May 23-29 was a campaign period, and Chiang Mai Provincial Public Health cooperated with sectors concerned and had organized a project of “Hands and Hearts Sharing to Prevent Hemorrhagic Fever 2005” and there would be training sessions for volunteers before the rainy season.


Phayao to present development plans to mobile cabinet meeting

Opening door to Indo-China a priority

Staff reporters

Baworn Rattanaprasit, Phayao governor, revealed that the Phayao province development plan would be presented to PM Thaksin Shinawatra at Naresuan University during his visit to Phayao on June 13-14.

The plan includes 1. To develop monkey cheek water systems in six water basins to keep water for consumption, especially for agriculture. (Monkey cheek is a watery area, similar to a dam)

2. To approve the Thai-Laos border becoming a permanent open area, because Laotian government has authorized the Laotian border as an international barrier.

3. To improve efficacy of tourism in Phayao, in aspects of both nature and history.

4. To construct a transportation route link between Phayao–Chiang San, Chiang Rai to open a door for Chinese goods and tourists.

5. To solve the problem of agricultural land in protected forests, to prevent residents losing their land.

“However, above all, the plan to open the door to Indo-China is most important at this time,” he said.

He added that all plans would be ready a week before the meeting, and would be presented to the PM and his cabinet. Each district will be offered the opportunity to define problems to present to the government. These plans were 60 percent ready, and he had already assigned the Phayao Provincial public relations office to promote these plans in time for the meeting.


Rock pedestal debris found in Lamphun

staff reporter

Lamphun Provincial Administration Organization (PAO) has prepared a team to investigate ancient remains of a yet unknown age that were found by the Fine Arts Department in Pasang district, Lamphun. They are rock pedestal debris and ancient Chinese porcelain, awaiting attestation.

The Lamphun Provincial Administration Organization has recently approved 5 million baht for digging, decorating and resting ancient places at Kaw Klang Temple, Tambon Baan Ruan in Pasang, Lamphun. This project is carried out after a handicraft-culture route has been approved as a heritage listing.

The Fine Arts Department has found many rock pedestal piles, decorated with beautiful art, as well as Chinese porcelain, Buddha images and a wall, all buried underground.

The officers of Fine Arts Department said that it would become one of the protected ancient places in Lamphun, and predicted that it might have been flooded and used to be a waterway. However, the age is yet to be confirmed.

Samarn Chompoothep, president of Lamphun Provincial Administration Organization said that it was one important discovery and was predicted to be of national importance. Several experts are investigating the ruins and a conference will be organized to inform about the ancient findings.


43 illegal alien workers arrested. Some as old as three months!

Saksit Meesubkwang

On May 15, Pha Muang Task Force, being responsible for the Thai-Burmese border in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, to prevent drug smuggling and illegal immigration, learned there was a group of aliens trespassing illegally into Thailand, passing Baan Nongklang and Baan Arunothai at Tambon Muang Na in Chiang Dao, Chiang Mai.

Illegal alien workers fleeing from Myanmar arrested in Chiang Dao, Chiang Mai.

A brief search soon turned up the caravan. Police finding 43 Tai tribesmen holding Burmese nationality (14 men, 29 women), four children and two babies aged 2-3 months. The task force arrested them all and sent them to police in Chiang Dao, Chiang Mai, for prosecution.

One of the illegal workers said that he was aware he was entering Thailand illegally, but had no choice because there were no jobs in Burma and they had neither money nor food. He said that he hoped Thai officers would not send them back to Burma as they would be punished severely. Battles were also raging between the Burmese government and minority groups such as the Tai tribe and Karen Ka Ya, causing the villagers to flee as the Burmese army would conscript men and boys over 10 years old to become carriers for the soldiers. They were summarily shot if they refused.


‘Abhakorn Day’ remembers Father of Royal Thai Navy

Nopniwat Krailerg

On May 19, the 82nd anniversary of Abhakorn Day was celebrated, the anniversary of the death of HRH Prince Praong Chao Abhakorn Kiettiwong Krom Luang Chumporn Khet Udomsak, known as the Father of the Royal Thai Navy.

Ceremony for the Father of the Royal Thai Navy, Krom Luang Chumporn Khet Udomsak in Mae Rim, Chiang Mai.

Chiang Mai province organized a remembrance ceremony at Krom Luang Chumporn Khet Udomsak shrine, Tambon Sanpong in Mae Rim, Chiang Mai, presided over by Capt. Chanchana Buathed, head of the Royal Thai Navy Chiang Mai Seismic Research Station, Hydrographic Department. The ceremony was joined by Cdr. Nawa Jeepetch, head of Voice of Royal Thai Navy Radio Station 11 Chiang Mai, Northern Navy Club, and residents. There was a ceremony to honor the soul of Krom Luang Chumporn Khet Udomsak’s, and scholarships were presented to navy children.

Admiral Praong Chao Aabhakorn Kiettiwong Krom Luang Chumporn Khet Udomsak was a son of H.M. King Rama V. He furthered his education in England when he was 13 years old, and he graduated from the British naval academy in 1917. He returned to Thailand and improved the Royal Thai Navy continually in the aspects of naval protection and the curriculum of naval students. He later became chief of naval operations and requested permission from King Rama VI to set up a navy base at Sattahip Bay in Chonburi, prior to it moving to the current base. He also established and developed the naval air force.

He was also interested in traditional medicine, and assisted many patients without expecting monetary rewards, and became known as “Maw Porn” (Dr. Porn). Furthermore, he also composed songs encouraging sailors to be brave and keep in unity.

In 1923, he was the Royal Thai Navy Commander in Chief, the highest position in the navy at that time, but not for long as he became ill at Tambon Haad Sai Ree, and Admiral Chumporn, passed away on May 19, 1923 when he was 44 years old.


D-Day for SIM card registration is July 1

Staff reporters

Kanawat Wasinsangworn, assistant to the minister of information and communication technology (ICT), said that registration of SIM cards would be implemented from July 1 onwards. Old SIM cards bought before May 10, 2005, had to be registered before December this year, if not they would be made inactive until the owner registered the SIM card.

Cell phone SIM cards that will be registered according to the new rule.

Registration points are provided at six thousand tambon administration organizations, one thousand municipalities, 800 district offices, 57 area offices in Bangkok, 380 TOT service centers, 80 offices of CAT Telecom Public Co., Ltd. and 1,177 post offices throughout the country. Officers of Public Water Works, Provincial Electricity Authority, police station, agent business and government officials throughout the country are able to register at their offices.

There are 21 million old unregistered SIM cards. Registration forms are simple, requiring name and family name, ID number or government official ID, passport or other card approved by government, together with cell phone number and a signature of the officer concerned.


Dutch businessman dies in massage parlor

Nopniwat Krailerg

Johannes Delerlandone Maria, 58, a Dutch businessman died in a massage parlor in mid-city Chiang Mai on May 19. He was apparently accustomed to visiting this parlor for his massage but, on this day, after just five minutes he convulsed and the staff immediately called a rescue team to take him to hospital, but he was found to be dead on arrival.

It is suspected that a heart attack caused the death but the body has been sent to Maharaj Hospital, Chiang Mai for an autopsy for confirmation.


DJ dealing drugs to youngsters arrested

Now he has to face the music

Nopniwat Krailerg

On May 19, police searched the condominium on Chareun Muang Road where Nopadol (aka Noom) Wangkadilok, 33, from Pimai, Nakhonratchasima was staying, and confiscated 13 ecstasy pills, 800 milligrams of ice, a set of drug taking tools, and 3,500 baht as evidence. He was arrested and sent to Mae Ping Police Station for further prosecution process.

The police said that they had learned of a DJ dealing drugs at entertainment places in Chiang Mai who persuaded youngsters to join drug parties after work, where he sold ecstasy and ice to them. They had been watching him for a long time until they were able arrest him in his own condominium, and he, after interrogation, began to sing and confessed to all cases.


Lurking police catch thief stealing from parked cars

Saksit Meesubkwang

Having received many reports items missing from cars parked at department stores, on May 12, Pol. Col. Yuthachai Puaprasert, superintendent of Mae Ping Police Station, led a group of policemen to lurk in the shadows at the Carrefour department store Chiang Mai branch parking area.

Various goods presented as evidence stolen from vehicles parking at the department store.

The officers became suspicious when they saw a man driving a car around the car park, first surveying each car, then finally breaking into a car, and taking out a bag before leaving the scene. The officers blocked the thief and arrested him, finding many stolen items in his car.

Witthaya at the press conference in the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5.

Witthaya Kaewwichai, 59, living in Bangkok, was arrested and a number of items were taken as evidence, such as tools, gold ornaments, brand name wrist watches, a handbag with 43,450 baht, 7 bank account books, 4 ATM cards and a credit card, and much more booty.

Gentle interrogation elicited the information that he had done this several times throughout department stores in Chiang Mai. He spent more than five minutes each time, and would sell the items afterwards. Police are continuing to investigate in case there are more such ingenious robbers.


Flying spark ignites building

Nopniwat Krailerg and
Saksit Meesubkwang

Chiang Mai municipality fire fighters were called out to extinguish a fire blazing in a block building near a dormitory in Muang district, Chiang Mai, with the usual crowd of gogglers in attendance.

Officers survey the remains and estimate damage after the fire was controlled.

Sayam Raksawong, 36, owner of the building who lives in Sampran, Nakhonpathom, told them that he had hired a welder, Sarawute Suriyaboot, 24, to fix the roof of his block, resulting in a spark falling down on a small thatched roof on another block, causing the fire to spread.

People in that area tried to extinguish the fire but could not control it, so two fire engines were called to help and extinguished the blaze in 20 minutes.


Four escaped desperados arrested

Saksit Meesubkwang

Four desperados who had escaped from incarceration were all arrested by Region 5 police on May 20.

The four criminals arrested by Provincial Police Bureau Region 5.

The first, Chat Pannitaman, 42, from Nan, was accused as an accomplice in the killing of a police officer and the possession of opium in 1990. He had escaped from Thawangpha Police Station whilst under arrest, and hid in Hatyai district in Songkhla, but was located by Region 5 officers.

The second, Nopparat Thongyam, 30, from Chiang Rai, was charged with possessing 10,000 ya ba pills and had escaped in Phuket.

The third villain, Chao Wangprachoom, 44, living in Rongkwang district, Phrae, was accused of possessing ya ba and a weapon. Phrae Provincial Police issued a warrant for his arrest on December 26, 2003, but he fled to Bangkok.

The fourth scoundrel, Jantip Pangsamai, 38, from Lamphun was charged with raping his own underage daughter. Mae Tha Police Station issued a warrant of arrest on December 2, 2002, but he escaped to Bangkok. These cases had been transferred to Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 to pursue, which it seems they did very diligently.


War on Drugs III well underway in Chiang Mai

Nopniwat Krailerg

Athacha Kampanad-sanyakorn, head of Drug Combat Center Chiang Mai, said in a weekly conference that following the War on Drug III policy, proclaimed from April 1 to June 30, police officers had pursued and arrested drug dealers, paid close attention to entertainment places, and took care of other related issues.

Backing up these claims, he said that April to June had been an intensive period of arrests, resulting in a policeman from Mae Ai Police Station being arrested; and finding 80,000 ya ba pills and 95,000 baht, but sadly, two drug dealers extra-judicially killed.

There were however, arrests in Fang district, and 10,000 ya ba pills were found, as well as one more arrest in Mae Taeng district, and 79 ya ba pills and a gun were found. A dealer on the wanted list was found in Mae Taeng but was killed. In the area of responsibility of Provincial Police Bureau Region 5, police officers seized the possessions of Sakchai Muangmala, valued at almost 10 million baht, properties in Lamphun, 3 million baht, 70 rai land in Lampang worth 7 million baht, and a car. Moreover, border police in Mae Ai battled with two drug dealers, Adisak Pinij, 37 and Supap Thongsuke, 36, while transferring ya ba, and found 10,000 ya ba pills including two weapons.

Nevertheless, Chiang Mai province will continue to wage this new war against drugs until the end of June, as several plans are afoot, such as the suppression or termination of both wholesale and retail drug dealers who are on the waiting list of the officers, including officers themselves involved in drug dealing, and a map is being produced of the transfer routes both in the city and border areas. A meeting will be held with administrators of each education institute to arrange the X-Ray of students indulging in drugs and take them for rehabilitation. The owners of 400 dormitories in the city will be asked to pay much attention to the residents to prevent drug spreading in the residences.


Another drug dealer’s extra-judicial demise in Chiang Rai

Nopniwat Krailerg

May 20: Narcotic suppression officers killed a drug trafficker near Mae Sai, Chiang Rai. Investigating officers and a doctor visiting the scene found the bullet riddled corpse of Adul Tasake, 57, a Mae Sai villager, lying on the ground while still holding a 9 mm pistol in his right hand. A bag was found beside the body containing 30,000 ya ba pills and a pick up was parked 10 meters away.

The narcotic suppression division had been informed of a drug transfer and staked out the site until Adul drove into the area. After the officers demanded a search of his vehicle, he shot at them at point-blank range, and yet managed to miss every one of them. The police returned fire from the same point-blank range and apparently managed to hit their target several times.


Burmese swimmer drowns

Nopniwat Krailerg

A marine rescue team from Chiang Mai municipality and another from the Ruamjai Foundation were called to rescue a man seen under the Patan Bridge on Chiang Mai-Lampang Superhighway, nearby Lotus Khamthiang.

After a 10 minute search with a milling crowd of ghoulish onlookers, the three rescuers pulled a body ashore. A friend of the dead man said that he was called Azu (family name unknown), 26, and was Burmese. They lived in Klong-ngern community at Tambon Chang Puek in Muang, Chiang Mai, and worked as plumbers.

On that day, after drinking they felt hot and decided to swim in the Ping River under the bridge. Azu jumped in first and disappeared. His friend then called the police. The officers thought that he might have had a cramp as a result of alcohol and the heat. His body was sent to Maharaj Hospital waiting for relatives to claim.



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