Vol. IV No. 23 - Saturday June 4 - June 10. 2005
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NEWS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Slow progress on flyovers draws complaints

700,000 ya ba pills found in Lanna Hospital parking lot

Talk fest continues on mass transportation in Chiang Mai

Bureaucrats squabble over budgets

Chiang Mai asks for half billion development fund

The body of policeman slain in the south returned to grieving relatives

Seal calf born at Chiang Mai Zoo

Navy and Royal Project fight fires and make rain

Vender stands by Chiang Mai zoo moved on

ONCB invites those concerned to confer about ways to put the law into practice

Bus conflict continues unabated

Fuel hikes not depressing motorcycle sales

ICT training project provided for staff and residents

Deputy minister of interior personally checks Mandalay pub

Tai Tribe National Day

Dams to be built in Ping River basin in Chiang Dao

Provincial police commissioner presides over a royally sponsored cremation

Young spray painter suicides after lover’s quarrel

More obscene VCDs discovered

Pha Muang Task Force clashes with drug smugglers, two die

Attempts underway to stop student sex trade

Gullible students lose possessions to putative cyber lovers

Slow progress on flyovers draws complaints

Traffic jams and inconvenience to continue to April 2006

Saksit Meesubkwang

Chiangmai Mail has heard from many readers that no one appears to be responsible for construction at Kuang Singh and San Dek intersections on the superhighway, but much heavy equipment litters the scenes, causing traffic holdups. The situation has worsened since the new school term started, causing long queues at the intersections.

Chiangmai Mail tried many times to enquire of Chiang Mai Highway District 1, responsible for highways in Chiang Mai, and supervising contractors at both points, but were given a brush off until finally, with the cooperation of the Bureau of Highways, Bangkok, we learned that Jirasak Mekwichian was responsible for the construction at Kuang Singh intersection and Chalerm Lerdkul the San Dek intersection.

Jirasak Mekwichian said that the agent company ran out of money in January because metal and cement prices had increased, resulting in the company being unable to afford the materials. The company is now negotiating with a metal and cement supplier and construction was expected to re-start in June. The construction at Kuang Singh intersection is 40 percent complete and San Dek 35 percent; and both flyovers are allegedly on schedule to be completed by April 2006, as agreed in the contract.

He requested the residents to be patient and said he was monitoring the company who would not default on the contract and would be able to complete the projects as planned.

A representative from the company told Chiangmai Mail that they bid a low price for the project while spending much capital on reinforcing steel and cement and thus caused them cash flow difficulties.

The equipment used for construction, they said, was cheap second hand junk from China. We can only hope that the supervising engineers ensure that the new supplier will supply steel and cement to the correct specification.


700,000 ya ba pills found in Lanna Hospital parking lot

Nopniwat Krailerg and Saksit Meesubkwang

A hoard of 700,000 ya ba pills were found in the car parking lot in front of Lanna Hospital on Chiang Mai-Lampang Superhighway on May 30.

Samart Chot-arayaporn, 28, and Thaworn Khongthambaworn, 20, both of Mae Hong Son, were arrested. The officers found 700,000 pills of WY ya ba hidden in the van roof. They were charged with drug possession.

Pol. Lt. Gen. Wongkot Maneerin, assistant commissioner-general with Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, commissioner of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 and Suwat Tantipat, Chiang Mai governor at a press conference to show off the 700,000 ya ba pills confiscated from a van parked at the Lanna Hospital parking lot.

This haul was the result of previous investigations after Cherdsak Yindee was found with only two ya ba pills on May 14, and Soonthorn Lapsopha with five accomplices with 14,000 ya ba pills found on May 17. Police learned that all these dealers dealt mainly in the central parts and in Bangkok.

The police also learnt that the drugs were received from the northern region, from a gang led by Phitsanu Laoree, aka Thanapong, aka Surachai Kirihansap, aka Yai, wanted by the narcotic division for importing drugs from neighboring countries. He was arrested twice with almost 1,500,000 ya ba pills in 2004. It was not revealed why, in 2005, he was not in jail and instead out dealing in more drugs. The two drug dealers caught this time were paid 300,000 baht to transfer ya ba from the north to Bangkok, and were captured while parking at Lanna Hospital.

The roof hiding the drugs was modified and an opening was fitted on the outside. The two criminals confessed that the all the ya ba belonged to Phitsanu who had now fled to a neighboring country. The police would cooperate with that country (from where the drugs originated) to pursue him for prosecution processes.

Pol. Lt. Gen. Wongkot Maneerin said that it was necessary to cooperate with neighboring countries to suppress drug dealing in every region, and this arrest was successful only because of the cooperation among officers in Ayuthaya, Nonthaburi and Chiang Mai.


Talk fest continues on mass transportation in Chiang Mai

There’s still a long queue at the bus stop

Nopniwat Krailerg

Cooperating private sector committees, the Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Chiang Mai Industries and Chiang Mai Bank Club invited organizations, universities and schools in Chiang Mai and other concerned persons to meet on May 25 at the Park Hotel, Chiang Mai. The objective being to talk about mass transportation in Chiang Mai, focusing especially on the municipality busses that are facing some difficulties, needing to be dealt with quickly. The conference would present the results to Suwat Tantipat, Chiang Mai governor, as he was the CEO who could consider the issue and speed up the process.

Narong Tananuwat, president of the Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce.

In the meeting, several parties agreed on the set up of mass transportation to reduce traffic jams and pollution and to meet consumer requirements, reiterating that all conflicts must be solved. Moreover, PAO and TAO outside the municipality area, earning high revenue such as Tambon Suthep and Nong Pa Krang Administration Organizations, should also be part of the busses’ management team, as the municipality area covered only 40.2 square kilometers, but bus services would go beyond that area, since the PAO and TAO in Chiang Mai could collect 400 million baht tax per year. It was also felt that new routes should not interfere with the red mini busses routes.

Narong Tananuwat, president of the Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce, said that the private sectors committees reached consensus on four issues to be presented to the governor: 1. The governor should be the leader solving the mass transportation obstructions by organizing main routes passing schools in the city. 2. Promote the campaign for residents and students taking public vehicles to decrease number of private vehicles on the road. 3. Link mass transportation systemically allowing parking at pick up points and fixing permanent schedules and 4. Release the busses as soon as possible.

Narong accepted that there had been a business conflict for 10 years over Chiang Mai’s mass transportation system. However let us see if the impasse can be broken.

The mass transit system conference.


Bureaucrats squabble over budgets

While Chiang Mai sinks under a haze of vehicle pollution

Nopniwat Krailerg

Although a budget of 145 million baht had been approved by the cabinet in 2004 to study mass transport system in Chiang Mai, academics at Chiang Mai University said that there was confusion between two organizations, resulting in a one year postponement.

Chaithawat Saowaphon, from the Chiang Mai mass transport study team.

Chaithawat Saowaphon, director of Communication Technology Center of Chiang Mai University, said that as he was the representative of the mass transport system in Chiang Mai study team, being assigned by the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning (OTP), Minister of Transport, to study the system within ten months. The study started in December 2004, when the cooperation contract was signed. The goal was to plan the transport system, combining red mini busses, other busses and electric trains with the support of OTP, Chiang Mai Municipality and Chiang Mai University. However, the study team had not received the funds to follow up.

He added that he had contacted OTP on May 20, as the 145 million baht had not yet been transferred. The budget had been approved by the cabinet, and now it was at the Bureau of the Budget Thailand, but OTP thought that it was at the National Economic and Social Development Board, while that board proclaimed that it was the duty of OTP. If the funds are not transferred within this year, it might be postponed to next year causing a great waste of time. The government agreed to develop Chiang Mai’s mass transit to encompass an electric train system, and requested it to be realized quickly, not just studied.

“The conflict at the moment clogging the mass transport in Chiang Mai is that unbalanced organizations involved in the process has caused the release of the 26 busses to be deferred. In fact, the process should be under the responsibility of the private sector,” he suggested.

He added, “The government fears that the mass transport system in Chiang Mai will fall into the same trap as in Bangkok, and that the government is not able to solve the problem. In my opinion it doesn’t need a budget from the government but the expenditure of local funds, such as municipality supporting 75 percent and 25 percent coming from PAO, as the PAO collects taxes amounting to 400 million baht per year. It will be good to see cooperation between the municipality and PAO or TAO, because the busses need to run out of the area of the municipality to PAO and TAO areas.”


Chiang Mai asks for half billion development fund

Management of current projects criticized

Nopniwat Krailerg

Prinya Panthong, deputy governor of Chiang Mai, chaired a meeting of administrative committees of Chiang Mai development departments to inform them about a petition asking for 527 million baht fund from the government to manage 77 projects as the new target strategy.

Chiang Mai MPs such as Boonsong Teriyapirom, Phanintra Pakasame and Pornchai Arthapriyakoon all agreed to ask for the budget to solve the garbage, natural resources and environment problems, especially garbage which was a great problem in Chiang Mai at present that requires a quick solution. Although some basic systems to manage the garbage are in place, they are insufficient, resulting in garbage piled up and affecting residents, plus creating a poor image of Chiang Mai.

The Chiang Mai CEO was criticized by MPs who claimed the province of Chiang Mai was not even able to manage the budget allocated for the current 11 development projects. These projects were reviewed in the conference and all agreed that other projects need to be clarified and verified, and documents had to be provided to report to the government if necessary.


The body of policeman slain in the south returned to grieving relatives

Saksit Meesubkwang

The body of Pol. Sen. Sgt. Maj. Chitchai Prasart, 44, subordinate of Phayao Provincial Police special Task Force was transferred to Wing 41 in Chiang Mai on May 25, to be claimed by his grieving relatives. He had clashed with terrorists in Sai Buri district, Pattani, and had been killed on May 24.

Pol. Sen. Sgt. Maj. Chitchai Prasart returns home to a full salute.

Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, commissioner of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5, led police to hand over the body to his grief-stricken relatives in his hometown, Dok Khamtai district, Phayao.

The commissioner said that Pol. Sen. Sgt. Maj. Chitchai Prasart would be posthumously promoted five ranks of police and seven classes of salary, becoming Police Lieutenant Colonel and his daughter would be supported until her graduation from university and she would be accepted as a government official with the rank of Policewoman Sub-Lieutenant.

Pol. Sen. Sgt. Maj. Chitchai Prasart was a Lampang Police Constable Student, having a daughter, 17, and a son, 8. He had been on duty in the southern region for four months before his untimely death.


Seal calf born at Chiang Mai Zoo

Chiang Mai Zoo hands out the cigars

Saksit Meesubkwang

Chiang Mai Zoo announced the birth of the first baby seal born at the zoo on May 27, the result of breeding African seals. Both mother and baby were well and healthy.

Mother and the new zoo member, baby seal in Chiang Mai Zoo.

Thanapat Pongpamorn, Chiang Mai Zoo director, said that there were 80,000 animals in the zoo, winged animals, marine animals, land animals and amphibians. Seals are in the last category and there are five seals in Chiang Mai Zoo. An 80 kg 7 year old female named Yak gave birth to a baby seal weighing in at 5 kg. The baby opened its eyes and pushed to take milk from the mother while officers watched anxious mid-wives to ensure the success of the birth.

The seals are Cape Fur Seals from South Africa, and there are only two zoos in Thailand displaying this kind, Chiang Mai and Nakhon Ratchasima zoos. The seals first arrived in Chiang Mai in March 2000. It is considered a noteworthy accomplishment for Chiang Mai Zoo to breed this kind of seal.

The public is invited to see the new baby everyday from 8.30-15.00. The zoo is offering an opportunity for children to name the baby seal, and more information can be obtained at the public relations office at Chiang Mai Zoo.


Navy and Royal Project fight fires and make rain

Royal Thai Naval Air Force demonstrates forest fire extinguishing and informs about royal artificial rain making

Nopniwat Krailerg

Wing 41 Chiang Mai staged a forest fire fighting demonstration with BT 67 and C 130 aircraft. The demonstration took place at Huay Tung Thao Lake in Mae Rim, Chiang Mai, only 50 meters away from the fire area.

C 130 aircraft demonstrates fighting forest fires, spraying, at Huay Tung Thao Lake, Chiang Mai.

Eighteen aircraft belonging to the Royal Thai Naval Air Force are on call for extinguishing forest fires, with 365 officers, 1,047 flights and 1,167 flying hours since February, 2005. The aircraft have been fitted electronic homing devices to extinguish fires in cooperation with ground officers, thus enabling them to quickly move to the location of the fire.

For the royal artificial rain making project, Wing 41 Chiang Mai provided 6 pilots and 22 officers undertook artificial rain sorties between March 1 to May 19, 2005, with 286 flights, and discharged 199 tons of chemical substance, increasing the rain by 55 percent in 15 days. This helped to increase the water in Bhumibol Dam, Tak, Mae Guang and Mae Ngad Dam, Chiang Mai and Kewlome dam in Lampang by 146 million cubic meters.


Vender stands by Chiang Mai zoo moved on

Saksit Meesubkwang

Vender stands, previously in front of Chiang Mai Zoo, have been moved to a soi beside Rukhachad Public Park, by order of Chiang Mai’s deputy governor. The new area is a busy one, with many visitors passing by on their way to several tourist venues such as Chiang Mai Zoo, Kru Ba Sriwichai monument and Phra Thad Doi Suthep.

Huay Kaew Road, renewed and re-colored.

The deputy governor added that there would be flowers planted to beautify the scenery, and that the footpath would also be colored. Red mini busses would be requested to park at a new parking area that was safer, adding to the local color.

The vendor stands had been there for almost 30 years but none have upgraded in that time, giving the area a run-down grey look.


ONCB invites those concerned to confer about ways to put the law into practice

Saksit Meesubkwang

Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB regions 5 and 6) organized a meeting on May 26 at Novotel Hotel, Chiang Mai, and invited governors and provincial commanders and concerned sectors from 17 Northern provinces to participate in a session transferring authority to each province to deal with drug problems in their respective area, and automatically report the results, and according to law.

Kopkul Chanthawaro, director Legal Affairs Division, ONCB.

Kopkul Chanthawaro, director Legal Affairs Division, ONCB, said that the conference aimed to disseminate information about maintaining drug suppression and pursuit laws, as the government required. There were different places at risk for drug dealings, therefore the ONCB believes in sharing the responsibility with each province to deal with the problem.

Cities rather than villages and rural areas are at risk. The officers should pay special attention in cities because they are centers for dealing drugs, but the officers had also to realize citizens’ rights, as some may not be involved themselves in the dealings but might be wrongfully accused or framed by drug dealers who cooperated with the officers in order to reduce their own punishment.


Bus conflict continues unabated

Red minibuses to petition PM

Nopniwat Krailerg

A meeting of the Nakorn Lanna Transport Cooperatives to conclude balance sheets and present the results of the year 2004, was attended by 2,800 members, led by their president Singhkham Nunti.

Operators of Chiang Mai’s red minibuses are worried about how the new bus system will affect their livelihood.

One of the more important points of the conference was how red minibuses would be affected by the proposed 26 municipality busses that would run on three main routes; from behind Chiang Mai University to the city along Suthep Rd. passing the canal on Chang Moi Rd. to superhighway near Payap University then return; the second routes starting from the train station to Thapae Gate up to Chiang Mai Gate and then returning; and the last route beginning from Nong Hoi to the airport and to the city along Waroros Road.

It was still uncertain whether these busses would be released in June, but these routes were interconnected with the red minibus routes. The cooperative said that it had never consulted with the sector concerning the bus service, even Chiang Mai University had studied and planned public transportation system to support all kinds of public vehicles, but the municipality still went on its own sweet way to serve residents with those busses, helping them, but causing problems for the cooperatives.

The conference agreed to resist the busses if they went into service on June 10, and the cooperative members would present a petition to PM Thaksin Shinawatra on his trip to Chiang Mai in June. However, the members agreed not to trouble residents so they would not obstruct any routes and would keep within rules of resistance.


Fuel hikes not depressing motorcycle sales

Motorcycle registrations are up in Q1

Nopniwat Krailerg

Even though fuel oil, benzene and diesel prices have been increasing and the government has campaigned to reduce private vehicle usage and promoting public transportation (albeit currently still-born), Chiang Mai residents purchased many cars and motorcycles in the first four months of this year, thus seriously increasing Chiang Mai’s traffic jams.

Autsathai Rattanadilok Na Phuket, head of Chiang Mai provincial transportation office, said that there were over 1,000 new vehicle registrations each month, while motorcycles registration stood at almost 20,000 in the same period. These figures reflect an increase of 900 cars and 1,297 motorcycles over the previous year.


ICT training project provided for staff and residents

Chiangmai Mail Reporters

Chiang Mai is to be a pilot province for “ICT City” and a center of knowledge, training and technology information resources in the northern region - but unfortunately - only in the city, therefore the province has planned to educate those people living outside the cities with technology information for both residents and government officials.

Chiang Mai’s governor has approved 2 million baht and assigned the Technology Information Service Center, Chiang Mai University to provide an ICT training project for staff and residents, by sending mobile teams to install high speed internet and notebook computers in 22 districts and two sub-districts, and carry out mobile training for two days in each district. The training is about general computer use, technology information and internet networking. Organizers expect 1,000 people to attend training in each district.

This project also provides e-learning or long distance remote learning to coach residents and government officials both in cities and districts. 13 aspects of technology information have been prepared for the training, such as computer basics, how to take care of computers, security systems, virus, internet, network processes, typing, presentation, information base, e-commerce website creating, multimedia and graphic MIS and GIS. This information will be recorded in 1,500 CDs with e-learning information, to be given to interested people. Furthermore, the computers are able to link with a server, searching for information through the internet and it is predicted residents and government officials could reach e-learning from anywhere and any moment - except the many places in the provinces where, though educated residents abound, no land lines have yet been laid and such places are being ignored. It is expected that 200,000 persons will join the project this year.


Deputy minister of interior personally checks Mandalay pub

500 urine tests nets 14 miscreants

Nopniwat Krailerg

Sermsak Pongpanit, deputy minister of interior, and Suwat Tantipat, Chiang Mai governor, led almost one hundred personnel, including suppression officers and Chiang Mai Provincial Public Health Office employees to check the Mandalay on Saturday, May 28, on Moonmuang Road, Chiang Mai. They had been tipped off that it was full of youngsters and others drinking and dancing.

Panic ensued when the night-owls saw the 100 strong enforcers arrive, but the exit doors were already closed and they were able to check each ID card, finding one teenager younger than 18 years old, as well as 14 persons with a positive urine drug sample after checking almost 500 visitors over three hours. Those who proved positive said that that they just took medicine, not drugs, but the officers took the culprits for further medical checks. They would be prosecuted if the results still appeared positive, while the owner of the venue would be prosecuted for allowed a teenager younger than 18 years old to enter.

Sermsak said that since he had traveled to Chiang Mai he felt it incumbent on a government minister to personally supervise the urine testing and survey the increase of drug use among teenagers. The checking process also looked into safety, drugs, weapons and noise pollution.


Tai Tribe National Day

Saksit Meesubkwang

On May 21, at Tai Lang general headquarters, the largest base of the Shan State Armies (SSA) on the Thai-Burmese border and opposite Baan Pang Kham in Mae Hong Son, celebrated the 47th anniversary of the Tai Tribe National Day, joined by SSA residents, soldiers and 300 guests from Thailand, but the mood was not very lively. There was no military parade because most soldiers were on duty.

Col. Yodsuek spoke of the cooperation between the SSA and SSNA to battle against Burmese government army, saying that the leader of the SSNA, Col. Jaiyi, led a troop who had deserted from the Burmese army join the SSA instead, to combat the Burmese government army to fight for the independence of the Shan State.

He said that this cooperation would certainly help the SSA become stronger and able to fight the Burmese government army. The SSA leader appealed to the world to pay attention and to support the SSA troops to suppress drugs in Shan State, because it could be successful. Furthermore, human rights were another problem in Shan State which needed to be resolved, and he requested international countries to deal with the conflict.

As for the conflict between Red Wah and SSA, it was because of a misunderstanding that a SSA leader led a troop to attack a heroin producing factory owed by the Red Wah at Baan Huay Ha. The SSA argued that it was not them and said that Red Wah wanted to cooperate with the Burmese government army to suppress the SSA, resulting in the SSA losing much of its military force.


Dams to be built in Ping River basin in Chiang Dao

Pha Muang Task Force rolls up its sleeves

Nopniwat Krailerg

One thousand dams are expected to be built in the Ping River basin in Chiang Dao, Chiang Mai, to honor HM the King on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of his reign. The project is entitled “To Develop Ping River Basin in Chiang Dao District” to collect and reserve natural resources, soil and water at Baan Muang Na, Tambon Muang Na in Chiang Dao. Dr. Charan Trinwuttipong, assistant minister of agriculture and cooperatives, presided over the opening ceremony.

One dam currently being constructed is at Baan San Klang, established in 2000, a village of 130 persons who emigrated from Burma. It is located on the foot of Doi Tuay hill, three kilometers away from Muang Na border at Mae Ping’s headwater.

The dam construction is under the responsibility of Pha Muang Task Force, therefore Maj. Gen. Pairat Thongjaktu, Pha Muang Task Force commissioner, is cooperating with dam construction campaigners as it is a Royally-initiated Project. Thirty dams have already been built since November 27, 2004, at Baan Lak Tang, Tambon Piang Luang in Wiang Haeng, Chiang Mai, and construction will continue until all dams have been completed. Local residents will be encouraged to pay attention to natural resources and headwaters in order to preserve them.


Provincial police commissioner presides over a royally sponsored cremation

Mae Hong Son policeman honored posthumously

Saksit Meesubkwang

Pol. Cpl. Jamlong Janthiboon, 37, head of the investigation department at Khun Yuam Police Station, Mae Hong Son, who was shot and killed on duty, had a royally sponsored cremation on May 24 at Mae Hong Son municipality crematorium. Pol. Maj. Gen. Thong-in Harnpajonsuek, Mae Hong Son Provincial Police, was present as was Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, commissioner of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5.

Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, commissioner of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 at the funeral of Pol. Cpl. Jamlong Janthiboon, who was shot in the course of duty.

Pol. Cpl. Jamlong had led 50 policemen to arrest Pongsathorn Baramikitkul at a hut in the forest in Khun Yuam district, Mae Hong Son. The officers surrounded the hut and Pol. Cpl. Jamlong walked towards the hut and was shot. Although the officers returned fire, the criminal fled.

Pol. Maj. Gen. Thong-in said after the funeral ceremony that he had assigned one hundred police officers to catch the fugitive with a deadline for arrest of seven days. Pol. Cpl. Jamlong Janthiboon would be promoted to Police Lieutenant, with seven orders of salary adjustment, and the family of the deceased would be supported so that his children can continue to study until they receive their bachelor degrees.


Young spray painter suicides after lover’s quarrel

Saksit Meesubkwang

On May 22, it was reported to Pol, Lt. Col. Chadchapol Ongsiriporn, duty inspector of Mae Ping Police Station in Muang, Chiang Mai, that a man died after jumping from a condominium in Muang, Chiang Mai.

Police and rescue teams found the man’s body, lying face down and wearing only jeans. After checking, it appeared that his neck and left leg were broken. He was identified as Suwit Inthajak, 25, living at Tambon Chaisatan in Saraphi, Chiang Mai, working as a spray painter in a garage in Saraphi, Chiang Mai.

Ratchanee Wongsraluang, 39, living on Sri Mala Rd. in Muang, Phichit, the dead man’s girlfriend, informed the police that they had known each other for two months and before the tragedy happening, she and the dead man had argued, because her boyfriend had drunk too much alcohol. She asked him to go back home and instead of doing so, he went to the veranda and jumped.

The police officers checked the room on the fourth floor but found nothing indicating a fight, only cigarettes, food and beer on a table in the room. The body was sent to Maharaj Hospital to check the blood alcohol level, and the officers would contact his relatives to take possession of the body.


More obscene VCDs discovered

Now being supplied by mail order!

Nopniwat Krailerg

On May 28, police searched VCD shops at Computer Plaza on Maninoparat Road in Chiang Mai, after having learned that those shops sold obscene VCDs to the public by mail.

The search found 255 obscene VCDs of both Thai and overseas origins, and the 18 year old shopkeeper was arrested. This offence could earn him a prison sentence of three years or a fine of not over 6,000 baht. The seller bailed himself out with 10,000 baht.

The police said that most VCD shops smuggled in obscene movies as they brought in a good income, and the owner would hire a junior to take care of the shop to avoid personal arrest. There were still several shops in computer centers in Chiang Mai doing this trade but they, possibly having been warned by an insider, were always able to flee with their salacious videos before the search.


Pha Muang Task Force clashes with drug smugglers, two die

Nopniwat Krailerg

Having learnt that a drug transfer would take place in Chiang Rai, a checkpoint was set up to catch and arrest the dealers.

On May 27, officers patrolled the Thai-Burmese border up to Kao Lang. A kilometer away from the village they found four men with weapons entering Thailand and accosted them but the four men fled and threw a grenade.

Both sides exchanged fire for ten minutes and when it died down, two hill tribesmen’s bodies were found. They also discovered blood stains and a bag containing 4,200 ya ba pills, 200 grams of raw opium and 150 grams of heroin. The soldiers pursued the gang but could not catch them.

It was suspected that this troop was an advance-guard for a following caravan of drug smugglers. There were more drug transfers into Thailand passing Baan Pang Mahan and Baan Hmong Kao Lang. These villages were high risk points for drug enforcers due to their location near the Thai-Burmese border and opposite Muang Mai, an area apparently belonging to the Red Wah, a Burmese government supported tribal army producing the drugs.


Attempts underway to stop student sex trade

Saksit Meesubkwang

On May 24 at Thammaraj Seuksa Chiang Mai School (monk school), Tambon Phra Singh in Muang, Chiang Mai, and the Social Development and Human Security Office Chiang Mai set up a workshop for managing basic information for preventing young ladies entering the sex trade. Supported by the international organizations ILO/IPEC, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Phayao were encouraged to be pilot provinces during the years 2005-2006. It was to determine the basis for a standard of human trade information to solve and prevent the problem.

Mongkol Danwilaipitikul, head of Social Development and Human Security Office Chiang Mai, said that to manage a data information system for young ladies in the sex trade could prevent and solve the problem, and it would indicate groups that were at risk, by planning procedures and budgets on human trade, including choosing target areas. Target groups in Chiang Mai were underage children and ladies working in the city, as well as alien communities in six provinces; Mae Ai, Fang, Chai Prakan, Chiang Dao, Phrao and Wiang Haeng. In addition, the problem of young beggars and flower sellers needs to be solved quickly.

Pol. Lt. Col. Somsong Monthakoon, inspector of Provincial Police Bureau Region 5, said that human trade in nine Northern provinces was similar to that in the past, but it was not serious in Chiang Mai. However, he was concerned about children enjoying playing questionable games and more young students involved in the sex trade by leaving their phone numbers with agents. These youngsters were willing to perform sexual services even without any pressure, only for materialistic reasons, and some were involved in the process because friends persuaded them. Nowadays, he said, the sex trade has changed. If men wanted the service they would contact Tuk Tuk drivers or hotel staff, and some of those men were government officials. However, the police officers were paying a lot of attention to the sex trade.

Bopit Wittawirote, director of Chiang Mai Provincial Culture Office, believed that the sex trade in Chiang Mai was spreading and needed to be solved urgently by cooperation between every sector. He accepted that the city society influenced youngsters to becoming materialistic, for example through expensive cell phones and brand name clothes.

To solve the problem, young people should be taught more morals; therefore all sectors concerned organized a seminar held June 2-4, with teaching undertaken by 102 monks at Chiang Mai Buddhist Place, before being sent to teach in various locations.


Gullible students lose possessions to putative cyber lovers

Nopniwat Krailerg

A master degree student from a government university informed the police she lost several personal items, including a motorcycle, a cell phone, a private document folder and a thesis, in a motel at Tambon Chang Puek in Muang Chiang Mai. The victim said that she knew the villain was probably 25 years old, and had met him via ‘cyber-chat’ three days ago.

They arranged to meet each other at the motel. She rode her motorcycle to the scene and when she ventured into the rest room, the man stole her jeans, cell phones, money and used the motorcycle to flee the scene. He was about 170 cm tall, thin and had thick eyebrows. She begged to have her thesis back.

Another university student, studying at the same institute, lost items in the same way in the same place — but this time the phantom e-snatcher was a 25 year old woman. They met over the internet, and the victim drove a car picking her up to take her to the motel and, while she was in the toilet, the cyber-snatcher stole her possessions. The police believed that they were operating together and warned teenagers not to trust strangers they might meet over the internet, as they may come to much more serious harm than losing a thesis and a motorcycle. (Perhaps the thesis was on gullibility?)



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