NEWS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever eradication plans in motion

PM faces mobs in Chiang Mai

One death from malaria in Mae Hong Son

Phantom knicker nicker uncovered

Researchers find air pollution in 2004 even worse

PM gives his blessing to bio-diesel research project

The end of ugly advertising hoardings?

Chiang Mai Zoo makes a profit for the first time in 50 years

Chiang Rai continues control measures for Hepatitis A

100 Samoeng residents flee from risky area

PM opens new building at Pang Dang School, a model for Thai education

Long neck Karen tribe for relocation from Mae Ai

Panichayakarn Insurance to pay debts or close

Important Immigration information

230 million baht funding for more water

Bio-diesel - the new cottage industry?

Tsunami orphans need your help too

Students ask for Chiang Mai mass transport

Indigent villagers in Doi Lo district complain of favoritism

Mae Ai village ransacked for drugs

Thai, Lao and Burmese narcotics suppression police cooperate in drug bust in Burma

Chai Prakan bust nets 30,000 ya ba pills in a hut

Red faces after drug arrest

Grope gripe against red minibus driver

Female purse snatcher trapped in Tesco Lotus

Traffic police corruption

Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever eradication plans in motion

PAO initiates a program after 200 sufferers are found

Nopniwat Krailerg

Chiang Mai PAO and the Provincial Public Health Office, Insects Disease Control Center ran a program to eliminate mosquito larva that is the vector in dengue hemorrhagic fever. This disease is rife this year with a significant increase in patients and deaths.

The PAO will spray chemical substances and add sand granules into water containers to get rid of the larvae. Officers from the Insects Disease Control Center Area 10 and Chiang Mai pack Squadron Camp will give information to residents on how to prevent the disease.

Chiang Mai PAO president, Thawatwong Na Chiangmai said that hemorrhagic fever is a national problem. The number of patients and deaths in Chiang Mai had increased; therefore the entire population should participate with the province and all sectors to annihilate mosquito larvae.

Dr. Surasing Wisarootrat, who is responsible for control of the dengue hemorrhagic fever, added that there had been 200 victims since January 2005, of whom, two later died. Most patients were found in San Pa Tong, San Kamphaeng, Muang and San Sai, and only one or two patients were found in other districts.


PM faces mobs in Chiang Mai

Is the gloss wearing thin?

Saksit Meesubkwang

PM Thaksin Shinawatra visited Chiang Mai on June 10–12. He went to see teaching methods at San Kamphaeng Wittayakom School and chaired the administration seminar for teachers at Lotus Pang Suan Kaew Hotel, Chiang Mai.

Mobs greet PM Thaksin Shinawatra on a trip to northern provinces.

On June 11, the PM presented land rights documents to farmers, organized by the Assets Capitalization Bureau and Maejo University and visited the bio-diesel factory in San Sai district.

On June 12, Phrao residents had his presence in the morning and those of Pai, Mae Hong Son in the afternoon. There he told tourism businessmen that the government would support Pai as a tourism venue in future because it had cool air and the Pai atmosphere was attractive.

The once popular PM’s passage on the way to Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son was impeded by yelling mobs who presented petitions, such as that by people suffering at the hands of bureaucrats and some from those affected by government policy. The PM accepted all petitions and gave his word that he would deal with the problems with justice for both residents and the government.


One death from malaria in Mae Hong Son

Public Health officers spray chemicals as prevention

Saksit Meesubkwang

Dr. Suwat Kittidilokul, head of Mae Hong Son Public Health Office revealed that the malaria situation in Mae Hong Son was worrisome despite the office setting up 25 malaria clinics in villages along the border to control malaria from neighboring countries.

Anti-Malaria volunteers enter each village to check for malaria in the blood and immediately treat each victim. 121 persons were found with the disease out of the 1,133 villagers checked. All of them are now being treated.

The doctor added that, since January 2005, there had been 314 malaria patients in Mae Sariang district, 47 patients in Sop Moei district, 26 patients in Khun Yuam, 2 patients in Pai and 5 patients and one death from the disease in Pang Mapha district

However, after the office learned that malaria was spreading, it sent officers to spray chemicals in villages and schools and to immerse mosquito nets with a chemical substance to deter the mosquito and have given knowledge about the disease to the villagers.


Phantom knicker nicker uncovered

Nopniwat Krailerg

Motivated by either fetishism or greed, a Burmese laborer crept into the room of an 18 year old female university student whilst she slept in the Wongnet residence in Singharaj Road, making off with her panties and a cell phone.

The hapless maiden called him on her number and asked for the return of at least the phone, to which he concurred - provided that she would allow him some old fashioned rumpy-pumpy.

She readily agreed but sneakily informed the police, who were able to arrest the licentious laborer before he was able to have his wicked way with her. He was apprehended with the panties, cell phone and an obscene VCD, but it was not confirmed that this last had come from the lass’s room.

The student said that she had lost her underwear several times but she did not know who the thief was until the cell phone also disappeared and she was able to telephone the burglar and arrange the arresting assignation. She warned anyone living in any residence to lock their doors when relaxing because it is risky not to do so.


Researchers find air pollution in 2004 even worse

Nopniwat Krailerg

Researchers revealed most air pollution problems result from smoke and found most causes come from an increasing number of grilled food shops, plus new restaurants in hotels. Chiang Mai residents are now more affected by the air pollution than ever before, causing respiratory problems and premature deaths.

Chiang Mai residents are now more affected by air pollution than ever before.

Dr. Duangchan Apawatcharuj, researcher from the Social Research Institute, Chiang Mai University, reported that the patient numbers affected by air pollution in Chiang Mai Ram Hospital from January to December 2004 had risen to 16,440 persons with respiratory problems, 38 patients with lung cancer, and 343 patients with heart attacks and ischemic heart disease. In the first three months of this year, there were 5,168 patients with respiratory problems, 9 patients with lung cancer and 126 cardiac patients.

Air pollution death rates in Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital were also high, she said.

Mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn said that Chiang Mai would apply several projects during 2005-2007, and some of those projects would try prevent environment problems. The mayor requested everyone to protect the environment.


PM gives his blessing to bio-diesel research project

Saksit Meesubkwang

On June 12, PM Thaksin Shinawatra presided over the opening ceremony of the bio-diesel research and demonstration project in San Sai, Chiang Mai. This is part of the government’s plans to stop dependence upon expensive fuel oils.

PM Thaksin Shinawatra symbolically starts bio-diesel production.

The government has supported alternative energy to be a national issue that Thai citizens should follow, and is going to support planting bio-diesel crops such as palm, saboo dam, sugarcane and millet. Vegetable oils can be used to produce bio-diesel.

The bio-diesel research and demonstration project in Chiang Mai is the first bio-diesel production project in Thailand and ASEAN. It has been in progress since last year and is able to produce 2,000 liters per day and there are 300,000 liters produced for the 200 red minibuses in Chiang Mai.


The end of ugly advertising hoardings?

Nopniwat Krailerg

Signboards on pavements and elsewhere have long been a hazard and an eyesore to the public and tourists alike. Now business owners in Chiang Mai are being told to keep their hoardings tidy, especially those placed on footpaths and on electricity poles.

Shops in Chiang Mai place advertising boards on footpath embarrassing others and looking ugly. (Photo by Preeyanoot Jittawong)

Decha Pooplab, head of Chiang Mai municipality security officers, in cracking down on this problem, said that officers had to ask business owners politely to remove offending boards but, if they did not cooperate, let them know that they had acted against the public good and not helped to keep the city clean, tidy and beautiful.


Chiang Mai Zoo makes a profit for the first time in 50 years

Pandas bring in 13 million baht

Nopniwat Krailerg

Sophon Damnui, director of the Zoological Park Organization under the Royal Patronage of HM the King, revealed that there were more visitors to Chiang Mai Zoo since the two pandas moved in two years ago, resulting in profits in the year 2004, for the first time in 51 years.

Profitable pandas in Chiang Mai Zoo.

Total profits earned came to 13 million baht, while Dusit Zoo, Khao Kheow Open Zoo, Nakhon Ratchasima Zoo and Songkhla Zoo did not make any profits. The profit was the result of displaying the two pandas.

“The first year after the two pandas arrived, it made a profit, so it was worthwhile to get the two bears in Chiang Mai Zoo,” Sophon said.

The director added that he would meet the French ambassador to Thailand to request five Brow-antlered Deer or Eld’s Deer from France to import to Thailand. France had received 5-6 Thai species Brow-antlered Deer from Vietnam and they had bred 50-60 deer. However, they were interbred and only five deer were left. They all might die later unless they can breed with some species in Thailand and strengthen the breed genetically. There were currently only 10 Thai species Brow-antlered Deer left in Thailand zoos.


Chiang Rai continues control measures for Hepatitis A

Dirty water during Songkran indicated in epidemic

Staff Reporters

Chiang Rai Provincial Public Health Office continues to monitor Hepatitis A and expects the epidemic will be over after July 21, 2005, but reminds people to ensure that the water they drink is potable.

Dr. Thepnaruemit Metnawin, head of Chiang Rai Provincial Public Health Office, said that Hepatitis A had spread in Chiang Rai since May and the Office had ordered closure of two water and ice producing factories in Wiang Pa Pao, and had sent officers to survey and collect water and ice samples in Wiang Pa Pao district and Mae Suai, Chiang Rai and Wang Nuea, Lampang. If the samples are below standard, the factories in the three districts would be closed but could open again after they had shown their products to have reached the required standards.

However, if no new cases have occurred within 51 days, the Chiang Rai Provincial Public Health Office will end the monitoring process on July 21, 2005. It was found that ice and water producing factories rushed to produce water and ice to support the demand during the Songkran festival in April and the residents were not very careful in splashing water, resulting in the spread of Hepatitis A.


100 Samoeng residents flee from risky area

Nopniwat Krailerg

Sanaw Taptawee, Samoeng district chief officer, Chiang Mai, revealed that Baan Mai Pattana or Baan Takham villagers at Tambon Yang Muen in Samoeng, Chiang Mai, were running scared after the Department of Mineral Resources had proclaimed the area to be a high risk area subject to collapse due to the limestone caves in that area.

20 families demolished their houses to move to a forest 800 meters away from the village, and the remaining seven families were following suit. Before the villagers moved out, province and Yang Muen TAO officials came to inform them that the villagers had to evacuate immediately if 100 millimeters of rain fell.

The district chief officer said that Baan Mai Pattana is located at the foot of a hill, and water is permeating the underground rocks, leading to catastrophic collapse.

Suwat Tantipat, Chiang Mai governor said that the province had planned to avert flooding, mudslides, collapses and all kinds of natural disasters, especially during raining season. Nevertheless, the department confirmed that Omkoi, Mae Chaem, Samoeng and several districts, especially areas near a creek and the foot of a hill were at risk with heavy rain.


PM opens new building at Pang Dang School, a model for Thai education

Declares hilltribe people born in Thailand are Thai

Saksit Meesubkwang

On June 10, PM Thaksin Shinawatra presided over the opening ceremony of a new building at Pang Dang School at Tambon Doi Saket in Doi Saket district, Chiang Mai.

PM Thaksin Shinawatra plays basketball with students.

The Ministry of Education has planned to provide a model school in each province, by supporting modern teaching aids to each school, and offering students an opportunity to improve.

Pang Dang School is the model elementary school in Chiang Mai. It was established in October 2004 with a 7 million baht budget, and completed in May 2005, now consisting of three buildings. There are computers linked to high speed internet and other amenities including hygienic canteens and toilets.

The PM said that he would not forget to support education, because it is necessary in the IT era. He assigned the Ministry of Education to survey a poor school in each province then support it to become a model school to encourage and develop students.

He said, “Pang Dang School is located in a Karen village and Karen tribes live in Thailand, so it can be said that they are Thai. I would like them to have equal knowledge to improve themselves. Whoever was born in Thailand will not be separated into tribes, but we all are the same: Thai. It is lucky for the students and villagers that the Ministry has chosen Pang Dang School.”


Long neck Karen tribe for relocation from Mae Ai

Saksit Meesubkwang

Adisorn Kamnerdsiri, Mae Ai district chief officer, claims that 79 families, accounting for 350 villagers at Baan San Sook are facing mudslides, which last year damaged many houses. Chiang Mai province has provided rain gages and has held training workshops on mudslides. Officials have the area on 24 hour surveillance and would immediately inform villagers of any danger.

Long neck Karen woman with her children will have to move out from their risky village, if heavy rains continue.

One village, Baan Yapa located in Mae Ai district, combining three hill tribes, Akha, yellow Lahu and long neck Karen, has 20 houses with about 60 villagers set up as a tourism venue. However, the Department of Mineral Resources has recently proclaimed it is at risk of mudslides, and all the hill tribes will be moved to a safer location.

Adisorn said that the villagers did not want to move from the village but were being forced to because of the danger of collapsing soil.

Montree Namsai, 38, a disaster volunteer living at Tambon Thaiton, said that the villagers used to experience mudslides and are now afraid of rain at night. They have prepared their personal belongings, ready to flee any time. He could not sleep well because he had to measure rain volume during the night and he just hoped that there was no heavy rain and the rainy season in the area would pass quickly.

Meanwhile, 27 families from Baan Mai Pattana evacuated the village after the department said that it was a risky area, but the villagers at Baan San Sook and Baan Yapa in Mae Ai said they would not move until the rain volume became critical. Nevertheless, they had built some permanent houses to flee to during the rainy season, without asking for funds from government officials.

In addition, the officers concerned informed Chiang Dao residents to be prepared to flee from some risky areas, and had informed vehicles passing Chiang Dao-Fang to be careful of mudslides.


Panichayakarn Insurance to pay debts or close

Nopniwat Krailerg

The insurance director general has commanded Panichayakarn Insurance not to accept general insurance until the company is able to deal with compensation of at least 120 million baht outstanding.

Piyanart Sukumonjan, head of Chiang Mai Insurance Office

Piyanart Sukumonjan, head of Chiang Mai Insurance Office revealed that there were several insurance agents from the company still offering insurance and she warned people not to make a contract with them at all, because it was futile and hospitals and garages would not honor the contract with the company either. The office had informed tambons and villages in town not to trust the company. Company agents who are still offering insurance will be prosecuted.

“This company is the largest insurance company but it has to present compensation plans before June 20, 2005, and the office will then consider whether to allow it to continue in business or not,” Piyanart said.

Piyanart added that whoever had made insurance with the company since June 8 could bring the contract, insurance premium bill and ask for return of the insurance premium from the insurance agent, and failing satisfaction, apply to the Chiang Mai Insurance Office.

More information is available at Chiang Mai City Hall or 0 5311 2730 and 0 5311 2732.


Important Immigration information

With effect from June 11, 2005, Immigration Division III has instructed all 53 offices and checkpoints to be opened for the public on Saturday mornings (8.30 - 12 noon) for visa extension applications. This facility is for Tourist visas only, and not for long term visas.

Chiang Mai’s Immigration Office

Following media coverage in the Bangkok newspapers regarding corruption, customers are urged to contact Superintendent Pol. Col. Phirojana Paresakul if they have any problems regarding officers failing to act in a correct and legal way.

Immigration is treating this as a serious matter and can only act upon information from the public. At no point should a customer be put in this situation. We advice customers to take the officers name and then to contact the Superintendent or National Police Monitor Alastair Connon.


230 million baht funding for more water

Saksit Meesubkwang

Chok-umnuay Saipao, manager of Chiang Mai Provincial Public Water Office, revealed that the office has planned to add more water storage sufficient for usage in Chiang Mai area. The government has already approved 230 million baht to continue the plan. Construction would begin soon after a bid in Bangkok has been finished.

Chok-umnuay Saipao, manager of Chiang Mai Provincial Public Water Office.

This project would add untreated water and distribute to each area because many people had moved into Chiang Mai but water production has remained the same. The untreated water source is in Mae Rim, Chiang Mai, and the project is expected to be finished within one year.

He added that Chiang Mai Provincial Public Water Office now could provide 70,000 cubic meters per day by using 35,000 cubic meters from Mae Guang Dam. This is being distributed to residents in San Sai, Doi Saket, Saraphi, San Kamphaeng and west of Muang. 35,000 cubic meters from Mae Ping and Mae Taeng rivers is being distributed to Hang Dong, San Pa Tong, Mae Wang and east of Muang areas.


Bio-diesel - the new cottage industry?

Locally produced bio-diesel passes the test

Saksit Meesubkwang

Boonthong Eungtrakul, head of the bio-diesel research project at the Department of Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency, said that the project produces bio-diesel for the contentious red minibuses in Chiang Mai. Vehicles on the road were increasing rapidly and more diesel and benzene was used, generating more pollution and causing Chiang Mai to be the one of the highest polluted cities, following Bangkok and Samutprakan. Moreover, Thailand had imported colossal amounts of fuel oil - but there were staple resources capable of producing bio-diesel in this country.

He said that countries in Europe and America had produced bio-diesel for more than 50 years. Bio-diesel produced in Chiang Mai uses modified vegetable oil with alcohol and potassium dioxide or sodium dioxide to separate oil into bio-diesel that matched petroleum based diesel. Chiang Mai could now produce 2,000 liters per day and, if local administration organizations and residents cooperated in the use of bio-diesel, the country could reduce its importation of fuel oil.

Chiang Mai sent an example of bio-diesel to be tested at PTT, the local fuel oil producer, and the Department of Energy Business. The results appeared to be of good quality and comparable to bio-diesel from America and Europe.


Tsunami orphans need your help too

Cory Croymans-Plaghki

On 26 December 2004, a tsunami hit the shores of six Thai southern provinces, which affected over 60,000 Thai people and some 12,000 families with great devastation. This plight touched the heart of many people worldwide. As a result, much financial support was given to these areas where infrastructural damage amounted to some 20 billion baht (USD 500,000).

However, the impact on the physical, mental and emotional levels cannot be put down in monetary value. A total of 5395 people died in Thailand, 2822 people are reported as missing, and now there are 1221 orphaned children from 672 families who did survive. They need your help because they lost not only their parents but everything.

Thailand’s National Women Council has started a Foster-Parent Project to support these orphans by keeping them in school. The first phase of this project gives to each orphaned child 2000 baht (50 US$) per month for a period of two years. This is equivalent to a total of 48,000 baht per month or US$1200 for two years, a big amount for any charity organization.

This entire project is coordinated and supervised by the dedicated officers of Thailand’s National Women Council. We hope that with your help, this wonderful project could be extended for another three years. “Help these children to help themselves” by giving them a better education and thereby a better start in life.

For more information, please contact Khun Yowarej Shinawatra, president of Thailand’s National Women Council, Under the Royal Patronage of Her Majesty The Queen, No 514 Managkasila Mansion, Larnluang Rd, Dusit District, Bangkok 10300, tel. 0 2281 0957, fax 0 2281 2189 email: [email protected], website :www.thaiwomen.or.th


Students ask for Chiang Mai mass transport

Chiangmai Mail reporters

On June 12, representatives of Chiang Mai air protection volunteer group together with teachers and students gathered at Thapae Gate to present the petition “We need bus services urgently in Chiang Mai” to the Chiang Mai mayor.

Chiang Mai air protection volunteer group is a network consisting of teachers and students from 17 schools and education institutes in Chiang Mai municipality area including government organizations and residents. The group was studying air pollution problems.

Chiang Mai air protection volunteer group gathers to request mass transport in Chiang Mai.

Traffic jams are one of the leading causes of air pollution and the network organized a seminar entitled “How to deal with air pollution in Chiang Mai” on June 11 at Kad Suan Kaew Department Store led by Suchart Wattanapan, public works engineer from the Chiang Mai municipality traffic and public works department who was representing Boonlert Buranupakorn, Chiang Mai mayor. The result was the need to reduce vehicle numbers to lower atmospheric pollution. That was why they were asking for mass transport and campaigns to use bicycles.

The group believes that mass transport is able to solve air pollution problems in Chiang Mai. They said the buses should have been released in May and the network would like to see public transport in future by adding electric trains.

Buses will be a choice for residents to travel and they are predicted to reduce the number of motorcycles, which will reduce the nation’s fuel oil bills.


Indigent villagers in Doi Lo district complain of favoritism

Saksit Meesubkwang

After PM Thaksin Shinawatra had presented land rights documents to Doi Lo and nearby region residents on June 12 at Doi Lo sub-district Office, Chiang Mai, residents from Tambon Doi Lo in Doi Lo district protested and requested to see the PM to present a petition asking for justice.

A hut owned by Phadlome Permphum, the poorest of the village passed over to receive a land rights document.

Phadlome Permphum, 42, living in Doi Lo sub-district, Chiang Mai, and working as vegetable collector, said that she had asked for land rights documents twice, but she was ignored, even though her family was the poorest in the village.

After reporters visited Phadlome’s residence, they found she lived in a small rough hut. Her neighbors added that she was really poor but was not considered for a land rights document after presenting her name to the village head; however, those who had close relationships with the village head were put on the list to get the precious documents.

Reporters went to the village head’s house but he was not there and only his wife and assistant were there. The reporter asked them about the issue but both spoke threateningly to the reporters and said they would charge them if they presented wrong news.

Therdsak Jaru-akara, head of Doi Lo sub-district office claimed that he had just been on duty in Doi Lo in since May 2005, and to consider giving the documents to residents was the responsibility of the Treasury Department. The sub-district is only a coordinator between residents and the department, and to present names to the department was considered by the village resolution. However, the sub-district head assistant had approved the issue after Phadlome presented a petition to the PM and the head was ready to cancel the original list and announce new names.


Mae Ai village ransacked for drugs

Nopniwat Krailerg

A horde of police and drug suppression forces descended on a Lisu tribe village, Baan Huay San at Thaton in Mae Ai, Chiang Mai on June 7, looking for a hoard of drugs.

They surrounded and searched it to the consternation of the inhabitants who faced nearly a hundred unfriendly faces. Baan Huay San is a target village suspected of involvement in drugs but none were found in the houses, although a shotgun, four rifles and bullets were found in the house of Laopa Sanjan.

During the search two men rode past on a motorcycle and 15 ya ba pills were found on them. The three men were sent to Mae Ai Police Station for persecution and interrogation.

Baan Huay San is located near the Thai-Burmese border. Laota Sanlee was the former head in this village before he and his son were arrested several years ago for dealing in drugs. They now reside in a prison in Bangkok, but it seems the entire village has been tarred with the same brush.


Thai, Lao and Burmese narcotics suppression police cooperate in drug bust in Burma

Chiangmai Mail Reporters

Thai, Laotian and Burmese forces arrested members of a major drug gang about to smuggle drugs into Thailand, via a route through Chiang Rai. Six dealers, heroin and Ice were found.

The police led forces of ONCB Northern region and drug suppression officers of Baw Kaew, Laos to cross over the Thai-Burmese border in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai to Tachilek, Burma in cooperation with Burmese drug suppression officers, to arrest the drug dealers. The officers dispersed their forces, setting up at Baan San Sai in Tachilek, Burma, three kilometers from Mae Sai and later found both males and females hiding in a house in the village. The group attempted to flee but all were arrested.

The gang, identified as two women and four men, were Chinese Haw and Tai tribes-people. Heroin branded “999”, weighing 350 grams, and three lumps of ice (crystal methamphetamine) were found.

The suspects were interrogated by Burmese officers, to identify other suspects and it was learnt that they were involved with Wei Hseuh-kang, Wah troop leader, who was a major drug dealer in Tachilek.

Pol. Lt. Col. Somboon reported that this successful arrest was a result of good cooperation among Thai, Laotian and Burmese drug suppression officers.


Chai Prakan bust nets 30,000 ya ba pills in a hut

Nopniwat Krailerg

Ya ba dealers continue to allow ‘moles’ in their organizations, resulting in tip offs for the police. The latest was in Baan Mae Fang Luang in Chai Prakan, Chiang Mai. On June 13, Pha Muang Task Force led by Maj. Gen. Pairat Thongjaktu, Pha Muang Task Force commissioner, learned from sources there would be black Lahu hill tribesmen transferring ya ba.

Prinya Panthong, Chiang Mai vice governor, and Col. Pairat Wiroohayan, Pha Muang Task Force deputy commissioner with the 30,000 confiscated ya ba pills.

With that information, the commissioner assigned patrolling officers and the special task force of the 2nd Calvary Regiment, Pha Muang Task Force to search the village, finding 30,000 ya ba pills hidden in a hut, but the dealers had fled the scene.

However, the Pha Muang Task Force managed to arrest Boonyang Panturasri, 31, a Sakon Nakhon resident who was hired to transfer drugs. He was found at Baan Tam Pla in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai while driving a bus from Mae Sai into the city of Chiang Rai. He was carrying 20 bags, containing 3,645 ya ba pills, hidden in his shoes that were specially made up for drug transference. He said he received a 20,000 baht mule fee.

Col. Pairat Wiroohayan, Pha Muang Task Force deputy commissioner, said that after the government had proclaimed the third war on drugs, the situation looked better with soldiers patrolling the border and cooperating with civilians, police and local officers to suppress the drug trade. He said that the ya ba found in Chai Prakan was old and covered in fungus.

Prinya Panthong, Chiang Mai vice governor, said that Chiang Mai was a passing point and the province had prepared suppression methods to eliminate drugs but it needed cooperation from every sector. He also warned drug takers to beware of drugs with fungi as taking them could be fatal.


Red faces after drug arrest

Chiangmai Mail Reporters

Narcotics and border patrol police had red faces when, at the press conference at which they were to announce their triumph, the packs of supposed ya ba pills they had found in the possession of suspected dealers turned out to be chalk.

Some suspect that a source within the police had warned the gang who had substituted 200,000 chalk pills. A more likely scenario is that the gang may have intended to foist the chalk pills on an avid young public - who would then wonder what happened to the promised high.

The police now believe what the public has long suspected, that there is a mole or moles within the police departments who inform certain drug dealers of impending police action.

The four were identified as Mae Duangdee, 56; Orasa Duangkaew, 36; Thasanee Duangkaew, 34; who all lived in Baan Wang Takian and Adi, unknown last name, 36, a Burmese.


Grope gripe against red minibus driver

A new route perhaps?

Nopniwat Krailerg

The full wrath of the law is to descend on the head of Jirasak Somboon, 27, red minibus driver who, on June 10, whilst leaning across his female passenger to purportedly open the door, inadvertently or otherwise, touched a certain, but hitherto undesignated, part of a lady doctor’s personal personage.

Dr. Usaree Srisuthadwong, 24, was adamant that the act was deliberate and that she had immediately clutched at her undesignated part and fled the vehicle - at which juncture, the driver fled the scene in his minibus.

In spite of her agitation she remembered the number and was able to inform the police, who later, with the participation of a willing police posse ready to avenge grope gripes, found and arrested the dissolute driver at his home.


Female purse snatcher trapped in Tesco Lotus

Nopniwat Krailerg

Ummara Ruankham, 44, was arrested by security guards at Tesco Lotus Khamthiang branch in Muang, Chiang Mai, and a purse belonging to Sueakhon Lamphun was found in her possession. The thief was sent for prosecution on charges of stealing.

She confessed that she had been stealing for several years, but each victim had pity on her and did not sue. However, the police now advise that anyone who had lost purses in the department store could see the thief at the police station.

An employee of the department store said that the workers remembered Ummara, as she had committed illegal acts several times, but each time her heart-rending stories stopped the victims suing her, so the staff planned to trap her. An employee acted as a shopper selecting products while leaving her wallet in a cart and the thief walked beside her and picked up the wallet and hid it in her own bag before fleeing.

Her previous daylight robberies caused negative publicity to the department store as several clients had their wallets stolen. However, Lotus warned its customers not to put purses in the carts and to keep a weather eye out for thieves.


Traffic police corruption

Even police wives join protest

Nopniwat Krailerg

Following petitions from aggrieved Chiang Mai citizens, including wives of some police members, an overtly incensed commissioner, Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, harangued hundreds of traffic policemen on June 6 about ethics and corrupt practices. It appears that the traffic police officers set up checkpoints purely to collect money from motorists and in doing so were impolite. Huay Kaew Road was a favored route, giving the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 a poor image.

About 30 percent of traffic police, he guessed, had brought shame on the entire police force and he warned that he had told superior officers to control their subordinates. He encouraged people to inform Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 of improper traffic police acts.

Pol. Maj. Chatthai Choochai, traffic police inspector, told Chiangmai Mail that after the commissioner had reprimanded the traffic police, the 219 traffic officers promised they would improve. He did not deny that some of them acted improperly; however, they would be retired or assigned to the ever-swelling inactive post department.