Mass vow of No to Drugs
1,500 people vow to resist drugs on National Anti Drug Day
1,500 people gathered at the Thapae Gate courtyard on
June 26, the UN’s anti drug day, to take a vow to resist drugs. Chiang Mai
municipality joined with the Drug Combating Center in Chiang Mai to hold the
campaign to encourage everyone, from all walks of life, to prevent and solve
the drugs problem.
Residents from 80 communities in Chiang Mai municipality
area, government organizations, education institutes, foundations,
associations and citizens’ power groups took part in the event.
The To Be Number One project’s youth members performed
dance routines during the event, presided over by Suwat Tantipat, Chiang Mai
governor, who led all in just saying No to Drugs in front of a picture of HM
Chiang Mai Mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn offered 250,000 baht each to Muang
Police Station, Chang Puek Police Station, Mae Ping Police Station, Phuping
Police Station and Chiang Mai Provincial traffic police, a total of
1,250,000 baht, to encourage them to suppress drugs, influential gangs, and
Chiang Mai at risk
Chiang Saen fault line could affect Chiang Mai
Minister assistant at PM’s Office, Smith Thammasaroj
revealed that there are nine fault lines that appear risky and could
cause earthquakes in Thailand. Most of them are found in the west, from
Chiang Rai to Ranong. Two very risky ones are the Srisawat fault line in
Kanchanaburi and the Chiang Saen fault line in Chiang Rai. The one in
Chiang Saen could cause a 5–6 Richter scale earthquake and would affect
both Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai.
The minister assistant made these remarks at an
earthquake seminar he chaired in Chiang Mai, organized by the Engineering
Institute of Thailand under H.M. The King’s Patronage, to give
earthquake information to engineers and government officials who are
responsible for public disasters and to residents in risky areas
throughout eight northern provinces.
In addition, the seminar was targeted at engineers to
design structures resistant to earthquakes and for residents to be aware
of earthquake prevention measures.
“This seminar is to inform residents in the eight
northern provinces, Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Lampang, Lamphun, Mae Hong
Son, Phrae, Nan and Phayao to realize the consequences of earthquakes, as
these provinces are located in risky areas,” the minister assistant
“There is information recorded in chronicles that
1,000 years ago an earthquake that could have been 7 on the Richter scale
took place in Phayao, causing a subsidence that later became a creek or
Phayao Lake as it is today. Professionals from the Chiang Mai University
Faculty of Engineering have surveyed the lake and say it is possible an
ancient city may be discovered under its waters, to become a new world
knowledge source,” he disclosed.
Garlic farmers bailed out again
On June 20, Kwanchai Wongnitikorn, Chiang Mai deputy
governor, chaired a meeting between farmers and farm support committees
concerned about the garlic price in the current year, to solve garlic price
problem in Chiang Mai, Lamphun, Chiang Rai and Phayao. There were almost 100
garlic farmers and others attending the conference.
Wongnitikorn, Chiang Mai deputy governor
Kwanchai said that he was aware of the plan to approve a
526 million baht fund; 436 million baht for Chiang Mai, 41 million baht for
Chiang Rai and 29 million baht for Phayao.
This fund would be spent on purchasing dry garlic at 18
baht per kilogram, with a maximum of 350,000 baht per farmer, but the
farmers had then to grow different kinds of plants such as lychee, longan
(also the subject of a subsidy) and oranges. The purchasing process would be
applied from June to August.
He added that the government agreed to purchase garlic, not over 1,000 kg
from each farmer, and if it was found that they were cheating on quantity,
they would be punished and the government would not purchase garlic next
year. Each province had to continually report the result of garlic
purchasing to agricultural support committees.
Chiang Mai municipality tries to prevent flooding
Mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn said that the main causes
leading to flooding in the municipal area were that the Mae Ping River is at
its containment limit from the Doi Suthep-Pui watershed and that the public
is encroaching on the river and blocking drains. Nevertheless, the
municipality is taking flood prevention measures.
River in Chiang Mai municipality area always brims with water during the
rainy season, causing local flooding.
These methods are to drain water from Chang Kian and Huay Kaew to
irrigation canals, removing garbage obstructing 40 small rivers and
installing drains throughout the city. Sand bags will also be placed along
the banks of the Ping River. He was confident that Chiang Mai residents
would not face floods this year. (King Canute was also very confident he
could turn back the tide!)
Chiang Mai spends millions on drain along both sides of Mae Kha canal
Chiang Mai is spending 9 million baht on a drain
along both sides of the Mae Kha canal. The construction started in
February 2005, but the funding was found to be only sufficient for 2.5
km and there are 11.5 km left awaiting more funds to be approved by the
province or Chiang Mai municipality.
state of Mae Kha cannel.
This project is to solve the problem of fetid water
in the Mae Kha canal, as villagers along the two sides have despoiled
the canal until it is now disgusting. After the project is finished,
villagers will be able to drain water through pits to purify it and
allow it into the Mae Ping River.
Jamikorn Janhom, Head of Works, Chiang Mai municipality, said that
Chiang Mai administrators are monitoring the Mae Kha canal and the
municipality proposed a further 5.8 million baht to excavate the canal
and purify the water. He added that nothing but rain water would be
allowed to drain into the canal in future.
USAF Big Band, Jazz and Swing Concert
Free concert in Chiang Mai on July 11
The US Consulate Chiang Mai announced that the United
States Air Force Band of the Pacific will stop in Chiang Mai during their
Friendship Tour through Thailand in July.
Established during World War II, the band island-hopped
through the Pacific and for a while settled in the Philippines until the
band relocated to Yokota Air Base in Japan. Its mission is to enhance troop
morale and international relations in the Pacific.
Pacific Showcase, the largest performing unit of the USAF
Band of the Pacific, not only transports audiences back to a time when the
sounds of swing filled the air, but also performs an exciting repertoire of
The concert is sponsored by AUA, RTAF Wing 41, the US
Consulate and the U.S. Embassy.
The band’s last stop on their Thailand tour will be in Chiang Mai on
July 11, 2005, performing from 7 p.m. at Payap University’s Somsawalee
Theater. Interested music lovers should contact Payap University Music
Department 0 5324 8037.
Cattle and buffalo deaths in Mae Hong Son cause concern
Cows and buffaloes are dying in Mae Hong Son, as a
parasite brought in with imported livestock takes hold. Jirakan Rattana,
head of Mae Hong Son livestock department, found that seven cows and one
buffalo had died within a day. He noticed bloody blotches on their chests
and the disease was spreading rapidly to the other 346 buffaloes and cattle
in the village.
The villagers buried the dead animals after the officers
took samples of blood to verify the cause of death. It appears that the dead
animals were infected with a parasite.
The import of animals from Burma, without proper
vaccination or quarantine has been blamed. These imported animals had a
virus in the blood stream and parasites affecting the muscles and nerve
system. The animals became weak and then die.
The livestock department requested villagers not to move
the animals out of the village for a month and to immediately inform
officers if they found any unusual conditions in the animals. The officers
administered vaccine to increase the natural immunity of the remaining
livestock and warned every village to beware of the disease.
Mae Hong Son is a transfer point for cattle and buffaloes
from Myanmar. About 5,000–8,000 animals were imported between January to
April, but the number will reduce to 3,500–4,000 per month in the rainy
season. The regulations call for imported livestock to be kept in quarantine
for 21 days and to be checked for four diseases, TB, Para TB, Leptospirosis
and Brucellosis. If any of these diseases are discovered, the owner will not
be allowed to import animals into Thailand and the animals will be
Fraudsters extort cash posing
as government labor inspectors
Employers and business owners have been warned by
Orachorn Ratanamanee, head of Chiang Mai Employment Office, to look out for
people claiming to be government officials. These fraudsters say they are
checking for alien laborers, sometimes even calling beforehand and then
trying to extort money.
The Chiang Mai Employment Office said this was totally
against procedure - a call beforehand was not required to check for alien
laborers in any work place and officers always had to show the
government’s official ID card. In fact, employers should refuse to speak
with them if the officer did not show the important card. Each card has a
number, name and last name, picture, card holder’s signature and the
director general’s signature and date of permission and expiry date.
Employers are asked to inform Chiang Mai Employment
Office on 0 5312 2743 or 0 5311 2744-6 if approached by the confidence
Chiang Mai Passport Office to issue e-passports in August
Choochoke Thongtaluang, head of Chiang Mai Public
Relation Office, disclosed that the Chiang Mai Passport Division Office
would start issuing electronic passports or ‘e-passports’ in August this
However, to do this, the Passport Division Office would
have to upgrade its system to support the new passport service. This would
be done between 15-31 July, which may cause inconvenience if anyone is
requiring a speedy issue of a passport. The office is requesting residents
who were not in urgent need of a passport during this period to postpone
their applications until the upgrade is in place.
The office is still open for those who urgently wanted to
travel abroad using the old form of passport until July 31, 2005, then it
would be changed to the ‘e-passport’ format at the beginning of August.
Justice Minister oversees sale of confiscated goods
Saksit Meesubkwang and
Following the ONCB Northern region’s anti-drug display
at Central Airport Plaza Department Store on June 24, presided over by
Justice Minister Suwat Liptapanlop, he then traveled to the Drug Prevention
and Suppression Office region 5 to oversee the sale of products seized
during drug suppression maneuvers.
Minister Suwat Liptapanlop looks at goods seized from drug dealers.
He was given the latest reports on drug suppression in the eight northern
provinces of Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Lamphun, Lampang, Mae Hong Son, Phayao,
Phrae and Nan. Despite the surveillance and local vigilance, the eight
northern provinces had most drug traffic and 80 percent of the arrests in
Thailand were made in the north. However, arrests in June decreased due to
drug dealers changing the transfer route to the north-east.
Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever identified in 287 patients in Chiang Mai
Malaria also prevalent
Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever patients in Chiang Mai has now
been identified in 287 people, with San Pa Tong district having the highest
incidence while most malaria patients have been discovered in Mae Ai.
spraying in Chiang Mai area.
The Chiang Mai Provincial Public Health Office has
stressed to hospitals and Public Health Office volunteers in every area to
try to eliminate mosquito water sources as they allow them to breed rapidly
during the rainy season.
There are now 49 malaria victims in Chiang Mai province. Most of them
live along the Thai-Burmese border. This number includes aliens being
treated in Thai hospitals.
Cable car to link Chiang Mai Zoo and Night Safari
Satisfied with the Night Safari proceedings, PM Thaksin
Shinawatra said that he would support Chiang Mai even further with a cable
car linking Chiang Mai Zoo and the Night Safari, passing a 15 km in length
area allotted for the World Horticultural Exposition 2006. Several stops are
planned along the route.
Plodprasop Surasawadee, PM’s Consultant said that a
formal opening ceremony was considered for November 2005 after they have
found the 150 kinds of animals to display in the park.
The Night Safari covers 6,000 rai of land and is located
near the location of the World Horticultural Exposition 2006 to be held at
the end of 2006. Both projects were expected to attract tourists to visit
Thailand and Chiang Mai.
Homesick Japanese engineer commits suicide
Suffering stress at work and refused permission to return
home by his company, Masakatatsu Tsungawara, a 33-year-old Japanese engineer
working at an industrial estate in Lamphun decided to end it all and stepped
out of the window his 21st floor apartment. His body was found by Pol. Lt.
Col. Ittirat Saenpanya five meters away from the building.
Pikul Tem-im, 24, the dead man’s girlfriend, said that
he worked as a quality control engineer in the northern industrial estate in
Lamphun. Masakatatsu had complained of insomnia for several days and said
that he felt unhappy about his work and wanted to return to Japan, but
claimed the company refused to allow him to do so.
The police officers invited Pikul to give more
information at the police station and sent the body to Maharaj Nakorn Chiang
Mai Hospital. The Japanese Consul in Chiang Mai is to contact his relatives
to collect the body.
New buses running late (again)
At least until July
Boonlert Buranupakorn, Chiang Mai mayor, spoke on the
much vaunted mass transport systems for Chiang Mai and said that the
licenses were being finalized for the 26 buses for permanent routes.
heralding the new Chiang Mai Bus (CMB) service.
He said they have been painted and have the signage
‘Chiang Mai Bus’ (CMB). The municipality will release its new buses into
service in the second half of July.
The silence from the red mini bus movement has been deafening said the
mayor and it appears that the red mini buses have given in.
Chiang Mai majority support new buses on World Environment Day
Chiang Mai Air Protection volunteer network began some
projects on World Environment Day on June 5, and held a formal closing
ceremony for them on June 26 at Kad Suan Kaew Department Store. At the same
time, the result of a poll taken by them was presented to Kwanchai
Wongnitikorn, Chiang Mai deputy governor, on Chiang Mai residents’
opinion on the new public buses.
The Chiang Mai residents’ opinion on the bus saga was gained by a
radio poll in cooperation with Chiang Mai Air Protection volunteer network
and permanent city project officers. The result of 5,000 questionnaires was
that 94 percent were in favor of the new bus service, as it would be
convenient and safe and could reduce air pollution and traffic problems
including saving fuel oil. The small minority that did not agree said that
Chiang Mai was not suitable for mass transport and substandard buses could
cause even greater traffic problems. They may also have owned red
Commissioner once again warns officers of involvement in crime
Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, commissioner
of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5, called the eight north
provinces’ commanders and 52 heads of police stations to spell out the
policy on crime hotspots such as casinos, drugs and entertainment places.
The commissioner said that the Royal Thai Police policy
was not to allow casinos, to carefully monitor places of entertainment and
implement all rules on the society. He believes that there were no permanent
casinos in region 5, but temporary casinos are sometimes discovered. He
instructed superintendents in each area to suppress these and, if it
appeared that officers were involved, they would be punished.
Entertainment places troubling people with loud music would first be
warned and later prosecuted. He said that this was the last warning to
police not to get involved in illegal businesses. Some police stations were
known not to pay much attention to casinos and illegal lotteries, but if
they did not change themselves before October 2005, they might be moved and
their records sullied.
The never ending
After irate villagers burned a garbage truck in Doi Tao,
Chiang Mai, to protest a garbage pit in their area, Mae Taeng residents
gathered at Chiang Mai City Hall to present their petition. This conflict is
Local organizations, Chiang Mai PAO, Chiang Mai
municipality, Tambon municipalities and TAOs together with chief district
officers had a meeting at Chiang Mai City Hall led by Prinya Panthong,
Chiang Mai vice governor. He said that this conference was to inform all
about the garbage pit problem and to find a method to deal with it
After discussions they agreed to set up three groups of
committees, area location committees, campaigning committees and managing
committees, to manage garbage pits. These committees will confer again on
July 6, 2005 and, if history repeats itself, endlessly after that.
Area location committees call on every district chief
officer and environment expert to suggest an appropriate area that will not
affect people or the environment. To get rid of garbage in the short term
until the end of this year, Chiang Mai municipality will install electric
garbage destructors able to handle 400 tons per day.
Campaigning committees and managing committees will deal
with garbage pits in the long term by campaigning among citizens about
garbage and finding effective garbage elimination methods such as recycling
and separating garbage.
“The most important thing needing to be done urgently
is to awaken residents to the fact that they are the cause of garbage growth
in Chiang Mai and we all have to cooperate to solve the problem and, in the
meantime, to manage garbage pits effectively. If we cannot solve the garbage
problem within 10 years, I am afraid that it will then be too late to ever
solve it,” Prinya lamented.
Pornchai Jitnavasathien, Chiang Mai deputy mayor revealed
that a company in Saraburi is offering to handle garbage elimination for
Chiang Mai municipality by drying the garbage before dumping. This company
would send representatives to confer with the proliferation of committees in
Chiang Mai in July.
Fah Haam TAO goes into the boat rental business
Preecha Worakul, president of Fah Haam TAO in Muang,
Chiang Mai, revealed that Fah Haam TAO has a 25 seat boat which could serve
Fah Haam villagers’ travel needs.
TAO goes into the boat rental business
Furthermore, following the government’s policy to
dredge Mae Ping River, the TAO would expand the marine route by adding one
more port of call. It starts from Fah Haam going north and passing Tambon
Sanphisua, Tambon Don Kaew to Mae Rim, while the southern route passes Kad
Luang to disembark at Chai Mongkol Temple. This plan was to encourage
residents to travel by boat and keep off the roads.
The president added that it was also available for
tourists who were interested in hiring the whole boat. Normally, the boat
runs twice a day at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. from Fah Haam TAO to Waroros Market
but it would offer Saturdays from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m., and Fridays and
Sundays from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. for tourists.
“To prevent a conflict with private boat service businesses, the TAO
would like tourists to reserve the boat at least one day in advance. A trip
from Fah Haam TAO to Mae Rim and back takes three hours over an eight km
route and from TAO to Chai Mongkol Temple and back it takes one and half
hours. The rate to hire the whole boat is only 500 baht for five persons or
at 100 baht each if there are between five and 25 persons,” he added.
Dust study after lung cancer and respiratory disease cases soar in Chiang Mai
The Thailand Research Fund (TRF) has realized that air
pollution is a national problem, especially in Chiang Mai and Lamphun, where
air pollution is higher than the maximum permitted level and a high and
growing number of lung cancer and respiratory system diseases has resulted.
Asst. Prof. Mongkol Rayanakorn, dean of the Faculty of
Science, Chiang Mai University said that the Thailand Research Fund (TRF)
had approved a fund for Chiang Mai University researchers to study Chiang
Mai and Lamphun air quality. The study project was devised to four smaller
projects, dust surveillance in Chiang Mai and Lamphun, air pollution
analysis to find dust particles in the two provinces, daily air dust level
and effect on health of asthma patients in the two provinces and lung
cell’s DNA destruction by dust. These projects would run for 18 months
from March, 2005 to August, 2006.
Equipment to collect dust samples will be installed at
Waroros Market and Klang Wiang community in Muang, Yang Neung Market in
Saraphi, Chiang Mai and Kai Kaew community in Muang, Lamphun.
Naughty VCD shop owner incarcerated
Twenty questionable VCDs and 300 books with naughty
pictures, both Thai and foreign, were found on June 21 in a book shop at
Tambon Wat Ket in Muang, Chiang Mai.
The owner was identified as Thongsook Fuklek, 52, who was
arrested and accused of possessing pornographic VCDs and books for sale, a
charge to which he admitted.
If found guilty he may have a long time to re-read the
salacious material, as no doubt it will have been brought to the police
station as evidence.
Students play hooky, haunt arcades and get drunk
Chiangmai Mail Reporter
With a rise in truancy amongst vocational education and
high school students, an education inspector and police searched game shops
and students’ residences in Chiang Rai and found students drinking
alcohol; some were even drunk.
On June 24, Udom Poonsawat, education inspector acting as
a representative of the student behavior controlling officer of Chiang Rai
Area 1 Education Office, led a police posse from the Muang Chiang Rai Police
Station to search Ozone and Cyber Speed game shops in Chiang Rai and found
20 vocational education and high school students playing games, who should
have been in class.
The officers then went to Puttharak residence and found
students drinking alcohol while two of them were passed out drunk. Having
checked, the officers learnt that it was Teachers Day and most students were
busy decorating trays with flowers to give to the teachers, but some
students scorned the activity and decided to have a boozy party in a room of
the residence instead. They all were recorded in their school’s black
Next Thai, Singapore PM retreat to be held in Chiang Mai
The Singapore and Thai governments have agreed on the
next annual retreat between Singapore and Thai prime ministers.
The two governments have set that this year’s retreat
between Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his Singapore
counterpart, Lee Hsieng Loong, will be held in Thailand’s northern resort
province of Chiang Mai in September, according to the Thai Ministry of
The date of the forthcoming retreat has yet been
Thai Foreign Kantathi Suphamongkhon discussed the planned
retreat of the two leaders with his Singapore counterpart, George Yeo, in
Singapore last week.
The two ministers also discussed the problem of armed
piracy in the Malacca Straits, with Thailand supporting Singapore to be a
regional hub for information exchanges aimed to tackle the rampant piracy.
The Thai foreign minister visited the island state last
week to attend the Asia-Middle East Dialogue or AMED, scheduled for June
He took the opportunity to meet his Singapore counterpart
and Singapore Defence Minister, as well as to pay a courtesy call on the
Kantathi told TNA that he discussed with Singapore
Defence Minister Teo Chee Hean the role of moderate Muslim in countering
insurgency and terrorism in the region. (TNA)
Fraudsters fail to deceive old woman and rob her instead
A man and a woman pretended to negotiate with a 77 year
old woman selling fruit in front of Thep Panya Hospital to order a quantity
of her product. When she took them home to discuss business, she found two
more men and women offering her a winning lottery ticket. Not falling for
this transparent ploy, she refused.
They then threatened her with a knife and took her gold
necklace with a small Buddha image, and 5,000 baht and fled in a pick up
truck. Being a wise old biddy, she memorized the truck’s license number
and immediately informed the police.
Even with this head start in their apprehension attempts,
the police pursued the unscrupulous thieves unsuccessfully, but the truck
owner was identified as being from Mae On sub-district, Chiang Mai.
Division 5 arrests fake ID card gang
Monk and ex air force officer among those nabbed
Members of Police Region 5 in cooperation with the Hang
Dong Police have arrested a drug trafficking-cum fake ID card gang. Among
members of the gang were a monk and an ex-air force officer along with his
wife and daughter.
The ringleaders were Phra Somkit Bambad, aged 35, a
resident monk at Wat Suan Lam Yai, Muang Nga, Lamphun; Kochanan Phromwong,
23, her mother Chotima Saysanit, 44 and Capt. Kowit Saysanit an ex-air force
officer, 57 resident of Hang Dong, Chiang Mai. The police charged them with
providing false information in government documents that may result in
damage to other parties or the general public, and falsifying the details of
third parties for listing in official registers or public records.
Police had found that many drug gang members had ID cards
issued by the District Office but later it was found that they were aliens.
These people informed the police that a monk had provided them with the ID
cards. It also seems that forgers were active in the Hang Dong area of
Phra Somkit was arrested in the grounds of Wat Suan Lam
Yai, and was then taken to Wat Sribunruang for defrocking so that he could
be charged at Hang Dong police station.
Victims of sex trafficking tell their stories
Part 2 of a 3 part series
In other countries we call them “survivors” of sex
trafficking, but here in Southeast Asia they are simply victims. They have
no power. They rarely receive treatment for their deep psychological wounds.
They have been used and, without intervention and services, will be used
again. A few will choose to remain prostitutes; the money they earn may
literally save their families’ lives. But most will be traumatized by the
experience and will try very hard to find family or friends who will pay
their “debt” to the trafficker. Some will leave the brothels HIV
positive or with full-blown AIDS. Many contract hepatitis. Tuberculosis is
not uncommon. They may have no symptoms, but will still pass along any
number of sexually transmitted diseases to the men who use them.
lucky Akha children live in a community home where they receive education
and health care. Girls from their villages were not so lucky.
Ying, 24, is an ethnic minority, Tai Yai, from
Sipsongpanna in China. Ying left her home in China with a friend of a
friend, a woman she met at work who promised a better life in Thailand. She
was not kidnapped. She went willingly, although she was a little afraid of
the unknown. The recruiter was skilled in the art of deception. Ying was not
her first victim.
A driver with a truck picked her up with her little bag
of belongings. She hugged her little sister and smiled, promising to send
badly needed money from her new job in a restaurant in Bangkok. She turned
her identification card over to the friendly recruiter as they neared the
border. They crossed over into Burma and picked up more passengers. Later
they crossed another border into Thailand. They moved from the truck to a
van. Somehow she began to understand that things were not as simple as she
had been led to believe. The journey was several days long and they picked
up passengers again. One was only a girl, an ethnic Akha child of 15. They
stayed at inexpensive hotels along the way, six or eight women in a room,
the driver guarding the van and the women. They didn’t stop in Bangkok,
but went on to a famous beach city. They had no passports, no identity
papers, and did not speak the language. Tourists would become their
customers. Some would be trafficked again into other countries if the prices
were good enough.
16 year old was originally trafficked over a year ago. Although eventually
removed from the brothel and returned to her family, she has chosen to cross
the border into Thailand to work as a prostitute again on many occasions.
With no education and no hopes for a job in Burma, this is her choice.
Ae didn’t experience the journey as Ying did. She
is Thai, married and has a young son. While her family is poor, most of the
men have jobs. Few in her family are literate, but Ae completed night school
and knows how to read and write Thai. Television is the family’s most-used
form of recreation. They only dream of the things they see there. When the
recruiter made friends with Ae’s sister in law, all eyes turned to the
fair-skinned Ae. It is not uncommon for Southeast Asian families to be
separated by the need to find work. Ae took her family responsibilities
seriously. Her son needed to be educated; her parents were growing old. She
agreed to go to Bangkok to work, but she did not agree to work in a brothel.
She took her cellular telephone with her so that she
could phone her husband and little boy. It would eventually save her life.
The brothel owner would not release her even when her family paid her debt
of $1,500 dollars. She was lovely and desirable to the customers, mostly men
from other Asian countries. $1,500 did not cover the profits the brothel
would make, and the owner is a powerful and wealthy man. She was beaten when
she refused to work. She escaped, and her brother rescued her, thanks to
many phone calls.
Som-O is from Burma. She is 20 now but she was only 14 when her
mother sold her to the recruiter for $200. She desperately wants to believe
that her mother did not know where she was sending her daughter. She ended
up in a dirty brothel in Chiang Mai province, servicing at least five local
men a day. Her age and inexperience made her a valuable commodity. The
customers believed that she was too young to have contracted AIDS. And many
believed that having sex with a virgin could cure AIDS or prevent it. She
was sold and resold as a virgin, bringing $500 - $1,000 from each customer.
Periodically, she was moved to a new brothel, and sold again. Som-O’s
earnings were sent home to her mother. In two years Som-O repaid her debt to
the brothel owner and returned to her village in Burma. She considered
herself lucky that she had not contracted HIV. She ran the last half-mile to
the family home into her mother’s arms. But she was not welcomed. Her
earnings had supported the family for over two years, and the money would
stop if Som-O were not working. The family is desperately poor, with no hope
for their future without Som-O’s earnings. Her mother very firmly sent her
back to the brothel. There was no happy homecoming. “Ya ba”,
methamphetamine, became Som-O’s escape from her life in the brothel.
Tourist police capture 12 Burmese immigrants
Illegal immigrants being transferred to the southern
region at the Arcade domestic bus station were arrested after a tip-off to
Chiang Mai Provincial Tourist Police, led by Pol. Lt. Col. Nattawute
The officers found 12 suspected Burmese illegal
immigrants between 18–30 years old getting on a bus bound for Bangkok.
They showed alien cards when asked, and movement documents approved by
Sittichai Prasertsri, Muang district chief officer, Mae Hong Son, but they
were, nevertheless, arrested.
After questioning, police learnt that the documents were
fake and Sittichai was now working as Mae Hong Son deputy governor. The men
then admitted that they had fled from Burma to Mae Hong Son and Chiang Mai,
and planned to travel to the Southern province of Surathani, each having
paid 10,000 baht to an agent in Chiang Mai who took them to the bus station.
They were then to travel to Bangkok and another agent in Bangkok would pass
them on to the south.
The police then arrested Sangwan Daoree, 27, a San Sai
villager, at the bus station, the agent who was taking these men to Bangkok,
and found 13 bus tickets in her possession. She was sent for prosecution and
charged with accommodating illegal immigrants and smuggling them into
Thailand, while the Burmese were accused of traveling to Thailand without
approval and using fake government documents.
Teenagers dealing in drugs arrested in Chiang Mai City
University students the dealers and the users, say police
Showing that many of the well-meaning youth anti-drug
projects have little impact, a gang of teenage drug dealers was found in
Chiang Mai last week. It was also found that the majority were university
students, selling to their undergraduate colleagues.
Puek police arrest teenage drug dealers.
Pol. Col. Chamnan Ruadreuw, deputy commander of Chiang
Mai Provincial Police revealed that the arrested youths were Piyapong
Kaewta, 19; Anupol Singken, 23; Thun Somboon, 18; Suwan Maitali, 22 and
Watcharin Jariya, 20. They were found with 650 WY speed pills.
They admitted that they were agents, selling drugs to
students in the city of Chiang Mai around Tambon Chang Puek in Muang, Chiang
Mai. The money was spent at entertainment places and high cost technology
supplies such as mobile phones and digital cameras.
It is hoped that interrogation of the intelligentsia university students
will reveal the suppliers of the drugs, and the networks surrounding the