NEWS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Happy Birthday HRH Princess Chulabhorn

All 17 drug gang members targeted during Drug Suppression Phase 3 arrested

Traffic police lectured about behavior

Big Brother will watch your SIM card

Royal Project Foundation expands into Omkoi

Chiang Mai governor fixes prices for another 90 days

Mudslide on route linking Mae Hong Son and Burmese border market

B. 50,000 reward for information on Lao Ta’s drug dealing nephew

200 minibus drivers quit after fuel prices increased

Suicide rate up again in 2004

Council agrees definite start for new bus service in July

Police warned about involvement in illegal business

Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 receives narcotic suppression award

Municipal bio-diesel to save costs

Disturbed woman tries to jump from roof of hospital

Police raid Lampang’s largest gambling den

Drugs now being transferred by post

Enraged Fang traffic policeman shoots offenders, then himself

Cavalry forces find nothing, but get shot at

The 3P Paradigm: Prevention, Protection and Prosecution

Twins find wily use for condoms

Pretty thief snatches phones from students

Happy Birthday HRH Princess Chulabhorn

(Photo courtesy Bureau of the Royal Household)

Born on July 4, 1957, Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn is the youngest child of Their Majesties King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit of Thailand.

HRH Princess Chulabhorn has two daughters, Their Royal Highnesses Princess Siribhachudhabhorn and Princess Adityadornkitikhun.

Her Royal Highness graduated from the Faculty of Science and Arts at Kasetsart University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Organic Chemistry, First Class Honors, in 1979. Her Royal Highness completed her doctorate work in organic chemistry in 1985, and received her Doctor of Philosophy Degree from Mahidol University in July of the same year, and has a supreme record of academic achievement.

She undertook postdoctoral studies in Germany in 1987 and has since been a visiting professor at universities in Japan, Germany, and the United States of America. She holds Honorary Doctorate degrees from no fewer than nine universities around the world. In 1986, she was appointed as an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry in London and was awarded the Einstein Gold Medal of UNESCO.

Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn is chairperson of the Working Group on the Chemistry of Natural Products collaborative program between the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science and the National Research Council of Thailand.

HRH Princess Chulabhorn has received international recognition for her scientific accomplishments, in her appointment to various United Nations posts, namely special advisor to the United Nations Environment Program and member of the Special High-Level Council for the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction of the United Nations.

As a result of her experience as a scientist Princess Chulabhorn became aware of the difficulties Thai researchers have in obtaining the necessary funding for their research. In 1987, she established the Chulabhorn Research Institute to provide a new fundraising agency.

This institute now acts as a focal point for the exchange of intellectual and other resources in Thailand for the purpose of solving urgent problems confronting the country in areas of health, environment, and agriculture.

As president of the Chulabhorn Research Institute, the Princess currently directs five special research projects; the AIDS program, a program on restoration and integrated development of the flood-affected areas in Southern Thailand, seawater irrigation for cultivation of economic marine species and preservation of mangrove, the rabies eradication program and a special project for accelerated immunization in five southern provinces in Thailand. Through these programs the Princess plays an auspicious role in improving the environment and living standard of the villagers in a number of Thai provinces.


All 17 drug gang members targeted during Drug Suppression Phase 3 arrested

5,800 criminals arrested since Oct - is anyone left?

Nopniwat Krailerg

On July 4 at Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 headquarters, the results of Phase 3 of the War on Drugs operations of the joint united forces of the provincial police constabulary and soldiers from the Pha Muang Task Force were announced.

Pol. Lt. Gen Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, Commissioner of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5, and Pol. Maj. Gen. Wutti Wititanon, deputy commissioner present money, weapons and drugs evidence at a press conference announcing the results of the War on Drugs, Phase 3.

Phase 3 from April 1 - June 30 resulted in the confiscation of drug dealers’ assets totaling 61,462,096 baht. All of the 17 drug gang members targeted were arrested.

Through these arrests the forces were able to expand investigations and arrested 132 drug dealers. In summary, since October 2004, 5,801 drug criminals have been caught, 6,983 suspects, amphetamines 2,680,562 pills, heroin 65,512 grams, opium 50,179 grams and dry cannabis 26,603 grams have been confiscated.

Pol. Lt. Gen Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, Commissioner of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 said, “Major drug networks are Taiwanese and these groups use similar methods to carry out their crimes. One group of Taiwanese rents an apartment in Bangkok and another group in Tachilek province in Burma carries out other businesses as a cover. They also coordinate between the buyers and the Burmese heroin or ice dealers, deliver the drugs to Taiwanese nationals in Mae Sai and Mae Chan in Chiang Rai to be sent on further to Taiwan. Thai nationals are also involved. These networks do not carry large quantities of drugs and they implement numerous ways to conceal them, like swallowing them or carrying them in the rectum.


Traffic police lectured about behavior

Saksit Meesubkwang

In the wake of the recent murders of motorists and the suicide of the traffic policeman, Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, commissioner of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5, felt it prudent to call 200 traffic policemen from 152 stations in the eight northern provinces to a meeting about their behavior.

Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya instructs traffic police to control their emotions.

The commissioner said that they would have to work among many vehicles, facing hot weather conditions and impolite people, so officers should learn to control themselves and not to react violently but should instruct offenders politely about traffic rules instead of always writing a ticket.

He added that it was unexpected situations in which an officer could not control himself that led to the tragedies.


Big Brother will watch your SIM card

Customers to register before December 31, 2005

Nopniwat Krailerg

Udom Pinyo, head of Chiang Mai Statistic Office, revealed that after the cabinet’s decision to register cell phone users, about 150,000 consumers who had bought cell phones after May 10 participated well in the registration, and some private companies had already recorded the customer’s information.

It is time for SIM card cell phone customers to register.

Cell phones bought before May 10, 2005, can be registered before December 31, 2005. Information would be kept in companies’ information systems, but anyone who did not register before the said time would be cut off and would only be allowed to use it after registering.

Government officials could register at their own offices, and both Thais and foreigner could register at Public Water Offices, Electricity Offices, CAT Telecom, TOT Corporation, district offices, sub-district offices, Tambon Administration Organization (TAO), municipality and phone shops. The registration process required ID cards or passports.


Royal Project Foundation expands into Omkoi

Preeyanoot Jittawong

The Royal Project Foundation has for the past 36 years proceeded to develop agriculture in the mountainous northern region and are now running 36 projects. These projects enable hill tribes to lead better lives and to have a permanent place to farm following the King’s decree. Recently, the foundation has expanded its projects to Omkoi, Chiang Mai.

Tambon Sobkhong in Omkoi, Chiang Mai is a bountiful hill area and water flows throughout the year — but there is no damming and most areas where plants grow are on slopes, and the soil is not conserved, and improper growing methods cause low quality products.

Consequently, HSH Prince Bhisadej Rajani, president of the Royal Project Foundation, led a team from the Office of Highland Agricultural Extension, Land Development Regional Office 6 and Sobkhong TAO to set up a water and soil conservation system and to train villagers in correct agriculture practices.


Chiang Mai governor fixes prices for another 90 days

Nopniwat Krailerg

The price of goods and services will remain fixed for another 90 days, said Fuengfah Tulathamakul, head of the Office of Internal Trade ChiangMai.

Fuengfah said that Chiang Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat, as a chairman of the Goods and Services committees, had signed a notice to extend the 90 day period of price fixing from July 1 to September 30 and would punish businessmen who did not follow the rule. This is to protect consumers during the period of high fuel costs.

She affirmed that, after checking prices in stores and markets in the city of Chiang Mai (altogether about 120), the office did not find any unreasonable price increases. Nevertheless, residents should call the 1569 hot line if they find any unreasonable price increases and officers would immediately check (price check in sector 7!).

She added that businessmen have had to make adjustments, since fuel oil prices have increased six times already; therefore the office needs to check goods prices daily instead of twice a week as in the past, to prevent unreasonable increases, especially on the day fuel oil prices were being adjusted.


Mudslide on route linking Mae Hong Son and Burmese border market

Chiangmai Mail reporters

Heavy rain caused mudslides obstructing a route at Mae Hong Son-Baan Rong Hang near Baan Huey Peung market at Tambon Huay Pha in Muang, Mae Hong Son. Vehicles can use that route but should be very careful of the 200 meter drop at the roadside. It is the responsibility of Mae Hong Son Highway District to maintain the road, but two days had passed since the landslide without any action.

A taxi driver who regularly drives on that route said that vehicles transferring products to Burma could not drive through if rain was imminent, because it is risky and mudslides could occur at any time. If the authorities did not deal with it soon, the economy would suffer.

Pisit Puangsuwan, head of Mae Hong Son Meteorology Office said that rain was expected along the Thai-Burmese border, plus the high humidity on the peak of the hills led to rain all the time, therefore he urged caution driving, especially during the rainy season. Residents living along the hills should beware of mountain torrents.


B. 50,000 reward for information on Lao Ta’s drug dealing nephew

Nopniwat Krailerg

Pradit, the nephew of the “kingpin” of drug dealers, Lao Ta San Lee, has escaped from hospital in Nonthawech, Nonthaburi, where he was having his usual fortnightly dialysis treatment.

Commissioner Siriwat Sairat-in said that Pradit had probably escaped to the northern region, as his hometown is Lamphun. As he needs regular treatment for a kidney complaint, it should not be difficult to find him alive, or dead, from the disease.

Chiang Mai Central Prison has set a reward of fifty thousand baht for information leading to his arrest.

Pol. Maj. Gen Wutti Wittitanon, deputy commissioner, admitted that fake ID cards are often found in the northern region and the prisoner might be using such himself, so a picture of the felon has been circulated.

He was in the process of appealing a 33 years sentence, but it sounds as if he does not have 33 years left.


200 minibus drivers quit after fuel prices increased

Nopniwat Krailerg

Although diesel prices have been increased, mini buses have to maintain bus fares determined by Chiang Mai Land Transport Office, resulting in almost 200 mini bus drivers giving up their jobs. The drivers, mostly from San Pa Tong, Mae Rim, Mae Taeng, Chom Thong and Nong Tong, claim the income is not sufficient to cover bus rental fee and fuel oil prices, so they have gone to work as labourers instead.

In Srikammoon, board chairman of the Nakorn Chiang Mai Transport Cooperatives, who services yellow, blue and white mini buses in downtown Chiang Mai, revealed that after the diesel oil price had been increased from 15.23 baht up to 22.23 baht, the cooperatives had been allowed by Chiang Mai Land Transport Office to adjust their bus fees by 56 satang per kilometre.

The cooperatives increased its fares by two baht, from 7 to 9 baht and 10 to 12 baht. However, on the Chiang Mai-Hang Dong route, drivers have been collecting bus fares at 10 baht for over ten years, but Chiang Mai Land Transport Office proclaimed it should only be 9 baht for this route.

Singhkham Nunti, president of the Nakorn Lanna Transport Cooperatives said that red minibuses need to maintain bus fares during this period of competition with municipality buses. If the situation improves, the red minibus would appeal for approval to increase rates by 2-5 baht.

Taxis can charge 40 baht for the first two kilometres and 4 baht for next kilometre. There are 30 taxis at present but the number will increase to 100 taxis before the end of this year. One red minibus will disappear for each new taxi.


Suicide rate up again in 2004

Nopniwat Krailerg

The suicide numbers in Chiang Mai for the year 2004 increased to 309 persons attempting to commit suicide. Mae Wang had the highest per capita percentage of suicides, said Assoc. Prof. Priap Kuramanrohit, deputy director of Samaritan Chiang Mai Center, a hotline center giving advice to discouraged people.

Assoc. Prof. Priap added that Samaritan Chiang Mai Center was established in 1997 to help the many persons considering committing suicide. He said the rate was still increasing, especially for both sexes between 20-25 years of age.

Suicide methods depend on environment, culture, economic status and social surroundings, but hanging is mostly prevalent with Thai citizens, while chemical substances and medical overdoses are a growing trend. Most causes leading to suicides are mental or alcohol problems, or both.

There are several suicidal precursors, the professor explained, with problems of depression usually for six months before committing suicide, family problems, love disappointments and jealousy, divorce, terminal diseases and elder persons lacking caregivers.

He said that anyone feeling discouraged or even just bored could call for advice daily, except Friday and Sunday, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the center on telephone number at 0 5322 5977-8.


Council agrees definite start for new bus service in July

Nopniwat Krailerg

On June 29, at the office of Chiang Mai municipality, the council agreed to allow the municipality to start the public transport business in 2005 and was now only awaiting the Chiang Mai governor’s approval with the mayor’s signature. The entire process will be finished soon and the buses are to be released this month.

Boonlert Buranupakorn, Chiang Mai mayor speaks to reporters about public transport.

The 26 buses, purchased for 63 million baht, will service residents in Chiang Mai municipality area have been approved to run on three main, permanent routes.

Boonlert Buranupakorn, Chiang Mai mayor, said that if the municipal council has agreed, then he was sure that the governor would certainly approve. The Department of Land Transport confirmed bus fees of not more than 12 baht per passenger, and the municipality is considering collecting between 10-12 baht. However, as fuel prices have increased, the municipality may have to present a petition to the department to increase bus fees above 12 baht.

The mayor added that he had checked the service himself and had told the entire staff to serve the public graciously, especially drivers who would be checked for alcohol consumption everyday before climbing aboard.

The 26 municipality buses are ready to service Chiang Mai residents.


Police warned about involvement in illegal business

Saksit Meesubkwang

In yet another attempt to eradicate corruption in the police force, Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, commissioner of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5, called the eight northern provinces’ commanders and 52 heads of police stations to discuss policy for suppression of casinos, drugs and entertainment places.

Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, commissioner of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5.

The commissioner said that police officers must be diligent to prevent gambling, concentrate on entertainment places and implement society’s rules. He accepted that permanent casinos were not found in region 5, but temporary casinos are often discovered and superintendents in each area had to take pains to suppress these.

If it appeared that officers were getting involved, he warned, they would be severely punished.

Entertainment places annoying residents with loud music had first to be warned then, if ignored, owners were to be prosecuted. He said that this conference to spell out the policy to the police officers was the last warning for them not to get involved with illegal businesses. Some police stations did not pay much attention to gambling and illegal lotteries, but if they did not shape up before October 2005, officers might be moved to other places and their carelessness would go on their records.


Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 receives narcotic suppression award

Nopniwat Krailerg and Saksit Meesubkwang

Hard work and the use of advanced technology are curbing the drug trade. This is being rewarded with awards given to the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5, the only organization receiving the award, for best narcotic suppression. The award was presented by PM Thaksin Shinawatra and included one hundred thousand baht.

Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, commissioner of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 shows the award for best organization for narcotic suppression.

Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, commissioner of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5, congratulated his force and told them to keep up the good work.

Pol. Maj. Gen. Wutti Wittitanon, deputy commissioner, said the number of drug dealers had been considerably reduced, with big gangs almost eradicated, but retailers still operate.


Municipal bio-diesel to save costs

Old cooking oil to be used

Nopniwat Krailerg

Boonlert Buranupakorn, Chiang Mai mayor, revealed that the municipality would purchase vegetable oil filtering machines, costing 3-4 hundred thousand baht, from the energy saving institute at Chiang Mai University, with collection at ten points in the city.

The municipality would purchase used vegetable oil from residents at eight baht per liter. This would be filtered and modified into bio-diesel at up to one thousand liters a year, to reduce fuel imports.

“The municipality is installing these machines in different areas so residents can see them and realize the energy it can save. It will also allay fears of food fried in used oil (a common practice) because used oil will be sold out,” he said.

The municipality would certify and signify each shop participating in the municipality’s plan. The bio-diesel made from used vegetable oil would be used on municipality buses and it was predicted that it could reduce diesel fuel oil costs by 20 percent because bio-diesel production costs were only 12 baht per liter.


Disturbed woman tries to jump from roof of hospital

Nopniwat Krailerg

A tragedy was prevented on June 30 when police and hospital staff persuaded a disturbed 20-year-old woman, holding a teddy bear, from jumping from the roof of the Thep Panya Hospital. Hospital staff had prepared a cushion to soften her landing, just in case.

Nurses and security guards moving a cushion to break the fall.

A witness informed reporters that the woman had disappeared while being treated on the fourth floor. When security guards searched for her they found her standing on the roof sans parachute. She did not allow anyone to approach her and claimed that someone was trying to hurt her.


Police raid Lampang’s largest gambling den

Chiangmai Mail reporters

Lampang investigation police raided “Je Touch”, the largest casino in Lampang, located on Ko Kha, arresting 15 gamblers and confiscating almost 200,000 baht plus much gambling equipment.

Pol. Maj. Gen. Kraisorn Roongsang, commander of Lampang Provincial Police led a force of 20 officers to raid the casino at Tambon Thasala in Ko Kha, Lampang after having learned that there was gambling going on in a house. The officers found 25 male and female gamblers but 10 managed to flee the scene in spite of the large posse of police officers, leaving behind 180,000 baht, together with playing cards, dice and other nefarious pieces of equipment.

The den belonged to Je Touch, but she escaped once again. It is her practice to move her heinous business to different districts - but the deviant gamblers always know where it is to continue their gambling habit. Most of the captured gamblers lived in Ko Kha district and gambled in preference to working.


Drugs now being transferred by post

More than the stamp might be licked

Nopniwat Krailerg

Since the transfer of drugs by post appears to be increasing, as the roadblocks are apparently effective, plans have been made to intercept drug deliveries by mail at the post offices.

The plan is to x-ray any mail coming through Lamphun Post Office, which is responsible for the postal services in the three northern provinces of Chiang Mai, Lamphun and Mae Hong Son; and Denchai Post Office, which takes care of the six north provinces of Lampang, Uttaradit, Phrae, Nan, Phayao and Chiang Rai. Equipment such as K-9 and x-ray vehicles will be provided for this process.

The plan has been applied first at Lamphun Post Office on June 28 and Denchai Post Office on June 29.

Janya Sramatcha, investigation officer of the Drug Suppression Office Region 5, revealed that the office started intercepting regular mail, in cooperation with the Narcotic Suppression Bureau, Provincial Police Bureau Region 5, Lamphun and Phrae Provincial Police, Lamphun Post Office and Denchai Post Office in Phrae.


Enraged Fang traffic policeman shoots offenders, then himself

Nopniwat Krailerg

A Fang traffic policeman shot and killed a motorist and two passengers after they ran a red light and argued with him. He then shot and mortally wounded himself.

Eye witnesses told the police that Pol. Sen. Sgt. Maj. Wisit Palami, 50, stopped the pickup truck while he was helping students cross a road. The driver disobeyed the policeman’s hand signal and was asked to park the vehicle while the officer wrote a ticket.

Instead of accepting the ticket, the driver threw it away and threatened to have the policeman punished. The couple complained because they were stopped while they were rushing to get to a market to sell goods. One of the passengers loudly insulted the policeman in front of onlookers, calling him a low-ranking officer.

Pol. Sen. Sgt. Maj. Wisit Palami lost all his “jai yen”, flew into a rage, drew his gun and shot the couple and a female employee riding with them. Realizing the enormity of his act, he then turned the gun on himself.

The couple died at the scene while the policeman and employee were admitted to hospital. They died the next day.

Fang police identified the victims as Pongsak Napasri, 44, the driver, resident of Chantaburi; Sawangjit Munnoot, 44, of Mae Ai, Chiang Mai, and Supannee Patcharapaisan, 41, an employee of the dead couple. The pick up truck was riddled with 8 shots.

At the scene, forensic police discovered a 9 mm revolver, 10 spent cartridges, and a traffic police cap belonging to the police senior sergeant major.

Pol. Lt. Col. Jonkol Dokdurian said that his subordinate was usually kind and calm; it was unbelievable that he had done such a thing. He added that long hours directing traffic leads to stress and mistreatment by the offender must have sent him into an uncontrollable rage.


Cavalry forces find nothing, but get shot at

Two officers get pay rises

Saksit Meesubkwang

A house at Baan Nong Pasang, belonging to Duangjai Kawichai, a suspected drug dealer was searched on June 29 by a force of the 241st Cavalry Division and the Special Task Force of 2nd Cavalry Regiment, but nothing was found.

Col. Worawit Wongwai, Pha Muang Task Force deputy commissioner visits SM1 Supap Odthon at Nakornping Hospital.

On their return, the officers were shot at by gunmen and engaged the officers in a fusillade that lasted for five minutes. After the bullets stopped flying and a cautious wait, the officers searched the forest but found nothing except a lot of chipped bark and a dead squirrel.

Two officers were injured, SM1 Thamrongsak Tangchana, the driver, was hit in the right leg, and SM1 Supap Odthon was shot in the shoulder and his thumb was broken. The two officers were admitted to Chai Prakan Hospital but SM1 Supap appeared to be in a more serious condition and was transferred to Nakornping Hospital in Mae Rim, Chiang Mai.

Maj. Gen. Pairat said that he was relieved that the shootout had not caused the death of any officers. Those officers injured on duty would be promoted and get a pay rise.


The 3P Paradigm: Prevention, Protection and Prosecution

Part 3 of a 3 part series

B. Lomax

Human trafficking for purposes of sexual exploitation was at one time perpetrated by small, local groups, but is rapidly becoming the business of choice for organized crime. As such, the many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that work to address this issue have found themselves pitting their comparatively limited resources against the wealth of multinational criminal organizations.

These tribal girls will have many opportunities, thanks to an education supported by local foundations.

Governments in developing countries are equally limited. With substantial leadership from the United Nations NGOs, crime prevention organizations, International Office of Migration and countries affected by human trafficking have begun to work together. It has not been a painless process, but the 3P paradigm – Prevention, Protection and Prosecution - is an outgrowth of the understanding that there is no simple solution for a problem as complex as human trafficking.

Thailand has implemented a strong public prevention campaign. Government-sponsored billboards warning about the deceptions perpetrated by traffickers and the vulnerability of women and children are everywhere, and NGOs have also mounted an aggressive informational campaign. But without literacy and viable job skills, women will continue to be duped and families will continue to turn their heads as their children leave. And without improvement in the status of women and children, people of influence will continue to help the traffickers.

The Chiangmai Mail, Volume IV, No. 2, quoted a local children’s home administrator as saying, “Lately it has been discovered that some local leaders, such as village headmen or general district officers are helping the traffickers and bribe the locals to turn a blind eye.” As long as women and children, and particularly poor women and children, are devalued there is little chance that simple public awareness campaigns will succeed. However, should those campaigns be linked with literacy and job skills training, the case for success is greatly enhanced.

We breathe a collective sigh of relief when we read that trafficked women and children have been removed from situations of forced prostitution, but what happens to them afterwards? In countries that have no secure shelters or limited shelter resources, these victims may be jailed and charged with visa or immigration violations. They may be treated as criminals while the true perpetrators are not arrested or charged, and indeed go about their daily business as though nothing has happened. Even worse, after the TV cameras quit rolling and the news crews go home, after everybody involved takes a bow and the credit for “rescuing” these victims, they may be turned back over to the very people who trafficked them and held them hostage in the first place. Unbelievable but true.

Should they be fortunate enough to be placed in a shelter and cared for with compassion, repatriation into some Southeast Asian countries, especially for people who are residents but not citizens of that country, may become a nightmare. Even with documents, both citizens and ethnic minorities may face months of living in a shelter while waiting for the authorities to grant them permission to return to their families and countries of birth. And documents are few because the traffickers confiscate them as they move their victims from place to place. For those fortunate few who find themselves in the care of compassionate professionals, there are enormous gaps in services. And, always, there is danger from the traffickers. There is no witness protection program in Thailand, and there are few secured or secret safe houses. Victims live in fear that they will be forcibly abducted and returned to the brothels. They have become valuable commodities, plus their knowledge of the individual recruiters, the trafficking organization, and corrupt officials is a real threat.

A newspaper reported the arrest of members of an international trafficking organization. I will wait for the rest of the story, but doubt it will ever be reported. Although arrests were made, those arrested were granted bail and probably will never be seen again. Many will cross international borders the same way they trafficked their victims; many will simply live quietly until the publicity dies, then resume their criminal enterprises. There is no fugitive squad in Thailand, no specially trained police unit charged with finding and arresting those who do not show up for trial. And even those who are tried and found guilty are usually given very light sentences. The laws for sex trafficking are new, and in some cases inadequate or not understood. Lack of training is the norm for the badly underpaid police departments of Southeast Asian countries, and this allows apathy and even corruption to fester.

Those in law enforcement who understand the issues and the laws, who are humanists with compassion for the victims of trafficking, face incredible odds in developing and prosecuting these cases. If the case is contained within one country, there may be multiple police agencies and jurisdictions involved. But if the case is multinational, police face even greater obstacles. Multiple police agencies, embassies and foreign ministries, lack of laws addressing sex trafficking, international memoranda of understanding, reentry issues for victims are all part of these complex cases. The result may be few or no arrests.

I have few answers, but I have great hope. Every time you volunteer to teach English, you’re helping. Every donation you make to provide basic education helps. Every marketable skill you can pass on helps. We’re in this together, you know.


Twins find wily use for condoms

Safe sex and a safe for drugs?

Saksit Meesubkwang

The suspicious behavior exhibited by twins at Chiang Rai transport station on June 27 led security police request a body search. Whilst Yupadee and Yawadee Boonpraderm, 20, were being examined, they were unusually coy, with legs pressed tightly to prevent any approach to their private parts. This only encouraged the policewoman to delve deeper and finally two condoms stuffed with 2,000 speed pills were discovered.

The twins, who live at Tambon Sao Hin Thong in Bang Yai, Nonthaburi, admitted to buying the ya ba from Burma, in Tachilek. They had bought 40,000 baht worth and hid them in several interesting places for later sale to clients. The pills were later recovered by the police. They admitted to doing this condom run several times before being apprehended.


Pretty thief snatches phones from students

As easy as taking candy from kids

Saksit Meesubkwang

Several students and residents informed Muang Chiang Mai Police Station that a good looking woman had stolen money and mobile phones from them. Her modus operandi was to ask to borrow a cell phone for a while and then run away with it.

An identikit picture was assembled of the petty thief, and the police identified the woman from the artist’s impression. She was seen loitering, apparently waiting for students leaving school with mobile phones on display as signs of their affluence. However, on approaching her, she attempted to flee, but the officers were fleet of foot and captured her.

The victims identified her at the police station on June 29. The pretty petty thief was found to be Rattana Laithong, 19. She admitted to the charges and said that she had done this no less than 50 times and sold the mobile phones to secondhand goods shops that were also part-time fencing contractors. Since almost 40 victims identified the thief, she was refused bail due to the magnitude of her crimes.