Key witness in abbot murder intimidated - police implicated
Deputy abbot prepared to name names
In a possible attempt at intimidation, the home of a key
witness in the murder of a Buddhist abbot in Chiang Mai was burned to the
ground late on Monday last week.
A house panel investigating the murder was told by Phra
Kittisak Kittisophano, deputy abbot of the Mettadhamma Buddhist Centre in
Fang district, that the house of Khum Laowan, a local woman who looks after
the grounds of the centre and who discovered the dead body of Phra Supoj
Suvacano, was burned to the ground on June 17.
No one was seen entering or leaving the area, the monk
told the panel headed by Thai Rak Thai MP Premsak Piayura.
"Luckily, Mrs Khum had been spending nights at the
homes of her friends as she feared for her own safety. Mrs Khum claims that,
since the abbot’s murder, police officers frequently came around midnight
and took her to the Fang police station for questioning and returned her in
the morning," the deputy abbot said.
Phra Kittisak said the local police purported to suspect
that the house fire was an accident caused by Mrs Khum herself - but he
believed it was arson.
The center owns about 1,500 rai land. The centre itself
occupies only 75 rai, while 800 rai serves as a community forest and the
rest is a campus of Maha Chulalongkorn Ratchawitthayalai Buddhist
The desire of greedy influential persons to gain this
land is thought to be the motive for the murder of Phra Supoj, as there had
been several violent attempts by influential figures, allegedly including
local politicians and border patrol police, to force the late Phra Supoj to
sell the land. Witnesses questioned by the police had complained of
"inappropriate behavior" and verbal threats from some of the
police and some villagers had already fled their homes following repeated
threats against them, claimed Suchart Khunraksa, who lives near the
Nothing has been heard at this late stage from the MP
representing Fang district, Santi Tansuhat of Thai Rak Thai.
Phra Kittisak yesterday rejected the Fang police’s
theory about the motive for the murder of the abbot, which is that it
stemmed from his personal conflicts with some of the locals. However, the
local police chief, Pol. Col. Thanasarn Phlaitho, said Fang police would
continue to base their investigations on this.
Phra Kittisak said that if the committee could provide
sufficient witness protection, he would be willing to name names. He
affirmed that the death of Phra Supoj was not caused by conflicts with
villagers, "because we have enjoyed a good relationship with all the
“Panda stamp” celebrates 30 years of diplomatic relations between Thailand and China
Thailand’s first circular stamps
Thailand Post in cooperation with Chiang Mai Zoo have
organized the "Panda Stamp" fair, producing the "30 years
of diplomatic relations between Thailand and China" collection.
These are Thailand’s first circular stamps and went on sale on July 1.
Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat (seated centre) presided over the "Panda
Stamp" fair opening ceremony at the Airport Plaza Shopping Centre.
Chiang Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat presided over the
"Panda Stamp" fair opening ceremony at the Airport Plaza
Shopping Centre, Chiang Mai. The fair gives information about the Chinese
pandas, now proud residents of Chiang Mai, so much so that they are now
like a symbol of Chiang Mai.
new stamp is a popular item.
The stamps are special in that they are circular with a diameter of 33
mm showing the panda bears in a teak forest setting, representing Chiang
Mai and the North. Another shows them eating bamboo in a bamboo grove.
The stamps cost 3 baht each and 2 million of each design have been
printed. The stamps are available in 3 packages - sets of 20 costing 60
baht per set, collector set of two stamps costing 15 baht and an envelope
with the pandas on the front and reverse, costing 13 baht and are
available for Chiang Mai locals. The stamps are available now from
Charoen Muang Road Post Office, Chiang Mai.
Chiang Mai province to attend China-Asian Expo 2005
Chiang Mai province plans to attend the China-Asian Expo
2005 at Nanning, Guangxi Autonomous Region, China, to promote Chiang Mai and
tourism and to present unique local products to the international public
this coming October.
Chiang Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat presided over the
Chiang Mai planning conference regarding the China-Asian Expo 2005,
scheduled for October 19–22, to push Chiang Mai as a "City of Thai
The expo coordinators have requested Chiang Mai to
prepare a Road Show concerning tourism, unique products such as handicraft
works, agricultural products and other investments between Chiang Mai and
China. The province would encourage cooperation with Yunnan province and
Guangxi by concentrating on air and land transport that could support trade
and closer relationships.
Election Commission ready for TAO elections
Elections scheduled for July 31
The Election Committee is ready for the July 31 TAO
elections, said Theerawat Sinthuboon, director of Office of the Election
Commission of Chiang Mai. TAO presidents and members in 121 Chiang Mai areas
will be elected.
Sinthuboon, director of the Chiang Mai Election Commission’s Office,
provides information about the upcoming election during the press
Theerawat said 376 presidential candidates and 6,341
potential members are running for election; however, one candidate had
already been barred, following his behavior in the last electoral jousting.
The office will cooperate with the private sector to
verify candidate’s qualifications and will accept calls about election
problems 24 hours a day. Approved candidates were proclaimed on July 7.
Pol. Maj. Gen. Pimon Sinthunawa, officer of central
investigation, said that the office had requested participation from the
entire police force in Chiang Mai to verify candidates’ qualifications and
to guard against cheating, by working with the TAO election coordinators.
Some candidates who wish to present petitions to sue other candidates were
warned to have sufficient proof.
Each candidate was limited to 30,000 baht in the amount
of money he could spend on the election, while the presidential candidates
could multiply that amount with the number of villages in each area for
campaigning and, after the election results were proclaimed, each candidate
had to report on his expenditure.
With another election coming, it sounds like manna from heaven for the
Nearly 500 malaria deaths in Mae Hong Son
500 more expected
The malaria situation in Mae Hong Song is grave, says
Suwat Kittidilokul, head of Mae Hong Son Provincial Public Health Office.
Over a thousand villagers were suspected of harboring the disease and it is
spreading along the border due to the incursion of alien laborers.
Kittidilokul, head of Mae Hong Son Provincial Public Health Office.
He disclosed that 442 malaria patients had died and he
expected more, owing to the high rate of infection.
Malaria is one of the main problems in Mae Hong Son,
where the rate of infection is one of the top ten in Thailand. Disease
control cannot be relaxed, as local forests are ideal for mosquito breeding.
Another factor is the number of aliens moving into the province. Officers
at a refugee camp in Mae Hong Son said that at least 3,000 of the 40,000
refugees are suffering from malaria.
Chiang Mai and Lanna provinces’ development strategy analyzed
On July 5, Yaowapa Wongsawat, advisor to the prime
minister, and her team analyzed the results of Chiang Mai and Lanna
provinces’ development strategy to solve poverty and to improve
communication networks, water sources and public health medical services.
She was joined by Chiang Mai governor, Suwat Tantipat.
Suwat Tantipat reported that in the nine months since
October 2004, poverty solving has been underway, the trade value of the
province was nearly up to target, 4,068 new SME producers were operating and
OTOPs increased in value to 85 million baht. However, industrial production
was below target. Health business promotions brought in less than half the
Yaowapa considered that the whole image of Chiang Mai
according to the planned strategy was looking good; nevertheless district
chief officers should concentrate on detailed areas to survey local problems
to prevent overlapping budget spending and to search for attractive tourism
points in each area. Good cooperation from every sector is required for this
to happen. Residents should be encouraged to support stronger communities
and to realize the importance of nature, the environment, culture and
The governor suggested canceling the CEO budget if it
appeared non-beneficial but he would instead support projects approved by
the PM and cabinet while they were on their mobile trip and would report
continually to government about the progress.
Supreme Commander of the Royal Thai Armed Forces plants trees
Gen. Chaisit Shinawatra, supreme commander of the Royal
Thai Armed Forces, and Assoc. Prof Thep Pongpanit, president of Maejo
University, cooperated to re-forest 907 rai of land on the occasion of the
80 year anniversary of HM the King in 2007.
Gen. Chaisit said that the government has a policy to
re-forest degraded areas, and government organizations, private sectors and
all citizens were invited to re-forest the area with the help of Maejo
There were 200 Maejo University participants plus 400
people from education organizations and 500 residents.
Chiang Mai to parade a special candle made for Buddhist Lent
This year’s Asarnha Bucha and Buddhist Lent will be
commemorated at Buddhist Place, Chiang Mai, said Pornchai Jitnavasathien,
Chiang Mai deputy mayor, adding that Chiang Mai municipality would cooperate
with the Chiang Mai Buddhist organizations to organize a Buddhism week.
The activities are scheduled to take place on July 21,
and will be entitled "Hae Tian Watsa Paweni Chiang Mai Muang". The
highlight of the activity will be a special candle parade. A Lent Day candle
competition would be held for educational institutes, communities, and both
government and private sectors. The municipality would support each
organization attending the candle competition with 10,000 baht.
The deputy mayor added that the municipality had provided
20,000, 15,000, 10,000 and 7,000 baht, along with trophies, as rewards for
the winner and other runners-up. The municipality invites interested
residents to view the parade and join the activities on that day.
Night safari is 100 percent complete says Plodprasop
But like the ark, we are waiting for the animals
A leading government official said that construction is
finished and the Night Safari Zoo is 100% ready. The assistant minister to
the Office of the Prime Minister, Plodprasop Surasawadee, who is responsible
for the construction of the zoo, made the announcement last week, adding
that "we are just waiting the delivery of the animals."
Surasawadee, assistant minister of the office of the prime minister at the
Chiang Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat and Deputy Governor
Prinya Pantong concurred.
The first animals to take up residence at the safari will
be giraffes, scheduled to arrive on July 7. A welcoming ceremony was planned
for them on that day.
The 1,600 animals, covering 100 varieties, will arrive
gradually and barring any hiccups the new Chiang Mai Night Safari will open
on Loy Krathong day in November this year. On first opening, important
guests and schoolchildren will be invited. The schoolchildren will be
admitted free of charge and meals will be provided.
Plodprasop added, "Total investment so far has
reached 1.2 billion baht, which is one third of what the Singapore night
safari cost 10 years ago. It is also more beautiful and better than the
Singapore night safari both academically and in other aspects.
"OTOP products from three districts will be promoted
within the grounds. Eventually an OTOP village will be opened so that other
villages in Chiang Mai can also take part.
Night Safari is scheduled to open by Loy Krathong in November.
"Furthermore, good quality restaurants will be
opened providing delicious food. Most of the income will be gained from
restaurants, the sale of goods and entrance fees. Ticket prices will vary
for foreigners, Thai nationals and children. Profit and loss has not been
considered, at this point, for the first seven years, but in the eighth year
the project must be self-sustainable with no funding by the
A cable car to the night safari, the elephant sanctuary and shortcut to
the foothills of Doi Suthep, passing Chiang Mai Zoo and on up to the Khru Ba
Srivichai Monument or Huay Kaew Waterfall is proposed. This 15 km, eight
station and an investment of 1,000 million baht project is presently being
studied for viability at this time. This is a great opportunity for Chiang
Mai residents as Thailand has never before had a cable car network. The area
around the Khru Ba Srivichai Monument will remain untouched, just
beautified. The cable car will also bring more people to pay their respects
to Khru Ba Srivichai, said Plodprasop.
Leeches found in nose cavity and throat of two children
Two boys, seven and ten years old, from Mae Taeng, Chiang
Mai were treated in Nakornping Hospital after one of them coughed and
sneezed blood. Doctors found a leech in his nose cavity and another in his
The two leeches were five and nine cm in length. The two
boys had drunk water at a creek and Dr. Laddawan Hanpairote warned people,
especially young children who swim and drink water from creeks, to beware of
Doctors at Nakornping Hospital have recently treated two
other patients for leeches in the throat and fly worms in the nasal cavity.
Using leeches in medicine has almost been forgotten;
however, doctors in the north have obviously to be on the lookout for
non-medically applied blood-suckers.
Foreign media finds no base to claims of ill treatment of Tai tribesmen
NGOs and Tai tribal leaders presented a petition to
members of the foreign media claiming that Thai soldiers had forced them to
leave Doi Tai Lang without consideration of human rights. This resulted in
Maj. Gen. Manus Paorik, deputy commander of Third Army Region, leading
members of the foreign media to visit Tai tribesmen being evacuated from
Burma to live at Doi Tai Lang.
of the commission survey Doi Tai Lang.
The deputy commander told the media commission that Doi
Tai Lang was in Thailand and the watershed for Pang Ma Pha district. If
people were allowed to live there it might cause a decrease in natural
resources, affecting many people. The Tai tribes were asked to leave the
area while reforestation took place, and they agreed. The Tai tribe moved to
an area only 500-600 meters away from Doi Tai Lang.
Dr. Kraisak Chunhawan, president of the commission of
foreign media said that, having learnt from NGO and Tai tribal leaders and
even diplomats from several countries that Thai officers had forced the
tribesmen to leave the area without their agreement, he and the commission
visited Doi Tai Lang on a fact-finding mission. The commission was satisfied
with the officers’ actions and did not discover any untoward events as had
Kraisak Chunhawan, president of the commission, listens to the Tai tribe.
"The members of the foreign commission pay attention
to human rights, and after the border situation had altered, resulting in
many complaints about human rights issues, we had to find out the facts -
starting from Ratchaburi, Prajuabkirikhan, Tak and Mae Hong Son. Having seen
Doi Tai Lang, we are all relieved that no violence has been used as reported
in both Thai and foreign media," the president said.
He added that although this tribe was not Thai, Thailand
realized they were world citizens and needed to be taken care of, especially
for health, food and education related reasons.. However, the members would
appoint a committee to press Burma to adjust their policies to be
democratic, so that Burmese citizens could have freedom and would not have
to flee the country.
Mong San Jong Dee, administrative department leader of
the Tai tribe, requested the members of the commission to help Tai orphans
and women because the orphans would probably be pressed to return to Burma
to serve as army servants, while the women were at risk of sexual
There are 2,400 Tai tribes people living at Doi Tai Lang including 700
children, of whom 218 are orphans. A Buddhist temple and school has been set
up there with 20 teachers. One of those teachers said that children were
anxious to study but the school had insufficient food for them. The teacher
asked people to donate funds or necessary goods for these children.
Checkpoint Charlies told to be more vigilant
Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, Provincial
Police Bureau Region 5 commissioner, ordered local police officers in the
eight Northernmost provinces to be more vigilant at permanent checkpoints
and search for illegal substances.
Currently there are over 100 on the routes from Burma and
Laos into the main towns and the lower northern provinces. Police were told
to be watchful of suspect vehicles that may have been modified to contain
concealed compartments to store drugs.
This exhortation came as the result of the arrest in the
beginning of July of Alay Saenhliaw, a Lahu tribesman, by Lampang police in
Sobprab district. He was in possession of more than 300,000 amphetamine
pills hidden in a modified pick-up truck and who managed to pass through
checkpoints in both Chiang Rai and Phayao provinces.
Night Safari animals given a Lanna welcome
On July 7, Chiang Mai Night Safari organized a welcoming
ceremony for three species of animals, the first to arrive at the park. The
ceremony was held as a local "Bai Sri Soo Kwan" Lanna ceremony by
ceremonially parading the caged animals of the Savanna zone.
Plodprasope Surasawadee, director of the safari project
presided over the welcoming ceremony before feeding the nine animals:
giraffes, zebras and blackbucks (possessing beautiful horns).
It was promised that 150 types of animals, totaling 1,600
head, will soon be transferred to the safari zoo. Plodprasope said that
Chiang Mai Night Safari would be a night nature study center where people
could see wildlife at night and it would be an attraction for nightlife
tourists. It was also about developing a world class tourism destination to
maintain Thai Lanna culture and identity, he maintained. He did not mention
at the time that this tourist attraction will yet again be another
practicing double pricing, with tourists being disadvantaged once more.
Want a cool number plate?
A tender for car license plates with 301 Kor Ror letters
and lucky numbers will take place October 13-14, according to Autsathai
Rattanadilok Na Phuket, head of Chiang Mai Provincial Transport Office.
The previous auction for Kor Yor license plates painted
with panda pictures was very successful, and raised 22,850,000 baht. The
highest price for a license plate in the previous year was the one with Kor
Yor 9999 Chiang Mai, at 1.8 million baht, while the cheapest was Kor Yor
6611 Chiang Mai at 8,000 baht. The auction bids started from 500 to 50,000
baht, depending on the number. The Kor Yor 9999 license plate last year was
the highest price ever achieved in Thailand.
The second tender this year is predicted to generate much
interest. The office will use the previous four groups and same opening bids
starting at 50,000 baht, second starting at 10,000 baht, third at 3,000 baht
and the last group starting at 500 baht. The auction is expected to make as
much as last year.
Tourists report famous Makha Mong fossil tree buried in mudslide
Tourists reported that an eight hundred thousand year
old Makha Mong fossil tree discovered in Tak was partly buried under a
The fossil tree is over four meters wide at the base
with a two and half meter trunk and is 21 meters long. It is thought that
another 20 meters may still be buried.
When it was discovered, villagers dispensed with all
thoughts of conservation, and had tried to sell the tree but had been
The area used to be virgin forest and it is thought that
the Ping River flowed through there but later trees fell causing the
waterway to change and trees were buried and fossilized.
It is considered an important discovery and a key to
knowledge of geography, botany and evolution, especially in Asia, as long
as it doesn’t end up on the sales table.
Construction costs increase with price of fuel oil
Sales are decreasing
Nopadol Anonthawilad, managing director of Nopadol
Company, said that the high cost of fuel oil is affecting the price of
construction materials. However, the company could not increase its prices
too much as the market would not stand it and, in the rainy season, sales
have decreased by 30 percent and may tumble even further.
"In fact, material prices should be increased by
10-20 percent as the fuel oil price is increasing, but the company is able
to add only 5 percent more. It is necessary to increase prices by 3 percent
each time fuel oil increases by 10 percent," he added. He admitted that
material costs depend on supply and demand and that factories producing the
goods are also affected and were suffering cash flow problems.
People up in arms at fuel oil costing 26 baht per liter
Fuel prices have been increasing, causing malcontent
amongst the people of Chiang Mai. Yet another recent increase in fuel price
has been imposed which will result in an imminent increase in the price of
goods, despite "official" denials.
price of fuel has increased and Chiang Mai is hurting.
As a result, a few people have taken to riding bicycles
and some students are car pooling. Minibus drivers said that they could not
collect more fares even if the fuel oil price had been increased, resulting
in more hardship. Drivers have stopped the practice of cruising for
passengers and now park at fixed points. In spite of this, people are unsure
about the quality of gasohol and bio diesel, so they pay higher prices for
A measure to save fuel oil by closing gas stations after 10 p.m. as a
government policy will shortly be imposed in spite of opposition. One night
worker said that he had to wait for gas stations to open at 5 a.m. and it
wasted his time.
A man hiding speed in rectum arrested in Mae Sai
But it wasn’t pre-digested
Chiangmai Mail reporters
On June 2, Choochai Udompode, head of the Mae Sai
immigration office, intercepted and captured a drug mule at the Mae Sai
border opposite Tachilek, Burma. After gentle interrogation, 560 ya ba pills
were deftly, if perhaps messily, extracted from the prisoner’s rectal
The man was identified as Ekachai Hathiya, 34, from
Nakhonsrithamarat. He said he had to commit the crime as he had huge debts
and so agreed to transfer drugs to the southern region for 15,000 baht for
each uncomfortable trip.
Choochai revealed that Mae Sai - Tachilek was still the
most popular place for smuggling drugs in spite of official claims to the
contrary. Officers tried to suppress drug smuggling but apparently Burmese
laboratories are still working flat out to produce as much drugs as were
required by Thai addicts, so smuggling through Mae Sai continues.
Barber shorn in armed robbery in broad daylight
On July 9 at 10 a.m. local barber Sao Sudtham was mugged
while getting ready to give a customer his haircut. The brazen robber made
off with two gold chains, weighing five baht, and two amulets, which
apparently were not too lucky that day.
officers question Yupin, the victim’s wife.
Chiang Puek Police received a report of the mugging in
which a gun was used and that the attacker had escaped in a blue car after
carrying out the attack. The injured victim was taken to Chiang Puek
Hospital for medical treatment.
Pol. Lt. Amnaj Thamasarn, carrying out preliminary
investigations at the scene, found the front window was broken with a bullet
hole still visible. Nearby was a pink barber’s cape caked in blood stains.
Questioning of Yupin Sudtham, the victim’s wife,
revealed that after opening as usual a young slim male (about 30) came in
acting as a customer. Sao put on his cloak to prepare to cut his hair, but
while he wasn’t looking the attacker used the handle of a 12 mm. gun to
hit him over the head. The villain then snatched off the two necklaces, one
weighing 2 baht and the other 3 baht, along with two amulets in gold cases.
Sao grabbed his attacker and a wrestling match broke out,
during which the gun went off hitting the window. The attacker ran out with
the necklaces and jumped into a blue car that was parked on the opposite
side of the street and sped off towards the municipal sports stadium. Police
radioed colleagues hoping to block its escape.
Yupin added that her husband liked to wear many gold
necklaces and this may have attracted the attention of the attacker who may
have called around on numerous occasions waiting for the right opportunity.
He was lucky not to be shot.
After only 20 minutes police spotted a suspicious car at the Ruam Choke
market intersection and signaled to the driver to pull over. The police
found an armed man and took him to the police station for questioning. It
appears that the attacker got out of the car along the route before police
stopped the driver, who naturally denies all charges. From the evidence
uncovered, the police are certain that two men were involved and are
following up the case.
Jealous pickle merchant commits suicide
Nopniwat Krailerg and
On 10 July Duangkaew Potharam, 48, a pickle wholesaler in
Muangmai market, Chiang Mai shot himself and was pronounced dead on arrival
at the hospital.
rescue team rush to transfer Duangkaew to hospital.
The rescue team found Duangkaew’s body lying in a pool
of blood with a bullet wound in his head. His wife, Sriphan Somsanguan, 46,
was embracing the body. Beside the body lay a .38 revolver.
Buncha Phothram, the 25-year-old son of the couple, told reporters,
"My father and mother had been together in a wholesale business for
many years. They divorced about a year ago, but Sriphan, who had another
man, came back to live with my father again. My father was unable to get the
thought of his rival out of his head and got jealous and they had arguments,
which led to this tragedy."
Young monk shot dead and novice wounded on hunting trip
Another ‘magic bullet’ theory?
Phra Somboon Sampunno, 27, of Wat Phrabat Sii Roi,
Saluang, Mae Rim, Chiang Mai was killed, having been shot in the head whilst
hunting in Huayphamu forest in an area connecting Mae Rim and Mae Taeng,
Chiang Mai, about five kilometers from his temple. Sithichai Sasat, a
novice, was shot in the thigh and taken to Nakhorn Ping Hospital, Chiang
The two had left the temple with a guide, in search of
herbs and to hunt animals in the depths of the forest on the evening of the
July 6. Wirat Sasat, 42, a resident of Saluang, Mae Rim, Chiang Mai acted as
Wirat admitted under questioning that Phra Somboon had
hired him as he knew the forest area. While they were hunting, he tripped
over a log in the dark and the gun he was carrying went off, killing the
monk, and apparently injuring the novice. He said he carried the injured
Sithichai out of the forest by the next morning and asked locals for help to
take him to the hospital.
Whilst he claimed the incident was an accident, the
police were not convinced and have charged Wirat with murder.
Minister of Interior makes a security check
Chiangmai Mail reporters
On June 6, Deputy PM Pol. Gen. Chitchai Wannasathit;
Minister of Interior Sermsak Pongpanit; Interior Ministry Permanent
Secretary Sujarit Patchimnun and Siwa Sangmanee, director general of the
Department of Provincial Administration traveled to Chiang Rai for an
official inspection. Worakiat Somsoi, Chiang Rai governor, and Pol. Maj.
Gen. Chamnong Kaewsiri, Chiang Rai Provincial Police, took them to check
situations of security, drugs and smuggling in local areas.
The first stop was at the Kew Thap Yang checkpoint in Mae
Chan district, a point to intercept drugs and illegal items on Pahonyothin
Rd. Police officers, K-9 and x-ray vehicles were prepared at that point, so
Pol. Gen. Chitchai donated sentry-boxes for the officers on duty.
They then visited Tham Pla checkpoint in Tambon Pong Pa,
Mae Sai, and secondly, Mae Sai Bridge at Baan San Pak Hee, Tambon Mae Sai,
linking Thailand and Burma. As the Burmese situation was below par, Thailand
had offered to construct immigration offices and a customs house for them
and were awaiting their permission, so the bridge opening was postponed.
Pol. Gen. Chitchai said that Chiang Rai would be the
gateway to neighboring countries after the Thai government had concluded
negotiations with countries such as Laos about constructing a bridge
crossing the Mekong River from Chiang Khong to Baw Kaew, and a road linking
southern China through Laos into Thailand. Chiang Rai had offered the
Chinese the opportunity to set up an industry settlement in Chiang Khong,
Chiang Rai and more investment is predicted to occur in the province.
The deputy PM stressed that officers should concentrate
on combating drugs, human trafficking and smuggling into Thailand. He
requested the officers to think about how to prevent crimes effectively.
Pol. Maj. Gen. Chamnong reported that the province is the
route used for drug smuggling and arrests often take place in the area. The
Lahu tribe is more involved in drugs now, but officers are continuing to
Three Hmong schoolchildren killed and 31 injured in bus crash
Chiangmai Mail Reporters
A bus filled with Hmong schoolchildren returning from a
sports meet crashed on the Chiang Khong - Chiang Saen route in the vicinity
of Baan Muang Karn, Rim Khong-Chiang Khong. Police, medical and rescue teams
were alerted and attended the scene of the accident.
40 Thai Hmong hill tribe schoolchildren, aged between
6-12 from the Border Patrol Police School Baan Kiwkarn, Rim Khong, Chiang
Khong Chiang Rai had been in the bus and trailer. When the rescue crews
arrived they found the children screaming and crying, and three were found
dead having been thrown from the trailer.
31 injured children were taken to Somdej Prayuparaj
Hospital in Chiang Khong, but the more seriously injured were then
transferred to Chiang Rai Prachanukroh Hospital.
Preliminary investigations showed that the driver was
Mana Sae-lee, 29, a Thai-Hmong hill tribe and village headman of Baan
Kiwkarn, Chiang Khong, Chiang Rai, who had fled the scene. He had borrowed
the vehicle from his younger brother to take students to the school sports
competition organized by the Supanimitr Foundation at Baan Sub Som, Wiang,
Chiang Khong. At the time of the accident he was carrying the schoolchildren
back home to Kiwkarn over mountainous roads. The police think that the
brakes failed and it hit a barrier and overturned.