NEWS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Check your Burmese wall hangings

Part of a huge consignment of illegal timber apprehended

Longan farmers from Saraphi want more money

Northern Region SME Center produces marketing opportunity

Freight businesses want government help

Chiang Rai authorities nervous about mudslides

Northern longan farmers saved by the gong

Yuam riverside villagers prepare to flee

Government gifts for new babies

Chiang Mai wants a more attractive face

Liquor listing protest unabated

Another 167 lives enter Chiang Mai Night Safari

Hmong applicants harassed at Erawan Resort

Chiang Mai municipality aids HIV victims and provides scholarships

Chiang Rai to negotiate trade with Laos in August

Baan Pi villagers care for the forest and earn from it

Suspected Thai spy beheaded by unknown troops

English for investigating officials, a step to improve Thai police

Clumsy parking leads to drug arrest

Prison fight leads to one death and more injured

Prisoners sell their handiwork

Pha Muang Task forces sniff out secret drug gang

Bogus Chinese medical team finds new use for longans

Check your Burmese wall hangings

They may be worth millions in illegal drugs

Nopniwat Krailerg and Preeyanoot Jittawong

Drug dealers smuggling heroin and speed pills from Myanmar were recently arrested with a haul of seven kilograms of drugs. The raw value was 2.8 million baht but sources said that this would bring 28 million baht on the street.

Maj. Gen. Pairat Thongjaktu, commissioner of Pha Muang Task Force, said that in the early morning of July 25, patrolling soldiers near the second bridge at Baan Tha Kalam saw two men carrying a large sack. On requesting a search, the two ran back to the Burmese side, abandoning their bundle.

Officers opened it and found 10 Burmese style wall hangings sewn with elephant pictures in relief, with 14 plastic bags of heroin used as the stuffing in each hanging, coming to 7,000 grams of heroin.

Prior to this arrest, soldiers had found 21,000 ya ba pills and 20 Ecstasy pills being transported the same way by two Burmese men on July 21 and, on the next day, two others were apprehended on motorbikes crossing the border with 10,200 WY speed pills hidden in wall hangings. Three more dealers were discovered on Burmese side of the border after interrogation of those arrested.

Pithaya Jinawat, director of ONCB Northern region said heroin smuggling in 2003 and 2004 was increasing but ya ba had been decreasing while Ice, Cocaine and Ecstasy were increasing as the demand from Thai youth increased.

Pol. Col. Jaran Roengtham, superintendent of Mae Sai Police Station disclosed that ya ba was often concealed with cocoa or chocolate to mask the smell to counter the sniffer dogs. Most heroin found would be exported to Taiwan where the value was higher, he said.


Part of a huge consignment of illegal timber apprehended

Government officials believed to be involved

Saksit Meesubkwang

Logged timber from Mae Kham Mee Forest Park in Phrae was found not to have approved Forest Industry Organization of Thailand (FIO) numbers and stamps.

After receiving a tip-off regarding the legality of the timber, Prasong Uraiworn, head of Phrae Provincial Prevention Office instructed Wae Orachan, district chief officer of Tambon Nikom in Muang, Kamphaengphet to make the carrier, Obnithakarn Co unload the timber in a field in front of Soong Men Police Station for verification.

The source said that the timber on the two trucks was only a part of the consignment and eight trucks had already delivered timber to Bangkok. The fact that this large consignment could have gone the distance without being apprehended leads to suspicion that certain police and officials may have benefited.

The allegedly illegally logged timber was, apparently, the subject of a contract between Chanit Laohawatana, director of The Forest Industry Organization of Thailand (FIO) and Tropical Foresters Pte of Singapore.

Wae Orachan said that his company had purchased the timber legally and if illegally logged timber was delivered, it should be the responsibility of the FIO.. The company had to rent each truck at 4,000 baht per day and, if this timber could not be exported on time they would lose a lot of money.

Samart Loifa, Phrae deputy governor said that if the timber was proved to be illegal any person found to be involved would be prosecuted no matter how senior a government official they were. Unfortunately, we have heard these promises before.


Longan farmers from Saraphi want more money

Nopniwat Krailerg

Following a glut of more than 27,000 tons of longans in Saraphi this year, prices are falling. The end result is yet another petition to higher authorities to magically increase the returns to the farmers.

200 Longan farmers protest the low price of their product.

On July 20, Wiroj Lapan, president of Tambon chief officer and village head association together with 200 Saraphi longan orchard men gathered at Chiang Mai City Hall while Kwanchai Wongnitikorn, Chiang Mai deputy governor received the petition and listened to the problem.

Kwanchai said that once again overproduction by the longan farmers was the root cause of the problem, nevertheless, they would not be ignored and Chinese merchants had been invited to purchase a certain amount of dry longans. The Chinese Consul has been asked to support the purchasing process and if Chinese merchants would accept forty to fifty thousand tons, this would help the farmers. Several cooperatives would also purchase fresh longan at the requested prices.

“The cabinet has resolved to provide a budget of 500 million baht to deal with the longan problem, but farmers should consider modified longan products,” said the deputy governor.


Northern Region SME Center produces marketing opportunity

Preeyanoot Jittawong

The three day “Smart BOC Fair” (Business Opportunity Center) was organized by the Northern Small and Medium Enterprises Development Center and Distribution Promotion Center Chiang Mai and the SME Administration Networks. It was held at the Lanna Hall Central Airport Plaza, Chiang Mai. More than 100 SMEs and OTOP manufacturers participated.

Deputy Governor Thongchai Wongrianthong (centre), Wiranan Niladanuwong (left), director of the Chiang Mai branch of the Industry Promotion Center Region 1, and Napong Sa-nguannapaporn (right), manager of the Northern Small and Medium Enterprises Development Center and Distribution Promotion Center Chiang Mai open the B.O.C.

The objectives of the event were to provide the opportunity for SMEs and OTOP manufacturers in the eight Northern provinces to experience the heady thrills of selling.

The event was well received and was divided into main areas such as clothing, household goods, ornaments, gems and processed foodstuffs; advice and recommendations by experts; and consultations and product plans for manufacturers and interested parties to apply to the development of their own products and packaging in the future.

Thongchai Wongrianthong, Chiang Mai deputy governor, presided over the opening of the “Smart B.O.C. Fair 2005” held between July 22–24. Wiranan Niladanuwong, director of the Chiang Mai branch of the Industry Promotion Center Region 1 spoke on about the origins of the event and Napong Sa-nguannapaporn, manager of the Northern Small and Medium Enterprises Development Center and Distribution Promotion Center Chiang Mai was on hand to welcome them.


Freight businesses want government help

Chiangmai Mail Reporters

Freight companies want the government to understand that increasing oil prices are hurting them just as much as farmers and fishermen, who get financial compensation for the fuel oil increases from the government.

Udom Suwitsakdanon, managing director of Nim See Seng Co., Ltd. and president of the Forwarders Club Chiang Mai, said that freight companies are losing nine hundred thousand baht per month. Even though the rate has been increased by 10 percent, fuel oil prices have further increased; therefore, consideration is being given to further increases for the sake of survival.

There are 14 branches of Nim See Seng Company in Bangkok and different provinces using 600 trucks, and if the government would help farmers and fishermen, he would like the government to think about the freight business too, Udom concluded.


Chiang Rai authorities nervous about mudslides

Deforestation brings its muddy retaliation

Chiangmai Mail Reporter

Concern about mudslides mounts and so a seminar about geological disaster networks was held in Chiang Rai led by Ruaylap Iamthong, consultant to the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment.

Somsak Photisat, director general of the Department of Mineral Resources and Nopporn Tornrap, Chiang Rai deputy governor and another thousand people joined the seminar on July 16 held at Little Duck Hotel, Chiang Rai.

One consultant said that Chiang Rai province often experiences mudslides, mountain torrents and collapsing soil and they were difficult to prevent — but readiness and participation of its citizens could reduce losses.

The Director General of the Department of Mineral Resources said that this seminar was to give information to residents about natural disasters, especially mudslide warnings that often took place in north of Chiang Rai such as Mae Chan, Mae Fa Luang and Mae Sai because ground in these areas degenerates easily. However, the main reason was deforestation, and when heavy rain occurred, mudslides and collapsing soil ensued. Having terrified all attendants with the dire possibilities, he asked residents not to be too frightened but to listen to government warnings.

People will be informed if 60 millimeters of rain falls per day and to then be ready for mudslides and to move out from risky areas, especially if more than 300 millimeters fell per day. Rain gauges have been distributed in various areas. Some areas such as Mae Suai and Muang will be surveyed for sink holes as well.

Since September, 2004, it has rained for 17 full days resulting in 440 millimeters of water in Mae Sai, Mae Fa Luang and Mae Chan and mudslides occurred in Mae Fa Luang causing two deaths and buried a school at Tambon Pateung in Mae Chan.


Northern longan farmers saved by the gong

Longan Agriculturist Cooperatives sign last-minute contract with China

Nopniwat Krailerg

Jaran Supasri, Northern Longan Agriculturist Cooperatives and Eight Northern Provinces Cooperatives’ representative signed a contract with Jang Yong Lin representing DKY 2005 Company, China, to purchase 70,000 tons of dry longan. This will help in solving the longan oversupply problem in the northern region with a market to take some longan products.

Jang Yong Lin requested farmers to pay attention to dry longan quality and not to mix a new crop with old one because it may affect the product distribution next year.

There are many lessons to be learned, both by governments, local politicians and farmers. Let us see what happens next year.


Yuam riverside villagers prepare to flee

Three days continuous rain increases danger of mudslides

Saksit Meesubkwang

Mae Sariang, Mae La Noi and Sop Moei district chief officers have been told by Supoj Laowansiri, Mae Hong Son governor, to get ready to move people living along Yuam riverside and nearby creeks as it had been raining from Friday to Sunday, increasing the mudslide probability. Mountain torrents would uproot large trees that might harm lives, fields and houses along the riversides.

Kannikar Puranaphan, director of Northern Metrology Center stated on July 25 that soft to medium cloud covering the three districts would cause it to rain continually and that could result in mudslides in the three areas.

The governor warned residents in the three districts not to work on farms located near mountains or highlands but to wait until it was safe. Officers were ready to rescue residents immediately if a disaster occurred.


Government gifts for new babies

Nopniwat Krailerg

The government is trying to encourage parents and babysitters to understand children’s learning processes and to realize the importance of child development. To this end, gifts for new babies are being given for all newborns in Thailand between July 28, 2005 and July 27, 2006.

This is for all bubs, irrespective of whether they were born in government or private hospitals or even at health centers or the rear seat of taxis. The commencement of the generosity coincides with the birthday of HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn (July 28).

The government’s goodies includes a blanket, manual of taking care of a baby up to two years old for mothers or babysitters, a music CD or cassette tape to encourage brain development and toys to encourage touching, listening and seeing and a fairytale.


Chiang Mai wants a more attractive face

Flowers up and hoardings down is the answer

Nopniwat Krailerg and Saksit Meesubkwang

Governor Suwat Tantipat and Mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn have combined to improve Chiang Mai’s image, expecting this to stimulate tourism. The governor said that an international magazine had just listed Chiang Mai as the fourth most important tourist venue while Bali, Indonesia had won the top preference.

Governor Suwat Tantipat and Mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn proclaim tidiness for all.

Both the governor and the mayor said that local police officers should cooperate with Chiang Mai residents to develop the province to be more interesting, clean and neat, particularly as several important activities will be organized in Chiang Mai next year. Rules in the city concerning footpaths, streets and households must be followed, requiring participation from residents.

Governor Suwat Tantipat, Mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn and Pornchai Jitnavasathien at the press conference on developing Chiang Mai’s image.

“Implementing rules in Chiang Mai will satisfy both residents and travelers and will bring income and more work to other provincial districts and tambons. We should support our province to make it more attractive as one of world’s most important tourist venues,” Suwat said.

He added that since there would be more tourists during the high season in November, the five underpass points should be finished in October and decorated with flowers for a good impression to support both the high season and several big projects in 2006, especially the Chiang Mai Night Safari.

Boonlert said that the municipality would pay more attention to all areas and had beautified the look of the city at Thapae Road, Jaroen Muang Road, and Rachadamnern Road and around the canal. The municipality had also ordered the removal of 400 improper advertising hoardings and officers would enforce the rules. Chiang Mai will become an untidy city, he said, if the city police do not enforce the implementation of rules.


Liquor listing protest unabated

Protestors think that alcohol use would increase at a staggering pace

Nopniwat Krailerg

300 monks, residents and students, representing 67 religious organizations in Chiang Mai gathered at Chiang Mai City Hall on July 20 to present a petition to Governor Suwat Tantipat calling on the government not to allow listing the Thai Beverage Plc on the Stock Exchange of Thailand.

Governor Suwat Tantipat accepts the petition from the monks’ representative.

Thai Beverage had planned to list on the SET earlier this year, but was forced to postpone its plans in March following strong public opposition.

Owned by billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, Thai Beverage is a holding company under which Chang, Mekhong, Saeng Som, Hong Thong and other well-known brands of beer and liquor are produced.

The company filed its plans to list on the stock exchange with regulators last Thursday in what is expected to be Thailand’s largest ever initial public offering (IPO).

Monks and students with a sign signifying “Stop Alcohol Entering the Stock Market” in front of Chiang Mai City Hall.

But the proposed listing has generated a good deal of criticism due to the perception that the move represents state support for the consumption of alcohol.

Phra Maha Kitti Ratana Choto, the monk leading the protest, repeated the statement made by Maj-Gen Chamlong Srimuang, former leader of the Palang Dharma party, that Buddhist, Islamic and Christian teachings all offered cautions regarding the dangers of drinking alcohol, and questioned how the SEC could permit the company to list.

The listing is, allegedly, being resisted by commissions of education, religion, art and culture groups. Questionnaires were distributed to 8,912 schools, 2,711 teachers and parents associations, 3,415 temples, 812 churches and mosques throughout the country, with 99 percent disagreeing with the SEC listing. Proposing that listing could possibly change the habits of an entire population, they claimed that doing so would cause crimes, violence, accidents, poor health and even poverty amongst citizens.

Governor Suwat Tantipat accepted the petition, promising to present it to the government.

Distributed flysheets claimed that Thailand was fifth in the world for alcohol consumption and that the use of alcohol amongst women and children was increasing at a staggering pace. They predicted that Thai society would degenerate if the company was allowed to list on the stock market.

Meanwhile, National Buddhism Office director Jakkratham Thammasak criticised monks who joined Wednesday’s protest against a liquor firm’s planned listing on the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET). He sarcastically suggested they should instead help the country by moving to Buddhist temples in the deep South. Jakkratham said he had heard that monks from Surin province took part in the protest, in violation of the Supreme Patriarch’s order about five years ago. Wednesday’s protest, although it was against an addictive substance, was not any monk’s business, he said.

‘’I believe 95 percent of Buddhists don’t want to see such a thing,’’ he said. ‘’As for the protesting monks, I want to ask them to move to temples in the South. And I’ll give them water guns for sprinkling holy water,’’ he said.


Another 167 lives enter Chiang Mai Night Safari

Nopniwat Krailerg

A donation from the National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department of 138 head of nine species of animals and another 29 head of five kinds purchased from the Zoological Park Organization have given the Night Safari of Chiang Mai zoo a lift.

The tiger’s enclosure waits for tigers.

People are invited to view the animals before the official opening on November 16 this year, said Yongyut Tiyapairat, minister of natural resources and environment. He also said that besides giving animals to the project, he had surveyed 900 rai of the safari to see if there was some aspect that the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment could support, because the night safari was a national treasure.

The Chiang Mai Night Safari will be linked to other tourism places such as Phra Thad Doi Suthep and the elephant camp, and be promoted as the largest natural tourism area.

Plodprasope Surasawadee, assistant to the Minister of the PM’s Office who was responsible for the Night Safari project said that another 1,500 animals of 150 species would be transferred to the night safari, but he didn’t specify when.


Hmong applicants harassed at Erawan Resort

Saksit Meesubkwang

The Erawan Resort was searched on July 20 by 150 police officers from Chiang Mai Provincial Police, led by Pol. Maj. Gen. Pratya Sutthaprida, deputy commissioner of Provincial Police Region 1.

Asawin Elserberg, Hill Tribe Foundation president gives information to the police.

Erawan Resort is a Hill Tribe Foundation located at Tambon Pong Yaeng in Mae Rim, Chiang Mai, and is a temporary residence for Hmongs moving from Phetchabun, Chiang Rai and Nan waiting to register as Thai citizens.

Pol. Maj. Gen. Pratya said that he had been assigned to deal with Hmongs being smuggled into the kingdom, especially Hmong refugees in Phetchabun. Some Hmongs were in the first group who were awaiting Thai citizen ID cards.

Poomee Saelee, 52, and Yiang Saelee, 47, a couple who used to live in Wiang Kaen, Chiang Rai, were the only two illegal persons found in the resort.

In the raid, there were only two illegal persons found in the resort, identified as Poomee Saelee, 52, and Yiang Saelee, 47, a couple who used to live in Wiang Kaen, Chiang Rai. Poomee said that he was born in Thailand so wondered why he had no Thai ID card, but held only a highland person card and was often apprehended.

Pol. Maj. Gen. Pratya added that some influential people persuaded Laotian Hmongs to enter Thailand claiming they would be sent to a third country such as USA, and charged them money for this doubtful advice. He asked all governors to pay attention to illegal immigrants, especially in Phetchabun province.

Hmongs in Erawan Resort waiting for their data to be recorded.

Asawin Elserberg, president of Hill Tribe Foundation said that the foundation supported Hmongs who were born in Thailand but had no Thai nationality, including helping those Hmongs in Phetchabun and Saraburi to relocate in third countries. There are 184 Hmong tribesmen in the resort at present who were all amongst the first group that would be allowed to live in Thailand as resolved by the government. Meanwhile, 1,075 Hmongs already hold Thai nationality having been supported by the foundation and there are 965 persons soon to do so.


Chiang Mai municipality aids HIV victims and provides scholarships

Preeyanoot Jittawong

Chiang Mai municipality organized its second AIDS Training seminar on July 20, with 94 citizens attending, to discuss the situation of AIDS victims and to encourage their relatives to support them.

Wipawan Worawutpong, Chiang Mai deputy mayor presents allowances for HIV victims.

Wipawan Worawutpong, Chiang Mai deputy mayor presided over the training and presented allowances of 500 baht per month for 83 HIV victims and 11 scholarships of 3,000 baht per year for affected children. He was joined by Dr. Ken Santitham, Chiang Mai assistant mayor and Dr. Decha Poopithayakorn, who managed the training.

The AIDS situation in the northern region caused concern as it had spread rapidly. AIDS victims found in Chiang Mai municipality area are poor and did not know how to take care of themselves and some relatives were reluctant to have them living amongst them. The municipality had recognized the problem and this seminar was one way to deal with it.


Chiang Rai to negotiate trade with Laos in August

Chiangmai Mail Reporters

In an effort to increase trade with Laos, government officials and a team led by Chiang Rai Governor Worakiart Somsoi will visit and consult with government and private sectors of Laos PDR on trade, investment and tourism cooperation.

It is expected that good cooperation between Chiang Rai and Laos PDR as regards to investment, trading and tourism plus OTOP will benefit both countries. A bridge linking the two countries will be constructed passing over the Mekong River in Chiang Khong, Chiang Rai.


Baan Pi villagers care for the forest and earn from it

Saksit Meesubkwang

Baan Pi villagers have cut fire-breaks in the forest and separated their area from the Phu Sang conserved forest. In this way the villagers can manage their forest effectively, to the advantage of the community, and at the same time provide a natural study source for Phayao province.

Baan Pi community forest is bountiful allowing villagers to pick up Makha Mong seeds to sell.

“Baan Pi community covers 650 rai of land, and is being developed to become a herbal community and the biggest Makha Mong Forest in Phayao. Some villagers pick up Makha Mong seeds to sell and these could bring income of about 10,000 baht per year,” said Thorn Jaidee, Tambon Wiang chief officer in Chiang Kham.

He added that some villagers act as guides for visitors to the Baan Pi forest and that could raise additional income of 1,000-2,000 baht each time. Some income was donated to the community fund which now stood at 60,000 baht. Furthermore, residents were allowed to take honey from the forest and had received 17,000 baht in the previous year from the honey concession. This amount would be spent on community leaders’ education so that they may give advice about community forest management.

The Community Forest Network of Phayao has authorized a budget for Baan Pi community to maintain the fire-break line.


Suspected Thai spy beheaded by unknown troops

Terrorist techniques in Mae Hong Son

Saksit Meesubkwang

A Thai man and four Karen tribesmen were fired upon by unknown assailants. Two were killed and beheaded and five M-14 bombs left beside the corpses.

Relatives and neighbors give the two bodies a Christian funeral ceremony.

The five men were hunting wild animals in the forest next to the Thai-Burmese border, 800 meters away from Baan Mae. The Thai citizen, Suchat, 48, and Sorae, a Karen tribesman were killed as the others fled.

Surin Lemantu, Kayinni National Progressive Party (KNPP) secretary-general, said the men came from the Baan Mae Surin refugee camp at Tambon Khun Yuam in Mae Hong Son.

M-14 explosive devices were left beside the dead bodies.

Suchat was known to be a former field soldier with the 36th Ranger Regiment in Mae Sariang, Mae Hong Son. He may have been suspected as being a Thai government spy, and his death a brutal object lesson.

Mae Hong Son Governor Supoj Laowansiri, as a director of the Thai-Burmese border security center, reported that he had assigned officers and border patrol police to monitor the Baan Mae Surin refugee camp and to check people who entered and left the camp. He said the Thai government was pursuing the unknown troops, a monumental task.


English for investigating officials, a step to improve Thai police

Nopniwat Krailerg and Preeyanoot Jittawong

Chiang Mai Center for Skill Development held a special English language training course for investigating police officers at the intermediate level, stressing four skills, listening, speaking, reading and writing, that could be used in daily life. There were 50 policemen attending the training, two non-commissioned police officers and 48 commissioned police officers.

50 policemen attended English language training at the Holiday Garden Hotel.

The English training started on July 25 at the Holiday Garden Hotel, Chiang Mai, and will continue to until August 5. This training was organized because of a request from officers in Chiang Mai as they need to communicate with foreigners and sometimes get stuck or need an interpreter. Normally police learn basic English but now they can learn more skills, being taught by Sanikarn Sookpinit, an officer from the Chiang Mai Center for Skill Development.

Pol. Maj. Wisit Seubsri, of Mae Ping Police Station, said that the training would not only add skills for police but add confidence for officers serving tourists and he expected this kind of training would be continually organized in future, however, it would be very good initially if they could learn some technical words used in the investigation process.


Clumsy parking leads to drug arrest

Chiangmai Mail Reporters

Two Chiang Mai residents ended up being arrested after drawing attention to themselves by parking incorrectly. The clumsy parking led police to interview the men when they then discovered a drug cache in the vehicle.

The men, Sanya Puttarak, 33, and Pongsak Boonklai, 32, had laid a detailed plan, beginning with hiring a car in Chiang Mai and driving to Mae Sai, pretending to be innocent tourists. They then entered Burma to purchase drugs from Burmese drug dealers in Tachilek. They were intending to sell the drugs to teenagers in Chiang Mai.

On their examination of the rented vehicle and the nervous driver and passenger, police officers found 50 Ecstasy pills and 8 pipes of Ketamine (liquid).

The miscreants were promptly arrested and sent to Mae Sai Police Station for charging.


Prison fight leads to one death and more injured

Nopniwat Krailerg

A battle between Thai and Burmese prisoners in a police cell caused one death and two injuries.

The three men involved were sent to Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital but a Burmese, Su, 22, who had a head injury and several body wounds later died.

Apparently a Thai had purchased a small Buddha image from a Burmese but did not pay for it, so the Burmese prisoner asked his protector to get the money and violence ensued.


Prisoners sell their handiwork

Saksit Meesubkwang

Handicrafts made by prisoners in 30 prisons throughout the country were shown in the 18th Northern Department of Corrections product fair in the courtyard of Khamthiang Market in Muang, Chiang Mai. The fair offered their goods at low prices including carved wooden products, sewing and other items on display.

Kitti Limchaikit, Justice Ministry deputy assistant presided over the opening ceremony of 18th Northern Department of Corrections product fair.

Siriwat Sairatana-in, commissioner of Chiang Mai Central Prison said that the products cost almost 15 million baht and hoped they would be sold for not less than 30 million baht, 60 percent of which would go to the prisoners and the rest kept as capital for next year’s production. Interest is expected due to the nature and intense hand labor involved the products. Last year’s sale raised 15 million baht.


Pha Muang Task forces sniff out secret drug gang

Nopniwat Krailerg

On July 21, officers from the 3rd Calvary Regiment, Pha Muang task forces were carrying out their normal duties of intercepting drug traffickers at the Mae Sai-Tachilek border pass in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai when Corporal Nikhom Dokphrom and Pvt. Den Dokkaew noticed a suspicious samlor. The vehicle was carrying rolls of cloth from Tachilek to the Thai side, driven by a Mon, a Burmese National Tai tribesman.

They called him over to carry out an inspection and noticed him acting suspiciously; and they could also smell the speed pills that were hidden in the rolls of cloth. They let him through planning to follow him and arrest the receiver on the Thai side.

They followed him surreptitiously, until he stopped outside Siam First Tours, one kilometer from the border. The Mon made a telephone call and eventually Achi (Chinese Haw) from San Sai Village, Tachilek, Burma came to make the collection, whereupon the two officers stepped out and carried out their search. They arrested the pair after having found 21,000 speed pills in 104 bags, and 20 ecstasy pills.

The officers handed the pair over to Mae Sai police to have charges brought against them and returned to expand their investigations into border drug trafficking.


Bogus Chinese medical team finds new use for longans

Nopniwat Krailerg

A Chinese bogus medical team has been scamming Thai-Chinese businessmen in Chiang Mai. Selling drugs purporting to be able to increase energy and harden their attitude to life, they were charging 10,000 baht per pack, also saying that part of the proceeds was to go to the tsunami victims in the South of Thailand.

Their pseudo-pharmacy was raided by police and Wangpao-Chin, 38, from Mainland China and four accomplices, Chuejian Saewang, 35, Hong Kuy Chue Fujian, 48, Chaoheng-heng, 30 and Chwang Kuy Hu, 62, were arrested at their New Mitraparp Hotel room Tambon Chang Moi, with over 1,000 packs of medication, 70,000 baht and 1,000 Yuan in cash.

All five claimed that they were a Chinese medical team here to help victims of the tsunami in the South. They actually went round selling fake medication to Thai-Chinese locals, mostly gold shop owners in Chiang Mai.

After being arrested they admitted that they were not a medical team as claimed and all drugs were made by themselves from herbs and a mixture of dry longans. They sought out wealthy Thai locals of Chinese extraction. The police kept the gang in custody and are now tracking down the rest of bogus team that are scattered in different locations, all looking for Thai-Chinese with a limp.