Disenchanted villagers sue EGAT
Mae Moh villagers, seeking a halt to lignite mining and
compensation for damage to health and the environment, have filed
malfeasance charges in the Administrative Court against the Electricity
Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT), the industry minister and four TAO
chairmen. The court petition was signed by 288 villagers from four tambons
in Mae Moh district of Lampang.
The suit also names two departments under the minister,
the Department of Primary Industries and Mines, and the Pollution Control
Dr. Oraphan Methadilokul, a specialist, said that around
130 persons in Mae Moh district suffered respiratory problems because of
pneumoconiosis dust and toxic sulfur dioxide.
It is asserted that the mine was the source of air
pollution, endangering their health and damaging their crops. They claim
those named committed malfeasance by permitting lignite to be mined for use
in the Mae Moh coal-fired power plant.
They are calling for the mining concession to be revoked
and compensation of 1-10 million baht each in damages, plus the
rehabilitation of the environment. The villagers also asked to be exempted
from court fees on grounds of poverty.
Several villagers claim that, apart from the prevalent
lung problems they are suffering, pollution has also lowered crop yields.
They have asked international human rights organizations to take action on
their behalf, as they did not dare to sue after some who had tried to sue
Earlier, 128 villagers in the same district made a
similar complaint to the Administrative Court against the Electricity
Generating Authority of Thailand, seeking 1.086 billion baht in
Chiang Mai mayor assigns officers to control building construction to prevent similar collapsing as in Bangkok
The collapse of a building in Bangkok, after a fire,
sparked fears of a similar disaster in Chiang Mai, consequently Chiang
Mai municipality is taking steps to see that the Building Control Act is
buildings in Chiang Mai municipality area have to follow the 1979
Building Control Act for safety reasons.
On July 29, 500 developers of buildings of more than
five floors in height were invited to a seminar about the 1979 Building
Control Act, presided over by Mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn.
Mayor Boonlert revealed that the collapse of the
United Auto Part Co. Ltd. building in Bangkok was partly due to the fact
that the building had been modified as an auto parts store; thus imposing
additional weight on the structure that was not designed to support the
The Ministry of Interior has demanded local officers
strictly adhere to the 1979 Building Control Act, not to modify or add
new structures and monitor building use, including security of both
construction and fire prevention systems.
Chiang Mai municipality has assigned deputy mayor Thai Rojanajinda to
head the team checking high rise buildings in the municipal area.
Future plans for Chiang Mai
But it seems like nothing new
Prof. Dr. Mingkwan Khaosa-ard, director of the Social
Research Institute, told a seminar organized by the Social Research
Institute, Chiang Mai University, that the Ministry of Energy has demanded
that each province assess development problems and how they could improve.
Dr. Mingkwan Khaosa-ard, director of the Social Research Institute.
It was hoped that the meeting could reach conclusions and
establish a future strategy to improve Chiang Mai province. Even though the
government had intended to make Chiang Mai a center of Asian tourism, it
needs to achieve several goals, such as zone management.
The meeting threw up the usual less than revolutionary or
innovative ideas including culture conservation by wearing local costumes
and using the local language. Several ancient places would be rehabilitated
to make them attractive for tourists. Environmental conservation was also
talked about and a campaign would be mounted to get residents to take part
in the process, such as to separate garbage, control advertising hoardings
and to improve tourism venues.
September 24 is D Day for cigarette advertisements
Prof. Suchai Charoenratanakul, Minister of Public Health,
has banned advertising cigarettes and their display in the front of shops at
around 500,000 points throughout the country. Only an A4 page with
“cigarettes available here” will be allowed.
show cases will disappear after September 24 says Ministry of Public Health.
These rules will be applied on September 24, 2005, to
make it more difficult for youngsters to purchase cigarettes, who apparently
cannot read A4 signs.
Dr. Narong Sahamethatphan, deputy director general of the
Department of Disease Control, Ministry of Public Health said at a meeting
in Chiang Mai that the Ministry of Public Health had promulgated the act
controlling tobacco to stop shops selling cigarettes to those younger than
18 years old, and to limit areas selling cigarettes, and other rules.
He added that the Ministry would request business owners to comply in the
rules before the end of October, 2005. If the attempt were successful,
Thailand would be the third country after Canada and Ireland able to control
display of cigarettes. However, one difference is that in those countries
laws are enforced.
German women complain about a Bangkok tour agent
Tourist police broker satisfactory agreement
On July 30, two German women, Carmen Holder, 23, and
Simone Gasttysen, 23, along with a Thai lady named Pitsamorn Senthong, 53,
who lived in Chiang Mai, informed Pol. Capt. Somphet Phankap, deputy
inspector of tourist police of region 1, that Suwannapoom Travel Co. in
Bangkok had deceived them by selling a package tour at 4,900 baht that was
much higher than the general price.
German women who informed Chiang Mai tourist police.
They claimed that the company also purported that it was
an office of the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the officers of the
company were officers of the authority, which was why they believed them and
bought the package to Chiang Mai.
The two tourists said that they bought the package
included a room at Chiang Mai Garden House, train fare and all fees for
4,900 baht per person. The package allowed for travel to Chiang Mai on July
29 and the company said it had already signed a bill for Chiang Mai Garden
House and there would be a driver to pick them up at the station. However,
they decided to travel to Chiang Mai on July 30 and found no one to pick
them up at Chiang Mai train station, so they made their own way to Chiang
Mai Garden Guest House. They met Pitsamorn, the owner of the guest house and
showed her the receipt from the company but she claimed that she had no
knowledge of the company and informed the two ladies that average rate for
tour package should be 3,000 baht per three nights not 4,900 baht.
Pol. Capt. Somphet called Richey travel agency in Chiang
Mai, a branch of Suwannapoom Travel and the owner, Cherd Khaojao accepted
that his company cooperated with Suwannapoom Travel Company. He said he had
sent a driver to pick up the ladies at the train station as informed by the
office in Bangkok but found no one there.
Richey agreed to refund the package tour money but
charged them the train fare at 716 baht each, which satisfied the two
Pol. Capt. Somphet later disclosed that several tourists had been
similarly tricked but the new case happened before he had informed the
Tourism Authority of Thailand. The guest house concerned could have sued
Suwannapoom Travel for the money, he said.
Mae Hong Son province to promote five border villages
But city planning necessary too
Supoj Laowansiri, Mae Hong Son governor, said that they
have stepped up a plan in seven districts of the province to impose a nine
meter limit on building height, and buildings must be located 30-50 meters
away from highways and rivers. However, several buildings were already built
that were contrary to these bylaws and caused various problems, especially
garbage pits in the province. Consequently it was prepared to impose city
Kiartisak Wanakamol, deputy mayor of Mae Hong Son, said
that he would like sub-committees to review the city plan regarding the
distance from the highway required, because most areas in Mae Hong Son were
highlands and mountains and if the residents had to conform to city
planning, residents could not find sufficient flat areas on which to build.
It was also proposed to promote five border villages to
be economic communities that could trade directly with neighboring
countries. The province also would look at setting up a product warehouse
for exporting local products.
The governor added that five villages along border were
promoted because Mae Hong Son as a province had run border trade for some
time and it could support another five border villages for rapid economic
The proposed promotion was for Baan Huay Pueng at Tambon
Huay Pha and Baan Nam Piang Din in Tambon Pha Bong, both in Muang district,
Baan Huay Tong Noon at Tambon Mae Ngo in Khun Yuam district, Baan Sao Hin at
Tambon Sao Hin in Mae Sariang district and Baan Mae Sam Lab at Tambon Mae
Sam Lab in Sop Moei district, Mae Hong Son province.
Reduction in border trade prompts request extend opening times
Mae Sai residents want 10 p.m. closure
Chiangmai Mail Reporter
Choochai Udompode, head of Mae Sai customs house, said
that TBC had presented a petition to Chiang Rai province to extend Mae Sai
border closing time from 6 p.m. up till 10 pm to try to reverse dwindling
trading, investment and tourism.
Several sectors feeling the pinch had discussed the
positive and negative effects of an extension of the closing time and
resolved in its favor. They asked the National Security Council to consider
the issue but there was no response. They now have asked the council to
promptly consider the time extension plan to support border trade.
An extension of trading hours would support both Chinese
tourism and the export business, as export value through Mae Sai border had
decreased since the beginning of this year by 5-10 percent.
Burmese say Thailand encroaching on their territory
Map is wrong, claim Burmese
The Township Border Committee (TBC) of Thailand and Burma
held their conference at Lanna Palace Hotel, Chiang Mai, on July 26. The
conference was held to build friendship between the Burmese, led by Lt. Col.
Saw Moo Ae, governor of Tachilek, and the Thais led by Col. Somsak
Nilbunjerdkul, commissioner of the special task force of 3rd Calvary
Regiment, Pha Muang Task Force. Also present were the president of local
Thai Township Border Committees and committees of soldiers, police,
administrative departments and narcotic suppression division plus customs
Saw Moo Ae, Tachilek governor (right) as representative of Burmese TBC
shakes hands with Col. Somsak Nilbunjerdkul, commissioner of the special
task force of 3rd Calvary Regiment, Pha Muang Task Force (left) and
attendants of the 42nd Thai and Burmese Township Border Committee
The Burmese TBC began by asking Thailand to deal with 33
bases overstepping the Burmese border in Doi Lang, Mae Ai district, Chiang
Mai. There are 22 Thai bases on Burmese soil while 11 bases were set up
across border lines. They claimed that England had separated that area for
Burmese, but in 1980 Thailand redrew the map. Burmese representatives would
like Thai armies to withdraw from Doi Lang.
Meanwhile, Thai officers explained that both sides had
negotiated to live peacefully and not to act by force because it may put
both countries on a collision course; nevertheless, the matter would be
reported to superiors to deal with it as TBC did not have the authority.
The Burmese were dissatisfied with the Thai government
after learning that it had supported the SSA troop to plan, fueling
rebellion in Burma. Firstly, on May 25, 2005, a meeting held in Mae Rim,
Chiang Mai, led by Chao Seau Khan Fah and Chao Khun Hong, and attended by
six officers, was broadcast through the internet. Secondly, SSA troops, led
by Jao Yod Suek met Thai intelligence officers at Baan Pa Muad in Mae Sai,
Chiang Rai. Lastly, on July 18, Thai intelligence officers, again, visited
SSA at Doi Tai Lang by using TBC’s vehicle.
Col. Somsak explained that Thailand maintains a policy of
resistance to terrorists and never supported any rebellion. If it appeared
that any such meeting had taken place, this was a violation of policy. There
might be some misapprehension and the Burmese source may be mistaken.
Thai officers requested the Burmese to contact Thai TBC
if it discovered drug dealers fleeing into Burma. The Thai government had
already sent a list of names to the Burmese government and the Burmese
government had cooperated, sending some wanted dealers back to Thailand.
Thailand would also like the Burmese to participate in drug elimination.
The Thai delegation offered a TB 1 point, or areas at
Baan Arunothai and Kew Pa Wok in Chiang Dao, Chiang Mai, to be local meeting
points for both sides to contact and coordinate with one another about
The Thais would like the Burmese TBC to pay attention to illegal labor
smuggled into the kingdom while the Burmese TBC claimed that it had
frequently prevented such efforts and monitored human trafficking.
Mayor assures Thapae and Changklan roadwork will be completed by end of September
Chiang Mai Municipality’s installation of underground
cable conduits along Thapae-Changklan Road, following the prime minister’s
suggestion, has been heavily criticized as it has been delayed and has
caused this tourist city to lose its charm.
Mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn said that one of the reasons
for the delay was that the work required coordination of many public works
departments such as the Regional Electricity Department, telecommunications
and water mains as well as the fact that many festivities had been organized
along the route.
Road construction will be completed by the end of September (cross fingers).
Mayor Boonlert added that traffic is being diverted from
Changklan Road and the road surface is being re-laid, requiring 3-4
centimeters of the existing surface needing to be dug up prior to laying the
new surface. During commencement there was some heavy rainfall which also
hampered progress. As for Thapae Road, the conduits are still being laid.
Mayor Boonlert also apologized to Chiang Mai locals for
the inconvenience caused along these two roads, but he had asked the
contractors to repair the heavily damaged parts of the roads as soon as
possible to make the roads usable. The construction as well as resurfacing
along Thapae Road will definitely be complete by the end of September, he
During this period, to make the city look fresher, the municipality and
Chiang Mai District Administration are beautifying and cleaning up the city
as the tourist season is arriving.
Chiang Mai looking at restoring 16 temples
Governor Suwat Tantipat and Chamlong Kittisri, director
of the Office of Buddhism Chiang Mai, invited leading Chiang Mai monks to a
meeting on temple restoration projects to restore 16 important temples. A
two million baht budget has been allocated to the Chiang Mai office of
Buddhism to restore the temples to develop tourism and set an example.
The governor stated that he was pleased to see the faith
of the Chiang Mai people and their strength in Buddhism, and asked that all
help. He said that the country had changed and there is more of a need for
religion, and spreading the teachings to the public. Temples are the place
where religious ceremonies are held and must strengthen faith.
The temples chosen for the project are Wat
Phasing-voramahaviharn, Wat Buparam, Wat Chediluang, Wat Upacut, Wat Jetyod,
Wat Chiang Man, Wat Suandok, Wat Chaimongkol, Wat Prathad Doi Saket, Wat
Srisuphan, Wat Chetawan, Wat Chaiprakiat, Wat Dappai, Wat Chiang Yuen, Wat
Duang Dee and Wat Loi Kroh. The project is to commence immediately and will
end at the end of September.
Tree planting policeman lectures students on environment conservation
On July 25 Maejo University Assoc. Prof. Napaporn
Mekkhayai, dean of Faculty of Agricultural Business invited Pol. Sen. Sgt.
Maj. Wichai Suriyutha to lecture 200 students and staff of the university on
Prof. Napaporn Mekkhayai, dean of Faculty of Agricultural Business, Maejo
University presents a souvenir to Pol. Sen. Sgt. Maj. Wichai Suriyutha.
The audience learned that forest, soil and water are
important to human beings but humans have destroyed natural resources to
satisfy consumer demands and neglected to think about future problems.
Pol. Sen. Sgt. Maj. Wichai Suriyutha used to live in Srisaket province in
Isaan (north-east) and as the province was barren, he started to plant trees
along roadsides and on farms. He has planted many thousands of trees in the
last 20 years. He said that people laughed at him when he started planting
but now people receive immense advantages from the trees he grew. He is now
well known and had received many awards for conservation.
Dead mosquitoes sold for 5,000 baht
But the seller bred them, rather than catch them!
McKene Hospital and Padad Public Health Office recently
offered residents of Tambon Padad in Muang, Chiang Mai to buy mosquitoes at
25 satang each, as an attempt to eliminate all kinds of mosquitoes. The
hospital campaign was to reduce dengue hemorrhagic fever in the area of
McKene Hospital from July 1 to 31, 2005 and aimed for 100,000 mosquitoes.
Somneuk Kanthawong sold 20,014 mosquitoes for 5,000 baht.
Next best was Rabiab Boonma with 12,534 and another 44,000 mosquitoes were
zapped by 200 villagers.
Somneuk said that she used an electric mosquito killer
and she got several hundred mosquitoes during the rains and had used 10
pails covered with black cloth to cultivate them. So much for eradication!
College students learn the down side of dodgy commerce
Krailerg and Saksit Meesubkwang
Commercial college students learned the down side of
commerce when they were arrested for receiving stolen goods and modifying
stolen motorbikes and selling them.
Rangsan aka Kai, 23, Nonthachai or Ne Doomteng, 22,
Rachen or Yim Sa-ngathai, 19, and Pakorn of Nook Nathee, 21, all studying in
a commercial college in Chiang Mai, were arrested by Chang Puek Police
Vespas are being kept at Chang Puek Police Station awaiting the real owners.
These privileged delinquents stole Vespa motor scooters
and modified them to disguise them and to then sell them at low prices. So
far, three motorcycles have been removed from the new ‘owners’ who
thought they were getting a real bargain.
Pol. Maj. Thapanapong said that Vespas were favorites with youngsters and
are easy to steal because they can be started without using a key. Vespas
cost 40,000-50,000 baht but without registration can be had for only 10,000
baht, but the buyer could be charged with receiving stolen goods. Sixteen
Vespas were confiscated, and he advised that if anyone had lost one they
should check at Chang Puek Police Station.
VCD shops protest against harassment
Dark influences at work again, claim shop owners
50 VCD business owners led by Pranom Panichmit tried to
meet Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, commissioner of the
Provincial Police Bureau Region 5, to complain about the harsh and unjust
action of investigation officers, who chose to search and punish only
selected VCD shops.
business owners meet the commissioner of the Provincial Police Bureau Region
5 to ask for justice.
The commissioner tried to pass the buck to his deputy but
the protestors refused to talk to him, saying they had reported the matter
several times and had received no satisfaction. Later, the commissioner
deigned to meet the VCD shop owners so they could explain the issue.
Pranom Panichmit, VCD shop owner at Mae Malai Market, Mae
Taeng district, told the commissioner that officers had searched VCD rental
shops in Chiang Mai and nearby provinces for obscene and pirated movies but
shops receiving movies from a lady named Je Thip, the alleged mistress of a
heavyweight police officer and an influential person in her own right,
escaped punishment, even though obscene movies were found. She added that
any VCD shop not using Je Thip’s product was constantly harassed to the
extent that some gave up and quit the business.
Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong appeared nervous as he replied. He
said he would instruct Pol. Maj. Gen. Suwat Kruengkrai, his deputy, to deal
with it and said that if the matter had not been resolved to the
satisfaction of all concerned and in accordance with the law, within a
month, then the deputy commissioner’s position may be vulnerable.
In a rare revelation of his problems, he added that he
had tasked three deputy commissioners to take care of the obscene VCD
situation throughout the area of Region 5 but had yet to get results. He now
expected the conflict to be resolved within a month.
Neither the formidable and influential Je Thip nor people associated with
her could be located for comment.
Chili shop hotter than preferred
The Red Hot Chili shop owned by Angsucha Raisa-ang, 38,
was definitely the hottest restaurant in town last week, when the microwave
oven in the back of the shop erupted into flames.
The blaze rapidly spread through the three floor
shophouse which had the first two floors burned out before firefighters
could contain the inferno.
The damage is estimated at 200,000 baht, but the full
extent of damage to chili stocks were not accounted for by the time this
issue went to press.
Children forced to beg for money
A Burmese gang, which had forced children to beg for
money in tourist centers in Chiang Mai City, was arrested on July 31. Police
picked up 26 young beggars and their “minders”. Two of the beggars were
younger than 5 years old.
The gang worked systemically around guesthouses, vehicles
stalled at stoplights or traffic jams, and food stalls, and the money
collected by the young beggars was taken to the gang leader.
The adults were accused of illegal entry into the kingdom
and for forcing children to beg. Others were charged with providing
accommodation for illegal persons.
The fate of the children concerned is not yet known.
Drug king pin caught red-handed in front of Tesco Lotus
Two Fang drug dealers, Prapan “Kampol” Wannasri and
Suriyan Chingchai were arrested in front of the Lotus Khamthiang store at
Tambon Chang Puek in Muang, Chiang Mai, and 120,000 ya ba pills were found
seized. The men were accused of drug possession and dealing.
Later, police confiscated Prapan’s possessions at
Intharachidchai Village, Doi Saket, and while inspecting his wife’s
residence, in Chang Puek, Chiang Mai, more speed pills were found in a
refrigerator. Almost 30 rai of orange orchards were confiscated including
two plots in Lampang.
Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, commissioner
of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 said that these were king pin drug
dealers who had been pursued for a long time. They smuggled ya ba from
neighboring countries and distributed them via a nationwide network.
Giant catfish released into the Mekong River to celebrate HM the King’s 60 year reign
Chiangmai Mail Reporters
To celebrate HM the King’s 5th cycle on the throne next
year, the Fisheries Department released catfish and other endangered fish
species back to their natural surroundings in his honor.
It is also hoped this will conserve all kinds of
endangered species, not only fish, and teach Thais to do likewise to keep
the natural resources in balance.
The project was undertaken at the Giant Catfish Palace,
Tambon Wiang, Chiang Khong, Chiang Rai with Sitthi Bunyaratpalin, director
of the Fisheries Department and Nopporn Tonrap, Chiang Rai deputy governor
presided over the event. Locals who earn their subsistence from the Mekong
River returned a total of 12,560 endangered fish, consisting of 3,006 giant
catfish, 554 Chao Phya giant catfish, 5,000 seven-striped carp and 4,000
Singaporean wins three but loses final roun
Officers of Muang Police Station, Chiang Mai were
pleasantly surprised when Kanchana Inkham walked in and confessed to a quick
frolic and flee, handing over 20,000 baht, a wristwatch and a cell phone,
stolen from a Singaporean who had picked her up at a karaoke bar.
She said that the gullible and obviously ‘viagorous’
Singaporean paid her 5,000 baht to go to a hotel with him plus two of her
friends joining in for round 2. While the exhausted man was sleeping, they
stole his goods and fled the scene but later, after discussing the event
with relatives and in fear of arrest, she quietly surrendered herself.
The Singaporean, Ang Keng Hong, 48, had already reported
the theft to the police but had left Thailand by that stage. Her accomplices
are now being sought by the police.
Thais arrested after gambling
Trying to smuggle ‘Speed’ into Thailand
Chiangmai Mail Reporters
Burmese police officers arrested two Thai gamblers after
16,000 ‘Speed’ pills were found and another 10 Thai citizens were
questioned. This was the result of cooperation between Thai and Burmese
governments in drug suppression.
On July 30, narcotic suppression officers of Tachilek
province, Myanmar apprehended the 12 Thai citizens after checking them when
leaving a resort in Tachilek near Mae Sai, Chiang Rai, traveling in a van
licensed to Pol. Sen. Sgt. Maj. Manupong Wongnok from a special branch in
The Burmese officers found drugs on two passengers, Kiaew
Promajak, 59, and Krajongjit Kirikaew, 37, both living in Mae Lao district,
Chiang Rai. The two women were arrested and sent to Tachilek narcotic
suppression office and the remaining ten were held for investigation.
Later, Pol. Maj. Gen. Chamnong Kaewsiri, Chiang Rai
Provincial Police commander and officers in Mae Sai contacted the Burmese
and learned that the two women were carrying drugs, having lost all their
money gambling, and so accepted being hired as ‘mules’ to transfer drugs
to Thailand. Unluckily for them, they were found by the Burmese officers
before entering Thailand. Mules are notoriously less than bright animals.
However, the other ten persons were sent back to Thailand after being
questioned having been judged as not part of the drug transfer scheme.
Pol. Maj. Gen. Chamnong said that since the van belonged
to a police officer, he might be transferred, rather than his van
confiscated as would happen with a civilian.
He said that gambling in neighboring countries would be
controlled more seriously in future but declined to say how, as Thais are
not restricted from crossing the border, especially when traveling in
privileged police-owned vans.