NEWS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

German tourists visit hot spot

Roads, bridges and dams destroyed in Mae Hong Son

Huay Kaew and Chiang Mai-Lamphun roads to be widened

Chiang Mai judged the most livable town out of 22 municipalities

50 beautiful Chiang Mai women enter Miss Thailand World 2005

Speculators push up gold price

Chiang Mai residents profess to care for environment

Government Counter Service, a new choice for citizens

10 million baht village upgrade

Time for registering alien labor extended

Hmong refugees - harassment or assistance?

Chiang Mai residents show power and unity as admiration for HM the Queen

PM’s edict on energy saving ignored in Chiang Mai

Lampang strict measures against bird flu and hemorrhagic fever gives good results

Chiang Mai residents discuss next year’s Songkran Festival

Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) discussed

“Study in USA. Who says it’s out of reach?”

Chiang Mai municipality first municipality to produce bio-diesel?

Chiang Mai university athletes talk Turkey

IC-ACE and AUA to conduct Education USA peer talk

50,000 kg of longans disappear into thin air

Beer bar owner and customer die from excess of beer and drugs

Former government official kills five family members

Teenage hooligans try to force gas station attendant to refuel after 10 p.m.

Four young Burmese arrested in a famous Chiang Mai karaoke

Gang logging teak in Mae Hong Son surprised

German tourists visit hot spot

6 million baht damage to tour bus

Saksit Meesubkwang

A tour bus belonging to Thai Laser travel and carrying German tourists from Bangkok caught fire on the Song-Ngao Road. Fire engines and firefighters took almost an hour to control the blaze, which caused a traffic tailback for two kilometers.

The passengers escaped with no injuries and most of their belongings but the damage was estimated at around six million baht.

The driver, Sarawute Sookasem, told the police that the tour group was traveling from Phrae to Chiang Rai and an air conditioning unit suddenly burst into flames.

The tour company sent another bus to pick up the German tourists and they continued the trip to Chiang Rai, a little shaken but with an interesting story to tell their friends at home about the hot time they had in the North.


Roads, bridges and dams destroyed in Mae Hong Son

Chiangmai Mail Reporters

Heavy rain at the end of July and the start of August caused great damage in Mae Hong Son. Roads and bridges in the area were destroyed.

Residents of several villages could not get home as a road and three log dams collapsed. The provincial authority has assigned every district to survey damage in all areas and aid affected residents promptly.


Huay Kaew and Chiang Mai-Lamphun roads to be widened

Saksit Meesubkwang

Deputy Mayor Pitak Tontisak disclosed that Chiang Mai municipality has decided to widen Huay Kaew and Chiang Mai-Lamphun roads as they are too narrow for today’s traffic, especially during rush hours.

Once again, the justification for the expenditure was the much used “Chiang Mai will be the center of northern tourism in future.”

Huay Kaew Rd. will first be widened by an additional three meters on each lane, starting from Hua Lin Corner intersection up to Phucome intersection. To avoid traffic jams, a lane at Kad Suan Kaew store will be constructed first and another lane later. The budget is 30 million baht,

Footpaths also will be constructed, and Lanna style lamps built.

Chiang Mai-Lamphun Rd. will have street lighting and bicycle lanes added. That route was backed by MP Payap Shinawatra and the estimated budget might be 40 million baht.

Mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn told residents that there may be difficulties during construction, but it would eventually be much better. A statement very similar to that heard about the over and underpasses.


Chiang Mai judged the most livable town out of 22 municipalities

Nopniwat Krailerg

Mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn revealed that Chiang Mai Municipality is to campaign for the public and all government agencies to raise the standards of Chiang Mai itself as a good tourist destination. He wants to see it recognized internationally again after it was voted 5th as a dream destination by a leading American tourism industry publication. In addition, Chiang Mai Municipality was also placed 1st as the country’s most livable town even though in some areas there is room for improvement, most of which graces the front pages of this newspaper.

Last year National Geographic pointed out that Chiang Mai was becoming an ugly town, especially environmentally, but now that things are changing for the better he would like that magazine to return and carry out a re-evaluation. However, he did acknowledge that it was the article in question that led Chiang Mai Municipality to coordinate with the provincial administration and relevant organizations to review and seek out ways to rectify the situation.

These standards have to be adhered to and the remaining weak points improved upon, especially environmental issues, which are in urgent need of rectification because Chiang Mai is a tourist destination, he said.

It was the National Health Promotion Office which judged Chiang Mai Municipality as the most livable town in the country, out of twenty-two municipalities. The decision was made by looking at five aspects: safety, cleanliness, quality of life, maintenance of goodness and culture. Chiang Mai was placed 4th for safety. In the cleanliness department Chiang Mai came 10th, but was placed first for quality of life. In maintenance of goodness, Chiang Mai placed 4th and for culture placed second.

Chiang Mai was criticized for lack of systematic waste disposal affecting the environment. Boonlert admitted that the problem was difficult to solve and requires cooperation from all parties. But he believes that the new waste disposal system from Safeco Company that is to arrive in October and will dispose of the 300 tons of waste a day will overcome the problem.


50 beautiful Chiang Mai women enter Miss Thailand World 2005

Nopniwat Krailerg and Preeyanoot Jittawong

Young women from Chiang Mai and the northern region who are self confident and beautiful, and aged between 18-25 years, entered the Miss Thailand World 2005 pageant at Central Airport Plaza Department Store, Chiang Mai, August 5-7.

Beautiful Chiang Mai women show interest in the Miss Thailand World 2005 beauty contest.

50 women have applied to be contestants with most of them students from various education institutes to be selected as representing the North and will continue to the final contest in Bangkok on September 10, 2005.

Pongsakorn Thawethanasub, coordinator of BEC Tero, the organizers, said that many beautiful ladies were interested in the contest. The youngest was 19 years old. This year, every round of the contest would be broadcast through TV channel 3 as a reality show and all contestants would be recorded from the first day of application.

200 women throughout the country are expected to apply but only 40 contestants will be chosen for further rounds in Chiang Mai August 18-26.

Miss Thailand World 2005 is to search for a lady who has all appropriate qualifications to be a model for Thai women, with abilities, skills and character consistent with the term “Worthy Beauty”. The champion will receive a diamond crown, cash of 1,000,000 baht and a car and her life will be changed overnight.


Speculators push up gold price

Gold traders want AMLO to back off

Saksit Meesubkwang

Klitcharat Hiransiri, deputy director-general of Gold Traders Association of Thailand, disclosed that the association had presented a petition to the Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) to change the rule whereby gold agents had to report to the office if 400,000 baht gold or more was bought with cash. They also sought clarification of other rules.

A gold agent in Chiang Mai selling gold ornaments.

Investor are seeing the chance of exorbitant profits by purchasing more gold as profits of up to 10 percent have been achieved over the last two or three years, higher than the bank interest rate of 1-2 percent.

It is predicted the gold price will increase to not less than 10,000 baht per one baht weight in the next one or two years because of the weakness of the US dollar and, if not stabilized, the price might even go as high as 15,000 baht per one baht weight.

These predictions make gold very attractive to speculators seeking large gains and criminals trying to launder ill-gotten gains.


Chiang Mai residents profess to care for environment

Nopniwat Krailerg

The Zoological Park Organization (under the Royal Patronage of HM The King), and the Pollution Control Department, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment; initiated the “Rak Chiang Mai Ruam Jai Lode Monlaphid” (to love Chiang Mai and reduce pollution) project on August 6 at Chiang Mai Zoo.

(From left) Yaowapa Wongsawat, consultant to the prime minister; Assoc. Prof. Therdchai Choowaket, secretary-general of Prostheses Foundation and Chiang Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat at the “Rak Chiang Mai Ruam Jai Lode Monlaphid”.

Yaowapa Wongsawat, consultant to the prime minister, said that it was a good starting point to stimulate Chiang Mai residents to pay attention to environment conservation and to participate in reduction of pollution and garbage. She made the suggestion that aluminium cans collected from garbage could be used to produce prostheses.

Yaowapa Wongsawat, consultant of PM receives aluminium cans from Sophon Damnui, director of the Zoological Park Organization (2nd right).

A booth for checking exhaust pollution was not very well attended but a few people did look at an exhibition displaying methods to reduce pollution and the Prostheses Foundation display on how to produce prostheses.


Government Counter Service, a new choice for citizens

Preeyanoot Jittawong

In the name of energy saving, Central Airport Plaza Department Store, Chiang Mai, in cooperation with government and private sectors, intends to make life easier for people by opening the first regional Government Counter Service or ‘GCS’ as one more convenient choice for residents.

Chiang Mai’s first regional Government Counter Service or ‘GCS’ has opened at Central Airport Plaza.

GCS serves all needs of clients, providing post, tax, passport, ID card services and electric, public water and telephone number requests, presenting petitions and information services and other juristic services.

The GCS is at Central Airport Plaza Chiang Mai on the second floor, and opens daily on weekdays from 10.30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends or holidays.


10 million baht village upgrade

Nopniwat Krailerg

10 million baht has been approved to assist five villages promote themselves as handicraft villages to hopefully attract tourism. They are producing comical items, souvenir wooden games and model sailing boats, paper and earthenware.

“These five villages will be assisted within this year and they will be supported as examples of OTOP villages to study and then further expand the process to other villages. The villagers will earn more income and we can promote those villages as a new form of tourism destination,” said Somsak Suthisan, head of Chiang Mai Community Development Office.


Time for registering alien labor extended

Preeyanoot Jittawong

The Department of Employment will allow alien workers of Burmese, Laotian and Cambodian nationalities that have registered or made a profile record at the Department of Provincial Administration and have held an authorized work permit for 2004, to renew the card before August 30, 2005.

Orachorn Ratanamanee, head of Chiang Mai Employment Office, said that the office had previously offered Burmese, Laotian and Cambodian workers a chance to renew their permits by registering before June 30, 2005, but it appeared that many had changed employers or work place, resulting in loss of some necessary documents. Consequently the office extended the registration period to August 30, 2005.

The Chiang Mai Employment Office also revealed that that Laotian government had sent consular officers to approve a temporary work abroad card for genuine Laotians to allow them to work in Thailand for four years. The office invited all Laotians working in Thailand to call for more details call at 0 5312 2743, 0 5312 2744-6 and Chiang Mai Employment Office or 0 5312 2784-5 daily except Sunday.


Hmong refugees - harassment or assistance?

Hmong refugees at Ban Huay Nam Khao village questioned

Saksit Meesubkwang

Sources in Phetchabun reported on August 3 that Hmong refugees at Baan Huay Nam Khao, Tambon Keck Noi, Phetchabun were questioned and investigated for the second week, while administrative officers of Khao Kho district had received 600,000 baht for recording the data of those refugees. A further 2.4 million baht would be used for moving Hmongs out from Keck Noi area.

Hmong refugees in Phetchabun rest at temporary residence.

News sources added that Phetchabun province authorities were unhappy about the presence of the Hmong refugees because officers had to investigate them and try to send them back, but at the expense of Khao Kho Police Station. There was insufficient attention paid to illegal immigrants into the kingdom, and it was claimed that Hmongs gathered in Phetchabun were becoming a national problem that needed to be solved.


Chiang Mai residents show power and unity as admiration for HM the Queen

Preeyanoot Jittawong

With the 73 year anniversary of HM the Queen’s Royal Birth on August 12, 2005, Phra Boromathad Doi Suthep Foundation jointly with monks in Chiang Mai held an admiration activity for Queen Sirikit, with 6000 attending at Chiang Mai University Convention hall on August 8.

Phra Ratcha Sitthi Jarn, leader of monks leads all in worshiping the Triple Gems.

This activity started with parades of 1,000 novice monks, followed by residents from various associations and different occupations and students from 18 education institutes walking to Chiang Mai University Hall. After that, Phra Ratcha Sitthi Jarn, leader of the monks advised all to worship the Triple Gems and addressed the opening ceremony.

The entire group offered prayers for southern residents. At the end of the activity, Governor Suwat Tantipat presided over a ceremony presenting adoration supplies in front of the picture of the Queen.

6,000 people joined the parade to Chiang Mai University Convention Hall.


PM’s edict on energy saving ignored in Chiang Mai

Preeyanoot Jittawong

PM Thaksin Shinawatra recently declared rules for energy saving that were supposed take effect on July 15, including turning off advertising signs and closing petrol stations at 10 p.m.

Advertising signs burning brightly after 10 p.m.

A survey conducted last week indicated that few are bothering to follow the rules. This may be through complacency, or just sitting down and working out the ‘real’ cost savings, judged by several to be very, very slight. However, there are now not-so-veiled threats that measures may be instituted to enforce the rules in future.


Lampang strict measures against bird flu and hemorrhagic fever gives good results

Chiangmai Mail reporters

There has been a significant drop in both avian flu and dengue hemorrhagic fever in Lampang, according to Dr. Prasert Winichakul Head of the Lampang Public Health office. He was comparing the avian flu situation in Lampang between January-July this year where only five suspect cases were discovered, compared to 23 in October 2004.

The reason for the decrease was the strict operations of the Provincial Livestock Department in carrying out checks of birds at risk combined with close coordination with village public health volunteers and strict control of birds’ movements.

The dengue hemorrhagic fever situation in Lampang, from January to the present, showed there were 119 cases - a reduction over the previous year’s 391 cases.

Even though the results this year are very favorable, in the rainy season there is a great risk of coming down with various types of influenza, including avian flu which is a member of the same viral group, and according to news reports has already returned to Vietnam and China. It is also suspected that pigs can spread the virus to humans through abrasions in the skin.


Chiang Mai residents discuss next year’s Songkran Festival

The name will be changed, but not much else it seems

Preeyanoot Jittawong

200 lecturers, academics, students and residents met on July 29 at Chiang Mai University Art Museum to conclude how to celebrate Thailand’s New Year, the Songkran Festival, which they decided to call “Pawenee Peemai Muang Jayia Jadai Dee”.

Pornchai Jitnavasathien, Chiang Mai deputy mayor at the “Pawenee Peemai Muang Jayia Jadai Dee” seminar.

An argument occurred about the true starting day of the Songkran Festival; some claimed it should be on April 14 instead of 13, as prescribed in ancient chronicles. It was proposed to postpone Songkran days to 14–16 April next year to follow the Lanna calendar convention.

Several old activities were to be organized and traditional clothes were to be encouraged during Songkran, especially for youngsters who wore improper clothes with the boys’ baggy trousers with crotches at their knees and girls with skimpy mini skirts.

Alcohol sales and playing around the canal were discussed. But with so much to resolve, they decided to meet four more times to discuss the festivities further.

Songkran Festival is an ancient and revered Lanna custom and is an activity linking the past to the present, but modern treatment often ignores the meaning of the tradition and gracious behavior has given way to drunken hooliganism.

It was not reported as to whether the 200 strong meeting discussed what should be done about the appalling road toll that occurs each Songkran. Banning mini-skirts will certainly not achieve much as far as the death rate is concerned. Nobody has died from over-exposure to date.


Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) discussed

Preeyanoot Jittawong

Dr. Satawat Thongsawat, Alimentary System specialist at the Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University addressed a seminar for the public to make Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease (known as GERD) better understood. The seminar was held at the Imperial Mae Ping Hotel, Chiang Mai. It was the first regional seminar about the subject and Chiang Mai was chosen to be the pilot province.

Dr. Satawat Thongsawat, Alimentary System specialist at the Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University provides information about Gastro-esophageal Reflux Disease, aka GERD.

GERD is sometimes inaccurately referred to as “hiatus hernia.” Gastro-esophageal reflux is the term used to describe a regurgitation of acid from the stomach into the swallowing tube known as the esophagus. The usual symptom is called “heartburn”, an uncomfortable burning sensation behind the breastbone, most commonly occurring after a meal. In some individuals reflux is frequent or severe enough to cause more significant problems and is considered a disease process. When it reaches that point, it is a medical condition called GERD, and not just “something you ate.” It can be a real problem for millions of sufferers.

Doctor Satawat informed all to change their lifestyle, such as stopping smoking, trying not to be stressed and other ways to decrease stomach acid.


“Study in USA. Who says it’s out of reach?”

Mike Hock, CMU

The American Corner in Chiang Mai University recently had a full house when Dr. John Driscoll dropped by to speak about developments in U.S. university education. Teachers, parents, and students from 12 to 60 years old packed the room to hear him explain the continuing advantages of US education, and how his institution, California State University-East Bay (near San Francisco, California), would soon launch an innovative Special Admission Program for international students. When fully operational, the “Special Admit” would also encompass financial incentives such as scholarships and/or tuition waivers.

Dr. John Driscoll dropped by the American Corner in Chiang Mai University recently to speak about developments in U.S. university education.

Dr Driscoll thanked IC-ACE (International Center, CMU) and the American Corner for their efforts to explain the key factors for value and success in U.S. tertiary education. Mike Hock of IC-ACE responded by saying their students now enrolled at CSU-EB (including a post-doctoral candidate on a CMU scholarship) have reported good experiences and satisfaction with the quality of instruction and counseling. He appreciated that while CalState-East Bay maintains a working relationship with Thammasat University going back almost 20 years, Dr Driscoll’s team are committed to building new ties with Chiang Mai institutions as well.

Teachers, parents, and students from 12 to 60 years old packed the American Corner to hear Dr. John Driscoll explain the continuing advantages of US education.


Chiang Mai municipality first municipality to produce bio-diesel?

Saksit Meesubkwang

Chiang Mai municipality claims it is the first municipality in Thailand ready to produce bio-diesel and would put it into production on August 12, an auspicious date since it is Mother’s Day.

Mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn (left) at the press conference to announce the bio-diesel oil filters.

To produce the bio-diesel, the municipality has purchased four vegetable oil filtering machines from Chiang Mai University for 600,000 baht. These machines will be installed at four markets, Siri Watthana, San Pakoi, Ton Phayom and Gom. The municipality can buy 2,000 liters of used vegetable oil per day to produce bio-diesel. It is projected that the fuel will cost four or five baht less than ordinary diesel and hopefully save 20 percent of municipal fuel bills.

This effort may prevent the discarding of dirty cooking oil and encourage the sale of used oil to make bio-diesel. The municipality would approve stickers of guarantee only to those who sell their used oil for this purpose. “It is to prevent sellers using old oil to fry food that could cause cancer and, at the same time benefit from the sale of their old oil,” said the mayor.


Chiang Mai university athletes talk Turkey

Competing in 23rd International University Sports Federation (FISU) games

Chiangmai Mail Reporters

Patharachai Iamkad and Pathanapong Srisawat, two students from Chiang Mai University, have been chosen to swim and fence respectively at the 23rd International University Sports Federation (FISU) August 12-21 in Eastmere, Turkey.

Patharachai is a third year student in the Faculty of Education. He has received silver medals Thailand swimming competitions in 2004, two gold medals from 12th Asian Sport Federation in Indonesia, a gold medal from Ratchaburi Games, a silver medal and two bronze medals from Suranaree Games, Thailand University Sport Federation and was in the national team training in Kunming, China.

Pathanapong Srisawat is a third year student of the Faculty of Business Administration. He came sixth in the Asia youth sport competition in Taiwan, received a bronze medal from the Thailand fencing competition in 2004 and three bronze medals from Suranaree Games, Thailand University Sports Federation.

The two athletes have been supported at university under sports scholarships since 2003. They are ready, and hopefully able, to bring fame to the university as representatives of Thailand in a world class university sporting competition.


IC-ACE and AUA to conduct Education USA peer talk

Mike Hock, IC-ACE, International Center

As students prepare to head back to school under the US academic calendar, IC-ACE and AUA are cooperating to arrange for four outstanding teenagers to speak about their university experiences and aspirations in a “Peer Talk” session from 5.30-7 p.m. on Tuesday, August 16 in the AUA Auditorium (Rajadamnern Road, Chiang Mai). The session is free, and the program has been designed for students in Grades 10-12.

Speaking in Thai and English, “Peer Talkers” will share personal views on their individual decision processes for selecting a college and major, provide tips for successful university admissions and scholarships, review their experiences studying abroad, and respond to questions from local teenagers thinking about similar issues in the near future.

The “Peer Talkers” are three Thais and an American. They are freshmen/sophomore/graduating senior, studying in Santa Monica College, Rochester Institute of Technology, Mahidol University International College, and Duke University (heading to New York University for graduate studies).

The Thai teenagers are graduates of CMU Demonstration School, Chiang Mai International School, and Montfort College, while the American teenager has been a frequent visitor to Thailand.

Pre-registration is recommended and available by calling IC-ACE (in CMU International Center) at 0 5394 2896 or email [email protected]


50,000 kg of longans disappear into thin air

That’s one way to get rid of the surplus!

Saksit Meesubkwang

The longan story is already a long one, but Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, commissioner of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 has added another chapter. He said there were eight groups of people involved in cheating the government through the longan subsidies, and coercing producers.

Illegal laborers found while searching longan stores.

These people, he claimed, worked hand in glove with the many corrupt government officials. Some innocent farmers never even knew they had been taken advantage of by these people and so participated in protests organized by them.

He added that recently 5,000 empty boxes were found, meaning that 50,000 kilograms had disappeared, resulting in a five million baht loss, and the police were hot on the scent.

Police officers have searched 18 dry longan stores in Chiang Mai, Lamphun and Chiang Rai, and have turned up much of interest. Several illegal items have been found such as weapons of destruction, but not en masse, heinous gambling dens and invidious alien workers. They are continuing to search for more evidence to punish dry longan cheats, but so far, it is still empty boxes.


Beer bar owner and customer die from excess of beer and drugs

Saksit Meesubkwang

August 8: On learning that two foreigners had been found dead in Boom Bim Beer Bar on Loy Kroh Road, police rushed to the scene with a doctor from Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital.

Chiang Mai Muang police rushed to the scene to check two expatriates after learning they have died in Boom Bim Beer Bar on Loy Kroh Rd.

They found the bodies of two foreigners locked in a macabre embrace on the floor next to the snooker table. Lividity discoloration indicated that the men had been dead for not less than six hours. Slumped unconscious in a chair next to them was their female drinking companion, Em-on Rachayotha, 37.

Forensic investigation revealed that the men had been sniffing powdered drugs and this, with the excess of alcohol consumed, had probably caused their deaths.

Duangduan Inta, 34, sister-in-law of one of the deceased, found the bodies. She was able to identify them as Charles Clayton Burgess, 38, an Australian who owned the beer bar and the other as Scott Ray Sturgess, 41, an American tourist friend of Burgess.

She said that the two deceased men, Em-on and an American tourist called Mark (last name unknown), drank in the bar from 2 p.m. on August 7 to 1 a.m. the next day. She was tired and had gone upstairs to bed but the four drinkers continued. When she awoke the next morning she found the two dead men slumped next to the table with Em-on in a chair beside them. About 30 bottles of beer had been taken from the fridge.

Sukanya Inta, 36, Burgess’s wife, said that she and Burgess had been married for a year and Burgess made his living by exporting Chiang Mai souvenirs and running the beer bar. Her husband loved drinking and always consumed large quantities of beer but had never passed out before. She doubted that the cause of death was from over-indulgence in alcohol.

Pol. Lt. Col. Boonlert, investigating officer, later contacted Mark, who informed him that he had been drinking with them but had had enough so went home. He said that they were only drinking and that, whilst he was there, no drugs were involved.

An initial investigation of the bodies revealed no certain cause of death but it was doubted that alcohol was the cause and no evidence of violence was found.

The two bodies were sent to the Regional Medical Sciences Center, Chiang Mai where powdered drugs were found in the nostrils of the two dead men.

It was concluded that the combination of heavy drinking and drug taking had caused their deaths. The police also found a small plastic bag beside the dead men with a drug residue matching that in the nostrils, fortifying the conclusion.


Former government official kills five family members

Nopniwat Krailerg

Police are investigating a murder-suicide in Baan Ubosot, where in a shooting spree, a former government official killed five family members before turning the gun on himself.

When police arrived at the scene, they were met with the sight of one corpse outside the dwelling, and three more inside, plus two injured, but one of them died after arrival at hospital.

Those dead were identified as Anucha Aroonasit, 42; Sompong Srimuang, 62, and Jatuporn Aroonsit, 12; whilst the victim outside the building was Phisit Prasertsupakul, 46.

Amornwadee Prasertsupakul, 40, and Araya Aroonsit were found injured. They were admitted to Klai Mor Hospital and Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospitals but Araya later died at the hospital

Pimpaka Srimuang, a daughter of the killer Sompong, said that before the tragedy occurred, she was watching TV with her father while her mother was taking shower. Sompong then left the house and she heard gun shots. Her mother shouted, asking her what had happened. She ran from the house and saw Phisit already dead - her father then turned back inside the house and shot everyone. They were all begging him to stop shooting but he calmly reloaded his .38 revolver and shot all in the house and grabbed hold of Jatuporn, his niece, before shooting himself.

The daughter added that her father used to be a government official working at the Ministry of Agriculture in Chiang Rai but retired early. Local villagers said that Sompong was a kind and good person and everyone loved him - he was even selected to be president of the SML village, a government project to support residents. Two days before the tragedy happened, at a meeting among villagers and the village head, he spoke unusually and he appeared different from normal.


Teenage hooligans try to force gas station attendant to refuel after 10 p.m.

Nopniwat Krailerg

The PM’s edict to close gas stations at 10 p.m. has ended up causing a pump attendant severe injuries.

Phiban Toongmala, 33, was guarding the station on August 5 when three teenagers tried to refuel their empty motorcycle but, being a law abiding citizen, he refused. They attacked him to try and make him open the pumps but he defended himself with a piece of wood and they fled.

He continued to guard the area when the teenagers, having found some fuel somewhere else that was ignoring the Prime Ministerial edict, returned and attacked him. In the ensuing fracas, they cut open his head and wounded the arm that he had raised to defend himself. He was taken to Klai Mor Hospital where he required many sutures to the wounds.

The police did arrive on the scene of the assault, but too late, and found only a pool of blood beside the locked pumps.


Four young Burmese arrested in a famous Chiang Mai karaoke

Perhaps they couldn’t sing?

Nopniwat Krailerg

Four young Burmese women decided to become karaoke hostesses where they could earn more money instead of working as housemaids or construction site laborers, but the plan went awry when they were arrested by immigration police.

Pol. Capt. Nakhorn Achimuangsaen, asst. inspector at the Chiang Mai border checkpoint and colleagues inspected Ten Karaoke on Wangsing Kham Road, Chiang Mai after they received complaints that Burmese women had been employed. They found many singers and hostesses and asked for their ID Cards and discovered the four girls aged about 20. The girls were arrested and charged with working illegally.

Prachaya Chatwararat, 28, the manager of the bar, was charged with employing illegal aliens. There have been numerous reports of aliens working illegally, especially as “hostesses” in karaoke bars and more inspections are to follow, as these women could be putting local girls out of a job.


Gang logging teak in Mae Hong Son surprised

But small fish with chainsaws only

Saksit Meesubkwang

On July 31, 80 officers of various forces surprised a gang illegally logging in a forest between Baan Sai Ngam and Ban Na Ja Long at Tambon Mae Na Teong in Pai, Mae Hong Son. 90 large teak logs were found, plus 15 motorbikes and two saws, while the 80 officers managed to round up four offenders who were promptly arrested. They were identified as Boonchuey Somke, 45; Pankaew Yodmoon, 51; Somboon Thepbu, 46; and Moon Oonyao, 42. They all were Mae Hong Son residents living in Pai district. The four offenders were sent to Pai Police Station for prosecution process and the evidence was dragged in as well.

Jumlong Nenyam, Pai district chief officer, said that the tree cutting gang was a large one and some government officials took part in the dealings, but there was no evidence to prosecute them, so the district office had to be content with Pai residents informing officers if illegal logging was going on.

He added that one cause of increased logging was rapid tourism growth leading to construction of houses and resorts. The attractions of Mae Hong Son are the natural surroundings and if it that was destroyed, there would be little to attract tourists as such businessmen expected.