NEWS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Deputy Interior Minister promises to do something about flood damage

PM now involved in flooding and Mae Ping riverside invasion

Shops offering dirty downloads into cell phones

Mae Ping widening by 100 meters planned for completion in five years

New route built linking Chiang Rai to Doi Wawee

Chiang Mai floods spark fears of disease

Phayao opens human trafficking center

Magical reappearance of disappearing video equipment

Ancient remains of Wiang Kum Kam in danger from flood waters

Cooperation contract signed for the first e-government site

Minister views National Astronomy Research Center at Doi Inthanon

Deputy PM tours north to examine flood damage

HRH Princess Patchara Kittiyapa presents aid to flood victims

Route 1095 suffers severe rain damage

Lucky villager receives a DIY house kit

Natural resources training for local administrators

Chiang Rai successful trade negotiations with Laos P.D.R.

Wing 41 campaign to use bicycles to conserve fuel

Tesco Lotus sends relief convoy for flood victims in the North

Public Health Department campaigns for clean oil

Police monument almost completed

Police monitor tour agents cheating tourists

Police blame local muggings on start of foreign football season

Pha Muang Task Force arrests “mule” with 10,000 ya ba pills

Ya ba ‘mule’ fingers hirer - both arrested

Policeman attacked by motorcycle rider

Police in Chiang Mai seize over 400 obscene comic books

Sneaky snacks for ya ba

American dies in Chiang Mai

Deputy Interior Minister promises to do something about flood damage

Nopniwat Krailerg

Deputy Interior Minister Somchai Soonthornwat toured Chiang Mai on an inspection tour of the damages left by last weekend’s flooding. Before his tour was over, he promised local officials that he would ensure necessary steps would be taken to restore the area.

The deputy minister’s inspection team consisted of Pakorn Buranupakorn, MP of Chiang Mai area 1, Chumporn Sangmanee, Muang Chiang Mai district chief officer and Chiang Mai Mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn.

They checked riverbanks and roads along Mae Ping River at Baan Taw Muang Lang, Tambon Patan near a bridge in front of Chiang Mai City Hall that was destroyed by the Mae Ping River for 15 meters.

Deputy Minister Somchai said that the Mae Ping River current was very strong and even though the concrete riverbank had been well constructed it could not restrain the floodwaters.

However, he promised to contact those concerned to quickly repair that area and several damaged points, including buildings and households in Chiang Mai and nearby provinces. He said that the cabinet would promptly approve funds for the restoration process because it is a problem that needs to be solved urgently.


PM now involved in flooding and Mae Ping riverside invasion

Nopniwat Krailerg

The floods in Chang Mai, which reached the highest level recorded this century, have caused concern in the Cabinet. Consecutive daily rainfall in Chiang Dao of 200, 141 and 139 millimeters has raised the level of the Mae Ping, Nan and Yom rivers, caused widespread flooding, damage and traffic chaos.

In order to relieve the resulting hardship, Dr. Surapong, PM’s Office spokesman, said that the PM had instructed the Government Housing Bank to reduce loan interest for six months and to maintain same rate for old and new debtors for five years.

The Government Saving Bank will allow victims to borrow money without charging interest for one year and the Ministry of Finance would hold off on collecting tax for one month from businesses affected.

The PM has assigned Newin Chidchop to solve the shallow rivers problem and rekindle the Mae Ping River invasion case in Chiang Mai. Whoever does not hold documentary rights to riverbank property would be forced to evacuate and those who do hold title would be asked to sell the land back to the government who would modify some low-lying areas as flood water storage ponds.

The PM instructed that solving flood solutions should be presented to him as one project package and not piecemeal plans.

Yongyut Tiyapairat, minister of natural resources and environment said that variable size dams would be used to collect water in dry season and would drain water in the rainy season. The Department of Public Works and Town and Country Planning is presently armoring the banks of the Mae Ping River to prevent flooding on Chang Klan Road and Night Bazaar.

Sermsak Pongpanich, deputy minister of interior, as president of the Chiang Mai Flood Solving Center, said that Mae Ping River intruders would be prosecuted while checks at both riversides, including Mae Kha Canal dredging and roads obstructing the river should be rapidly dealt with. The Department of Public Works and Town and Country Planning authorized 29 million baht fund to studies about dam construction to prevent flooding and to set up warning systems.

This is not a new problem. On July 3, 2003, Sqn. Cdr. Baworn Bunleng, director of Marine Department of Chiang Mai Office Region 1 said that there were 52 intruders invading the Mae Ping River from Tambon Don Kaew, Mae Rim district to Padad Bridge in Muang, Chiang Mai and 41 persons had already been forced to move out from the area and the rest were being prosecuted.

Most of those intruders were from well known families in Chiang Mai, who normally regard themselves as above the law, including those, often with political connections, who have built restaurants and hotels.

On July 8, 2003, Sukin Ratanasatian, head of the Chiang Mai Office Region 1 Marine Department ordered 41 intruders to remove their buildings within 25 days, but this was ignored until 2004, when Witthaya Yamuang, new head of the office, negotiated with them. Even then, only 30 persons agreed to do so, and 11 cases were taken to court.

Later, only ten were fined and one person’s case would have judgment pronounced at the end of this year. The PM has ordered these cases to be raised again and to prosecute the persons concerned whatever influence they might hold, but as pointed out, this was also the call in 2003.


Shops offering dirty downloads into cell phones

Nopniwat Krailerg

Entrepreneurial students have devised a new way to make money. They take nude photos of themselves to sell to shops that retail them to clients to download onto mobile phones, all for 200 baht each.

Porn pictures are easy to download from some mobile phone shops.

The commissioner of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 is now spoiling the fun by checking shops purchasing porn pictures from students.

Female students short of money use camera cell phones to take their own ‘naughty’ images to sell to mobile phone download service shops at 300-500 baht a time, depending on their scale on the shop porno-meters. Students often exchanged such pictures amongst themselves and, it was also claimed, that some who had received pictures by this method, sneakily and without permission, on-sold them to the shops for a little extra disco money.

The shops will in future, if discovered, face prosecution, after any doubtful downloads are thoroughly inspected by the Thought Police.


Mae Ping widening by 100 meters planned for completion in five years

Nopniwat Krailerg

Phumtham Wetchayachai, deputy minister of transport has become involved in the restoration and development of the Mae Ping River after the latest Chiang Mai flooding.

Some points of Mae Ping Riverside have sprouted new land that will be dredged.

The deputy minister said, “Fundamentally, we need to plan how to revive and improve the Mae Ping River Basin along the whole river and then to manage it systematically. It has been discovered that there are many encroachers in both government and private organizations; nevertheless they will be dealt with urgently to solve the narrowing watercourse and restricted flow. Political and jurisprudence roles are to be applied to deal with the encroachment but political persuasion will be used to negotiate with trespassers to move out and demolish buildings from riversides. If it does not work then legal means would be used.

“The dredging of the Mae Ping River has been underway since 2003 and it helped the Mae Ping River support a greater volume of water and has reduced the damage from this latest flood, which would have been worse without the dredging. The Mae Ping River dredging plan will be continued until the river is 120 meters wide, from its present 40 meters width. Five years are needed to finish the task,” he added.

After the conference, the deputy minister traveled by helicopter to look around Chiang Mai and Mae Ping River water sources at Chiang Dao and Mae Taeng districts.

“Each side of the river will be dredged to provide an extra 20 meters in depth and 49 shallow points in mid river are to be dredged as well. The entire plans will be presented to the cabinet after all information is concluded. This plan could be completed within five years,” the deputy minister claimed.


New route built linking Chiang Rai to Doi Wawee

100 million baht link

Saksit Meesubkwang

On August 8, Adisorn Piengkes, deputy minister of agriculture and cooperatives presided over the opening ceremony of a route linking Chiang Rai to Doi Wawee.

Adisorn said that the new route would make transportation easier for farmers and exporters. Products would be exported to China through route (R3e) crossing the Mae Khong River and passing Laos or a route in Mae Sai through Burma to get China.

Chalong Mahawute, MP of Mae Suay area said that this new route was important for local people especially for hill tribes to transfer agriculture products such as tea, lychee, and coffee grounds, tomatoes and fruit from Doi Wawee and Doi Chang. The old route was difficult especially during the rainy season and some goods had to be transported by boat.

More than 30,000 hilltribes, Lahu, Lisu, Mien, Chinese Haw and Karen Hill tribes live in those areas. The new route would also be attractive for tourists to visit Doi Wawee.

The new road was constructed with help from the Armed Forces Development Command. Three bridges were constructed over 500 meters above sea level and costs were 109 million baht.


Chiang Mai floods spark fears of disease

Nopniwat Krailerg

After the floods in Chiang Mai receded, Chiang Mai Provincial Public Health Office is preparing offices to check residents of flooded areas for waterborne diseases.

Rattawut Sukmee, the head of Chiang Mai Provincial Public Health Office said that 3,000 sufferers had already been aided and medicines have been collected to prevent diseases caused by floodwater, such as skin diseases and those affecting the alimentary system.

Residents of affected areas are advised to pay particular attention to the hygiene of food and water, to wear boots if necessary when walking in mud or water and to clean carefully every time after walking through water or mud.

Boonlert Buranupakorn, Chiang Mai mayor said that the city would be cleaned up within three days and it would be revived to be beautiful again according to the North’s hopes of it being an attractive place to visit. The municipality would spend 10 million baht of its emergency budget and 20 million baht of provincial funds. Chiang Mai municipality had received cooperation from several sectors, including around 1,000 of its own staff and students to clean the city.


Phayao opens human trafficking center

Chiangmai Mail Reporters

Sampan Suwanathap, Phayao’s head of Social Development and Human Security Office revealed that Phayao province had set up a center to attempt to solve the human trafficking problem.

The province has instituted a six part plan - prevention, suppression and law enforcement, victim rescue and protection, rehabilitation, system management and plan development.

The Phayao governor would lead six teams - children and women’s rescue, a law department, rehabilitation, coordination and pursuit, intelligence department and academic dissemination.

Sub-committees to protect women and children at district level will be set up, including at tambon and village levels. The governor has had the CEO budget approved for training and information for the district, tambon and village monitoring teams to concentrate on the problem. The province has also trained police to understand the human trafficking problem and how to treat victims after they have been rescued.


Magical reappearance of disappearing video equipment

Nopniwat Krailerg

In April, Chiangmai Mail reported the loss of a video camera, remote control, microphone and linked instruments costing 600,000 baht while being installed in a conference room at Chiang Mai City Hall. This followed a report from Dumrongsak Chommontha, representative of Chiang Mai Provincial Office. The case was then put under investigation by Chang Puek Police Station and committees appointed by Suwat Tantipat, Chiang Mai governor.

After nearly five months of detailed and painstaking investigation, worthy of Sherlock Holmes, Colombo, Kojak and the FBI combined, it is now learned that the equipment had simply not been delivered but was still in storage by the appointed supplier, Samart Com Tech Company.

Samart have now, with red faces, withdrawn the report of its loss. It is not known if penalties for late delivery of the equipment will be imposed.


Ancient remains of Wiang Kum Kam in danger from flood waters

Nopniwat Krailerg

Staff from Chiang Mai Irrigation brought pumps and pipes to Wiang Kum Kam, an ancient monument in Chiang Mai located at Koo Pa Dom Temple, Tambon Tha Wang Tan in Saraphi, Chiang Mai on August 19. Flood waters had inundated it to a height of almost two meters since August 13.

Pongsak Wangsamer, Chiang Mai assistant governor, arrived with Chiang Mai Irrigation officers to check Wiang Kum Kam, and revealed that other monuments were also in danger from floodwaters. It would require at least two days and no more rain to drain the area sufficiently to reduce the risk of damage. Building foundations would then be checked but he believed that they may be safe as all had already been restored.

Wiang Kum Kam was established by King Mengrai but was flooded way back then, so the king moved and established Chiang Mai. Wiang Kum Kam then became an abandoned city for a thousand years until it was discovered and restored only a few years ago - only to have history repeat itself this year.


Cooperation contract signed for the first e-government site

Nopniwat Krailerg and Saksit Meesubkwang

A pilot project for a cooperation contract to test information and communication systems for Suthep TAO management in Chiang Mai has been signed.

Representatives of four organizations sign a cooperation contract, witnessed by Thongchai Wongrianthong, deputy Chiang Mai governor (left) and Assoc. Prof. Tosaporn Sirisampan, secretary-general of Thai Government System Development committees (right).

This project covers several sectors such as Management Information System: MIS, Excusive Information System: EIS, Geographical Information System: GIS, Agriculture Information System, E-filing and others.

It is expected that Suthep TAO and local administrative organizations throughout the country could offer their citizens e-service and service links to help people online.

The Agriculture Information System could be accessed through the internet and School Education Information system that is able to systemically report students and teachers’ data including public health information to prevent disease and effective prevention methods.

CAT Telecom has linked the network to organizations participating with this project, and is letting Suthep TAO act as the pilot local organization to manage the ICT linkup with the province’s data base and country information center. All this is being supported by Chiang Mai Rajabhat University.


Minister views National Astronomy Research Center at Doi Inthanon

Saksit Meesubkwang

Dr. Prawit Ratanapiarn, minister of science and technology, and officers of the ministry arrived to view the National Astronomy Research Center at Doi Inthanon on August 21. They were welcomed by Prapote Manoonsaran, head of Inthanon National Park.

Dr. Prawit Ratanapiarn, minister of science and technology and officers of the ministry visit the National Astronomy Research Center in Doi Inthanon, Chiang Mai.

The minister said that this center was being built to support astronomy research. After the center was complete, it would be the main observatory in Thailand, having an automatic telescope of 2.4 meters diameter, making it the biggest telescope in Asia and reaching international standards for modern instruments to stimulate Thai astronomers. It could also be used as an international astronomy conference room and an international center available for astronomy studies.

The center was set up with a budget of 130 million baht and is intended to be completed before 2007 to celebrate HM King Bhumibol’s 60 years on the throne and 80th year birthday anniversary.


Deputy PM tours north to examine flood damage

Saksit Meesubkwang

Suwat Liptapanlop, deputy PM invited the governors from the eight northern provinces of Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phrae, Nan, Lamphun, Lampang, Phayao and Mae Hong Son to report on damage and to estimate cost required for repairs.

Suwat Liptapanlop, deputy PM listens to reports from eight northern province’s governors.

It appears that Mae Hong Son experienced the most damage and the cost might reach 200 million baht. Most of the damage was to houses, orchards, farms and some ranches, whilst roads, bridges, public water, telephones and electricity were also affected.

The least affected province was Chiang Mai with estimated repair costs of 100 million baht with most damaged areas in the city - the Night Bazaar, hotels and eastern shops, while the six other provinces had not suffered much damage at all.

However, the damage cost estimates may not be accurate and could increase. One urgent project is to repair the Chiang Mai-Mae Hong Son route, where long-term repairs and improvements need to be made to prevent future occurrences.

Supoj Laowansiri, Mae Hong Son governor, reported that there were 15 deaths and 40 households destroyed. The Ministry of Interior had approved 50 million baht for the province and 7 million baht has been distributed to help victims. He recommended four projects: 1) to improve the Chiang Mai-Mae Hong Son route and to repair destroyed bridges; 2) to dredge watercourses and comply with city planning by moving riverside households away from the river at least three meters; 3) to expand drains in municipalities and villages and 4) to build small dams along main rivers to reduce flow speeds.


HRH Princess Patchara Kittiyapa presents aid to flood victims

Nopniwat Krailerg

On August 17, at Chiang Mai City Hall, Lady Supa Kitjathorn, honorary president of Red Cross volunteers and various other organizations, presented 1,050 aid packages for Chiang Mai residents who were affected by the flood.

The entire presentation was organized by the graciousness of HRH Princess Patchara Kittiyapa, who cared for citizens especially after learning they were in trouble, so arranged for these packages to be transferred to Chiang Mai by the Air Force and Nok Air.

They were presented to residents in Mae Taeng, Muang and Saraphi districts on the same day, transported by 42 vehicles from the Off Road Confederation of Thailand to reach some villages that were difficult to access because of mud and high water levels.

Participating organizations were Asa Puan Pueng (Pa) Yam Yak Foundation in cooperation of UCOM Company, DTAC Company, Nok Air, Off Road Confederation of Thailand, Air Force headquarter, Po Tek Tueng Foundation, FM 100 MHZ station, and Chiang Mai University.


Route 1095 suffers severe rain damage

Chiangmai Mail Reporters

Mountain torrents and resulting wash-aways, uprooted trees, and mudslides on August 13 destroyed 25 kilometers of route 1095 linking Pai-Pang Ma Pha in Mae Hong Son.

A survey of the road revealed five bridges destroyed, large trees fallen on the road and mudslides at several points. The Department of Highways has approved 100 million baht to repair the road using local departments and military engineers.

Kasidit Wattanasapt, head of Mae Hong Son highway district office said, “This repair job is receiving good cooperation from all sectors and a temporary route (was expected to be) finished before August 19, but other permanent construction will take a bit longer to complete.”


Lucky villager receives a DIY house kit

Nopniwat Krailerg

Surasak Soijai, 55, living at Tambon Nong Kaew in Hang Dong, Chiang Mai was the lucky recipient of a house building kit valued at 200,000 baht from a lottery at the celebration of HM Queen Sirikit’s birthday August 9-12.

Pol. Gen. Chitchai Wannasathit, deputy PM and minister of justice draws lots searching for the lucky winner, witnessed by Governor Suwat Tantipat.

It was presented as part of government’s solution for solving poverty. The house was presented by Pol. Gen. Chitchai Wannasathit, deputy PM and minister of justice, who presided over the celebration on August 10 at the Northern Study Center, Mae Rim, Chiang Mai.

Surasak said he was overjoyed to receive the house as he and his wife had wanted a home of their own for a long time. All they have to do now is find a place to put it, and then build it.


Natural resources training for local administrators

Saksit Meesubkwang

Dr. Meithee Phayomyong from the National Economic and Social Development Board is lecturing local administrators, such as Tambon municipality, PAO and Land Development Department of the four provinces, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Lamphun and Mae Hong Son, concerning plans for natural resources and environment management. Eighty attendants gathered at the Chiang Mai Hills Hotel on August 15.

Lecturer Dr. Meithee Phayomyong from National Economic and Social Development Board.

Apiwat Kunarak, the director of Regional Environment Region 1, Chiang Mai, said that the Department of Natural Resources and Environment had planed regional environment quality management for year 2005-2006 to link with the national environment management plan. That plan was to protect, restore and conserve natural resources and environment and to use its benefits to develop the country. At present, Regional Environment Region 1 is responsible for regional environment quality in the northern Mae Ping, Mekong and Salawin rivers basins in four provinces.

Dr. Meithee said that transferring natural resources and environment management work to the Royal Forest Department had been wrong as forests had been destroyed and less than 20 percent now remain. Some, if not all, forest officers cooperated with influential illegal loggers. He would like the government to pay more attention to natural resources and environment and to prosecute such officers.

He added that natural resources and environment management should be a duty of the local administrations and the government should simply assist in giving advice and budgets to those administrations to take care of natural resources and the environment.


Chiang Rai successful trade negotiations with Laos P.D.R.

Chiangmai Mail reporters

Worakiat Somsoi, Chiang Rai governor, revealed that the province now has a closer relationship with neighboring countries after successful negotiations with representatives of Huay Sai, Udomchai and Luang Prabang, led by Thao Boonhuang Duangpharchan, Luang Prabang president.

The Chiang Rai representatives from Chiang Rai Chamber of Commerce and Industrial Assembly of Chiang Rai were also involved in the negotiation. The governor spoke of the convenience as a trading location of Chiang Rai, located near Laos and China and having the Mekong River as a transportation route.

Chiang Rai has planned a management strategy to develop itself as a bridge for international trade, to be served by logistics and a network of economic cooperation between neighboring countries. This should be of mutual benefit adding trade income and international investment.

Trade, investment and tourism policies in Thailand and Laos are expected to be a good opportunity in the future for both countries.

Laos asked Thai businessmen along the border of Chiang Khong to purchase corn and invited Thai businessmen to use their alternative sources of materials for supporting the spa businesses of both countries, as many such materials are found in Laos. In return, Laos requested Chiang Rai to provide academic knowledge about hotels, restaurants and tour services both in the government and private sectors to reach a better standard as more travelers are visiting Luang Prabang, now a world heritage listed site since December 1995.

The governor promised to provide a seminar and training courses in Chiang Saen and Chiang Rai and to invite representatives from Luang Prabang to join a cultural festival of the four countries in the Mekong River Basin that would be organized November 13-17, 2005 in Chiang Rai.


Wing 41 campaign to use bicycles to conserve fuel

So there will be enough for the planes?

Preeyanoot Jittawong

Wing 41 Chiang Mai is campaigning for the use of bicycles to support the government fuel conservation policies and reduce Chiang Mai’s pollution.

The parade leaves Wing 41.

In accordance with the government and the Air force’s energy directives, especially petroleum fuel conservation and the fact that Wing 41 covers a wide area with offices and residences in the locality, means the use of bicycles to get to work and use in the daily lives of air force personnel and employees would conserve energy and reduce pollution.

Wing 41 invited government departments in the area, such as the Chiang Mai air traffic control, center to also participate in its bicycle campaign. To promote the cause, a bicycle rally was held, leaving and ending up at Wing 41.


Tesco Lotus sends relief convoy for flood victims in the North

Martin Clutterbuck

Tesco Lotus sent supplies for flood victims in northern provinces, with two containers of food and water delivered to the provinces of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai to assist families affected by flooding. Relief supplies included rice, water, canned tuna, instant noodles and tissues.

At Chiang Mai City Hall, Tesco Lotus Chiang Mai Khamtieng Store directing manager Thawatchai Unprasert presents essential items to Thai Red Cross representative Narumon Panthong for distribution.

“The impact of the heavy rain and flash floods was felt by many thousands of families in the northern provinces,” Tesco Lotus chief executive, Jeff Adams. “We consulted with provincial authorities to find out what was needed and moved quickly to help the communities most affected. Helping families with necessary supplies of food and water is something we are happy to do as part of our support for flood affected areas.”

Two 40 foot containers were loaded and dispatched from the campaign distribution centre in Bangkok late Sunday afternoon and were being unloaded at provincial relief centers by Monday morning.


Public Health Department campaigns for clean oil

Preeyanoot Jittawong

Food fried in used oil could cause cancer, so the Public Health Office checked vendor stands at all markets. If old oil is found, that user will be prosecuted and may be imprisoned and fined.

The office, meanwhile, in cooperation with Thai Oil Company, continues the campaign to stop using old oil, starting at Ying Jareun Market.

Prof. Dr. Suchai Charoenratanakul, minister of public health, revealed to the public that a rule to control used oil has been enforced since November 6, 2004, and received cooperation from several sectors, e.g. food industry, food producer association, Thai Restaurant Association, Dunkin Donuts and Mac Thai, so that the use of old oil has been reduced by 80 percent. However, some merchants still ignore the rule and they have to be made aware not to fry food in used oil. Manuals have been distributed describing the effects of used oil in respect to cancer risks, one of the main causes of death amongst Thai citizens.

Officers would be sent to continually check on oil being used to fry food at markets, vendors’ carts, restaurants and fast food shops.


Police monument almost completed

Nopniwat Krailerg

A police monument that has been built in the west corner of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 office grounds and is being dedicated to police officers of the eight northern provinces who died on duty over the past ten years.

The police monument to fallen heroes will soon be finished.

The names will be engraved on the monument to remember them and make their descendants feel proud of their forebears’ heroic performances.

The monument has been in construction for two months commissioned by Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, commissioner of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5.

The monument is already 90 percent complete and the formal unveiling ceremony will be held soon.


Police monitor tour agents cheating tourists

Chinese and Taiwanese mostly targeted

Nopniwat Krailerg

The practice of tour guides, restaurant venues and souvenir vendors colluding to overcharge tourists and sharing the proceeds is widespread, said Pol. Lt. Col. Nuttawute Chotikanchanawat, chief inspector of Chiang Mai tourist police. The groups targeted are mostly Chinese and Taiwanese, as they are described as the most gullible and traveled more in groups. This happens in all the principal tourist venues including Bangkok, Pattaya and Phuket.

Pol. Lt. Col. Nuttawute Chotikanchanawat, head inspector of Chiang Mai tourist police.

Tourist police are now cooperating with the Chiang Mai Tourist Business Association to prevent tourists being deceived, especially the aforementioned Chinese and Taiwanese. They would monitor tour agents in Chiang Mai and would require agents that provided tours for those nationalities to provide information. They also would question guides, check tour schedules and would offer to listen to tourists complaints. Officers both in and out uniform will patrol tourist haunts, especially guesthouses, hotels and on Moon Muang and Loy Kroh Roads.

A hot line is provided to serve tourists on 1155.


Police blame local muggings on start of foreign football season

Nopniwat Krailerg

Each year during the international football seasons, students and a section of the public spend time gambling on football matches which results in debts and crime, including theft, bag snatching and mugging to pay for their gambling. Many students have ruined their futures because of gambling, it is claimed.

Pol. Col. Chamnan Ruadraew, deputy commander of Chiang Mai Provincial Police said that during the foreign football seasons this year the police will keep a close watch on gambling operators, especially those with previous convictions.

However, it is reported that there are many large football gambling syndicates in Chiang Mai, with many opening restaurants as a front, with large TV screens where the customers go to watch the matches and place their bets. Police will be making strict checks and pressing charges against the proprietors.


Pha Muang Task Force arrests “mule” with 10,000 ya ba pills

Seems like he was more of a donkey

Nopniwat Krailerg

Namthip Jankaew, 34, a Thai Lue tribesman, was arrested by Pha Muang Task Force at Baan Mae Ja in Chiang Dao, Chiang Mai, with 10,000 speed pills on his person. He drew attention to himself by riding a motorcycle with a loosely fixed license plate, on his way to Baan Arunothai, Tambon Muang Na, Chiang Dao near the Thai-Burmese border to transfer the drugs to clients at a fresh market in Chiang Dao.

After questioning, he admitted that he was hired by a Chinese Haw to transfer ya ba at 2 baht per pill to a man called Daeng (unknown last name). That hirer also provided him with the defective motorbike and a cell phone.

Namthip, the mule, was sent for investigation to Chiang Dao Police Station and police expect to learn some other names from him, when he changes from a donkey to a canary, with a little pressure.

Pha Muang Task Force and police have set checkpoints and search every village continually to prevent drug transfers from the border. Most drugs are being kept outside the kingdom awaiting orders from Thailand. Chiang Mai is one of the destinations to distribute drugs and spread them to other regions.


Ya ba ‘mule’ fingers hirer - both arrested

Nopniwat Krailerg

Having received a tip off about a drug transfer, anti drug forces intercepted a man on a motorbike at a checkpoint on Ping Kong-Huay Luek Road on August 6.

Nikorn Puanmalai, 18, living at Tambon Chiang Dao, Chiang Mai was searched and 400 speed pills hidden in the motorbike tool cover were found.

The usual questioning revealed that he had been hired by Somjai Saengthong, 51, also from Chiang Dao, to purchase 400 ya ba pills at Baan Huay Luek and had been given 10,000 baht for the purchase. He was going to be paid 1,000 baht for being the willing ‘mule’.

A sting operation was mounted by the officers, getting Nikorn to call Somjai to collect the ya ba. Somjai waited at the appointed place and was later arrested. Both miscreants were sent to Nawai Police Station, Chiang Dao for prosecution.


Policeman attacked by motorcycle rider

Lack of ‘jai yen’ results in arrest

Nopniwat Krailerg

Marut Prathan, 42, was arrested by Chiang Mai police at his home after severely injuring police officer Kamphol Wongpan of the Chiang Mai Special Force Police Division who was carrying out his duties near the Night Bazaar in Chiang Mai.

The event in question occurred on the night of August 10 after Kamphol came on duty. Marut was riding his motorcycle in the wrong direction along Loy Kroh Road, a one way thoroughfare. The police officer was worried that an accident could happen and stopped him and issued a ticket. Marut responded by physically attacking the officer before riding off.

Police traced him through his registration number and made the arrest the following day at his home and confiscated the motorcycle. He was charged with obstructing justice and injuring a police officer. Not everything is ‘open go’ in Loy Kroh Road!


Police in Chiang Mai seize over 400 obscene comic books

Is someone taking the Mickey?

Nopniwat Krailerg

Chiang Mai police could stand the complaints of parents no longer of children reading obscene comic books. It had grown into a fashion and the comic books could be bought easily and could lead to social problems. The police finally found the source and entered the warehouse where they discovered the obscene material.

On August 4 Pol. Col. Chamnan Ruadraew, deputy commander of the Chiang Mai Provincial Police led a team from Mae Ping police station to search a warehouse belonging to Tashimoto International around Oom Muang Road, Tambon Tha Sala, Chiang Mai that stored tens of thousands of Japanese comic books. Most of the comic books contained obscene images. Four hundred were X rated that contained sex scene images and were subsequently seized.

Police arrested Somsak Tonglert, 40, the warehouse caretaker and charged him with the import, distribution and possession of pornographic material. He is liable to a prison term of not over three years, or a fine not exceeding 6,000 baht. Somsak claimed that the company belonged to a Japanese national who imported all the second hand, damaged material for repair before being sent back to Japan and were not distributed here. The police confiscated all the material as evidence.


Sneaky snacks for ya ba

4,000 ya ba pills hidden in snack on bus

Nopniwat Krailerg

Roongthip Boonrawd, 54, of Samut Sakorn resident, was arrested by Pha Muang Task Force and Mae Sai police while she was on a trip to Bangkok on August 8.

Officers, having been tipped off, searched a bag of snacks she carried, and found 4,000 ya ba pills.

The drugs were seized and she was sent to Mae Sai Police Station where she confessed to smuggling ya ba pills from Burma for sale, not for snacking.


American dies in Chiang Mai

Nopniwat Krailerg

On August 20, Thomas Harvey Mills, 61, an American tourist, died in Blue House Residence on Moon Muang Road, Chiang Mai. His body was discovered by a hotel worker who called the police.

The partially clothed body was found lying beside the bed. No evidence of violence was apparent nor were any of his possessions missing. High blood pressure medicine and other medications were also discovered in the room.

Initially it was assumed that he had high blood pressure and whilst walking from the toilet had suffered a stroke, fallen and his head had struck the floor, causing death. The man had been in Chiang Mai for two months.

The police and officers of American Consul in Chiang Mai transferred the body to Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital for an autopsy.