Vol. IV No. 36 - Saturday September 3 - September 9, 2005
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NEWS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Thai and Australian police combine to prosecute pedophile

Culture minister and police in pursuit of naughty picture takers

Chiang Mai ICT City 2005 opens at Central Airport Plaza

Citizens rise up against southern violence

Flood affects Chiang Mai economy as hotels close and products spoil

Water resource management discussions again

Lanna Polytechnic College produces bomb search robots

Former policeman, now in trouble flees to Burma But Burma sent him back

C-in-C of Thai Army visits Pha Muang Task Force officers along Thai-Burmese border

Three tambons in Chiang Rai hit by heavy rain and mountain torrents

Japanese government presents emergency ambulances to the North

Drug stores warned about selling prescription medicines

Four police stations in Region 5 seriously damaged by floods

Burmese illegal alien laborers discovered in San Kamphaeng

Northern tourism stimulus

Government under fire for not enforcing forest law

Archaeologist fears for Buddhist sites

Wiang Kum Kam ruins to be rebuilt

Chiang Mai receives award for accident prevention during Songkran Festival

Glazier doubles as a burglar

Masseuses scammed by illicit agent

Burmese waitress arrested dealing drugs to kids

Jilted girl leaps to her death

Two more extrajudicial killings take place in Chiang Rai

Thai and Australian police combine to prosecute pedophile

Saksit Meesubkwang

After two months of investigations, both in Thailand and Australia, the police forces of both countries combined and an arrest was made of Christopher Ronald White, 47, an Australian, on pedophilia charges.

The arrest came after the initial complaint made by a 16-year-old Lahu Hill Tribe who lived in Mae Suai, Chiang Rai, and informed officers of Chang Puek Police Station on June 28, 2005 she had been raped and kept her under his control for the last three years.

Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, commissioner of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 questions Christopher Ronald White.

Investigation officers of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 contacted Australian police in Thailand to investigate and finally enough evidence was found to issue an arrest warrant.

Before White was arrested, police in Perth and in Thailand searched his houses in Thailand and Australia and found several obscene VCDs, some including proof that White had indeed violated the girl.

White was arrested in his rented house in the Makasan area, Bangkok on August 23, 2005 by both Australian and Thai police. He confessed that some of the 35 porn VCDs found in the rented house included a CD showing his violation of the girl.

White first found her selling flowers in the Night Bazaar in Chiang Mai three years ago and persuaded the girl to live with him, promising that he would accept her as his stepdaughter and support her until she had finished her studies. However, the whole period that she lived with him she had been raped and abused. Finally, she could take no more and telling White that she wanted to visit her parents, the girl fled to the police and told them all that had happened to her.

White admitted that he used to be a policeman in Australia. After moving to Thailand, he was a consultant to a private detective company and a lecturer on bomb control and disposal in Thailand.


Culture minister and police in pursuit of naughty picture takers

Nopniwat Krailerg

Minister of Culture Uraiwan Thienthong, visiting Chiang Mai, seemed fixated by the thought of attractive youngsters recording their own nude images to exchange or to sell to cell phone download service shops. Consequently, she assigned officers to closely monitor this situation.

She warned these children that they should live by traditional Thai standards and be aware of their family’s reputation, even though it was a way of earning money.

She said that parents and teachers should also pay attention to their children and students by warning them not to do this immoral act - warmth within a family was necessary as it could prevent social problems for young people, especially as this kind of act may lead to sexual exchange. She would also like the mass media to criticize these acts done by the youngsters.

Although downloading nude pictures into cell phones was popular amidst youngsters, Pol. Col. Chamnan Ruadreuw, deputy commander of Chiang Mai Provincial Police said that he had commanded police officers to pursue cases like this and if any evidence was found identifying the source of those who published nude pictures, he or she would be punished.

Beware of policemen who would like to borrow your mobile phone!


Chiang Mai ICT City 2005 opens at Central Airport Plaza

Technology development intended to reach international standard

Preeyanoot Jittawong

Chiang Mai has developed various strategies for the province to build up new economic bases, and Chiang Mai ICT 2005 is one of the interesting ones allowing access to international information.

Vice Governor Prinya Panthong addresses the crowd at Chiang Mai ICT City 2005.

Prinya Panthong, vice governor of Chiang Mai, presided over the formal opening ceremony of Chiang Mai ICT City 2005 on August 27 at Central Airport Plaza, Chiang Mai. The activity was intended to let residents become familiar with the Global Information Network. As Chiang Mai has been chosen to be a pilot ICT city, 13 organizations jointly brought ICT works to display, such as TOT Public Co., Ltd. presenting TOT Network system providing applicable information of both government and private sector for residents.

A Web maker competition was organized to show the IT ability of high school students. Chiang Mai ICT City 2005 was an effective activity allowing all organizations to support Chiang Mai as the ICT pilot city.


Citizens rise up against southern violence

Saksit Meesubkwang

On August 24 at Chiang Mai 700 Year Anniversary Stadium, Pha Muang Task Force cooperated with Chiang Mai province to voice their support for a movement against violence occurring in three southern provinces. The activity was to show their patriotism by lighting candles to send best wishes to citizens in the South, hoping they would have peace soon.

Chiang Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat makes an offering in front of a photo of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit to send peace to southern residents.

Musical artists performed to send cheer to southern residents, hill tribes and local residents holding boards and pictures of the King and Queen together with Thai Muslims living in the northern region gathered to show unity to protect the country and to oppose terrorist acts.

Mien hill tribe people join the movement against the violence occurring in three southern provinces.

Chiang Mai Para Motor Club joined the activity by dropping Thai flags and signs over Chiang Mai and the stadium.


Flood affects Chiang Mai economy as hotels close and products spoil

Chiangmai Mail Reporters

Yongyut Tiyapairat, minister of natural resources and environment said that people should learn how to manage water, starting from the sources to the sea, and would be informed about rights, duties and responsibilities towards water resources management. They would also learn how to prevent conflicts that may occur over the use of water.

This information came out at a Department of Water Resources, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment seminar to exchange water resources management information, attended by 300 people living in 25 river basins throughout the country.

He added that several provinces, such as Chiang Rai, had already dredged along the watercourse and one billion baht had been paid for the process. However, this amount was still insufficient and he would request the Bureau of the Budget to authorize more funds to prevent floods in future. Due to dredging at Mae Suai dam and Lao River, they had been able to prevent floodwaters reaching to Chiang Rai municipal area.

“Forest invasion causes floods in the north. This illegal act will be suppressed. Influential businessmen trespassing forests will be prosecuted and forest will be revived,” he predicted. The North is waiting with breath less than bated.


Water resource management discussions again

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.


Lanna Polytechnic College produces bomb search robots

Nopniwat Krailerg

Teachers and students at Lanna Polytechnic College in Chiang Mai, a private educational institute, tested robots named Scorpion numbers 1, 2 and 3 to check their bomb search ability. These robots are controlled by cable, have the ability to check suspected items and are able to pick up a box weighing 15 kg from risky areas, while number 3 is built to use high pressure to explode bombs.

Pol. Lt. Col. Klitsadakorn Sopak, a scientist at the Office of Forensic Science, Royal Thai Police, watched the three robots and said that they could work as effectively as imported instruments and could save a lot, as this kind of imported tool cost not less than 10 million baht while theses robots cost only 40,000 baht. The robots would be sent to the south to reduce loss of life of officers stationed there.

Kittisak Teamthong, educational technology lecturer at Lanna Polytechnic College Chiang Mai said that this kind of robot had already been sent to the south, but the control system was interrupted by a cell phone signal, therefore it had been adjusted to use cables for control process. There are 15 robots ready to be sent.


Former policeman, now in trouble flees to Burma But Burma sent him back

Saksit Meesubkwang

Pitak Tinamat, 46, living at Tambon Thasala in Muang, Chiang Mai, and a former policeman, was arrested for failing to pay his hired laborers. He had hired Warin Buranapan and 20 others to construct a block beside the MP Petroleum service station at Tambon Ton Pao, San Kamphaeng, Chiang Mai, but had paid no wages and the wages bill reached 144,370 baht. The workers informed officers at San Kamphaeng Police Station, but Pitak had already fled to Burma.

Later, officers at San Kamphaeng Police Station learned from narcotic suppression police that Pitak was arrested by Burmese police and sent back to Thailand. Pol. Capt. Thitikorn Nuanglah, of San Kamphaeng Police Station contacted the narcotic suppression officers to prosecute Pitak, but currently he is denying all charges.


C-in-C of Thai Army visits Pha Muang Task Force officers along Thai-Burmese border

Saksit Meesubkwang

Gen. Prawit Wongsuwan, commander-in-chief of the Thai Army visited Pha Muang Task Force to receive a report of their activities on August 27. He was welcomed by Maj. Gen. Pairat Thongjaktu, Pha Muang Task Force commissioner.

The commander-in-chief said that the border situation was as usual and no border conflict had taken place, only dialogue between the Thai and Burmese armies. However, anti-drug smuggling efforts were still necessary.

He added that there was a rumor in Burma that a coup may have occurred, but nothing had changed and communication between the countries was normal.

The commander-in-chief thanked officers for their help during flooding. He said he was satisfied with the Pha Muang Task Force and that the army intended to support and encourage the force.


Three tambons in Chiang Rai hit by heavy rain and mountain torrents

Chiangmai Mail Reporters

There was heavy rainfall all night on August 27 in some areas of Chiang Rai, causing mountain torrents from Doi Nang Lae. The torrents flowed through the houses of 15 villages and many residents were affected, especially those who lived in front of Mae Fah Luang University, which was flooded.

Baan Tam Pha Tong village, Tambon Thasood in Muang, Chiang Rai was most affected and 2,000 residents were cut off from the city, while the level of water in that area stood at 2 meters.

Worakiart Somsoi, Chiang Rai governor, assigned officers to urgently rescue and aid victims by boat. Recently, the route linking Baan Den to Mea Sai district was destroyed by the floodwaters. Fortunately the heavy rains have now ceased.

The cost in lives and property is being assessed.


Japanese government presents emergency ambulances to the North

Nopniwat Krailerg

Katsuhiro Shinohara, consul-general of Japan in Chiang Mai, is presenting second-hand ambulances to Chiang Mai and Dokkhamtai municipalities, to be accepted by Chiang Mai Mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn and Adul Chaiwut, Dokkhamtai sub-district mayor.

Katsuhiro Shinohara, consul-general of Japan in Chiang Mai, at a ceremony presenting the paperwork for used emergency vehicles to Mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn, representing Chiang Mai municipality.

The Japanese government has supplied USD 10,673 to Chiang Mai municipality and USD 14,555 to Dokkhamtai sub-district municipality through the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Project Scheme (GGP) and a cooperation contract.

Chiang Mai municipality and Dokkhamtai sub-district municipality take care of 156,000 and 74,000 residents respectively, but each previously had only one ambulance which was insufficient for effective rescue. Chikuma City, Nagano Prefecture, Japan then decided to offer used ambulances to the two municipalities.


Drug stores warned about selling prescription medicines

Nopniwat Krailerg

An increase in congenital defects has the Chiang Mai Provincial Public Health Office worried. Almost 180 neonates (from March 2004-2005) were found with congenital defects as a result of their parents taking medicines or contraceptives not prescribed by a doctor.

Rattawut Sukmee, the head of the office said that after surveying 20 drug stores, contraceptives were the best seller although taking this kind of medicine could put pregnant women at risk of life threatening illnesses or increase problems in childbirth.

Manorome Sinpope-achakul, head pharmacist of the consumer protection department added that young females nowadays prefer to use contraceptives and some used medicines to force a miscarriage. Even though this kind of medicine is controlled and could be sold or used only by hospitals, several drugstores were found selling this medicine.

The three drugstores found selling these drugs were to be prosecuted. A warning was issued that other drugstores selling controlled medicines would be prosecuted and heavy punishments imposed.


Four police stations in Region 5 seriously damaged by floods

Nopniwat Krailerg

The commissioner of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5, Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, said that Pai Police Station, Mae Hong Son was almost demolished as it faced a mountain torrent and was damaged by uprooted trees. Four police stations were affected by the flood and the preliminary estimate of damage was 20 million baht.

On August 19, the commissioner presented aid packages to the families of 500 police officers in four provinces, Chiang Mai, Nan, Chiang Rai and Mae Hong Son who were affected by flooding.

The commissioner instructed officers of all police stations in the eight northern provinces to patrol houses of residents who were affected by flooding to prevent thieves looting. Up to the present, no serious crimes have been reported but some minor larceny has taken place.


Burmese illegal alien laborers discovered in San Kamphaeng

The aliens get prosecuted and the agents go free as usual

Saksit Meesubkwang

On August 29, police searched a block in San Kamphaeng municipality area, Chiang Mai and found six male and two female alien workers. Ying, a Tai tribes-person who headed this group entering Thailand, said that she was hired by a Thai agent to find alien workers who would stay in that residential block. Later these people would be sent to other places in Chiang Mai or even Bangkok, Chonburi or Samutprakan. This Thai agent charged each worker 15,000 baht.

Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, commissioner of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 questions Ying, the leader of these alien laborers.

The commissioner of police said that there were eight large human trafficking gangs operating in the northern region and this was just one of the eight. However, he has stressed that all provinces should keep an eye on this illegal practice and to pursue the other seven gangs.

He added that if any government official asked for lenience, it would prove their involvement and he or she would be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.


Northern tourism stimulus

Nopniwat Krailerg

Northern Tourist Business Associations from 11 provinces gathered at Lotus Pang Suan Kaew Hotel, Chiang Mai August 26-28 to confer on “Industrial tourist business association in 11 Northern provinces”, joining with directors of Tourism Authority of Thailand Northern Office Region 1, 2, 3 and 4 and representatives of tour agents in the north region.

11 Northern Tourist Business Associations agree to cooperate to promote tourism in the north.

The 11 organizations agreed to cooperate to share information and support one another to develop the tourism market in the north. They resolved to meet and share opinions every three months, presenting attractive tourism places as new highlights, providing tourism information both in Thai and English, offering selected tourism places in the provinces to present through the website of each association, preparing tour packages linking nearby provinces and cooperating with activities and sale promotions. Tourism Authority of Thailand would encourage more flights and more routes in all north provinces.

Songwit Itthipatanakul, president of Chiang Mai Tourist Business Association said that tourism is an industry that the government feels is important, as it brings foreign currency into Thailand, an important aspect of national economy and the social development plan.

Tourism was one of the most important industries but, in the last two years, Thailand suffered SARS, natural disasters and violence in the South, directly and indirectly affecting the tour business. The Chiang Mai Tourist Business Association realized the effects and this conference was held to work on how to solve tourism problems and develop regional tourism.

Junnapong Saranak, director of Tourism Authority of Thailand Northern Office Region 1 said that there were some provinces like Lopburi, Nakhonsawan, Phrae, Uthaithani, Phichit and Kamphaengphet not attending the conference, nevertheless, they would join next time to find methods to compete with other regions that had attractive seacoasts and beaches. To attend the conference was to learn new and interesting tourism places and to get new ideas on how to plan tourism promotions, linking with other provinces in the north region.


Government under fire for not enforcing forest law

Saksit Meesubkwang

About 500 farmers and highland people from eight northern provinces, led by A-nan Duangkaewruan, president of the network, gathered to present a petition to PM Thaksin Shinawatra, through the Chiang Mai governor, on August 23.

Vice Governor Prinya Panthong negotiates with farmers and highland people.

The network had already protested on March 13, 2002 and at that time the PM met the network and claimed that the government had resisted supporting the community forest act, but it would be forced through soon since he was then in his first term in power. Now he is well into his second term; nevertheless the issue is still ignored. Consequently the network gathered to remind the government to pass the community forest act and enforce it.

The main points of the petition were: 1. The PM to assign the minister of natural resources and environment to do as he had promised on March 13, 2002. 2. The PM to prevent those concerned in forest and land in forest areas not to act violently towards villagers. 3. The PM to adjust the plan of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment that contradicted a resolution between the network and the government. 4. They would like to be part of a brainstorming session to deal with forests and forest land problems. Having presented the petition through the vice governor, the network disbanded.


Archaeologist fears for Buddhist sites

Nopniwat Krailerg

Kraisin Oonjaijit, archaeologist of 8th Office of Fine Arts, Chiang Mai, is anxious about ancient sites and abandoned temples in Chiang Mai. He lists about 75 areas covering 175 rai of land. The land has been rented by private organizations and villagers to construct commercial buildings, dormitories, gas stations or rental houses with the approval of the Buddhist Place organization.

“Now, it is time to review this plan or to revoke rental contracts and to renovate these temples and conserve them as historical sites. Some old relics have disappeared or have been destroyed, but what remains should be kept and the areas around these sites should be retained as green areas, playgrounds or public parks - so much better than renting to earn few baht each year,” he said.

He added that Wiang Kum Kam in Saraphi was rented for only 200 baht for each shop. Some villagers rented this land to set up residences or rental households and to seek benefits different from the main purpose, Buddhism.

He claimed that there were 100 temples within Chiang Mai moat region and 62 temples outside, as surveyed during the King Rama V period; but nowadays there are only 72 temples left. Some temples were demolished and new buildings put up and if the rent plan was not reviewed, more temples would surely disappear in future.


Wiang Kum Kam ruins to be rebuilt

Chiangmai Mail Reporters

The recent floods in Chiang Mai affected Wiang Kum Kam, an important historical site, and several sectors have become concerned it may collapse, therefore urgent restoration is necessary. Sahawat Nanna, director of the 8th Office of Fine Arts told a conference of Chiang Mai government officials that there were 28 ancient remains destroyed and these will need 2.8 million baht to restore.

Wiang Kum Kam was set up by King Mengrai in 1289 and it was located in a low area subject to flooding. For this reason, the king moved his citizens to Chiang Mai. It was discovered in 1984 in Saraphi and Muang areas. Many ancient remains were found and it has become one of Chiang Mai’s best known tourist attractions, receiving 10,000 tourists a month.


Chiang Mai receives award for accident prevention during Songkran Festival

Let us hope it does not bring complacency

Chiangmai Mail Reporters

Despite the preventable loss of life during the Songkran Festival, accident prevention measures taken during Songkran, April 8-17, led to the province being declared the most successful at accident prevention. The measures had been in preparation since March 21.

A comparative determination indicated that the standard of Chiang Mai, Nakhon Ratchasima, Mahasarakham and Yasothorn were “very good” while Nakhon Sawan, Phitsanulok, Saraburi, Udon Thani and Ubon Ratchathani were “good”. Chaiyaphum, Chiang Rai, Loei, Songkla and Surat Thani were classified as being at a “fairly good” level.

Chiang Mai province, along with other “very good” provinces received an award plate and 500,000 baht.


Glazier doubles as a burglar

Saksit Meesubkwang

Paithoon Kaewsaeng thought he had found the ideal job to give him access to any premises from which he wished to steal, until a police informer gave the information to the police, which led to his arrest at Nong Dok fresh market in Lamphun. He was found in possession of thirteen TVs, a notebook computer, a video camera, a talking dictionary, six VCD players and almost 300 small Buddha images valued at 400,000 baht. Tools of his trade were also found, such as screwdrivers, bolt cutters and other items that were confiscated as evidence.

The glazier (3rd from left) and some stolen possessions at a press conference.

He was charged with burglary and police suggested that persons who suspected that any of these objects belonged them could show an invoice at the office of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 to have it returned.

Paithoon said that he had worked as glazier for more than eight years. He always surveyed all belongings in houses while doing his job and later would steal by using glasscutters to achieve access through glass doors or windows. He had done this ten times and sold most of the goods at second hand shops in Chiang Mai with no questions asked. He revealed that he had earned almost a million baht this way.


Masseuses scammed by illicit agent

Chiangmai Mail Reporters

The Department of Employment cooperated with Bang Yee Kan Police Station to arrest an illicit agent who deceived girls claiming he could get jobs for them as foot masseuses for football players in Germany, promising a high income.

Orachorn Ratanamanee, head of Chiang Mai Employment Office, disclosed that Department of Employment heard from five workers who had been trained in massage by the Institute for Skill Development, Ratchaburi and were then persuaded by Sathian Yoidee and Umnuayporn Poljan to work with their relative Niramol Chatayaporn, running a foot massage service for football players in Germany.

They claimed that the girls could receive 70,000 baht each month but would have to pay 30,000 baht each as expenses to Chawtip Kaenwong, a coordinator for Niramol. They foolishly paid the money to Chawtip but were then abandoned.

The Department of Employment informed the police to prosecute Sathian and the gang on the grounds of violating the employment and labor protection act. Later, Sathian and the gang members were arrested and sent to Ban Pong Police Station, Ratchaburi.

Chiang Mai Employment Office warns all those anxious to seek employment abroad to beware and not to trust those claiming that they could find jobs overseas, especially high-paying ones. They should check carefully about working abroad before committing themselves. If in any doubts, inquiries may be made at Chiang Mai Employment Office, Chiang Mai City Hall or call at 0 5311 2742 and 0 5311 2744-6.


Burmese waitress arrested dealing drugs to kids

Nopniwat Krailerg

Phim Loongyu, 32, a Burmese waitress working at a restaurant in Chiang Mai, while moonlighting in a video game and karaoke service shop in Chiang Mai to sell ya ba to youngsters, was arrested with six ya ba pills in her possession.

She admitted that she had purchased the drugs from a hill tribe village in Mae Taeng, Chiang Mai at 80 baht apiece and sold them at 170 baht for each pill.

Her customers were mostly teenagers and students. She smuggled 200 pills each time from Mae Taeng, and had done so several times, attempting to excuse herself by saying her salary as a waitress was insufficient.


Jilted girl leaps to her death

Nopniwat Krailerg and Saksit Meesubkwang

The body of Camelia Holder, 24, a Thai-Australian was found by police after she had committed suicide by jumping from Nakornping Condominium in Soi Ratchapleuk on Huay Kaew Road.

It was learned that Camelia lived with her Australian father and Thai mother in Nakornping Condominium. She had just arrived from Australia three weeks ago but was depressed as she had no friends and could not speak Thai.

Her parents informed the police that she had a boyfriend in Australia who had broken up with her recently. This caused depression for which she took medication.

Before her death leap she had gone out with her parents but asked to walk back to the condo alone. After 20 minutes, she jumped from the 18th floor of the building. The parents did not suspect foul play.


Two more extrajudicial killings take place in Chiang Rai

No police injured in shoot-out

Chiangmai Mail Reporters

On August 23, Pol. Lt. Col. Thanom Natilet set up a sting operation to purchase ya ba from a Hmong hilltribe gang at Phu Chee Fah. At the ambush scene, police noticed two men on a motorcycle casing the area several times before parking and proceeding to make the trade.

Before they saw through the police trick, they were already surrounded by officers and an exchange of fire took place, lasting about three minutes. When the dust settled the police found the riddled bodies of Prasit Songtrakul and Somboon Saefa, both 20 years old. One of the dead men was reported to be holding a sawn-off 11 mm rifle. There were no reported police casualties.

A motorcycle, 200 ya ba pills wrapped in plastic and some speed powder were found and seized as evidence.

Pol. Lt. Col. Thanom revealed that these two drug dealers had been working for a long time at Phu Chee Fah, Tambon Tab Tao in Thoeng, Chiang Rai but recently, due to police surveillance, they could not find clients in that area and had moved to deal drugs in the city, especially to the ever-ready university students and nightlife set.



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