Vol. IV No. 38 - Saturday September 17 - September 23, 2005
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NEWS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Continued rain in Chiang Mai floods San Sai and Sam Kamphaeng

Villages in Mae Maw, Mae Tha and Lampang flooded

Chiang Mai municipality planning to ban cars in the city

Horticultural exposition 2006 “To Express the Love for Humanity”

Swedish government funds 53 million baht sewage treatment pilot project

CMU offers residents new oil for old

Governors play musical chairs

Academic conference on suicides in Chiang Mai

Lampang and Chiang Rai deprived of community radio

Have aliens landed in Chiang Rai?

Chiang Mai International Airport development delayed

Mae Ai residents jubilant as they regain Thai nationality

Marine Center being built at Chiang Mai Zoo

Time for a tiger

New crackdown on polluting vehicles

Air pollution seminars continue

Heavy rain again in Mae Hong Son floods 50 households

Citizens complain about polluted water untreated by Chiang Mai municipality

Ya ba abuse declines as heroin and ICE on the rise

Thirty-four illegal alien workers arrested

Monument for brave policemen

Police hold seminar on suppressing human trafficking

Telecoms official abducts former lover and demands 500,000 baht ransom

Soccer gamblers arrested

Muang Chiang Mai Police Station the best

Continued rain in Chiang Mai floods San Sai and Sam Kamphaeng

Nopniwat Krailerg

Several days of rain swelled Mae Fak Creek and flooded nine villages in San Sai, Chiang Mai, on the night of September 11 and almost 100 houses were damaged and 10 destroyed, while areas of Sam Kamphaeng were 50 cm under water.

Rivers overflowed and rice farms and longan orchards were damaged and three bridges were under water, cutting off three villages. Normally Mae Fak Creek is 10-12 meters wide but after flooding it spread to 20 meters. No death or injury reports were received.

Mae Fak TAO piled sandbags along the creek to prevent more flooding whilst food and water were given to flood victims.

Later, on September 12, the Aon River in San Kamphaeng flooded households at Baan San Tai where the houses were flooded to a depth of 50 cm, damaging 40 houses and blocking roads. Sam Kamphaeng municipality provided sandbags to prevent more flooding.

Water level in the Mae Ping River remained at controllable levels but water passing Nawarat Bridge was reported to be rising by seven cm per hour, caused anxiety for people living on the Mae Ping riverbanks who were previously flooded out in August. Potential water level that could cause flooding was limited to 3.70 meters whereas the big flood on August 14 - 16 was at 4.90 meters.


Villages in Mae Maw, Mae Tha and Lampang flooded

Rail link damaged

Chiangmai Mail Reporters

The Office of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, Lampang revealed that continued rain caused floods in Mae Maw; Baan Sop Pad, Baan Sop Maw, Baan Hang Hoong and Baan Huayped. 180 households were partly destroyed and one completely washed away. The Office of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation in Mae Maw district provided boats, doctors and other necessities to help residents in the area affected by flood.

Households in Mae Tha village, Tambon Hua Sua were also flooded. Amornthad Niratisayakul, Lampang governor and other government organizations surveyed damaged areas and gave basic aid to the victims of the floods.

On September 11, the railway line at Tambon Wiangtan, Hang Chat district, Lampang was flooded and immersed in sand and stones and a train from Chiang Mai to Bangkok had to stop until Lampang railway officers repaired the line. Passengers in the Chiang Mai-Bangkok Sprinter were delayed for four hours.

Water volume in the Wang River and its branch flowing into the center of Lampang was high, causing flooding on two riverbanks, routes and households in Kor Kha municipality and areas near the river. However, Lampang highway district office had prepared officers, vehicles and equipment to help or rescue residents and pump water out from affected households.


Chiang Mai municipality planning to ban cars in the city

Will the songtaews see red?

Nopniwat Krailerg

Chiang Mai municipality is to celebrate international Car Free Day on September 22. The campaign is to reduce the number vehicles on the road, save energy and decrease pollution in Chiang Mai. This activity will kick off at Thapae Gate courtyard at 8 a.m. and finish at 2 p.m. There will be an exhibition on environment conservation.

It was also announced that the municipality will add routes for bicycles in city areas to reduce the ever-increasing traffic jams.

After the first Car Free Day, the municipality will continue to campaign during weekdays as Car Free Week or on Sundays as Car Free Sundays and on some routes such as Rachadamnern Rd. and Phra Poklao Road in the morning until the afternoon. No cars will be allowed on any routes around the canal on Sunday. If these plans are approved, they could become rules of the Chiang Mai municipality.

However, opinions from several sectors and residents are needed as it may it may inconvenience some people seriously - but the municipality is determined to see people using mass transport more. The next question, of course, is there any mass transport to use?


Horticultural exposition 2006 “To Express the Love for Humanity”

Nopniwat Krailerg and Preeyanoot Jittawong

On September 7, the International Horticultural Exposition invited the media to view construction and scenery of the project, now 40 percent complete.

This project is budgeted at 1,500 million baht for 79 new buildings, while two million, both Thai and foreign visitors are expected to visit this project in the three months that it is open.

It is predicted that Chiang Mai will earn 9 billion baht from visitors to the International Horticultural Exposition in those three months and it will be a new tourist attraction in Chiang Mai.

The “Hor Kham Luang” building is already in progress.

The International Horticultural Exposition for His Majesty the King; Royal Flora Ratchaphruek 2006, is to be held from November 1, 2006 to January 31, 2007. It covers 470 rai of the royal agriculture research center, Chiang Mai at Tambon Mae Hia in Muang, Chiang Mai supported by The Association Internationale Des Producteurs de l’Horticulture, AIPH. It will be the first A1 fair in Asia in 10 years and is to celebrate the 60th anniversary of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej ascension to the throne and his 80 year birthday anniversary in 2007.

This fair will present agriculture progress, displaying 2.5 million tropical plants and flowers of almost 2,200 types from 30 countries worldwide. An international academic conference will invite experts around the world to present modern and experimental agricultural technology works. It is hoped that this will benefit Thailand’s agriculture.

A building “Hor Kham Luang” set up in the center symbolizes the king as the center of all Thai citizens’ hearts. It has been built in applied Lanna style and Ratchaphruek trees planted as an avenue. The upper storey will display Lanna mural paintings recording the work of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej in various development aspects and the lower floor will present the king’s private projects e.g. the royal projects.

Preecha Sananwattananon, head of administrative department of the International Horticultural Exposition said that it was a good chance for Chiang Mai to earn nine billion baht from two million people in three months and after this fair closed it would be a beautiful garden in the city of Chiang Mai and would attract more visitors.


Swedish government funds 53 million baht sewage treatment pilot project

Saksit Meesubkwang

Swedish expertise in sewage treatment for municipalities and small communities is being deployed in a cooperation between the Thai and Swedish governments, with a pilot project now underway in Chiang Mai.

(From left) Ake Nilsson, representative of Carl Bro International, Chiang Mai Deputy Mayor Pornchai Jitnavasathien, and representatives from the Pollution Control Department.

A press conference was held on September 7 to review progress, the meeting being led by Chiang Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat and Deputy Mayor Pornchai Jitnavasathien, with representatives of the Swedish government also attending.

The Swedish government is financing this 53 million baht pilot project through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). The program is in two parts, namely in-sewer treatment and air pollution control, with Thailand’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment monitoring progress.

Carl Bro International of Sweden is providing the consulting and technical services. Company representative Ake Nilsson said that Carl Bro has more than 30 years experience in sewage treatment and has operated in 25 countries. The company has a track record of at least 6,000 projects, he added.

Nilsson said that Chiang Mai was a promising start for the company’s first venture into Thailand, as the environmental staff are well trained and able to handle the technology. Several other provinces in Thailand are showing interest in this project.


CMU offers residents new oil for old

Nopniwat Krailerg

The Energy Management and Conservation Department, Chiang Mai University is producing bio diesel made from vegetable oil. To promote bio-diesel made from used vegetable oil, CMU offers to exchange a liter of used vegetable oil for a liter of bio-diesel up to 20 liters a time at the Faculty of Engineering, Chiang Mai University on weekdays from 9 - 12 p.m. and 4.30 - 5 p.m. 2,000 liters are available for this pilot project.

Assoc. Prof. Prasert Rergkriangkrai, director of the Energy Management and Conservation Department of CMU said that a survey revealed that there were 74.5 million liters of used vegetable oil throughout the country each year and this, converted to bio-diesel, could save diesel oil import costs of 1,570 million baht per year. Furthermore, to use old oil for cooking was generally harmful to health. Consequently, bio-diesel produced from used vegetable oil was studied and a production machine for bio-diesel able to produce 100-150 liter at a time was invented.

He added that this machine had been tested for four years and it could produce the desired amount. It costs 120,000 baht per machine while an imported model would cost 890,000 baht.


Governors play musical chairs

Nopniwat Krailerg

Chiang Mai Vice Governor Prinya Panthong is being promoted to governor of Nan.

The cabinet has approved the promotion of Prinya Panthong, Chiang Mai vice governor, to Nan province, while the Lampang vice governor was promoted to be governor of Phrae. The Mae Hong Son governor will be transferred to Nong Khai and the Phrae governor was promoted to Srisaket.

On September 6, a mobile cabinet resolution in Phang-Nga debated the Ministry of Interior request to promote and transfer government officials and this permit will be presented to His Majesty King Bhumibol for approval. Promotions for the northern government officials are as following:

Mae Hong Son Governor Supoj Laowansiri to Nong Khai; Phrae Governor Santhad Jattuchai to Srisaket, Phitsanulok Vice Governor Direk Konkleep to Mae Hong Son governor; Chiang Mai Vice Governor Prinya Panthong to Nan governor; Kamphaengphet Vice Governor Phinit Pichayakan to Phichit governor; Lampang Vice Governor Athikhom Supanpong to Phrae governor and Nonthaburi Vice Governor Lt. Uparit Srichan to Uttaradit governor.


Academic conference on suicides in Chiang Mai

Nopniwat Krailerg

Anutin Charnvirakul, Deputy Minister of Public Health disclosed that suicide was one of the top ten causes of death worldwide and a WHO report says 2,739 persons commit suicide around the world each day, while in Thailand nearly seven in every 100,000 citizens die by their own hand.

This represents a very slight decrease from the peak of eight per 100,000 between 1997-2000.

The suicide rate in Chiang Mai and Lamphun is found to be higher than surrounding provinces so every sector concerned must try to solve this problem, he said. Anutin added that the Department of Mental Health had organized seminars to inform the media that publicizing suicide news encouraged copycat acts and less publicity could result in a lower suicide rate.

Unfortunately, Thai people regard needing psychiatric help as somehow shameful, indicating that someone has mental problems and is inferior. He said that often the reasons for suicidal depression were a result of chemical imbalance and can be cured; therefore no shame is attached to needing psychiatric assistance. Someone who has mental problems does not always need medication but a doctor’s advice may be sufficient to alleviate the problem.


Lampang and Chiang Rai deprived of community radio

Nopniwat Krailerg

The National Telecommunication Commission of Thailand (NTC) instructed Lampang and Chiang Rai community radios to close after it was found that their signals interfered with aircraft communication. Others will be cautioned after impolite words were broadcast.

Manus Songsang, deputy secretary-general of NTC revealed that from a report of the radio frequency checking center, Lampang area 3, the commission learned that broadcasts from community radio “Sieng Muan Chon” at 88.50 MHz from Lampang and 89.50 MHz in Chiang Rai, interfered with communication of over-flying aircraft and that could cause accidents.

He added that to prevent this, the NTC would enforce the radio communication law on both community radios to stop broadcasting immediately. If they ignored this instruction, the station could be fined 40,000 baht and the owners imprisoned for two years.

Somboon Wongsom, head of the public relations office of Lampang said that there were more community radio stations whose signals also interfered with the aircraft communications and these were now being checked.

Some puritanical people complained that some community radios broadcasts used impolite words. This is also against the law and they may be shut down for letting inopportune words go to air.


Have aliens landed in Chiang Rai?

The new wave of tourists?

Saksit Meesubkwang

People living in Mae Chan, Chiang Rai revealed that they had seen a weird creature on the farm of Thi Khidkhangbonon August 31, 2005 at about 6.30 a.m. It was like a door one meter in height and had a yellow body, big eyes and ears and small legs. Residents at first thought it was just a scarecrow. Later, at around 10 a.m. it flew into the sky and suddenly disappeared - frightening people who now conjecture that it was an alien, but they had no video camera to record it. From their sketches, it looks like an idealized alien or the Casper ghost character.

One eye witness, Sawang Boonratchasak, 51, said that he has good eyesight and saw it clearly standing in a field before flying into to the sky. Khamma Pinsaimoon, 56, said she thought it was a scarecrow until it moved and, at 10 a.m. it flew into the sky and disappeared. Other residents in the area have similar stories.

Wisit Sitthisombat, Mae Chan chief district officer checked the area and said that he had no idea what the thing might have been, but he believed that the eyewitnesses did not lie. He would look into the matter as the villagers were all very excited about it.

Pol. Col. Kittisin Khongthaweepan, superintendent of Mae Chan Police Station, Chiang Rai said that there was no clue left on the farm as to the identity of the being.


Chiang Mai International Airport development delayed

Saksit Meesubkwang

Improvements are ongoing at Chiang Mai International Airport.

Flying Officer Suthara Huangsuwan, vice president and general manager of Chiang Mai International Airport, surprised no one when he announced that the runway expansion of more than 300 meters to the north would be delayed.

National environment committees passed a resolution in July to delay the runway expansion plan and assign the Airports Authority of Thailand to conduct a study with Chiang Mai University (CMU).

The committees had previously assigned C-Tech Company to check the effect on nearby areas such as Chiang Mai University and Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital. CMU academics pointed out that the university would be much affected by the runway expansion, with the loud noise of airplanes interfering with studies, radio signals affecting medical instruments damaging research results, buildings and ancient places shaken and many other effects.

Chiang Mai International Airport’s development for 2004-2005 was planned to cost 1,808 million baht and recently, on August 1, the airport signed a contract with a company to construct an international passenger building on a 10 month completion program. In the meantime, the old international passenger building is to be improved for domestic passengers.

After environmental agencies conducted the study, they said that the runway should not be expanded as it could support the passenger load effectively and sufficiently as is. Moreover, CMU disagreed with the expansion of the runway in a northerly direction and suggested that the airport should be relocated outside the city.

The Ministry of Transport now believes that Chiang Mai International Airport is able to support the passenger load for another 10 years and should only widen the runway in the north to follow through on the government’s policy to make Chiang Mai International Airport a regional air transport center. However, the Airports Authority of Thailand had to consult with CMU to resolve the matter before once again presenting the plan to national environment committees. In the meantime, Chiang Mai Airport’s development plan is to be delayed.

No statement was made about the chronic parking shortage at the airport, but perhaps they can use the runway extension.


Mae Ai residents jubilant as they regain Thai nationality

1,243 Mae Ai residents thank Administrative Court

Nopniwat Krailerg

On February 5, 2002, Mae Ai district office announced that 1,243 residents had been illegally added to the citizen registration; therefore their names were being withdrawn. As a result, these people could not carry on their normal lives. Some had to quit work as government officials; they were not allowed to travel to other areas even for study, medical reasons or to visit relatives.

Several organizations such as National Human Rights committees, Rights and Freedom Protection Department, Forensic Science Institute of the Ministry of Justice, the Lawyers Council of Thailand and academics took up the case on their behalf.

People cheer after learning the ruling.

Originally, Baan Tha Ton residents in Mae Ai holding Thai nationality and having ID cards traveled to trade in Muang Sop Yon City (now Muang Yon of Burma) when it was still disputed territory. After returning to Mae Ai to renew their ID cards, they were rejected because Mae Ai sub-district office (now a district) and all documents concerned were lost in a fire in 1977. The Thai government soon after ordered that those not holding Thai nationality or who were not in the citizen register were to leave the kingdom, therefore these people requested the sub-district office to authorize them to have ID cards but the office provided only pink cards (a card identifying them as lost Burmese). Since then it has been a national human rights problem.

Later, from 1998-2001, these people requested the Mae Ai district chief officer give them Thai nationality and add their names to the citizens register. After the chief officer had considered and decided they were really Thai, conceded to their request by adopting the 7th measure of the first nationality act, 1965 and 10th measure of the second nationality act, 1992.

The Ministry of Interior then received a petition claiming that some might be cheating by authorizing ID cards for these people, so the Department of Provincial Administration was assigned to set up a group of committees to investigate the case. It was decided that 1,243 citizens previously held alien cards and did not hold Thai nationality before, therefore these people were deleted from the citizens register on February 5, 2002 by Mae Ai’s district chief officer. Later, with the help of several associations, they presented their case to the Administrative Court that the withdrawal of their Thai nationality by Mae Ai’s district chief officer was illegal.

The Administrative Court has now ruled that the Mae Ai district chief officer’s withdrawal of Thai nationality was wrong as it was a unilateral decision without informing the people concerned. To act correctly, the chief officer would have had to inform the persons concerned of his decision so that they could prove their case or even check DNA to contradict his ruling before making a final ruling.

On September 8, the Administrative Court ruled that the chief officer’s decision in 2002 was illegal and all 1,243 persons affected by that ruling were allowed to re-gain Thai nationality.

Having learned the result, the entire anxious crowd was overjoyed and cried and embraced one another, performing “Wai” with happiness and holding up a banner reading “Long Live His & Her Majesties”, the Thai flag and pictures of the king and queen. They all sang the Thai national and the king’s anthems.

Winit Lamlua, president of human right sub-committees, lawyer council of Thailand said that even though only 864 persons presented the case to the court, the ruling covered all 1,243 residents affected by the decision of the chief officer.

Phatchara Kando, 40, Mae Ai villager whose Thai nationality was previously withdrawn, said that she and her family had waited for a long time to hold a hundred percent Thai nationality. She said life was difficult when they had been unable to do anything normally and legally and to travel anywhere but now she feels proud to be a Thai citizen once again.


Marine Center being built at Chiang Mai Zoo

300 million baht to establish center to be opened in 2007

Saksit Meesubkwang

Workers drive piles to set up a marine display center.

Chiang Mai Zoo announced that the government has budgeted 300 million baht to set up a marine display center at the zoo. This center would be the largest in South East Asia, covering 17 rai of land.

This center will combine all kinds of marine animals, both fresh and seawater. They will include fresh water fish from Mekong River basin, Asian fresh water and fish from the Amazon River basin. There will be zones displaying caves, muddy forest shores and seashore scenery including coral, allowing visitors to study them closely.

This center will not only be a new tourism site at Chiang Mai Zoo but will also be a center for students, teachers and scholars to study marine animals, and a source of research for academics.


Time for a tiger

Sriracha Tiger Zoo donates cubs and crocs to Chiang Mai Night Safari

Narisa Nitikarn

Sriracha Tiger Zoo has presented tigers and freshwater crocodiles to the government-organized Chiang Mai Night Safari. The new intake will be available for the public and zoological students to view in November.

(from left) Maitree Temsiripong, chairman of Sriracha Tiger Zoo Co Ltd, Plodprasop Suratsawadee, deputy minister for resources and the environment, donate Bengal Tigers and freshwater crocodiles to Chiang Mai Night Safari Zoo.

The announcement was made at a press conference led by Maitree Temsiripong, chairman of Sriracha Tiger Zoo Co Ltd, and the zoo’s legal advisor Watcharin Duangdara. Also present were Plodprasop Suratsawadee, deputy minister for resources and the environment, and Vijit Kessamma, administrative director of Conservation Area Department Section 2.

Plodprasop said Sriracha Tiger Zoo breeds a significant quantity of Bengal Tigers each year and that the government has a project to open the Chiang Mai Night Safari, which still needs a lot of animals, including tigers and crocodiles.

The zoo presented 100 tigers and 20 freshwater crocodiles, to be collected in three stages. November 16 will see a handing-over of tiger cubs, giving an opportunity for children to hold the baby tigers and have their photographs taken.

Maitree said that Sriracha Tiger Zoo is happy to cooperate with the government so that students and the public will have a better understanding of wildlife. The zoo has a breeding program for Bengal Tigers and every year breeds more than 30,000 crocodiles.


New crackdown on polluting vehicles

Red minibuses scarce Mondays to Wednesdays

Nopniwat Krailerg

Chiang Mai vice governor, and soon to be Nan governor, Prinya Panthong is the leader of a team checking vehicles emitting black smoke in Chiang Mai, arresting drivers and impounding the vehicles. He repeated the old tale about Chiang Mai being a big and important city, vital to the economy and tourism, and said that the many vehicles emitting black smoke not only cause air pollution but spoil the image.

Since 1997, the Pollution Control Department has found that air pollution is over recommended levels and is increasing. One reason given is incomplete burning of diesel causing black smoke that has micro particles able to get into the respiratory system and affect one’s health.

A survey result from the Pollution Control Department from December 2004 to January 2005 found that there were 492 black smoke emitting vehicles in Chiang Mai. This was made up of 208 pickups, 6 vans and 116 trucks.

After several previous warnings, the officers have been on the warpath since September 5. Checking and arrest measures are being applied to vehicles emitting black smoke in Chiang Mai and in the pilot period, three checkpoints have been set up in front of Chang Puek Police Station on Chiang Mai - Mae Rim Road, at Ruam Choke Market on Chiang Mai - San Sai Road and Don Chan intersection on Chiang Mai - Lampang Road. These checkpoints will operate from 10 a.m. - 12 a.m. Monday to Wednesday, so it may be difficult to find a red minibus on those days.

If any vehicle is found to emit black smoke above the permitted level, the driver will be fined and the vehicle impounded until it has been repaired and checked. There are service points for such vehicles at the 1st and 2nd Chiang Mai Provincial Transport offices.

The vice governor said that this plan will not only reduce air pollution problems but also save energy because incomplete combustion wastes fuel oil.

It is believed pedicabs will be exempted from exhaust emission testing.


Air pollution seminars continue

As does the pollution

Saksit Meesubkwang

A seminar on air pollution for 500 Chiang Mai and Lamphun local administrators was organized by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment on September 11, at Chiang Mai Hills Hotel, presided by Somchai Piansathaporn, Deputy Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

Somchai Piansathaporn, Deputy Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

Somchai said that the high level of air pollution was found in these two provinces and that the seminar was for local administrators to discuss how to solve and prevent air pollution as they were close to communities and it may be easier for them to deal with the problem.

Most air pollution in Chiang Mai was in the areas near Yuparaj Wittayalai School and Chiang Mai City Hall, while in Lamphun, most was in the area near industrial development. The ministry of natural resources and environment will provide equipment, academic techniques and staff as required.

Air pollution this year was less than the previous year, giving hope that the Regional Environmental Office work was successful. Nevertheless, solving air pollution was not only the Regional Environmental Office’s responsibility but of every sector and the ministry would like all to reduce air pollution urgently before it becomes calamitous.

Wichai Lamwilai, director-general of Department of Environmental Quality Promotion said that the main sources of air pollution in Chiang Mai and Lamphun were farms burning off, industrial factories and vehicle exhaust smoke.

Apiwat Kunarak, director of Regional Environmental Office 1 who was responsible for Chiang Mai, Lamphun, Chiang Rai and Mae Hong Son, revealed that the office had received a budget from the government of 57 million baht and distributed it to each provinces and four educational institutes, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai Rajabhat University, Maejo University and Rajamangala University of Technology Lanna to study and research the environment.


Heavy rain again in Mae Hong Son floods 50 households

Chiangmai Mail Reporters

Promises by the government and authorities count for naught when heavy rains again on September 7 caused 50 households in three districts to be flooded. Mae La Noi, Mae Sariang and Sop Moei in Mae Hong Son province were affected, as were Baan Sri Don Chai and Baan Pong Kindergarten School.

A bridge was destroyed when the Yuam and Mae La Noi rivers burst their banks and many rice and soybean farms were flooded.

The Defense Volunteer Force and Civil Defense Volunteers of Mae Sariang have already cleared the obstructed waterway and rescued victims.

Pisit Puangsuwan, head of Mae Hong Son meteorological center once again warned residents living in risky areas to get ready to flee from floods and sudden mountain torrents.


Citizens complain about polluted water untreated by Chiang Mai municipality

But flies love it

Saksit Meesubkwang

Polluted water was pumped by Chiang Mai municipality on to abandoned private land causing a disgusting smell and affecting fish in a canal. It also affected the health of residents nearby, some with respiratory complaints and some children with skin rashes. Many house flies swarmed over the area causing another threat to health.

On September 9, Baan Mae Khing villagers on Wiang Ping Rd., both adults and children, protested to Chiang Mai municipality and demanded that an environmental organization or the Chiang Mai governor deal with the problem.

Mariam Dadoopen, Baan Mae Khing villager, revealed that Chiang Mai municipality had left the polluted water in the area for 20 days and residents had complained to the municipality several times but were ignored or were given the answer that the municipality had no time to deal with it. She said that she had to eat under mosquito nets because the disgusting smell attracted many flies to that area.


Ya ba abuse declines as heroin and ICE on the rise

Saksit Meesubkwang

Pithaya Jinawat, director of ONCB Northern region.

Pithaya Jinawat, director of ONCB Northern office disclosed the disquieting fact that drug dealers were smuggling more heroin and methamphetamine hydrochloride (ice) instead of only ‘speed’ pills. Most destinations were Japan, Korea, Taiwan but also Europe and America.

Since 2002, heroin and ice have been on the increase. There are two kinds of ice, base powder that is able to produce ya ba and transparent crystals that looked like ice, popular amongst youngsters and nightlife set.

The source of these two kinds of drug were initially in Southern China but lately has moved to Burma after the Chinese government cracked down. It is worrying to learn that factories producing these drugs are located near Thailand borders, said Pithaya.

Pithaya added that Chiang Rai was mostly a conduit for drug transfers to provinces near the border. One of suspected drug dealer gangs were Hmong tribesmen emigrating from Laos to Thailand. Drug dealing gangs were powerful and they could spread a network quickly - but police and ONCB officers would cooperate to suppress and eliminate this illegal process.


Thirty-four illegal alien workers arrestedr

Nopniwat Krailerg

On September 6, officers of Chiang Mai Employment Office and Pha Muang Task Force, border patrol police, Chiang Mai public security police and Chiang Mai immigration officers searched a building in construction registered to Siam Global House at Baan Chang Kham, Tambon Tha Wangtan in Saraphi, Chiang Mai. In the raid, they found 34 Tai tribesmen workers.

Some of these menial construction employees held work permits, but these did not match the job they were doing, while some had no work permit at all. Those who had documents were questioned and sent back to renew their work permits and those who did not have documents were told to return their country.

The employer will be charged and could be fined 60,000 baht or sent to jail for three years or both.


Monument for brave policemen

Saksit Meesubkwang

Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, commissioner of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 gathered with present and former officers at the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 office to attend the opening ceremony of the police remembrance monument, presided over by Pol. Gen. Kowit Watthana, Commissioner-General. Relatives of brave dead policemen joined the opening and Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong presented 20 scholarships of 2,000 baht for these daring policemen’s dependents.

High ranking police in front of the remembrance monument.

Pol. Gen. Kowit Watthana said that this monument was to remember the policemen who had died for their country and their families could be proud of them. He told the gathered police officers that to choose being a policeman meant that one was brave and ready to sacrifice life for country and the welfare of citizens.

Pol. Gen. Kowit Watthana, commissioner-general pays respect.

Ninety policemen of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 from Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Lamphun, Lampang, Phrae, Nan, Phayao and Mae Hong Son have died in the course of duty, some while fighting criminals and some battling the communist network.


Police hold seminar on suppressing human trafficking

Nopniwat Krailerg

Suppression of human trafficking was the subject of a seminar to deal with human trafficking and to improve cooperation among courts, attorneys and the Royal Thai Police to suppress this illegal trade that involved local, national and international networks. Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, commissioner of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 presided over the seminar concerning law enforcement and penal associations at Lotus Pang Suan Kaew Hotel, Chiang Mai, joining with officers of the court and social workers in 8 Northern provinces. Attendees were told influential people who used violence to achieve their ends were responsible for much bribery and corruption, also impinging on the lives of children and women who became the victims.

The commissioner said that human trafficking in Thailand was one of the eight international crimes affecting the country’s security and that Thailand was both a destination and source of human trafficking.

From information provided by the UN, it appeared 700,000 people were victims of this illegal trade every year and 90 percent of these victims were children and women. There were eight human trafficking gangs in northern provinces and police were monitoring them closely to pursue these gangs and collect sufficient evidence to arrest them. These gangs were involved with both Thai and foreign businessmen and were associated with minor groups in neighboring countries.


Telecoms official abducts former lover and demands 500,000 baht ransom

Nopniwat Krailerg

A telecommunications official, spurned by his former lover, abducted her and demanded 500,000 baht ransom from her family before police tracked him down via his cellphone signal.

On September 3, police received a call from Mon (an alias), the 18 year old daughter of a woman named only as Siriluck, 34, to say that her mother had disappeared. The following day, the family received a message from a man saying that Siriluck, owner of a Chiang Mai mini mart, was being held at an undisclosed address. The man demanded a ransom of 500,000 baht, to be transferred into a Bank of Asia account, held at the Nong Pratheep intersection branch.

Police told Mon to say that she would initially transfer 100,000 baht, and that the rest would follow. Officers surrounded the branch but no one turned up to withdraw the money.

The police then contacted the cellphone service center to check where the offender’s phone signal was coming from. They discovered it was from the airport intersection area, so a police squad began a systematic search.

At the Good Inn Hotel, in Tambon Padad, the officers learned that a man and a woman had taken a room but had not been seen for three days.

Police entered the room where they found Siriluck, with apparent wounds to her face and wrists, and a man known as Wiroj, or Som Yamfak, 35, a former telephone company employee living in Doi Saket. Wiroj was arrested, and Siriluck was transferred to hospital.

Wiroj told police that he and Siriluck used to be lovers until she had married a Singaporean. On September 2, Siriluck had called Wiroj and asked him to pick her up from Ayuthaya. He had asked for a reconciliation but she refused, so he took her to the hotel and detained her there, asking her family for ransom money.


Soccer gamblers arrested

Nopniwat Krailerg

Pongpan Thaweenitisit, 22, the banker in a soccer gambling game and 11 clients were arrested by Mae Ping Police Station officers.

Police searched the Goal Club shop located in front of a private university at Tambon Nongpakrang in Muang, Chiang Mai on September 10, while students and adults were watching a football match. More than ten thousand baht and soccer gambling documents were seized as evidences.

The police had learnt from parents that there was soccer gambling game operating in the area. Flyers were distributed to students to join the gambling and many students and adults answered the call.

The owner received up to a hundred thousand baht each night, especially on nights when a big match between famous teams. The police took their time and joined the fun for a while before announcing their presence and arresting gamblers and the banker.


Muang Chiang Mai Police Station the best

Nopniwat Krailerg

Muang Chiang Mai Police Station was chosen as the best station in a citizens contest in eight Northern provinces. However, the station is awaiting officers of Royal Thai Police and Political Affairs Student Organization to check the station’s operations. If it receives approval, the station will receive a larger budget for administration and it would be a source of pride for all officers of the station.



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