Vol. IV No. 40 - Saturday October 1 - October 7, 2005
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NEWS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

China’s Deputy PM Madame Wu Yi woos major investments

Lin Hui celebrates her 4th birthday and prepares for a wedding

Gone in a puff of smoke

Two hilltribe women in running for Nobel Peace Prize

Safety in food growing exhibition

TAT promoting Mexican Sunflowers to attract visitors to Mae Hong Son

Illegal Burmese laborers in Mae Sai warned

Overseas Lue people invited to visit Phayao for conservation festival

Judgment goes against Thanathorn orange orchard owner

North Korean woman hoping for repatriation to South Korea

City counts cost of the flooding

Tourists stay away as new storm threatens

Bird flu vaccine impounded at Chiang Saen port

Ministerial team inspects progress on horticultural expo

Local residents say they are being excluded from jobs with the Night Safari

Forest dwellers present petition to PM

Mae Hong Son suffers fuel problems in wake of road damage

Evacuation drill sees 500 residents evacuated

Agricultural schools will open to encourage hydroponics

Lampang residents lynch garbage trucks attempting illegal dumping

APEC energy experts to meet in Lampang

Factory owners told energy saving leads to higher profits

Wives offer help to Pai police station damaged by floods

Ya ba dealer ring smashed and 40,000 pills seized

Drug gang attempting to mail consignment foiled by post office clerks

Man attempts to blackmail 17 year old girl over nude photos

University students stole motorcycles to enjoy nightlife

Lampang governor assigns police chief to check online games shops

Village headman falsified cards for alien workers

China’s Deputy PM Madame Wu Yi woos major investments

Nopniwat Krailerg

Deputy Prime Minister of China Madame Wu Yi together with government and private sector officials arrived in Chiang Mai on September 21 to a warm welcome from Somkid Jatusripitak, Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce, Chiang Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat, and Chiang Mai Deputy Mayor Pornchai Jitnavasathien.

Thai and Chinese Ministers and Deputy PMs after the conference.

This visit was to confer with Thailand concerning economic cooperation and to sign contracts and agreements between 19 major organizations from China and 60 companies from Thailand.

The conference, the 2nd Meeting of the Thailand-China Joint Committee on Trade, Investment and Economic Cooperation, took place on September 22 at the Mandarin Oriental Dara Dhevi in Chiang Mai.

Somkid Jatusripitak, Thai Deputy PM and Minister of Commerce and Chiang Mai governor Suwat Tantipat welcome Deputy PM of China Madame Wu Yi and team at Chiang Mai International Airport.

Madame Wu Yi and deputy PM Somkid both addressed delegates and offered their congratulations on the 30 year anniversary of the relationship between the two countries. This was followed by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation agreements concerning investment and economic association strategies between Thailand and China.

Other agreements were signed by Thai Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives Sudarat Keyuraphan and Chinese Minister Li Changjiang in relation to crocodile meat and fresh vegetables. There were also five tourism agreements and another four under the Board of Investment.

Juthamas Siriwan, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, said that two of the tourism agreements signed by both deputy PMs could result in four million Chinese people visiting Thailand each year from 2010. Tourism at the Mae Khong River Basin would promote boat travel as an attraction.

A cooperation agreed between Minister of Tourism and Sports Pracha Maleenont and Chao Oo Wei, Chinese tourism minister, will lead to an increase in tour guides speaking Chinese.

After finishing the conference in Chiang Mai, the Chinese deputy prime minister and team continued with a visit to Phuket to survey the tourism prospects there and to encourage Chinese tourists to visit the Thailand Andaman Sea resorts.

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra hosted a dinner for the Chinese delegation at his residence in Green Valley Village, Mae Rim, Chiang Mai, on September 22.


Lin Hui celebrates her 4th birthday and prepares for a wedding

Preeyanoot Jittawong and Saksit Meesubkwang

Giant panda Lin Hui celebrated her 4th birthday in great style at her Chiang Mai Zoo home on September 28 and is now contemplating her wedding, due to take place within the next two months.

Chuang Chuang and Lin Hui enjoy eating a giant cake on the occasion of four years birthday anniversary of Lin Hui.

Director of Zoological Parks Sophon Damnui organized a birthday party for Lin Hui, with local residents and the media turning up despite the rain, and many of Chiang Mai’s well known personalities sent cards of congratulation.

A giant birthday cake was produced and although Lin Hui had a little trouble blowing out the candles she ate the cake very happily indeed.

Lin Hui’s fiance is five-year old Chuang Chuang. The couple have lived at the zoo since they were presented to Thailand by China about two years ago. At the age of four, Lin Hui is ready for breeding. Sophon said the wedding would be held on November 9 at 1.00 pm. and would be celebrated over a four-day period with Lanna and Chinese music and dance performances.

A traditional “khan mak”, a Thai wedding ceremony, will take place in the zoo with a procession in Thai and Chinese costume to the panda display area.

After that, of course, it is over to nature. Everyone will be watching to see the first signs of junior, and the birth of a baby panda to Lin Hui and Chuang Chuang would make the news headlines worldwide.


Gone in a puff of smoke

Ministry ruling presumes teenagers cannot read

Nopniwat Krailerg

New regulations came into effect on September 24 that prevent the open display of cigarette packs in stores and shops.

“Cigarettes available here” shown at the front of shops and stores instead of cigarette packets, following the Ministry of Public Health’s new ruling.

Dr Narong Sahamethapat, deputy director general of the Department of Disease Control, said that an ongoing anti-smoking campaign by the Ministry of Public Health is proving successful in that the number of smokers is decreasing, but that the youth sector was still a cause for concern.

Research shows that young people, particularly those in the teenage bracket, still think smoking attractive and sophisticated. The ministry has therefore issued a ruling that stores, shops and other sales outlets no longer openly display cigarette packets or place them where they are easy to see. Retailers may only display a sign saying that cigarettes are available.

Retailers not complying with the new regulations face a stiff fine of up to 200,000 baht.

The Department of Disease Control is also encouraging parents to act as a good role model for their children in either not smoking or in advising the youngsters not to take up the habit.

Reporters checked stores and shops throughout Chiang Mai, and all appear to be following the new rulings closely. Cigarettes are no longer on display, and A4 sized signs saying “cigarettes available here” are instead placed at the shop frontage. Owners and managers say that so far, there has been little effect on their business.


Two hilltribe women in running for Nobel Peace Prize

Chiangmai Mail Reporters

Two hilltribe women from the North of Thailand are in the running for the Nobel Peace Prize this year.

The Women’s Studies Center at Chiang Mai University has said that the Nobel Prize committee in Bern, Switzerland, has accepted nominations for 1,000 women from 153 countries. Nominations from Thailand are 11 women and one women’s organization. Two of Thailand’s nominees are in the North.

One of them is Peenee Moonkaew, a Karen tribeswoman who works with the Wang River Basin Network, Northern Agriculturist Network and Karen for Culture and Environment Network. She has long been an advocate for land rights for hilltribes and has frequently spoken out on environmental and natural resources management problems.

The other is Nasae Yapa, a Lisu tribeswoman working as a village headwoman. She has been a champion of human rights since 1980, and has been threatened and detained by officials many times, but she doggedly maintains her stance on obtaining respect for the hilltribes.


Safety in food growing exhibition

Nopniwat Krailerg

Safety in the growing of food products will be the theme of an exhibition at JJ Market from October 1 to 3, with remaining open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Government policy is to actively encourage knowledge of food safety, particularly since many chemical fertilizers and substances used in agriculture can affect consumer health and the local eco-systems.

Dr. Rattawut Sukmee, head of Chiang Mai Provincial Public Health Office, said the event is designed to promote food safety in Chiang Mai and to display the community’s agricultural products to support the ‘Safe Food from Farm to Table’ slogan. Organizations participating include the Royal Projects, Chiang Mai Provincial Agriculture Office and Permanent Community Agriculture Institute.

The opening ceremony will take place on October 2, at 6 p.m. with Dr. Sumeth Tontiwetchakul presenting a cooking demonstration.


TAT promoting Mexican Sunflowers to attract visitors to Mae Hong Son

Saksit Meesubkwang

A campaign to promote Mae Hong Son during the Mexican Sunflower season is being undertaken by the Tourism Authority of Thailand in conjunction with local public and private sector organizations.

Wisoot Buachum, head of the TAT’s Mae Hong Son office, said that the highways department, the forestry department and police have been discussing ways to welcome visitors during the November to December period, and that arrangements included road surface improvements, installation of direction signs, and enhanced security measures throughout Khun Yuam district.

President of the Mae Hong Son Tourist Business Association Supoj Klinpraneet said that now was the time to promote the area and revitalize tourism following a downturn caused by recent flooding.

Other events at this time will include the Caravan Counts Curves Rally on November 5-6, supported by the International Lions Club region 310A.


Illegal Burmese laborers in Mae Sai warned

Chiangmai Mail Reporters

Mae Sai police are cracking down on the problem of illegal Burmese laborers before the advent of the tourist high season, apparently to reduce the instances of begging and petty crime.

Twenty-eight laborers were detained and questioned by Mae Sai police station on September 12, with the warning that any infringement of the law will result in prosecution and deportation.

Many of the Burmese work as day laborers doing menial work such as garbage collection, but police say they also set up begging gangs and sometimes resort to stealing. Some send Burmese women and children into the streets and markets to sell goods. Police say this has long been a nuisance for tourists visiting Mae Sai and nearby districts.


Overseas Lue people invited to visit Phayao for conservation festival

Chiangmai Mail Reporters

Phayao is to organize a program with the theme of conserving the traditions and culture of the Thai Lue people, and to promote the region to tourism. This event will take place between November 11-14.

Ruangwan Buanoot, Phayao deputy governor, has announced that Phayao province in cooperation with the Thai Lue Association is extending an invitation for Lue people from other countries such Vietnam, Burma, the USA, France, China and Laos to meet one another during this festival.

Amongst the many activities planned during the event, which will take place in the Chiang Kham district, is a seminar and Thai Lue cultural and traditional performances.


Judgment goes against Thanathorn orange orchard owner

Bunthoon claims innocence and will prove it

Saksit Meesubkwang

Thanathorn orange orchard owner Bunthoon Jirawatanakul has been declared guilty of using conservation areas but says he is innocent and can prove it.

Investigations into the orchard area at Tambon Monpin in Fang have been led by Pol. Maj. Gen. Sawake Pinsinchai, commander of natural resources and environmental wrongs suppression division.

Villagers had formally complained in April last year that the orchard trespassed on forest land. The subsequent investigation took almost one year and five months, and involved 54 witnesses.

It was discovered that Thanathorn orchard had actually trespassed on forest land and the Mae Fang River basin national conserved park area since 1985, with some 625 rai of land involved.

Bunthoon, managing director of Chiang Mai Thanathorn, faces charges under the Forest Act 1941 and the National Conserved Forest Act 1964. The charges carry a possible prison sentence of four years and total fines of 40,000 baht.

Pol. Maj. Gen. Sawake said that he had summonsed Bunthoon to attend the hearing but Bunthoon claimed he was ill. A new summons will be issued and if he ignores this the police would issue an arrest warrant. Sawake added that as Bunthoon proclaimed there were some forest officers involved in corrupt practices, police will continue their investigations.

Bunthoon responded that he became sick after returning from abroad and that he had appointed an attorney to attend the hearing in his place. In the meantime, he was declaring his innocence. He claims to have legal documents dating back to 1983 entitling him to use of the land. Bunthoon says that if he is found guilty he will pay the fine, but if he is found innocent his accusers will be held responsible for loss of his family reputation and business.

Bunthoon said he had run the orange orchard business for more than 20 years and wondered why only his orchard was being accused. However, Pol. Maj. Gen. Sawake said that several more orchards believed to be trespassing on forest areas would be checked and if their owners are in the wrong they would be prosecuted.

It is the responsibility of the Royal Forest Department and the Bureau of National Parks to sue for losses from Thanathorn Co, he added.

Pol. Col. Chatkanok Kiewsong, deputy commander of natural resources and environment wrongs suppression division, said that the Thanathorn orchard was not only invading a forest area but a dam had been built to collect water. Dam construction without permission is also an illegal act.

Residents at Tambon Wiang said that Thanathorn orchard had built the dam obstructing a public river, which had caused water supply difficulties especially in the drought season.


North Korean woman hoping for repatriation to South Korea

Chiang Rai a favored entry point

Saksit Meesubkwang

A middle-aged woman found hiding in a grove beside the Baan Sope Ruak-Golden Triangle road and suspected of being an illegal immigrant at first puzzled officers at Chiang Saen police station. She was carrying nothing illegal, but gave no reply to any of the questions asked her.

After the eventual help of an interpreter, she was discovered to be of North Korean nationality. The woman was identified as Kim Yung Suk, aged 40. She stated that she had fled from North Korea several years ago and lived in China, where she worked as a farmer until she had saved enough money to pay an agent to help her get to South Korea.

The agent had arranged to send her by boat from China to southern Laos, from where she would cross over into Thailand. She had said that the Thai government would send her to South Korea. She appealed to the Thai officers not to send her back to North Korea because she would be punished if she was sent back.

Pol. Maj. Gen. Chamnong Kaewsiri, Chiang Rai provincial police commander, revealed that a North Korean man had recently been arrested in Chinwag Khong, in Chiang Rai. The Korean man said it was his intention to let Thai officials arrest him because he thought that he would be sent to another country, but if he would be sent back to North Korea, to die in Thailand was better.

The commander added that many foreigners, North Korean and Laotians, had crossed into Chiang Rai province hoping they would be sent to third countries. He said it was possible intervention by human rights organizations would prevent them being sent back to their country of origin, but that the Thai police must act according to Thai law.


City counts cost of the flooding

PM says Mae Ping River should be dredged

Nopniwat Krailerg

The Office of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation in Chiang Mai has added up the costs of the flooding caused by tropical storms between September 17 and 21.

Chiang Mai has been affected three times by flooding this year causing trouble to both citizens and business.

The floodwaters affected 72,000 members of 24,000 families in 14 districts, encroaching on 17,000 rai of farmland and causing the loss or death of 4,600 animals. The province distributed 7,000 aid packages and 100,000 sandbags.

Work in draining away the floodwaters and repairing the damage proceeded quickly, with water left in only a few places.

The Night Bazaar flooded but all water had soon been dispersed. Chiang Mai municipality had cleaned routes that were inundated while shops and stores soon reopened. Water left in households and schools along Jaroenprated Road was pumped out and 60 officers of Pha Muang Task Force set up a temporary aid point at Wat Chai Mongkol where they also helped monks to clean the temple after the water had been drained away.

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra on September 22 visited Chiang Mai and presented aid packages to residents, especially those on Chang Klan Road, at Pa Phrao Nok community and Padad TAO who were badly affected by the flooding. The Prime Minister said that Tambon Padad was three times flooded causing damage estimated at 600,000 baht. He said he would approve a budget of 25 million baht to revive flooded areas and permanently prevent flooding. He added that to deal with the flooding problem in future, the Mae Ping River needed to be dredged.

Chiang Mai’s governor has put every sector on alert to prevent any recurrence of flooding in the event of another storm. Drains are to be dredged and cleared of rubbish and a temporary wall is to be built along the Mae Ping River.

Chiang Mai mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn said that lengths of the bank along some points of the Mae Ping River that had been unable to contain the water will be increased in height by 1 meter, which should provide a temporary solution. However, more permanent works will have to wait for a budget to be approved by the cabinet.


Tourists stay away as new storm threatens

Nopniwat Krailerg

Junnapong Saranak, director of Tourism Authority of Thailand Northern Office Region 1 said that the two recent episodes of flooding in Chiang Mai had caused a negative effect on tourism.

Junnapong Saranak, director of Tourism Authority of Thailand Northern Office Region 1.

Tour packages to Chiang Mai that would usually be fully booked are now only half-booked because of predictions of another storm moving towards the province from China.

The TAT has checked tourism sites throughout the province to see if there are any difficulties with the routes there, and having been advised there are no difficulties of access they are passing the information on to tour operators.

In the period from January to June this year, tourist arrivals decreased by 0.5 percent. Last year during the same period there were 1.8 million visitors. However, Chiang Mai tourism is likely to rise in the second half of the year because of promotional campaigns to encourage visitors to stay longer and do more of their shopping in the province. There will also be a lot of activities towards the year end.

The target number of visitors this year is 3.9 million persons with 4 million projected for next year. More people are expected to visit from parts of Europe, such as France, and more will come from East Asian countries Taiwan and Korea because of the new direct flights.

Thailand has also cooperated with Singapore to discount air ticket prices on Tiger Air and Silk Air.


Bird flu vaccine impounded at Chiang Saen port

Chiangmai Mail Reporters

Chiang Saen customs officers discovered 1,127 vials of bird flu vaccine, totaling 3 million cc and having almost a million baht in value, hidden in a Chinese merchant vessel at Chiang Saen port, Chiang Rai province.

Seizure of the consignment occurred on June 23-25, when two ships from Xishuangbanna in China moored at Chiang Saen port. Customs officers first found 889 vials of the bird flu vaccine and another 238 vials were later discovered. The discovery was not however immediately disclosed to the media.

The vaccine vials were packed in boxes hidden in vegetable and fruit boxes. It was expected that local businessmen had ordered them. To import anything into Thailand, especially this kind of vaccine, needs stringent checking, said Patcharadit Sinsawat, head of Chiang Saen customs department.

Patcharadit said that the bird flu vaccine would be destroyed by incineration at Chiang Saen Hospital. Prof. Pakdee Photisiri, secretary general of the Food and Drug Administration, will monitor the disposal.


Ministerial team inspects progress on horticultural expo

Plants too small, says minister

Nopniwat Krailerg

A rethink on some of the plants to be displayed at the International Horticultural Exposition is being undertaken following an inspection of the site by Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives Sudarat Keyuraphan on September 21.

Model of the International Horticultural Exposition that will be held in 2006.

The expo, part of the celebrations surrounding His Majesty the King’s diamond jubilee and his 80th birthday, will be held from 1 November 2006 to 31 January 2007 at the Royal Agricultural Research Center, Chiang Mai.

It will be Thailand’s first large-scale international horticultural exposition, and it is also expected to be one of the largest tropical plant and flower expositions in Asia. On display will be more than 2,200 species of tropical plants and flowers, a total of two and a half million plants.

Checks carried out during the ministerial visit have revealed inadequacies in the size, flowering and fruiting of some of the plants, and another meeting is to be held within a week or so to resolve any difficulties.

“The plants should be bigger than they now are and we need others to be added such as lychee, longan and jackfruit. This expo is not only for displaying advances in technology, visitors expect to see a great expo so we should prepare the show as if this is a real orchard, not just a demonstration,” Sudarat said.

She had assigned Plodprasope Surasawadee and his team to consider which kind of plants should be displayed in the expo but these chosen plants were too small so a contract with a private organization is being considered.


Local residents say they are being excluded from jobs with the Night Safari

Perhaps they could dress up as kangaroos?

Nopniwat Krailerg

Residents of three tambons close to the new Chiang Mai Night Safari complain they have been cheated out of promises of jobs there.

Chiang Mai Night Safari has been established by the government, and villagers say that initially they were promised work transferring food for the safari’s animals, but that later the private sector was offered this job instead.

On September 19, 50 residents headed by Dee Jantalak, Tambon Mae Hia headman, and Surasak Wianthong, Mae Hia TAO member, presented a petition to Supoj Methapiwat, director of animal management and Pisan Wasuwanit, director of the safari’s management department.

Supoj said that all the proceedings of the night safari have been carried out in a transparent manner and that no one is obtaining any benefit by contracting work out to the private sector.

The villagers, he said, would be offered food transferring work as per government policy to support occupations in the local area. Much food will be needed for 600 animals each day, most of it being vegetables and meat.

An order placed with the private sector will be canceled and the safari will let a community enterprise producing animal food to be responsible instead. The safari will negotiate with the organization about the price under proper conditions and both will sign a short term contract.

With regard to other jobs, the residents believed that administrators offered them to their own people first so there were no duties left for them.

Pisan said however that the night safari had selected suitable workers for each of the specific duties and the process of selecting them was clear. There was no outside influence, he said. He would like the residents to accept that if they did not have the proper qualification for the jobs, they should offer the opportunity to others who were from different areas.

Surasak Wianthong, Mae Hia TAO member, said that many villagers from three tambons near the safari had applied for jobs but no one was offered any work.

The safari will have its official opening on November 16.


Forest dwellers present petition to PM

Saksit Meesubkwang

Three hundred hilltribe people who live in forestry regions in eight Northern provinces gathered at the residence of Chiang Mai’s governor to present a petition to Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra protesting against conservation moves that could force them out of their community areas.

Residents present a petition to Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra through a request box at the front of the Chiang Mai governor’s residence.

Somsak Nupaw, northern farmer’s network coordinator, said that new forestry conservation rulings are unclear on the areas to be conserved and that the villagers wanted to ensure the safety of their communities. Clarification is also being sought on forestry management, and which would be the organization responsible.

The petition, organized by the northern agriculturist and community forest network, was signed by 52,618 villagers.


Mae Hong Son suffers fuel problems in wake of road damage

Saksit Meesubkwang

Mae Hong Son is short of fuel oil after access and bridges were cut by a series of landslides and subsidence problems.

A PTT gas station in Muang, Mae Hong Son where many consumers are waiting for oil.

Suwat Cheewankoon, branch manager of Sukhum Service, a company that distributes PTT fuel oils in Mae Hong Son, said that Khun Yuam and Muang districts had been short of fuel oil for the three days of September 22, 23 and 24.

Highway number 108 in Khun Yuam linking Mae Hong Son and Chiang Mai was cut off and Mae Hong Son Provincial Highway Office had set up an iron bridge (or Barry Bridge) but it could support only 12 tons.

However, the company had realized the problem this caused residents and had loaded fuel oil from Chiang Mai. In the event, only half could be transferred, totaling 7,500 liters. On September 23, four trucks arrived in Mae Hong Son. One was sent to serve Khun Yuam while the rest served Muang Mae Hong Son but the delivery was sufficient for only two days.

Suwat said that the bridge had been reinforced to support 21 tons of weight, and therefore more fuel oil would be delivered, up from 7,500 to 12,000 liters.

A source in Mae Hong Son said that the Provincial Highway Office tried to deal with the problem in the long term but it became bogged down in budget problems.

At least three months are needed to repair the roads and bridges, one of which is in Pai, two are in Pang Ma Pha and one at Khun Yuam.


Evacuation drill sees 500 residents evacuated

Nopniwat Krailerg

An evacuation drill for residents of a trouble-prone district in Chiang Dao was carried out on September 24 as part of the security measures along the Chiang Mai border.

Maj. Gen. Pairat Thongjaktu, commissioner of the Pha Muang Task Force, was in charge of the evacuation which involved cooperation between government officials, police and citizens.

The drill took place at Baan Muang Na, Tambon Muang Na in Chiang Dao, and was conducted by a special unit of the 2nd Calvary Regiment, Pha Muang Task Force.

As part of the preparations that would be required to move residents in the event of an emergency, the rehearsal involved communications, and the warning and evacuation process. One hundred vehicles were used to move 500 residents and officers of Tambon Muang Na from the battle area for a distance of 5 km.


Agricultural schools will open to encourage hydroponics

We’ve certainly had enough water to start!

Saksit Meesubkwang

Agricultural specialists are to be trained in the elimination of plant pests in hydroponic farms during a program initiated by the Lampang Agricultural Extension Office.

Head of the office Surapoj Nimanon said that agricultural academics were to be trained so that they could pass on their knowledge to growers. Agriculturists would learn how to plant and harvest using bio and herbal substances instead of chemical substances.

A specialized school would be set up and 100 schools are projected to eventually be in operation, with 2,000 agriculturists expected to join the project.

Surapoj added that agriculturists could learn how to analyze residue in agricultural products and to continue teaching other farmers. This would be an advantage for them to develop hydroponics and earn more income. If this project succeeds it would be expanded into more communities.


Lampang residents lynch garbage trucks attempting illegal dumping

Chiangmai Mail Reporters

Angry residents in Lampang surrounded four Chiang Mai garbage trucks that were attempting to dump their rubbish there, and refused to let the drivers leave until the police arrived.

The incident happened on September 23, when Suthad Somkham, Muang district chief officer’s assistant at Lampang, received a report that residents had the trucks surrounded at Tambon Ton Thongchai, and he rushed to the scene.

The four truck drivers, Sak Somjit, 39; Kiew Duangta, 41; Anupong Buchakul, 43 and Klitsada Thepbun, 50, were escorted to Muang Police Station in Lampang for questioning.

SM1 Thongchai Krongkaew, Tambon Ton Thongchai district chief, and almost 100 residents gathered to request police to prosecute the drivers, as they had offended in the past and had only been fined and released. Residents said, about 10 trucks had already dumped their garbage at this site before the four vehicles arrived.

Police promised to bring the full force of the law to bear upon the recalcitrant dumpers, and the crowd disbanded. All four drivers admitted that the garbage had originated in Chiang Mai and that they had dumped in that area many times.


APEC energy experts to meet in Lampang

Saksit Meesubkwang

Lampang will be the venue for the APEC Clean Fossil Energy Technical and Policy Seminar 2005, which will see delegates from 21 member countries gathering at the Wiang Lakhorn Hotel from December 7-9.

Sahai Rakyao, fuel deputy general manger of EGAT said that the Ministry of Energy is working in cooperation with EGAT to stage the seminar.

“The first two days will be devoted to clean fossil energy technology. On the final day, delegates will be taken to Mae Maw mine, which produces coal in an environmentally responsible manner. They will also visit the Mae Maw powerhouse where sulfur dioxide eliminating machines have been installed,” said Sahai.

He added that this seminar would demonstrate that coal when used to produce electricity can be controlled by technology in such a way that the environment does not suffer.


Factory owners told energy saving leads to higher profits

Saksit Meesubkwang

Energy conservation and energy saving technology were discussed at a seminar for factory owners in 10 northern provinces staged at Sam Ngao, Tak, on September 15. The keynote speaker was Watthana Thongsiri, manager of Bhumibol Dam.

Watthana said the object of the seminar was for the industrial sector to learn how to conserve energy by using energy saving technology. In addition to the benefits for the national economy, such measures can also reduce the overheads of a company and increase profits.

Assistant manager at Bhumibol Dam, Boon-in Cheunchawalit, showed delegates how to draft a plan with specific energy saving targets so they could see how overheads can be reduced and encourage managers to work towards a common goal.

A total of 80 delegates attended from Chiang Mai, Lamphun, Lampang, Tak, Kamphaengphet, Nakhonsawan, Uthaithani, Phichit, Phitsanulok and Sukhothai.


Wives offer help to Pai police station damaged by floods

Saksit Meesubkwang

The Police Wives Association has visited Pai to offer help and to encourage officers after the flooding there damaged much property, including the police station.

Dr. Wanthanee Watthana, president of the Police Wives Association presents supplies to Pai police.

On September 24, Dr. Wanthanee Watthana, president of the Police Wives Association and 20 members traveled to Mae Hong Son to visit Pai Police Station officers and present necessary supplies to them. They were welcomed by Pol. Maj. Gen. Thongindr Harnpajonsuek, police commander of Mae Hong Son province and Pol. Col. Thanet Chaonathung, Pai Police Station superintendent.

Pol. Maj. Gen. Thongindr reported flooding in Pai district had affected the police station and households and the father of one of the policemen had died. The entire officer contingent of the station was 95 strong and all had jointly rescued residents during flooding. Repairs and renovations to the police station are expected to be completed before the end of this year.


Ya ba dealer ring smashed and 40,000 pills seized

Nopniwat Krailerg

Five drug dealers were arrested and 19 packages of ya ba totaling 39,400 pills seized when police posed as buyers wanting to buy a small quantity of speed pills from a married couple in San Sai.

Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara na Ayuthaya, commissioner of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 after five drug traffickers were arrested and 39,400 ya ba pills found.

The two who unwittingly led police to the major haul were identified as husband and wife Sawat Thamakhan, 34, and Phatcharin Thamakhan, 33, from Tambon Nongyaeng in San Sai. The other dealers identified in the sting operation were Asa Laolee, 26, from Tambon Thoong Khao Puang in Chiang Dao, Sumalee Aser, 20, from Tambon Mae Na in Chiang Dao, and Thawatchai Mingsakul, 40, from Tambon Huay Sam Rong in Thawoong, Lopburi province.

Pol Lt Gen Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya said that on September 23, Chang Puek Police Station undercover officers had contacted Sawat and Phatcharin and asked to purchase 20 ya ba pills.

An appointment was made at the front of Kiartnakin Company near Khuang Singh intersection. The couple drove a car to the meeting place and the officers identified themselves as police. Twenty ya ba pills were found on the couple and another 10 pills were discovered in the car. The pair confessed that about 40,000 pills were hidden in their house and stated that they were hired by Asa and Thawatchai to transfer the ya ba from Chiang Dao at B. 2.50 baht per pill.

While the officers searched Sawat and Phatcharin’s house, Asa called Sawat to deliver the drugs to him and Thawatchai, saying they would meet at the front of Lotus store, Khamthiang branch.

The police lay in wait for the dealers. A blue pickup arrived with Asa driving and Thawatchai and Sumalee accompanying him. Seeing the police they attempted to flee, but an officer shot out the car tires and the men were seized.

They confessed they were dealing in drugs together with another group and would later distribute in Saraburi, Lopburi, Pathumthani, Nonthaburi and Samutprakan.

The commissioner added that this gang transferred drugs on tour buses and that two vehicles would be driven in front of and behind the bus continuously to monitor progress of the consignment. Two transfers were known to have been successful, with 100,000 pills transferred each time.

The arrest has smashed a significant distribution network said Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong, commissioner of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5, who held a press conference jointly with Pol Col Chamnan Ruadreuw, Chiang Mai Provincial Police deputy commander and Pol Lt Col Thanapon Inthalalip, deputy superintendent of Chang Puek Police Station, to announce the arrests.


Drug gang attempting to mail consignment foiled by post office clerks

“Return to Sender” returns ya ba, ecstacy and Ice.

Chiangmai Mail Reporters

A gang of drug dealers who attempted to send a consignment through the postal system were arrested when alert post office clerks notified the police.

Phisoot Fookhammuang, 29, Wilawan Jabjainai, 25, Ale Looma, 21, and Warunee Phokham, 23, were seized along with 20,000 ya ba pills, 4,500 ecstasy tablets and 300 grams of the narcotic ice.

Staff at a Mae Sai post office became suspicious of two men who were attempting to send a parcel through the mail, and contacted the police. Officers rushed to the scene and found Phisoot and Wilawan. Their parcel was opened and the ya ba, ecstasy and ice were found inside. The two men confessed that they were working with two others, who were then in a hotel in Mae Sai, to send a consignment of drugs to clients at Jitti Mansion, in the Din Daeng district of Bangkok, the address shown on the parcel. Ale and Warunee were arrested at their Mae Sai hotel.

No word has been received regarding the recipient.


Man attempts to blackmail 17 year old girl over nude photos

Nopniwat Krailerg

A man who tried to blackmail a 17 year old girl by threatening to release nude photographs of her admitted to police he wanted the money so that he could enjoy Chiang Mai’s nightlife.

Patapon or Pae Koontheewanit, 21, was arrested by officers from Phuping police station in a public park at Nimmanheminda Road on September 20. He had in his possession four CDs, and was under the impression he was about to meet the girl and exchange the CDs for money.

Patapon told the police that he had first met the girl through an internet chatroom. He had shown her photographs of a friend, and the friend and the girl later had a deep relationship. The photographs were of the two of them having sex. Patapon had then told her about the photographs and demanded 4,000 baht and a cell phone to hand them over. The girl had asked if he would accept 2,500 baht, but then she went to the police.

Officers checking Patapon’s cell phone found nude images of other women, and it appears that he and the friend were intent on blackmailing others. Police are seeking the women involved to see if there are further charges to be added to Patapon’s blackmail charge. The question is, where can they publish the photos? The friend is also being sought.


University students stole motorcycles to enjoy nightlife

And it wasn’t to save on bus fares

Saksit Meesubkwang

Two youngsters in Chiang Mai who stole motorcycles and sold them to dealers so they could enjoy the city’s nightlife with the money have been arrested by the police.

Pol. Col. Chamnan Ruadreuw, Chiang Mai Provincial Police commander at a press conference on motorcycle stealing.

Police investigating the theft reports discovered that both offenders were living at a residence at Tambon Chang Puek in Chiang Mai.

When questioned they admitted selling the motorcycles to three men at 5,000 to 10,000 baht each.

The two thieves, both aged 17, were identified only as Wat and Chai. The three men receiving the stolen motorcycles were Boonngern Somboon, 20; Sathid Srisa, 26; and Klitsada Mettontakoop, 20. Eight Yamaha Mio motorcycles were seized as evidence.


Lampang governor assigns police chief to check online games shops

Chiangmai Mail Reporters

An internet shop in Tambon Hua Wiang in Lampang was checked out on September 21 by Lampang police officers who found 17 students aged from 13 to 16, boys and girls, playing online games, rather than attending to their school work.

Shop owner Itthisak Jitraran, 52, was arrested and charged with encouraging students to contravene the Youth Protection Act, and the parents of the students were contacted to come and fetch their children.

The crackdown took place because parents and education institute directors had asked Lampang governor Amornthad Niratisayaku to pay attention to online games shops that operate near schools. The attraction of the games encourages students to skip classes, they told the governor.

Pol. Maj. Gen. Kraisorn Rungsaeng, Lampang Provincial Police commander, was assigned to check these online shops and to ask for the owners’ cooperation in not allowing the students to play there during study time. However, several owners have not done as requested, hence the continual checking.


Village headman falsified cards for alien workers

Nopniwat Krailerg

A village headman has been arrested for falsifying documents to allow ID cards to be issued for alien workers.

Jumrad Soothichai, 53, village headman at Tambon Kued Chang in Mae Taeng, was apprehended by police while taking a Burmese woman to Mae Taeng district office. He had ID documents made out for the woman in the name of Nadaw Naikham, living at Tambon Kued Chang.

Police say that Jumrad had acted as an agent to falsify ID cards for alien laborers by certifying they were residents in his village. He was working in association with one or two officers of Mae Taeng district office. Each applicant was charged 50,000 baht, and 10 persons had already succeeded in obtaining their cards.

A Burmese worker had been arrested in Mae Sai and found to have a falsified ID card. He told police it had been arranged by the village headman. Jumrad has been duly charged with falsifying government documents.



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