HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Chiang Mai suffers third flooding of this year and Mae Ping River water level is highest in 40 years

North adds up the cost of storm damage

30 more products put on watch list after prices escalate

Flooding and high winds cause death and destruction in the North

Damaged Mae Hong Son link due to reopen in January

Dams to be built to resolve the flooding problem

200mn baht allocated to upgrade water supply system

San Kamphaeng has to pay 3.4mn baht to a resident whose home was destroyed by faulty dam

US officials visit refuge set up by police for women and children

Pha Muang Task Force has four more provinces attached to its area of responsibility

Governor checks tourist facilities for start of Mexican Sunflower season

Police set up service points for residents and tourists

Burmese officials replaced by party workers in run-up to election

Burmese troops seize 70 Red Wah transferring heroin into Thailand

Killer high on ya ba shoots wealthy businessman

Almost 1,600 illicit CDs found during crackdown

Things that go bump in the night

Police patrol online games shops and beer bars to curb teenage drinking and time wasting

Soldier on way to court martial jumps from police pickup

Battery thieves charged

Three ya ba dealers found hanged in prison cell

Chiang Mai suffers third flooding of this year and Mae Ping River water level is highest in 40 years

Chiangmai Mail Reporter

Chiang Mai residents faced flooding for the third time this year when tropical storm Damray raised the water level in the Mae Ping River, but although many areas were inundated residents had plenty of practice in avoiding flood waters and they moved their belongings in good time.

Chiang Mai governor and president of Chiang Mai Red Cross Suwat and Onnatda Tantipat rush to aid victims at a rescue point in Chiang Mai municipality stadium.

The two previous episodes had occurred on August 14-16 and September 20. Damray blew in on September 28, dumping heavy rain on Chiang Dao, Wiang Haeng and Mae Taeng. Water in the Mae Ping River rose and made its way toward the city.

Chiang Mai Red Cross officers deliver residents with necessary belongings.

At 9.00 p.m. irrigation officers advised that water had to be released from the dam into the Mae Taeng River and that from there water would combine in the Mae Ping and reach the city within seven or eight hours.

Grocery at Wat Ket area is flooded on the first day because of its location next to the Mae Ping River.

Water level at the Nawarat Bridge P1 measure center at 11.00 p.m. on September 28 stood at 3.36 meters. It was at 4.25 meters at 9.00 a.m. on the next day, by 12.30 p.m. it was at 4.50 meters and eventually reached 4.94 meters. That was the highest level that had occurred in 40 years, beating the August 14 level of 4.90 meters.

33rd Border Patrol Police officers fill sand in sacks.

The waters were still rising at 8-10 centimeters per hour. Flooding occurred in the Night Bazaar, and at Chang Klan, Charoenprathed and Chiang Mai-Lamphun roads including Nong Hoi, Pa Phrao Nok and Padad communities. Chiang Mai Land and Baan Wiang Thong villages were covered to Jaruenrat and Kaew Nawarat roads, Prince Royal College, McCormick Hospital and Chiang Mai train station, the latter causing Chiang Mai-Bangkok passengers to take a train from Lamphun.

Flooding situation at Waroros Market.

Chiang Mai municipality had raised the level of the walls along the Mae Ping River banks to a height of five meters in places but the water was still too much in volume and flow, and the walls were breached.

Water level in Mae Ping River at Roma 9 Bridge.

Several schools had to announce they were closing, even though it was the final examination period. However, several sectors such as Chiang Mai municipality, Kawila military camp, Territorial Defense Volunteers, border patrol police, students and Chiang Mai PAO provided vehicles, boats and food to rescue and help victims. Additionally, the municipality had set up a rescue point at gymnasium 3, Chiang Mai municipality stadium.

Flower market beside Mae Ping River is flooded.

Flood waters remained for three days in the city area of Chiang Mai but eventually the waters dried and life returned to normal.

Damray caused flooding and damage in many other places. The Angkhang meteorological center in Fang measured rain volume at 200 millimeters, and mountain torrents and water flowing from creeks in high lands settled in lower areas such as Phrao district.

The US Consulate’s dock at 1 p.m. on Friday.

Phrao was cut off from the city and eight tambons were flooded. A bridge near Wat Doi Mae Pang was damaged and officials set up a Barry bridge as a temporary measure. Two people were reported as dead.

Huay Mae Pra Jum reservoir at Tambon Mae Haw Phra in Mae Taeng was breached and water flooded nearby areas to depths of 50 cm. A bridge at kilometer 17 of highway number 1323 was destroyed.

The Jedi in front of the US Consulate General.

Pathrawan Sadudee, head of Chiang Mai Provincial Office of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, said that an initial survey had revealed, six districts and two sub-districts, namely Phrao, Mae Ai, Chiang Dao, Mae Taeng, Wiang Haeng, Fang, Mae On and Doi Lo had been flooded. Severe damage was caused to 1,722 households and 2,100 rai of farm land. There were two deaths in Phrao, one in Chiang Dao and one in Mae Taeng.

The Pizza Company on Chang Klan Road.

Chiang Mai province and other sectors presented aid packages, food and drink to flooded victims and ACM Kongsak Wanthana, minister of interior also presented aid packages to residents in Phrao.

North adds up the cost of storm damage

Nopniwat Krailerg

Chiang Mai and the other Northern areas have been adding up the damage caused by flooding and landslides during the recent tropical storms.

Pathrawan Sadudee, head of Chiang Mai Provincial Office of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation concluded that there were 10 districts affected by flooding on September 27 to October 1, 2005.

Most of these districts have twice in recent weeks endured severe flood damage. In Wiang Haeng, farms, livestock and households sustained damage totaling 1,186,000 baht, Chai Prakan damage was costed at 765,500 baht, Mae Rim 27,500 baht, Saraphi 8,462,000 baht, Mae Taeng 7,521,232 baht, and Hang Dong 300,000 baht.

Damage in San Sai was costed at 162,729 baht, and in Samoeng 1,820,000 baht. The districts most affected were Phrao, where the storms caused 30,210,000 baht of damage, and San Kamphaeng, where surveys have revealed damage at 50,456,661 baht.

Chiang Mai municipality and Muang district are currently being surveyed. Boonlert Buranupakorn, Chiang Mai mayor, said that after the province had endured flooding on three separate occasions, the economic area in the city might be footing a bill of 2,000 million baht. It was, Boonlert said, the worst damage suffered by Chiang Mai for many years.

30 more products put on watch list after prices escalate

Chiangmai Mail Reporter

Thirty products whose prices are deemed to have risen in an unreasonable manner in recent months have been put on the Department of Internal Trade watch list.

Every day used products that are kept an eye on and not to be allowed to increase prices.

Siriphon Yodmuang, director general of the department, disclosed that the prices of some products had increased unreasonably over the past two to three months. Close attention is therefore being paid to 30 products, which were put on the existing watch list of 120 other products on October 1.

Fresh foods listed are noodle string, white shrimp, Nile Tilapia fish and steamed mackerel, food and drink consisting of chocolate flavor drink, artificial cream, oyster sauce, instant food ingredient, instant coffee, tapioca and salt.

Everyday products are skin lotion and cream, hair color solution, hair conditioner, roll on, facing foam and shoe wax. In the electrical equipment category, vacuum cleaners and hair driers are now on the list.

Transport related products are brake discs and motor oil filters, construction supplies are gypsum, hot corridor plate, stone, sand and mixed concrete, and general products are foam for food containers, cell phone batteries, tin covered iron plate and chromium covered iron plate.

If a price change has to be made to any of these products a case has to be presented to the Department of Internal Trade.

Flooding and high winds cause death and destruction in the North

Chiangmai Mail Reporter

Tropical storm Damray caused severe flooding in several Northern provinces, cutting roads, damaging bridges, and causing the deaths of 10 people.

Heavy rain and wind in Wiang Chiang Rung sub-district, Chiang Rai blew trees down and damaged about a thousand households, while 500 households at Tambon Thung Kaw and along the Chiang Mai-Chiang Rai route were flooded.

A further 500 households at Tambon Mae Phrik in Mae Suai were flooded by mountain torrents and water from Huay Law creek overflowed and inundated the area to depths of 50 cm, preventing traffic access.

Uthai Luechai, Mae Suai district chief together with Chiang Rai PAO administrators helped rescue residents and presented aid packages to them.

The river at Nang Kaew mountain flooded Tambon Ngiew, Tambon Wiang and Wiang Pa Pao municipality area, causing difficulties to 400 households. A landslide obstructed the Chiang Rai-Chiang Mai Road in the area of the Mae Tho sentry box, and it was three hours before the road was clear again. After a night of heavy rain, water from the Mae Kok and Mae Lao rivers flooded areas in Chiang Rai municipality but the water quickly dispersed.

In Lampang, Sanlek Khamjai, head of the Office of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, said that Damray had caused heavy rain, with mountain torrents and flooding in Wang Nua, Jae Hom and Muang Pan districts. Two villages, Baan Na Ngam and Baan Na Mai at Tambon Muang Mai in Jae Hom were quickly flooded. Ten lives were lost, including those of a teacher and two students.

In the meantime, water was increasing in the Soi River, a branch of Wang River, and later flooded households and the fresh market to a depth of 2 meters. In Jae Hom municipality a bridge on the Muang Pan-Jae Hom Road was damaged and could not be used by road transport. Lampang governor Amornthad Niratisayakul led a team of Civil Defense Volunteers to rescue victims in these areas. Six dead bodies were found.

In Mae Son Hong, Kasidit Wattanasupt, head of Mae Hong Provincial Highway Office ordered excavators out to move a landslide from highway number 1095 at Baan Mae Na Tueng. A bridge at Baan Mae Oom Ong at Km 137+314 between Pang Mapha and Pai district was broken and became impassable to vehicles.

In Pai district, Mae Hong Son, head of Mae Hong Son Provincial Prevention Thinnakorn Chaidee directed Territorial Defense Volunteers to rescue residents from the rising water levels in the Pai River and the flooding at Tambon Wiang Tai. They were moved to another area.

Damaged Mae Hong Son link due to reopen in January

Residents hoarding fuel oil

Saksit Meesubkwang

Mae Hong Son’s governor has said repairs to the highway routes linking Mae Hong Son and Chiang Mai will be finished in the beginning of next year.

Chiang Mai-Mae Hong Son Road at the areas of Baan Pha Bong in Khun Yuam and Muang, Mae Hong Son was badly damaged in the flooding.

Highways number 108 and 1095 were cut by mountain torrents, affecting amongst other road traffic the trucks delivering fuel oil to Mae Hong Son. The Provincial Highway Office set up a Barry bridge as a temporary measure, and meanwhile work is proceeding on reconstruction.

Governor Supoj Laowansiri said the works are scheduled to be completed by January. Mae Hong Son residents are however worried that another storm could cause more flooding and wash away the temporary structures. Consequently they have begun hoarding fuel oil, increasing the prices twofold.

Suppliers and distributors are struggling to meet the demand by bringing in extra deliveries from Chiang Mai.

Dams to be built to resolve the flooding problem

Nopniwat Krailerg

Small dams will be built to the north of Chiang Mai to prevent future flooding, following a recent commitment by Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to solve the problem on a long-term basis.

To protect the key economic region of Chiang Mai it will be necessary to construct two small dams. These would each have a capacity of 50-60 million cubic meters. Riverbanks would also need to be raised.

Deputy Prime Minister Suwat Liptapanlop has visited the North to survey the flooding situation and he stressed the importance of finding a method to prevent the disaster recurring. Having visited Lampang, he then arrived in Chiang Mai and consulted with the provincial officials at a meeting at Chiang Mai Air Traffic Control office.

Suwat said the damage in Lampang was caused because of the Gew Loam dam being unable to contain such a high level of water. The water had to be released and it caused floods up to 3 meters deep in the municipality area. Four reservoirs would therefore be constructed and the height of the Wang riverbanks increased to prevent this happening again.

In Mae Hong Son, the main cause of the damage was through landslides, and more trees needed to be planted along with the building of extra reservoir capacity.

Suwat has assigned deputy minister of interior Sermsak Pongpanit to oversee the projects.

200mn baht allocated to upgrade water supply system

Preeyanoot Jittawong

The Provincial Waterworks Authority has authorized a budget of 200 million baht to improve Chiang Mai’s public water supplies, with work projected to be complete by April 2007. The improvements are designed to support public demand for the next 10 years.

Thamasak Thiansawat, director of the Provincial Waterworks Authority Regional Office 9 in Chiang Mai said that the bidding for the work had been by electronic tender. Srikonkit Co., Ltd. had subsequently been awarded the contract with a bid of 244.97 million baht, and has designed a construction schedule that will be completed over a 590-day period.

The project is designed to increase the output of water and upgrade the pumping capacity at Mae Rim, Baan Taw and Umong.

Pipes distributing water along several routes such as Chiang Mai-Doi Saket Road (left lane), Mae Rim-Maejo Road (right lane) and Chiang Mai-Hang Dong Road (left lane) will have their capacity increased, which is likely to cause traffic problems during the works period.

Chiang Mai Provincial Public Water office will answer questions by phone at 0 5325 2155, 0 5323 3477, Mae Rim Public Water office at 0 5329 7776, 0 5329 7253 and Provincial Waterworks Authority Regional Office 9, Chiang Mai at 0 5335 2012-17.

San Kamphaeng has to pay 3.4mn baht to a resident whose home was destroyed by faulty dam

By Nopniwat Krailerg

A resident of Tambon Chae Chang in San Kamphaeng has successfully sued the authorities after her house was destroyed in floods caused when a faulty dam broke.

Buaphan Khamwongpin, 72, sued San Kamphaeng TAO, the mayor Winit Kongbunthiam, the deputy mayor for public works Suthep Panyakaew and Sathid Lerdsuwan, public works officer, saying they acted with carelessness that led to losses.

Mae On dam was breached on August 12, 2001 and Baan Pa Pai village at Tambon Chae Chang in San Kamphaeng was flooded, demolishing Buaphan’s house. The event occurred, Buaphan said, because the dam was constructed in the wrong way and in an inappropriate area.

The case went to the Supreme Court which ruled that San Kamphaeng TAO pay a fine of 3,403,850 baht to Buaphan and that if the payment was delayed she could claim interest at 550 baht per day.

US officials visit refuge set up by police for women and children

Saksit Meesubkwang

A delegation of American officials from the US Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the US Consulate in Chiang Mai visited senior police officers on September 29 to view progress on the suppression of human trafficking in the region.

Officials of US Minister of Foreign Affairs and Us Consulate in Chiang Mai listen to the report of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5.

Senior advisor to the US Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs Dr. Laura Lederer, coordinator to the US Center Mark Taylor, primary secretary of the US Embassy in Thailand Michael Heath and two officials of the US Consulate in Chiang Mai, John Spykerman and Abhijat Buddhawongse, visited the center that has been established for children and women by Provincial Police Bureau Region 5.

Pol. Maj. Gen. Suwat Kruengkrai, deputy commissioner of Provincial Police Bureau Region 5, along with the bureau’s investigation superintendent Pol. Col. Sarawut Jantharaprasert and Pol. Col. Montree Sanbunyanon, Mae Rim Police Station superintendent. welcomed the five officials.

This center was set up as government and police initiative three months ago. Suwat said that every police station was on alert to pursue and suppress human trafficking but the process had not always been effective. Consequently Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 established the center. After a three-month period it has proved successful and the project will continue.

Dr. Lederer said that the US Minister of Foreign Affairs maintains a very close watch on human trafficking in Asia. They were very much aware of the problems in the North and had therefore arranged the visit through the US Consulate in Chiang Mai. Dr. Lederer said the group was impressed with the workings of the Thai police here and that it would set a good example for other police forces in different regions.

Pha Muang Task Force has four more provinces attached to its area of responsibility

Nopniwat Krailerg and Saksit Meesubkwang.

Pha Muang Task Force has had its area of responsibility greatly enlarged, adding to its existing areas of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai another four provinces, namely Phayao, Nan, Uttaradith and Phitsanulok, thereby making the force responsible for Burmese and Laotian borders.

Maj. Gen. Pairat Thongjaktu, commissioner of Pha Muang Task Force.

Maj. Gen. Pairat Thongjaktu, commissioner of Pha Muang Task Force, announced the changes at a press conference held at Chiang Mai 700 Year Anniversary Stadium on October 2.

One of the force’s accomplishments has been to build up a good relationship with neighboring countries, he said. Therefore, the troops had been completely impartial when dealing with drug suppression, no matter the nationality of the offenders.

One important thing along the border is to implement the rules fairly and equally, regardless of race or religion, so that everyone can see the actions are just,” he said.

“Difficulties do sometimes occur in different area due to different languages and cultures, but Pha Muang Task Force will always try to deal with it.

Even though the Pha Muang Task Force now has more responsibilities in taking care of more provinces, the policies will remain the same said the commissioner.

Governor checks tourist facilities for start of Mexican Sunflower season

Chiangmai Mail Reporters

Mae Hong Son governor Direk Konkleep and a team visited Doi Mae Oo Kho in Khun Yuam, the biggest area in Thailand for Mexican Sunflowers, to check on the readiness of local organizations and facilities for the start of the season, at the beginning of November.

Mexican Sunflowers in Doi Mae Oo Kho last year.

The governor has assigned Sumrit Sawamipak, Khun Yuam district chief to organize facilities for tourists to camp nearby, and to construct toilets, parking lots and food outlets at Doi Mae Oo Kho to serve visitors. The works are due to be completed before November 1.

Concern has been expressed about areas damaged by mountain torrents and how this would affect tourism, but the governor said there was not going to be any detrimental effect. Mae Hong Son Provincial Highway Office had repaired two highways number 108 and 1095 to enter Mae Hong Son and all works will be complete in time for the start of the season.

Mexican Sunflowers in Doi Mae Oo Kho are ready to blossom in November but some tourists in previous years have expressed disappointment that they could not camp on the mountain. The decision was therefore taken that this year camping will be allowed and that facilities would be provided.

Police set up service points for residents and tourists

Nopniwat Krailerg

A pilot project to set up police service centers in busy public areas has been launched in Chiang Mai by Provincial Police Bureau Region 5.

Commissioner Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara na Ayuthaya on October 3 presided over the opening ceremony of the first police service point at the ground floor of Kad Suan Kaew Department Store. The intention, he said, is to make the police services more accessible to the public. A police public relations team will also be available for local community matters.

The next step, Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong said, is to set up service points at other busy areas or tourism sites. Five will open simultaneously at Kad Suan Kaew, Central Airport Plaza, Carrefour, Lotus Khamthiang branch and at Walking Street.

The main business of the service points is expected to be dispensing advice on lost documentation and small private matters, attending to local disturbances, and handling petty fines.

Other provinces are expected to follow suit with service centers of their own.

Burmese officials replaced by party workers in run-up to election

Saksit Meesubkwang

Heads of areas in the north of the Shan State in Burma have been dismissed and new officials appointed to prepare for an election due next year.

A source in Shan State reported on September 29 that Burmese officials had dismissed some heads of areas from their posts, proclaiming that this process was to prepare for the government to collect information for the referendum draft.

The newly appointed heads will attend a conference to be organized in October in La Siew city concerning the new policies.

Three areas, namely Muang, Nam Kham and Kod Khai in Moo Jae province already have new heads while La Siew, Jok Mae and Koon Long provinces are still searching.

A businessman in Moo Jae province said that the old area heads were probably dismissed from their posts to make way for canvassers supporting the government line. He added that he was sure the government would again win the election due to the important opposition such as Aung San Suu Kyi, head of NLD party and Chao Khun Thun Oo, head of SNLD party being under tight government supervision.

The Burmese government will hold their last assembly at the end of this year.

Burmese troops seize 70 Red Wah transferring heroin into Thailand

Chiangmai Mail Reporters

Burmese soldiers have seized 70 Red Wah personnel who were in the act of packing 90 kg of heroin into bags ready for transfer into Thailand.

The military force was patrolling near the border at Baan Muang Toom and Baan Muang Kan next to the Sai River, only a kilometer away from Baan Payaprai at Tambon Terdthai in Mae Fa Luang district, Chiang Rai.

The incident took place on October 3, when 100 Burmese soldiers descended on the Red Wah camp.

Sources reported that the armed officers surrounded the Red Wah people and that 70 were arrested. The heroin was being packed into 90 plastic bags, each bag weighing a kilogram. Those arrested were sent to a military camp in Muang Toom.

The drugs were being moved from a Red Wah factory located near the border. The group was known to have transferred narcotics into Thailand on previous occasions.

Killer high on ya ba shoots wealthy businessman

Saksit Meesubkwang

A well-known Mae Sod businessman was shot dead after leaving a noodle shop, and police say his killer was high on ya ba.

Officers from Mae Sod Police Station were called out on September 29 to a shooting that had taken place in Soi Wat Don Kaew on Inthornkiri Road. At the scene they found the body of Choopong or Tantai Thawee-apiruedeewong, 51. He was wearing a red-white shirt, black trousers and sneakers, and had been shot in the head and back.

His killer was later identified as Thanaklit Saengmuang-in, who had fled the scene of the shooting in a gray-black pickup with a Bangkok license plate. A squad of some 50 police officers followed the murderer and caught him in front of the Nissan showroom, when his car went out of control and fell into a wayside ditch. Thanaklit tried to flee on foot but was apprehended. Police said he appeared to be intoxicated on ya ba.

Choopong had eaten a meal of noodles and was crossing the street when Thanaklit shot him. Originally of Burmese nationality, Choopong had taken Thai citizenship. He was a well known jewelry businessman and was reputedly very wealthy.

Although his killer is said to have acted under the influence of drugs, speculation is that there was a deeper reason for the murder.

Almost 1,600 illicit CDs found during crackdown

Nopniwat Krailerg

Chiang Mai police searching retail and rental outlets have uncovered almost 1,600 illicit CDs.

A squad of officers from Muang Chiang Mai Police Station led by station superintendent Pol. Col. Prayad Bunsri and equipped with warrants from Chiang Mai Provincial Court searched 11 VCD rental and distribution shops in the area. Chonticha Suriya, 23, owner of Kad Kom VCD at Tambon Hai Ya was arrested for being in possession of three obscene VCDs. The other 10 shops were charged with having pirated CDs.

The crackdown was ordered when police learned that rental and distribution shops were dealing in obscene CDs and that many of the customers were young people. Pol. Col. Prayad said the police will continue to monitor the situation.

Things that go bump in the night

Mysterious case of the porn movies shown on the closed TV channel

Chiangmai Mail Reporters

Pornographic movies are being broadcast on Channel 11 in Chiang Rai from a mysterious source that cannot be traced.

Chiang Rai Provincial Public Relations Office asked police to take action after customers in Kotam Phochana restaurant and households in the area saw the movie appear between the hours of 2.00-3.00 a.m. on September 29.

Pratinan Weeramanurak, head of Channel 11, said the signal was not sent by the station. Besides, the station had stopped transmitting programs at that time. Pratinan said it might be another business owner near the Kotam Phochana using a wireless VDO system that would have a 100-meter broadcasting ability. Other sets in the area could pick up the transmission.

Pratyaporn Songrod, head of Chiang Rai Provincial Public Relation Office, said that she had asked police to pursue the source of the signal and to prosecute the offender.

The owner of Kotam Phochana restaurant said he had seen porn movies on Channel 11 up to five times over the past 10 days and every time they had appeared around 2.10 to 3.30 a.m.

Pratinan added that this may have occurred because of a low quality VCD player that did not have a suppression system and which could spread its signal to a nearby TV set that was turned on.

Police patrol online games shops and beer bars to curb teenage drinking and time wasting

Nopniwat Krailerg

Online games shops and beer bars in Chiang Mai are being searched by police to crack down on the consumption of alcohol by those under the legal age and also to encourage youngsters not to waste valuable study time by playing games on the internet.

The surveillance is part of national government policy, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra having recently directed provincial governors and police commissioners to work in tandem and help the nation’s youth to stay out of trouble.

Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara na Ayuthaya, commissioner of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 checks in Ozone Net and found many youngsters playing online games.

Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara na Ayuthaya, commissioner of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 and both Chiang Mai Provincial Police deputy commanders Pol. Col. Atthakit Kornthong and Pol. Col. Chamnan Ruadreuw together with about 30 officers from Chang Puek and Muang police stations set out at 10.00 pm on October 2 to patrol the city’s online game shops, small amusement places and beer bars.

First stop was Ozone Net in front of the former Mahanakorn Theater at Tambon Chang Puek. This shop has some 60 computers with an internet connection and online games software, and around 50 youths between the ages of 16 and 20 were using the facilities.

Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara na Ayuthaya, commissioner of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 questions a youngster who is a client of a beer bar in Santitham area.

Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong questioned one 16-year-old who said he had been playing online games for six hours. The commissioner warned the owner not to allow youngsters to play for a long time, especially students who skipped classes.

After that, the squad of officers checked venues in Soi Tewan in the Santitham area, visiting about 10 premises.

Most of these outlets were screening overseas football matches, and many young people were found cheering their teams on. A few owners were charged with serving alcohol to youths under the age of 20.

Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong said there was plenty of evidence to show that a large number of young people waste a good deal of time in games venues and bars. Police he said will continue their policy of checking, but they did not have the resources to monitor every venue and that a degree of responsibility rested with the owners and the liquor licensing authorities to ensure that no underage drinking took place.

Soldier on way to court martial jumps from police pickup

Nopniwat Krailerg and Saksit Meesubkwang

A soldier on his way to a court martial over drug dealing charges jumped from the police pickup that was transporting him but was quickly recaptured.

Pvt. Songkiart, drug offender after being rearrested.

Songkiart Ponjira, age 22, a private at the Pichit Preechakorn army camp in Chiang Dao, was being escorted to Kawila military camp in Chiang Mai on September 27.

As the pickup paused at a red light in front of the Rim Ping Condominium on Jaruenrat Road, about 500 meters from its destination, Songkiart jumped from the back of the vehicle and fled.

Officers from Mae Ping, Chang Puek and Muang police stations set off in pursuit and within 10 minutes found the fugitive near Wat Sri Khong. Songkiart said he had climbed over a fence to hide in the temple grounds. Although handcuffed he had managed to separate the cuffs from the iron bar in the truck, and had seized the first chance he had to escape.

Police confirmed that Songkiart had been left on his own in the back of the pickup, saying that the police escorting officer had sat in front with the driver because the documents relating to the case were also there.

Battery thieves charged

Police uncover security guard scam at CMU

Nopniwat Krailerg

Employees of an electric vehicle company in cahoots with security guards at Chiang Mai University conspired to steal electric vehicle batteries worth in total 1.3 million baht.

Officers of Phuping Police Station have arrested Phanu Sitthisin, 45, and Jetsadaporn Phetprapai, 28, both officers of Electric Vehicles (Thailand) Co., Ltd, and CMU security guards Yongyut Panya-uthai, 35, and Khamtan Supa, 45.

Seized as evidence were a white Mazda pickup, five copies of a product list and nine electric vehicle batteries.

Electric Vehicles (Thailand) Co services electric vehicles in the university. Company representative Surasawadee Chairat had informed Phuping Police Station that 306 electric vehicle batteries valued at 1,300,000 baht had disappeared. Police investigated and learned that Phanu and Jetsadaporn had in association with Yongyut and Khamtan stolen them at the beginning of September and had planned to split the proceeds. The charges include theft and receiving of stolen property.

Three ya ba dealers found hanged in prison cell

Nopniwat Krailerg

Three ya ba dealers hanged themselves with shoelaces in a cell at Muang Lamphun Police Station out of fear of recriminations from the Wei Hseuh-kang narcotics network.

The men were identified as Phalekwa or Pao Chophattakam, 24, and Phajansuk Onjong, 19, both of Omkoi, Chiang Mai, and Boochu Sijipat, 23, of Muang, Lamphun.

Police had arrested the three while they were transferring drugs in front of a garage on the Lamphun-Pasang Road in Muang, Lamphun. They were found to have 1,700 ya ba pills in their possession.

The men were dealers operating with the Wei Hseuh-kang network. Police say that when they were arrested the three had asked to be shot because they would be hunted down by the drug gang, no matter where they were. They later hanged themselves simultaneously.