Sangduen named Asian Heroine for her work in elephant conservation
A Chiang Mai woman, well known at home and overseas for
her work in elephant conservation, is to receive an award from TIME
Magazine, who named her as an Asian Heroine for her environmental work.
“Lek” Chailert and a little elephant at Elephant Nature Park. (Photo
Courtesy of Sangduen Chailert)
Sangduen “Lek” Chailert, 45, is an elephant
conservation worker for the Elephant Nature Park in Mae Taeng, Chiang Mai
and is the founder of the Thai Elephant Conservation Foundation.
She is currently working with 18 foreign volunteers from
countries worldwide and veterinarians to treat ill and injured elephants in
an area of conserved forest that is rented from the government. Covering
around 2,400 rai, the land is 55 kilometers away from the city of Chiang
Sangduen’s work has attracted the attention and support
of some leading figures in Hollywood, and her story has been well aired in
the international media, including articles in National Geographic, the New
York Times and The Independent.
The current issue of TIME Magazine also covers her work,
in an article that focuses on the heroes and heroines of Asia. This is an
annual feature by TIME, profiling those in the region who are prepared to
fight for environmental causes. An award will be presented to Sangduen
during a ceremony in Taipei, Taiwan, on November 23.
This very modest heroine told Chiangmai Mail that
she had been interested in elephants from the time she was a student at
Chiang Mai Teachers College. She followed a mission that went to a Karen
village near the border in Mae Hong Son to learn about elephants. From that
point, she realized that elephants needed help, and she began a serious
pursuit of her interest in 1992.
Sangduen has also received a Hero of the Planet award
from the Ford Foundation in 1999 and the Genesis Award 2003, the latter
given by Hollywood for those who benefit the environment.
She said that she had never expected to receive any
awards, but she was very proud of being recognized for her work. She said
that the TIME article had been written after one of her volunteer workers
revealed he was a TIME reporter, and requested that the magazine name her
one of Asia’s heroines for the year 2005.
There are 27 elephants in the Elephant Nature Park under
Sangduen’s care. Some of them are sick while some have been injured. Some
have been hurt because they have been taken along city streets to beg for
money, others have become addicted to drugs fed to them to make them work
harder in jobs such as logging.
In addition to the elephants there are 50 dogs and 30
cats being treated in this center.
Sangduen says that the law to protect and conserve
elephants should be applied seriously otherwise elephants will rapidly
decrease in numbers.
In addition to her elephant conservation work, Sangduen runs a tour
agency business called Gem Travel, located on Chang Klan Road opposite the
Cold wind from China drops temperatures in North
Worapoj Kunaniwatanakul, Northern Meteorological
Center officer, has said that the weather in the North is becoming colder
and foggier at present because of a cold wind blowing in from China.
From the middle of November until January,
temperatures will be around 3-9 degrees Celsius on the mountaintops.
Winter will finish in February. This kind of weather will attract
tourists seeking a respite from the warmer parts of the country, he said.
Worapoj warned residents to beware of thunder showers
and strong gusting winds that can cause damage and injury. He said there
would be frost on mountain peaks and thick fog in December to January
that might cause trouble for agricultural production.
During this period, high pressure and cold air from
China will cover the north and north-east of Thailand and temperatures
could on occasions drop as low as 2 degrees Celsius.
Citizens turn out in force to condemn government mega projects
Demanding a return to democracy, not autocracy
Almost 500 Chiang Mai residents, including well-known
businessmen, scholars, artists, authors, monks and other prominent citizens
rallied on October 9 to criticize government policy on developing the
Muang Chiang Mai Alliance that consists of 40 organizations jointly with
almost 500 businessmen, academics, artists, authors, monks and citizens
gather at Kroo Ba Sri Wichai Monument.
The demonstration was organized by Khon Rak Muang Chiang
Mai Alliance, which encompasses 40 organizations and a large number of
Staged at Wat Srisoda in Muang, Chiang Mai, the rally
condemned ideas such as the Night Safari and a theme park.
left) Dr Phra Maha Boonchuay, monk and university lecturer, Jamlaw Somjit,
former government official and fighter for peace, Soontharee Wechanon, local
singer (right) and Buason Muangphrao, local musician (2nd
The meeting was headed by Dr Phra Maha Boonchuay, a monk
and university lecturer, Jamlaw Somjit, former government official and
fighter for peace, Soontharee Wechanon, a renowned local singer, and Buason
Muangphrao, a greatly respected local musician.
Dr Phra Maha Boonchuay said it was good that the
government was trying to develop the country to world standards but they
stressed too much on the material aspects.
The big projects were being considered by the government
only, without consulting citizens or asking for opinions from residents,
although these would be the ones most directly affected by these projects.
Furthermore, attracting tourists was not a matter of providing the latest
technology but promoting the history and precious heritage of Chiang Mai.
Jumlaw Somjit said that projects costing several hundred
billion baht would be funded by tax payers. Therefore it was not appropriate
to create these projects without consultation.
The example of the tram car station at Kroo Ba Sri Wichai
Monument and the building of a new route to Doi Suthep were cited. Residents
had not known about this until a 50 million baht study had been approved.
Jumlaw said that Kroo Ba Sri Wichai Monument was a place that Lanna
residents adore and worship, and that if changes were made it could have a
devastating effect on many people and the way in which they thought of their
After the meeting the crowd marched from Wat Srisoda to
Kroo Ba Sri Wichai Monument.
There, Soontharee Wechanon announced five issues: 1. All Chiang Mai
citizens have the right to determine lifestyle and cultural equally; 2.
Chiang Mai residents should be informed concerning projects that affect
directly their culture and environment and they should be a part of the
consideration process; 3. Chiang Mai residents have the freedom to determine
whatever happens concerning their lives, culture and environment without any
interference and influence; 4. Chiang Mai residents have the right to
jointly develop the province with the government; and 5. Chiang Mai citizens
will prevent violation of lifestyle, culture and environment by peaceful
HRH Princess Patchara Kittiyapa aid packages distributed to flood victims
Chiang Mai Deputy Governor Thongchai Wongrianthong on
October 5 received 1,160 aid packages from the Asa Puan Pueng (Pa) Yam Yak
Foundation set up by Her Royal Highness Princess Patchara Kittiyapa.
The first assistance caravan went to two villages at
Tambon Yang Nueng in Saraphi where 466 packages were presented, while the
second delivery was to Wat Suan Dok in Muang, Chiang Mai which is working in
cooperation with Chiang Mai Red Cross and Chiang Mai University.
The deputy governor said that many citizens were
suffering hardship because of the three separate floods that have occurred
within the period of a few weeks.
Government organizations and other sectors were doing all
they can to help, and that where the government was unable to supply aid the
private sector had provided immense help, which was a true example of
society working together to face its problems.
Akome Tantrakul, Chiang Mai University vice president
said that after the latest floods CMU had established a project under the
name of Maw Chaw Ruam Duay Chuay Nam Tuam. The project in association with
alliances had assisted flood victims with aid packages, medicines, food,
drinks and necessary supplies both in Chiang Mai and other nearby areas.
Night Safari scheduled to open in November
Even if there are not enough animals
Chiang Mai Night Safari is behind its target in
building up a collection of animals but will still open during
Mai Night Safari is ready to open in November during the Loy Krathong
Festival, despite falling behind in its target for animal acquisition.
The original date for opening was in April, during
the Songkran Festival, but this was postponed to November, when the
Night Safari is due to open during Loy Krathong.
Director of animal management, Supoj Methapiwat said
that 50 kinds of the 600 animals have been received from the Zoological
Park Organization and private zoos, and had already been transferred
into the safari. He said that the eventual target is to have between 90
and 100 different kinds of animals, with a total of 1,600 animals.
There has been a problem in meeting the targets
because international bodies in Africa and Australia are resisting the
export of animals from their countries into Thailand, saying the
animals might be affected because of the relocation and different diet.
Construction of the buildings and animal display areas is almost 100
percent complete, with only minor works left before the opening.
Armed robber takes wife and kids along to bank hold-up
A regular family outing
Chiangmai Mail Reporters
An armed robber entered the Bangkok Bank Pho Khun Meng
Rai junction branch in Muang, Chiang Rai, discharged his gun into the air
and forced bank officers to pack about 600,000 baht into a bag. Then he
Witnesses saw the robber get into a car in which there
was also a woman and two children, and he drove off in the direction of
When he reached Thasai TAO area he let the woman and
children out of the car and drove away alone. Police in pursuit caught up
with the robber and shot at his vehicle. He stopped and surrendered.
The man was identified as Hoifooj Seng, 39, a Malaysian,
while the woman was his Thai wife Naraporn Lamoonphan, 24. The two children
were theirs, a girl of four and a boy of three.
An automatic gun with 30 bullets and the stolen cash were
found in the vehicle. Seng told police he was in financial trouble and he
could not deal with it, so he robbed the bank without informing his wife and
the two children beforehand. His troubles now are more than just financial.
Phrae villagers blockade city hall
Chiangmai Mail Reporters
300 people gathered in front of Phrae City Hall on
October 10 to protest that they were being stopped from collecting forest
materials they needed for building furniture products.
The problem arose in Denchai district, where the
villagers said they needed to collect roots and tree stumps but were being
forbidden to do so by forest officers and Territorial Defense Volunteers.
This was affecting their livelihood, they said.
Demonstrators blocked the entrances and exits to city
hall and sent in a representative to consult with Samart Loifa, Phrae deputy
Villagers said officials appear to have assumed they were
working for businessmen who had bribed some officers to allow them to cut
teak in the forests. They said they had nothing to do with anyone else, and
all they wanted was to collect stumps and tree roots that they could use in
their furniture making businesses.
Samart said that conservation of natural resources was
part of government policy, as the nation’s resources were dwindling. If
businessmen had been doing as the villagers suggested, evidence was required
to prosecute them.
The deputy governor said he would record the names of
those who needed the materials and consult with other sectors so the matter
could be resolved during the course of this month.
Flood mitigation scheme
6 billion baht reservoir project
Sangrat Benjapong, director of Chiang Mai First
Irrigation Office, has said that a plan for reservoir construction to
prevent further flooding has now been drawn up and presented to the
If the project is given the go-ahead, three reservoirs
will be constructed: one in Chiang Dao with 80 million cubic meters
capacity, one in Wiang Haeng with 110 million cubic meters and one of the
same capacity in Mae Taeng. Total cost for the three would be 6 billion
Indications are, however, that the government will push
for smaller reservoirs. Additionally, when provisional approval is given on
any scheme, a further study will be needed to calculate the environmental
effect. This will mean that between three and five years will pass before
Chiang Mai has its urgently required flood prevention scheme.
Consumer groups support the anti-smoking drive
Saksit Meesubkwang and
Public support is growing for the new laws designed to
prevent the display of cigarette packs in shops and other retail outlets,
with consumer groups backing the campaign.
Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat with Chiang Mai Consumer Protection Club,
Northern Consumer Network and Laryngectomees Association in Thailand, plus
students from various institutes show their support for the anti-smoking
Chiang Mai Consumer Protection Club, Northern Consumer
Network and the Laryngectomees Association of Thailand, together with
students from various institutes gathered at Chiang Mai City Hall to meet
Governor Suwat Tantipat on October 4.
They presented a report on measures being taken to
prevent the display of cigarette advertisements and packets, saying that the
response has been good but there are still some business owners who did not
follow the guidelines and who were openly displaying packets of cigarettes
in their shops.
The gathering said they agree on the following points and
that it was important to get the message across that smoking is harmful to
1. Cigarettes are harmful for both the smoker and for
people nearby who inhale the smoke. Smoking weakens the health, affects
brain growth in children, and can cause personality problems.
2. The group supports the law that prevents cigarette
displays at the front of shops to protect consumers, especially youngsters.
3. The group supports the no-smoking campaign.
4. They encourage all sectors of government and consumer
groups to stamp out cigarette advertisements and to support the anti-smoking
5. They express thanks to business owners who not display cigarettes at
the front of their shops.
DCA licenses two airports 270 metres apart
Many unanswered questions
The Department of Civil Aviation has granted an operating
permit to a new small airport in North Thailand, which is located across the
threshold of an existing airport. In the opinion of experienced pilots this
creates a potentially very dangerous situation.
airports have conflicting runways.
The traffic patterns of the two airports are in direct
conflict and even with good operational discipline, a small mistake by a
student pilot or a radio failure on an incoming plane could result in a
potentially fatal mid-air collision due to the extremely close proximity of
the two airports and their conflicting traffic patterns.
The existing airport, Chiang Mai Lanna (Ban Thi) Airport,
has been in operation for four years and is laid out on an East-West
orientation. The new airport, Nok Airport, has been constructed
approximately on a North-South direction and just 270 metres from the
threshold of the Lanna Ban Thi runway.
Aircraft using this airport normally take off on runway
09 to the West and land in the opposite direction on runway 27. This is to
avoid noise over a local village and stay clear of some obstructions. This
means that for an aircraft to take off from Lanna Ban Thi, it must fly
straight through the traffic pattern of the Nok airport. Almost all aviation
people say this gives rise to a potentially very dangerous situation.
The owners of the Lanna Ban Thi Airport have sent five
letters to the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) with copies to the
Ministry of Transport, objecting to the dangerous location of the second
airfield. While the DCA say they have no control over what is built on
private property, they do have full control over the safety of the airspace
above. This they seem to be ignoring. Also, no one is going to build an
airfield on private property without the prior approval of the DCA.
While it is difficult to understand why the DCA has
licensed a second airport in such close and potentially unsafe proximity to
an existing airport, the DCA has also departed from standard operation
procedures for the issuance of the license of this new airport.
Previously, in order to grant an operating license to a
new airport, the DCA has required agreements from neighboring airports on
air traffic control and procedures. These had to be signed by both airports
and presented to the DCA for approval. When the Lanna Ban Thi Airport asked
for a license it had to provide a signed agreement with an ultralight field
eight km away, but now the DCA says that an airport 270 metres away does not
require an agreement.
The DCA’s own regulations based on International Civil
Aviation Organization guidelines says that no airport can be located within
five nautical miles of another airport.
Also, the license for the new airport appears to have
been issued prematurely. Normally, a new airport must be completed and the
DCA is required to come and inspect the airport for compliance with all the
regulations before the new license can be issued. In this case the license
was issued several months before the airport was finished.
In previous times the DCA of Thailand had a good record, being one of the
few government departments in Thailand that was straight and had a good
reputation with both the local and international aviation communities as
being helpful and supportive of general aviation safety.
Mae Hong Son governor announces pursuit of drug dealers
Chiangmai Mail Reporters
Phase IV in a drug suppression campaign has been
announced by Mae Hong Son Governor Direk Konkleep, who said that police,
soldiers and officials are in active and coordinated pursuit of drug
The campaign includes the checking of ID cards to check
their veracity, and whether there are links to drug gangs. If anyone is
found who has been supporting the drug dealers, his or her Thai nationality
will be revoked, said Direk. There will also be investigations by revenue
officers into those who appear to have unusual wealth, and whom the
authorities suspect of having links to drug gangs.
There are many routes linking Mae Hong Son with the
border but only 36 routes are legal, therefore the special task force of 7th
Infantry Regiment, border patrol police and rangers will set up their forces
along the border to prevent smuggling.
Special support is being given to 44 villages spread
through Pai, Pang Mapha, Khun Yuam, Mae La Noi, Mae Sariang and Sop Moei,
for the apprehension of suspected drug traffickers.
Man shot dead in quarrel over parking lot
Nopniwat Krailerg and
The owner of a Chiang Mai restaurant is being held over
the killing of a man who owned a neighboring business.
police officer investigate the crime scene.
Officers called out to the scene of the crime, a car park
behind the Rad-na Pijit restaurant on Changklan Road in Muang Chiang Mai, on
October 9 found the body of Nakornpan Moongwiriya, the 26-year-old owner of
Auto Mix Shop, an outlet for installing and fixing car stereos and
accessories. Nakornpan had been shot once through the forehead with a .38
Prasert Petpoomprasert, 60, the owner of Rad-na Pijit, is
being held over the murder. The two businessmen leased the parking lot
behind their businesses for the use of their customers, and they frequently
argued about sharing it.
Two months before the murder took place, Nakornpan had
attacked Prasert with a knife. Prasert sustained facial injuries and needed
seven stitches. On October 3, Nakornpan and Warut (supposed name), his 16
year old brother, conspired to assault Prasert again. Prasert and Nakornpan
already had seven cases against their names filed with the police station.
During the final argument, Prasert took his .38 pistol
and walked out of his restaurant. He pointed the gun at Warut’s forehead.
Nakornpan was taunting him so he followed Nakornpan to the car park and
killed him with one bullet.
Prasert then waited for the police to arrive, and then surrendered.
Four villages in Mae Maw are to be relocated
Chiangmai Mail Reporters
Four villages in Mae Maw district that have been affected
by construction of the Mae Maw power plant are to be relocated at a cost of
660 million baht.
A question mark, however, still hangs over the heads of
72 villagers being prosecuted for trespassing on conserved forest area.
The four villages are Baan Huay Moo 1, Baan Huay King Moo
6 at Tambon Mae Maw, Baan Huay Fai Moo 1 and Baan Huay Fai Lai Thung Moo 8
at Tambon Baan Dong.
The relocation of these four villages was approved by the
cabinet in November 2004 and the government has prepared 1,200 rai of land
for the villagers including constructing free housing.
A meeting has now been held in Lampang, chaired by
governor Amornthad Niratisayakul and attended by almost 100 villagers, in
order to sort out the final problems.
Naruedon Suchartpong, a committee member leading the
process, said that the National Housing Authority had predicted the move
will cost 660 million baht, and this amount was presented to the cabinet.
The budget has been authorized including all the processes concerned for the
Regarding the 72 villagers being prosecuted for trespass,
he thought that the government should offer land rights documents to all
villagers before they relocated to the new area.
Maliwan Mankhonwirote, a member of the committee, added
that all villagers were glad after learning that this conference was to be
held as they wanted to hear directly from the governor about progress on the
Bag snatcher threatens to jump from building
Nopniwat Krailerg and
A thief who snatched a woman’s bag and escaped from a
security guard threatened to leap from the roof of a building.
on a cherry picker persuade the thief not to jump from the roof.
The event happened on October 9 at Waroros Market. The
man had been quickly caught and handcuffed but while waiting for police to
arrive he got away and climbed to the roof of the five-story Tak Seng Hong
He stood on the edge of the roof and declared that if
anyone came near him he would jump. Security called Muang Chiang Mai Police
Station and officers and a rescue team and ambulance arrived. Traffic backed
up causing a huge jam, as crowds smelling the drama stopped to watch.
Chiang Mai municipality brought in a cherry picker to
allow police to speak to the man, and officers learned he was Somchai Aeto
aged 20. It took almost two hours to persuade him not to jump from the
building by offering him to talk with his relatives through a cell phone.
Then he surrendered and walked down the stairs whereupon police invited him
to Muang Chiang Mai Police Station where he was charged with theft.
Five North Korean aliens found in Chiang Saen
Chiangmai Mail Reporters
Five North Koreans who crossed illegally into Thailand
from China have been found in Chiang Saen.
They were discovered by members of the 111th boat patrol
force that was checking the Thai-Laotian border. The officers were acting on
intelligence that aliens were being smuggled into the country around the
Golden Triangle Port area, and they found the five North Koreans hiding and
hungry behind a grove at Baan Huay Kiang, Tambon Wiang, about three km from
The immigrants included a husband and wife couple, Kim
Hok Done, 66 and Park Chun Bok, 61, and Sae Kim Yo, 67, Tee Sun Hee, 51, and
Kim Sun Hok, 58.
They had traveled out from North Korea and worked near
the Chinese border before crossing into Thailand at the suggestion of an
agent. They came along with a goods ship from the Chinese border, crossing a
river and then into Laos before hiring a long tail boat to take them to
Chiang Saen. They hoped to be deported to South Korea.
The 111th boat patrol force has been advised that this is
not an isolated occurrence, as there are many North Koreans wishing to enter
Thailand, and that they are just waiting for an opportunity to cross at the
Chiang Saen border.
Officials and police form plan for Drug War 4
A major conference was held in Chiang Mai City Hall to
review the results of the 3rd round of the drugs elimination program and to
plan for the 4th round.
The October 5 gathering under Chiang Mai Deputy Governor
Kwanchai Wongnitikorn included administrative officials, drug suppression
officers, police, border patrol police and education institute officers.
The deputy governor said that the 4th drug suppression
period and area should be determined clearly, following Prime Minister
Thaksin Shinawatra’s proclamation on October 1 that the results should be
concluded within three months.
City areas, residences and educational institutes
including the target groups of young people and nightlife venues will be
Outside the city, district chiefs, village headmen and
local administrative organizations will be assigned to find methods to build
up strong communities, such as holding sports competitions and exercise
activities. Soldiers and border patrol police will continue to pay attention
to border areas to suppress drug transference from neighboring countries.
Pithaya Jinawat, director of ONCB Northern Region, said
that the ONCB had worked on a continuous basis with both the government and
private sectors, especially NGOs that are involved in drug elimination.
In the 4th drug elimination period the ONCB will work
more tightly to keep an eye on drugs being smuggled from neighboring
countries through Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Mae Hong Son and to pursue drug
dealers who had fled abroad.
The director added that society nowadays had degenerated.
Youngsters are more interested in enjoying nightlife and they are at risk
from becoming involved in drugs. Even so, many government officials did not
pay sufficient attention to the drug problem. “If superiors do not
concentrate on drug suppression, inferiors may be discouraged
consequentially,” he said.
Chiang Saen customs seize 30,000 ml of bird flu vaccine
Chiangmai Mail Reporters
Chiang Saen customs post on October 6 seized 30,000 ml of
bird flu vaccine being smuggled into the country via an incoming cargo
vessel. Customs officials at Chiang Saen have repeatedly intercepted illegal
shipments of the vaccine that have been transported from China.
During June 23-25 the authorities seized 889 bottles of
vaccine, and a further 238 bottles were discovered on July 25. The total
amount in the 1,127 bottles was 281,750 ml. Those vaccines were destroyed on
A new kind of bird flu vaccine, contained in 140 bottles
of 250 ml capacity was stowed on board the “Long Tai Ying” Chinese cargo
ship was discovered on September 26, and a further 120 bottles were in the
latest illegal consignment.
It is assumed that the smuggling is being backed by some
large-scale chicken farmers. The detected vaccine will be examined and
destroyed, and the customs department has stated it will continue stringent
monitoring of vessels for any further attempted deliveries.
Burglar with 40 break-ins to his record apprehended
A compulsive burglar who admitted to almost 40 break-ins
has been arrested by Muang Chiang Mai police.
Kriangkrai Kanika, 23, was arrested at his rented house
where almost a hundred stolen items were discovered, ranging from small
Buddha images to cameras, cell phones and gold ornaments. He said that he
sold the items he stole and spent all the money on amusement places and
gambling on football match results.
Police said that Kriangkrai did have a permanent
occupation but took advantage of the night to rob households at Mae Hia and
Padad in Muang Chiang Mai. Anyone who is missing possessions can check at
the police station, said the police, and those who bought goods knowing them
to be stolen will face prosecution.
1 million baht collection of small Buddha images stolen from Lamphun temple
A valuable collection of small Buddha images, many of
them several hundred years old, has been stolen from Payang Temple in Muang,
Abbot Phra Kroo Ba Inthorn Panyo Wattano said that the
collection of around 20 images and a bronze Buddha figure 9 inches high was
valued at almost one million baht. The abbot assigned his disciples to
inform police on October 5.
Upon investigating, police learnt that the images had
been kept in the Phra Tham building for a long time but when the abbot was
carrying out his usual morning checks had found the place disturbed and the
A man aged about 40 has been reported as selling small
Buddha images in the streets of Lamphun and police are now anxious to trace
this man, who they believe could assist them in their investigations.
Gambling den raid nets 32 people
A police raid on a gambling den in the center of Chiang
Mai netted 32 gamblers along with 84,000 baht in chips and 1,700 baht in
The October 6 bust on the Tambon Thasala premises was led
by Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara na Ayuthaya, commissioner of the
Provincial Police Bureau Region 5, and included over 50 officers.
Of the 32 people arrested, 24 were women. The owner of
the illegal casino has been named as Panlapa Akasriworn, 39, a resident of
Soi Srisanan at Tambon Koksamrong in Lopburi.
Some of the gamblers told police that at first the casino
had been just a small group of people but that others quickly joined and it
grew in size until the police came to hear about it, and spoiled the party.
Suicide judgment given over three men found hanged in cell
Three men found hanging in a cell at Lamphun Police
Station committed suicide, according to a forensic report. This information
was given by Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara na Ayuthaya, commissioner of
the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5, in cooperation with forensic police,
the Lamphun Police Provincial Police commander and a forensic specialist
from Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai.
Gen. Panupong Singhara na Ayuthaya, commissioner of the Provincial Police
Bureau Region 5 (right) and other police officers at a press conference
explaining how three drug dealers hanged themselves, using their shoelaces.
The three men had been found hanging by shoelaces strung
over a balustrade in a cell at Lamphun Police Station on October 3.
The commissioner concluded that the deaths were not as
the result of a criminal conspiracy, as had been rumored, but were suicide.
There was no evidence of any poison or chloroform that would have been
needed to subdue the men if force had been used.
The three men were Phalekwa or Pao Chophattakam, 24, and
Phajansuk Onjong, 19, both resident at Tambon Nakian, Omkoi, Chiang Mai, and
Boochu Sijipat, 23, living at Tambon Pasak in Muang, Lamphun.
Phalekwa had on an earlier occasion attempted suicide
when he was arrested by Phuping police for drug taking, and spent a year in
prison. He had just been released.
Pithaya Jinawat, director of ONCB Northern Region, revealed that he had
sent officers to check if the three men were involved with Wei Hseuh-kang,
as had earlier been reported, but it appeared they were just drug dealers.
200 policemen search for drug dealer after shoot-out
A drug dealer injured in a shoot-out evaded capture even
though 200 police officers turned out to search for him.
The shoot-out happened on October 10, when officers at
Phuping Police Station in Muang, Chiang Mai, rushed to the scene of a
shooting on Suthep Road.
They found a blue Mitsubishi pickup with Nakhon Sawan
license plates, its windshield shattered and rear tires burst. Inside the
pickup were a pregnant woman and 200 speed pills. The woman was identified
as Supansa Gakhao, 20, a resident of Tambon Mae Na in Chiang Dao.
The vehicle belonged to Manop Kakaneuk, 37, living at
Tambon Takraw in Paisalee, Nakhon Sawan. It was Manop who police had shot at
and were pursuing, and although he had been hit he had managed to escape
into a grove at a nearby village.
Manop had earlier walked into a sting operation that
police had organized, with their undercover officers acting to purchase ya
ba from him. An appointment to take delivery of the drugs was made at a
place near the Ton Peep restaurant at Tambon Suthep.
Instead of going alone, Manop took his girlfriend
Supansa, who was eight months pregnant. After discovering it was a police
trap Manop had driven away on the Huay Kaew Road. The officers followed him
as far as a college near the Chiang Mai Hills Hotel, where Manop shot at the
police who shot back.
Manop was hit but managed to flee. Two hundred police
officers from four police stations surrounded the village but they did not
succeed in finding him.
The following day 50 police officers searched the area
and found Manop lying in a pool of blood. He was sent to Maharaj Nakorn
Chiang Mai Hospital for treatment.
Police roadblock nets ya ba gang
Chiangmai Mail Reporters
A police checkpoint at Baan Mae Na, in Chiang Saen,
Chiang Rai, stopped a car that was found to be carrying a gang of ya ba
The roadblock was set up on October 5 by the 31st Ranger
Pha Muang Task Force in cooperation with Chiang Saen Police Station.
Officers searched the car with a Nakhon Sawan license plate and discovered
3,953 ya ba pills along with 29,800 baht in cash and five dealers.
The two men and three women in the car were arrested. The
accused are Amnuay Jaksuta, 45, and Pinyalang Damkham, 26, both from
Kamphaengphet; Damrongchai Bualuang, 31, living in Nakhon Sawan; Jenjira
Jaksuta, 28, an Udon Thani resident and Boonta Phummala, 52, living in
Angry woman sets fire to her hotel room
A distraught woman set fire to her hotel room and caused
panic amongst the other guests when smoke began drifting under the door.
Officers from Muang Chiang Rai Police Station rushed to
the Wang Kham Hotel on Pemawipat Road where in a room on the fourth floor
they found Ms Sumalee Muangkiew, 29, crying amongst smoldering belongings
and furnishings. She seemed to be intoxicated or on drugs and was behaving
Some time later, Steve John Merial, 42, a British
national working as an engineer at an industrial plant in Chonburi, arrived
at the scene and informed police that Sumalee was his girlfriend. He said he
had rented the room two days previously while visiting Chiang Rai.
Merial told police that Sumalee was angry at something
but he did not know what it was. She was throwing her belongings around, so
he left. The next thing he heard was that she had set the room alight. He
agreed to pay for all the damage, being 60,000 baht in total.
Police have not let the case lie, however, and are
checking Sumalee for drug use. Burnt foil and heroin powder have been found
in the room.
Dealers take advantage of the flood to transfer drugs to Samutprakan
Gang uncovered and 150,000 ya ba pills found
Five Chiang Rai citizens, Sa-ad Sripratum, Janya
Tonsriwiang, Emui Naijai, Chai Chumyen and Nueng Apiwan, plus their 150,000
ya ba pills, two vehicles, four cell phones and 160,000 baht cash were
presented at a press conference on September 30, at office of the Provincial
Police Bureau Region 5. Information in the case was given by Pol. Maj. Gen.
Suwat Kruengkrai, deputy commissioner of the Provincial Police Bureau Region
5 and Pol. Col. Sarawut Jantharaprasert, the investigation superintendent.
put 150,000 ya ba pills and five offenders on display at a press conference.
Pol. Maj. Gen. Suwat said that this gang had been pursued
for long time and the police would continue to investigate to round up the
head of the gang.
At the conference, Chai Chumyen said that he, Nueng and
Janya, who was his wife, were innocent because they were persuaded by Emui
to visit Chiang Mai and they all rested in a hotel but later the police
arrived and they were arrested. They claimed to be confused by the turn of
events because they knew nothing about drug dealing and all they would like
was to receive justice.
Emui backed up their claims of innocence, saying that these three persons
were not involved. She just transferred drugs to Sa-ad with 160,000 baht as
a wage and Sa-ad would continue the transfer to Samutprakan.