Night Safari in a stew over so-called “Menu from Hell”
Puts foot in mouth and bites off more than it can chew
Nopniwat Krailerg and
A suggestion that Chiang Mai Night Safari serve exotic
animal meat at one of its restaurants as an added attraction for visitors
drew an angry response from animal conservation groups throughout the world.
Within Thailand, Sangduen Chailert, the elephant
conservationist who has been selected by TIME Magazine as an Asian Heroine,
has spoken out, and representatives from Lanna Dog Rescue, Northern Wildlife
Conservation Foundation, and the Thai Animal Guardian Association (AGA)
gathered to protest in front of the Night Safari entrance at Tambon Mae Hia
on November 21.
Previously, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra had led
almost 200 businessmen to visit the Night Safari on November 16 and
Plodprasope Surasawadee, assistant minister of the PM’s Office and the
director of the Night Safari suggested an idea to the media there should be
a menu of exotic foods at one of the restaurants. For a mooted 4,500 baht
per set, several kinds of animal such as zebra, crocodile and lion would be
cooked and served there, although the meats would be imported legally from
countries such as Kenya. Immediately the idea was broadcast it was condemned
by animal conservationists around the world.
Sangduen, just before flying to Taipei to receive her
Heroine of Asia award, said that she was contacted by the Born Free and Care
for the Wild organizations and advised they had sent officers into Thailand
to follow this issue. Born Free condemned Thailand, saying that this strange
menu was from hell. For herself, she believed that the person who came up
with this idea did not think it over carefully first, and has given Thailand
a bad image around the world.
She said that the common perception overseas is that the
Thai people agreed with this idea. It was important now that Thais make it
very clear they are against the scheme too. Sangduen said that she will have
a lot of explaining to do when she arrives in Taiwan to collect her award.
“I am really disappointed in this idea,” she said.
Nikhom Puttha, coordinator of Northern Wildlife
Conservation Foundation, said that this idea had already been canceled and
it was good to learn that the Thai government listened to the opinion of
Thai citizens. The government should think carefully if they would like to
benefit from wildlife and should try and understand what methods are
appropriate for business, conservation, researching and visiting.
It was also obvious from the thousands of protests
world-wide, that the original concept was exceptionally poorly thought out.
Websites lambasted the government decision and threatened future tourism to
The coordinator of Northern Wildlife Conservation
Foundation added that after seeing around the Night Safari he found the
standard of the animal cages and enclosures to often be low. For example,
the jaguar cage was too small and some kinds of animals need to have shade
for sleeping during daytime. He saw sharp items in a cage that might lead to
an accident. A crane that was hurt was ignored because staff did not notice.
Nikhom said he was really concerned about the animals and said that Chiang
Mai Night Safari should be treating its animals better.
With all this controversy, plus the double pricing policy financially
disadvantaging foreigners and tourists, it would appear that not only has
the Night Safari put its foot in its mouth, but may have shot itself in its
foot as well.
Unlucky police box sees another fatal shooting
A Frenchman snatched a pistol from a policeman and
shot and killed himself in a bizarre act of suicide in Muang Chiang Mai
on November 21.
Maj Gen Jiruj Promobol, Chiang Mai Provincial Police commander
questioning monks from Wat Ram Pueng.
Phuping Police Station received a call reporting that
a shooting had taken place in front of the Suthep police box on
Irrigation Canal Rd. Police and forensic specialists rushed to the scene
where they found the body of Martial (sic) Gaudout, 29, a French
national, lying in front of the police box. There was a 9 mm automatic
weapon in his right hand while the left hand was holding a knife. There
was a gunshot wound to his head, from the base of his right ear and
through the nape of his neck.
The pistol belonged to Pol. Sgt. Sawat Khamloon, duty
policeman at the police box. He stated that Gaudout had sat on a chair
beside the box without speaking. Sawat believed that the man was studying
dharma at Wat Ram Pueng. He decided to inform the temple by calling from
a phone box nearby and as he passed the seated man Gaudout snatched his
pistol. The officer saw a knife in the man’s hand and could not take
his weapon back, so he fled the scene along Irrigation Canal Road. He
halted when he heard a gunshot and returned to the police box, where he
found the corpse.
Phra Kru Phawana Wichai, the abbot of Wat Ram Pueng
later arrived at the scene with a French monk. The abbot told police that
Gaudout had stayed at the temple for a month to practice the dharma.
Normally, he would not speak, and a French monk always communicated with
him. Police have informed the French Consulate.
This police box has seen violent action on an earlier occasion, when
two men also seized a gun from a policeman there and shot and killed the
Drug Center examines the effectiveness of the fight against narcotics
ba pills and drugs are still being smuggled across the border.
A detailed report on the war against drugs and its
effectiveness during this year has been published by the Chiang Mai Drug
The report claims that 1,072 drug sellers were arrested,
of which 40 were significant sellers and 738 came into the category of small
sellers. Main drugs seized as evidence were ya ba pills, heroin, hashish,
opium, ecstasy, and inhalant substances.
There were 48 cases of property seizur e adding up to
about 117 million baht, and 15 extrajudicial killings. To get addicts off
drugs, 532 people were sent on forced rehabilitation courses, while 1,058
went willingly and 83 were released without treatment.
Noting that drugs are still being imported, the report
says that although there is close cooperation with Chiang Rai and Mae Hong
Son to guard the border, the problem is that the clandestine connections
During October this year, temporary and permanent
checkpoints were set up on 1,005 occasions, netting eight offenders, 11
suspects, and 15,415 ya ba pills. Blockades were set up at high risk areas
16 times, seizing 10 offenders and 201,131 ya ba pills, and resulted in
three extrajudicial killings.
Police carried out 1,022 checks of entertainment places, karaoke pubs,
games shops and internet cafes, and 1,214 checks of alcohol shops, resulting
in the arrest of 500 offenders.
Rescue center set up to help casualties of cold weather
Mae Hong Son Governor Direk Konkleep has announced that
the province is setting up a rescue center at city hall to help those who
encounter hardship as temperatures plunge across the North.
Seven district chief officers have been assigned to
extend urgent help to those affected by the cold weather, with 70,000 people
estimated to be at potential risk. The governor has also arranged with the
Office of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation to hand out blankets and
sweaters to hill tribe people living in the highlands.
Dr Suwat Kittidilokul, head of Mae Hong Son Provincial
Public Health Office said that hospitals and public health centers in all
areas have been placed on alert for an influx of patients suffering from
influenza and other afflictions due to the cold. The villagers themselves
are also advised to take every precaution.
Head of the Mae Hong Son Meteorological Center, Thada
Satha has announced that cold weather from China passing over North Thailand
will bring thunder showers and gusting winds, followed by even colder
Middle ring roads ease travel across the city
Head of the Department of Rural Roads for Chiang Mai
Apinan Porananon has issued a review of progress on the middle ring
roads that began construction on October 14, 2003, saying that they are
now complete and in service.
Chiang Mai middle ring roads are able to support
traffic from both within and outside the city, enabling vehicles to
cross the city without creating jams in the streets. They have been
constructed on different levels with underpasses in some places so that
traffic can continue to flow evenly through junctions.
The total budget for this project stood at 5,060
million baht, with the major elements comprising six lanes of road, two
bridges crossing the Mae Ping River, a bridge crossing the northern
railway, and different levels of route on the Chiang Mai-Lampang Road.
Underpasses were built at eight junctions along the Chiang Mai-Mae Rim,
Chiang Mai-Doi Saket, new Chiang Mai-San Kamphaeng, Chiang Mai-Lamphun
and Chiang Mai-Hang Dong roads.
The ring roads came into full service on October 27
this year and an official opening ceremony will later be presided over
by Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
320 million baht would be needed to reopen Phrae’s mothballed airport
Chiangmai Mail Reporter
A budget of 320 million baht is being mooted to reopen
Phrae’s abandoned airport and allow the province to develop its tourism
A meeting has been chaired by Phrae Deputy Governor
Sukitja Karunanont to discuss the work that would need to be done. Also
participating in the meeting, held at Wiang Koe Sai Convention Room in Phrae
City Hall, was Chaisak Angsuwan, director general of the Aviation
Discussions revolved around developing the airport
buildings, enlarging the runway, and searching for airlines to fly into
Phrae a minimum of three times a week. If the points of origin, and the
number of flights and passengers are sufficient, the airport could have a
very positive effect upon the tourism strategy for Phrae and consequently on
the local economy.
Phrae’s airport is at Tambon Na Jak, in Muang district.
It covers around 516 rai of land. The airport, which is under the Aviation
Department, was opened in 1952. Flights ceased arriving there on January 30,
2004, because the 1,500 x 30 meter runway could not support the larger
The administration has earmarked a budget of 320 million
baht to purchase another 84 rai of land and erect more buildings. Of this,
150 million baht would be used for adding 300 meters to the runway length
and 15 meters to the width, and 170 million baht for improving the parking
aprons and the entrances and exits, and for extending the drainage and
lighting systems. These improvements would be sufficient to allow the
landing of a Boeing 737-400.
Dentists undergo training for treatment of elderly
The tooth fairy comes to CMU
Chiangmai Mail Reporters
Dentists underwent special training in the techniques of
making artificial teeth at the Faculty of Dentistry, Chiang Mai University,
under a Royal Projects granted program. The training took place on November
21-22 and will be held again on 28-29 in Mae Hong Song.
Established by the Ministry of Public Health, the
training is for dentists working at hospitals under the Ministries of Public
Health, Interior and Defense, the Princess Mother’s Medical Volunteer
Foundation, universities and the private sector. These organizations have
programs to treat the dentition of elderly patients, with 80,000 persons due
to have false teeth. The program began in October last year.
The CMU Faculty of Dentistry will make false teeth for
400 elders during 2006 and is responsible for training dentists in the eight
far Northern provinces of Chiang Mai, Lamphun, Nan, Chiang Rai, Phayao,
Lampang, Phrae and Mae Hong Son.
The first intake of Chiang Mai and Lamphun dentists was
trained on October 27-28 and November 3-4. October 31-November 1 and
November 7-8 saw Chiang Rai and Phayao dentists undergo training. November
10-11 and 17-18 saw training in Lampang, with Lampang and Phrae dentists.
Mae Hong Son’s sessions were on November 21-22 and 28-29.
Mae Fang comes out top in national parks contest
Mae Fang National Park is considered the best national
park for its service and tourism aspects, according to the National Park,
Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department.
The department organized a nationwide contest to find the
best national park of 2005. The competition was divided into categories,
with Mae Fang in Fang district coming out on top for its service and
tourism, and Phu Hin Rong Kla National Park in Phetchabun as first
Mae Fang National Park covers areas of Fang, Mae Ai and
Chai Prakan districts. The weather there is cool, and waterfalls and hot
springs are popular features. The office of the park is located at Tambon
Pong Nam Ron in Fang, and there are areas there for accommodation and
camping plus mineral water bathing and a Thai massage service.
Interesting sites of the park are Tad Mok, Pong Nam Dang
and Mae Tueb waterfalls, Doi Pha Hom Pok Mountain, Huay Pon Cave and Mae Jai
Creek. The main tourist season is from October to February.
400 election candidates under threat of legal action over expenses
Will it be many happy returns?
The Election Commission of Chiang Mai is threatening 400
former candidates of the Local Administration Organizations (LAO) with legal
action if they do not make an official report of their expenses before the
deadline of November 28.
Election director Theerawat Sinthuboon said that polling
took place in 121 areas on July 31, and the election committee confirmed the
results on August 30. Under the election laws candidates for LAO membership
or for local elections must report revenues and expenses accrued during the
elections to the Chiang Mai Election Committee within 90 days. That period
will expire on November 27.
Candidates who have not yet filed a report are urged to
do so before the specified date. If they do not, the Election Commission is
obliged by law to initiate legal proceedings. Out of a total 6,341
candidates, 400 have yet to file their returns.
Local travelers slow to use bus service
Chiang Mai’s new buses are not quite the hit with the
public that it was hoped they would be, and people seem reluctant to forsake
their cars and take to the mass transport system.
map showing the current routes around Chiang Mai.
The 26 municipal buses and 100 red minibuses of Nakorn
Lanna Transport Cooperatives and the buses of Baan Kwan Wiang have been
running for more than 20 days on five routes since October 31, but the
opinion of residents is that the system is not winning too many converts.
One reason is that most people do not know the details of
the five routes and are a little confused about the service, owing to its
newness. Most of the passengers are students attending Chiang Mai Rajabhat
University, Montfort College and other schools along Jareunprated Road.
Pornchai Jitnavasathien, Chiang Mai deputy mayor, said
when the bus service was launched that one reason he would like residents to
take buses was to save fuel and fuel costs. This has fallen on deaf ears, it
Fares for the municipal and Baan Kwan Wiang buses stands
at 10 baht, and 15 baht for red minibuses. There is a five baht discount for
students in uniform.
More information about routes 2 and 6 under responsibility of Chiang Mai
municipality is available at 0 5325 9107-8 (office time) and hot line 0 5325
9199. Routes 4 and 8 are served by Nakorn Lanna Transport Cooperatives at 0
5327 9291 and route 10 under Baan Kwan Wiang is at 0 5343 6474.
Last Post and red poppies to remember those who died in two World Wars
Preeyanoot Jittawong and
Kittiyaporn Kanjam (Student Trainee MFLU)
Butt praised the courage and sacrifice of those who gave their lives for
On November 11 at 11 a.m. every year, the traditional Last
Post and Reveille is played by a bugler at the Chiang Mai Foreign Cemetery, and
homage is paid to the memory of all the soldiers and those who gave their lives
in the two World Wars (and all wars).
Remembrance Day is held on the 11th hour of the 11th day of
the 11th month as that was when the Armistice was signed in 1918 to end World
War I (then thought to be the “war to end all wars”). Most participants in
the ceremony wear a red poppy in their lapel, chosen as a reminder of the
poppies that bloomed across some of the worst battlefields in the Great War.
The Rev John Butt, director of the Institute for the Study of
Religion and Culture at Payap University, led the ceremony. First he praised the
courage and sacrifice of those who gave their lives for everyone. Then he
described World Wars I and II, and the suffering the conflicts brought to
millions of people around the world.
“Death signifies what life means and the death of all those
people represents the inspiration to all of us to live our life, because they
died for us to continue living,” he said.
The Remembrance Day ceremony has been held in Chiang Mai for the past nine
years. This year it was attended by more than 40 people, including Thai and
Western residents of Chiang Mai.
Hon British Consul Jon
Glendinning placed a red poppy on the memorial.
Lovers of Chiang Mai Association want info on projects
More dissenting voices are being raised about the Chiang Mai
Night Safari in the wake of the prime minister’s visit on November 16.
Chaiphan Praphaswat, director of the Community Rights
Institution and representative of the Khon Rak Muang Chiang Mai Association
(people who love Chiang Mai Association) said that although the prime minister
had said the safari will open soon, the association believes this project is not
complete and is not ready to open.
The association did not meet with the prime minister during
his visit, and believes he did not want to meet them. Further, the association
had petitioned the governor in the middle of October to ask for clarification on
all the Chiang Mai development projects because they were afraid that the
projects will affect the environment and quality of life in Chiang Mai.
There was, however, no reply from the governor. The National
Human Rights Committee, the Commission of Social Development and Human
Stability, and the Senate have now been approached.
Chaiphan said that Chiang Mai residents have a right to
information on the developments because the projects affect their lives.
Further, the Thai people in general have a right to know more, because it is
their tax money that is paying for the schemes.
Language tuition arranged for Night Safari staff
Chiangmai Mail Reporter
The Language Center at Chiang Mai University has given
training to staff at the Night Safari in languages including Chinese, Japanese
and French to ensure they will be able to communicate with foreign visitors. The
training was carried out by native speakers.
This curriculum went further than language training and
pronunciation, showing staff how to improve their personality, make-up and
information presentation. The idea is for staff to be thorough all-rounders,
adding to the charm of the experience for visitors.
More North Koreans found smuggled across the border
Chiang Rai the new smuggling hub?
More North Koreans have been found in Chiang Rai, having
entered the country illegally via China, in the hopes of being deported to
On November 20, Pol Lt Col Pramote Jornamon, duty
inspector of Chiang Saen Police Station, together with a force of officers
rounded up a group of 12 North Koreans who had been smuggled across the
Mekong River into Chiang Rai. Several of the group of four men and eight
women captured were from the same family.
The North Koreans had entered China and then traveled by
boat along the Mekong to the Chiang Saen border. They had disembarked at
Mom, in Laos, where agents had taken care of them and sent them over to
Thailand. The immigrants thought that the Thai government would deport them,
in which case they would request sanctuary in South Korea.
Chiang Rai has emerged as the hub of this illegal
traffic, the first cases having been reported in 2003. The immigrants say
they face persecution if they are returned to North Korea.
Chiang Rai MP Itidet Kaewlong has asked for a special
investigation to be set up as a matter of urgency.
Police investigate longan scams
Saksit Meesubkwang and
Gen Sereepisut Temeeyawet, inspector general of the Royal Thai Police
(right), Pol Lt Gen Panupong Singhara na Ayuthaya, commissioner of the
Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 (left) jointly give information about
More than 2,000 people have been caught cheating over
the purchase of longans over the past 18 months, involving a staggering
380 million baht.
Royal Thai Police officers headed by inspector general
Pol Gen Sereepisut Temeeyawet working in cooperation with inspector
general Pol Lt Gen Kittichai Reunthip, deputy commissioner Pol Maj Gen
Somwong Lipipan and deputy commissioner of divisions Pol Maj Gen
Chatchawan Sooksomjit have investigated cases of cheating and corruption
during last year and this.
In one notorious case, 11 government officials and a
private company were caught colluding in price fixing. Other cases have
included false declarations over registration of longan growers,
under-supply of goods contracted, false accounting, and irregularities in
Between August 8 and 10 this year, 546 persons were
prosecuted for cheating the Marketing Organization for Farmers out of
70,472,225 baht. On September 6, another 619 persons were prosecuted over
scams that added up to 145,062,439 baht, and on November 4 officers
investigated 116 longan purchasing points in Chiang Mai, Lamphun, Chiang
Rai, Phayao, Lampang and Nan that involved 1,108 persons. Prominent
figures involved include five local politicians, district chief officers
and village headmen.
The total number of persons prosecuted stands at 2,273
and the value of money cheated is put at 380,176,353 baht.
Agriculturalists have also been involved in swindling,
with 822 caught cheating with goods valued at 100 million baht. The volume
of longan was put at 50,069 tons, detected at 151 purchase points, with
the amount cheated estimated at 2,183,620,307 baht.
Police have named companies involved in the price rigging and other
nefarious activities as Paw Heng Trade Company, 11 persons of the Bunthip
Foods Product Company, Agro Product Network Company, TD International
Company, Phisit Industry Company and Chee Ter Partnership. These companies
will be called for investigation in Bangkok in December.
Fah Ham TAO opens new office with fanfare
Wongsawat (middle), deputy leader of Thai Rak Thai Party and PM’s
consultant, presided over the ceremony and pushed the button to open Fah
Ham Tambon Administration Organization Office with Thongchai
Wongrianthong, Chiang Mai deputy governor (second from right), Boonlert
Buranupakorn, the mayor (left), and Preecha Worakul (right).
Fah Ham Tambon Administration Organization held an
opening ceremony for its new offices on November 5, the building having
cost more than 9.9 million baht.
Yaowapha Wongsawat, deputy leader of the Thai Rak
Thai Party and the prime minister’s consultant, along with Chiang Mai
Deputy Governor Thongchai Wongrianthong, and Boonlert Buranupakorn,
Chiang Mai mayor, presided over the ceremony.
Preecha Worakul, president of the Fah Ham Tambol
Administration Organization, led the honored guests, many from the
tambon, in the celebrations
Fah Ham TAO, Muang district, Chiang Mai was promoted
from Tambon Fah Ham Council in 1995, and its areas of responsibility
include the economy, social services, education, local culture, basic
structure, water resources, public health, environment, tourism, and
Over the past decade, Fah Ham TAO has developed the
area under its responsibility to have water, lights, and good roads.
Income tax is growing along with incomes and currently totals more than
5 million baht per year. In 2005, the TAO will collect about
5,145,289.97 baht (give or take a satang or two), support funding will
come from the government to the tune of 2,557,929 baht, and other taxes
will total 12,130,670 baht. In all, the total income is 19,833,885.71
Fah Ham TAO Office building used the entire 9,905,000 baht budget in
the construction process. The building is reinforced concrete. There are
three floors, 16.50 meters in width, 26 meters in length, and 11.30
meters in height, and the area covers more than 1,115 square meters.
There are more than 60 staff members.
Fah Ham Tambon
Administration Organization Office.
Larger budget is sought by the municipality to resolve garbage problem
administration organizations’ representatives share opinions on how to
Chiang Mai Provincial Administration Organization organized a
seminar so that opinions on garbage disposal, long an area of contention, could
About 200 people including local administration organization
representatives attended the seminar which took place on November 11 at Chiang
Mai Phu Kham Hotel.
Kanapon Pinkaew, deputy chief executive of Chiang Mai
Provincial Administration Organization, said that committees were set up to
systemically solve the garbage problem in 1998, and the Ministry of Science
Technology and Environment had at that time also conducted a special program.
Subsequently, Chiang Mai province and local administration organizations had
signed an MOU with the ministry in line with the policy of the program.
Garbage disposal is separated into three zones. In the north
zone, Wiang Fang municipality works in coordination with three local
municipalities and 17 tambons in Fang, Mae Ai and Chai Prakan districts. In the
central zone, Chiang Mai Provincial Administration Organization is responsible
for five municipalities and 31 tambon administrative organizations in Doi Saket,
San Sai and San Kamphaeng districts and Mae On sub-district. In the south zone,
Chiang Mai municipality is taking care of six tambon municipalities in Muang,
Hang Dong and San Pa Tong districts and Doi Lo sub-district.
The Chiang Mai Provincial Administration Organization has
studied appropriate garbage disposal methods in each area to see how they affect
the environment and is now seeking a budget of 465 million baht to apply the
The deputy chief executive said that the Pollution Control Department had
determined methods and measures as to how to manage the environmental
conservation aspect, and decided that a compost factory would be established to
deal with these problems.
Flower festival dates set for Feb 3-5
Chiang Mai Deputy Governor Kritsadaporn Siampakdi headed a
meeting at city hall to begin the arrangements for the 30th Flower Festival
The usual dates for the festival are the first Friday,
Saturday and Sunday of February, and this coming year the event falls on
February 3-5. Main activities include a flower exhibition and competition,
flower parade, a Kad Mua or market at a garden beside the Chiang Mai
governor’s residence, a Miss Flower contest and a Miss International
Flower contest at Suan Buak Had Public Park, the festival photo contest, a
Chiang Mai OTOP display, a music performance at the public park, and a floral
The opening ceremony will be held on February 4, to be
presided over by Governor Suwat Tantipat.
Thailand scores highly in Conde Nast magazine reader survey
Bangkok and Phuket gain top Asian ratings
A reader survey by Conde Nast Traveler, the US leading
travel magazine, has placed Bangkok as the best Asian city and Phuket as the
best Asian island. Chiang Mai was rated fifth amongst the Asian cities,
listed after Hong Kong, Singapore and Kyoto.
Amongst the favorite resorts in Asia, the Four Seasons
Chiang Mai was rated third, with two resorts in Bali taking the top two
Chiang Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat said that the new
attractions being built, such as the Night Safari, are going to raise the
profile of the province in the future.
Bangkok came out above Hong Kong and Singapore as a city
people most wanted to visit, while Phuket took the top spot amongst the
Asian islands, above Bali and Mauritius. Thailand is very much a world
favorite destination, said the governor.
The results were compiled from returns from 28,000
readers who love traveling and have considerable touring experience in
different countries in Asia.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand said that of the 13.5
million tourists who visited the North of Thailand, 10 million were Thais.
On average, visitors stay in the North for two and a half days. The favorite
cities are Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Phitsanulok.
Police collecting ‘dirty books’ again
Pol Lt Gen
Phantuwat Srilalai, deputy commissioner of Provincial Police Bureau Region 5
(right) and Pol Maj Gen Jiruj Promobol, Chiang Mai Provincial Police commander
(second right) check obscene books and CDs.
Eight business owners have been arrested for selling
obscene books and CDs and a large quantity of lewd material was seized as
evidence during raids in central Chiang Mai.
Pol Maj Gen Jiruj Promobol, Chiang Mai Provincial
Police commander, said the crackdown on pornography had been ordered by
the commissioner of Provincial Police Bureau Region 5. Along with the
eight offenders, a total of 30,956 pornographic CDs, 146 books and three
computers were seized.
A police spokesman said that the bureau was following the
government’s policy of eliminating pornography. Will they have more
success than they have had with drugs and human trafficking?
Gold thief stars on video camera
photo taken from surveillance camera footage shows the thief (on top)
crossing the showcase to cut camera wires and take gold ornaments.
An audacious robber who jumped on the counter of a gold
shop to cut the wires of a surveillance camera before fleeing with gold
worth more than 500,000 baht still managed to leave his image on tape.
The robbery took place at the Krungthep Yaowarat gold
shop in Tesco Lotus Khamthiang Market branch on November 15. Police
officers who rushed to the scene found five frightened saleswomen in the
shop. The manager, 26 year old Phanee Suthipongsuwan, said that she was
serving a customer when the robber walked in. She described him as being
about 27-30 years old and 170 centimeters tall. He wore a cap, gray shirt
and white pants, and had a plaster on his left cheek.
The robber had a knife, and he leapt onto the counter
to cut the leads of the surveillance camera before smashing a glass
cabinet and snatching 22 gold bracelets worth in total more than 500,000
He escaped down the escalator. Plainclothes security
guard Jirawat Somdam, 23, said he tried to stop the fleeing man but the
robber chopped at his left hand with the knife. Wilaiwan Saenjaban was on
the escalator in the criminal’s way, and was knocked down. Police
officers sent the two injured people to the hospital.
Pol Lt Gen Panupong Singhara na Ayuthaya, commissioner of Provincial
Police Bureau Region 5, viewed pictures taken by surveillance cameras. He
said it would not take long to find the criminal because he left so much
evidence along with video footage, and he is probably still within the
Tambon chief officer arrested on drug charges
A Mae Hong Son tambon chief officer has been arrested
on drug charges, but insists he is innocent.
Police Bureau Region 5 arrest tambon chief officer Bunyong or Kamnan Jit
Lawka, 48, suspected of drug dealing.
A court order was issued on November 19 for the arrest
of Kamnan Jit Lawka, 48, of Tambon Huay Pha in Muang, Mae Hong Son. A
group of villagers surrounded the arresting officers and Serm Lawka,
chairman of Mae Hong Son PAO assembly, requesting them not to take the
chief officer. The officers said they were carrying out their duty, and
Kamnan Jit, also known as Bunyong, was taken for investigation to the
Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 office in Chiang Mai.
Pol Lt Gen Panupong Singhara na Ayuthaya, commissioner
of Provincial Police Bureau Region 5, has been heading investigations. He
said police have been pursuing Bunyong for a long time, believing him to
be involved with a major drug dealing gang and to be part of a network of
the Maha Ja and Maha Sang gangs. Investigation of the network had recently
uncovered a haul of 23 kilograms of heroin.
The commissioner also revealed that Bunyong is believed
to be involved in the Thongdee Tongpe murder. With enough evidence now
collected police had applied for an arrest warrant.
Bunyong has denied all charges and declared that he has been framed. He
said that he has been an honest cattle trader for more than 30 years.
Bunyong has on a previous occasion resigned from his post as tambon chief
officer when drugs charges surfaced, but took up the position again when
he was declared innocent. Citizens are following the latest development
More surveillance cameras to fight crime and traffic jams
Chiang Mai Mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn said that the
municipality has installed more surveillance cameras at various points
along roads and intersections. Another 20 have just been installed, adding
to the existing 40, in an attempt to prevent crime and help reduce traffic
The cameras have been developed to link with a VDO
conference system so that residents can inform the authorities as a crime
is being committed or an accident happening, and officers can then be
dispatched to immediately deal with the problem, “rushing to the
scene” as is their wont.
ONCB chief praises work of Police Bureau Region 5
The secretary general of the Office of the Narcotics
Control Board has praised the work of Provincial Police Bureau Region 5,
saying that drug suppression in the region is proceeding well.
Pol Lt Gen Kritsana Pol-Anan, having inspected the
bureau’s initiatives, said that the checkpoints that had been set up
were especially effective. The amount of drugs being smuggled in from
neighboring countries had as a result decreased.
Kritsana said that one of the main concerns now in the
region is that many temptations exist for youngsters to try drugs, and
that close family support is one of the main ways of preventing youth from
Kritsana said that the work of Region 5 was a good
example for other regions to follow.
Bomb explodes outside the offices of Manager newspaper
A bomb exploded outside the Chiang Mai offices of
Manager newspaper on November 18, two hours after the broadcast of a
program that criticized the government.
The explosion happened 20 meters away from the office
as staff was clearing away after the broadcast. Flying debris hit nearby
vehicles but no one was hurt and no serious damage was reported.
Police rushed to the scene 30 minutes later and spoke
to a witness who said he was talking with friends nearby when he heard
the explosion and saw items being hurled about 10 meters. Turning
towards the sound he saw white smoke and pieces of plastic, which may
have been used to wrap the bomb.
Police say the device was possibly a homemade grenade
set off with the intent of acting as a threat to the Manager newspaper,
or that it might have been a giant firecracker of the kind used during
the Loy Krathong festival. Forensic officers are examining the remnants.
Initially, the controversial Muang Thai Rai Sapda
program was broadcast on Channel 9 by Sondhi Limthongkul and Sarocha
Porn-Udomsak, but later it was ordered to be withdrawn because it
criticized the government. Subsequently it has been organized as mobile
program and broadcast through cable TV and the internet. It is believed
that cable TV channels which broadcast this program face the threat of
Tour bus found with 64,000 ya ba pills in luggage hold
Chiangmai Mail Reporters
Police have seized a drug dealer who was using the
bus service to transport 64,000 ya ba pills to Bangkok.
Nan Provincial Police arrested Supaphon Singhaphan,
36, a resident of Chanthaburi, with 64,000 ya ba pills found hidden in
deodorant cans. The five packets were covered with plastic and put in a
black-grey suitcase in the baggage hold of a Bangkok-bound bus. Also in
the case was 7,700 baht in cash, a mobile phone, and a gold necklace.
Police had been informed that a man named only as
Ohm, and who was a dealer in ya ba, would be driving a pickup which he
would park near the bus, at the start of its Nan-Bangkok route. He would
be carrying a medium black-grey suitcase which he would place in the
luggage hold. With this information, officers went to inspect the bus
but it had already left the bus station.
The officers radioed ahead to inform Huay Nam Oun
check point, in Viang Sa district, to intercept the bus. The vehicle was
stopped and searched at 8 p.m., but nobody admitted to being the owner
of the suitcase. All the passengers were questioned but Supaphon behaved
suspiciously. However, police produced a video tape from the Tesco Lotus
supercenter showing Supaphon buying five yellow deodorant cans that
matched the evidence.
Supaphon confessed that he had acted as ya ba courier
for Yongsin (or Ohm) Chansuk and Punyaphat (or Thep) Pongphalinphisarn
on two occasions, for which he received a fee of 30,000 each time.
Nan Governor Prinya Panthong said that the imminent
festival season could give dealers more opportunities to transport
drugs, as they assume police will be too busy elsewhere to pay much
attention to them.