NEWS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Breakfast ceremony for 2,000 monks in honor of HM the King’s birthday

1,000 households flooded in spillway overflow

Tourists bring 100 mio baht a day during long weekends

Maejo venture with Germany’s GTZ will help farmers grow longan out of season

Learn all you can about technology, education minister urges CMU teaching staff

Transport plans to Night Safari finalized

Deputy mayor explains delays on electric cable installation project

Organic oranges are the coming trend

Fighting cocks registered in bird flu prevention

Music festival celebrates the compositions of His Majesty the King

CMU debates BBC decision to close Thai radio program

More than 300,000 visited the Night Safari during free opening period

Military forces undergo briefing for 2006 fight against drugs trade

Eight Tai headmen arrested in Shan State during New Year celebrations

Drug dealer shot dead and policeman injured in chase

Privy Councilor describes sufficiency economy at Chiang Mai Rajabhat University

Governor says 160,000 rai of Mae Hong Son woods are destroyed each year

Taiwanese drug dealers arrested at city center hotel

Chiang Mai PAO member’s car torched

Residents flee as condo catches fire

Four young drug dealers seized on their way to Lamphun

Two drug dealers killed in shoot-out with police

A soapy tale of a Burmese girl with forged Thai ID card

Lost luggage results in full police investigation

Short-circuit causes fire at CM Tech

Opium growing area in Burma decreases from 1 mio to 200,000 rai

Chiang Rai police round up teenagers taking drugs

Breakfast ceremony for 2,000 monks in honor of HM the King’s birthday

Preeyanoot Jittawong

Almost ten thousand residents present breakfast for 2,000 monks in Chiang Mai.

Breakfast was organized for 2,000 monks at Thapae Road jointly by the Lanna Buddhist Studies Club, Ethic Studies for Social Club, Chiang Mai municipality and Chiang Mai province as part of the celebrations surrounding the birthday of His Majesty the King. An estimated 10,000 Chiang Mai residents joined in the occasion.

Chiang Mai governor Suwat Tantipat presided over the ceremony and Boonlert Buranupakorn, mayor of Chiang Mai, said the occasion celebrated His Majesty’s 78th birthday and the 60-year anniversary of his ascending the throne, which occurs in 2006.

This is the second breakfast ceremony to be organized, the first having been attended by 1,000 monks. The 2,000 who attended on this occasion had traveled from all over Chiang Mai province at the invitation of the organizers.


1,000 households flooded in spillway overflow

Nopniwat Krailerg

Continued rain during the December 4-7 period in Chiang Mai province caused floodwater at Mae Kuang Dam in Doi Saket to overflow at the spillway and flood four villages at Tambon San Na Meng and San Papao in San Sai district.

Almost a thousand households were flooded to depths of around 50-60 centimeters, and local authorities had to send aid parcels to some villagers when their food supplies were cut off.

The Hydrology and Water Management Center for the Upper Northern Region later announced that the water level in the spillway had subsided and the flood danger was averted.

As always it is either a feast or a famine.


Tourists bring 100 mio baht a day during long weekends

Doi Inthanon and Doi Suthep most popular

Nopniwat Krailerg

Two three-day weekends brought tourists to Chiang Mai, with Doi Inthanon and Doi Suthep the most popular destinations. The Tourism Authority of Thailand Region 1 reporting that the tourists spent 100 million baht each day.

Jack Frost (Mae Kha Ning) has arrived on Doi Inthanon.

Junnapong Saranak, director of Tourism Authority of Thailand Region 1 told Chiangmai Mail that air arrivals and hotel room booking indicated that the number of tourists was up by 3-5 percent on last year. Six days of holidays could bring 600 million baht to Chiang Mai and the Loy Krathong festival and NAP activity on Nimmanheminda Road were popular with shoppers. Other activities during that period included the food festival, the Mardi Gras and Chiang Mai Bike Week which attracted 1,000 motorcycles to Chiang
Mai.

Tourists favored Doi Inthanon to experience the cold weather on the peak and to see frost or “Mae Kha Ning”. Almost 5,000 people visited there each day, and camping ground spaces were insufficient so some traveled on to Doi Ang Khang in Fang district. Many visitors visited Doi Suthep to worship at Wat Phra Thad Doi Suthep resulting in traffic jams on the mountain roads. Wanlope Namwongphrom, Wat Phra Thad Doi Suthep public
relation officer said that almost 50,000 people visited there.


Maejo venture with Germany’s GTZ will help farmers grow longan out of season

Saksit Meesubkwang

Maejo University has signed a contract with German organization GTZ Institute to establish a modern longan
orchard management service.

Asst Prof Phawin Manochai, deputy dean of research and academic information service department of Faculty of Agriculture Production, Maejo University (2nd right) signed a cooperation contract with GTZ from Germany by James Tomecko (2nd left) witnessed by Assoc Prof Thep Pongpanit, the president of Maejo University (first left) and Asst Prof Dr Phisut Niamsapt, the dean of Faculty of Agriculture Production (first right).

The contract was signed on December 6 by Asst Prof Phawin Manochai, deputy dean of research and academic information service at the Faculty of Agricultural Production, and GTZ’s James Tomecko. Witnessing the signing were Assoc Prof Thep Pongpanit, president of Maejo University and Asst Prof Dr Phisut Niamsapt, dean of the Faculty of Agricultural Production.

Longan orchard management services is a part of the university that acts as a medium for groups of retail agriculturists who are interested in longan development. There will be longan experts advising on how to plan non-seasonal planting, orchard management, orchard tree shape control, soil and fertilizer management, and water management.

The project is receiving participation from Chiang Mai Branch Office Industrial Promotion Center Region 1. GTZ Institute is a German government organization that has helped many countries with various development projects, and a specific aim of this venture is to
help Thai agriculturists
develop non-seasonal longan.

More information about longan orchard management service is available from Asst Prof Phawin Manochai 0 1951 5907 and Maejo University public relations department 0 5387 3046-7.


Learn all you can about technology, education minister urges CMU teaching staff

Saksit Meesubkwang

Chaturon Chaisang, Minister of Education

Chaturon Chaisang, Minister of Education, was invited by the Faculty of Medicine at Chiang Mai University to give a talk on modern technological developments as they related to medical services.

The seminar, conducted at Lotus Pang Suan Kaew Hotel, had an audience of around 2,000 from the faculties of nursing, medicine, pharmaceutical science,
dentistry, and medical science.

The minister said that it is government policy for
Thailand to develop rapidly as a knowledge based economy, and that this extended to the field of medical services. He urged everyone concerned with health care to always keep themselves well informed
on technological advancements, learning from sources both at home and over-
seas.

University lecturers had a vital role to play here, both in research and the instillation of knowledge for their students, said the minister. He urged them to continually monitor developments and to see how these could be applied in the university and in practice.


Transport plans to Night Safari finalized

Nopniwat Krailerg

Visitors to Chiang Mai Night Safari will have three choices for traveling there: car, public transport, or by a minibus tour package.

Ausathai Rattanadilok na Phuket, head of Chiang Mai Provincial Transport Office, said that there are almost 60 red minibuses to take visitors directly from the city to the Safari, with two bus stops provided at Thapae Gate from which 30 baht will be charged, and Ton Phayom Market, where the fare is 20 baht.

There will be another route for minibuses, both open-roofed and enclosed. Stop points on this route will be advised soon. Tickets for this kind of minibus can be sold as a tour package and this option will be offered to the private sector. The Chiang Mai Provincial Transport Office will support investors and the Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce will be advised.

Ausathai said it is hoped that these three forms of transportation will be attractive for visitors, especially foreign tourists, and he has also confirmed that there will not be a problem with overlapping concessions. As yet we do not know if the transport companies will also indulge in double pricing, as the Night Safari will be doing.


Deputy mayor explains delays on electric cable installation project

Chiangmai Mail Reporters

Underground installation of electric cables in Thapae Road and Chang Klan Road is running behind schedule, resulting in many complaints, but Chiang Mai deputy mayor Pornchai Jitnava-sathien has issued a statement explaining the delays.

Apparently, the project is being undertaken by three main organizations, being Chiang Mai Municipality, the Provincial Electricity Authority, and the Telephone Organization of Thailand.

Much of the work has to be done at night, to avoid further disruption to traffic flow, pedestrian access, and businesses, and this has itself resulted in many complaints.

Delays have occurred when work stopped to allow traditional activities such as the Songkran and Yi Peng festivals and the Mardi Gras to go ahead in these areas.

The flooding also affected progress, as damage was caused to the underground structures and there was a considerable amount of soil and sand deposited in the works area.

Chiang Mai Municipality will send inspectors to check houses reported as having been damaged by the project, and the contractors will make good any repair work. Pornchai said that work is now proceeding quickly with the intention of completing the project as soon as possible.


Organic oranges are the coming trend

Preeyanoot Jittawong

The first pesticide-free orange festival in Chiang Mai province was held from December 9 to 13 at Nong Buak Had Public Park.

Sunai Sretbunsrang, committee working as minister’s assistance of Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives is the witness of singing sale contract of pesticide-free orange between Chiang Mai Organism Orange in the Thai way Cooperative Ltd. and Tesco Lotus Store

Organized by Chiang Mai municipality and Chiang Mai Organic Oranges Cooperative, there was a simultaneous display of the oranges at Tesco Lotus Store.

Sunai Sretbunsrang of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives presided over the opening ceremony, and Winai Laokerdphong, head of Chiang Mai Provincial Agriculture Office, welcomed the visitors.

Chiang Mai province is a major source of oranges, bringing billions of baht each year to the growers. Now, because consumers and agriculturists are more aware of chemical contamination, this can lead to problems for the growers and the environment. Chiang Mai province has therefore been placing more emphasis on pesticide-free growing since 2004.

The province is cooperating with Moral and Golden Land Institution and has established Chiang Mai Organic Orange Cooperative Ltd, which during the festival signed a contract with Tesco Lotus Store.

The festival included an exhibition of oranges grown in a pesticide-free environment, with crops on sale at bargain prices.


Fighting cocks registered in bird flu prevention

Preeyanoot Jittawong

Fighting cocks are being registered by the Public Health and Environment Office as part of the attempt to prevent the spread of avian flu.

Wipawan Woraputipong, deputy mayor of Chiang Mai, said that winged livestock registration is necessary because there is every possibility an outbreak could happen anywhere at any time. Registration and training were conducted at Meng Rai, Kawila and Sri Wichai offices and at Patan Public Health Center, on December 13-16.

Volunteers were taught about bird flu and were trained how to prevent infection of themselves.


Music festival celebrates the compositions of His Majesty the King

Preeyanoot Jittawong

A music festival named “Songs from His Majesty’s Heart” was organized by the Public Relations Department Region 3 on Sunday December 4 at Three Kings Monument as a tribute to His Majesty the King on the occasion of his birthday and the 60th anniversary of his ascending the throne, which will occur next year.

Thongchai Wongrianthong, Chiang Mai deputy governor and Somjai Sasomsab, director of The Public Relation Department Region 3 presided over the opening ceremony of the music festival to celebrate HM the King named “Songs from His Majesty’s Heart” together with organizers and guests.

Thongchai Wongrian-thong, Chiang Mai deputy governor, presided over the opening ceremony of the festival.

Director of the Public Relations Department Region 3 Somjai Sasomsab said the event was to present His Majesty’s musical works to the public. The organizers had cooperated with educational institutes and the private sector for performers to sing and play the King’s musical compositions. These included Than Num Phrathai (the flow of kindness of the King) and Sa Dudee Phra Mingkwan (praising the King). Providing the instrumentals and singing were Voice Studio with Thianchai Sukthiang, Suntharee Wechanon, the well-known Lanna singer, and a mixed orchestra from CMU and Montfort College. Dances were performed by the Russian Ballet
School


CMU debates BBC decision to close Thai radio program

Saksit Meesubkwang

The decision by BBC radio to close its Thai program was debated by the Department of Mass Communication at Chiang Mai University in cooperation with the Voice of Mass Communication, FM 100.

The BBC has said that the program has a very small audience and that it now prefers to invest the funds into TV programming that will cover larger parts of Asia.

Jiraporn Wthayasakphan, lecturer at the Department of Mass Communication was the moderator, with guests Rungmanee Meksophon, former Thai version BBC program staffer, current BBC staff member Kittiphan Soonprasert, and Potjana Nakwatchara, a fan of the BBC program for 30 years.

Rungmanee said that she had prepared over six months for the examination for her job, and that she had received favorable reports on her work from her employers. The BBC program was high quality, and it brought great benefits to its listeners. She wished that the BBC executives would think again.

Kitiphong said that the BBC felt TV programs would reach a wider audience and consequently they were withdrawing the Thai radio service.

Potjana, 75, said that he always listened to the radio program, having been a keen BBC listener when he was studying in England. He said he wished that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in England would reconsider this case.


More than 300,000 visited the Night Safari during free opening period

PM to preside over formal opening on January 1

Nopniwat Krailerg

Chiang Mai Night Safari, during its 21-day free
admission period, recorded a total of 372,574 visitors or 17,700 persons per day, according to Plodprasope Surasawadee, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment.

Speaking on behalf of the board of the Night Safari, Plodprasope said that most of the visitors who attended between November 16 and December 6 were from Chiang Mai and Lamphun. Visitors had been surveyed and responded that they were satisfied with the Safari experience and facilities.

Plodprasope said the Night Safari would be opened formally on January 1, the opening being presided over by the prime minister.

Amongst the activities lined up for opening day are a marathon run, a 13-kilometer bicycle race, a competition between bands from schools in Chiang Mai and Lamphun, and a school music performance that will feature 1,000 musicians.


Military forces undergo briefing for 2006 fight against drugs trade

Chiangmai Mail Reporters

The Northern region military forces have undergone a briefing for 2006 to familiarize the officers of the various divisions with the issues that are likely to be of primary importance during the
year.

232 officers were briefed on the ethnic minorities and their current organizational structure, both in terms of local economies and society developments, and in community strength as it related to the fight against drug trafficking and abuse. The briefing covered in detail the villages along the Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phayao, Nan, Uttaradit and Phitsanu-lok border areas.

Col Wanathip Wongwai, deputy commissioner of Pha Muang Task Force and deputy director of interior security of the Third Army Region, presided over the orientation on December 4 at artillery battalion 7th at Tambon Don Kaew in Mae Rim.

Col Wanathip Wongwai, deputy commissioner of Pha Muang Task Force at Huay Hong Krai Royal Development Study Center in Doi Saket district Chiang Mai.


Eight Tai headmen arrested in Shan State during New Year celebrations

Saksit Meesubkwang

Eight Tai tribesmen were reported as having been arrested in Burma during the celebrations of the Tai New Year, which took place over several days around December 1, marking the beginning of the Tai year 2100.

Amongst those seized by the military forces at La Siew were five organizers, four of whom were named as Jaw Poon, Jaw Ong, Ong Tan and Thun Tim.

The Burmese authorities allowed Shan State citizens to celebrate their New Year freely, but sources within the country say that those arrested had annoyed the military forces by hanging too many Tai flags on vehicles and buildings.

Shan news agency learnt on December 7 that eight persons had been captured on December 3. One of these was named as Dr Mok Kham, head of the Tai tribal literature and culture association. Before his arrest, Dr Mok Kham was invited by Maj Gen Min Lai, commander-in-chief of Burma’s north-east headquarters, to a meeting. This was supposedly in support of the celebrations and fuel for vehicles to be used over the festival period was an added offer. Local people however believe it was
a ruse to entrap the Tai tribal heads.

Tai people in Thailand celebrated the New Year from November 30 to December 5 at Baan Therd Thai in Mae Fa Luang, Chiang Rai and Mae Hong Son. In Chiang Mai they organized festivities in Baan Piang Luang in Wiang Haeng, Baan Nong Ook in Chiang Dao, Wat Koo Tao and Wat Papao.


Drug dealer shot dead and policeman injured in chase

Saksit Meesubkwang

A drug dealer was shot dead and a police officer wounded when narcotics control officers pursued two ya ba dealers from Mae Ai into the city area.

The incident happened on the night of December 11, at Baan San Pa Khoi Nue, in Muang, Chiang Mai. Pol Lt Gen Panupong Singhara na Ayuthaya, commissioner of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 and Pol Maj Gen Jiruj Promobol, Chiang Mai Provincial Police commander, rushed to the scene with a squadron of officers and the duty doctor of Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital.

A pick-up with a Chiang Mai license plate was found. Inside the vehicle were 100,000 ya ba pills. A dead body lay beside the truck, and was identified as Suchat Satumayer, 22, an Akha hill tribesman. He had been shot by a 9 mm revolver. A narcotics officer from Provincial Police Bureau Region 5, Pol Sgt Maj Jakarin Chairangsri, had been struck by a bullet in his left hand. He was admitted to Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital and was later released.

Narcotics control officers headed by Pol Col Panudet Bunruang, superintendent of Chai Prakan Police Station, had followed the two offenders from Mae Ai to the city, where the officers caught up with them. One of the two, identified as Wichai Asa, had fled into a grove but the other was shot dead.

Police commissioner Panupong said that Wichai Asa was the head drug dealer, importing ya ba from across the border for distribution to clients in Thailand. Police are now in pursuit of Wichai.


Privy Councilor describes sufficiency economy at Chiang Mai Rajabhat University

Saksit Meesubkwang

Prof. Dr. Kasem Watanachai, Privy Councilor

Prof Dr Kasem Watanachai, Privy Councilor, was speaker at Chiang Mai Rajabhat University on December 9, when he addressed students and guests on the subject of self-sufficiency, one of the initiatives of His Majesty the King.

University principal Asst Prof Ruangdech Wonglah introduced Prof Kasem, who spoke on the way in which technological changes are happening so fast, and changing the economy and society so rapidly, that everyone had to understand what was happening for society to maintain its stability.

Self-sufficiency means self-awareness, and awareness of others. The self-sufficient individual is a harmonious part of society because he or she gives back and does not make unreasonable demands.

This way of thinking is very much part of traditional Thai lifestyle, the important aspect being to realize it can be applied to our modern lives, no matter what changes are happening around us.

Prof Kasem said this philosophy is also applied to the government of the country, as Thailand develops fast and faces an increasingly industrial and knowledge-based future.


Governor says 160,000 rai of Mae Hong Son woods are destroyed each year

Chiangmai Mail Reporter

Mae Hong Son’s governor has said that private interests are encroaching on the province’s woodlands and destroying 160,000 rai each year.

Governor Direk Konkleeb said that 97 percent of Mae Hong Son is forest and mountain land, with the remaining 3 percent largely agriculture, but destruction of significant areas of woods is leading to soil erosion and flooding. There are 7 million rai of woods in Mae Hong Son but this is being depleted at the rate of 160,000 rai each year. The flooding and landslides that have occurred in Pai district, Pang Ma Pha district and Muang district happened because the natural balance was destroyed.

Police, provincial Natural Resources and Environment officers, and provincial administrative departments have been directed to stop encroachment of the woodlands. Government officials especially should be a model for the citizens and help each other in protecting the woods, said the governor.

Prosecution orders have already been issued against entrepreneurs from Chiang Mai who have hired trib al people to encroach on the source of water in the forest of Khun Yuam district.


Taiwanese drug dealers arrested at city center hotel

Nopniwat Krailerg

Police were tipped off by a Taiwanese drug dealer they had just arrested, and on December 8 raided a room on the 10th floor of the Royal Lanna Hotel, on Chang Klan Road. There they found two Taiwanese, Chen Hong Chee, 43 and Win Yoong Kai, 43, with heroin packed in four plastic bags, a cheque for one million yuan and money to the value of 50,000
yuan.

The search was as a result of the questioning of the other member of the Taiwan gang, Chen Te Hong, 38, who was arrested with four lumps of heroin weighing 800 grams. He was driving a rental car from Mae Sai, Chiang Rai but was caught. After being stopped, he began to sing and implicated his co-conspirators. He told officers the others were resting at the hotel in Chiang Mai, and police were able to arrest both of them at the scene.


Chiang Mai PAO member’s car torched

Local politician points finger at political pressures

Nopniwat Krailerg

Wanpen Kanta, Chiang Mai PAO member for Muang Chiang Mai, has filed a complaint with police saying that her car was torched in front of her own residence.

She told Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara na Ayuthaya, Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 commissioner, that the arson was committed in Muang Chiang Mai on December 8.

Wanpen has asked for justice and also for protection. She said she has been threatened several times and says that the threats stem from major political forces in Chiang Mai.

Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong said that after investigators checked her car at the scene they concluded that arson had been committed, and that investigating officers had been put on the case. While investigations continue a police guard would be provided.

Wanpen was formerly a member of Chiang Mai PAO under the Chiang Mai Khunatham Group but later resigned. She has since then not joined any political group but is still carrying out her PAO duties.


Residents flee as condo catches fire

Nopniwat Krailerg

An apartment in a condominium block on Chiang Mai’s Huay Kaew Road caught fire on December 6. Three municipality fire engines were mobilized but as the room was on the seventh floor of the 14-storey building, causing access difficulties, firemen took 40 minutes to extinguish the flames.

Residents of the building fled in panic when the fire started, although the owners of the apartment, who are French, were not at home at the time. A fire had occurred at this apartment before, and it is thought by investigators that an electrical fault is to blame. Two rooms were badly damaged by the blaze.


Four young drug dealers seized on their way to Lamphun

Chiangmai Mail Reporters

Four young drug dealers were seized in Chiang Dao while they were transporting drugs to Lamphun.

The arrests took place on December 6, with Pha Muang Task Force capturing Natapong Kan-iw, age 22, and three teenagers identified only as Wasan, 17, Supaporn, 17 and Pornpimon, 17. All were Lamphun residents.

Wasan was the driver, passing a checkpoint at Baan Kang Pan Tao in Chiang Dao. Officers were suspicious and searched their vehicle. They found 478 ya ba pills hidden under the carpet of the car’s trunk.

The youths said they had bought the drugs from a dealer in Chai Prakan for 30,000 baht. The deal was arranged over the phone
and the arrangement
was they would deliver the ya ba for distribution in Lamphun.

The only question now is, who tipped off the police?


Two drug dealers killed in shoot-out with police

Nopniwat Krailerg

Two drug dealers who shot at police officers during a sting operation in Chai Prakan district were killed in the return fire.

On December 8, Pol Sub Lt Kraimek Pamakho and Pol Sub Lt Panya Daengthong-moon, both narcotic control officers, posing as buyers had arranged to meet the suppliers at Baan Mai Nong Bua public health station, in Tambon Nong Bua.

The two suppliers arrived in a bronze Toyota and parked the car. When the two undercover officers concluded the deal, regular police appeared and attempted to arrest the dealers. The offenders however had weapons in the car, an AK-47 machine gun and an 11 mm weapon, and they opened fire. The exchange went on for three minutes and then the dealers attempted to escape, but they were shot dead.

One of the men was identified as Aku Asiku, 23, a Chai Prakan district villager, while the other was known only by his first name, Afa. Inside the car, police found 100,000 orange ya ba pills.


A soapy tale of a Burmese girl with forged Thai ID card

Nopniwat Krailerg

A Burmese girl has been found working in a Turkish massage parlor in Chiang Mai with a forged Thai ID card and after she dried off was arrested by police.

Officers had somehow discovered there was an alien working at the Sayuri Turkish baths on Jaroenrat Road and they visited the premises on December 7. When the woman under suspicion presented her ID card, it identified her as Patcharin Wongkaew, 24, from Mae Maw, Lampang. The officers however ascertained that the card was a counterfeit, so she was arrested.

The woman admitted that she was Burmese, named Feuy, 18, and said she had soaped there for one year. She knew a man named Long who made the ID card
for her and charged 12,000 baht.

She was charged with presenting a fake document and entering the kingdom without permission. The owner of the massage parlor was also charged with employing an alien and offering her residence. As for Mr. Long, in short, there was no news.


Lost luggage results in full police investigation

Saksit Meesubkwang

Luggage kept in the hold of a tour bus disappeared and the theft was reported to tourist police who seized the bus.

Pol. Lt. Col. Nattawut Chotekanchanawat, tourist police inspector confiscated the tour bus driven by Setthi Boonmee, 42, living at Tambon Pang Koong in Muang, Surat Thani, after two foreign passengers informed the officers their belongings disappeared while being transported from Bangkok to Chiang Mai on December 2. The two passengers claimed 4,000 US dollars was missing, which they wanted the tour company that owns the bus to pay.

Autsathai Rattanadilok Na Phuket, head of Chiang Mai Provincial Transport Office revealed after the officers sent the bus to the office for checking, it was discovered the owner had not paid tax since June 30, 2005 so the bus company was prosecuted.

The transport head added that this act affected our tourism image. The Chiang Mai Provincial Transport Office has cooperated with tourist police and sectors concerned to solve this kind of problem. If anyone has any knowledge of the theft, the informant should immediately contact police of transport office in the area.


Short-circuit causes fire at CM Tech

Preeyanoot Jittawong and Kittiyaporn Kanjam

Chiang Mai municipality fire engines controlling the fire at CM Tech.

An electrical short-circuit started a fire at Chiang Mai
Technology School but the flames were quickly extinguished and the damage was estimated to be only 10,000 baht.

The fire broke out on December 7 at a study building on the 7th floor. Seeing the smoke, a number of teachers and students tackled the flames with chemical substance fire extinguishers. Pol Col Kritsanapon Yeesakorn, Mae Ping Police Station superintendent, rushed to the scene together with other officers and three fire engines.

Investigations revealed the cause to be a short-circuit at the men’s toilets on the 7th floor of the building. No one was injured.


Opium growing area in Burma decreases from 1 mio to 200,000 rai

Chiangmai Mail Reporters

A joint seminar on drugs control measures between Thailand and Burma was hosted by Pol Lt Gen Kritsana Pol-anan, secretary general of the Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB), Brig Gen Saw Win, chief of police and of the central committee of the Burmese narcotics control board, and Pithaya Jinawat, director of ONCB Northern Region, in Chiang Mai on December 9.

The seminar examined progress on the planting of cash crops to replace the growing of opium. At Baan Yong Kha in Burma the Thai authorities have helped villagers find markets for their alternative crops, and progress is good. The area previously used for opium growing has decreased from almost one million rai to 200,000 rai. Cooperation from villagers has been very positive, the seminar heard, and the Burmese authorities are able to name specific areas as being completely free of narcotic plants.

Opium growing in Laos has been reduced by a similar degree and the government there will soon be in a position to proclaim certain areas as free of narcotics. The Baan Yong Kha model is to be tried out in other parts of Burma, Laos and Thailand, and in Vietnam and China.


Chiang Rai police round up teenagers taking drugs

Chiangmai Mail Reporters

Ten teenagers were arrested by police in Chiang Rai and charged with drug taking, in a crackdown designed to eliminate drug use amongst youngsters.

On December 8, Pol Lt Col Tosaphum Charuenpon, deputy superintendent of Muang Chiang Rai Police Station led a force of officers to Sri Nakorn Residence on San Khong Luang Road after learning young people were gathered there to take drugs. Five girls were found at the scene with drug taking paraphernalia but no drugs.

The girls were identified as Noot, Nee and Mas, all aged 19 years. Two others, given the aliases of Da and Nok, were aged 18 and 17 years. All were sent to Chiang Rai Ratprachanukroh Hospital for a medical check. All tested positive for amphetamines and confessed they had taken ya ba.

In a separate operation, Pol Lt Col Nopadol Kruengkrai, deputy superintendent of Muang Chiang Rai Station, headed patrol officers to search a residence on Pahon-yothin Road at Tambon Rob Wiang after informants reported a group of college students taking drugs in a room there.

Five teenage boys were found in the room and they were searched. They have been given the names Som-pong, 17, who was in possession of one ya ba pill, and Thamrong, Ekachai and Wirat, all also aged 17. A fifth youth was named as Pongsan, 16. A check found that each of them tested
positive for amphetamine use.

It seems it is easier to attack the drug problem through the end-user, rather than the source.