Fatal accident at known ‘black spot’ kills Welsh family
team removing the bodies from the car.
A former captain of a West Wales rugby club, his wife and
his sister were all killed in a road accident on Chotana Chiang Mai-Fang
Road at kilometer 21 of Baan Pa Tiw, Tambon San Pong, Mae Rim, Chiang Mai.
The driver, Angkhana Boontai, 25, a Lamphun resident was
admitted to hospital in a serious condition, but the passengers Kenneth
Ford, his wife Phaijit Ford (a Thai national), and his sister Violet
Griffiths were all pronounced dead at the scene. Police and rescue workers
had to use hydraulic spreaders and shears on the badly smashed vehicle, to
extricate the bodies.
It appears that Angkha-na picked up the three tourists
from a hotel in Chiang Mai to visit Mae Taman elephant camp in Mae Taeng
district. On the way back in the afternoon, the vehicle ran off the road on
a sharp curve, and crashed into a tree. Local residents all say that this
corner has already claimed seven lives in the past 10 years.
Kenneth Ford, an ex-full back with Trimsaran Rugby Club was a popular
figure in his native Wales, and his friends were deeply shocked to hear of
Northern Railway lays on extra train service for holiday period
A meeting at Chiang Mai
train station office
A special Bangkok-Chiang Mai train service has been
laid on for the holiday period and railway staff and security services
are ready to cope with the enormous volume of passenger traffic that is
Director of the Northern Railway Office Anon Wongsuwan
on December 13 called a meeting of the railway police to discuss extra
security measures along with the increased support services that will be
needed over New Year.
Anon said that with so many people traveling between
the capital and the North an extra train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai will
provide 600 seats at a ticket price of 1,300 baht. The train is a sleeper
and food and drink will be provided on board. There are only a limited
number of seats left on this train owing to heavy advance bookings but
another bogy is being added at a ticket price of 900 baht per seat, as no
food and drink can be provided in this car.
Railway police, in addition to taking care of the passengers, have
also been briefed to be extra vigilant for signs of drug transporting.
The officers will work in close cooperation with narco-tics control
officials and Provincial Police BureauRegion 5.
Mardi Gras welcomes tourism season with a fanfare
Tantipat, Chiang Mai governor and Boonlert Buranupakorn, Chiang Mai mayor
presided over the opening ceremony of Chiang Mai Mardi Gras 2005.
Chiang Mai Mardi Gras opened the tourism peak
season on December 9 in fine style, the festivities con-tinuing for four
days until December 12.
Governor Suwat Tantipat presided over the official
opening, joined by mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn. There was a fancy dress
parade on the evening of the first day, with Lanna art and culture as the
theme. The parade started from the Tourism Authority of Thailand office,
crossing Nawa-rat Bridge to Thapae and Chang Klan roads and ending at Wat
Sri Don Chai.
of Mardi Gras 2005 competitors attended the fancy parade.
Street theater and musical performances continued
throughout the event, with the crowning of the Star of Mardi Gras 2005 being
the occasion everyone was waiting for.
Cigarette tax hike aims to stop young people smoking
Chiangmai Mail Reporters
In a move to try and stop people smoking, the Revenue
Department has increased the tax on cigarettes by 4 percent, which means
that a packet of cigarettes will now be between 3 and 8 baht more expensive,
depending on the brand.
Thanong Bidaya, Minister of Finance, said that the 75
percent tax on cigarettes will be increased to 79 percent, which will
increase government revenue while at the same time cutting the number of
Revenue Department director Utid Tamwatin said that
income will increase by 3 billion baht a year, taking the revenue from
tobacco up in total to 38 billion baht during 2006, but that the essential
goal is not increasing income.
“Increasing the tax on cigarettes was done to prevent
young people smoking and to discourage new smokers,” said Utid.
Smokers whose chosen brand is Krong Thip paid 13.52 baht
tax on each pack before the increase, and 16.95 baht after, the retail price
increasing from 35 baht to 40 baht. Marlboro’s former tax was 24.44 and is
now 30.65 baht, with the retail price increasing from 55 to 63 baht, while
L&M Red and Green was formerly taxed at 18.52 baht and is now 23.23
baht, the selling price having gone up from 39 baht to 45 baht.
Thailand Tobacco Monopoly predicts that 2006 sales volume will decrease
by between 7 to 10 percent while the Revenue Department expects the volume
to decrease by 10 to 12 percent. Considering that the government owns the
Thailand Tobacco Monopoly, it seems as if what they were about to lose on
the swings, they gained on the roundabouts!
Problems with buying unfinished condo units from the plan
Jittawong and Kittiyaporn Kanjam
N Ministry and the condo contract.
A controversy that arose over the Twin Peaks
condominium project on Chang Klan Road highlights the gray area that
exists in the purchase of uncompleted apartment units and the concern
this can cause to foreign buyers.
On December 13, Ramesh N Ministry informed Chiang
mai Mail that he had had his doubts about the project after
agreeing to purchase three units for almost 5 million baht in April
this year. He had paid a deposit of 10,000 baht to the developers, and
then later he was asked for a further payment.
Ministry had taken his concerns to an attorney who
had followed up with Chiang Mai municipality and discovered that the
condominium project did not yet have an occupation permit even though
it was already being advertised to potential buyers. Ministry wondered
if the project itself was legal, and he contacted the developers to ask
for his money back. The developers advised him to sue them.
Six months passed before Ramesh Ministry requested
help from the Consumer Protection Agency at the Department of Lands.
Following this, Twin Peaks sent representatives to negotiate with the
purchaser and later informed reporters and officers that the building
needed to be finished completely before asking for an occupation permit
from the authorities, who would then send an inspector to check the
premises before issuing the document.
Twin Peaks confirmed the condo was legal but said
that construction was only 80 percent completed, meaning an
authorization document could not be requested. The permit will be
Finally, both sides compromised and the condo
returned 10,000 baht to Ramesh N Ministry. The Twin Peaks
representative said that deposit money would be returned to anybody
else under similar circumstances, and apologized for the delay.
Complaints or queries of this nature can be referred to the Consumer
Protection Agency Chiang Mai or by calling 0 5311 2708-9.
KNPP denies shooting village headman
Chiangmai Mail Reporter
Reports that troops from the Karen Kaya in Burma had
opened fire on a boat, killing one Burmese and wounding a Thai village
headman are being denied by the group via SHAN press agency.
On December 13, a Thai newspaper published the story that
troops shot at a Thai village headman and his three Burmese companions while
they were fishing on the Pai River. The report said one Burmese was killed
and Suthad Photaboot, Baan Nam Piang Din village headman, was shot in the
Thai security officers said it was an act of the Karen
Kaya or KNPP, a military group against the Burmese government. However, Re
Man Too, secretary general of the KNPP, told the press agency by phone on
December 15 that KNPP was not responsible. His troops were not even in that
area at the time, as it is under the responsibility of the Karenni National
People’s Liberation Front, or KNPLF. This group has already surrendered to
Burmese authority. Additonally, some zones in that area were patrolled by
the Burmese army.
“Our troops did not move into that area owing to the fact there were
many KNPLF and Burmese soldiers patrolling there. Villagers and the people
of the area are very well aware of this,” he said.
Buffalo smuggler’s story all bull, say customs officers
Chiangmai Mail Reporters
A man who bought five buffaloes which he hoped to sell at
a handsome profit, saying he did not know they were smuggled in from Burma,
was not believed by customs officers.
A six-wheel truck driven by Umporn Kanthong, a resident
of Phrao district, was stopped at a checkpoint. Inside were the five
buffaloes. Surasak Promtip, 42, a Pang Mapha resident who was riding in the
truck said he was the owner of the buffaloes but when he was asked for
documentation he did not have it. He was arrested and charged with smuggling
Surasak confessed he purchased the five buffaloes from
villagers at Baan Napupon in Pang Mapha at a price of 16,000 baht each. He
did not know they were imported illegally. He thought he would sell them in
Chiang Mai at a profit and hired driver Umporn to transport them.
Buncha Kaewdaeng, head of Mae Hong Son customhouse, Kittipong Udomset,
head of Mae Hong Son quarantine station, and Lt Anuwat Muenmanom, commander
of Ranger 3604 on duty at Baan Mai Sang Nam in Pang Mapha, jointly seized
the five buffaloes that were hitching the free ride into Thailand. The
buffaloes are currently not admitting to anything.
Countdown begins for Night Safari and free admission extended
Another 100 mio baht found for Ferris wheel and fountain!
parts of Chiang Mai Night Safari already completed.
Chiang Mai Night Safari is 100 percent finished except
for the addition of two newly announced attractions, namely a spectacular
fountain and Thailand’s highest Ferris wheel, and the countdown will begin
on the night of December 31 ready for the opening on New Year’s Day.
Visitors will be able to enjoy free access for the entire
month, with entrance fees being waived until February 1.
Safari director Plodprasope Surasawadee said that a
German company is installing the fountain under a budget of 48 million baht,
and the 50 meter high Ferris wheel is being imported from Japan at a cost of
50 million baht.
On the countdown night there will be many activities such
as bicycle riding for health, school music band performances, an animal
voice and movement impressions competition, questionnaires, a fancy dress
contest in which participants dress as animals, and a grand fireworks
display. Breakfast will be presented to monks the following morning.
The initial period during which people could visit the
Night Safari free ended on December 15 but this offer will now be extended
to January 31 as a New Year’s gift, said Plodprasope. Beginning from
February 1, Thais will be charged 250 baht and foreigners 500 baht, so
forget about munificence in February. Tour agents who take tourists to visit
the Safari will also be charged because they have already charged their
Almost 600,000 people visited the Night Safari during the free admission
period, and if they had been charged, the Safari would have earned 180
million baht of income. However, remember that no free offer s ever
Japanese C-G promotes training in the prevention of human trafficking
Chiangmai Mail Reporters
Shinohara, Japanese C-G in Chiang Mai, Adul Pholpra-In, Phayao Deputy
Governor; and Preecha Watanakunakorn, Bangkok YMCA Foundation president, at
the opening ceremony.
On December 9, 2005, the opening ceremony of large
assembly hall to be used for training in the prevention of human trafficking
and support for its victims in Phayao province, was presided over by
Katsushiro Shinohara, Japanese Consul-General in Chiang Mai, Adul
Pholpra-In, Phayao Deputy Go-vernor; and Preecha Watanakuna-korn, Bangkok
YMCA Foundation president.
Shinohara, (right) and Adul Pholpra-In, Phayao Deputy Governor (left)
jointly presided over the opening ceremony.
The Phayao center in Dok Kham Tai district was
constructed by the Bangkok YMCA foundation with 3.5 million baht budget from
the Japanese government under the GGP (Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human
Security projects Scheme). Because there are many human trafficking victims
in Phayao province plus resultant women and child prostitution, the new
large scale assembly hall will be able to accommodate 6,000 victims of human
trafficking per year for rehabilitation and retraining. It is expected the
introduc-tion of the new hall will positively contribute to the prevention
of human trafficking in northern Thailand, and not only in Phayao province.
There was also a hand over ceremony of a used fire engine to Dok Kham Tai
sub-district municipality which was received by Adul Chai-wut, Mayor of Dok
Kham Tai sub-district municipality. The used fire engine was donated by
Chikuma City, Japan according to the request of Dok Kham Tai sub-district
municipality because they had an insufficient number of fire engines. The
fire engine was transported from Japan to Dok Kham Tai directly and the
Japanese government paid the 600,000 baht bill for transportation.
Selling from the cells, prison products now have their own logo
Kittiyaporn Kanjam and
Pinutda Suwanchaisri (student trainees MFLU)
Jitsawang, director general of Department of Correction presided over the
opening ceremony of the 19th
Prison Products Exhibition.
An exhibition displaying products made by the inmates of
Chiang Mai Provincial Central Prison was held between December 16 and 26 at
Natthee Jitsawang, director general of the department of
correction presided over the opening ceremony, with Chuchat Chailert,
commissioner of Chiang Mai Provincial Central Court, Kritsadaporn Siampakdi,
Chiang Mai deputy governor, and Ananchai Nimmanhae-minda, chairman of the
Khamthiang Market committee also present.
The exhibition catered for the growing interest in
prison-made products, for which there is now a new brand and logo. It was
also part of the process of developing the standard of the products to be
able to compete with the market. Most importantly, however, making these
goods allows prisoners to have an occupation when they return to society and
for them to begin a new life and have some money to support themselves.
There were 22 prisons in the North displaying their products. Most of
these are furniture and wooden handicrafts, and hand-made cotton items. The
next venue for the exhibition is Bangkok, where almost 100 penitentiaries
will be staging a major exhibition from January 12-22.
residents visit the exhibition.
Villagers in Thai-Burma agricultural project area afraid they will lose their land
Chiangmai Mail Reporter
Villagers on the Burmese side of the border opposite Chiang
Rai province are afraid that a new agricultural cooperation project between the
Thai and Burmese governments will displace them from their land.
SHAN (Shan Herald Agency for News) press agency reported on
December 15 that Thailand and Burma had signed an agreement that would in theory
bring income for Burmese laborers, reduce the number of alien laborers who are
currently in Thailand, and allow the Thais to import the produce at beneficial
The large-scale agricultural project would use land from
Tachilek district to Ranong in Burma, totaling 77 million rai. The Thai
government will fund the project while the Burmese military government will
supply the land and labor.
Villagers fear however that the lands they currently
cultivate will be confiscated by the Burmese military, which they say has
Villagers in Tachilek district, opposite Mae Sai district in
Chiang Rai province, say that their farmed land has been taken away by the
military authorities on several occasions, with no compensation. Although they
were promised work the authorities had moved in ethnic Wa laborers instead.
They now say that the project will take away their land, lose
them their livelihood, and still leave the matter of illegal labor in Thailand
Burmese fisherman killed and Thai village headman shot
Rescued by Burmese troops
A village headman fishing on the Pai River was shot and
wounded by what is believed to be a group of Karen Kaya on the Burmese side of
Muang Mae Hong Son Police Station reported that the incident
happened on December 13. The headman was identified as Suthad Photaboot, 47, of
Baan Piang Din. He was admitted to Sri Sangwan Hospital with a bullet wound to
his right hip.
Suthad told investigators that he, along with three Burmese
men had gone fishing on the Burmese side of the river. When their boat arrived
at Baan Sop Eua, four kilometers from Baan Nam Ping Din, people who he believed
to be Karen Kaya shot at the boat. One of his Burmese companions was killed.
Burmese soldiers shot back at the offenders who retreated, whereupon the
Burmese rescued Suthad and the two surviving Burmese. The troops told him that
the Karen Kaya were fomenting trouble because they are dissatisfied with the Red
Star army which controls that region.
Now it’s the “Twilight Zoo” until February, 2006
Thanaphat Pongpamorn Chiang Mai Zoo director said that in
this high season period, Chiang Mai Zoo will open the “Twilight Zoo” which
is the second time of the activity, after was very successful in 2004. The
activity is to encourage the tourists to visit and see the twilight atmosphere
of Chiang Mai Zoo including a chance to see many animals which hunt at those
times, including tigers, wolf, hyenas, gorals, Asiatic Black bears, binturong,
and wild boars.
In the Twilight Zoo, Chiang Mai zoo will have electric
trolley cars servicing tourists to see night atmosphere of the 100 rai zoo.
During the trip guides will give details and information to tourists. The
Twilight Zoo opened on December 3, 2005 and will run until February,
2006 which is the end of winter.
Thanaphat also said that this is extending the time for
visiting pandas, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. because Chuang Chuang and Lin Hui like
cold weather, so extending the time will not affect their health.
Although Chiang Mai has opened the Night Safari or night zoo
already, Chiang Mai zoo believes that there will still be many tourists who love
seeing animals as a family because they can explain the night life of animals to
their children. The Chiang Mai zoo will use the pandas as the selling point
since they are the stars of the zoo already.
Currently there are 3000-4000 tourists each day visiting the Chiang Mai
zoo during daylight hours and 100 tourists at night.
Human rights in Burma subject of exhibition at CMU
An exhibition on human rights in Burma, or the lack of them,
was the subject of an exhibition at Chiang Mai University Art Museum
on December 12, held in recognition of Human Rights
Day and organized in
conjunction with the Salween team and alliance group.
A large gathering of Thai and Burmese artists from the fields
of literature, music and fine arts gathered at the exhibition and there were
displays of Thai dancing from Wiang Hang district and a performance of Aung San
Suu Kyi’s biographical story by Chulalongkorn University students.
In the exhibition room were images of Aung San Suu Kyi and a
display of the culture of each of the ethnic groups in Burma.
Mekong quadrangle culture activity in Chiang Rai
Chiangmai Mail Reporter
Chiang Rai province, in association with Lanna provinces,
organized a cultural activity of four Mekong River basin countries to promote
our own Lanna culture and produce a stage for exchanging cultures among
neighboring countries. An attendance of more than 100,000 people is predicted,
and with OTOP products being sold, hopes are high that this will bring in many
millions of baht through a boost to the tourism business.
Worakiart Somsoi, Chiang Rai governor disclosed that Chiang
Rai will jointly hold the cultural activity with eight Lanna provinces between
December 21-25, 2005 at the old Chiang Rai airport.
Hopefully, it will be able strengthen Lanna culture through its cultural
heritage that will be conserved plus it will encourage neighboring countries in
a good future association in relation to investment, tourism and trade.
Chiang Mai international conference center to be ready for 2008
Junnapong Saranak; Tourism Authority of Thailand Northern
office region 1 Director said that cabinet permission has been received in
October this year, with a 1.9 billion baht budget, to build the international
conference center and Northern SME center office close to the Chiang Mai 700
years Anniversary Stadium in the same area of Northern Agricultural product
Appointment of a building contractor is expected to be
announced soon and it is estimated that construction of the center will be
finished by November 2007.
Junnapong said that they will be ready to hold international
conferences in 2008, and marketing the con-
cept overseas would be no problem. Hopefully this ‘mini’ project will not
suffer from the same problems as the mega projects have of late.
IT moves into Chiang Mai’s court system
Chiang Mai’s courts are to begin accepting evidence and
court documentation through the electronic media, following a Decem-ber 16
ruling by Jakrit Anansuchatkul, judge commissioner of Court Region 5.
The ruling was supported by TT&T (Public) Co., Ltd. which
supplies the video technology that will be used to speed up court procedures.
Pol Lt Gen Panupong Singhara na Ayuthaya, commissioner of Provincial Police
Bureau Region 5, said the program will be first applied in the three police
stations at Hot, San Pa Tong and Chiang Dao.
Provincial court judge Ubonrat Leepatanakit said that
information technology could support efficiency and convenient service, and also
save on expenses. Asking for court documentation through information technology
will initially be used for prison cases only and will be later used for other
Prakit Wangpat, director of Northern TT&T (Public) Co Ltd
said that the equipment is able to send image and voice signals together at the
Murder mystery of friendly gift shop lady
police search the boyfriend’s vehicle.
The owner of a gift shop located in front of Chiang Mai
University, known to everyone as a lively and friendly lady, has been found
murdered in bizarre circumstances.
Officers from Phuping Police Station along with forensic
specialists and a doctor from Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital were called out
to the scene of the crime on December 13. Next to the PTT gas station near CMU
on Chiang Mai Irrigation Road they found the body of a woman wearing a purple
sweater and jeans. She had been blindfolded and was tied to a tree with a car
seatbelt. The woman had been struck on the head with a solid object and the
officers estimated she had been dead for four or five hours.
Police identified her as Benjaporn Pewpong, 27, a resident of
Chotana Road at Tambon Chang Puek in Muang, Chiang Mai. Five hundred meters away
from the body was a bronze Mira that belonged to the dead woman, and
investigations revealed that the seatbelt used to bind her had been taken from
Friends told investigators that Benjaporn, also known as Ann,
was a lively person and that she owned a gift shop in front of CMU. She drove
her car home every day after 10 p.m. and she had no argument with anyone.
Wuthichai Jaisamak, 29, the boyfriend of the dead woman said they had dated
for several years and the parents of both knew about their relationship.
Wuthichai’s car was searched and a black sweater, trousers and a cutter
removed from the vehicle for investigation.
Mission sets out to unravel the mystery of Anocha, believed abducted to North Korea 27 years ago
Panjoi (left) and Banjong Panjoi (right) were comparing Anocha’s picture with
Jenkins’ book that was the same person.
A quest to find out exactly what happened to a Chiang Mai
woman who was reportedly kidnapped from Macau and taken to North Korea 27 years
ago is about to begin, with her family and friends fueled by hope from a book
written by a US Army deserter who says he knows her well.
On December 16, Pornchai Atthapreeyangkul, MP, Boonthong
Phoocharoen, president of Payap University, and Surachai Jongrak, San Kamphaeng
district chief officer gave a briefing on the next move that they hope will
uncover the mystery that has surrounded the disappearance of Anocha Panjoi.
Attending the briefing were Sukham Panjoi and Banjong Panjoi,
Anocha’s brother and nephew.
Anocha disappeared in 1978 and nothing has been heard from
her for 27 years. Tomoharu Ebihara, Payap University teacher, coordinator and
chief of the Association for the Rescue of North Korean Abductees, said that
after surveying all of the evidence he believed Anocha was taken to North Korea.
He cited parts of “Ko Ku Ha Ku” (To Tell The Truth) written by Charles
Robert Jenkins, an American soldier who deserted from the army and lived in
North Korea for 40 years, marrying a Japanese woman who was abducted and brought
into the country.
Jenkins wrote the book when the Japanese government helped
him and his family come to his wife’s home in Japan. Jenkins writes that
Anocha knows his family intimately, and says that she was kidnapped when she was
living in Macau. The book includes pictures of a woman resembling Anocha.
Tomohara believes she is alive because the book was published only on October
15, but North Korea denies the kidnapping.
As a result of all this, three groups of volunteers, namely
the Association of the Families of Victims Kidnapped by North Korea (AFVKN),
National Association for the Rescue of Japanese Kidnapped by North Korea
(NARKN), and the Parliamentarian League for Early Repatriation of Japanese
Citizens Kidnapped by North Korea have invited the two members of Anocha’s
family, along with Surachai and Tomoharu, to travel to Japan.
There they will visit the families of kidnap victims and also
meet with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and other senior Japanese ministers. A
number of reporters will cover this trip.
Anocha’s brother and nephew said that although there is little hope of
visiting Anocha, they hope she is still alive. If she cannot come back to
Thailand they hope that she will be able to contact them, because everyone is
waiting to hear from her.
Attempts to lower the annual disastrous New Year road toll
Pathrawan Sadudee, head of Office of Disaster Prevention and
Mitigation Chiang Mai, disclosed that the office will endeavor to keep
accidental deaths below 17 and injuries below 300.
Officers will crack down on speeding and drunk driving on
five main routes entering Chiang Mai. 100 checkpoints along the city area, and
outside the city, will be set up. Small shops selling alcohol to drivers will be
monitored, though it was not enumerated how this was to be achieved.
Almost 200 police officers, hospital and administrative
sectors have been asked to rapidly report accidents, numbers of deaths and
injuries by online network for the office to analyze each day and to adjust
accident reduction strategies.
Last year, during the seven days of the New Year period,
there were 460 accidents in Chiang Mai resulting in 17 deaths and 516 injuries.
After analyzing, it was found that 71 percent of injuries were because riders
did not wear helmets and 53 percent were drunk. Most accident occurred with
motorcycles on highway (44 percent) and TAO and municipality area routes (35
Unfortunately, we have run this particular item for the past three years, so
it will be doubtful if there will be much change. Motorcyclists are still not
wearing helmets, the traffic rules are not being consistently enforced and
alcohol affected behavior is endemic.
Plans for security during New Year period
Plans for provincial security have been revealed by Pol. Lt.
Gen. Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, commissioner of Provincial Police Bureau
Region 5. These include an increased police presence, enforcement of traffic
regulations, and a warning to tourists not to be ostentatious with their wealth.
Before the New Year, 152 station officers will try to
eliminate all kinds of crime and police will work jointly with residents seeking
information and infor-mation technology will be applied.
During the New Year, police will enforce regulations
seriously especially regarding traffic including motorcycle helmets, safety
belts and drunk drivers. Checkpoints will be set up to monitor the situation.
The commissioner said that now there are many tourists visiting the north
especially in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. Drug dealers may join as tourists
therefore police have kept a close eye on them. He warned tourists not carry
wealthy jewelry or much money while traveling. Any problem could be relayed to
telephone 191 at all time and police will be at the scene in 15 minutes.