Vol. V No. 1 - Saturday December 31 - January 6, 2006
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NEWS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

An interesting year comes to an end

Newborn elephant at Maesa Elephant Camp named Kiwi Gruru

No more New Year blessings ceremonies for government officials, says cabinet

Chiang Mai losing 50,000 baht a day on public transport

Three months to comply with hoardings regulations

HRI director finds the cost of free speech

Chiang Mai Red Cross increases blood stocks for New Year

70th running of Miss Chiang Mai contest

A walk in the park for two pandas so they can enjoy the cool weather

Water tunnel distribution scheme is discussed at seminar

Hmong New Year festival and 4th wooden cart competition

Pollution of the Ping caused by hospital oil spill

New law allows police to more effectively pursue economic crimes

Central Group takes over restoration of Wat Phra Singh

MPs present blankets but Mae Hong Son still facing cold weather problems

Eight Lanna provinces planning for World Handicraft Expo 2009

Crackdown ordered on rental accommodation as part of anti-drugs drive

Next round set for traditional Northern group wedding

Shops with warm clothing doing hot business

OTOS training underway in Lampang

Burmese beggars bagged by police

Chiang Mai traffic police producing inappropriate checkpoints?

Accidents on Chiang Mai-San Kamphaeng route blamed on lack of street lighting

Mae Sai police arrested high heeled drug couriers

Police catch courier with 40,000 speed pills

Robber killed in Chiang Mai Lake Land Village

Police investigating gift shop murder expecting to close case soon

Lampang on traffic accident 24 hour alert

Police raid nets haul of 20,000 ya ba pills and two gang members

Again earthquake shakes the citizens of Chiang Rai

Auto supplies building blazes in city center

An interesting year comes to an end

Chiangmai Mail Reporters

Was 2005 a good year or bad one? The answer depends mainly upon the individual, but a brief overview of Chiang Mai itself and a scanning of our headlines shows that the Rose of the North has definitely had its share of highs and lows.

Fundraisings, by far and foremost in the beginning of the year in aid of the Tsunami victims, yielded millions of baht both in cash and kind. Protests were staged against the airport’s extension, the multicolored red, yellow, white and green minibuses protested against the municipality busses. The residents protested against the Prime Minister, and the highway construction slipped into low gear. Bombs were found and luckily diffused, April temperatures reached 42 degrees, and members of the Royal family, politicians and dignitaries were welcomed at major Hotels in town. Burmese wall hangings contained more than wool, and the air pollution is almost worse than in Bangkok (and at times even more so). Restaurants opened and closed again, hundreds of couples enjoyed a fairytale wedding in the land of the 1,000 rice fields, and a Kantoke feast was held for elephants. There were floods, the worst in 40 years, earthquakes
and summer storms. Chao Kokaew Prakaykavil na Chiang Mai passed away, Miss Universe and her entourage descended on our City, and the Pandas celebrated their wedding and 4
th birthdays. The Night Safari opening was postponed, but the menu has been changed!

An interesting year comes to its end, and Chiangmai Mail and its Team wishes you a peaceful, harmo-nious, healthy and happy 2006!


Newborn elephant at Maesa Elephant Camp named Kiwi Gruru

Nopniwat Krailerg

Kiwi Gruru, new born elephant at Maesa Elephant Camp at meal time.

(Photo Courtesy Maesa Elephant Camp)

After a 20 month wait, Pang Noi 2, the 32 year old mother and the Plai Kham Noi, 45, the father, were rewarded with a baby son on December 22.

Anchalee Kalmapijit, director of Maesa Elephant Camp in Mae Rim, Chiang Mai said the baby was born in the Maesa Elephant Nursery.

The little elephant was born in the early hours of the morning and weighs 90 kilograms and is 95 cm tall and is healthy.

Anchalee added that he was born when Gen. Tha-nongsak Tawinan, consultant to the Country Protection Academy Institute of Royal Thai Air Force and Lou J Gardiner, depu-ty commander-in-chief of New Zealand’s Air Force visited the camp and he named the newborn elephant “Kiwi Gruru”. Kiwi is New Zealand’s national fruit and Gruru means third. However, the elephant camp would like the new member of the family to have a Thai name so a contest has been organized letting Thai citizens name him.

Ronachit Roongsri, veterinarian of Maesa Elephant Camp said, the baby could suckle very well, and since this is the mother’s third baby he does not expect any maternal problems.

Maesa Elephant Nursery was set up to help increase the elephant population because Thai elephants have been decreasing and there are only two thousand left. There have been 13 babies born at the camp since 1999.


No more New Year blessings ceremonies for government officials, says cabinet

Chiangmai Mail Reporter

Government public relations spokesman Shinapat Putthachad has announced that the cabinet has issued a resolution to abolish ceremonies in which blessings and gifts are bestowed upon political parties and politicians, saying it is an outmoded extravagance.

Guidelines have been issued to all government institutes, state enterprises and senior personnel that in cases where gifts are given they should be merchandize that has been produced within Thailand, such as OTOP produce, in order to bolster local economies.

The cabinet directed all government officers to cease blessing the prime minister, ministers and department heads during the New Year festival because it is a waste of time and money. Greetings cards may be sent but they should either be hand-made or made from natural materials.


Chiang Mai losing 50,000 baht a day on public transport

Nopniwat Krailerg

Loss making Municipality bus.

Pornchai Jitnavasathien, Chiang Mai deputy mayor disclosed that since the commencement of the new bus services, they had only 3,000 passengers a day, bringing in 20,000 baht a day. Since bus service expenses are 60,000 baht this produces a 40,000 baht daily deficit. This does not include the budget that the municipality uses to support 100 red minibuses on two routes for 100 baht each which is another 10,000 baht per day. Bottom line comes to 50,000 baht loss each day of operation.

To assist in lowering the deficit, the municipality will campaign for residents to reduce private vehicle use and use mass public transport instead.

He added that this year the municipality planed to expand the service to cover nine routes though currently there are only four mass transport routes. Both busses and red minibusses will serve according to the master plan, however the municipality will encourage Nakorn Lanna Transport Cooperatives to use new minibusses instead of the old red mini-
busses. He believed that if the service could service nine routes then the loss will be reduced, as well being able to support the pro-
vince’s economy including supporting tourism.


Three months to comply with hoardings regulations

Saksit Meesubkwang

Boonlert Buranupakorn, Chiang Mai mayor and Pornchai Jitnavasathien, the deputy mayor head the municipality officials to remove advertisement hoardings along the city canal.

Boonlert Buranupakorn, Chiang Mai mayor has said that since the municipality has developed the province to be a clean and green area advertising hoardings and signs will have to comply with city regulations.

Some signs that are considered inappropriate have already been removed, and the mayor has signaled his intention to get rid of hoarding eyesores that do not comply.

Initially they have been looking at the Chiang Mai canal and will expand this process into other areas such as on Huay Kaew, Nimmanheminda, Suthep, Charoen Muang and Chang Klan roads.

So far there has been almost 1,000 signboards discovered that are illegal, and 300 have been removed so far.

The mayor added that this time the implementation of signboard regulations will be strictly applied and owners have three months to comply.

If any owner of signboard ignores this or constructs an oversize hoarding, he or she will be prosecuted according to law, he declared.


HRI director finds the cost of free speech

Rewarded with a punch in the mouth

Nopniwat Krailerg

Plodprasope Surasawadee, assistant to the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment and Director of Chiang Mai Night Safari

The Khon Hak Muang Chiang Mai Association, an environmental watch-dog, held a press conference after Chaiphan Prapaswat, the director of the Human Rights Institute and Nikhom Phutta, coordinator of the Wild-life Fund Thailand were assaulted by associates of Plodprasope Surasawadee, assistant to the Minister of Natural Resources and En-
vironment and Director of Chiang Mai Night Safari.

The pair had been invited to speak in a TV program called “Thueng Look Thueng Khon” broadcasted by channel 9, to which Plodprasope was also invited, but were assaulted after the pro-gram ended. It appears that Plodprasope was unhappy with a poem composed by Saksiri Meesomsoep which was mentioned by Chaiphan at the close of the program.

After the cameras stopped rolling, associates of Plod-prasope attacked the two environmentalists, punching Chaiphan in the face and roughing up Nikhom. The assaults took place in front of the TV staff and the MC of the program.

The association organized the press conference to pre-sent their side of the story and to criticize Plodpra-sope’s associates. They believed that Plodprasope’s words were impolite, improper for someone in his high post. The association said that different opinions regarding the safari were part and parcel of social democracy and everyone had right to question, and public officers had a duty to explain details and speak the truth.

Chiaphan said in the press conference that after consultations he decided he would sue Plodprasope’s associates. He said that he could not believe that a government official who was an assistant to a minister would be doing this.


Chiang Mai Red Cross increases blood stocks for New Year

Chiangmai Mail Reporters

Sathit Phuprung, chief of Red Cross blood banks, Chiang Mai said that Chiang Mai Red Cross has been building up its blood stocks in anticipation of the New Year’s accidents. It now has 600 donations under refrigeration, which they hope will be enough.

The blood is also used in district hospitals includ-ing Doi Saket, Fang, Chom Thong, and Hot.

Even though it is expected that they have enough reserves, all citizens could donate blood directly at Red Cross blood service branches.


70th running of Miss Chiang Mai contest

Winner from 67 years ago assisting organizers

Nopniwat Krailerg

Beautiful women in fashion dresses together with Suwat Tantipat, Chiang Mai Governor; Ornadda Tantipat, Chiang Mai Red Cross Group president; Sutho Neewankul, Managing Director Mac Media Co., Ltd.; and representative from Pom Klang Company.

The 70th running of the Miss Chiang Mai beauty contest will be incorporated as part of the Winter and Red Cross Festival during December 31 - January 12, 2006 being held behind Chiang Mai City Hall.

The contest for 2006 contest is a special event because it is the 70th year of the Miss Chiang Mai pageant, choosing the winner as the most beautiful woman from the eight Northern provinces. The beauty queen must be true northern citizens speaking the northern Thai language and will be judged on competence, beauty, and personality suitable to be an ambassador for local tourism, arts, and traditions in Chiang Mai.

Buakaew Intarasuwan, aged 83 years, the former Miss Chiang Mai in 1939.

The parade of all candidates will be on December 31, 2005 at 2 p.m. starting at Chiang Mai Buddhist place then along Thapae road to Wat Phra Singh. The first round will be on January 2, 2006 at Central Airport Plaza to narrow the field to 50 women. The second round on January 7 at Winter Festival stage selecting for 20 candidates, and the final selection on January 8. The winner will receive 100,000 baht cash and other prizes.

As a special incentive, Buakaew Intarasuwan, aged 83 who was Miss Chiang Mai in 1939 will be there and the winner will have her photo taken with the spritely former holder of the title.


A walk in the park for two pandas so they can enjoy the cool weather

Nopniwat Krailerg

Panda; sweetheart of Chiang Mai Zoo visitors

Chiang Mai Zoo’s two pandas are being taken out of their usual area and into an open field so that they can enjoy the kind of winter habitat they would have enjoyed in China.

Prasertsak Buntragul-poontawee, project manager for panda research together with the Chiang Mai Zoo veterinarian team and executives let Chuang Chuang and Lin Hui walk in the field outside the exhibition area to feel the cold weather in Chiang Mai and scent the evening air which at this time of year is similar to China, the pandas’ birthplace.

The couple clearly enjoyed their stroll, playing together, although when Lin Hui climbed a tree the staff became rather worried and resolved not to let the pandas out again until the trees are pruned.

Prasertsak said the exhibition area is air-conditioned but as Chiang Mai has a cold season they also had planned to have this field nearby for releasing the pandas. Visitors can watch the pair in the open, where there are four big trees in an area of 400 square meters.

A close watch is however being kept on the two, because they may begin breeding in February and zoo officials are concerned that they might indulge in unseemly behavior in public.


Water tunnel distribution scheme is discussed at seminar

Nopniwat Krailerg

A project to distribute water from Mae Ngad and Mae Guang dams by tunnel was discussed at a seminar organized by the Royal Irrigation Department at the Chiang Mai Phu Kam Hotel.

The department had earlier commissioned a consulting company to study and design the project and has
previously conducted five discussion meetings dur-
ing the course of this year. About 150 representatives of various related sectors attended the most recent meeting.

This is a short-term project to add water to the Mae Guang Dam to solve the problem of insufficient water at the Mae Guang River Basin. The main element is a concrete tunnel 4.2 meters in diameter and 22.975 kilometers long. The tunnel mouth would be at Mae Ngad Dam in Mae Taeng, with the outlet at Mae Guang Dam in Doi Saket. Floodwaters would be taken from Mae Ngad in the rainy season to Mae Guang Dam, with 47 million cubic meters being transported each year.

Opinions are being sought on the feasibility of the project before any decision is made.


Hmong New Year festival and 4th wooden cart competition

Nopniwat Krailerg

Baan Nong Hoi Mai, village hosts for the Hmong New Year 2006.

The Hmong New Year festival is to be held this year at Baan Nong Hoi Mai, Tambon Mae Ram in Mae Rim district, Chiang Mai. Baan Nong Hoi Mai was chosen by the Chiang Mai Culture Conservation and Drug Resistance Network.

Phanom Metha-anankul, deputy president of Mae Ram TAO said that sporting competitions during the Hmong New Year celebration for 2006 will be organized on January 3 at Baan Nong Hoi Mai. These will include competitions such as top, crossbow, ball and egg casting, water carrying, Hmong musical instrument contest, Miss Hmong beauty show and the 4th wooden cart racing plus stage performances during the day. It is supported budget by the Royal Project Foundation, Chiang Mai PAO and Red Bull energy drink.

Chiang Mai Culture Conservation and Drug Resistance Network was established in 1993 and has arranged the Hmong New Year for culture conservation and drug prevention since 1995. Villages take it in turns to host the event.

To get to this year’s village drive on Chotana Chiang Mai-Mae Rim Road then turn left to Mae Rim-Samoeng Road and go straight on until you arrive at Nong Hoi Mai Royal Project on the right hand side.


Pollution of the Ping caused by hospital oil spill

Nopniwat Krailerg

On December 19, 2005 Chiang Mai Municipality received complaints from citizens asking them to investigate the drain of a private hospital at Tambon Pa Tan, Muang district, Chiang Mai because of oil leaking from a tank and flowing down the Mae Kha canal and then to the Ping River. People are afraid the oil leak will be dangerous and cause much pollution.

After this information, the Chiang Mai Municipality rushed to the scene led by Wilawan Woraputipong, Chiang Mai Deputy Mayor, followed by the staff of Public Health Office, city police, and others.

At the scene, they found the valve of the oil tank was broken and allowed 6000 liters to flow into the Ping River. It appeared that a technician at the Lanna Hospital, Chiang Mai was responsible for the broken valve. The hospital admitted there was a problem and will take the responsibility for all expenses in eliminating the oil slick.

The hospital will solve the problem by using deodorizing chemical liquid which can break up and eliminate the oil slick. After cleaning the area the staff will take the cleaning to the river, using boats.

Chiang Mai Municipality fined the hospital 10,000 baht and commanded it to immediately address the problem. The oil slick had already flowed to Saraphi district, Chiang Mai province.


New law allows police to more effectively pursue economic crimes

Saksit Meesubkwang

Seventy officers of Chiang Rai police, the Pha Muang Task Force and other law enforcement officials gathered at the Rim Kok Resort in Chiang Rai on December 21 for a seminar organized by the Department of Special Investigation to review the ramifications of the Special Case Investigation Act 2004.

The meeting, presided over by Chiang Rai governor Worakiart Somsoi, was designed to see how the new law is to be applied in practice and to discover if there are any loopholes that need to be closed. Speakers included Tharit Phengdit, deputy director general of the DSI and Suthi Sookying, Chiang Rai provincial attorney.

The Act is an important development in law enforcement for it allows police and the justice system special investigative powers in pursuing suspects in economic crimes, both within the country and overseas.

Tharit said the DSI chose Chiang Rai for this, its first seminar under the 2006 budget, because of the province’s proximity to neighboring countries. DSI wants to work closely with government organizations in the province, believing that the powers officers have under the Act could lead to curtailment of criminal activities in areas such as human trafficking and money laundering.

It is however important that citizens’ rights are upheld under the Act, said Tharit, and the meeting needed to discuss this aspect in full as any transgressions could be serious both for investigators and for the future of the Act itself.

Tharit gave an example of the kind of crime that the Act could be especially beneficial in solving. He said that a few days ago DSI officers arrested two offenders who had been hacking information from credit cards by wiring into a credit card reader, and then
using the data to purchase goods. The officers found the thieves had bought four diamond rings worth 180,000 baht from the Mandalay shop in Mae Sai on December 14.


Central Group takes over restoration of Wat Phra Singh

Kittiyaporn Kanjam and Pinutda Suwanchaisri

Suthiporn Jirathiwat, deputy chairman of the board of Central Group (3rd left back row); Jiamjit Jirathiwat (3rd right back row); Wanthani Jirathiwat (2nd right back row) and Narongrit Jirathiwat (2nd left back row), and Sahawat Nanna, director of 8th Office of Fine Arts (left).

The Central Group, in association with 8th Office of Fine Arts, Chiang Mai, will restore Wat Phra Singh and organized a ceremony appease the spirits of the temple before starting the restoration process, according to Lanna culture. It was presided over by Suthiporn Jirathiwat, deputy chairman of the board of Central Group and Sahawat Nanna, director of 8th Office of Fine Arts.

Wat Phra Singh Worama-hawiharn is primarily a royal monastery and is important for its history, archaeology, architecture and Lanna art. It contains a Phra Phutta Sihing Buddha Image that has been in Chiang Mai for almost 500 years.

Initially, the Fine Arts Department was responsible for this temple but insufficient budget forced the department to transfer the responsibility to private sector with the Central Group taking this on board. The company realizes the importance of ancient Lanna sites so it provided funding supporting the restoration, to return some of its profits to the society.

The restoration will be applied to Lai Kham building, Buddhist Scriptures building, Siang Miang Pagoda, main pagoda, lined-three pagodas and surrounding areas. The restoration is to start in December and there were many Buddhists at the appeasement ceremony.


MPs present blankets but Mae Hong Son still facing cold weather problems

Saksit Meesubkwang

Many people are waiting for blankets.

Khomsan Suwan-ampha, head of the Office of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation in Mae Hong Son received 2,400 blankets from Mae Hong Son MPs to present to residents suffering distress from the cold weather. He presented 200 to Muang district, 300 to Sop Moei, 400 to Mae Sariang, 500 to Pang Mapha and Pai, 200 to Khun Yuam and 300 to Mae La Noi.

The office had earlier conducted a survey that revealed more than 50,000 people were at risk from the cold but that there was an insufficient supply of urgently needed blankets. Consultations have taken place with the governor of the province over an emergency budget. Support is also required from the private sector in the form of donated blankets and these will be distributed to those in need.


Eight Lanna provinces planning for World Handicraft Expo 2009

Nopniwat Krailerg

The eight northern provinces are jointly planning to establish 24 pilot handicraft communities. 5 billion baht will be spent before the expo which it hoped will bring in 135 billion baht.

Napong Sa-nguannapa-
porn, director of the handicraft community establishment project disclosed the progress of the project, saying that now information from overseas countries is being studied to assist in production of the Action Plan.

Three pilot communities in each province will be put forward to be handicraft and tourism communities of the North, coming to 24 communities from the eight provinces. However, there might be more than three handicraft communities in Chiang Mai due to San Kamphaeng district being the PM’s hometown.

He added that there was still much work to be done to gage the impact of the Action Plan, well before World Handicraft Expo 2009.


Crackdown ordered on rental accommodation as part of anti-drugs drive

Saksit Meesubkwang

Police and narcotics control officials are checking rented accommodation throughout Chiang Mai province under the orders of the governor as part of a drug control plan that is aimed specifically at students and other young people.

Mongkol Danwilaipitikul, head of the Chiang Mai Social Development Office, said the office had been put on alert to verify residences within its area of responsibility, as many of the properties have not been registered as rental accommodation and consequently youngsters can gather there
unattended. This can lead to spread of drug use and other socially undesirable activities. Mongkol said that a property owner who does not follow the regula-tions regarding registration, and who allows the pre-
mises to be used for nefarious purposes, can face a prison term of six months and/or a fine of up to 2,000 baht.

He said the verifying process was going well and that several instances have also been found of properties that transgress the building regulations.

Registered rental residences in Chiang Mai offering student accommodation totals 650. Of these, 488 are fully legal with the others either being new residences or those with incomplete documenta-tion. Most residences are located near educational institutes.


Next round set for traditional Northern group wedding

Nopniwat Krailerg

Chiang Mai Council of Cultural Affairs is preparing to hold the ninth Lanna group wedding, an event that is designed to keep Lanna traditions alive and which will be held on January 21.

Dr Chao Duangduan na Chiang Mai, head of the Chiang Mai Council of Cultural Affairs, said the organization is working with the Family Planning Association and the Chiang Mai Public Health Office to organize traditional group weddings for couples who wish to celebrate their nuptials in this way.

Chiang Mai Public Health Office deputy chief Dr Surasing Witsarutrat said that the information given to couples ranges from the physical to the psychological to prepare them fully for marriage. The physicals include checks for HIV, hepatitis and anemia alongside birth control advice and services.


Shops with warm clothing doing hot business

Saksit Meesubkwang

The current low temperatures have sent Chiang Mai citizens flocking to shops selling warm overcoats. The Northern Meteorological station in Chiang Mai
revealed that during December 24-30, 2005 air pressure or the cold air mass from China covered Thailand making temperatures in the north 2-4 degrees Celsius colder.

On the top of mountains temperatures are around 2-5 degrees Celsius; on December 22 Chiang Mai Airport Air Station reported 10.6 degrees; 4-6 degrees on the top of Doi Inthanon; 8.8 degrees on Doi Ang Khang and it is expected that it will fall again.

Everyone is warned, especially children and seniors, to take care of their health and have all upper respiratory tract diseases promptly treated.


OTOS training underway in Lampang

Chiangmai Mail Reporter

The Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department is working with various organizations over the “One Tambon One Search and Rescue Team” project, in which volunteers learn how to rescue victims from disasters in their own immediate areas. This is part of a national project, with the intention being that by 2008 every tambon in the country will have its own rescue team, totaling more than 70,000 volunteers.

Kanit Iamrahong, director of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Center Region 10 Lampang said that the department is coordinating with the Department of Local Administration, National Health Security Office, Thai Health Promotion Foundation, Office of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Health, and The Thai Red Cross to organize the OTOS project.

The organizers expected to develop rescue systems and train the staff to be ready with a fast response in facing accidents and other emergencies.


Burmese beggars bagged by police

Nopniwat Krailerg

A raid on December 24 by Chiang Mai police and officers of Social Development and Human Security Office resulted in their catching
12 Burmese beggars and eight Burmese babies,
while another 20 managed to run away and hide. They were ambushed at their camp which they had set up in a grove close to a deserted
village in San Sai district, Chiang Mai.

After investigation, the officers said that they were smuggled into the country in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai, before drifting down to different crowded zones in Chiang Mai, such as the Night Bazaar.

The beggars were averaging 500 baht a day, and many had been previously arrested, often more than once and deported, only to come back again, as 500 baht was more than they can make in Burma.

The modus operandi was to rest at the grove during the day, to be picked up and dropped off at likely areas for begging at night. Local
police and authorities feel that they caused trouble for
tourists and poor image to Chiang Mai, especially
during this high season for tourism.


Chiang Mai traffic police producing inappropriate checkpoints?

Saksit Meesubkwang

Local residents are complaining about the appropriateness of traffic checkpoints set up by the traffic police. It is understood that wearing helmets and safety belts are both good preventive methods of reducing the road toll, but by placing the checkpoints in dangerous areas works against traffic safety, it is claimed.

The principal complaint lies with the checkpoint at the Nawarat Bridge in Muang, Chiang Mai close to the Chiang Mai governor’s residence. Residents complain that they are waiting at a curve that was risky and would cause accidents.
Several riders jump on the brakes, and some have lost control, or been run into by following vehicles. Others attempt U-turns, endangering themselves in peak hour traffic.

Residents state that the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 had agreed not to set up too many and inappropriate checkpoints, but this resulted in less income for the police, so they have reverted to the hidden checkpoints, which bring in more revenue.


Accidents on Chiang Mai-San Kamphaeng route blamed on lack of street lighting

Nopniwat Krailerg

Rescue team at the accident site.

Another accident has been recorded on the Chiang Mai-San Kamphaeng culture route, with local residents blaming the lack of street lighting as being On December 21, Mae Ping Police Station learnt there was another accident in front of Rom Yen Kindergarten School on the old Chiang Mai-San Kamphaeng Road.

This incident involved a pick-up truck driven by Rangsan Wongboonma, 26, and a motorcycle with three-up. Rangsan said he was on his way to pick his wife and because of the darkness in the area, he did not see the motorcycle which came very quickly.

Residents say that there are electric lighting poles in the area, but they are turned off at night! At this accident, local residents had to direct traffic at the scene as they were afraid more accidents would occur because it was very dark.


Mae Sai police arrested high heeled drug couriers

Chiangmai Mail Reporter

On December 17 Pol. Lt. Col. Soonthorn Jantrang-koon, investigation Deputy Superintendent of Mae Sai provincial police, Chiang Rai together with police officer forces detained Chan-sak Chanwong, and Anong Saelim, both being Pathum Thani villagers found with 6,000 Ya Ba pills. The intrepid pair were arrested at the Mae Sai on the Bangkok bound bus.

Working on an obvious tip-off, police discovered that Chansak had secreted the Ya Ba pills in his slippers and Anong had stashed his in high heel shoes.

After investigations, the offenders said that their business had failed and it was then that the middle-men persuaded them to sell Ya Ba.

Police admit that there are large stocks of drugs on the Burmese side of the border, which they and the army are attempting to block. However, the demand is still high in Thailand, so drug dealers take the chance on being caught. Many pretend to be tourists and ferry in the drugs that way.


Police catch courier with 40,000 speed pills

Chiangmai Mail Reporter

Phrae police officers who stopped a Chevrolet pickup truck that was being driven through a checkpoint at Nang Fah in Song district found 40,000 ya ba pills hidden in amongst flower garlands.

The driver of the vehicle, Jaroon Teja, 41, of Chiang Rai, said he was delivering the pills for a dealer in Mae Sai, and had instructions to hand them over to an agent in Suphan Buri. Jaroon was arrested and his vehicle impounded.

The checkpoint had been set up under the directions of Pol Maj Gen Phumira Watanapanee, Phrae provincial police commander, as part of the extra security measures for the New Year period.


Robber killed in Chiang Mai Lake Land Village

Nopniwat Krailerg

On December 19, investigation officers of Chiang Mai Provincial Police followed a gang of Chiang Mai thieves after a stealing spree in Chiang Mai Lake Land
Village located beside the Chiang Mai Irrigation Road at Tambon Suthep in Muang, Chiang Mai. After being cornered, the leader of the gang fired on police, but was killed when the officers returned the fire.

Prinya Kantimoon, 37, was the head of the gang who was shot at the scene. It was revealed that he had four previous stealing charges against him. The other two gang members were able to escape during the melee.

Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, commissioner of Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 said that a special force had been set up to pursue this gang of robbers. Police will pursue the other two for prosecution, the commissioner said.


Police investigating gift shop murder expecting to close case soon

Nopniwat Krailerg

The case of the murder of gift shop owner Benjaporn Pewpong, 27, a resident of Chotana Road at Tamb
on Chang Puek in Muang, Chiang Mai is being fully investigated said Pol. Lt.
Gen. Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, commissioner of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5.

As previously reported in the Chiangmai Mail, she had been blindfolded and tied to a tree with the seatbelts from her own car. The time of death looks as if it is being pin-pointed, with witnesses saying that Benjaporn was seen arguing with a man at the CMU.

It has also come out that the woman had been dating a new boyfriend, and police are also following this information. He is sure the killer will be arrested soon.

Her body was taken to Wat Pa Phang in Muang, Chiang Mai for the religious funeral ceremony and had already been cremated according to Buddhist ceremony on December 18. Relatives and friends of the dead woman appealed police to urgently follow the murder case.


Lampang on traffic accident 24 hour alert

Chiangmai Mail Reporters

Lampang Office of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation region 10 will be manning 24 hour call centers between December 26, 2005 and January 4, 2006 to hopefully help reduce the road toll.

Khanit Iamrahong, president of the Office of
Disaster Prevention and Mitigation region 10 said they have vehicles, rescue equipment and other tools, information, and mission staff on 24 hour alert. Contact numbers are 1784 or 0 5421 7877, 0 5421 8124, 0 5421 8346, and 0 5422 8700; 24 hours.


Police raid nets haul of 20,000 ya ba pills and two gang members

Chiangmai Mail Reporter

Lamphun police searching a residence in the Muang district uncovered a haul of almost 20,000 speed pills hidden in a wardrobe.

Provincial police comman-der Pol Maj Gen Thong-in Harnpajonsuek said that investigations had revealed that a gang of dealers was working in the city at an address in Tambon Baan Klang. On December 20 narcotics control officers entered the premises where they found two men identified as Wutti-chai Jaiyasan, 20 and Surapol Buatoom, 20.

A total of 19,631 ya ba pills were discovered wrapped in plastic bags. Wuttchai said the drugs belonged to two people he identified as Yo and Ann, and that they had been left there awaiting sale. Police are now looking for the two other gang members.


Again earthquake shakes the citizens of Chiang Rai

Chiangmai Mail Reporter

Another earth tremor has shaken Chiang Rai, with several districts feeling the vibrations and residents and tourists in tall buil- dings feeling especially vulnerable.

On December 16, Chiang Rai Meteorological Center learned from the Earthquake Checking Center that two earthquakes had occurred, at 9.13 am and 9.14 am. The center of this quake was in Pa Dad district, Chiang Rai, and people in Thoeng and Phan districts felt the effects.

Earlier, on December 8, an earthquake centered on Mae Suay had registered 3.9 on the Richter scale. On December 15 another quake centered on Thoeng measured 4.1 Richter, and people in Muang and Pa Dad felt the earth shift.

The Chiang Rai Office of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation has said that no damage has been reported except to a building in Pa Dad district, where there was slight breakage because of the quake on December 15.


Auto supplies building blazes in city center

Nopniwat Krailerg

Sahachai Auto Supplies caught fire in the morning of December 22 with 10 fire engines needed to control the blaze and stop it spreading to a neighboring hotel.

The commercial premises, consisting of four three-story buildings and located on Taiwang Road in Muang, Chiang Mai, contained auto oil and rubber tires that fueled the blaze, and firemen took almost an hour to quench the flames.

The owner of the shop, Wandee Kanlayanapisut, said the fire started in one of the storerooms when she was asleep and quickly spread. No one was hurt. Initial enquiries suggest an electrical short-circuit started the fire.



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