Chiang Mai NGO’s protest US-Thai FTA negotiations
People power claims victory
Chiangmai Mail Reporters
On January 9th,
2006, almost 10,000 protestors gathered in front of the Sheraton Hotel,
Chiang Mai, where the US-Thai FTA negotiations were being held.
coffin and an American flag were burned in front of the hotel where the
negotiations were being held. (photo by Saksit Meesubkwang).
On the morning of January 10, leaders of the protest
group vociferously expressed their opinions against both country’s
governments concerning the Free Trade Agreement, requiring the efforts of
800 police officers to keep control of the situation.
Police were able to prevent concerted attempts by the
protestors to get into the conference room, and later, the situation
deteriorated further when around 20 members of the Thai Network of People
Living with HIV/AIDS tried to reach in the hotel by swimming across the Mae
Ping River. Police lining the river bank were able to contain this move,
during which there were injuries to both swimmers and police.
Phiboonsongkram, head of Thai FTA negotiators meeting the crowd (photo by
Meanwhile, the crowd in front of the hotel shouted that
they wished to talk with Nit Phiboonsongkram, head of Thailand’s
representatives at the negotiations, at the same time making repeated
efforts to gain access to the hotel by force. Riot police needed both
shields and truncheons to repel the attack, but stood firm and the effort
failed. Later, Nit Phiboonsongkram met with the protestors and told them he
would not cancel the talks, but nevertheless, he would try his hardest for
Thailand to benefit from the negotiations and would maintain the country’s
advantages. He said that he was a Thai and his sole interest was to maintain
and improve the country’s position at the negotiation table. However, the
protesters seemed rather dissatisfied with his reply, saying that they has
pursued this issue for a long time and demanded that the talks be canceled.
officers trying to control the protest. (photo by Preeyanoot Jittawong).
The following morning, the protestors burnt a coffin
inscribed with Nit Phiboon-songkram’s name, also setting fire to an
American flag in front of the hotel.
The police meanwhile, concerned for the safety of the
negotiating teams, had spirited them out of the hotel. This was accomplished
by disguising the teams as tourists and taking them out in vans from the
rear of the hotel. Later it was learned that the negotiations had been moved
Mai-Lamphun Golf Course in Baan Thi district, Lam-phun.
staff gave first aid to an unconscious woman. (photo by Preeyanoot
The crowd continued to protest outside the Sheraton Hotel
and eventually disbanded, proclaiming a victory for their movement. They
claimed their actions had drawn the attention of the Thai people to the FTA
negotiations and reminded the Thai government of their promise to look after
the interests of the country.
The protestors drew everyone’s attention to the words
of Surapong Seub-wonglee, when he announced on behalf of the Prime Minister,
“PM Thaksin Shina-watra stressed that the negotiators would keep the
interests of our country’s citizens uppermost in their minds, and no
agreement would occur if it was disadvantageous towards the Thai people, at
the same time making every endeavor to consider the opinions of the
keeping control of the protest situa-tion.
(photo by Saksit Meesubkwang).
Main issues causing concern to the protestors were the
increased price of medicines due to the proposed scrapping of cheaper
generic brands and anxiety about Thai farmers being adversely affected
because of the US position in not allowing an open agricultural market, to
protect its own farmers.
The Thai government’s vow has been made to all Thai
citizens, witnessed by journalists, that the government would not allow any
decision to be made at the FTA talks that will adversely affect Thailand’s
position. The spokesperson said “The 11 people’s networks will continue
to monitor the FTA until its conclusion in April this year.”
He added, “If the FTA causes damage, it will mean that PM Thaksin
Shina-watra’s government has broken its vow and does not respect the
promise it has made to its citizens. These 11 organizations will gather once
more at Government House and they will be in greater numbers, probably ten
or a hundred times as many, and we will continue protesting until the
government sits up and takes notice.”
Thai-US FTA negotiations in Chiang Mai explained
The Thai-US FTA negotiations have concluded, with Nit
Phiboonsongkram, Head of the Thai negotiating team, explaining the
situation after the meeting. According to Nit, intense bargaining at the
negotiation table forced a result that enables Thailand to import
products from USA without paying import duty on 8,100 of the 10,500
products listed, amounting to a saving of USD 12,800 million. This list
of products includes electronics, glass, ceramics, gems and textile
products. In return Thailand has offered the US to reduce the export of
agricultural products to America and the easing of restrictions on other
products to balance what they had won in the negotiations.
Two other issues were also resolved at the conference,
namely that of intellectual property and product brand protection. The
main points under discussion were to protect brand names concerning the
fragrance industry and the recording industry and to cancel regulations
that demand product brands to be registered with the Department of
Intellectual Property. Thailand agreed with electronic products brand
registration but it needs further consultations on this issue as well as
protection of its biological products such as Jasmine rice and Thai silk.
The US reciprocated in seeking similar regulations covering its alcohol
and wine products.
The US has appealed to Thailand to pay much stricter
attention to copyright laws and now this is being considered by Food and
Drug Administration. Also the US wants Thailand to source textiles and
associated products used in garment manu-facture, from countries
nominated by the US, but Thailand would prefer to be allowed to import
the material from third world countries.
Thai Customs Department, agreed to publish the new
rules and measures quickly so that businesses would learn in advance,
what steps to take to stay within the law. By strictly observing these
rules it will enable the private sector of Thailand to export into USA.
Thailand has appealed to the US to accept measures
concerning copyright that requires them to seek prior permission before
taking Thai products to use. However, this issue is still under
discussion and as yet, no conclusion has been reached.
The US would also like US nationals to be allowed to
run life insurance businesses in Thailand, with sole American ownership.
Thailand in return has asked the US to allow Thai life insurance to be
sold in all states of America. However, Pojanee Thanawa-ranit,
Director-General of the Department of Insurance disclosed this request
could not be authorized due to the fact that Thailand at present allowed
foreigners to run a business in Thailand by holding 25 percent maximum
ownership, (now being considered to change this to 49 percent), with no
further changes for ten years.
However, these are just two of the many requests that each country has
made to the other and more consultation is needed before agreement is
reached and the situation is ratified. In the meantime, 11 protest
organizations are monitoring this situation and say they will move again
if any issue is found to adversely affect Thailand’s interests.
Night Safari in even more trouble
Accused of dispossessing villager of her land
Sunee Chairos, of the National Human Rights Committee
revealed that her office had received a petition from Dawan Saosena, 48, a
Baan Tong Kai villager at Tambon Nong Kwai in Hang Dong, Chiang Mai. The
petition states that Chiang Mai Night Safari had purchased property from the
resident Dawan, who alleges that the transaction was unjust. Dawan said she
had sold only six rai of the eight rai of land that she owned. The
purchasers were the owners of Chiang Mai Safari, who bought the land for
25,000 baht, to dig a reservoir to hold water for the Safari Park.
Mai Night Safari disputed land area
She initially understood she could still farm the
remaining 2 rai area, but when she tried to do so she was accused of
trespass, arrested and her possessions were removed. She has already
incurred expenses of almost 50,000 baht spent in endeavoring to resolve her
case, but to no avail so far. She has been cautioned to not trespass on the
land again, as to do so would risk being fined or being sent to jail.
She believes that Safari authorities had no right to
remove her property and had broken the law by doing so. At present, the
Safari has already taken elephants into that area.
After receiving the petition, the National Human Rights Committee
conferred with Chiang Mai province and Chiang Mai Night Safari’s
administrators. The committee requested the safari to explain its position,
giving details of the transaction regarding their purchase of the land. When
both sides have had the opportunity to put their case, the Human Rights
Committee expects the situation to be resolved.
Drunk monks should be disrobed, say angry residents
Chang Moi residents complained to police on January 2
that a noisy party was being held at the house of a monk at Wat Chai Sri
Phum, in Tambon Chang Moi.
Pol Capt Manas Theudee, deputy inspector at Muang police
station, led a team of officers to the front of the temple where they heard
music coming from the house of deputy abbot Pornchai Sanyapasathuno. Four
monks, including Pornchai, together with a novice and two male housekeepers
were dancing, and beer cans were scattered on the ground.
Officers checked the refrigerator and found 10 more cans
of beer, and confiscated them, together with a karaoke stereo system, which
would have to be considered entertainment from hell. The abbot was then
informed. Following this, the abbot had a meeting with the temple committee
and the monks concerned, and probation was agreed as it was a first time
Local inhabitants have criticized this decision heavily,
saying that it was improper behavior, and the media has also covered the
event extensively. One survey revealed that 95 percent of the people wanted
the monks disrobed.
Pornchai has since left the monkhood of his own accord, and has gone into
50 percent of pre-paid SIM card users have not registered
The Government has not achieved great success in
enforcing its policy forcing people to register the SIM card of their
pre-paid mobile phones. Six months have passed, but only 50 percent of
subscribers have registered so far. Those who object to registering
their SIM card, claim that it is their personal right to use the
pre-paid phone for personal business communication. The government
should not intervene or force them. Meanwhile, the ICT Minister is
trying to come up with measures to work this out amicably, together
with mobile phone service providers.
It is well-known that terrorists in the three
southern provinces of Thailand have used a mobile phone as a means of
remotely detonating a bomb. In an effort to deal with this problem, the
Government launched its policy in May, 2005, announcing that all
subscribers of the pre-paid mobile phones, must register their SIM
cards with the authorities.
The period for the registration of “new” SIM
cards was set from May 10, 2005 to December 31, 2005. Subscribers
failing to do so, would have their mobile phone service cut off by the
company. However, as of January 1, 2006, only 3.5 million subscribers
out of 7 million have registered their SIM cards. Because of this lack
of compliance ICT Minister, Sora-at Klinpratoom, is urging officials to
take some measures to encourage people to comply with the registration
Thana Tienatchariya, the Vice President for Business
Development of Total Access Communication Co. (DTAC), stated that the
management of the company would confer internally, to find ways to
encourage all their customers to come for the registration. However,
DTAC has decided not to cut off the Mobile phone service of its
customers who have not yet registered. They argue that the announcement
regarding this policy by the government had not been made clearly
enough. Each Cell-phone service provider does not want to lose any of
its customers. They maintain that they will only cooperate with the
Government if it sets out the aims of its policies in a clearer manner.
An anonymous subscriber of a pre-paid cell phone, living in Northern
Thailand, told the reporter, “Using a cell phone is deemed the
personal right of an individual. For those who do not want to register,
the Government should not force them, because, after people register
their SIM cards, I am concerned that officials would listen to the
private conversation of specific subscribers. Anyway, people in the
North have not been involved in the unrest in the South at all.”
Hotel lobbies, train carriages and spa to be smoke-free
The Ministry of Public Health is planning to enforce a
law banning smoking in all hotel lobbies, train and health service
establishments including spa.
Public Health Minister Pinij Jarusombat said the move,
which he hopes could be enforced by end of January is part of the
Ministry’s policy direction that emphasizes disease prevention. The number
one cause of death for Thailand at the moment is cancer, which kills 45,759
people a year, or five every hour. Smoking or second-hand smokers by
inhaling cigarette fume constitute one major cause of death and there are
currently 11.3 million smokers in Thailand.
Mr Pinij said he has just signed two ministerial orders
on to designate more types of smoke-free areas and to increase the size and
visibility of no-smoking signs.
Once announced in the Royal Gazette, these two orders
will prohibit smoking in all hotel lobbies that are air-conditioned; all
establishments that offer traditional medicine and health related services
including spa, massage and beauty retreatment parlours. All train carriages
will also be smoke-free. Prior to these orders, smoking is banned only in
Night Safari attempts to dazzle with statistics
Claims 1 billion baht flowed into Chiang Mai
Plodprasope Surasawadee, the embattled Administrator of
Chiang Mai Night Safari, said that in the six weeks period during which
residents were offered free visits to the Safari, there were 1.1 million
visitors and if they had been charged, the revenue would have been 250
There were 500,000 people from different provinces, who
all required overnight accommodation in Chiang Mai, each of them spending an
estimated 2,000 baht. According to him, it could be said that Chiang Mai
Night Safari made money for Chiang Mai Province in this period, to the tune
of about 1 billion baht, although the Safari was not officially open. He
believed that the Safari Project would prove to be a worthwhile investment
and would recoup the investment capital within seven years.
Mai Night Safari has been visited by 1.1 million people in six weeks.
On January 7, Natural Resources and Environment Board of
Commission and MPs, headed by Nopadol Ponsane, Chairman of the Board visited
Chiang Mai Night Safari, to see the progress being made and to look for any
The board stressed that every effort would be made to run
the project according to the high standards laid down, with particular
concern being given to its impact on the local environment. Also, that the
Safari should be promoted more clearly, to prevent any misunderstandings
with the local residents, for whom the impact of increased numbers of
tourists would be greatest.
Dr. Premsak Phiayura, a Board Commissioner and MP, wished to assure those
living nearby, that their concerns about dangerous animals escaping and
environmental problems, such as increased noise, garbage and water
pollution, were being stringently addressed. Every effort was being made to
prevent these possible occurrences before they became a problem.
White Angel project hopes to decrease the road toll
Buranupakorn, Chiang Mai Mayor, giving his address,
The “White Angel”, project aims to prevent traffic
accidents by educating children and youths to realize the dangers to be
found on the roads and to modify their risky driving habits, which has led
to the ever increasing number of young people being killed or injured on the
Boonlert Buranupakorn, Chiang Mai Mayor, presided over
the opening ceremony of the project at Central Airport Plaza, Chiang Mai and
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pharadee Nanasilp, from the CMU Faculty of Nursing
described the details of the project.
Mayor Boonlert said that the most common causes of
traffic accidents were speeding, running traffic lights on red and general
lack of consideration for other road users. All people should be aware that
the vehicles we drive can turn into a lethal weapon in the blink of an eye
and a moment of carelessness or aggressive behavior can cost innocent lives.
Pedestrians are equally at risk, especially when they are trying to cross
the road on the recently introduced pedestrian crossings. Because motorists
and especially motorcyclists are so conditioned to running red lights they
are making these crossings (which were intended to make crossing the street
safer), an extremely hazardous place to do so. He said the motto for all
road users should be, “Take more care on the roads and think more of
The White Angel traffic accident project was organized by
the Faculty of Nursing, Chiang Mai University in association with Chiang Mai
municipality, Chiang Mai Provincial Public Health Office, accident
prevention organizations of Chiang Mai, Traffic Center of Chiang Mai
Provincial Police and Central Airport Plaza Department Store.
Natural resources and environmental management on Mekong River basin
On January 15, Yongyut Tiyapairat, Minister of Natural
Resources spoke at a seminar concerning natural resources and environ-mental
management on the Mekong River basin. It was held at Mae Fah Luang
University, Chiang Rai and attended by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Wanchai Sirichana,
President of Mae Fah Luang University and representatives of Asian
Development Bank (ADB), World Bank, Burma, Laos and China.
This was a continuation of the previous GMS conference
held in China last year. The minister would like other countries to realize
the importance of conserving natural resources and Thailand, because of its
particular location, would lead the way in promoting this concept among all
countries in the Mekong River basin.
It is hoped there will be urgent resolution to the problems of managing
the natural resources and environment of the river basin. Educational groups
and university institutes will participate in the process by assisting with
the development and showing the residents of the region how to manage their
Khun Sa crony discovered, but escapes
Chiangmai Mail Reporters
SHAN News Agency reported on January 10, 2006 that
Military police and militia authorities in Tachilek raided the home of an
associate of the warlord Khun Sa.
The haul included some 150 assorted weapons, (1N-60 mm
mortar, 1 SAM-7 launcher, AK 47s and M-16s), 2 compressors and “countless
numbers” of methamphetamine pills, according to militia sources. “The
amount, if sold, could buy the whole town,” claimed one. Also taken into
custody were eight members the platoon of Captain Naw Kham, 46, militia
leader of Hawngleuk, Tachilek Township, who however escaped.
Naw Kham, a former supply officer based in Mae Sai during
Khun Sa’s Mong Tai Army (MTA) days, has been living in Tachilek since
1996, following the group’s surrender.
He is the fourth leading member of the former MTA to be
acted against by the authorities in the past two weeks. He, together with
the Nampong militia leader Yishay, was reportedly close to some prominent
members of the ruling military council.
Prior to the raid, Ah Ling, one of Naw Kham’s
confederates, was arrested on 27 December with 40 kg of heroin, said
The crackdown coincided with a three-day anti-narcotics conference which
began on January 10 in India, with Burma, China, India, Laos and Thailand
Chiang Rai authorized to give 268 residents Thai nationality
Chiangmai Mail Reporters
The Ministry of Interior has authorized 484 aliens to receive
Thai nationality, and there are 268 people in Chiang Rai included in these
Sanit Phoosangthong, Muang district chief officer of Chiang Rai said that he
had assigned the officers to prepare ID cards for 44 people living in Muang
Chiang Rai who are now allowed to have Thai nationality.
Horticultural Expo 70% complete and 19 nations now confirmed
Preeyanoot Jittawong and
Kittiyaporn Kanjam (Student Trainee MFLU)
A visit to the site of the International Horticultural
Exposition by Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives Sudarat Keyuraphan on
January 4 has revealed that the exhibition grounds and exhibits are 70
percent complete. The minister stressed that everything should be finished
by March or April. The expo will open on November 1.
Sudarat Keyuraphan, Minister
of Agriculture and Cooperatives (2nd
left) checks the progress of International Horticultural Exposition while
Preecha Sananwatananon (left) briefs her on the details.
The minister said that after checking, the team found
many aspects of the exposition are already completed, and that design and
construction had been finished ahead of schedule.
There are now 19 countries who have officially confirmed
they will be joining the expo, with confirmation awaited from another 10.
With another 11 months to go before the opening, the organizers are
confident of reaching their target.
The International Horticultural Exposition has been
categorized as A1 standard by the Bureau of International Expositions, which
has a membership of 98 countries.
Sudarat said the full public relations campaign will roll
out on August 5. The expo occupies 470 rai of land at Tambon Mae Hia in
Muang, Chiang Mai and will be open between November 1 and January 31, a
total of 92 days.
Border trade between Thailand and Burma gets a boost
Direk Konkleep, Mae Hong Son Governor disclosed that after a
border conference held on January 9, 2006 at Mae Hong Son City Hall, it was
confirmed that seven districts around Mae Hong Son had a common border with
Burma, amounting to a total length of 480 Km. It was decided that it was in the
interests of both countries to get merchants who wished to conduct cross-border
trade, to register for trading at the Mae Hong Son border center. Such
registration would make verification easier and would help to prevent problems
and misunderstandings concerning national security or drug trafficking.
The governor added that the Province would open four trading
routes with Burma. They are at Baan Huay Phueng, Tambon Huay Pha in Muang; Baan
Nam Piang Din, Tambon Pha Bong in Muang; another at Baan Huay Ton Noon in Khun
Yuam district and the last one at Baan Mae Sam Lap in Sop Moei district. Trading
is able to start immediately but facilities to ensure security and safety have
yet to be put in place. Goods imported
from Burma will need to be checked rigorously to prevent illegal products
The governor claimed these trading routes would enhance the
area’s relationship with Burma and would improve the economy in the province,
owing to the fact that the primary source of income in Mae Hong Son was from
border trade and tourism. Furthermore and most importantly, both countries would
enjoy stronger ties of friendship.
Despite world opinion, Thailand is going for the pragmatic
approach, it seems.
4.4 billion baht for water supply in Mae Hong Son
Chiangmai Mail Reporters
Somsak Kuenkaew, Head of Natural Resources and Environment
Office, Mae Hong Son revealed that the Ministry of Natural Resources and
Environment is looking at the water problems in outlying villages. The aim is to
establish a public water supply to these villages utilizing underground water
sources, before 2008.
There are 349 Mae Hong Son villages which need a public water
supply. Their needs would be met by further development of existing water
systems and the installation of new infra structure. A 4.4 billion baht budget
has been set aside for this purpose. Residents of each village will be
encouraged to confer to ascertain their particular needs for projects to be
tailored to meet their needs. These findings will be passed on to local
administrative organizations so that an overall coherent plan can be coordinated
Somsak Kuenkaew added that conferences would be held to ensure that a
comprehensive approach and understanding of the situation would be adopted by
all parties concerned, including the TAO and PAO and other similar organizations
within the province. Chana Naksuriya, Deputy Governor of Mae Hong Son stressed
that residents would be able to participate fully in the decision making
processes at every stage so that a mutually agreeable outcome for each village
More grenades at Chiang Mai Winter Fair
Authorities seem to have no answer for the youth violence
Once again youngsters threw grenades during Chiang Mai’s
Winter Fair, (organized December 29-January 12 behind Chiang Mai City Hall).
There were many activities and performances, such as concerts attracting almost
1000 young people to attend the event every night. One evening, while the
popular band, Bodyslam, were performing on stage, some teenagers fought in the
auditorium and threw bombs, causing six teenagers to be injured, one seriously.
They were taken to the nearby Nakornping Hospital for treatment.
Many local residents blamed lax security at the venue, but
the organizers insisted they had done all they could to prevent weapons being
brought into the event.
On the evening of January 9, another outbreak of violence
occurred at the Bump Car Zone, a place youngsters always gather, resulting in
four young people being injured. Sapaluck Kotakham, 17, suffered severe
lacerations to the left foot and right leg and Kittikorn Suriyachaiphan, 16,
received cuts to the head. The injuries suffered by both youths were considered
serious and gave cause for concern. The other two casualties were Niraporn
Kiewkad, 18, and Nootchanat Wonghorn, also 18, both suffering cuts and bruises
to the body. All four were admitted to Nakornping Hospital for treatment.
Questioned by the police, the consensus story from all four was that after
enjoying Zeal band’s concert, they visited the Bump Car Zone that was also
opened as a discoth่que. Some trouble developed between two groups of
teenagers, during which, grenades were thrown. They said that the violence
occurred out of sight of the security officers, who were mainly keeping an eye
on the stage.
Another pair of small-fry drug dealers arrested
Choochai Udompode, Head of Mae Sai Customhouse, Chiang Rai,
together with Kitti Suthisamphan, an officer of the Customhouse, in association
with Pha Muang Task Force, Third Army Region, was manning the customs checkpoint
at the Mae Sai border opposite Tachilek, Burma. Information had led them to
believe that a
drug shipment was coming through the checkpoint and later a sniffer dog’s
barks alerted the team to a Burmese man walking into Thailand.
He was searched and found to be carrying 2,986
methamphetamine pills hidden in the base of his shoe so he was arrested. Known
as Sai-ong Gook, 23, a Burmese national, he confessed that he intended to
deliver the ya ba to Somboon Eueydee, 20, living at Tambon Wiang Pang Kham in
Mae Sai. The officers persuaded Sai-ong Gook to proceed with the delivery to
Somboon and observed the transaction which took place opposite the Mae Sai
Police Station, after which, both men were taken into custody.
Sai-ong Gook was a member of Burmese drug dealing gang hired
by the Wah to transfer drugs. Somboon was a regular client in Mae Sai
distributing drugs to students and the general public.
Goods smuggled from China detected in Chiang Rai
A checkpoint on Pahon-yothin Road, (city centre lane), Chiang
Rai had been set up and observed a suspicious looking green car with black
windows, being driven from the direction of the border at Mae Sai, with even
more suspicious occupants.
The officers stopped the car and learned that the driver was
Winai Hoykerd, 35, a Phetchaburi resident and accompanied by two passengers
Jiraporn Mongkonkarn, 41 and Suri Tiangtrong, 59. After search-ing the vehicle,
the officers discovered almost 400 items including portable game players,
calculators, driers and tablecloths to the value of around 500,000 baht. The
entire contents of the car were seized in order that their source could be
checked at the police station.
When questioned, Jiraporn claimed she was the owner of these articles and she
had purchased them at the Thai-Burmese border in Mae Sai for further
distribution and sale in Central Thailand. Although she recognized that the
goods had originally come from China, she was unaware of any obligation to pay
import duty on them.
Illegal alien laborers arrested and employers prosecuted
A squad of 50 officers of Pha Muang Task Force and Border
Patrol police raided an eight storey building on Chang Klan Road, Tambon Chang
Klan. There, nine Burmese men were found to be working for Pinit Phanphong, 45,
living in Ubon Ratchathani who was running a construction agency business. All
the illegal aliens were arrested.
After arresting the Burmese men, the enforcers moved on to a
place on Kamphangdin Road, Soi 3 at Tambon Haiya. Here, several men and women
were found working for their employer Surphon Dansa, 41, living in Muang Chiang
Mai. The employer and his illegal workforce were also arrested and sent to Muang
Chiang Mai Police Station for prosecution, where the two employers were charged
with offering residence to illegal laborers and the laborers were charged with
entering the Kingdom of Thailand illegally.
Policeman’s notebook computer goes missing on flight to Chiang Mai
Local police and THAI officials unable to find it
On January 13, Pol. Lt. Col. Jaruek Chotiko, Investigation
Officer of Muang Chiang Mai Police Station informed Pol. Maj. Witthaya
Winya-yong, Phuping Police Station Investigation Officer that his notebook
computer had vanished on the plane whilst he was traveling from Bangkok to
Col. Jaruek Chotiko, Investigation Officer of Muang Chiang Mai Police Station
informed police of his missing notebook.
Pol. Lt. Col. Jaruek disclosed that he took Thai
International Airways (THAI) flight TG100 departing Bangkok at 6 a.m. On arrival
in Chiang Mai, he reclaimed his luggage but immediately noticed that the bag in
which he had packed his notebook computer felt too light. On opening the bag he
found the notebook was missing. He informed the airline staff of his loss, but,
despite an exhaustive search, the computer, valued at 55,000 baht, was not
found. He immediately informed police at Chiang Mai Airport and contacted the
THAI office to report the incident, asserting that they were responsible for the
security of his luggage whilst he was in transit in their aircraft, but this was
The policeman said that he had repeatedly asked the officers to investigate
the theft as swiftly as possible, but after a month had elapsed without finding
the thief or the stolen computer, hopes of a successful outcome to the case were
diminishing. In an effort to get THAI to admit responsibility he went to their
Northern Branch Office to present a petition to Thanawat Hiranyalekha, manager
of northern marketing but he was in a conference, so Thipwan Yode-in, deputy
manager of Chiang Mai International Airport received the petition instead. She
expressed her regrets about the theft and promised she would bring the case to
the attention of the CEOs.
Flying Dutchman arrested in San Sai
Police popped his balloon!
The tourist police had learnt from informants that there was
a business conducting balloon flights for both Thais and foreign tourists
without the necessary permits, and they were afraid of the balloon falling
causing injury and death, with the subsequent adverse effect this would have on
On January 11, Pol. Capt. Nanthawat Nakjaroong, Deputy
Inspector of the Chiang Mai tourist police, together with a squad of his
officers, arrested the Dutchman, Daan Hasker-land, 34,who had just landed his
balloon in farmland in San Sai district, Chiang Mai.
The tourist police investigated the case and found Mr.
Haskerland, together with some other foreign colleagues running the business.
The brave police, posing as tourists, booked a flight in the balloon, despite
their fears that it might fall out of the sky. Mr. Haskerland, piloted the
balloon, taking off from Wiang Ping Village on the Chiang Mai-Chiang Rai Road
near Doi Saket, Chiang Mai.
After the balloon landed, the police revealed their
identities to Haskerland and informed him that he was under arrest for not
holding a flying business permit and for not having the necessary air
commu-nication authorization. After his arrest the police seized the balloon and
a pick-up truck and took them to the tourist police station to be kept there as
evidence. He was sent to Immigration officers where he faces further
prosecution. Here it was learned that he initially entered the Kingdom as a
Phayao trying to resolve the human trafficking problem
Many social problems are causing a steep rise in the
incidence of human trafficking in the Phayao area, revealed Sampan Suwan-nathub,
Head of Social Development and Human Security Office of Phayao.
Research shows that in Tambon Pasang Dok Kham Tai District,
Tambon Lor and Tambon Thung Ruang Thong Jun District Phayao province, the number
of women and children that fall into this situation has risen here due to three
main important factors. The first is that 90 percent of families in the
community have fallen into debt after being unable to keep up with repayments on
loans. Secondly, many families have large living expenses with only a small area
of land for agriculture, insufficient area from which to earn a living. The
third reason is people are unable to earn sufficient money locally and believe
they will solve their debt problems by going abroad to find better paid work.
Having realized the cause of this dilemma, the province has
put into place three measures to prevent and resolve the human trafficking
problem in the area. They have set up Anti-Human Trafficking Centers and
Operations in seven districts and two sub-districts. Prevention is achieved by
placing officers in each of the 68 Tambons in the community as well as
publicizing and giving knowledge about the dangers of human trafficking. On top
of that the province also supports the education by presenting 5,900
scholarships for children from low revenue families and sending staff covering
every area in Phayao province help the families as well as providing support
groups for women and children who have been victims of trafficking.