NEWS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Night Safari officially opened

PM Thaksin blesses underpass on the 2nd ring road

Despite some negative indices BoT still upbeat for 2006

Tai tribe army celebrates 10 year anniversary

30 mio baht to be invested in making “Doi Tung” a brand name

Baby giraffe born at the Night Safari

Chiang Mai Resident Networks joins the anti-government movement

Now it’s “Chiang Mai World” and cable-cars again

Mae Ping River dredging in progress in Chiang Mai

Region’s Government Counter Service (GCS) opens

Phayao Dinosaur Park coming?

800,000 year old trees discovered in Tak province

Mental hospital patient attacks CMU vehicles

Drought and fires imminent

Relocation of Burma’s capital city to finish in February

Ya ba profits hidden in a candy bag

Khong River in Chiang Saen port begins to dry out

Australian accused of raping 2 year old step-daughter

Further on-line games shop restrictions

Two Lahu tribesmen shot and 100,000 amphetamine tablets discovered

Claims that more Thai citizens have been abducted to North Korea

Police raids net drugs and possessions worth several million baht

Night Safari officially opened

PM declares we live in Disneyland

Nopniwat Krailerg

After the Grand Opening had been postponed a number of times, Chiang Mai Night Safari has now been formally opened, presided over by PM Thaksin Shinawatra and joined by cabinet members who came to Chiang Mai for the mobile cabinet meetings. The PM’s family, wife Poja-
man and son Panthongthae Shinawatra, also attended.

Sunset on the day Chiang Mai Night Safari opened officially.

The PM said that it was the pride of Chiang Mai citizens that they could now have their own night safari, which will support this province to become the tourism center of the northern region and Mekong River basin. Furthermore, there will be an Elephant Park and Cable Car after the International Horticulture Exposition had been taken place.

“Today, Chiang Mai province has been developed to be Chiang Mai World, similar to Disney land. We have our own nature and culture,” claimed the PM.

Guangzhoe Panyu, Xiang-jiang Safari Park has presented 41 animals covering nine species, to the Chiang Mai Night Safari. Two of these are beautiful white tigers, the female called Lizhen (“Pretty”), she is one year and four month old, and a male named Zhaojin, meaning “to headway”. There are currently 942 animals on display at the Night Safari.

After the initial free entrance period, the double pricing entrance fee has been applied since February 1, 2006, with 250 baht charged for Thai adults and 125 baht for children, while 500 and 300 baht charged for adult foreigners and children.

There are two zones to view animals either taking vehicles or the Jaguar Trail hike. It is open daily from 7-10.30 p.m. with ticket cost charge but is offered free on weekdays from 1-4 p.m., and weekends and holidays from. 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.


PM Thaksin blesses underpass on the 2nd ring road

Nopniwat Krailerg

The beleaguered Prime Minister presided over the opening ceremony of the newly constructed underpass on the 2nd ring road while hecklers shouted for him to step down from his post as PM. He replied, showing a little paranoia by saying, “I would like to go for a run on this 26 kilometers stretch of road with some of my followers but I would die for sure and there are some persons wishing to have the PM’s chair.”

PM Thaksin Shinawatra listening to details of the road from Department of Rural Roads.

The PM was in Chiang Mai to chair the mobile cabinet meeting at the Night Safari, but whilst in the city, one of his many other duties was to preside over the underpass opening which took place in front of Chiang Mai City Hall and the PM was joined by Deputy PM Suwat Liptapanlop and Deputy Minister of Interior Sermsak Pongpanit.

The 700 Year Anniversary Road has a history seeming to be almost as old as the 700 Year Anniversary stadium itself. It was a resolution of the cabinet on January 11, 1994, who then assigned the Department of Rural Roads to be responsible for this project to construct a modern road system for the city of Chiang Mai. It was constructed with reinforced concrete, six lanes wide over a distance of 26 kilometers, with two bridges across the Mae Ping River and a bridge across the railway. Later, because of increased traffic it was developed to have seven underpasses to provide an uninterrupted route for traffic radiating from the center of the city.

The road has cost a total of 5,060 million baht covering the survey cost, design cost and construction cost of 3,360 million baht, with 1,700 million baht having been paid to purchase land from residents.


Despite some negative indices BoT still upbeat for 2006

Nopniwat Krailerg

An upbeat Oubaur Krutha-nooch, senior director of Bank of Thailand Northern Regional Office, said that the economy had continued to expand even though demand decelerated in the first half of the year because of the higher cost of fuel oil and the effects of the tsunami, including violence in the Deep South. However, heavy demand for new electronic products and modified agricultural machinery had produced a positive trend. Income from tourism had increased in the third trimester and was strongly forecasted to improve even more in 2006, enabling the North’s econo-
my to expand.

Oubaur Kruthanooch, senior director of Bank of Thailand Northern Regional Office.

Income from agriculture rose by 11.0 percent compared with the previous year when the annual increase was only 3.7 percent, but agricultural products fell by 0.2 percent, because of drought and flood, with industrial products also down compared with last year. Lamphun Industrial Settlement’s export value was at 8.5 percent, down from the previous year by 25.5 percent. According to figures released by electronics products industry they showed output fell in the first trimester, but recovered in the second and fourth trimesters with demand for information recorders, engines and gems increasing by 26.1 percent, 96.2 percent and 11.0 percent respectively.

Expansion in the service industry slowed down from the previous year as some foreign tourists cut short their holidays because of the tsunami and unrest in the south and also heavy flooding in the north. Thai tourists were being more careful with their money due to the increase in the price of fuel oil. However, Chiang Mai Night Safari was still able to attract a large number of tourists, resulting in hotel room bookings being increased by 5.2 percent and passengers coming through Chiang Mai airport increased by 4.9 percent. The numbers of car and motorcycle registrations rose by 12.4 percent and 0.6 percent but this rise was very much less than the year before, when the figures were 28.1 and 6.0 percent

Private sector investment, especially in the construction industry, expanded from the previous year with sales of construction supplies showing an increase of 17.8 percent. Building projects in the municipality rose by 3.2 percent but this was less than last year when the rise was 4.4 percent. The outlook for investors was also healthy, with 56 projects authorized by northern BOI attracting 9,802.3 million baht of investment money.

Exports passing through the Northern Customhouse rose by 14.8 percent around half the rise of the pre-
vious year. Exports passing through Chiang Mai Airport also substantially increased, rising by 37.2 percent, with the steepest rise taking place in the last half of the year, especially in tobacco, diamonds, rubies and carburetors. Exports to Burma ex-
panded in first trimester, but fell in the third trimester owing to Burma paying more attention to border trade at the Mae Sod and Mae Sai border crossing points. Exports to Laos also increased and goods destined for China rose by a massive 94.6 percent, while imports only increased by 13.4 percent for the same period. Most of the products imported were circuit boards and electronic components from Japan, USA and Singapore.

The senior director added that the outlook for Northern economy in 2006 looked very bright, especially in the electronics industry where he forecast a growth of around 10 percent. Furthermore, mega-projects such as the Night Safari and the International Horticulture Exposition would attract more tourists to the north, boosting the income of local residents in the service industry.


Tai tribe army celebrates 10 year anniversary

Chiangmai Mail Reporters

SHAN (Shan Herald Agency for News) reported that on January 27-28, 2006, an SSA-A troop under the command of Col. Yawd Serk organized a 10 year anniversary celebration to commemorate the liberation of the Tai tribe that fought previously under the name of the MTA, commanded by Khun Sa. There was also a graduation ceremony for officers, NCO’s and soldiers of the troop with around 430 candidates at the ceremony, held on Doi Tai Lang opposite Pang Mapha district, Mae Hong Son.

Military parade celebrating 10 year anniversary of SSA, at Pang Sua Lai Camp (Photo Courtesy SHAN).

Col. Yawd Serk proudly told the assembled graduates at the ceremony that the Tai tribe never once acknowledged Burmese authority. “Ten years of combat between Burma and the Tai tribe have resulted in no clear winner, but we will continue the struggle to regain independence, no matter how long it takes,” he vowed.

Col. Yawd Serk went on to reveal the SSA-S internal structure adjustment in four aspects, including accrediting Col. Sai Yee, High Commissioner of SSNA (Shan State National Army) to be vice president of RCSS (Restoration Council Shan State); Col. Yawd Serk is to develop training programs to increase the troop efficiency; SSA agreeing to an alliance with other troops and promising to cooperate with one another and finally that the RCSS will maintain its initial policies that are troop unity, honoring the Pang Long Contract, democracy, development of citizens livelihood and to continue the fight against drugs and promoting peace.

A brief history of the SSA-S records that combat started on January 27, 1996. On that day, Col. Yawd Serk led a force of around 300 from Muang Tha opposite Baan Piang Luang in Wiang Haeng, Chiang Mai, who wished to break away from the MTA troop commanded by Khun Sa who was about to surrender to Burmese authority. That 300 strong troop moved across the Salwin River into the Shan State to set up a new group, independent of Burmese authority and established the SSA officially on January 1, 1998.


30 mio baht to be invested in making “Doi Tung” a brand name

Chiangmai Mail Reporters

ML Disnadda Disakul, Marketing Manager of Doi Tung Development Project, under the patronage of Her Royal Highness the Princess Mother, reported that the Doi Tung project has allocated 30 million baht to make the “Doi Tung” brand name more familiar in the marketplace. This will be done by publicizing different categories Doi Tung brand products through the media. This will cover agriculture, tourism, handicrafts, and food.

An important factor in their advertising is to make their customers aware that Doi Tung products have been grown by hill-tribe people as an alternative to growing poppies for drugs. ML Disnadda added that the project has to improve their products and should seek the advice of agricultural consultants in choosing species of plants to grow and modern methods of horticulture to improve their yield and taste.

Doi Kham coffee is planned to expand from the present 12 branches in 2006 by opening the 10 new outlets in business locations. Every Doi Tung product sales outlet will show the same logo and selling points together with the background of the products to promote a good image of the brand.

ML Disnadda said that Doi Tung project cooperated with THAI and AirAsia to highlight the route to Doi Tung tourist destinations to capture the interest of tourists in the brand; also joining with Bangkok fashion houses to show off the handicraft products. The Doi Kham brand of coffee is now ready to be sold internationally with project officials in negotiations with other countries to formally enter the market.


Baby giraffe born at the Night Safari

Nopniwat Krailerg

Chiang Mai Night Safari reported that staff and veterinarians in Chiang Mai Night safari project attended the birth of a new female giraffe named Nam Phueng that arrived on January 25. The newborn giraffe is in good health but she needs a little time to adapt to her new surroundings, including the bright lights. She is the 6th giraffe in Chiang Mai Night Safari and 7th newborn animal in this zoo.

Midwife Plodprasop Sura-sawadee, chairman of the government committee in charge of the Night Safari project, said that this baby giraffe is a special addition to the project because of its birth coinciding with the Chinese New Year Festival.

He added that when baby giraffe is ready, the Night Safari will show her to the visitors and affirmed that Chiang Mai Night Safari will have another opening ceremony on February 6 to coincide with the mobile Cabinet meeting. The staff has arranged a tour of the facility for the cabinet, with two white tigers from China looking forward to seeing them.


Chiang Mai Resident Networks joins the anti-government movement

Saksit Meesubkwang

Chiang Mai Resident Networks held a press conference criticizing government.

Local residents of Chiang Mai, particularly those affected by various projects, both those in progress and those being planned by the government, have formed action groups to air their concerns about how these projects are going to affect their daily lives. The areas in question are the Chiang Mai Night Safari, a long-term solution to the floods in Chiang Mai, residents affected by Mae Maw Powerhouse and the hill
tribe’s residence management scheme.

At a recent press conference on February 3rd, Nikhom Phutta, coordinator of the Wildlife Fund Thailand and Suriyan Thongnoo-iad, secretary of Northern Agriculturist Federation; spoke of several problems that were causing concern to their members. Nikhom Phutta said that the Night Safari was a huge project that the government was promoting as a Chiang Mai tourist destination. The Resident Networks agreed that this project would bring jobs and extra income to many citizens, but nevertheless were concerned that the organizers of the Night Safari had spent immense sums of money with no organization in place to check how the money was being spent.

He raised the subject of the environmental impact on those members of the local community living close to the Safari, voicing their fears of living with dangerous wild animals as close neighbors. Also, the safari covered several thousand rai of land and had been sited in lands designated a national park. The National Park Act stipulates that no one is allowed to keep animals in the park or introduce plants and must conserve the environment to maintain the eco-systems in the park. Furthermore, residents are allowed to be a part of the bio system management to protect natural resources; and buildings or any other kind of construction are not permitted there. However, the government has gone ahead and sited this huge project in that area and encouraged the private sector to invest there. It could be said that this act is illegal and has gone ahead without any regard for local citizens.

Nikhom added that the government was exploiting wildlife to supposedly
benefit the economy and were importing animals from Kenya to live in a confined area without any clear idea of how to conserve these animals; furthermore the Chiang Mai Resident Networks would prefer the government to cancel the import of these 175 wild animals. They also request that local residents should be consulted more and informed in greater detail on how the huge sums of money have been spent on the project.

Montree Janthawong, representative of Phakee Rak Chiang Mai organization said that government would go ahead with mega-projects in Chiang Mai, worth several billion baht but many problems in Chiang Mai, such as poverty and flooding, were still not solved. In the opinion of his organization, the main cause that led to the flooding in the previous year was that the government-authorized construction of several roads around the city which obstructed waterways.

Maliwan Nakwiroj, representative of Residents Affected by Mae Maw Powerhouse Lampang reiterated their grievance that 500 families affected by the Mae Maw Powerhouse had appealed to the government to deal with this problem for a long time and had presented petitions to cabinet on eight separate occasions, but their plight was still ignored.

The press conference was given by representatives of the following organizations, Chiang Mai Resident Networks consisting of Phakee Rak Chiang Mai, Northern Agriculturist, Representative of Residents Affected by Mae Maw Powerhouse Lampang, Mae Ping and Khan Rivers Basin Resident and Northern Agriculturist Federation and took place at Baan Tha Kaew, on Huay Kaew Road in Chiang Mai.


Now it’s “Chiang Mai World” and cable-cars again

Nopniwat Krailerg

Three Chiang Mai univer-sities, in partnership with Chiang Mai Night Safari, have just been given a government budget of 12 million baht to conduct a feasibility study and formulate a plan concerning several aspects of local tourism, including marine tourism, tribal tourism, historical tourism and handicraft tourism. The plan, expected to be completed in about six months is primarily to develop tourism locations and to increase their efficiency by adding value to the tourism product.

On January 30, Plodprasop Surasawadee, assistant of Minister of Natural Resources and Environment on behalf of the Director of Chiang Mai Night Safari, signed a cooperation contract hiring consultants for the Chiang Mai tourism development plan. The contracts were between the Night Safari and three educational institutes, Chiang Mai, Maejo and Kasetsart universities. These three universities are expert in many academic fields and they have enthusiastically accepted the task of being consultants for the Chiang Mai tourism development plan, and spending the money wisely.

Plodprasop informed them that he had been assigned by PM Thaksin Shinawatra to study and form a tourism plan for Chiang Mai by linking nature, history, culture and archeology to form a tourism route, adding that these four aspects of the tourism route would be linked to Chiang Mai Night Safari, and locations nearby, to become “Chiang Mai World”. Chiang Mai Night Safari and the International Horticultural Exposition are the first attractions of the proposed Chiang Mai World, to be followed by an Elephant Park, with an Aquarium and Theme Park planned for the near future. These tourist attractions will be linked by cable car over a 15 km. distance.

The cable car will start from Chiang Mai Zoo going on to Huay Kaew Waterfall, the Elephant Park and Night Safari and terminating at the International Horticulture Exposition. It will also be linked with a light electric tramway into the city with a terminus at Chiang Mai Zoo, providing a swift environmentally friendly means of avoiding traffic jams along Huay Kaew road.

With regard to each uni-versity’s role in the Chiang Mai tourism development plan, CMU is responsible for studying history, culture and handicraft while Maejo University is studying tribes and agriculture, with Kasets art University studying the mountain and marine aspects of the scheme.


Mae Ping River dredging in progress in Chiang Mai

Nopniwat Krailerg

In 2005, Chiang Mai experienced the worst flooding in 30 years, with the Mae Ping River rising to unprecedented levels three times. Besides affecting major economic zones such as the Night Bazaar, the flooding caused severe damage all over the province, but especially in the city, where several hundred thousand households were inundated. PM Thaksin Shinawatra inspected the situation and commanded government organizations to deal with flooding problem.

As a result of the PM’s orders, dredging operations commenced in late 2005 on several stretches of the Mae Ping River, from Mae Taeng district to Mae Rim, with around 30 km being cleared so far, at a cost of 30 million baht. Around 50 percent of the river has been dredged so far and the whole operation is expected to be finished in June this year. Dredging the water-course will increase its capacity to hold water by more than 1.2 million cubic meters. There has also been a small bonus from the dredging operation, with 500,000 cubic meters of reusable sand reclaimed from the river bed.

The dredging is planned to continue over the next four years with a budget of 200 million baht earmarked to cover the cost of the operation. The river will be dredged from Chiang Dao district to Doi Tao district with the Department of Marine removing around five million cubic meters and other local administrative organizations responsible for dredging a further three million cubic meters. By this process, the capacity of the watercourse will be increased by roughly 20 million cubic meters and tenders to carry out the work are now being invited.

In the city, Chiang Mai municipality has asked the Department of Marine to dredge Mae Ping River along the 6.6 km stretch from the Patan Bridge to the superhighway, especially near the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 office. The watercourse should then increase its capacity along this length by 100,000 cubic meters. Dredging and widening the Mae Ping River is expected to solve the flooding situation in Chiang Mai and prevent a recurrence of the disastrous flooding of 2005.


Region’s Government Counter Service (GCS) opens

Nopniwat Krailerg

The region’s first Government Counter Service: GCS in Central Airport Plaza, Chiang Mai.

Government Counter Service (or GCS) is the service center combining the facilities of 27 different Government State Enterprises and Local Administrative Organizations. Instead of going to a different office to perform each task, people will be able to go to these GCS offices when they wish to renew their passport for instance, or make an airline seat reservation, sending tax documents, Identification Card application, personal biography certification, 30 baht wellbeing insurance card, bus/air/train ticket reservation, applying for planning permission to build a house, requesting the services of different authorities namely, a new house number, electricity, water supply, phone number (TOT), notification, government information, documents downloading, and trademark registering.

The entire concept is a one point fast-delivery of multi-services in the community, open daily including public holidays with similar opening hours of a department store. The Office of the Public Sector Development Commission will increase the number of GCS in department stores, sky train stations, metro stations, and airports in Bangkok and other provinces.

PM Thaksin Shinawatra opened the first local GCS in Central Airport Plaza department store on February 6.


Phayao Dinosaur Park coming?

Chiangmai Mail Reporters

The recent discovery of dinosaur remains prompted Ruangwan Buanoot, deputy governor of Phayao to head up a work team with of Dr. Warawut Sutheethorn, a recognized dinosaur expert, to survey the area where the dinosaur fossils were found. This location, at Yom Riverside, Tambon Mang in Chiang Muan, Phayao and will be promoted as a tourism destination.

Ruangwan said that the survey process would reveal vital information which would be used to form the primary plan to develop this area as a natural tourism destination and world historical site due to the fact that Phayao was the only Northern Province to have discovered dinosaur fossils. This falls in with the PM’s strategy for tourism in the Lanna provinces and this site will be managed as a study centre where students and the general population can learn about dinosaurs.

Proposed development, with a budget of 6 million baht, will include an information center to be set up alongside tourist residences. Chiang Muan district will present details of these plans before the end of 2006.

Dr. Warawut added that there might be more fossils in this area and if digging was planned systemically, more dinosaur remains might be found in deeper layers. However, at this stage it could not be ascertained whether this was a single dinosaur or part of a group.


800,000 year old trees discovered in Tak province

Chiangmai Mail Reporters

First we hear of dinosaurs in Phayao and now six stone tree remains have been found in Tak, claimed as being the largest fossilized trees in South East Asia. Khom Kruayoo, head officer of Khao Phra Bat National Park located at Baan Sam Kong of Tambon Tak Ok, escorted journalists, students and around 500 eager old tree tourists to show them what proved to be world’s longest petrified trees. Discovered in 2003, officers of the park measured the base of one tree to be 4.88 meters wide and 2.55 meters in diameter and 72.22 meters in length, as long as 150 students standing in a line.

Experts of the Department of Mineral Resources said that these rock trees were 800,000 years old. There have been six trees found in the area and some are still in good shape. They comprise several different species of tree for example Makha, Mai Daeng, Golden Teak and Mai Krabak. An ebullient Khom Kruayoo said, “It looks like this area holds the worlds longest rock trees and is South East Asia’s largest stone tree source. Before these trees were discovered here, the longest stone tree was to be found in Arizona, USA and was only 36 meters in length.”

He added, “This site will be developed as a bio tourism location and his officers are searching diligently to find more remains and preserve them in good condition. Since the discovery was published, the site has already received over 200,000 visitors. The Guinness Book of Records will officially measure these trees and enter the statistics into the record book which will reflect honor for all Thai citizens.”

It is to be hoped that, what with Dinosaurs and Tree Fossils, Thailand is not slipping back to the Stone Age, and wonder if perhaps they were illegally logged all those years ago!


Mental hospital patient attacks CMU vehicles

Saksit Meesubkwang

Thanakorn Khamkongdee was sent to Phuping police station

Phuping provincial police were informed by a security guard on duty at Chiang Mai University on February 4, that a deranged man was striking cars belonging to teachers and students in Chiang Mai University.

When police officers arrived at the scene, the man removed his shirt and ran off across the football field, with police and students in hot pursuit. The man, Thanakorn Khamkongdee, 22, an inhabitant of Chiang Rai, led his pursuers a merry old dance before he was finally collared after a 20 minute chase.

After his capture, police officers noticed that Thanakorn seemed very nervous, and they learned he had been a frequent patient at Suan Prung Psychiatric Hospital and was still undergoing treatment. The police officers returned him to the hospital, leaving the unfortunate owners of the six cars he had damaged frantically examining their insurance policies to see if they were covered.


Drought and fires imminent

Chiangmai Mail Reporters

The Royal Artificial Rain Centre is cooperating with provincial agricultural offices in the North planning to solve the drought problem this year. Although the four dams in the Northern provinces are up to more than 90 percent capacity, the areas outside the irrigation systems still have an ongoing problem.

Somchai Reungsuthinaru-phap, director of the Royal Artificial Rain Center reported that the water level in the four Northern dams; Bhumibol dam in Tak province, Mae Ngat and Mae Kuang dams in Chiang Mai province, and Kiw Lom dam in Lampang was higher than last year, but Bhumibol dam was only about 70 percent full. This amount of water was barely enough for agriculture in the dry season and if the area experiences drought this year; as it has done in three previous years, Chiang Mai, Lampang, and Tak will use chemicals to endeavor to make rain like before.

Chokchai Panomkwan, the mayor of Phrae warned of the high risk of fires during the dry season. Phrae municipality Fire Department stands in a high state of readiness at this time of the year and he cautioned all residents to take extra precautions in safeguarding their property, especially those in high risk situations such as gasoline stations or liquefied petroleum gas outlets. All residents should not burn the forest during the dry season to avoid the risk of wildfire.

Chakaj Thepthongpan, chief of the Wildfire office, Phayao said that his records show that 141 separate wildfires occurred around Phayao in 2005. In his area of responsibility, containing Wiang Lor Wildlife Sanctuary, Doi Luang National Park, the National Forestry Reservation Project and Mae Tum-Mae Na Rue forest totaling 187,500 rai, wildfire has destroyed 467 rai, the time of highest risk being February and March.

Phuwanart Sinsub, Denchai district chief officer, Phrae reported that there are five tambons that have an annual drought problem and in an effort to solve it, Phrae province gave 1 million baht to pump water from an alternative source to irrigate10,000 rai of agricultural land and hoped that would be sufficient until March.


Relocation of Burma’s capital city to finish in February

Chiangmai Mail Reporter

Burmese authorities said on February 5 that the Burmese government predicted that all ministries and military headquarters would finish relocating to Pyinmana by this February.

In the meantime, some government organizations have already started working in Pyinmana, the new capital; which is located in a central part of the country, even though telephone lines to some places are not yet installed. However, all ministries expect to finish relocation by the third week of this month.

Officers of various ministries announced that the formal opening ceremony for the new capital city, Pyinmana will be presided over by Senior General Than Shwe, the leader of the Burmese government, but a definite date is yet to be fixed. Ministries of Defense and Interior have occupied their new offices since December, 2005 while other ministries are to open soon.


Ya ba profits hidden in a candy bag

Sweet success, say police

Nopniwat Krailerg

Acting on a tip-off, police from Hang Dong district, Chiang Mai, followed Chalita Khuntasen, 31, after learning she had a drug deal in the making, when she had arranged to deliver ya ba to clients in Hang Dong district. She was arrested on February 3 while driving a car belonging to her husband who worked for a government organization in Chiang Mai province. She was apprehended trying to sell ten speed pills to a customer waiting at a gas station on the Chiang Mai-Hang Dong Road.

70 more amphetamine tablets were discovered in the car, along with 10,000 baht hidden in a candy bag, which was seized by the police to be retained as evidence. After she was arrested, she implicated Adul Lerdsompong, 21, a retail drug dealer whom the police also planned to arrest. Moreover, the officers intend to investigate her husband to see if he was involved with this illegal dealing. Pol. Col. Atthakit Kornthong, deputy commander of Chiang Mai Provincial Police observed that the drug dealers had changed from packing ya ba in straw, to hiding it in candy bags.


Khong River in Chiang Saen port begins to dry out

Chiangmai Mail Reporters

Chiang Saen in Chiang Rai has a large port used for exporting products to China and recently a cargo ship became stuck in the sand, due to unprecedented low water levels in the Khong River. Chiang Rai is facing a severe drought at the moment, and has declared a state of drought in eight of its districts. Surveys show that the Khong River is
drying up with sandbanks appearing in the watercourse.

According to the ship’s crews, the reason the Khong River is drying up is because China has dammed the river to store the water for itself in the dry season.


Australian accused of raping 2 year old step-daughter

Nopniwat Krailerg

Accused Australian national, Jason Daron Mizner, 32

On January 30 Ple, (real name withheld), 30, mother of Noi, (name suppressed), 2, informed Mae Rim Police Station officers of the rape of her daughter accusing an Australian national Jason, her new husband of only a month. This act occurred at their rented house on Arak Road, Tambon Phra Singh in Muang, Chiang Mai on day that she informed police. She showed the police a video recording that Jason had made whilst raping the little girl, which after being checked by the police forensic department, appeared a genuine record of this illegal act. The little girl was taken to Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital where doctors found evidence of sexual assault with sperm present in the baby’s vagina, which was later verified be that of the husband when compared with his DNA.

Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, commissioner of Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 (left) checking evidence.

The mother said that she had dated Jason for one month before he asked her to marry him. On the day the rape took place, they agreed that he would move his belongings to her house and live with her. He went to fetch his possessions and asked to take the little girl along with him. When they returned, her daughter cried, complaining of pain in her lower stomach. She examined her and realized that Jason had done something bad to the girl, but when questioned, he claimed she had fallen down and hurt herself. She later found the video and opened it, immediately informing the police when she realized the contents.

On February 1, Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, commissioner of Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 and Pol. Maj. Gen. Jiruj Promobol, Chiang Mai Provincial Police comman-der together with Pol. Col. Montree Sambunnanon, Mae Rim Police Station superintendent jointly held a press conference and informed reporters of the arrest of the Australian national, Jason Daron Mizner, 32, and charged with raping a girl younger than 13 years old.

Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong also said that they had learned from the Australian Juvenile police authorities that there was an arrest warrant in
force for this offender, in Queensland, Australia, for the rape of a young girl in his home country, but he had escaped arrest by fleeing to Thailand. He would be kept in custody here in Thailand and would extradited to Australia.


Further on-line games shop restrictions

But are the new laws workable?

Chiangmai Mail Reporters

Amornthad Niratisayakul, Lampang governor stressed that to comply with the government’s policy concerning rules to deal with social and youth problems, especially obscene media, online games shop owners would have to take greater care to ensure that their young customers were not being exposed to obscene videos, or games with pornographic content.

These practices are supposed to be eliminated nationally by determining a set of rules and conditions with which each games shop owner must comply. These Utopian rules will protect security and encourage good behavior in youngsters.

These shops must install legal software and ensure that youngsters under 18 years old are not allowed to play between 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. on weekdays, except during holidays and then not longer than three consecutive hours, with records being kept of the service.

Every police authority has received orders to monitor the situation and ensure shop owners are following these rules. Any business owner failing to do so is liable to be punished according to Children Protection Act 2003, Tape and Television Control Act 1960 and 50th Action Announcement.

Considering that young people can find these games on line at their homes, this raft of new laws look like closing the stable door after the horse has bolted.


Two Lahu tribesmen shot and 100,000 amphetamine tablets discovered

Nopniwat Krailerg

Two brothers, Jaka Ja-ue, 26 and Jana Ja-ue, 24, both Lahu tribesmen living at Baan Huay Muang in Mae Ai district, Chiang Mai, were shot and killed by the police whilst resisting arrest in Baan Pang Guang, Mae Taeng, on January 31. At the time of the shooting the brothers were driving a pick-up which, when searched, was found to be carrying 100,000 ya ba pills hidden in an ice bucket and two .38 revolvers. No police were reported as injured in the incident.

Pol. Maj. Gen. Uayporn Jittakanon, commander of Narcotics Suppression Division 2, said that the officers had known of the activities of these two drug dealers for a long time. They were well known for smuggling ya ba from Burma across the border in the Fang area and
delivering it to clients in Muang, Chiang Mai. There are around 20 people in this gang and the police will increase their endeavors to put a stop to their activities. Hopefully, some will be arrested.


Claims that more Thai citizens have been abducted to North Korea

Saksit Meesubkwang

Tomoharu Ebihara showing a book of minutes in Tokyo in December last year.

Information concerning a Thai lady allegedly abducted to North Korea came to light in a book entitled “To Tell the Truth” written by Charles Robert Jenkins and published in Japan in 2004. The book mentioned some Thai people taken to North Korea, naming Anocha Panjoi as one of them. This prompted a seminar in Tokyo in December, 2005, to raise the issue of the abduction of this person to North Korea.

Tomoharu Ebihara, representative of the Rescue of North Korean Abductees Chiang Mai (ARNKA) and Coordinator of National Association of Japanese Kidnapped by North Korea in Thailand from the Japanese Department Faculty of Humanities of Payap University held a press conference at Chiang Mai City Hall. It was to give information about Anocha Panjoi, the Thai lady believed to have been abducted. Interviews with two other Thai ladies who were involved with her were mentioned.

Another reliable book entitled “Gook” written by Kenji Fujimoto published in Japan in 2003 mentioned that he had worked in North Korea as a Japanese food chef for 13 years. He had later returned home to Japan in 2001 and had written a book describing his life and experience in North Korea and a paragraph of that book told of the time he had met seven Thai ladies working as hostesses in a karaoke bar in Pyongyang city. One
of those seven ladies was named Katai.

Tomoharu informed journalists he believed that the women had been abducted to North Korea, also that a greater number than the seven he had met had suffered the same fate. Another seminar concerning this issue is to be organized at YMCA Convention Hall (1F), Chiang Mai on February 18 from 2 to 4.30 p.m. The seminar will be conducted in
the Japanese language and Sukham Panjoi, older brother of Anocha Panjoi, will join the seminar to answer any questions concerning his sister. Any interested person or organization wishing to join the seminar should book by email: [email protected] with seats costing 140 baht per person.


Police raids net drugs and possessions worth several million baht

Nopniwat Krailerg

In the early morning of January 31, narcotic suppression police together with a Pha Muang Task Force of around 100 officers mounted an operation to simultaneously search several
target villages that were suspected of being involved with drugs. These included Chiang Dao, Chai Prakan and Wiang Haeng districts and 29 different locations in Chiang Mai, most of which were Hmong and Lahu villages.

After the search had taken place, around 20,000 ya ba pills were discovered at two villages, Baan Nong
Tao, Tambon Ping Khong in Chiang Dao, but the offenders were able to escape, due to their familiarity with the locality. However, the police did manage to catch Krasae Samtao, 21 together with 400 speed pills and 36,000 baht in cash.

In the meantime, another team of officer searching around Wiang Papao, Chiang Rai came across Cherdchai or Ko Jaikhamthiang, an offender who had escaped from police custody. He was arrested and his house and a pick up, valued at 3,000,000 baht, were seized. These possessions were believed to have been purchased with the proceeds of drug dealing and money laundering.