Opium farm in Mae Chaem district destroyed
their ongoing war to stamp out opium growing in northern Thailand, Maj. Gen.
Kanittipon Mantaporn, Asst.commissioner of the Anti-Drug and Security Center
led a force to eliminate an opium farm belonging to a Hmong tribe at Baan
Mae Yod, near Mae Chaem, Chiang Mai.
In the interim, Col. Apichet Suesat, commander of Ranger
36, on duty in Mae Sariang reported another opium farm destroyed in Khun
Yuam, Mae Hong Son.
Knowing that opium harvesting time was January to March,
Ranger 36 had checked Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son provinces searching for
opium farms. Some rangers were sent to live with villagers to get to know
where the opium was planted, before returning to base and guiding a
taskforce of officers to the location to destroy the plants. This year the
rangers had eliminated two opium farms on three rai of land and arrested one
Hmong tribesman, living at Baan Pang Oong, Tambon Mae Suek in Mae Chaem,
Chiang Mai. According to statistics, destroyed areas growing opium were
49.42 rai in 2002, one rai in 2003-2004, 5 rai in 2005 and two rai destroyed
so far this year
Because of the actions of the drug suppression units,
opium farmers are being harried and suppressed continually. Soldiers and
officers have organized activities for youngsters to play sports and
villagers are encouraged to plant alternative crops instead of the opium
poppy. Meanwhile housewives are supported in having alternate occupations;
to keep them from resorting to drugs as a means of earning a living.
Maj. Gen. Kanittipon said that opium growing has decreased in the
northern region because of actions of soldiers, police, border patrol police
and drug suppression officers. Some villagers tried to disguise the fact
they were growing opium by mixing the poppies among the vegetables. However,
the Third Army Region is aware of this subterfuge and has destroyed a total
of 609 rai of land to date planted with opium in the north. The area where
this activity was most prevalent was at Doi Yang in Chiang Mai province
where 10 rai were discovered. The officers learned that businessmen were
funding the entire operation, and said they would pursue their enquiries and
bring everyone involved before the courts, but that has not occurred yet.
Chiang Mai municipality gets government budget for some projects
korn, Chiang Mai mayor, presenting a red rose
to the media hoping
to avert the negative criticisms of last year.
Boonlert Buranupakorn, Chiang Mai mayor, proclaimed
that the municipality had worked hard for its citizens during the
previous year, so several aspects had improved for the better, and that
the current year 2006 would continue in that vein.
The recent mobile cabinet conference in Chiang Mai had
authorized budgets for several projects under the care of Chiang Mai
municipality. The project the Prime Minister paid most attention to was
the Study Center in front of Chiang Mai train station, on eight rai of
land, with a funding of 150 million baht. The PM wishes this area to be a
Life Library, to persuade youngsters into attending good activities
instead of spending time on online games, or gathering to make mischief.
He wants to see Chiang Mai youths better educated, by learning from the
Study Center of Thailand.
The mayor added that another 67 million baht was
approved to develop the city area to be a city of flowers, especially
around the canal, and 20 year old lanterns are to be replaced with new
ones. The concrete surface around the canal has degenerated and is now
ugly and needs to be renewed, and the PM agreed to improve this point to
give us the most beautiful city canal in Thailand.
He informed the media that busses would be staying for Chiang Mai
citizens even though the municipality is losing money on this public
transport. Routes served by the busses are to be improved and more
mini-busses will be added. Three more routes are about to be opened to
meet the needs of citizens. There will be new routes to deal with traffic
jams on roads from Mahanakorn Cinema to Wat Pa Phaeng and other roads are
now being planned.
Cabinet spending 20 mio baht to restore the World War II Japanese Museum
War II Japanese Museum.
Direk Konkleep, Mae Hong Son Governor disclosed that the
cabinet ministers had discussed Mae Hong Son Province’s request for a
budget for several projects including the World War II Musem, flood solving,
the construction of another road linking Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Son and the
Thai-Burmese trade project.
He was delighted to announce that the cabinet had
authorized 20 million baht for conserving and restoring the World War II
Japanese Museum in Khun Yuam district. This museum is at present a
depository for artefacts from that era, with the hulks of vintage vehicles,
equipment, clothes and eating utensils left by the Japanese soldiers, all
being taken care of by Khun Yuam municipality and residents. With the money
approved by the cabinet, a new building will be constructed to house and
display these fascinating objects and promote it as a new tourism
remains of a vehicle used by the Japanese army during World War II.
The governor requested any resident who came across anything of interest
relating to the Japanese army during the WWII, to present them to the
museum. The museum will offer a fair price to purchase any interesting item.
Furthermore, the province is to send officers to survey routes used by the
Japanese soldiers at that time. The governor expressed the hope that both
Thai and foreign tourists would visit.
New village being built for about to be displaced Mae Maw people
Chiangmai Mail Reporters
To allow construction of the Mae Maw Power Plant to go
ahead, construction workers are hastening to prepare the basic utilities for
a new village, including streets, water supply, and the electricity system
and have already spent more that 47 million baht of the 70 million baht
budget for this project.
Wanchai Suttiworachai, Lampang deputy governor said after
the conference with the Mae Maw area citizens committee, more than 1,400 rai
has been prepared for citizens, but unfortunately 72 squatters had
trespassed onto the prepared areas. Officers of his staff had explained the
situation in detail and most of the squatters had left already, but there
are 2-3 trespassers who still create a problem. In an effort to prevent
trespass in the area, Wanchai had caused notices to be posted in the
locality announcing the purpose of this conservation site.
He expected that all the basic utilities will be finished
construction by September, 2006. Work has commenced to drill an artesian
well to test the water volume, with four more artesian wells yet to be
drilled. Both major and minor streets are being laid and mapped; and
estimates have been drawn up to budget the cost of property for the people
who will come to live in the new town. EGAT will foot the bill for this
Lampang deputy governor also said that on the orders of
the PM, he has speeded up the operation of every sector concerned, and will
issue a weekly progress report to the working group every Tuesday.
Privatization of EGAT still seems just around the corner!
600 visitors to Chiang Mai Health Hub and Beauty Expo’06
Suwanchaisri-Kittiyaporn Kanjam (Student Trainee MFLU)
physical testing and consulting services from the hospitals in Chiang Mai.
Chiang Mai Health Services Promotion Association and
Chiang Mai Travel Business Association organized the Chiang Mai Health Hub
and Beauty Expo ‘06 which was held at the Convention Hall, Chiang Mai
University and opened by Anuthin Chanweerakul, the Deputy Public Health
Five organizations set up booths offering health products
and services, which were patronized by more than 600 visitors. The aim of
“Chiang Mai Health Hub and Beauty Expo’06" was to encourage
residents to look after their own health, to develop the quality of health
products and services and to promote Chiang Mai as a health center.
visited the booths and exhibitions in Chiang Mai Health Hub and Beauty
Expo’06 at Convention Hall, Chiang Mai University.
There was a variety of activities at the Expo’, including physical
fitness testing, together with experts from hospitals all over Chiang Mai
province counseling people on health and beauty treatments and dental
services, with academic seminars by doctors and lecturers. There were Thai
massage demonstrations, yoga practice, healthy foods, exercise equipment,
aroma therapy, and music therapy, with cosmetics and beauty services booths
from 120 shops.
Burma and Thailand agree to open Baan Nam Piang Din Trading Market, Mae Hong Son
Chiangmai Mail Reporters
Mae Hong Son opened the border for trading with Myanmar
near Baan Nam Piang Din, Mae Hong Son province at which, Thailand will
import antimony and teak from Myanmar and export second hand cars and
Direk Konkleeb, the Mae Hong Son Governor signed the
authorization document to open the border for trading, which will create
four trading posts at Baan Nam Piang Din; Baan Huay Ton Nun, near Khun Yuam;
Baan Mae Sam Lab, near Sob Moei; and Baan Huay Phueng, in Tambon Huay
district. The opening of these trading routes will be considered as
temporary for the first six months and will be monitored closely with regard
to stability around border area.
Sunda, president of the Karenni National Peoples Front
has been allowed by the Myanmar junta to control Kaya State around the Thai
border in Mae Hong Son Province, said that allowing trade between Thailand
and KNPLF especially at Baan Nam Piang Din, is the idea of Tunjor, vice
president of KNPLF, who has responsibility to control the local economy,
after talks with municipal officers of Mae Hong Son. The opening of this
trading point did not go before the central governments of the Union of
Myanmar and Thailand, but was just a verbal agreement between high level
officers of the east regional military army and the army headquarters of Loi
The products that will be exported through the controlled
area of KNPLF to Mae Hong Son include antimony and dried chili product. Also
teak will be transferred from Myanmar to Thailand but that has to be
authorized by the central government first. The products exported from
Thailand during this trial period include vegetable oil, whisky, and
agricultural machinery and second hand Japanese cars.
It remains to be seen if these are the only products to
cross the borders.
Over 1000 aliens in Mae Hong Son to be naturalized
Chiangmai Mail Reporter
Mae Hong Son province is to offer Thai nationality to
1,406 aliens and on February 9, Sangkhom Khad-chiangsaen, the district
Assistant chief officer explained how the documents should be prepared for
the 158 aliens the Ministry of Interior has already authorized to have Thai
nationality, as well as for another 86 people who have been legally living
in Thailand since 1985. After the conference, Mae Hong Son district chief
officer assigned personnel to provide appropriate documents to the people
concerned and to check each applicant’s evidence to verify their
eligibility to receive Thai nationality.
ACM Kongsak Wantha-na, Minister of Interior set this
process in motion on December 7, 2005,offering Thai nationality to a tota1
of 1406 aliens living in every district of Mae Hong Son, with a further
group waiting for the next authorization. However, there are almost 50,000
illegal laborers to be found around Mae Hong Son, many of them working in
the mountains with local hill tribe people who already have Thai
nationality; with most of them living along border next to Burma.
St Valentine’s Day – a celebration of marriage vows and roses
Nopniwat Krailerg and
Kittiyaporn Kanjam (student trainee MFLU)
are selecting bouquet of roses on Valentine’s Day at Chiang Mai’s flower
Since early morning of February 14, Valentine’s Day for
the romantics of the world, almost 100 couples gathered at Muang district
office, Chiang Mai, to register their marriages on this day. Both Thais and
foreign couples were welcomed by Thanin Supasaen, Muang district chief
officer who was the registrar for these lovers who registered amidst the
sound of Thai love songs.
Many couples said they decided to register their marriage
on Valentine’s Day because it was the day to celebrate love, the world
over. Some of them were couples who had lived together for several years and
were renewing their vows, even accompanied by their children.
of 100 couples registering their marriage at the Muang district office,
As well as registering on Valentine’s Day, many were
able to enjoy special offers on honeymoon suites in some of Chiang Mai’s
five star hotels, plus romantic dinners and photographs of the special
Of course, Valentine’s Day is also a special day for
flower sellers, with the atmosphere behind Waroros Market, the biggest
flower market of Chiang Mai, being very lively. Purchasers included school
students, university undergraduates, workers and even tourists. In this free
market economy, it
was obvious that the price of flowers seemed to have risen as fast as
gasoline prices, but in the day for lovers, who was going to count the cost.
Mobile cabinet conference at Chiang Mai Night Safari result
Chiang Mai stands with its hands out
Saksit Meesubkwang and
Thaksin Shinawatra led the mobile cabinet conference in Chiang Mai.
The mobile Cabinet meeting, headed by the PM Thaksin
Shinawatra, was recently held at the Chiang Mai Night Safari. The PM
reported that immediately prior to the meeting, he had consulted with French
President Jacques Chirac, who confirmed he would officially visit the Chiang
February 17-19 and would hold a conference to discuss Thai-French
association in relation to tourism, fashion and the possibility of Thailand
purchasing weapons from France.
At the meeting, cabinet ministers debated how to deal
with the problems of the 16 Northern provinces. The National Economic and
Social Development Board (NESDB) requested the ministers to consider these
provinces’ development strategies, especially those concerning economy,
trade, investment and the conservation of Lanna culture.
The board would like to have authorization to go ahead
with urgent projects such as Wiang Law Ancient City conservation project,
which in the second half of the year will need 27.6 million baht of the
central part of the budget; and 32.4 million baht of the annual budget for
2007-2008 on 13 other important projects. Some of these are the Chiang
Mai-Lamphun railway branch-line construction project; the Mae Hong Son
airport development project; longan canning technology and the development
of Chiang Saen, Nan and Hariphunchai as world heritage sites. There are 23
other projects on the agenda, including trade routes, tourism with GMS
countries (Laos, Vietnam and South China), a trade and investment service
center and the Nan High Points project that is source of art, culture,
handicraft and OTOP.
Chiang Mai province was asking for a 2006 budget for
these projects, and a new Knowledge Learning Park and an irrigation canal
for the Karen community at the source of the Mae Tuen River in Omkoi
On top of all this, there are 38 projects requiring funds
for 2007 and 42 more important projects which require a little further study
and it is predicted that a requirement of 8.5 billion baht will be needed to
cover their cost. Moreover, Ministry of Culture asked the cabinet to
consider enhancement of the Chiang Mai-San Kamphaeng Culture Road. It would
like to spend 175 million baht to improve the roadside scenery and set up
statues on either side of the carriageway including constructing the Khong
Gate, wall and Culture Park at the gateway to San Kamphaeng.
With regard to the far more important plan to solve the
flooding in Chiang Mai, this is split into 36 parts requiring a total of
13.6 billion baht spread over the three years 2006-2009, to deal with the
situation; and the agenda outlining these plans was put before the
ministers. Furthermore, 20 projects to solve flooding in the areas; Pai
River Basin in Mae Hong Son, Wang River Basin in Lampang, Mae Korn River
Basin in Chiang Rai, Ing River Basin in Phayao and Yom River Basin in Phrae,
requiring 1.7 billion baht of funds, were presented as well.
Private organizations from the eight Lanna provinces, Chiang Rai, Chiang
Mai, Nan, Phayao, Phrae, Mae Hong Son, Lampang and Lamphun had talks with
the Prime Minister at the Chiang Mai Travel Business Club, about the
government’s offer to link tourism routes in these eight provinces and
developing Chiang Mai to be the hub. Marketing strategies and public
relations issues were discussed also, to promote these Lanna provinces to
become well known at international level. Tourism Department resources will
be set aside to cover the cost of marketing these ideas. The government was
asked to set up an organization with overall responsibility for this
project, with the local industry playing a major role.
Chiang Mai Mass Transport loses three million baht from municipality coffers
Mai municipal busses that have served local residents for three months
The last time Chiang Mai had proper buses was 15 years
ago, but since then only the red mini busses (songthaew’s) have operated
in the city, but they have been criticized by residents for stopping
erratically to pick up passengers, causing traffic jams and accidents.
Successive mayors have had requests to have busses serving residents and
students, instead of songthaews. This idea was strenuously resisted by the
Nakorn Lanna Transport Cooperatives, led by their president, Singhkham
Nunti, but nevertheless, busses were eventually introduced into the
Boonlert Buranupakorn, Chiang Mai mayor asked for funds
from the government to provide residents with buses as they requested. There
are six routes operated by the municipal bus service, totally separate from
areas served by the red mini-buses. The service started in November 2005 and
the standard municipal bus fare is only five baht. During the three months
the service has been operating, few residents have used the
service and sometimes there are it carries no passengers at all.
The mayor reported that the municipality had lost almost
three million baht in these three months, but was prepared to spend a
further 10 million baht over the next 10 months. Furthermore, the
municipality is to provide yet more buses, to bring the total to 100,
operating on routes between the suburbs and the city.
Residents say that the municipal buses were an
improvement over the songthaews, but most citizens did not know the routes
the busses serviced, so were afraid they would not arrive at their intended
destination if they caught a bus.
The general opinion of everyone is that the municipality has failed to
adequately publicize bus routes and timetables, and has not taken into
consideration passengers travel patterns and requirements; and should think
carefully before going ahead and spending what is, after all, tax-payers
Editor of Chiang Mai News passes away
at the funeral ceremony of Thanee Suwattana, Chiang Mai News editor, at Hai Ya
Graveyard, Chiang Mai.
Thanee Suwattana or Pom, was a journalist who had worked in
the media fraternity for more than 30 years. He recently accepted the editorship
of the Chiang Mai News, a daily newspaper presenting northern news and events in
the Thai language. Sadly he passed away from a heart attack aged only 56, at his
home on February 5, 2006, amidst great sadness in his colleagues in northern
media circles. His body was taken to Wat Muang Ma for the religious funeral
ceremony and then moved to Hai Ya Graveyard on February 9 for cremation.
Journalists, government officials, politicians, relatives and many who had the
privilege of knowing Pom, attended the funeral to say their last goodbyes.
Thanee Suwattana was Chinese and studied journalism in
Bangkok and his first job was writing for the Khon Muang Newspaper. He moved to
several other companies, eventually joining a daily newspaper called Thin Nua
and later worked for Thai News. As his experience grew, he became head of Raming
Daily Newspapers, at the same time running a publishing company producing
off-set four color newspapers for the first time in Chiang Mai.
Later he became head of the Siam Newspaper editorial department, but only
held that post for a short time before moving to Chiang Mai News, where he
worked briefly as editor before his death.
Chiang Mai residents to worship 18 pieces of Lord Buddha’s relics
go to worship Lord Buddha’s relics.
To mark the occasion of the 60th
anniversary of HM King Bhumibol ascending the throne and to recognize both
his 80th year and the honor of being the 9th
King of the Chakri Dynasty, the Buddhist Supreme Patriarch of Sri Lanka
has permanently presented nine pieces of the Lord Buddha’s relics to
Phansawalee Kittiya-korn. She then informed the Thai Buddhist Supreme
Patriarch of her actions, who on hearing the news, donated a further nine
The presentation ceremony took place in Bangkok on
December 29, 2005 at Don Muang Technical College, before being separately
put into safe keeping at vocational institutes in different locations, to
offer the opportunity for residents to come from all over Thailand to
worship them. On February 1, 2006 some relics were brought to Chiang Mai
Vocational College to give local students and citizens the opportunity to
worship them until February 15.
When the Lord Buddha’s relics arrived in Chiang Mai,
provincial administrators hosted a religious ceremony in which residents
walked around a platform that held the relics. Having a chance to adore
these 18 relic pieces is believed to be an act equivalent to worshipping
the Lord Buddha directly; and persons who have already done so experienced
a feeling of warmth and felt they would have good luck.
After these relics have been displayed in every province, they will be
kept permanently in “Phra Barom Chedi Pairee Pilad”, Chaiyaphum
province, and 80 statues of revered monks will be erected there. There
will be an inscription on these 80 statues telling how Lord Buddha admired
them in different ways. The statues will also be inscribed with the tenets
of Buddhist teaching.
Hi-tech thief hacks bank’s database and extracts millions of baht
A Chiang Mai businessman was recently dismayed to
discover that the balance in his bank savings account was reducing rapidly
without his knowledge or consent. He took his complaint to Pol. Lt. Col.
Thanarat Chumsawat, deputy investigation superintendent of Provincial
Police Bureau Region 5 in cooperation with Wiset Chaichan Police Station,
Ang Thong Province, along with his bank statements showing regular
withdrawals of several thousand baht each time, that he swore he had not
Mae Ping police checked with the bank and found that
withdrawals had been made over a 4 year period, from local ATMs to various
cell phone accounts to recharge SIM cards, but the bank account owner
denied withdrawing any money by ATM. The sums now totalled several million
With the bank’s cooperation the Provincial Police
discovered that the money was being withdrawn and credited to the account
of a telephone subscriber, Chaiyode Chat-amornwiset, 36, a citizen of
Wiset Chaichan. The police traced Chaiyode to his house in Ang Thong
Province and brought him in to Chiang Mai for questioning. He explained
that he had traveled to Chiang Mai to sell a thousand SIM cards to clients
in the Night Bazaar.
Chaiyode also admitted that he used his cell phone to
hack into the security protection system of ATMs on the internet and
download information on the files of different users, then money in the
accounts of the bank’s customers could be transferred electronically
into his cell phone and these amounts of money could then be transferred
to other people, charging them a suitably low price. Another method he
employed was to copy bank customer’s personal information, which he
picked up from ATM booths; and link this information with his cell phone
and transfer money into the SIM cards before distributing these pre-loaded
SIM cards at a bargain price.
The police learned that Chaiyode suffered from a brain
problem while at school and struggled to achieve 4th
grade, so his parents did not continue to support
him in any further study, but let him sell snacks nearby Rong Thong Joss
House. However, even at a young age he was interested in cell phone
technology and became an expert concerning all functions such as how to
download cartoons or games and transcribe porn pictures onto VCDs and to
continue selling them.
It makes one wonder that instead of charging this man
with theft; the bank should seriously consider giving him the job of
beefing up their own electronic security measures, and the businessman
needs a new accountant!
One side of the analysis of the Thai-US FTA talks
Duangkamol Doncha-um (HDN
The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations held recently
in Chiang Mai, followed by many in newspapers and TV broadcasts have been
viewed with contrasting opinions. At the last NGO Forum, the Northern NGO
Coalition on AIDS (NNCA) together with Suteerat Treemanka, Deputy Director
of AIDS Access, and Supanee Tha-neewut, PRAFA Project Coordinator presented
a history and analysis of the movements from their perspective from the
first round of negotiations to the sixth in Chiang Mai, last month.
When talking about free trade, many people still have
little understanding, preventing free trade from becoming a public issue.
The FTA protest movement has tried to consistently follow the issue of free
trade between Thailand and the US, especially on the matter of drug patents
and free agricultural trade, acting as a watch dog on behalf of the public.
The third meeting held in Pattaya, Chonburi was the first
time that the public took notice. About 2,000 people, including networks
representing HIV infected people, agricultural workers, slum dwellers, and
laborers demonstrated to protest and raise public awareness about the FTA
The sixth meeting held in Chiang Mai was considered to
have great significance, as Supanee stated, “If we miss this round, we
will not have another chance again in movements from the masses and we might
only have one chance left before pen meets paper.”
This time, much effort was put into creating an
understanding with the public. A factor that has positively affected the
campaign against the FTA is the experience of free trade with China, which
has directly affected agriculture in the north. Onion and garlic farmers, in
particular, were drastically affected when the government ordered production
to stop because it could not be sent to China. These things have made the
public more aware and willing to acknowledge the issue.
There are two issues in this round of free trade
negotiations that the U.S. seem unwilling to compromise on. Firstly, the
agriculture issue and secondly drug patents, both of which involve in
enormous profits. These two issues dominated the negotiations this time.
In an analysis of benefits and losses resulting from the
demonstrations, Khun Supanee suggested, “The only thing we lost were funds
spent to run and operate the campaign. One beneficial result was a change in
the way the media worked. Many newspapers and TV news channels followed the
issue and presented in depth details on what the issues relating to drug
patent and free agricultural trade are. This allowed us to create a better
understanding with the public. In this round, there were people from 12
different networks involved, representing groups with varied viewpoints. The
FTA protests have taken civil society to a new level, in terms of impact on
policy. This will raise political awareness and participation in policy
issues by the public.”
The goal of the FTA awareness-raising campaign from now
on is not just to protest but to publicize information about the impact of
the agreement. It appears that there are more parties that are involved in
assessing the FTA talks, such as academics and economists. Sureerut
Treemonkha said, “Expanding public understanding of the FTA is what we
will do to create more awareness and agreement on the matter. Those who
don’t agree, don’t have to. There are always things people won’t agree
on in this world. However, if everyone can judge things fairly for
themselves that is what we are working towards, whether as an organization
or as individuals.”
For anyone interested in following the different issues
of the FTA negotiations they may go to www.ftawatch.org or the Partners
Thailand [email protected]
The NGO forum takes place on the last Tuesday of every
month at the HIV/AIDS Action Centre. For more information or suggestions of
topics, please contact Duang-kamol Doncha-um at Health and Development
Networks, 053 418 438 # 110 or email: [email protected],
Underground electricity cables for in Mae Sai
Chiangmai Mail Reporters
Dr. Wichai Thaweeworadet, the mayor of Mae Sai, unveiled
the municipality’s plans to run electrical cables underground in Mae Sai
district and their ideas to enhance the appearance of Mae Sai Gate.
The electricity posts will be removed as far as the Mae
Sai-Chiang Saen bypass crossroads from the entrance to Mae Sai, a distance
of 300 meters and will greatly improve the appearance of the location.
Furthermore, the municipality intends to set up a 30 meter high Lanna
flagpole, on which will be carved the 12 signs of the zodiac. The work to
enhance the appearance of the gateway to the city will be carried out with
the cooperation of Mae Sai municipality and the Highway District Office.
The area where the Lanna flagpole is to be erected will
soon be cleared of electricity poles and the project is expected to be
completed before March 31, 2006. If everything goes well, the plan will be
applied in other areas and Mae Sai will be clear of electricity posts in the
A million baht for agony, but no ecstasy, at the Mae Sai border
Chiangmai Mail Reporter
Police mounted a sting operation after being tipped off
about a drug shipment being transferred from Burma to clients in the Mae Sai
district of Chiang Rai.
On February 9, Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na
Ayuthaya, Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 Com-misioner was alerted by
informants, that drugs were about to be transferred from Burma to clients in
Mae Sai district, Chiang Rai. According to his informant the transfer of
drugs would take place under a bridge near the Mae Sai border. He quickly
formulated a cunning plan and assigned Pol. Lt. Col. Somboon Homnan to lead
a force to quietly surround the location and wait in ambush for the drug
traffickers to appear.
Police officers posing as the clients waited under the
bridge carrying a bag containing one million baht to purchase drugs from the
dealers. Eventually a Burmese man carrying a bag arrived at the scene and
after being shown the money by the bogus drug clients, produced 20,000 white
ecstasy tablets which he offered for sale to the police. The police
surrounded him and he was arrested and the drugs were seized.
The offender, identified as Mong Tun , 32 informed the
police that an accomplice called Kole was waiting for him at the Golden
Triangle Port of Chiang Saen, so the police quickly informed officers at
that location who swiftly responded and arrested him as well. They were both
taken to Mae Sai Police Station, Chiang Rai, where they were detained
The arresting officers learned that these ecstasy tablets were produced
by the Red Wah, after they changed from producing ya-ba to manufacturing
ecstasy instead. Thai clients, especially those in high society, preferred
ecstasy, so it made economic sense to produce it, rather than ya-ba.
Mae Sai Custom House seize 2 mio baht contraband
Chiangmai Mail Reporters
Customs Officers at Mae Sai put on show the total
seizures of illicit goods that they had made in the month of January this
year. The exhibits included almost 3,000 orange colored ya ba pills, and
1,700 pornographic VCDs in several languages including Thai. Also in the
haul of illicit products were 1,100 pitated copies of foreign pop song DVDs,
and 9,000 products which were manufactured in China. The total value of all
the exhibits amounted to 1,972,323 baht.
Chuchai Udomphote, head of Mae Sai Custom House said that
there was a well established gang operating around the Thai-Myanmar Border
in Mae Sai district, with many manufacturing facilities situated close by in
Burma. Here in Mae Sai and in the neighboring country Burma, there are both
Thai and Burmese investors, whose money is used to back up the gangs. The
illegal products are copied in huge quantities before transferred to
agencies around the border and funneled through Tachilek and Mae Sai
district. Mae Sai has become notorious around the border area for selling
pornographic movies and pirated copies of foreign pop songs, so the Customs
have not intercepted all of them.
The head of Mae Sai Custom House also said that the
seizure of all these illegal products would not have been accomplished
without the cooperation his officers with the military, the police, and
check point officers exchanging information and planning strategies to
thwart the activities of the gangs operating around the border area. In the
last two years Customs officers of the Mae Sai district have seized drugs
and illegal products worth 286 million baht. But with goods still freely
available, there is obviously more work to do to unearth the dark
San Pa Tong monk murderer revealed as monk from the same temple
The murderer of a Burmese monk named Phra Somchai
Mahawaro, 27, has been arrested. It became apparent during police
investigations, that both the victim and the perpetrator were monks in Tha
Cham Pee Temple governed by an elderly abbot called Kru Ba Duang Dee, almost
100 years old. The victim had lived in this temple for two years prior to
his murder on the night of February 4.
Pol. Col. Aksorn Wongyai and his team, questioned about
50 local residents and monks living in the vicinity of the temple. Their
enquiries quickly led them to suspect 50 year old monk Ma Boonpan, who,
after inter- rogation, confessed to the murder of the monk, Somchai.
He said that he had lived with the abbot in this temple
for more than ten years and been responsible for feeding the pigs and horses
the temple. He became antagonistic toward Somchai, and harbored the
erroneous belief that Somchai cast a black magic curse on the abbot causing
him to catch many diseases. He had informed other monks of his suspicions,
but no one believed him, so he planned to kill Somchai. He sharpened a knife
and waited until Somchai left the abbot’s residence. He hid behind the
bell tower and then jumped out and cut his victim’s ear off and slit his
throat, causing him to die immediately. He then dug a hole and buried the
knife before going to bed, rising the next morning and feigning innocence
when the victim’s body was found.
He showed the police where the knife was buried before confessing his
crime before several hundred monks and residents. He was charged with the
murder of Somchai, however during their investigations, the police had also
learned that the murderer had a history of previous mental problems, having
been a patient in Suan Prung Psychiatric Hospital. After being charged he
was taken into custody and held there, pending psychiatric evaluation.
Death during elephant show
We all know what delightful animals elephants can be and we
delight in their clever acts at the many elephant camps around Chiang Mai. We
marvel at their massive strength and applaud their cute tricks as they play
football or paint pictures and constantly demonstrate the rapport developed from
thousands of hours of contact with their trainers. But on February 5, at the
Pong Pattana Elephant Show one of these gentle giants showed what can happen
when it becomes annoyed or irritated by the actions of someone, when it turned
on a man and gored him with its tusks.
The victim was initially admitted to Doi Saket Hospital
before being transferred to Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital owing to the
severity of his wounds. He later died at the hospital and was identified as
Sawat Sritaluan, 41, living at Tambon Cheung Doi, Doi Saket district.
The incident happened where performing elephants were showing
off their abilities at Tambon Doi Saket Municipality Stadium. During the show,
Sawat (alleged as having mental problem), took a microphone to an elephant as if
wanted him to sing. The elephant turned away but Sawat followed and took
microphone closer to the elephant, which then gored him in middle of the chest.
Several mahouts had to warn villagers not to come near the elephant to prevent
further casualties, and took the injured man to hospital.
However, police have charged Phat-anan Phanwiset, 22, the
elephant’s care taker, with negligence for keeping a dangerous animal and
causing the death of another person.
More drug problems, with nurses selling for pocket money
Traffic police, whilst at a checkpoint on Thapae road on
the lookout for the usual traffic offences, such as failure to wear
crash-helmets or fasten seatbelts, observed a motorcycle driven by a woman
with a man sitting behind her, evade the barrier and attempt to escape.
Police officers followed them and finally stopped them. The lady’s was
jinda, 26 and her passen-ger’s name was Surasak Metha, 24. The two were
acting suspiciously, so the traffic police officer handed them over to
investigation officers ascertain the reason for their suspicious behavior.
When searched, Waranya was found to have 200 ya ba pills
hidden in her underwear. Further enquiries revealed that she worked as a
nurse at a Hospital in Chiang Mai and she received the ya ba pills when she
picked up her boyfriend after work. The two offenders were arrested and
charged with possessing drugs.
Pittaya Jinawat, director of Northern ONCB said that On February 7, ONCB
cooperated with police officers and had a conference about known and new
drug dealers and the methods employed by the drug traffickers. Recently
Burma has arrested more drug dealers; with the result that fewer drugs have
been transported into Thailand. There will be an evaluation every 3 months
and the results will be published in September.
Italian chef cooks his own goose ferrying ya ba
Chiangmai Mail Reporters
While conducting a routine check on February 8 at Chiang
Rai bus station, police officers observed a foreigner acting suspiciously
while sitting in the Nakornchai Air bus destined for Chon Buri province. The
officer questioned the man, an Italian named Anthony Ardissone, aged 29 who,
when searched, was found to be carrying 718 ya ba pills in a plastic package
hidden in his underwear. The man was arrested and charged with possessing
He claimed he was a chef at a famous hotel in Rome and he had traveled to
Thailand and married a woman in Pattaya. He observed that Pattaya was
crowded with foreigners, so he came to Chiang Rai to buy drugs to take back
to Pattaya and sell. He had been arrested for similar offences once before.
Perhaps too much Chianti had dulled his powers of rational thought.
Burmese drug dealers arrested in Chiang Saen
Chiangmai Mail Reporters
Two Burmese drug traffickers were picked up by a joint
task force of the ONCB and other affiliated officers, in the Golden Triangle
port of Chiang Saen on Feb-ruary 9.
The two offenders, Mee (surname unknown), 20; and Aitee
(surname unknown), 20, were both Tai tribesmen from the Tachilek area. After
a search, the men were found to be carrying over 20,000 amphetamine tablets.
When interrogated the two men admitted they were smuggling the drugs for
delivery to clients along Golden Triangle border. Both men were placed under
arrest and taken to Chiang Saen Police Station, Chiang Rai, where they were
detained and charged with drug trafficking.