Groups for and against PM Thaksin rally in Chiang Mai
Chiangmai Mail Reporters
Politics in Thailand is certainly beginning to hot up
with many organizations requesting the PM to resign, claiming he used his
position to govern the country improperly. Protestors gathered in Bangkok
culminating in a large rally that took place on February 26 at Sanam Luang,
PM Thaksin Shinawatra announced the dissolution of
parliament on February 24, with a new election to be held on April 2, 2006.
Even though parliament had dissolved, the rally still took place with people
from all over the country pressing the PM to resign and end his political
role, as they believe that Thaksin is the problem, not the government.
In Chiang Mai which is the PM’s hometown, on February
26 at 6.30 p.m., a crowd of around 1,000 people including lecturers,
students and local residents, gathered at a field in front of the Faculty of
Social Science, Chiang Mai University, requesting the PM to quit. A giant
screen had been set up to show live broadcasts of the situation at Sanam
Luang in Bangkok, to coincide with the speeches given by the lecturers and
students. However despite this, there are still groups supporting him to
continue his duties as PM.
At the same time as the rally in Bangkok, around 10,000
residents from diffe-
rent districts of Chiang Mai, dressed in red shirts gathered at Chiang Mai
Anniversary Stadium. This group were supporters of PM Thaksin Shinawatra,
urging him to continue working for the country claiming that his detractors
had been paid to protest against him by the
opposition party in government. They will continue supporting the PM and are
ready to travel to Bangkok and resist the anti Thaksin group if they did not
cancel the rally calling for the PM to resign. Yaowapa Wongsawat, the PM’s
sister and a member of Thai Rak Thai Party spoke and encouraged the
residents to support the PM, criticizing the acts of those people in
The pro-Thaksin assembly went on for about two hours
before the crowd finally broke up.
PM still has some supporters
Unfortunately this one was mad
Saksit Meesubkwang and Preeyanoot Jittawong
An over-zealous PM Thaksin supporter took a female
student hostage and held her at knife-point in the library toilets of
Chiang Mai University, threatening to kill both his captive and himself
if the planned rally to oust the PM went ahead at Sanam Luang on February
26th in Bangkok.
Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, commissioner of Provincial Police
Bureau Region 5 took the offender to Phuping Police Station.
Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya,
commissioner of Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 was informed of the
situation on February 24th,
and he and several officers immediately rushed to the scene.
At the CMU Library, eye witnesses told the police that
a young man had threatened a female student with a knife and was holding
her hostage in the library toilet, while shouting loudly for the Resident
Alliances for Democracy to stop the assembly organized to be held on
February 26 at Sanam Luang in Bangkok.
He also protested vociferously against the movement of
CMU academicians and students that were calling for the Prime Minister to
resign, claiming it was incorrect and he wanted these groups of people to
The police commissioner negotiated with the angry man,
offering to allow him to put his point of view through the media by
cooperating with Channel 7 to broadcast his grievances, in return for
releasing the hostage unharmed. The negotiations lasted for almost three
hours until finally the kidnapper agreed to do as the commissioner
requested. A Channel 7 reporter passed a microphone to him through a vent
and after voicing his grievances over the airwaves; he gave himself up
and released the hostage without further harm.
The girl was identified as Saranyaluck and had
received a three cm cut to the right side of her neck and was suffering
from shock, so was sent to Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital for
observation. Upon release of the hostage, the offender was arrested and
later identified as Tiratanatnaruetta Saowapakchotirot, 39, living at
Tambon Chang Puek in Muang, Chiang Mai, where he worked as a City Bank
He said that he was seriously aggrieved with the
present situation that Sonthi Limthongkul and Maj. Gen. Chamlong Srimuang
together with academicians were calling for the PM to step down. He
claimed that he was a Thai citizen who liked PM Thaksin Shinawatra and
wished him to continue being PM; and he believed many other Thai citizens
also liked him but there was no platform to voice their opinion. He added
that he had planned this incident very well and initially intended to
detain the hostage until February 26, 2006. If the anti-Thaksin rally
planned for that date was still held at Sanam Luang, Bangkok he intended
to commit suicide and kill the hostage as a protest. After his arrest he
was immediately taken to Phuping Police Station in Muang Chiang Mai, to
prevent him being attacked by students and residents; and charged with
kidnapping and threatening life with a deadly weapon.
NOHMEX festival held at CMU
Preeyanoot Jittawong and
Kittiyaporn Kanjam (Student Trainee MFLU)
The Northern Handicraft Manufacturers and Expor-nd
Northern Craft Design Festival” on February 22, at Chiang Mai Chamber of
Commerce. It was attended by Jirasak Sonsuwit, president
ters Association (NOHMEX) represented by its director Watcharee Sritrakul;
gave a press conference about “The 2
of operation subcommittee; Chabaprai Kanlayanamitr, committee of Foreign
Section and OTOP in Chiang Mai coordinator; and Watcharapong Trakarnsiri,
branch manager of SMEs Bank Chiang Mai Branch.
Sritrakul, executive secretary director of NOHMEX (2nd
from left); Jirasak Sonsuwit, president of operation subcommittee (2nd
from right); Chabaprai Kanlayanamitr, committee of Foreign Section and OTOP
in Chiang Mai coordinator (right); and Watcharapong Trakarnsiri, branch
manager of SMEs Bank Chiang Mai Branch (left) gave a press conference.
Watcharee Sritrakul reported that the first time this
event took place at Chiang Mai University Art Museum it proved a great
success, so the association hoped for
an equally enthusiastic response to the “The 2nd
Northern Craft Design Festival” in Chiang Mai.
The objectives of the festival are to promote the
achievments of the manufacturers in product design; to create products to
meet the needs of the international marketplace, promote and exchange modern
management methods to manufacturers; to raise the standard of handicraft
production and marketing to international level; and to publicize the
pattern and trend of Lanna style products to manufacturers, designers, and
This fair emphasizes the unique characteristics of Lanna
style handicrafts and the setting will reflect Lanna style and culture using
natural materials. NOHMEX has cooperated with, and been supported by many
organizations such as the SME Bank, Thailand Create Design Center (TCDC),
and Craft Design Service Center (CDSC) of the Faculty of Fine Art Chiang Mai
University and it is expected that this fair will attract many businessmen
and generate an income of about 10 million baht; 30% higher than last year.
The fair will bring more than 165 export handicraft
manufacturers from throughout the Northern region to display their products
for sale to visitors and businessmen, both foreign and Thai. The handicrafts
on show at the fair
are unique, trendy, and delicate products, designed in Lanna style, which
have been strictly chosen by the fair organizers.
The activities at the fair will include retail sales of
quality products; product showcases and demonstrations; an academic seminar
professional lecturers; and advice for handicraft .manufacturers. This event
will take place during March 2-6, 2006 at Chiang Mai University Convention
Animals dying at Chiang Mai
Night Safari, claims Wildlife Fund
Nikom Puttha, Thailand’s Northern Wildlife Fund
coordinator, disclosed that 21 of 104 animals had died since Chiang Mai
Night Safari had established and these animals were supposedly protected
according to the Thai government Act of 1992.
Some of the animals that had died included two rare
gorals, allegedly because they had been given too much anesthetic. Other
animals that have died had been imported from overseas, and had become an
important issue for world animal conservation groups.
These organizations have criticized Chiang Mai Night
Safari and proclaimed it should be more concerned with taking care of its
There will be a conference in Kenya on March 9-15, 2006
and wildlife conservation organizations worldwide will discuss the one
million US dollar (or 40 million baht) that Thailand offered for Kenya for
175 wild animals of 20 types. These organizations have presented a petition
to both the Thai and Kenyan governments to cancel this exchange.
Thai alphabet to be Romanized for international recognition
The Thai Industrial Standard Institute (TISI) organized
the 32nd ISO/TC 46 Plenary Meeting in Chiang Mai, attended by 18 member
countries. During this conference, Thailand offered ISO 11940-2 transforming
Thai script into Roman letters, which could be regarded as the international
Prof. Dr. Udom Warotsikha-
dit, representative of the Royal Institute Thailand said that transforming
the Thai alphabet into Roman letters would be very advantageous because it
would enable the same computer keyboard to be used to communicate in Thai or
English, or any Roman based language, as well as disseminating the Thai
language to become better known internationally.
Besides transforming Thai Lanna letters, the Royal
Institute has assigned representatives from Ireland and Payap University to
transform Lanna alphabet into the Roman alphabet and predicted this would
finish in June this year. Lanna letters will become recognized
internationally and could be used in communication also.
Chiang Mai-Mae Hong Son tunnel good for tourism and economics
Chiangmai Mail Reporters
Poonsak Sunthornpanichkit, president of the Mae Hong Son
Chamber of Commerce commented on the results
of the cabinet meeting in Chiang Mai on February 7. The cabinet ministers
were in favor of developing the route from Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Son by
drilling a tunnel that would shorten the journey by 60 kilometers.
Poonsak said that Mae Hong Son residents would benefit
from the route being shortened, because that would encourage more people to
travel by road, who might otherwise be deterred by the mountainous twisting
He added that he was aware that many groups were worried
that nature and culture may be affected by the construction of the tunnel;
but felt that the benefits to Mae Hong Son’s tourism and commerce, far
outweighed any temporary disruption the tunnel’s
construction might cause. Highlighting the increased trade with Burma in the
Mae Hong Son region, he stressed the importance of improving the trade
routes to facilitate the carriage of Thailand’s exports to neighboring
7 rai of opium farm destroyed in Fang
“White Shark” ranger force headed by Lt. Col.
Prasitipong Moondee, deputy comman-th Special Ranger Task
Force in association with Capt. Weerachai Pongkaew, commander of a unit of
Pha Muang Task Force; and Fang Police Station officers traveled on foot on
February 17th, to Baan Luang,
Tambon Mae Ngon in Fang district, Chiang Mai near the border of Burma. It
took about two hours to reach the destination, where they had learned that
an opium farm was located in an isolated, heavily forested area.
der of 956
The farm was around seven rai of land and checks revealed
that some opium had already been harvested while more was just coming ready
The task force destroyed all the plants on the farm to
prevent them being manufactured into narcotics and delivered to different
parts of the country. The owners of the farm must have got wind of the
patrol’s activities and were nowhere to be found when the task force
arrived. It seems that the farm owners have an even better source of
information than the rangers.
Japanese government provides grant to support HIV sufferers in Mae Taeng
of Japan in Chiang Mai signs a contract to present support for HIV infected
in Mae Taeng Hospital.
The Government of Japan, under its Grant Assistance for
Grassroots Human Security Projects Scheme (GGP), will provide funds
amounting to USD 18,348 (approximately 730,000 baht) for a project to
construct a Support Center for HIV infected people in Mae Taeng District,
Katsuhiro Shinohara, Consul-General of Japan in
Chiang Mai and Sompon Namwongsa, Director of Mae Taeng Hospital, jointly
signed the funding contract at the Japanese Consulate in Chiang Mai on
February 22, 2006.
There are many HIV infected people in Mae Taeng District,
with a considerable proportion of those affected coming from poor hill
tribes and lower income brackets. These people have limited knowledge of
health care due to their insufficient education, which encourages the spread
of infection to other family members and the higher incidence of Aids
orphans is becoming a serious social problem in those areas.
The only government hospital in Mae Taeng organized the
group of about 300 HIV infected people in its district and endeavored to
solve their problems by promoting better health care among the group members
and providing a better medical service, including the dissemination of
correct knowledge concerning HIV/AIDS. However the hospital has no special
facilities to render such support on its premises, so a special center for
HIV infected people is badly needed in order to provide efficient and
In response to the request from Mae Taeng Hospital, the
Japanese Government generously provided funds for the construction of the
support center. It is expected that the support center will enable the staff
of the hospital to positively make a huge difference to the plight of HIV
infected people in the area. The support center will be utilized for such
activities as the dissemination of correct knowledge about HIV/AIDS, health
counseling and vocational training.
Mae Hong Son border imp-ex conference
Chiangmai Mail Reporters
A conference was held at the Thai-Burmese border in Mae
Hong Son Province attended by export business owners, security officers;
police, soldiers and immigration officers. On the agenda was how to improve
the regulations concerning import and export to the satisfaction of everyone
Col. Suthad Jarumanee, 7th
Infantry Regiment commander and security officers from 36th
Ranger Regiment, Provincial Immigration Police, Mae Hong Son Provincial
Police and Border Patrol Police who are responsible for Mae Hong Son
security conferred with
nine export business owners headed by Poonsak Soon-
thornpanichakit, president of Mae Hong Son Chamber of Commerce.
The business owners requested the security forces to come
up with a procedure to make it easier to bring goods into Thailand from
Burma. The Government officials replied that their primary duty was the
security of the country and to check that products being imported were as
described on the
accompanying paperwork. So far they have experienced little cooperation from
the Burmese exporters, and most importantly, export
business owners were not being sincere with one another.
However, everyone at the conference tried to solve these
limited points and ease the holdups to support Mae Hong Son Province to
become the doorway of trade in the upper north-west in the future.
CMU Project to encourage youths to conserve water
Chiangmai Mail Reporters
The Water Research Center of the Biological Science
Department, Faculty of Science of Chiang Mai University (CMU) has introduced
a course of study to train Chiang Mai students with a Dek Chiang Mai Sai Jai
Sai Nam Sai Project, encouraging them to conserve water in Chiang Mai. The
persons responsible for this project are Assoc. Prof. Dr. Yuwadee
Pirapornpisarn and Dr. Chit-
chon Plarak who teach students to utilize coral and biological insects to
monitor water purity in the science research laboratory, supported by Global
Environment Centre, Osaka, Japan.
River in Chiang Mai
The primary Chiang Mai water sources studied, were the
Mae Ping River from Chiang Dao district to Padad Community in Muang Chiang
Mai and four sides of the canal surrounding Chiang Mai and the Mae Guang
Udom Tara Dam. Eight educatio-
nal institutes attended the project, including Chiang Dao Wittayakom, Prince
Royal College, Dara Wittayalai School, Kawila Wittayalai School, Wichai
Wittaya School, Wachirawit School, Regina Coeli College and Doi Saket
The aim of the study and research process was to check
and determine water quality by using chemical and biological methods and
comparing the two. By monitoring the presence and health of wildlife
including fish and insects, corals and diatoms, which are particularly
sensitive to pollution, any drop in water quality could be immediately
identified and the cause swiftly ascertained.
The study on the Mae Ping River in Chiang Dao district
found that the water quality is good but only medium to poor in the Padad
Community in Muang Chiang Mai. This is because polluted water is steadily
released into the river point by point and polluted water draining in from
Mae Kha. Water in the canal
surrounding Chiang Mai is medium to poor quality, especially at Somphet
Market and Chiang Mai Gate areas. Water quality in the Mae Guang Udom Tara
reservoir is good to medium, with coral growing in a few areas.
The students on the project learned that their findings using chemical and
biological means of checking water quality closely matched.
Chiangmai Mail Reporters
The Director of the Drug Combating Center reported that
the country’s rehabilitation centers now had insufficient room to treat
the patients currently requiring treatment nationwide.
Wan Moo Hamad Nawma-tha, the Director, said that
after visiting the drug addicts rehabilitation center in Phayao, he had
learned first hand of the problems the center was facing. The go
vernment’s hard line policies and the increased activities of the drug
suppression units of the ONCB, had put more offenders through the courts.
The result of this was that 30,000 addicts nationwide were being required to
go on rehabilitation programs and ending up at the treatment centers, who,
having only the facilities to treat a maximum of 10,000 patients, are being
overwhelmed by the increased numbers.
However, he expected to solve this problem shortly
by following PM Thaksin Shinawatra’s proposal to enlarge the capacity of
the centers by building on adjacent government and military areas and hoped
that these would be ready as soon as possible.
The rehabilitation center in Phayao was representative of
the nationwide problem, in that it could only properly support 50 patients
but it was now endeavoring to cope with 150 addicts requiring treatment, so
it needed an urgent resolution to its problems as well.
The director added that the government’s continued
policy to suppress drugs still needed resident’s wholehearted
participation to help in eliminating the scourge.
Chiang Rai police shoot motorcycle thief
Following on information received concerning the theft of
Pol. Maj. Gen. Chamnong Kaewsiri, Chiang Rai Provincial Police commander
headed a force of police to check the activities of a gang of thieves who
specialized in stealing motorcycles and cars and shipping them across the
border into Laos, at Chiang Khong, near Chiang Rai.
The officers lay in ambush behind the Valentine Hotel
where the thieves were expected to appear. Three men eventually arrived
pushing a Honda motorbike without a license plate from a grove of trees
behind the hotel. The officers stopped the men and asked to check the
motorbike. Instead of complying with the officers’ request, the three men
opened fire on the police, who returned fire to defend themselves, the
exchange lasting about ten minutes.
After the noise died down, the police checked the scene
and found a body holding a shotgun in his right hand but the other two men
had escaped. No police were injured in the shoot-out.
The motorcycle was seized and a ring of motorbike
ignition keys were recovered. All the keys belonged to Honda brand
motorcycles, but no registration documents were found.
The police knew that this gang was involved with stealing
vehicles and shipping them across the Thai border to export them to Laos.
More pirates found in Chiang Rai
3,000 pirates seized, but no parrots or hooks
Chiangmai Mail Reporter
Reacting to the locality’s growing notoriety as the
place to buy pirate CDs and DVDs; Pol. Capt. Sathiraporn Sangkanukit, head
of the Pirate Products Suppression unit led a force, together with
representatives of the Electronics Artist Co. to search booths suspected of
selling pirated products in Muang, Chiang Rai.
The officers checked three stands in Baan Inthawan
Village on Kong Chang Road in Muang, Chiang Rai and two booths in the Big C
Store Chiang Rai Branch. Over 3000 pirated game VCDs and DVDs were
discovered on the five stands. They had all been imported from abroad, but
the copyright belonged to the Electronics Artist Co.
All the illicit material was seized and the stand owners
were arrested and taken to Muang Chiang Rai Police Station, where they were
charged with selling pirated electronic products.
Police Capt.Sathiraporn said that pirate CDs were frequently discovered
in the Northern region, especially in Chiang Rai Province due to
its proximity to the border; making it easy bring these products into
Thailand from neighboring countries through Mae Sai, Chiang Rai. This
process has become the primary business of many people who distribute
pirated movies, and CDs in the locality near the border. The estimated
revenue from this illegal business runs into several million baht a day
along the border.
Chiang Mai-Lamphun Forest Fire Prevention Office plans to prevent forest fires
Suraphon Lilawarophat,director of Chiang Mai-Lamphun
Forest Fire Prevention Office Region 16 reported that this year the drought
affecting the whole country was due to atmospheric conditions in the south
of China influencing the weather in Thailand earlier than usual. A Canadian
study had shown that the northeast of Thailand was a very high risk area for
forest fires, with areas further south including central Thailand being only
slightly less at risk.
In addition, the US Climate Prediction Center of the
National Weather Service, monitoring the progress of El-Ni๑o by
checking the undersea temperature in the Pacific Ocean along the equator,
confirmed that warming of the Pacific Ocean will continue until the end of
2006. This will affect the world’s weather causing more severe droughts
than usual, especially in Indonesia and Thailand, creating conditions in
both countries that are likely to lead to forest fires.
The director added that his office had contingency plans
for forest fire prevention and control had started a campaign to raise
awareness in the public, residents and local administrative organizations to
take greater care of Thailand limited natural resources. Other organizations
have been asked to support the process in every area, with a village forest
fire prevention network to be set up in target villages. Tambon chief
officers and village headmen, TAO officers and villagers living in forested
areas were requested to keep an eye out for forest fires, especially during
Bogus tax collectors in Chiang Mai
The tax man is here to help you!
Phet Phuangphi, head of Chiang Mai Provincial Revenue
Office Region 1 said that there was a gang sending documents headed, Chiang
Mai number 72401/Special on January 30, 2006, used for collecting tax from
rental houses, residences and dormitories mentioning Chiang Mai Provincial
Revenue Office. These documents were bogus and totally unauthorized.
The document informed the owners of these places that
they had to pay 100,000 baht in tax on each of the addresses, but this
demand was illegal and caused negative image of the Revenue Department.
Furthermore, it created immense inconvenience to business owners and damaged
their future relationship with the revenue department, as tenuous as they
can already be.
Chiang Mai Provincial Revenue Office Region 1 stressed
that these documents had not been issued by any government authority but
were entirely fake, having been made by some gang using the Revenue
Department’s name. It was an illegal act using the government’s name to
cheat citizens and also created negative feelings in business owners towards
future tax collection, for fear of being duped again.
The office warned landlords to be on the lookout for
these scams and if found, residents should inform the Chiang Mai Provincial
Region 1 by calling to 053-112-429 # 107. The office will then inform police
for them to investigate further.
US authorities helping seek a Chiang Mai woman abducted to North Korea
Tomoharu Ebihara, a representative of a group calling itself
the Rescue of North Korean Abductees Chiang Mai (ARNKA) held a seminar to
discuss a Thai woman who had been abducted to North Korea 27 years ago.
Tomoharu announced that the objective of the seminar was to
ask Japanese people living in Chiang Mai what they knew of the abduction of
people by North Korea, and to seek some specific clues concerning a Thai woman
called Anocha Panjoi, believed to have been abducted by North Korea 27 years
Sukham Panjoi, older brother of Anocha attended the seminar
and disclosed that he and family had become more optimistic of getting his
sister back, after being informed by Apichat Puttawong, government assistant of
US Consulate in Chiang Mai that the US authorities intended to investigate
Anocha’s abduction. It was known that she had married a US national and used
to have American nationality. Although her American husband had since died, she
was still regarded as an American, despite subsequently marrying a German; and
she was known to be alive and residing somewhere in North Korea.
Bird flu vaccine smuggled into Thailand in Chinese vessel in Chiang Saen port
Chiangmai Mail Reporters
Suspecting that illegal vaccine was being smuggled from China
across the border into Thailand carried on shipping, Somwang Rungtrakoonchai,
Chiang Saen district chief officer in Chiang Rai ordered Patcharadit Sinsawat,
head of Chiang Saen Customhouse officers to check a Chinese vessel transferring
vegetables and fruits, moored on the Mekong River bank at Chiang Saen port.
Five large cardboard boxes were discovered on the stern of
the vessel which were found to contain 330 bottles of H5N1 bird flu vaccine with
a resale value of 30 million baht.
The Chinese captain of the ship was detained pending
investigation into the matter and the vaccine was seized and retained as
evidence. “This is not the first time that Chiang Saen port has been used to
flu vaccine into Thailand,” Somwang said. “It is the
preferred entrance point of illegal vaccine coming from China, ordered by Thai
7 billion baht passes through Chiang Saen Customhouse in four months
Patcharadit Sinsawat, head of Chiang Saen Customhouse in
Chiang Rai reported that trade passing through Chiang Saen Customhouse was going
well, especially during the first four months of the annual budget period of
year 2006 (October 2005-January 2006), with an overall value of 7 billion baht.
He informed that cured rubber products and dried longan were the most exported
products with apples being the favorite import. The ratio of exports to imports
being around 4 to 1 in Thailand’s favor.
Customs records show that border trade through Chiang Saen
port was valued at 2,835.92 million baht, 493.59 million baht or 42 percent
higher than same period of the previous year. Breakdown of the figures showed
the value of imports to
be 527.99 million baht, decreased from the previous year by 189.72 million baht
or 26 percent. The principal imported products were apples, Chinese pears, fresh
vegetables and processed timber while the other export products included thread,
elastic line, elastic bar, palm oil, healthy drink and canned rambutan.
Predicted export trends for 2006 are valued at 7.1 billion
baht, up on last year by 35 percent and higher than the predicted target for
Chiang Rai Province which, is only 5 percent.
Chiang Saen Customhouse has produced these import and export
figures by using the recently introduced. One Stop Service which has speeded up
the export process. Documentation can be finished within one hour, instead of
the 24 hours it used to take, enabling customs officials to deal with many
vessels simultaneously at the wharf at Chiang Saen. The introduction of this
system has encouraged many Chinese business men to trust Thai trading methods,
bringing more business into Thailand and stimulating border trade in Chiang
Saen, causing it to grow rapidly. It has enhanced Chiang Saen’s image as a
trading port and supports Chiang Rai Province to be a center for commerce.