All Thai Rak Thai candidates elected in the North, despite low turn-out and high numbers of “no-voters”
Chiang Mai people returned to their home city to cast
their ballot in the snap election on April 2, 2006. Chiang Mai province is
divided into 10 election areas and Thai Rak Thai members were standing for
election in all 11 areas. All TRT candidates were elected in the ‘one
There were a total of 1,162,970 constituents who were
eligible to vote in this election, but only 872,135 of them bothered to
vote. Of these, there were 215,000 voters who put their cross in the “No
vote” box and 115,482 voided ballots.
The turn-out in other electoral areas in different provinces of the
Northern region was equally poor. The reason for voter apathy was that the
electorate felt that the election was not as interesting as previously,
because most of the TRT candidates stood unopposed. In many polling
stations, the disgruntled “no-voters” outnumbered those who voted for
the unopposed TRT candidate.
English garbage muncher still on its way
Buranupakorn, mayor of Chiang Mai Municipality.
About two years ago Chiang Mai Municipality signed an MoU
with the SEFCO Company from England, placing an order for a steamed garbage
processing machine. This is a device which is capable of processing over 400
tons a day (ChiangMai produces around 300 tons of garbage a day). An added
bonus is that the machine can also generate electricity during the
As far as residents are concerned, this cannot come
quickly enough. On March 29, 2006, 50 residents of Thipanet community set up
a blockade at the Hai Ya Graveyard which is close by Chiang Mai
Municipality’s garbage dumping area. They also prevented garbage trucks
from entering the waste dump in protest at the increasingly offensive odors
emanating from the garbage dump, causing respiratory diseases to many
On March 30, Boonlert Buranupakorn, mayor of Chiang Mai
reported that he had called SEFCO in England, requesting a progress report
on the machine. The SEFCO Company responded and coordinated with a
distributor in Thailand to deliver some equipment to Chiang Mai, which had
been manufactured in Thailand. This should arrive by the end of April and
SEFCO confirmed that the machine is 99 percent ready for shipping, which
will take approximately 28 days. As soon as the machine arrives in Bangkok,
Chiang Mai will be notified and the installation will take a further 35 to
Boonlert expressed his concern about the garbage disposal
problems at Hai Ya Graveyard. He stressed that the municipality was very
careful about moving, transferring, and eliminating garbage in the best
possible way, but there was little they could do to solve the problems of
the bad smell. However, he had ordered his officers to install a ventilation
alley on the upper side, to help prevent the bad smells that were irritating
the local people. He said that especially during the hot weather, garbage
only requires 1 day before it starts to decompose.
In case the installation of the device from SEFCO is
delayed for any reason, Boonlert also said that Chiang Mai received
permission from the Treasury Department to use a 1,200 rai area of land as a
garbage dump in Doi Lo district. Local people living in Doi Lo have been
informed that the garbage from Chiang Mai is non-toxic and not from
“Also, during the forthcoming Songkran Festival, the amount of garbage
will be increasing. Chiang Mai has made preparations to increase the number
of garbage trucks to swiftly dispose of the daily garbage,” said Boonlert.
Revolution in Chiangmai Mail?
Social scientists will tell you that if you stand still,
you are in reality going backwards. We live in a constantly changing world,
and change is what produces progress. With a newspaper, this is just as
Some of the readers have noticed changes at Chiangmai
Mail, and this has been construed by certain sections of the community
as meaning imminent collapse of the paper. Undoubtedly there will also have
been rumormongers who feast on innuendo. They will be disappointed.
Chiangmai Mail has seen some internal personnel
changes of late, and there will be more to come with new local personnel and
expat appointments coming to take up positions in an expanded Chiangmai
Mail Publishing Co. As in any company, staff come and go, but this does
not herald closure. Far from foundering, the Chiangmai Mail is going
through a period of consolidation and growth, which will become apparent
over the next three months.
There has been no revolution. However, there is
evolution. All of it will be good for Chiangmai Mail, and for Chiang
Mai’s local coverage of news and events.
Beware of human traders during Songkran
Phayao Provincial Women and Children in Human
Trade Prevention Center warned parents to beware of daughters being
lured away in the forthcoming Songkran Festival. They are concerned
because there are numerous people who work in entertainment places
visiting the area. Because of this situation, there may be networks
actively engaged in luring vulnerable children and young people away
from their parents for immoral purposes.
From previous experience the center had been
informed about the activities of these persons in Phayao, especially
in Phu Kam Yao sub-district, Dok Kham Tai district, Choon district,
and Chiang Kham district.
These networks enter a community and attempt to
persuade children and youths to work in other provinces by offering
gifts or promising to find them jobs with high wages; especially
young female teenagers who are often lured away on false promises of
lucrative jobs and end up working in brothels in Bangkok or
Malaysia. Another method used by the traders in humanity takes the
form of procuring young girls to marry with foreigners or getting
them to go abroad with their relatives.
During the extraordinarily dangerous period of this summer
vacation, parents should keep a close eye on their children. They
should also take steps to ensure that they are in the care of
responsible individuals or organizations, especially when they send
their children to study in other provinces. If anyone sees or
becomes suspicious of any activities involving human trade, they
should immediately inform the Phayao Provincial Women and Children
in Human Trade Prevention Center or their nearest police station,
Tel. 054-484430-1, 054-411146-7 or hot line 1300 Prachabordee
Moat water purified to reassure tourists before Songkran Festival
around the city of Chiang Mai being improved before the Songkran Festival.
Boonlert Buranupakorn, Chiang Mai Mayor said that in
preparation for the Songkran Festival, Chiang Mai Municipality had asked for
the participation of Wiwat Polamuang School, who had responded by sending
over 100 pupils to help clean up and dredge the moat that encircles the
After the clean-up operation, water from Mae Taeng and
Nong Kiew irrigation channels will be purified and used to fill the moat
with the water quality further verified at eight randomly selected points.
The samples will be checked at the Regional Medical Sciences Center, Chiang
Mai to guarantee the quality of the moat water and reassure tourists who
enjoy leaping into the moat during the forthcoming Songkran Festivities.
The mayor expressed his belief that the current political
conflict would not affect tourism during Songkran Festival. Hotel rooms were
fully booked as in previous years and there had been no reports of
cancellations. He confidently predicted that more than 1,000 million baht
would be spent by visitors during this festival.
Phoonsawat Worawan, Deputy Mayor confirmed that the
municipality had rigorously checked water quality around the moat. This year
was the 60 year anniversary of the HM the King’s ascension and the 710th
anniversary the founding of Chiang Mai, therefore, the municipality was
putting a lot of effort into organizing this year’s festival.
Several years ago, Acanthamoeba was discovered in the water, but since
then the moat has been regularly dredged and the municipality has monitored
the water quality exhaustively; checking the volume of oxygen, and other
biological tests to make sure that the water in the moat is hygienic and
Local Northern New Year Angel to be invited to bless Chiang Mai
Chiangmai Mail Reporters
Pornchai Jitnavasathien, Chiang Mai Deputy Mayor
disclosed that Chiang Mai Municipality in cooperation with TAT would hold
this year’s Songkran Festival 2006 to promote the Chiang Mai culture. This
year, the theme of the occasion will concentrate on presenting Lanna wisdom,
more clearly and in various styles, in celebration of the 710 year
anniversary of the founding of Chiang Mai.
On April 12, the municipality will invite 710 monks to
bless the city at Thapae Gate and there will be a ceremony of pouring water
onto the statues of the Three Kings who jointly created Chiang Mai, at the
Three King’s Monument. The next day, on April 13th,
Chiang Mai will have been the Capital of the North for fully 711 years; and
a merit- making ceremony is to be held at Thapae Gate, by presenting
breakfast for 711 monks.
To mark HM the King’s 60 year anniversary of ascending the throne, this
Songkran Festival is to be given further impetus by inviting Khun Sang Khan,
the Local Northern New Year angel, who will ride on the back of Mahingsa
(wild buffalo); leading monks of 58 temples in Chiang Mai while calling for
residents to come and worship (this ceremony has not been observed in any
previous year). There will also be many colorful parades and art and culture
Journalists up in arms over TRT supporters
The Northern Newspaper Association of Thailand headed by
Insom Panyasopha, President, and Chiang Mai Journalist Club have issued a
bulletin criticizing acts of a group of people perpetrating violence at
Chiang Mai University Art and Culture Museum on March 30.
During the fracas Prajuab Wangjai, editor of Nation
Channel Chiang Mai was injured and he has made a police report of the
The bulletin declared that local politicians were behind this movement
combined with a lack of security guards resulted in this violence. The
Chiang Mai Journalist Club stated that the demonstrators who they claim were
from a Thaksin Shinawatra support group that protested at the Democrat Party
platform affected the image of Chiang Mai. Both organizations blamed the
supporters who were not controlled by their leaders, did not abide by the
law and trespassed on the right and work of the media. They appealed to
government officials to act according to their duties and control such
Grisly find points to missing Hmong
Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, commissioner of Provincial Police
Bureau Region 5 displays pictures of the eight missing Hmong.
About a month ago Thadpong Phapwiwat, 28, living in
Muang, Chiang Mai, informed San Sai Police Station, Chiang Mai that his
family members had disappeared mysteriously on March 2, 2006. On March 28,
after police had conducted exhaustive but fruitless enquiries, Pol. Lt. Col.
Sombat Panya, Pai Police Station duty inspector was informed by residents
that they had found a number of sacks giving off a disgusting smell in a
deep overgrown ditch alongside highway number 1095; the road from Mae Malai
to Mae Hong Son nearby Huay Nam Dung National Park.
The inspector reported this information to Pol. Col.
Thanet Chaonathung, superintendent of Pai Police Station before rushing to
the scene with other officers. The officers had to spray perfume to reduce
the stench before they were able to check inside the sacks, which were found
to contain human remains. The sacks and their grisly contents were sent to
Pai Hospital for verification and Dr. Pranomporn Siripakdee, director of the
hospital, came to the conclusion that the bodies had been dead for a minimum
of 20 days. The cadavers had become dessicated, revealing the bones and were
identified only by gender as being two females and two males.
Later the next day, police discovered two further sacks
nearby; and on Dr. Pranomporn’s instructions cordoned off the crime-scene
to prevent evidence being disturbed. Forensic officers of Provincial Police
Bureau Region 5 were called to check the venue and a human corpse was found
in each of the sacks.
Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, commissioner
of Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 confirmed that six sacks containing
human remains had been found in the area of Huay Nam Dung in Pai district,
Mae Hong Son. At this point the six bodies were unable to be identified, but
the cadavers would be sent to a forensic institute for further examination
and the results would be published shortly. However, the police suspected
that these bodies might be six of the eight Hmong who were reported missing
the previous month, but they needed to wait for DNA testing to verify this.
The commissioner added that he hoped the post mortem
would reveal the cause of death, because all they knew at the moment was
that the victims hands and legs had been bound. He surmised that the killers
may have seen a police checkpoint up ahead and decided to get rid of the
bodies on the wayside.
In their earlier enquiries, the police tried to check if
the missing Hmongs were involved with any illegal act or concerned with drug
trafficking and may have had a conflict with other gang-members. Despite
exhaustively pursuing this theory the police could not identify the cause of
the crime; nevertheless, the commissioner said that they would follow any
leads and would continue to look for evidence that would lead them to the
criminals. He added that this was a very offensive and ruthless case, and
hoped that the post mortem examination would reveal evidence that would
assist the police in bringing the perpetrators to justice.
The names of the eight missing Hmong are, Yialao Wang, holding American
nationality; and Yeng Saewang, Jirasak Phapwiwat, Renoo Sippawat, Sirima of
Tee Sinmalanon, Decha or To Suwanachat, Lachai Sinmalanon and Paeng Wang.
After making enquiries, it was learned that Yialao had emigrated from Laos
to the USA over 30 years ago; and he had worked there and saved his money
before returning to Asia and built four houses in Thailand for his
relatives. Two months ago, he visited Chiang Mai, Thailand for his vacation,
before disappearing along with seven other Hmong.
Drinka Pinta Milka Day – but check the contents first
Whilst on regular duty at a busy checkpoint at Tambon Sri
Dong Yen, Chai Prakan district Chiang Mai, drug-suppression officers from
Pha Muang Task Force together with police officers from Chai Prakan Police
Station stopped a bus on its way from Fang to Bangkok.
The bus was carrying a full complement of passengers and
the officers requested every passenger to submit to a search. On hearing
this request, one particular passenger, later identified as Suthep Upara, a
resident of Chai Prakan district Chiang Mai, immediately looked nervous and
started acting suspiciously. The officers decided to bring him and his
baggage out of the bus, and started a detailed search, eventually finding
that Suthep had hidden 1,019 ya ba pills in an empty milk box and a
Suthep confessed that he received the ya ba pills from the neighboring
country of Burma; intending to sell them to his colleague laborers in
Bangkok. He was taken into custody and sent to Chai Prakan Police Station to
await legal proceedings.
300,000 baht blaze at a Wing 41 officers residence
fire fighters extinguish the blaze.
A fire broke out in an officer’s residence at Wing 41,
located opposite Chiang Mai’s Maharaj Hospital and dangerously close to a
Petronas petrol station and a nearby five storey dormitory. Four fire
engines were dispatched to extinguish the blaze.
The conflagration occurred in a two storey concrete and
wooden house, owned by SMS Nattawut Preechum, an officer stationed at Chiang
Mai Wing 41. He was not at home when the fire occurred, but the fire started
on the upper wooden floor and spread to the lower floor. It took about 20
minutes for fire-officers to extinguish the blaze.
Once the fire had been extinguished, fire fighters and police officers
examined the damage. It was found that the upper floor was completely
destroyed, but the lower floor had suffered only minor damage. However, the
value of the property lost to the fire and the cost of rebuilding was put at
around 300,000 baht. The investigating officers assumed that the incident
might have been caused by an electrical short-circuit; however, Wing 41 sent
a group of their own officers to coordinate at the scene and to ascertain
the cause of the blaze in detail.
Hygiene failure in Nan sends 32 to hospital
Chiangmai Mail Reporters
A local tradition in Nan is for residents to be provided
with slap-up meal to appease the spirits. However the last feast caused more
than just indigestion when everyone who ate the food experienced diarrhea
and vomiting. Local people had bought pork to be cooked for the feast; and
every one who ate the cooked meat became ill, resulting in 32 people being
sent to hospital.
Neighbors had to use their own vehicles to bring them to
Nan hospital, where it was found that most of the patients had eaten a meal
in a Pee Pu Ya Feast arranged for spirits, which was a local tradition
organized by three families in Tambon Namkian. The feast was a three-day
affair and commenced at noon on March 27th,
going on until March 29th, 2006. This incident was very similar to the
recent occurrence of people becoming ill after eating toxic bamboo shoots
Sarerk Surit, head of Tambon Namkian Public Health Center
revealed that after the initial investigation, it was found that the
diarrhea was likely to have been caused by eating the meat that was part of
the celebratory meal. He questioned people who had participated in the feast
and learned that the meal was made up of many different local delicacies.
Dishes on the menu included uncooked minced meat, cooked minced meat,
chicken spicy salad, and pork head soup. The meat was bought from a local
butcher, who when questioned, said that the meat from that particular animal
had been on sale since March 26, with that meat which was still left, sold
the next day on March 27. The three families who bought the meat said that
it was pale. One particular dish in the feast was the uncooked mince meat;
which, if the pork was contaminated, became highly toxic when eaten.
However, some people said that they had prepared the food, but had not eaten
the uncooked pork; and they too had become ill.
Sarerk observed that this was a classic case of food poisoning, caused by
many circumstances. Firstly, the meat was at least two days old when
purchased; and without refrigeration during this time was in all likelihood
contaminated when the families bought it. Then, with one particular dish
remaining uncooked, the bacteria it contained were not killed by the cooking
process. The people who prepared the food handled both cooked and uncooked
food alternately; and probably did not wash their hands or knives and
utensils after touching the raw contaminated meat, thereby passing the
contamination from one to the other. Finally, the meal was a leisurely
protracted affair over three days. In this exceptionally hot weather, food
that is allowed to get warm and not kept refrigerated, provides the ideal
conditions for bacteria to grow rapidly and become highly toxic; so that
consuming even the smallest morsel, can cause a person to become extremely
Pha Muang Task Force intercept drug runners at Chiang Khong
Chiangmai Mail Reporters
After receiving a tip-off from an informer, Pha Muang
Task Force, together with officers from Chiang Khong Police Station, Chiang
Rai set up a checkpoint on March 29, at the Baan Don Thee guardhouse, Chiang
Rai, in anticipation that there would be a drug shipment passing through.
The officers spotted a suspicious silver Nissan
pickup-truck heading towards Chiang Saen district in Chiang Rai. They
decided to signal the car to stop, but seconds before giving the signal, the
car parked in front of a nearby house. The two occupants got out of the car
and entered the house, which belonged to Thanat Chaichorfa, the village
headman of Baan Don Thee. The officers followed the suspects into the house
and a search revealed 4000 orange ya ba pills contained in 20 blue plastic
bags, hidden in a fridge inside Thanat’s home.
The two drug-couriers turned out to be Supachai Kednawa,
50 and his wife Sumitra, 49. When interrogated, they confessed that they
were delivering the package to a buyer who they had arranged to meet in
front of Chiang Saen Hospital, Chiang Rai. Armed with this information,
officers went to the meeting place and were able to arrest Sumet Nuamin, 50,
a resident of Chiang Saen district. All four people involved were arrested,
and along with the seized evidence were sent to Chiang Khong Police Station
Chiang Rai to face charges.
The drug- suppression units of the police require the cooperation of the
local people to be effective in stopping drug trafficking in the area. The
operation, “All together Thai power to eliminate illegal drugs”, asks
local residents to keep their eyes open for anyone they believe to be
involved with narcotics; and report their suspicions to the police.