Vol. V No. 17 - Saturday April 22, - April 28, 2006
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by Saichon Paewsoongnern


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

The Kingdom celebrates the Royal Couple’s 56th Wedding Anniversary

The Kingdom of Thailand rejoices at the celebration of Their Majesties the King and Queen’s fifty-sixth wedding anniversary

Get the giant diapers ready – Giant pandas expecting two cubs

Surprise, surprise! Bhumibol Dam reserves down after Songkran

Chiang Mai residents kick up stink over rotting garbage

April 12th was the 710 year anniversary of the founding of Chiang Mai

Chiang Khong Giant Cat Fish Club to quit and get real jobs

Bronze Age artifacts discovered in Tak

Training courses for Organic growers and exporters

Five Thais duped in Greece

Thousands celebrate Thai-Burmese Songkran Festival

Higher fuel oil costs affect car rental business in Mae Hong Son

Vagabonds told to beggar off during Songkran Festival

Chiang Mai province suffers multiple deaths over Songkran

17 deaths over Songkran - no drop from 2005

Mae Sai Customs rakes in 10 mio baht from drugs and piracy

Speedy police intercept 100,000 speed pills

Summer storm wreaks havoc

The Kingdom celebrates the Royal Couple’s 56th Wedding Anniversary

(Photo courtesy of the Bureau of the Royal Household)

His Majesty King Adulyadej Bhumibol The Great first met His future Queen in Paris in 1947, when she was an extremely beautiful teen-aged girl. The daughter of the Thai Ambassador in London, she was in Paris to study French and classical music. M.R. Sirikit could not have been more aptly named - Sirikit meaning beauty and honor. The 20-year-old King-to-be was enraptured by Sirikit whom he plied with music and poetry, composing a waltz in her honor entitled “I Dream of You”.

The lyrics for that blues number which Bhumibol dedicated to his bride-to-be, “In the kingdom of my dreams, you are my queen... Please make my dreams come true,” were soon to be real. The couple were married in Bangkok on 28 April 1950. At the auspicious time of 10:24, chosen by the Buddhist Astrologers, the 22-year-old King of Thailand married the love of his life, M.R. Sirikit Kitiyakara.

Not even a King, however, can escape bureaucracy and, after paying the 10-baht marriage fee, the young couple received a traditional blessing from his grandmother, Sawang Vadhana, who anointed them and sprinkled them with holy water which had been blessed daily by four Buddhist monks for more than 160 years.

The young newlyweds, like any other just-married couple, ‘escaped’ to the privacy of their honeymoon hideaway - in their case the Klai Kangwol (Far from Worry) Palace on the Western Gulf, hardly pausing to examine their wedding gifts from many of the world’s leaders.

A week later, on the fifth of May 1950, Prince Bhumibol Adulyadej was crowned King, the Ninth Rama of the Chakri Dynasty. Towards the end of the splendid coronation ceremonies, the young King elevated his new bride Sirikit to become Queen Somdej Phranang Chao.

Thailand’s King, the world’s longest-reigning Monarch, and His lovely Queen are known universally as the quintessence of devotion, dedication and tireless application to the development and well-being of each and every one of Their subjects.

The benevolence His Majesty the King and Her Majesty the Queen have bestowed on Their subjects, including those living in remote rural areas, explains the love They have earned from Their people.

The Kingdom of Thailand rejoices at the celebration of Their Majesties the King and Queen’s fifty-sixth wedding anniversary

His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great and Her Majesty Queen Sirikit will celebrate Their 56th wedding anniversary on Friday, April 28.

His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Mom Rajawongse Sirikit Kitayakara were married by Her Majesty Queen Sawang Vadhana, the paternal grandmother of His Majesty, at the Sra Pathum Palace in Bangkok on April 28, 1950.

Mom Rajawongse Sirikit, the daughter of the Thai Ambassador to France Mom Chao Nakkhatmongkol Kitayakara and Mom Luang Bua Sanitwongse, met the soon-to-be-King at the Thai Embassy in Paris in 1948. They were engaged to be married at the Windsor Hotel in Lausanne, Switzerland on July 19, 1949.

They returned to Thailand during the government of Prime Minister Field Marshal Pibul Songkhram and a stunningly beautiful marriage ceremony was held while the Thai military forces formed to honor and salute the Royal Couple.

Following the Royal marriage, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great ascended the throne, becoming the ninth King of Thailand in the Chakri Dynasty with all the pomp and pageantry befitting a Royal coronation on May 5, 1950.

Their Majesties have four children, HRH Princess Ubolratana, HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, and HRH Princess Chulabhorn.

Get the giant diapers ready – Giant pandas expecting two cubs

How much can a panda bear?

Saksit Meesubkwang
The veterinary team at Chiang Mai Zoo has reported on the pregnancy of the female Giant Panda. Vet. Kanika Nimtrakhun revealed that after Chuang Chuang and Lin Hui had mated 70 days ago they carried out ultrasound examination to see if the female panda had become pregnant.

The procedure showed that she certainly was pregnant, and the ultrasound revealed the presence of twins. This was the norm as pandas usually produce two offspring with each pregnancy.

Whilst the panda was sedated the Vet team took the opportunity to carry out a thorough physical examination and found everything was proceeding normally for birth in around 130 days time.

Surprise, surprise! Bhumibol Dam reserves down after Songkran

Chiangmai Mail Reporters
Boon-in Chuenchaowalit, director of Bhumibol Dam disclosed that the capacity of the dam when full was 8,402.94 million cubic meters, but at the present time only 4,598 million cubic meters (or roughly half) was available for use. The level of the water in the reservoir had decreased rapidly, reducing by 1,500 million cubic meters since November, 2005 to April, 2006, because of farming needs throughout the Chao Phraya River basin.

This was not the only cause. The water-level also fell sharply in April due to large amounts being required for the annual Songkran Festival; with the water company at the dam distributing almost 20 million cubic meters of water a day. Hopefully, water distribution will be reduced in May when the rainy season usually starts, by which time the water volume in the dam will have fallen to 3,800 million cubic meters.

In the meantime, the director warned residents to do everything they could to save water and use it as economically as possible. He added that they should not hoard water because that would further reduce the volume in the dam; assuring everybody that if they did not waste the precious liquid, there would be sufficient water for everyone until next year.

Chiang Mai residents kick up stink over rotting garbage

Nopniwat Krailerg
Answering the complaints of residents living near the Hai Ya Graveyard earlier this year, Boonlert Buranupakorn, Chiang Mai Mayor gave his word that Chiang Mai had prepared contingency plans for eliminating 500-600 tons of garbage during Songkran Festival. The numerous complaints about the disgusting smell from the garbage dumping area at Hai Ya Graveyard had already been resolved. But recently, during Songkran, there have been many other complaints about garbage being made to the media from several directions.

According to a report from the Outdoor Incineration Center and Administration for Chiang Mai Regional Environment office 1, officers manning the hotline telephone number 0-5389-0000, were receiving 20 calls a day; all complaints about incineration of garbage on the middle and outer belts. The people who complained most were residents living on the Mae Taeng Irrigation Canal Road, at Huay Tueng Tao, in the north; and those living on the middle beltway in the south, near the Super Highway at Yang Nerng in Saraphi district, the road to San Kamphaeng, and Mae On sub-district, the road to Doi Saket and San Sai.

Mayor Boonlert said that garbage which is causing this problem is certainly not from the municipality, because the city has its own operation which can be inspected at any time. He said that there was garbage from nearby local areas, for which there was no dumping arrangement, so they hire private contractors to take the garbage away. These private contractors illegally dump their loads anywhere they can, usually at night; and residents presume that Chiang Mai Municipality is responsible for it.

Chiang Mai Municipality has recently signed a contract with the same company, Baan Tarn Group, after receiving funds of 72 million baht to cover the annual cost of garbage disposal. This contract started in April, and the contractors assured the municipality that they would not allow garbage to accumulate again.

From a survey of people’s complaints, it was found that there are many dumping areas in some of the outlying communities, especially in such places that have no garbage collection service, such as Ra Kaeng Road, Nantharam Road, Nhong Hoi Community, and Sri Ping Muang Community. Accumulation of garbage in these communities causes a disgusting smell and a bad image for tourism.

Pornchai Jitnawasathian, Chiang Mai Deputy Mayor confirmed that the problems that were occurring were not from the official dumping areas but from unofficial dumping by rogue operators. He urged anybody who witnessed these clandestine operations to immediately report the matter to the authorities; and anyone caught dumping illegally would be dealt with severely.

Although there will be a slight backlog whilst several legitimate dump trucks are being repaired, Chiang Mai Municipality expect to soon have all 25 trucks fully functional and clear the city’s garbage from every area.

April 12th was the 710 year anniversary of the founding of Chiang Mai

Monks receiving donations.

Preeyanoot Jittawong
Buddhists of Wat Chiang Man, the Chiang Mai Buddhist Network, the City Development Institute Foundation and other alliances recently organized a merit making ceremony at Wat Chiang Man at the start of the Songkran Festival on the occasion of the 710 year anniversary of the founding of Chiang Mai.

Dr. Chao Duang Duan Na Chiang Mai, president of Chiang Mai Cultural Council presided and joined with many others at Wat Chiang Man, the oldest temple of Chiang Mai province. This temple was constructed at the same time that King Meng Rai was establishing Chiang Mai to be his northern capital and he designated Wat Chiang Man to be his royal temple.

The merit-making activities on that day started at 8.30 a.m. with everyone present worshiping Phra Thad and Phra Setang Khamanee, followed by nine monks conducting a religious ceremony. The monks spoke on topics as the local New Year celebrations, and the age and history of important places of Chiang Mai. The talks were led by Assoc. Prof. Thanet Chareunmuang, Ajarn Sanan Thamathi, Phra Maha Bunchuay Sirintharo, Phra Maha Sanga (Chaiwong).

Afterwards, everyone went to pay their respects to the long-dead monarch at the King Meng Rai Tower. History records that this was the place where King Meng Rai died after being struck by a thunderbolt, so a tower was built in his honor as the founder of Chiang Mai.

Chiang Khong Giant Cat Fish Club to quit and get real jobs

Chiangmai Mail Reporters
Tueanjai Deeted, Acting Chiang Rai Senator said that after having a talk with the members of the Chiang Khong Giant Cat Fish Club, they had reluctantly decided to quit catching the Giant Cat Fish. They will also sell all 68 of their Giant Cat Fish seine-nets, which cost them 20,000 baht per seine. This money, amounting to almost 1.5 million baht will go into a support fund to help the fishermen to find other careers. The Union of Universal Conservation had agreed to provide some money to buy the redundant seine-nets. Most importantly, the Fishing club members had decided to quit as an example to Chiang Rai residents and people from all over Thailand; and to highlight the plight of the of the Mekong River.

The club gave a press-conference on April 18 at Wat Had Krai, Chiang Khong district, which is the day of making the annual sacred offering to the Giant Cat Fish Angel. On that occasion there will be many activities joined by several Local Administration Organizations, the Giant Cat Fish Club and Love Chiang Khong Group, held to honor the Giant Cat Fish, reputed to be the biggest fresh water fish in the world.

Unfortunately, due to the severe ecological changes that are taking place in the Mekong River the fate of the Giant Catfish is in jeopardy. The decline in numbers can be directly attributed to several causes; including netting, destruction of forests, single plant intensive agriculture, dam construction projects in the upper reaches of the river, bridge construction, island bombing and the dredging of navigation-channels for ever-larger boats. By quitting the age-old practice of catching this fresh-water monster fish, the club members hope that their action will enable the Giant Catfish to breed undisturbed; and that their numbers will eventually return to those of yesteryear.

Bronze Age artifacts discovered in Tak

Chiangmai Mail Reporter
Suk Kaewno, the president of Mae Salid TAO in Baan Tak district, Tak reported that ancient artifacts had been discovered at Baan Den Mai Sung, Tambon Mae Salid, Baan Tak district in Tak.

These ancient objects were found while villagers were constructing a house and they are now being kept at Mae Salid TAO; and archeologists of the Department of Fine Arts Region 6 intend to check their origin shortly.

The antique items included 31 pieces of bronze bracelets, three complete bronze bracelets, nine glass bracelets, a bowl, three pieces of an arm bracelet, glass beads and many colorful stones, a bronze knife and a spear.

The president of Mae Salid TAO disclosed that archaeologists hoped to ascertain exactly when these antiques had been created; and the glass beads could be compared with similar items found at Baan Don Taphet in Kanchanaburi, which had already been proved to have come from the Bronze Age period between 1,200-2,000 years ago.

Unfortunately some artifacts had already been sold to merchants in Sukhothai province after a villager had discovered a crown, gold ornaments and earthenware including several bronze items and precious ornaments. The value of some of those pieces proved impossible to estimate, but should be considered priceless.

Training courses for Organic growers and exporters

Saksit Meesubkwang
Assoc. Prof. Danuwat Pheng-aon, director of the product quality-control center of Maejo University says that organic agriculture is growing, in more ways than one!

Organically grown food has become the preferred choice of many consumers, who nowadays are becoming more aware of how produce is grown and critical about what they consume. Organic agriculture is sustainable agriculture; being able to produce food that is both tasty and at the same time safe for consumers, as well as improving and protecting the environment by not using chemical fertilizers and herbicides and insecticides.

Organic produce is also becoming more in demand by the world market. Exports are at the moment worth 600 billion baht, with overseas countries placing orders for a further 800 billion baht which at present cannot be satisfied. Some countries like the USA have had the Organic Food Production Act-OFPA since 1990; and European Union (EU) has its own regulations governing the production and importation of Organic Products in EEEC No 2092. The WTO of Japan has paid a great deal of attention to organic produce as well.

He added that the Department of Agriculture, Science Research Institute of Thailand had announced formally that Thailand would achieve the internationally recognized Organic Agriculture standard for exports in 2001. Many products grown in Thailand were exported to Europe, America and Asia. Customers in these countries insisted that all these products must be organically grown and pass the stringent standards for Organic Agriculture products. Over 160 countries have expressed their desire to import organically-grown produce, but at the moment only 10 percent of this demand is being met.

Maejo University realizes the importance of being knowledgeable in every aspect of organic produce; and because the university has its own product quality-control center, it is ideally placed to provide a workshop to train farmers and exporters. The workshop will train farmers and exporters in the necessary production techniques to enable them to reach the required standards of Organic Agriculture of Europe, America and Japan. The first training courses will start from April 24 to 28, 2006 and will cost 3,000 baht for each course. For more information telephone 053-873046-47 on weekdays.

Five Thais duped in Greece

Beware of Greeks bearing gifts!

Nopniwat Krailerg
Orachorn Rattanamanee, Head of Chiang Mai Employment Office, said that Department of Employment had been informed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of five Thai people who had called at the Thai embassy in Athens, complaining that they had been lured to work in Greece under false pretences.

They had responded to an advertisement placed by Kanyanat Laosuntreeya, who advertised a job in www.sanook.com website, in which she claimed to be an agent for Tsolakidis Konstantionos, a Greek national, who wished to employ Thai laborers to work in Greece; three for cooking and two for foot massage. The employer offered to cover all expenses and promised to pay 12,000 baht per month, increasing to 15,000 baht per month in the fourth month.

On arrival in Greece the employer collected the five Thai people’s return air tickets and their passports, saying that he needed them to apply for work permits. The Thai embassy noticed that none of the five Thai had any authority to work in Greece, and no paperwork from Ministry of Labor. The wages which the employer agreed to pay were far lower than the Greek minimum wage that should be paid by law; in fact so low that it would have been almost impossible to live in Greece on such a meagre amount, let alone save money to return home.

Chiang Mai Employment Office is again warning people who are looking for a job, that if they see advertisements offering foreign job opportunities, they should investigate the job offers quite critically before committing to going abroad to work. A good rule of thumb to apply is simply this: If the offer seems too good to be true, it is not usually precisely that!

Job seekers considering foreign employment can get helpful advice by contacting Chiang Mai Employment Office, 1st floor of middle administration building, Chotana Road, Tambon Chang Puek, Muang Chiang Mai.

Thousands celebrate Thai-Burmese Songkran Festival

Chiangmai Mail Reporter
Thousands of people in three southern districts; Mae Sariang, Mae La Noi, and Sob Moei, gathered in their colorful tribal costumes and participated in the Thai-Burmese Songkran Festival at Had Mae Sariang, Mae Hong Son.

There were many activities for people to enjoy; such as ritual bathing of Phra Petch parade and 20 parade groups for people to make a ritual bathing merit. There were also Thai-Burmese parades consisting of Karen, Lawa, Tai tribe, and Burmese tribes to promote a good relationship between residents along the Thai border at Mae Hong Son and their counterparts in the neighboring country of Burma.

The most popular products which pass through the Thai-Burmese border favorable trading area in Baan Mae Sam Lab are sesame oil, chili, clothes, cows, buffaloes, and most of exported products are vegetable oil, sandals and instant noodles, adding up to more than 100 million baht a year.

This festival was organized by Direk Konkleeb, Mae Hong Son Governor together with the local hill tribes, with the opening presided over by ACM Kongsak Wanthana, Ministry of Interior.

Higher fuel oil costs affect car rental business in Mae Hong Son

Saksit Meesubkwang
Siri-aon Rangsiritanon, manager of Mae Hong Son TN Tour disclosed that gasoline prices have risen sharply in Mae Hong Son and that diesel now stands at 27.34 baht, benzene 91 at 28.99 baht and benzene 95 at 28.19 baht, with further increases likely soon. The high fuel prices are seriously affecting the car rental business, with these enterprises losing money whilst still trying to attract customers by maintaining the same rental rate.

However, with fuel oil costs the highest they have ever been, car rental owners will have to raise their tariffs to stay in business. Initially, the renting price inclusive of fuel oil was 1,500 baht per day, but that will have to be adjusted to 1,800 baht per day.

If the fuel oil price increases again, the business owners will have to adjust the rental price to follow the gasoline cost. Some car rental business owners have had to shut down their business because they could not continue to bear the burden of the high cost of fuel.

Poonsak Soonthornpanichakit, president of Mae Hong Son Chamber of Commerce revealed that the high diesel price also affected tourism and the border trade of the province. Moreover, if it continued to rise, the whole economy of Mae Hong Son would stagnate, because the number of tourists who liked to travel using their own vehicle would inevitably decline.

Fuel oil orders from Thailand to Burma would also decrease. The higher price of fuel oil is being felt by many countries and Mae Hong Son especially is feeling the pinch because of the length of the journey the oil has to travel to this remote location; and because of the difficult, tortuous, mountain route.

Vagabonds told to beggar off during Songkran Festival

Nopniwat Krailerg
Police officers arrested a group of 10 people, both children and adults, who were begging along the heavily frequented tourism location at the Night Bazaar and Chang Klan area of Chiang Mai. Most of beggars were hill tribe people from Chiang Rai province and Thai citizens from the North-east of Thailand. When they were arrested they were found to be carrying around 20,000 baht, which had been obtained from the handouts from sympathetic tourists. The money was seized before sending the adults to a residence for homeless people in Mae Taeng, Chiang Mai; while children, most of whom were not the offspring of the begging adults, were sent to Wiang Ping Childrens Home.

Yaowaman Ngamsajatikul, in charge of the residence in Mae Taeng reported that the begging gang used children as a tool to earn money by forcing them to beg along principal tourism locations of Chiang Mai and other similar places throughout Thailand. The gang usually rented hotel room as residence for the beggars and forced the children to act as if they were disabled, such as having a crippled arm or leg or even to pretend they were blind. They played on the tourists sympathy, fooling them into having pity on them; and in an evening’s begging each child could receive around 5,000 baht, which the adults would then transfer to their relatives back in their home town. Some beggars had their own cell phones and used them to alert other members of the gang to the presence of police, to enable them to flee before being caught.

Chiang Mai province suffers multiple deaths over Songkran

Motorcycles, alcohol and no helmets a lethal combination

Nopniwat Krailerg
Once more, the joyful festivities of Songkran were marred by the totally needless deaths of two young teenagers in Mae Rim. Because of Chiang Mai’s popularity as a tourist destination, the city has been monitoring road-traffic accidents during the 10 dangerous days, as part of a national attempt to reduce the road tolld.

This particular example was an accident involving a motorcycle and a pick-up truck on the Chiang Mai-Mae Rim Road; that caused the horrific deaths of two teenagers.

The collision had occurred in front of Wat Kumpapradit or Wat Baan Mhor and on arrival at the scene the police found a white Toyota pick-up truck parked blocking the street, with a seriously dented hood. A Honda motorcycle had obviously hit the front of the pick-up head on, judging from the total destruction of the front end of the motorcycle.

The body of Thongchai Karbkham, 17, a Mae Rim resident, was lying with the leg still across his motorcycle. It was believed that he was the rider and he was wearing only red shorts and no shirt. There was another body lying nearby, identity unknown at the time because he was carrying no I.D., but believed to be the pillion passenger, wearing black shorts and also shirtless. Both young men died instantly from serious head injuries, due to not wearing safety helmets.

From the initial investigation, it was believed that both teenagers had got drunk and took off their shirts in the afternoon due to the hot weather. In the evening, they went back home, traveling at high speed because there was a straight road. They collided with a pick-up truck that was turning into a side-street, unable to brake in time due to their excessive speed and the wet road conditions. Officers turned both dead bodies over to the Prakraipruek rescue-team, who brought them to Chiang Mai Maharaj Hospital.

17 deaths over Songkran - no drop from 2005

Nopniwat Krailerg
The Road Safety Center Chiang Mai released its report on the traffic-accidents on the city’s streets during the Songkran Festival, for what are regarded as the ten most dangerous days of the holiday period, from April 7 to 16, 2006.

Accident causes loss of life and possessions. (File photo by Nopniwat Krailerg).

The accident statistics show that 17 deaths occurred in Chiang Mai, being 13 males and three females and one child. There were also 208 injuries, 50% less than the previous year, and a total of 191 traffic accidents.

As could be predicted, most accidents involved young teenagers riding motorcycles after drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, as well as speeding and riding recklessly without crash helmets. The most common time for these accidents to occur was between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. and happened mostly outside the city or in the TAO area, on routes linking the villages and the superhighway.

During the holiday period, the authorities had campaigned to reduce these accidents by setting up checkpoints to breathalyse drinkers throughout Chiang Mai. However, with the road toll standing at 17, this campaign did not work.

Mae Sai Customs rakes in 10 mio baht from drugs and piracy

Chiangmai Mail Reporters
Choochai Udompode, Mae Sai Custom Officer reported on the activities of the Mae Sai customs officers during March this year.

He said that due to the vigilance of his customs officers, they had managed to seize 43,500 ya ba pills, and many pirated products to the value of approximately 10 million baht. The pirated products took many forms, ranging from Gucci purses, Rolex watches, Jimmy Choo socks and shoes, all of which were cheap copies.

Mae Sai customs officers also said that the following the seizure of the pirated products, they had supervised the incineration of all the counterfeit goods.

His officers had noticed an upward trend in smuggling at the moment and had increased their vigilance and strictly inspected the luggage of all people coming through the border customs check-point. Aware that people will try and evade customs inspections during the holiday period, officers will increase inspections during the forthcoming Songkran Festival.

Speedy police intercept 100,000 speed pills

Nopniwat Krailerg
During the weeks leading up to Songkran, drug suppression officers became aware of an increase in the activities of known drug traffickers and with the help of informers and other intelligence, built up a picture of a large amount of drugs being shipped into Thailand in readiness for the forthcoming holiday period.

The police were informed that a certain group of aliens belonging to the Tai tribe from Mae Hong Son were planning to smuggle amphetamines from Burma to Chiang Mai and had cooperated to build up a network to transfer the narcotics during the Songkran Festival. However, this network was finally detected at Tambon San Sai Noi in San Sai, Chiang Mai. The police swooped and closed the net on the gang, catching them in the act of preparing to deliver ya ba and sell the drugs around the entertainment places and restaurants in Muang, Chiang Mai. The speed-pills had been purchased at the Burmese border for 30 baht per pill and then would have been sold in Chiang Mai for 120 baht per pill.

Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, commissioner of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 said that his officers had mounted two separate operations. Pol. Col. Sarawut Jantharaprasert, Superintendent of investigation of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 headed a force of police to arrest one drug trafficking gang with 7 members and seized 16,000 ya ba pills, along with five motorcycles, seven cell phones and two gold ornaments.

On the same day in a separate operation, Pol. Maj. Gen. Jiruj Promobol, Chiang Mai Provincial Police commander and Pol. Col. Chamnan Ruadreuw, the deputy and Pol. Lt. Col. Jitphisut Imsa-nguan, head officer of drug suppression division of Chiang Mai province led police to capture two residents of Wiang Pa Pao district, Chiang Rai. They were arrested after accepting 2,000,000 baht from two under-cover drug squad officers posing as buyers wishing to purchase the 100,000 speed pills that the two drug dealers had in their hotel room.

Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong reported that his officers had learned of further drug connections from gang-members who were implicating others in the hope of receiving lighter sentences.

Summer storm wreaks havoc

A huge tree fallen against the building at Wang Singha Kham in Chiang Mai.

Nopniwat Krailerg
A summer thunderstorm, stemming from a depression over China spreading to cover Northern Thailand, caused havoc in and around Chiang Mai for three quarters of an hour, on April 15.

The gale-force winds blew away advertising signs, felled huge trees, sending them crashing against buildings and electricity posts and bringing down power and telephone lines. Luckily, there ware no injuries reported, but police officers had to block some roads for safety reasons.

One potentially dangerous incident occurred when a huge Kapok tree was blown over and fell onto a two storey building at the northern end of Wang Singha Kham Road, near Par Tan Bridge. The house belonged to Saokham Jormphakdee, a former Chiang Mai municipal councillor. Fortunately, there was no one at home at the time and the place was only used for storage. Damage to the property was estimated to be around 100,000 baht and a team from Chiang Mai Municipality with trucks from the private sector took all day to saw the branches and remove the fallen tree.

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