Chiang Mai Zoo increases entrance fee as fuel costs rise
Double pricing continues at an even higher level
Thailand Zoo board of governors has agreed to increase zoo admission prices
to relieve the financial burden after gasoline costs had risen to
unprecedented levels, in the hope of still reaching its target of earning
259 million baht for the fiscal year.
Sophon Damnui, director of the Zoological Organization of Thailand, under
royal patronage, revealed that the zoos of Chiang Mai, Nakhon Ratchasima and
Songkhla provinces including Dusit Zoo and Khao Kiew Open Zoo have all
agreed to adjust their ticket price, starting from May 1 2006. All the zoos
will increase their rates by the same amount, namely by an extra 20 baht for
adults and 5 baht for children. Chiang Mai Zoo admission price of 30 baht
for adults will adjust to 50 baht and the new price for children will be 10
baht, with the new charge for foreign adults and children increasing to 100
baht and 50 baht respectively. The director explained that the reason for
this ticket price-hike was due to higher fuel oil costs and having to pay
out a bigger wage bill, but why foreigners use more gasoline than locals was
not explained with the double pricing hike.
However, all the zoos intend to find more animals to display to justify the
increased admission, with Chiang Mai Zoo displaying pandas with more
specialized accommodation to be added. Nevertheless, the board of governors
will monitor the visitor numbers and if they fall, the board will consider
the situation again. With foreigners being charged more, perhaps they will
see more animals?
Burmese refugees or illegal immigrants?
After criticism of treatment of refugees, Mae Hong Son Governor invites 13 European ambassadors to see Baan Mae La Ma Luang temporary shelters in Sop Moei
Karen KNU flee from
Myanmar crossing into Thailand at the border in Mae Hong Son (Photo by
Chiangmai Mail Reporter
Direk Konkleeb, Mae Hong Son Governor, director of Thai-Burmese Command
Post in Mae Hong Son said that he had been informed by Ronarong
Nakhonjinda, Sop Moei district chief officer that 1,841 Burmese Karen
people had crossed the Salween River in Burma to Tong Ou and Pha Poon,
which are provinces around Pinmana City, a Burmese city.
However, there had been widespread reports that these people were
refugees fleeing Burmese army action. This was denied by Col. Apichet
Suesat, Commissioner of 36th Ranger Force, Mae Sariang in Mae Hong Son
said there was no on-going battle between the Burmese army and minority
groups that he knew of. All districs in Mae Hong Son have borders close
to Myanmar, he said, and minority groups lived in border areas.
Frequently they tried to infiltrate Thailand in search of a better life
and, if apprehended, they were charged with illegal immigration.
Col. Apichet claimed that all such minorities entering Thailand claimed
that they were fleeing fighting, but in reality it was because they
wanted to stay in the refugee shelters that are safe and have good
facilities. The refugees claim that the Burmese army was “cleansing” all
minority groups. Col. Pichet said that he cannot confirm these stories
as the Thai military force is responsible only for Thailand, and he has
no idea what was happening in neighboring countries.
Meanwhile, the Free Berenger news agency said that after Burma had
changed their capital to Kyappyay or Tong-Ou near Pyinmana, the leaders
had announced a new arrangement for minority groups, claiming it was for
their security. A soldier of major rank announced at Tapachi villages
and Baan Plo Bor Der which are villages of Karen minority groups in Tong
Ou in Karen State, that minority groups had to immediately move out of
these areas. He warned that if they stayed on, they will be in danger.
Freder Maranger Group also revealed that, 3 months ago, 11,000 Karen
immigrated to the Thai border because Burmese soldiers forced them to
move out, burnt their houses, pillaged their property, and cruelly
slaughtered a number of them. Many, however, do not want to leave their
hiding places in the jungle because they still hope that Burmese
soldiers may retreat.
The Karen National Union (KNU) said that it was the practice of the
Burmese military to eliminated minor groups in the summer. This year,
according to the KNU leader’s analysis, Burma may clear out the Karens
in the rainy season as they are worried about security in the new
To allay criticism, 13 European ambassadors to Thailand have been
invited to visit Baan Mae La Ma Luang temporary shelters on May 4, to
assess the situation of minority groups.
Increased fuel costs turn Chiang Mai busses from break-even to red
Pornchai Jitnavasathien, Chiang Mai Deputy Mayor who is responsible for the
Chiang Mai Municipality bus service, disclosed that higher fuel costs has
resulted in a 10 percent increase in running costs for the municipal busses.
There are 25 buses initially costing 30,000 baht a day to run, but these
costs have risen by about 4,500-5,000 baht per day.
Mai Municipality has to bear financial losses caused by gasoline price
On the positive side, residents have reduced the use of private vehicles by
about 20 percent, now preferring to use the bus service instead. Recently,
around 5,000 passengers a day were using the bus service, bringing in fares
of 20,000-25,000 baht that was roughly covering the fuel costs.
The deputy mayor added that in May-June, the municipality will provide more
routes covering different areas to meet residents’ requirements. In the
meantime, the original three routes will be extended to make the coverage of
Chiang Mai mass transport to be more complete.
Forest stripping leads to erosion and catastrophic mudslides
Mae Hong Son Governor creates a special force
to suppress forest trespassers
Chiangmai Mail Reporter
Direk Konkleeb, Mae Hong Son Governor said that there had been numerous
incidents of trespassing, especially on mountain slopes that had been
illegally cleared of timber and turned into temporary fields. This has an
adverse effect on the local ecology and without the tree roots to hold the
moisture in place, causes erosion. Rains then wash the soil down the
mountain; as occurred in Pai, Mae Hong Son with such catastrophic results
during the storms in 2005, causing numerous casualties and enormous damage
Mae Hong Son has created a special force, consisting of police officers and
administrative officers to suppress any further forest trespass in each of
the 7 local districts. These officers will be on the lookout for any signs
of construction of new homes in forested areas and especially for any signs
of encroachment in the forests by farmers clearing trees to create new
fields. Charges will immediately be brought against the offenders.
If the provincial authorities do not immediately take action to stamp out
these acts of ecological vandalism, the amount of forest will steadily
decline, and there will be similar disasters to the one that occurred in Pai
last year. To support the recovery in Pai after the disastrous flooding on
August 13, 2005, the province has provided more than 80 million baht of aid,
to rebuild tourist attractions.
International Exhibitions Bureau gives Royal Flora Ratchaphruek 2006 the thumbs up
V. Gonsales Loscertales, the Secretary General of the International
Exhibitions Bureau (BIE) and Banphot Hongthong, Permanent Secretary
of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives attended the first
conference of Thailand’s representatives and those from the
different countries which will join Ratchaphruek 2006.
Gonsales Loscertales, the Secretary General of BIE (left) and
Banphot Hongthong, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of
Agriculture and Cooperatives (right).
Banphot said that Royal Flora Ratchaphruek 2006 is the first
international horticultural exposition with A1 status recognized by
the Association of International Horticultural Producers (AIPH) and
the BIE to be held in Thailand.
To date, around 30 countries from five continents have confirmed
their participation in the event. The latest country to do so is
V. Gonsales Loscertales said that the meeting provided the
Commissioners General and other representatives, an opportunity to
discuss a wide range of subjects pertaining to the preparation of
the Royal Flora Ratchaphruek 2006. Some of the topics included a
progress report, the regulations and guidelines for participating
countries and the various commercial activities that would be
undertaken during the exposition. The meeting also elected a
chairperson of the college of commissioners and members of the
He also said that the recognition by the BIE of Thailand’s readiness
for A1 expo status is a very significant development for the
country. This coveted recognition highlights Thailand’s increasingly
active and important role on the world stage and the country’s
contribution to the global economy in the areas of agriculture,
horticulture and the promotion of international tourism.
Following the theme “To Express the Love for Humanity”, the
international horticultural exposition Royal Flora Ratchaphruek 2006
will be an excellent showcase of the diversity and the beauty of the
horticultural sector in Thailand. An important target of any
horticultural exhibition is to convince governments to invest in
greener cities making life less violent, more peaceful and
healthier. Even in our time of highly developed technology, flowers
and plants will always be on integral part of people’s life.
In this unique event, a total of 2,500,000 plants, including over
2,200 species of tropical plants and flowers will be on display.
Destined to be a marvelous spectacle, during the 92 days of the
expo, Royal Flora Ratchaphruek 2006 is expected to draw an audience
of over two million visitors from around the world.
LPG Gas, the preferred choice during the oil price crisis
Prateep Intasao, owner of the Prateep Kolakarn garage at Chiang Mai Gate
spoke on the recent tendency for vehicle owners to convert to using LPG Gas.
After the oil price had started to rise, he began installing LPG gas in
November 2005. After installation vehicles can fill up with both LPG and
gasoline and this is considered to be quite successful. Because of the oil
price crisis, people are turning to LPG in increasing numbers, and it is
predicted that it will become even more popular if the price of fuel
continues to rise.
The necessary equipment to use LPG can be installed in both petrol and
diesel engines, but most of the customers have cars with petrol engines and
find that by converting to LPG, they can reduce the expense of filling up by
around 50 percent. However, the installation of LPG in diesel engines only
reduces the expense by 20-30 percent because they have to use both gasoline
and LPG gas in the ratio of 70:30 making the conversion not so popular among
people who use diesel engines.
Prateep said that there are five sizes of gas tank; 48, 58, 64, 75, and 96
liters. Most customers tend to choose the 58 liter tank, which is suitable
for most normal sedan cars and the installation takes approximately 1 day.
The installation fee starts from 14,000 baht for the smallest 48 liter size
and the fee rises depending on the size of the tank. The gas tank when full
of gas weighs approximately 40-90 kg which can be compared to the weight of
1-2 people. Vehicles can run for approximately 400-500 km if fitted with a
64 liter gas tank, depending of course on the engine’s power.
The tank is fitted discreetly in the vehicle’s boot, the size of the tank
depending on the size of the vehicle. There is a valve which is used to
switch over for gasoline filling, and the gas line is linked to the engine.
However, many people think that the cost of LPG installation is quite
expensive, and is not worth it, but simple mathematics show that car drivers
traveling average mileage, can recoup the cost of installation in around
four months. Some people are also afraid of an explosion while driving on a
rough road. Actually, there is hardly an even remote chance that this could
occur, due to the careful installation of the tank and periodic inspection
to check for leaks.
Customers who have had their vehicles converted to LPG gas do face the
problem of insufficient filling stations selling the fuel. At the moment,
there are only two filling stations stocking LPG; one at the Airport
Intersection and the other at the San Dek Intersection. Soon, there will be
another station in the center of Chiang Mai city.
Border traffic slows
to a crawl at Tachilek
A reliable source reported from Mae Sai, Chiang Rai that soon after sabotage
had occurred in Rangoon, Burma applied travel restrictions in Mae Sai,
Chiang Rai. The Light Infantry Battalion 331 of the Burmese army in
Tachilek, in association with immigration officers and police, set up
checkpoints to search goods trucks and even tourists, heading both in and
out of Burma. The explanation given for this increased security was to
prevent bombs and illegal items being smuggled into Burma, with orders
having been issued by the Burmese top brass to apply these checks in
Kitti Suthisamphan, assistant head of Mae Sai Custom House in Chiang Rai
disclosed that the strict checks resulted in the movement of Thai import and
export goods being severely reduced. The Burmese authorities concentrated on
checking so minutely that it wasted much time. Several businesses stopped
transferring products to escape the time-wasting.
The source informed Chiangmai Mail that Tachilek was considered one of the
riskiest border points due to its proximity to the SSA base, opposite Mae
Sai and Mae Fa Luang, near Chiang Rai. Sabotage took place regularly in
Tachilek causing the Burmese authorities to be concerned about
border-security in this area, so the checking process was stepped up looking
for heavy war weapons being brought into the country.
In the meantime, Thai merchants and tourists were complaining about the
slowness of the checks. They said that everyone was being checked including
some merchants whom the Burmese officers met every day. Several trucks were
delayed so long that it caused their cargos of fresh produce to start
decomposing and become tainted. It was estimated that these delays reduced
the border trade so severely as to cause around 200 million baht loss of
business, because residents and tourists were unsure about their safety.
Garbage trucks seized
Transferring 150 tons of garbage from Chiang Mai to Tak
Chiangmai Mail Reporter
Several trucks and containers on Paholyothin Road were intercepted by
authorities, after being informed that there would be garbage trucks loaded
with refuse from Chiang Mai dumping their load in the area. Officers
intercepted a convoy of five garbage trucks consisting of two large trucks
and three trailers, which had come from Chiang Mai and Lamphun; each
containing 150 tons of garbage, which was emitting a disgusting smell from
liquid dripping from the rear of the trucks onto the road. Officers took the
drivers into custody and they were later identified as Khemrat Samerjai, 27;
Somsak Chalermchan, 29; Anuwat Sujitto, 35; Kong Keawaram, 33; and Prasert
All the drivers admitted that they had brought the garbage from Chiang Mai
to dump it in Baan Tak district, Tak and Kamphaeng Phet. Officers charged
them with violating Traffic Act, fined the drivers 2,000 baht each and fined
the trucks owners 10,000 baht per truck. Baan Tak Public Health Officers
seized the trucks, pending legal proceedings.
The disposal of excess garbage has become a national problem, especially in
the Northern Region. In an attempt to avoid paying the proper fees for
disposing of garbage in the official dump, contractors in Chiang Mai were
illegally dumping garbage in Tak and Kamphaeng Phet instead.
Arranged brides easy picking
for Japanese sex industry
Chiangmai Mail Reporters
Pol. Col. Chamnan Ruadreuw, Deputy Commander of Chiang Mai Provincial
Police received information about human trafficking that occurs in both
Japan and Thailand, in which Thai women are lured into the sex industry in
Japan. This was the result of a meeting with Akiko Domoto, the Governor of
Chiba, Japan and Commander of Chiba Provincial Police at the beginning of
It was alleged that some Japanese people open businesses in Chiang Mai and
the Northern region and arrange marriages between Thai women and Japanese
men. These women are then taken to Japan and are forced to work as a maid
or, more often, end up in a brothel. There is evidence to show that many
Thai women are lured to work there.
Chiba is the location of Narita International Airport which is close to
Tokyo, and there are numerous Thai women who are attracted there to seek
their fortune. Records show that there are around 5,000 Thai women who are
mainly engaged in the sex industry around Chiba who have work-permits, but
there is an equally high number who work there illegally.
In future, if Thai women are arrested there, they will be sent to a female
support facility and information will be sent to Thailand for possible
repatriation. Japan will also send police officers to Chiang Mai to
coordinate information on human trafficking in Thailand, and with this joint
cooperation, it is hoped that the trafficking of Thai women will be reduced.
Governor wants energy saving and price control, in wake of oil prices
Suwat Tantipat, Chiang Mai Governor said that the situation of the rising
oil price was causing large economic issues, affecting businesses in every
field; and leading to rising inflation and a higher cost of living.
The municipality will invite organizations involved in energy to a meeting
to discuss workable solutions to soften the effects of the high oil price.
Chiang Mai has already involved organizations to campaign for people to save
energy or reduce energy use; such as turning off lights in the house when
not in the room, using public transport, reducing unnecessary travel,
promoting the use of gasohol and bio-diesel, using energy effectively, and
getting everyone to be conscious of the need to reduce energy use.
Chiang Mai also emphasizes the need for organizations to control their
product prices, to prevent anyone taking advantage of people by unfairly
increasing the product price. Municipal officers will closely follow the
effects of this issue, monitoring the situation of rising oil prices; and
ensuring that Chiang Mai’s economy remains stable despite the uncertainties
created by the higher oil price.
Night safari again criticized, this time about Orang-utans
Concerned Thai tourists who had visited Chiang Mai Night Safari have
said that the Orang-utans were being kept in a porcupine cage that lacked a
roof, giving the monkeys no shade or means of escaping the direct sunlight.
There were two Orang-utans contained in that cage.
Puttha, coordinator of Northern Wildlife Conservation Foundation.
Reporters visited the night safari and asked for information from a worker
there and learnt that the two apes were borrowed from Safari World and would
return to Indonesia soon. In fact, there were five Oran-gutans in the night
safari, which left the worker wondering why only two of them were in that
cage. He confirmed also that there were many other kinds of animal that had
been kept in improper cages and many visitors have pity on them. Some
animals appeared in very poor condition seem and almost dead, while others
showed signs of wounds on their bodies.
Nikhom Puttha, coordinator of Northern Wildlife Conservation Foundation
confirmed that those two Orang-utans were waiting to return Indonesia, but
the night safari had put them on display and in his opinion, did not take
good care of them.
These Orang-utans were only two of the 102 apes and monkeys found being
illegally kept in Safari World in 2004. The Orang-utan is endangered in the
wild and not allowed to be traded or moved between private sector
organizations. However, the animal is allowed to be exchanged for research
and conservation purposes. The National Park, Wildlife and Plant
Conservation Department seized 57 Orang-utans from Safari World to return
Indonesia and during the repatriation process, the department claimed that
four of the apes had died whilst undergoing DNA tests, leaving 53; and
Chiang Mai Night Safari had asked to borrow five of them.
Human trafficking being addressed in Phrae
Chiangmai Mail Reporters
The Office of Public Relations in Phrae reported that they have begun an
operational training program for people who were involved in countering
human trade. The human trade situation is currently getting worse, with
every country in the world coming to realize the importance of tackling the
problems of human trafficking; and all agree that trade in people to be used
for sexual purposes and cheap labor was a serious violation of human rights
and should be regarded as actually destroying a person’s very humanity.
Thailand was faced with three aspects of human trading. Because of its
geographic location, surrounded by countries with inferior economies,
Thailand was a preferred destination for many of the unfortunate victims of
human trading. The point of entry into the Kingdom is usually along the
Northern border and the final destination invariably Bangkok. On June 14,
2005, the government decided to establish a Human Trade Prevention Center in
Phrae, from which efforts to stamp out human trade at provincial level,
central level, and international level could be co-ordinated. Phrae has
become notorious for being on the regular routes for transferring women and
children from neighboring countries, passing through border provinces; such
as Chiang Rai, Nan, and Chiang Mai and heading for Bangkok.
With cooperation from social experts and professional people from many
organizations, the Human Trade Prevention Center in Phrae has evolved an
operational training program for those engaged in trying to help the victims
of these inhuman practices. It is designed to develop a complete working
network, create an awareness of the problems faced by the victims of human
trade, and to gain knowledge of the methods used by the criminals to ensnare
their victims. There are 50 participants from various organizations from
both government and private sectors who have already applied for this
course, which will give them knowledge of methods that can be used in
preventing, suppressing and eventually stamping out the inhuman practice of
trading in humanity.
Burmese soldiers and Black Lahu attack Tai tribe
Chiangmai Mail Reporters
Burmese soldiers together with fighters from the Black Lahu attacked a Shan
State Army (SSA) base located on the crest opposite Baan Hmong Paed Lang,
Tambon Terdthai, Mae Fa Luang district, firing their weapons from the forest
on the Thai side, but there was no report of any casualties.
Between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. on April 27, there were reports of continuous
gunfire coming from the forest at the border with Myanmar. After an hour,
the sound of gunfire died away and it was assumed that there was a fight in
Myanmar between Burmese soldiers together with a unit of the Black Lahu army
and the SSA who were located on the crest near the Thai border.
Pol. Col. Prachak Awaiwanont, Superintendent of Mae Fa Luang Police Station
said that the fight in Myanmar had not affected the Thai border. However,
Thai police and administrative officers will monitor the situation closely.
The reason for the fight was probably because the Burmese authorities want
to eliminate the SSA, which they have been attempting to do for a long time,
but this year, the situation appears be getting worse. Burmese soldiers this
time fought alongside experienced Black Lahu fighters, who are replacing the
Wa soldiers who have been supporting the Burmese soldiers in their attacks
on the SSA military base on the crest near Thai border.
4-year old son snatched
from German father
Officers at Phuping Police Station were informed that the four-year old son
of a German had been kidnapped from Hillside Condominium on Nimmanheminda
Road, Tambon Suthep in Muang, Chiang Mai. The officers found Thorsten Merk,
39, the father of the missing child with wounds along his body.
Merk, informing police after his 4-year old son was kidnapped.
The father informed the police that he and his son, Aron Merk, 4, were
walking to their residence, when three men drove up in a car and abducted
his son. The child cried out because the kidnappers closed the door on the
boy’s fingers. In a desperate attempt to prevent his son’s kidnap the father
jumped onto the front of the car but the offenders swerved the car violently
to throw him off causing the wounds along his body.
Thorsten said that he believed the kidnappers were involved with Busara or
Lin Jaikham, 30, his former wife. After they divorced he took their son back
to Germany. There is a court case pending over custody of the child so he
returned to Thailand with his son. His former wife, after learning of their
return, asked to meet the son and negotiated a rendezvous with him before
the kidnapping took place.
While, the father was giving information to the police at Phuping police
station, Busara called him and said that their son was with her and said
that she would come to the police station for a talk, but she did not keep
Police took Thorsten to hospital for treatment to his wounds and continued
their enquiries before pursuing Busara to possibly charge her with
Much dirty work by Karen villagers
Police officers of Mae Hong Son Police Station received information from
local people in Baan Huay Pu in Mae Hong Son on April 21, that a Burmese
person, identified as Ka Lor Su, had been murdered and his body had been
found dumped beside the Baan Huay Pu – Baan Huay Mai Dam Road, Tambon Huay
Pu Ling, Muang district.
Police enquiries soon led them to suspect three Karens, identified as Jor
Khae Ke Thanawatmethakhun, 47; Kham Kwanthong, 43; and Sithichai Lapheur,
22, residents of Mae Hong Son. During interrogation, all three confessed
that they committed the murder saying that the victim always drank alcohol,
shouted, and argued in the village. The police arrested them and charged
them with murder, aggravated by attempting to destroy the corpse to cover up
cause of death.
An anonymous source in the Baan Huay Pu revealed that on the day of the
murder; the three accused, in association with a school-janitor who was
acquainted with the village headman, drove a pick-up truck to the end of the
village where they caught Ka Lor Su. They tied him up and threw him in the
back of the pick-up and drove back through the village. Ka Lor Su called for
help, but no one dared to offer assistance. After taking Ka Lor Su to the
Baan Huay Dam road, they parked the car on the high ground and tried to get
him out of the back of the pick-up. The victim struggled and managed to hide
under the pick-up. The accused cut bamboo staves and used them to stab and
hit the victim until he was forced out from under the truck. They then cut
the victim’s throat and set fire to the body after dousing it in petrol.
After the crime, the leader of the village warned residents to claim that
the village was not involved with the murder; and to inform the police that
it was a matter between foreigners.
A few days later, the same leader of the village bought two second-hand
pick-up trucks, using the victim’s money to purchase the vehicles. Before
the victim’s death, villagers were aware that he dealt in narcotics and
always carried a large amount of US dollars, the acquisition of which was in
all probability the true motive that led to his murder.
Pol. Lt. Kobchai Sirisrichan, the officer heading the murder investigation
said that during interrogation, the accused had said that the victim was
known to have committed many acts of robbery, was always drunk and argued
incessantly, causing everyone to be dissatisfied with his behavior. However,
officers did not believe the testimony of the accused, finding the motive
they offered highly suspicious. Mae Hong Son Provincial Inspector officers
will further investigate the case and hopefully the true motive for Ka Lor
Su’s murder will be clarified soon.
Pol. Maj. Gen. Suthep Dejraksa, Commander of Mae Hong Son Provincial Police
said that it had become apparent from the investigation, that the village
headman was behind the murder. If his involvement could be verified as being
the mastermind of the crime, he and any others involved will be brought to
justice and feel the full weight of the law.
Local police train in scientific methods
Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, commissioner of the
Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 opened a forensic science training
program, for officers to study AFIS finger print checking system, and an
evidence tracing process specializing in Trace Evidence at micro level.
In the modern age, advanced sciences, technologies, and communication have
been developed to have an ever greater role in people’s lives. Crime has
become more complex, and modern technologies have to be used, with sometimes
only the merest traces of evidence available to link the criminal to the
Many former methods of police investigation have become outdated, so
forensic police have to be able to use new investigation techniques,
applying every possible field of science in their efforts to bring criminals
to justice. Evidence gathering to support the justice process has to be more
efficient, correct, clear, and equal for everyone.
Bank robbers net 24,000 baht
in 1 min 20 seconds!
The Siam Commercial Bank, Chotana branch, located opposite the Lanna
golf course was robbed in broad daylight by two audacious thieves. After the
alarm was raised, the local police descended, but the robbers had already
left with the money.
Banditcheewakhun, manager of Siam Commercial Bank, Chotana branch giving
details to Pol. Col. Chamnarn Ruadrew, Deputy Commander of Chiang Mai
On arrival at the bank the police found a large crowd standing outside, and
several panic-stricken employees inside. They interviewed the branch
manager, Chuenrudee Banditcheewakhun, 49, who said that, at 3 p.m., while
employees were still working, two men came into the bank, described as
plump, both wearing a white long-sleeved shirts, bright orange vests, black
pants, blue motor-cycle safety helmets and masks covering their faces. They
had a sawn-off shotgun and pointed it at the counter window causing several
employees to panic and run upstairs.
Chuenrudee said that, mindful of the customers’ safety, she spoke to the
robbers and asked them to remain calm and take the money. The robbers then
walked to the counter and threatened Hemaraj Pongterdsak, another bank
employee. One of the gunmen handed Hemaraj a black sack and speaking in a
local dialect, said he was broke and he wanted the bank to give him million
baht. Hemaraj withdrew a bundle of notes from a drawer and gave the money to
the robber and said that it was 100,000 baht and she had no more money in
the drawer. The bank robbers then grabbed the sack and walked out, escaping
on their motorbike. A check of the drawer’s contents revealed they got away
with 24,000 baht cash.
Whilst this incident was in progress, there was no police officer present at
the bank, due to the fact that he was attending a monthly meeting at the
However, the bank had a surveillance camera which recorded the robbers’
actions. After checking the recorded video, it was found that the robbers
had committed the crime at 3 p.m., and the whole incident only took 1 minute
20 seconds from start to finish.
The gunmen got away on a blue Honda Dream motorbike, but had covered the
license plate with brown paper, escaping towards the Kuang Singha
Intersection. Police officers set up several interception points, but did
not manage to find them.
Onlookers at the scene reported that during the incident, a customer ran out
of a noodle restaurant in front of the bank and shouted that there were
robbers inside the bank. When the criminals ran to their motorbike, a
neighboring shopkeeper threw a chair at one of the robbers, but despite his
brave efforts, they were still able to escape.
Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, commissioner of the Provincial
Police Bureau Region 5 had a meeting with his officers and formulated plans
for tracking the robbers. It was thought that they were not professional
thieves, but probably two people who had chosen to solve their financial
problems by making an extra-ordinary withdrawal.
of three Hmong corpses positive
Eight Hmong were reported missing on March 2, 2006. They were identified as
Yeng Saewang, Jirasak Phapwiwat, Renoo (last name unknown), Decha or To
Suwanachat, Sirima or Tee Sinmalanon, La (last name unknown), Paeng (last
name unknown) and Yialao Wang, who held American nationality.
In April, a number of sacks were discovered abandoned in a gully on the side
of the Pai-Mae Hong Son Road (Route 1095), near the Mae Ya-Huay Nam Dang
checkpoint in Pai, Mae Hong Son. Local people informed the police, who
checked the sacks which were found to contain dessicated human remains. The
six corpses all had ropes tied around their necks. The bodies were sent for
post mortem examination at Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital, as reported
in earlier editions of Chiangmai Mail.
In a bulletin reporting on the progress of this case, Pol. Col. Chamnan
Ruadreuw, deputy commander of Chiang Mai Provincial Police disclosed that
DNA checking of the corpses by Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital had
confirmed that three of bodies were those of Decha or To Suwanacha, Sirima
or Tee Sinmalanon and La, children who had disappeared at the same time as
the five other persons.
Pol. Col. Chamnan said that after learning the result of the autopsy,
investigation police informed the close relatives of the dead children. He
disclosed that the investigators were confident of solving this case and the
police have a good idea as to the identity of the offenders but were unable
to reveal more information at this stage, because it may affect the case. “I
can confirm that this case will be solved for sure,” he said.
Tragic deaths of four
children electrocuted while swimming
On April 28, four children were fatally electrocuted when swimming in an
irrigation ditch at Pa Bong near Baan Yuam, Tambon Chaisathan, Saraphi
district, Chiang Mai. The four were named as Saneh Chumchai, 11; Kornwit
Luangoonjai, 10; Netr Khanthawong, 9; and Pitchaya Khampao, 10.
From enquiries made by Saraphi police officers, it was found that all four
children were on their vacation. There had been a recent rainstorm and it
was thought that current might have leaked from poorly insulated wiring in a
nearby welding shop onto the bridge and electrocuted the children who were
swimming in the canal below. Police said if this was verified to be the
cause of the children’s deaths, the shop owner would be charged with
negligence causing death and would face legal proceedings.
The welding shop belongs to Uthai Chumchai, 41, the father of one of dead