Vol. V No. 19 - Saturday May 6, - May 12, 2006
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by Saichon Paewsoongnern
 

 


NEWS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Chiang Mai Zoo increases entrance fee as fuel costs rise

Burmese refugees or illegal immigrants?

Increased fuel costs turn Chiang Mai busses from break-even to red

Forest stripping leads to erosion and catastrophic mudslides

International Exhibitions Bureau gives Royal Flora Ratchaphruek 2006 the thumbs up

LPG Gas, the preferred choice during the oil price crisis

Border traffic slows to a crawl at Tachilek

Garbage trucks seized

Arranged brides easy picking for Japanese sex industry

Governor wants energy saving and price control, in wake of oil prices

Night safari again criticized, this time about Orang-utans

Human trafficking being addressed in Phrae

Burmese soldiers and Black Lahu attack Tai tribe

4-year old son snatched from German father

Much dirty work by Karen villagers

Local police train in scientific methods

Bank robbers net 24,000 baht in 1 min 20 seconds!

DNA identification of three Hmong corpses positive

Tragic deaths of four children electrocuted while swimming

Chiang Mai Zoo increases entrance fee as fuel costs rise

Double pricing continues at an even higher level

Preeyanoot Jittawong
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 Kajon Boonpat)

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 capital.
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

Nopniwat Krailerg
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.

Chiang Mai Municipality has to bear financial losses caused by gasoline price increases.
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 to property.
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

Preeyanoot Jittawong
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.

V. 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 Tunisia.
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 steering committee.
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

Saksit Meesubkwang
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

Saksit Meesubkwang
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 Tachilek.
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 Kowit, 30.
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 April.
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

Nopniwat Krailerg
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

Saksit Meesubkwang
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.

Nikhom 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

Saksit Meesubkwang
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.

Thorsten 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 the appointment.
Police took Thorsten to hospital for treatment to his wounds and continued their enquiries before pursuing Busara to possibly charge her with kidnapping.


Much dirty work by Karen villagers

Saksit Meesubkwang
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

Nopniwat Krailerg
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 crime.
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!

Saksit Meesubkwang
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.

Chuenrudee Banditcheewakhun, manager of Siam Commercial Bank, Chotana branch giving details to Pol. Col. Chamnarn Ruadrew, Deputy Commander of Chiang Mai Provincial Police.

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 police station!
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.


DNA identification of three Hmong corpses positive

Nopniwat Krailerg
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

Nopniwat Krailerg
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 children.



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