Overseas Royalty visits Chiang Mai
Bradford (left), GM of Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi, Chiang Mai and Savas
Rattakunjara (right), executive assistant manager welcome HRH Prince Andrew,
the Duke of York upon his arrival at the resort. (Photo by Phatthawut
During the grand celebrations for HM the King’s 60th anniversary of his
accession to the throne June 9-13, royal guests from many countries visited
Chiang Mai, including HRH Prince Andrew the Duke of York, Prince Albert II
of Monaco and the King and Queen of Lesotho. They visited Huay Hong Krai
Royal Development Study Canter, created through the initiatives of HM the
King, Baan Thawai wooden handicraft and sculpture center in Hang Dong
district, and Doi Suthep Temple.
Chiang Mai prepared the routes the royal visitors traveled with displays of
the Thai national flag, royal guests’ flags, and flags with the symbol to
honor HM the King.
This was a personal visit and the royals were warmly welcomed by Chiang
Mai’s governor, international consuls, officials, judges, attorney
generals, military officers, police officers, students and even housewives
at Wing 41 Military Airport.
There was traditional Lanna style dancing and students waving Thai national
flags along the route to the Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi Hotel, which was
the resting place chosen by HRH the Duke of York, Prince Andrew, for his
This was a visit by the royal guests before going to Bangkok on June 12 to
participate in the ceremony of honoring HM the King celebrating the 60th
anniversary of his ascension to the throne.
Former Lamphun governor inducted as new Chiang Rai governor
Chiangmai Mail Reporters
Udom Phuasakul has been admitted as the new Chiang Rai governor amidst a
warm welcome by government officials, merchants and residents of Chiang Rai.
Having arrived in Chiang Rai, the new governor went to worship at the
monument of King Meng Rai before traveling to the Chiang Rai governor’s
residence. In the afternoon, he went to pay his respects at the City Pillar
at Wat Phra Thad Doi Tung and prayed for blessing from the monks of that
Udom Phuasakul, the new Chiang Rai governor used to serve as assistant to
the Chiang Mai governor before being appointed as Chiang Mai deputy governor
and then Lamphun governor.
His wife, Dr. Inthira Phuasakul, is president of the Chiang Rai Red Cross
and serves as a government official at the Department of Mental Health, for
the Ministry of Public Health.
Burma on lookout for signs of subversion
Following the extension (yet again) of the house arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi,
the Burmese authorities are apparently worried that there will be civil
unrest, and even subversion. Burmese central government officers and about
100 military, police and customs officers blockaded 100 of the huge
warehouses used to store imported products from Thailand in Myawaddy,
opposite Mae Sod district, near Tak because they wanted to examine the
premises for contraband such as weapons and ammunition as well as untaxed
products and forbidden items. During this blockade, Burmese merchants were
forced to stop importing products from Thailand and were unable to move the
products already stored in Myanmar, which cost several million baht in lost
The Burmese authorities were worried that minority groups and
anti-government groups would cause chaos in Myanmar. The government had
ordered stricter measures along the border area, which unfortunately is also
the import/export route to Myanmar.
Minority groups in Burmar honor HM the King celebrating the 60th anniversary of his ascension to the throne
The Wa National Army (WNA) recently held a ceremony to honor HM the King of
Thailand’s celebrating the 60th
anniversary of his ascension to the throne. In the document, it said that HM
the King is beloved and respected by people all over the world. It is the
first time in 30 years that the WNA have organized this ceremony.
The ceremony was simply organized and started with lighting candles to
worship HM the King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s picture, followed by
firecrackers, firing a salute and the presentation of a document honoring HM
the King. They recognize HM the King as the monarch who has reigned for the
longest period in the world, and they wished long life to the King.
leader of the Wa National Army (WNA) honoring HM the King of Thailand.
150 Wa people and soldiers who participated in this ceremony. Some people
came from Baan Mae Or Luang, Baan Mae Or Orn, Baan Mai, and Baan Hua Ha to
take part in this ceremony. One member of the WNA said that he had been a
soldier for 30 years, but it was HM the King’s virtue that made this
There was also a ceremony organized by minority groups who live along the
Thai-Burmese border at Mae Hong Son; such as the Shan State Army (SSA), the
Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) and the Wa National Army (WNA).
In Myanmar, especially in Shan state, many people respect HM the King
Bhumibol Adulyadej as though he was their own monarch; and there is a
picture of HM the King in almost every house.
Khon Hak Chiang Mai files charges against Chiang Mai Night Safari
Khon Hak Chiang Mai Alliance, allied organizations, and those who were
affected by Chiang Mai Night Safari’s construction project, filed charges
at the Administrative Court, Chiang Mai, against the Chiang Mai Night Safari
that it is an unlawful project and has caused negative effects to the
Chaiphan Praphasawat and 26 members of his staff filed this case, first of
all bringing charges against the prime minister; and secondly, against the
director of Area Development for Sustainable Tourism Organization and
members of his committee, including Plodprasope Surasawadee.
Chaiphan Praphasawat, director of the Community Rights Institute, as one of
the plaintiffs, said that many people had tried to dissuade the Night Safari
from going ahead with this operation from the beginning, because this
project trespasses on the forest of a National Park which is public
property, and using 1.7 billion baht of public money to fund the illegal
The alliance group had tried to do everything within the constitution to get
the project stopped, but to no avail. They finally decided that it was time
to file charges against the Night Safari in the administrative court as the
last reliable hope for the people. The Alliance members want to make this
case an example for social justice. There are numerous projects currently in
the pipeline, which are similar in many respects to this case, so if this
project is allowed to go ahead, it will be difficult to stop other projects.
Kwanchai Chotiphan, the environmental lawyer who is responsible for filing
the case said that there are many issues concerned with this case against
Chiang Mai night Safari. Wichit Pattanakosai, deputy director general acting
for the Department of National Parks, does not have any authority to develop
within National Park boundaries. The construction of Chiang Mai Night Safari
within the National Park boundaries violates the National Park and
Environmental Promotion and Preservation Acts. Introducing wildlife into
Chiang Mai night Safari contravenes many aspects of the Convention on
International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES); and the Wild Flora and
Fauna and Wildlife Protection Act. There should have been an Environmental
Impact Assessment (EIA) of the Chiang Mai Night Safari project and if there
has been such an assessment, there has been no public hearing to discuss the
results. The occupation of the position as president of the Area Development
for Sustainable Tourism Administrative Committee by Plodprasope Surasawadee
is also unlawful, as he has a political position. Most importantly, private
organizations and ordinary people had strenuously objected to this project,
but they had been ignored.
The alliance group wants the administrative court to cancel the position of
the president of Area Development for Sustainable Tourism Administrative
Committee currently occupied by Plodprasope Surasawadee, and he should be
made to return his salary. The alliance also requests that the court should
stop any further construction, especially the Elephant Park, which intrudes
on more than 5,000 rai of forest.
Flow rate for Ping river set to give prior flood warnings
Thada Sukhupunaphan, director of the Hydrology and Water Management Center
for the Upper Northern Region said that the Royal Irrigation Department had
held an urgent meeting to plan for flood prevention with several
organizations including Chiang Mai Municipality and the Hydrology and the
Water Management Center for the Upper Northern Region. The outcome of the
meeting was that they had categorized the flooding situation into two major
problems; floods caused by overflowing water and flood caused by heavy rain
and stagnant water.
The meeting allocated the responsibilities with Chiang Mai Municipality
being made responsible for solving the problem of flooding from Doi Suthep
which will flow down to Huay Kaew Road and Suthep Road, eventually
overflowing into the Ping River. Chiang Mai Municipality plans to build a
sandbag wall to prevent flooding at risky points.
The Regional Irrigation Office and the Hydrology and Water Management Center
for the Upper Northern Region will be responsible for Mae Ngat Somboon Chon
Dam in Mae Taeng district and Mae Kuang Udom Thara in Doi Saket district to
control the amount of rain and water from this water source. They aim to
reduce the water level in Mae Ngat Somboon Chon Dam by about 50 million
cubic meters to be left with around 70 million cubic meters or approximately
40 percent capacity. They also aim to reduce the water level in Mae Kuang
Udom Thara by 50 million cubic meters or around 50 percent. They will try to
release the water at a rate of 2 million cubic meters a day. It is believed
that by releasing the water steadily, it should not affect the area near the
dam because there will not be too much water released at a time.
The Hydrology and Water Management Center for the Upper Northern Region will
closely monitor the amount of rain accumulating at the water source in
Chiang Dao district and Mae Taeng district. If the flow of water in the Ping
River reaches 400 cubic meters per second, although it is capable of coping
with up to 500 cubic meters per second, there will be a warning sent to
different organizations and people should be prepared for sudden flooding.
It is hoped that by warning people of the imminent danger, it will help to
relieve the problems and effects of flooding and prevent a recurrence of the
situation of last year.
Long-neck Karens to be relocated as a tourist attraction
Long-neck Karens have been peaceably living in three villages in Muang
district of Mae Hong Son, but they are being herded together to become a
Long-neck Karen village, and be a tourist attraction for Mae Hong Son.
Direk Konkleeb, Mae Hong Son Governor, as the director of the Thai and
Neighboring Countries Border Ordering Center on the Myanmar side in Mae Hong
Son, said that 48 families (233 people) were in Baan Nai Soi in Tambon Pang
Moo, 26 families (177 people) in Baan Huay Sua Thao in Tambon Pha Bong and
50 families (199 people) in Baan Huay Pu Kaeng in Tambon Pha Bong.
The province plans to move the Long-neck Karen families in Baan Nai Soi and
Baan Huay Sua Thao, to Baan Huay Pu Kaeng in Tambon Pha Bong, Muang
district, Mae Hong Son on the shore of the Pai River. Tourists will then be
able to visit the Long-neck Karen Village both by cars and boats on the Pai
River. This location will be a good tourist attraction.
Wisoot Buachoom, director of Mae Hong Son Tourism Coordination Center said
that the Long-neck Karen relocation plan will be beneficial to tourism. The
province also plans to adjust the scenery surrounding the village to blend
in with the Pai River shore, which will attract both Thai and foreign
On one side of the border it seems as though these Karen people are being
oppressed, while on the other they are being used for commercial gain,
itself another form of oppression.
Ministry of Public Health believes that Thailand is safe from bird flu
Dr. Surasingh Wisarootrat, sub head officer of Chiang Mai Provincial Public
Health Office in cooperation with Vet. Somporn Pornwisetsirikul, the
secretary of Chiang Mai Bird Flu Prevention Center held a press conference
talking about the progress of bird flu prevention in Thailand since 2004.
Surasingh Wisarootrat, sub head officer of Chiang Mai Provincial Public
Health Office (left) and Vet. Somporn Pornwisetsirikul, Committee and
secretary of Chiang Mai Bird Flu Prevention Center (right).
The world-wide statistics according to the brief report from World Health
Organization (WHO) since December 26, 2003 – April 17, 2006, shows that 44
countries have confirmed the spread of bird flu in poultry. There have been
194 patients who were infected with bird flu worldwide. 109 have died in
nine countries; 93 patients and 42 dead in Vietnam, 31 patients and 23 dead
in Indonesia, and there have been 22 patients, of whom 14 have died in
The local campaign hinges on six-monthly chest X-Rays, to prevent the
disease spreading, to search for the disease and eliminate it; and to study
the progress of the disease, including evaluating the bird flu situation in
According to the Chiang Mai Bird Flu Prevention Center, patients suspected
of catching the disease are quickly able to be sent for treatment in a
Public Health Service Center. The latest x-ray results from October 1, 2005
to April 20, 2006 show that in 19 districts of Chiang Mai, there are 57
patients who were suspected of catching the disease but after checking, bird
flu has not been found in these patients. However, health-workers who are
taking care of these patients are still x-raying and monitoring the
situation continually and the next time for x-rays will be applied between
June 1 and July 31, 2006. This is one month earlier than last year because
the rainy season is coming earlier, making the conditions, the temperature
and the environment particularly conducive for bird flu to spread.
Every hospital is in a high state of readiness to deal with any outbreak of
the disease. The Public Health Office also recommends that merchants should
not cut off the heads off dead winged livestock for sale and residents
should wash their hands every time after touching winged livestock. If it is
necessary to touch winged livestock, residents should wear protective
clothing and gloves and wash totally every time after doing so. Livestock
officers and Public Health officers should be informed immediately if any
winged livestock has died. In the meantime, if any person develops a fever,
cough, feels pain in the throat and has mucus, especially after contact with
dead winged livestock, they should go to see a doctor. All these measures
will hopefully control the bird flu and Thailand will be safe from this
Thai agro-market down 50 percent due to lack of post-harvest technology
Thailand’s agricultural sector is facing challenges from China, the
Philippines and Mexico, according to Phaichayon Ueathaweekul, committee
chairman of Swift Co who addressed the Institute of Post-Harvest, Chiang Mai
University seminar. Previously, Thailand had exported agricultural products
to foreign countries and gained about an 80 percent income and marketing
share from Asia and Europe. This has made Thai agricultural products become
well known especially in Japan as they import large amounts of Thai
agricultural products every year.
However, there are many kinds of agricultural products competing for a share
of the same market due to post-harvest technology giving the products longer
shelf life and higher quality. Many countries compete with Thailand, such as
the Philippines and Mexico, which both export mangos, but they use
post-harvest technology to reduce delivery times, giving them the advantage
of delivering cheaper and higher-quality products. Thailand loses more than
100 billion baht a year, after producing a first class product but failing
to get that product to the marketplace in good condition.
Phaichayon said it is up to the government to promote the delivery logistics
because that is the main factor that governs price fixing and quality
control. If there is a swift and efficient transfer of produce, the delivery
and production cost will be lower. Also, if the post-harvest technology is
correctly used, it will extend the product’s life.
He said that at the moment, the Company’s mango products shelflife is 30
days, but Japan and Europe are demanding a shelflife of 35 days. Moreover,
Chinese agricultural products have started to seriously compete with
Thailand. China has suitable conditions, which are beneficial to its
product’s preservation, which is what the market wants, especially in
Europe. This results in Thailand losing about 50 percent of the market share
for those particular products.
Product delivery crossing the Mae Sai will be more lenient after changing Burmese officers in charge
border Mae Sai, Chiang Rai (Photo by Preeyanoot Jittawong )
Chiangmai Mail Reporters
Choochai Udompode, Mae Sai Custom officer, said that after the annual change
of Burmese Customs executives, there was a new chief, and a new assistant,
of trading control and customs. According to an unofficial discussion, there
will be leniency shown for products, which up till now, have always been
forbidden in Myanmar.
The number of import-export products at Mae Sai district, Chiang Rai had
changed remarkably. In first three months of 2006, Chinese imports had
decreased from about 40 million baht to 10 million baht. This was due to the
political situation in Myanmar and the oil price crisis that made it more
difficult to transfer goods and caused prices to rise. The average cost of
exporting had increased by 10 percent. There was also a strong rumor that
there were Indian products from the Indian-Burmese border being smuggled
across the Thai-Burmese border, but customs officers found nothing to
substantiate these rumours. Most products which are imported and exported at
Mae Sai customs are Chinese products.
Good Samaritans have lucky escape
Two “Good Samaritans” have had a lucky escape following a horrific
traffic accident near Jomtien. The pair, Jim Soutar, executive director of
the Pakanyor Foundation and his associate Dave Doll from Phuket were driving
from Chiang Mai to Jomtien last Friday afternoon when their car was involved
in a collision with a 6-wheel truck loaded with corn.
Their Audi-A80 sedan was a write-off and while Dave Doll escaped with
bruises and lacerations, Jim Soutar was not so fortunate. He was taken to
hospital where X-rays revealed he had broken both his collar bones and
sustained five broken ribs amongst other injuries. He was later transferred
to the McCormick Hospital in Chiang Mai for surgery.
could be several months before Jim Souter is fully recovered.
Jim and Dave had been involved in arranging emergency accommodation for
teachers and students at the Karen secondary school in the Chom Thong
district, some 60 kilometres southwest of Chiangmai. Buildings at the school
were destroyed by fire late last month. (See last week’s report in the Chiangmai
Following the fire, Jim and Dave who had previously been involved in relief
operations as a result of the Boxing Day tsunami, arranged for two large
accommodation domes donated by the Freemasons of Western Australia and
Pattaya in conjunction with the Rotary Clubs of Pattaya and Jomtien along
with private local individuals, to be transported to the school site. Just
prior to Saturday’s accident the two men were preparing the domes; each
valued around 350,000 baht for occupation.
Despite his injuries, Dave Doll has continued with the supervision of the
erection of the first dome which is almost ready for occupation. The second
dome is expected to be habitable by the end of next week.
The latest report from doctors attending to Jim Souter indicates he will
remain in hospital for at least another week and it could be several months
before he is fully recovered.
Three murder suspects apprehended, but one still at large
Nopniwat Krailerg and
It appears that the killers of Seksan Sukaseme, an owner of Bua Luang Tour
and a Harley Davidson spares distribution outlet on Charoenmuang Road, are
being brought to justice. The charred and handcuffed body was found on May
30, in a longan orchard, Mae Taeng district, Chiang Mai.
Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, Commissioner of Provincial
Police Bureau 5 set an investigation team to work with the task of finding
the killers. Enquiries revealed that the cause of the crime was an argument
over a business deal.
Sothiwut (left) one of three suspects.
The police asked were able to arrest Adisorn Chatposakul, 26, resident of
Chiang Rai; Supharp Atama, 24, resident of Chiang Mai; and Anusorn Sothiwut,
32, resident of Bangkok. They were charged with murder, and attempting to
destroy the body. There is still believed to be a Mr. Big, who managed to
escape arrest but is identified as Potcharaphon or “Dam” Pimphimai, 45,
resident of Tambon Hai Ya, Chiang Mai. Police officers believe that he
escaped to Nong Khai.
Police officers also impounded three motorcycles which were used in the
crime, one grey pick-up truck, and one Honda CR-V which belonged to
Pol. Col. Chamnan Ruadrew, Deputy Commander of Chiang Mai Provincial Police
together with investigation officers of Chiang Mai Provincial police, gave a
press conference to report on the progress of the case on June 12 and
brought the three accused to reenact the murder.
Apparently, the four killers lured Seksan from his house near Chiang Mai
Railway Station to a meeting at Adisorn’s house at Nanthana Project 2, San
Sai district, Chiang Mai. They then caught Seksan, tied him up and covered
his head with a sack. They then robbed him of all his property, including a
black Harley Davidson chopper, a gold necklace, a gold ring and watch, which
totaled approximately 600,000 baht, after which, they sold Seksan’s gold
necklace at a gold shop and hid his chopper. The killers then placed Seksan
in the trunk of a car and went to several places in Chiang Mai looking for
equipment, especially tires, fuel, and handcuffs. Having found all they
wanted, they handcuffed Seksan and covered his head with a sack. They then
moved him to another truck and drove around looking for a place to commit
murder. They finally decided on the longan orchard at Mae Taeng district,
where the killers tied Seksan’s neck and battered him to death with a gun
butt, before burning the body with fuel and tires in an attempt to destroy
brought the three men to reenact the killing at the crime scene.
Competition in Myanmar increases price of opium
Chiangmai Mail Reporters
SHAN news agency reported on June 8 that the raw opium costs in eastern and
southern areas of Shan State are now increasing because of competition
between the Red Wa, Gogang and former alliances of Khun Sa. Each is buying
the raw product to produce heroin in factories along the Thai border, to
distribute to clients in Thailand.
Before the price war started, raw opium in Muang Tone, opposite Chiang Mai
stood at 18,000 baht per Joint (1.6 kilogram), but now it is 20,000 baht per
Joint. In the western area of the Salween River, the price of raw opium went
up from 17,500 baht per Joint to between 24,500-28,000 baht.
The source revealed that one of the customers who had bought raw opium was
Laolu, 55, a close aide of Law Sing Han. Laolu runs a heroin factory at Baan
New Thao Huay Kai Luang, 28 kilometers to the north of Muang Tone, which he
set up in 2004. Two other buyers included another man also called Laolu, 52
and Haw Ping, 45, who were drug merchants in the network of Wei Hseuh-kang
and both known to be running heroin factories. Their factories are guarded
by Wa soldiers. The source added that both factories had to pay a tax to the
Burmese soldiers for this security service.
The chemical substances used for producing heroin are brought from Muang
Ngan and Muang Peng, areas controlled by the Red Wa of UWSA; and are
transferred together with timber belonging to the Red Wa sections 171 and
414. Red Wa deals both in drugs and timber at the same time.
It is believed that one of the most active drug sources exporting to
Thailand is in Muang Tone and has dealt continually since 2003. Thai
authorities have made serious efforts to suppress these activities and have
managed to close down more than 10 factories. However, three Red Wa
factories are still active and two of them are located at Baan Hua Pang Hua
Yawd and the other is in Muang Jod, opposite Chiang Dao.
Chiang Mai governor kicks footy gamblers into touch
Entertainment places in Chiang Mai have been checked to prevent football
gambling by no less a senior figure than Suwat Tantipat, Chiang Mai
Governor, together with Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya,
commissioner of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5. Border crossing
points are also being checked after it was learnt that some Thai agents are
dealing in football gambling in neighboring countries.
Tantipat, Chiang Mai Governor together with Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara
Na Ayuthaya, commissioner of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 checking
entertainment places in Chiang Mai during the World Cup period.
The Chiang Mai governor warned all entertainment places to cooperate with
the authorities and keep an eye out for football gambling and if any
entertainment place was found allowing the visitors to gamble, it would be
The commissioner said that he had stressed to all police in each area of the
Northern region, especially those near the border crossing points to check
tourists entering and leaving the Kingdom, after hearing that some Thai
agents were working in neighboring countries.
Academy student not too bright or speedy
Chiangmai Mail Reporters
After the usual tip-off, Chiang Rai police set up a road block to look for
ya ba being transported from Myanmar to the local area. Pol. Maj. Col.
Kamnuan Laohanan, suppression inspector of Mae Chan Police Station, Chiang
Rai set up the checkpoint in front of Kiw Thap Yang Mogul Shrine,
Paholyothin Road, Mae Chan district, Chiang Rai.
Officers saw a young man riding an unregistered motorcycle and called on him
to stop and be checked, but he accelerated and rode straight through the
police checkpoint. Officers followed him in a patrol car and were able to
catch him after a very short pursuit. The man was identified as Therdsak
Tanual, 21, a resident of Phayao. Officers found a pack of ya ba pills (116
pills) hidden in his underwear. He was sent to Chiang Rai police station to
face legal proceedings.
During interrogation, the accused said he was a student at an academy in
Chiang Rai. He sold ya ba pills to other youngsters in Chiang Rai, trying to
get money to gamble on football games with his friends. Before being
arrested, he had taken 4,000 baht cash to buy ya ba pills from the
Thai-Burmese border in Mae Chan district. On his return, when he reached the
checkpoint, he was afraid of being arrested, so he tried to ride through the
checkpoint, but needed more speed to shake off his pursuers.
Big bang on bus
Bomb experts from the Border Patrol Police 33 from Mae Rim, Chiang Mai were
called to deal with a bomb discovered on a tour bus belonging to Phu Luang
Transport on the route between Khon Kaen and Chiang Mai. An M 67 bomb was
found still in good condition that might have exploded at any time, however
the experts were able to safely remove it from the bus, fortunately without
bomb expert from Border Patrol Police 33 removes the bomb.
Police officers questioned the bus driver and learned that while preparing
to load passengers at Khon Kaen bus station who saw the bomb and immediately
called the police to deal with it.
Further enquiries revealed that the previous passenger on that seat was a
navy soldier. The bomb might have fallen from his pack when he was sitting
there, but nevertheless, the police said they would follow him for further
After the event took place, Chanchai Kilapaeng, head officer of Chiang Mai
Land Transport Office stressed that ticket officers should strictly record
names and other details of passengers, to make them easier to trace if any
unexpected situation took place. He would also like commanding officers of
each military organization to stress to their soldiers that they should not
carry dangerous weapons on public transport because of the danger to other