Animal rights activists
protest against Thai export of elephants to Australia
Dozens of animal rights activists demonstrated Monday outside the Australian
Embassy in Bangkok, calling for its government to scrap plans to import
eight Asian elephants from Thailand.
The protesters want the Thai government to conduct DNA testing to determine
if the elephants were born in the wild which would prevent their transfer
but Thai authorities have not agreed.
zoo official Laurie Pond consoles an elephant, one of the eight to be
transferred to zoos in Australia, at their quarters of a quarantine station
in Saiyok district of Kanchanaburi province, western Thailand. (AP
Trading of wild elephants is not allowed under CITES, the Convention on
International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna. Those involved
in the transfer insist they were born in captivity.
“Stop buying Thai elephants,” read an English-language sign held by one
Thai activist at the embassy.
“We do hope you would appreciate that our beloved elephants, the Thai
nation’s symbol, should remain in Thailand,” the activists said in a
Early last month, a group of protesters stopped trucks carrying the
elephants from leaving a quarantine station in the western Thai province of
Kanchanaburi for Bangkok’s airport, where they were to have been flown to
Although only a handful of demonstrators blocked the trucks, officials took
the animals back to their quarters after an overnight standoff.
The animals have been sold to zoos in Sydney and Melbourne where they are
supposed to enter a conservation breeding program. They have been kept in
quarantine in Kanchanaburi for more than a year as animal rights groups in
both Thailand and Australia have fought to prevent their transfer.
In December, an Australian court cleared the way for the move to Sydney’s
Taronga Zoo and Melbourne Zoo in Victoria state as long as they met certain
conditions guaranteeing the elephants’ welfare.
“It is definitely not a requirement for DNA testing to be performed,”
Lisa Keen, a Taronga Zoo official arranging for the transfer of the
elephants, said in a telephone interview.
“In terms of any sort of transfer like this, these elephants have gone
through the most thorough, rigorous investigation of their origins and
captive-born status,” she said.
Crime of Passion!
American millionaire shot dead by ex-companion
On July 2, police officers at Chiang Mai Police Station were informed that
an American had been shot opposite the Whole Earth Restaurant, on Sri Don
Chai Road near the Night Bazaar area. He was not killed immediately, but
died later in hospital. He was identified as George Patrick Dubie
“Daniel”, 56, an American citizen and who had been shot in the chest and
Pratchaporn Monpeng, 30, the Thai wife of the deceased American informed the
police that they had lived together for seven years, residing at a house in
Hang Dong district, Chiang Mai. Before the fatal shooting, Daniel told her
that Margaret ‘Gina’ Crane, 48, his former companion, arranged to meet
him at the Whole Earth Restaurant on Sri Don Chai Road to discuss a private
Witnesses in the restaurant told the police that they had heard the couple
arguing, after which they walked out to the parking area. The American hit
the woman and threatened her with a pistol, but she grabbed the weapon.
Daniel ran to the opposite side of the road, but she followed him and fired
the weapon in his direction. She then got into a car and drove off.
At the same time that the incident was taking place, Pratchaporn was waiting
for Daniel at the Starbucks Coffee Shop on the Night Bazaar and received a
phone call that her husband had been shot. She went to the scene and
followed the ambulance to the hospital.
Police officers immediately broadcast an All Points Bulletin (APB) for the
vehicle. Police at Pa Tan Bridge noticed the woman’s car and observed the
female driver get out and throw what looked like a pistol into the river.
She returned to her car and drove off at high speed with police officers in
pursuit. They finally managed to stop her in front of Weera Panich Co. on
Chiang Mai-Lampang Road, Tambon Fah Ham.
witness at the scene of the shooting identifies Ms Crane as the person who
shot Daniel Dubie.
Officers took her into custody, but when questioned,
initially the woman denied everything. Eventually, she confessed that she
committed the crime in a fit of fury. Ms Crane told police that there had
been a scuffle when Daniel dropped the gun, but she grabbed it before he
could and chased him across the street where she fired the gun.
Sineeporn Phantawong, Daniel’s personal lawyer and close friend said that
Daniel owned many businesses in the U.S.A. He was also an advisor to the
United Nations (UN) and a special news reporter of a foreign news agency. He
was also involved with many organizations in the US providing support to
those unfortunate people involved in the Tsunami catastrophe.
He had planned to invest one billion baht in land and a home stay business
in Chiang Mai and Phuket. He visited Thailand a couple of times a year and
told officers that Daniel had been threatened many times by his former Ms
From the investigation, police officers focused on the quarrel, which had
accusations of adultery and violence. One of witnesses said that Daniel took
care of six children. He had a house in Palm Spring Place Village in Muang
Chiang Mai. Previously, they had often argued. Until this visit, Daniel had
never visited his Ms Crane. She became furious which led to the fatal
Hopes for 53 mio flood compensation remain unanswered
Chiang Mai in August 2005 (File Photo)
At the government’s request, a report was made on the damage from the
three major floods that occurred during August – October 2005, including a
list of the people who were affected by these floods. In addition, a list
was made of properties in Chiang Mai Municipality that suffered damage from
After the first big flood in August, Chiang Mai Municipality requested 50
million baht of support funds from the Government Lottery Office to provide
help to those people whose livelihoods and homes and businesses had incurred
damage. There was no immediate response to this request.
Shortly after, there were two more large floods. Subsequently, the
municipality coordinated with the Office of Social Development and Human
Security, Chiang Mai to summarize the results of the flood. This survey
revealed that there were 5,189 families who were affected by the floods in
the Chiang Mai Municipal area, which caused damage amounting to 53,113,417
A request for this amount was sent to the Secretariat of the Prime Minister
office on February 3, 2006, but the request has received no response or
A further urgent request was submitted at the end of May 2006, but again,
received no response. Those affected by the floods had enquired about the
supporting fund many times, but the municipality has had to inform them that
so far, there has been no progress in this matter.
Greenpeace calls for rejection of Salween River Dam project
The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) is cooperating with
the MDX Company, an energy company, the Burmese government, and China Sino
Hydro Corp. Company, the biggest dam construction company in China, to
construct another dam across the Salween River in Burma.
This dam will block the Salween River which is the longest river in
Southeast Asia, with its source in Tibet, flowing through China into
Myanmar. The Salween River dam is expected to cost around 1 billion US
dollars (approx. 40,000 million baht) and, according to the agreement, MDX
will receive approx. 85 percent of the electricity generated, from an output
of 7,000 megawatts from the first dam, which will be the largest one in
Myanmar. EGAT will receive 60 percent of the electricity from Hat Ka Yee
Dam. It is expected that MDX’s dam construction will be finished by 2012
while the Hat Ka Yee Dam is still being surveyed, a process that it is
expected to be finished within the next twelve months.
However, this construction project has come to the attention of several
countries who are calling for its rejection on the grounds that this project
will support the Burmese government’s economy, which is still being
sanctioned by US due to human rights violations in the Myanmar; specifically
the prolonged detention of Aung San Suu Kyi. Conservationists from Green
Peace have also strenuously voiced their objections to this project,
indicating that it will destroy the ecology in the Salween area; with in
excess of 7,000 different kinds of plant and over 80 species of rare fish
and wildlife will be jeopardized.
Thara Buakhamsri, an executive of Green Peace in Thailand said that the dam
construction will severely affect the river’s ecology. Moreover, it is
believed that the Burmese government will eliminate or forcibly remove all
the Karen people from the area affected by this project.
Thara also said that EGAT construction area is in Hat Ka Yee is in the Karen
State in the west. This has been regarded as an elimination area by the
Burmese government since last February. The Burmese Army has planted the
area indiscriminately with landmines and one of the EGAT officers had been
killed after stepping on a mine.
Regional Border Committee members appear to agree
The Thai-Burmese Regional Border Committee (RBC) meeting was held, with the
topics on the agenda being Thai-Burmese border economy, social problems,
political problems, security problems and military problems affecting both
Army Region shaking hands after signing the 23rd
Regional Border Committee.
After conference, Lt. Gen Saphrang from the Third Army said that both sides
expressed sincerity and a desire for a good relationship. If there is border
problem, they will not simply accuse each other as they each have done in
the past, but they will make every effort to get to the root of the problem
and find a solution. The army leaders of both sides are considered new
generation people with a modern informed outlook on the delicate situation
along the border. The Army will not cause any trouble to people and they
will be happy to meet and trade with each other due to their similar culture
Lt. Gen. Saphrang also said that from now on, the Burmese side would
rearrange their border matters to give greater consideration to minority
groups and pay more attention to narcotic problems. Both countries have
promised to cooperate more fully and send useful information to each other
for their mutual benefit. Both countries realize that by doing so, it will
ease the tension in the area and will maintain a better relationship than in
participants of both sides take a photo after finishing the conference
So now it’s Thollywood!
The Software Industry Promotion Agency (SIPA) has invited applications from
creative people in animation, multimedia, and cell-phone games to submit
their works for a competition in the “SIPA Pitch 2006; Episode II”
program to win two million baht in a supporting scholarship. This is part of
a project to push for Thailand to become the Hollywood of Asia.
Panuthat Techasen, Acting Director of Software Industry Promotion Agency
(SIPA) Chiang Mai branch.
Dr. Panuthat Techasen, Acting Director of SIPA: Chiang Mai branch said that
“SIPA Pitch 2006: Episode II” would develop the potential of personnel
to reach international levels. Competitors have to present their work and
working methods, including marketing activity on the competition day to win
the scholarship. It is also to encourage the winner to continue competing in
Singapore at end of this year to win the guarantee symbol that shows the
designer’s work has reached international standards.
SIPA Pitch 2006: Episode II has divided the competition into two classes:
Animation multimedia and cell-phone games. Those who want to submit their
work must be of Thai nationality and the project they submit must be
original. The day for submitting entries for the first round is July 14. The
list of works which are chosen for the second round will be published on
Those who are interested can submit their work at the Office of Software
Industry Promotion Agency (SIPA), Technology Broadcasting Department, 89/2
Moo. 3, TOT Public Company Limited, Building 9, 11th Floor, Changwattana
Road, Thung Song Hong district, Lak Si, Bangkok, 10210.
More information is available at the Technology Broadcasting Department,
Office of Software Industry Promotion Agency (SIPA), Ministry of Information
and Communication Technology, Tel. 0-2554-0446 (-8).
North University offers a chance for Chiang Mai workers to work in southern hotels
Narong Chawasintu, president
of North Chiang Mai University (2ndfront
left) and Sith Tanthawanit, president of TNC (2nd
front right) witnessed by Kritsadaporn Siampakdi, Chiang Mai deputy governor
(center back), signing the contract.
North Chiang Mai University in cooperation with the Thai Southern Hotels
Association is supporting Chiang Mai residents to be trained to work in four
and five star hotels in the southern region. After completing their
instruction, the trainees will be offered jobs immediately in the “THA-NCU
Cooperation for Human Resources Development: TNC” project.
This project aims to deal with the labour shortage in Southern hotels after
the tsunami inundated the south of Thailand. North Chiang Mai University
accepted is offering to train and develop residents from Chiang Mai and the
Northern region to work for hotels in the south. Meanwhile, Thai Southern
Hotels Association will cooperate with hotels to provide jobs for the
The training program will take on 80 persons at a time to bring the students
to the high standard of qualification needed to work in a five star hotel.
It will require four months of training; two months training at North Chiang
Mai University to learn about five star hotels, including training in the
basics of languages such as English, Japanese and Korean, before traveling
to work in Phuket. The Thai Southern Hotels Association will take care of
such things as residence, safety and travel. All those interested in joining
this course must have achieved a high vocational education or bachelor
degree and must be a minimum of 18 years old. The cost of the course is
50,000 baht per person and will be very worthwhile because, after working in
Southern hotels trainees could expect to receive wages of between
18,000-30,000 baht a month. Trainees could also join a program “Study
Before - Pay Later” at North Chiang Mai University. The first training
course will start on July 1 and other courses will continue after that. The
university will issue further information by telephone on 053-819999.
On June 25, Narong Chawasintu, president of North Chiang Mai University
signed the contract with Sith Tanthawanit, president of TNC to jointly
develop the human resources of both institutes, witnessed by Kritsadaporn
Siampakdi, Chiang Mai deputy governor and Dr. Chao Duang Duan Na Chiang Mai.
Barking deer ‘laab’ poisons 38
Chiangmai Mail Reporters
Locals in two villages in Phu Sang Sub District, Phayao Province ate
‘laab’ made from barking deer meat and 38 had to be taken to hospital
with seven in serious condition. Provincial public health officials
inspected the two villages and found that the villagers had become infected
with botulinum, the same bacteria that was earlier discovered in bamboo
shoots which caused some deaths.
Dr. Puntumit Mathanavin of Chiang Rai Public Health Authority said that
locals had made the ‘laab’ from barking deer meat that was imported from
the Lao PDR. In the Laotian dialect, ‘laab’ means ‘lucky’ but this
was not the case this time.
Inspectors found that before consuming the meat they put the internals of
the barking deer in a black plastic bag and left it until it started to emit
a slightly putrid aroma of the ‘laab’ in the same manner as the bamboo
shoots were stored.
Fourteen botulinum anti-toxin medications have been delivered by Nan
Province, and volunteer researchers from the United States are going to
research the bacteria and provide 30 additional sets of the anti-toxin.
Chiang Mai University are also interested in taking part in the research.
Student buses checked after numerous accidents
After the new semester started in June, there have been several accidents
involving student buses in Prachin Buri and Korat in Nakhon Ratchasima which
have caused injuries and deaths amongst students. This has prompted
government organizations to pay stricter attention to new safety measures
for student buses. The checks revealed that in Chiang Mai, there are many
academies that violate the student-bus safety control measures.
In Chiang Mai, on June 26, Pol. Col. Atthakij Kornthong, Deputy Commander of
Chiang Mai Provincial Police called student bus business owners of 200
student buses in Muang district, Chiang Mai to join a training program which
emphasized observing and conforming to the traffic regulations, with
particular emphasis on providing safety for students during the new
Chiangmai City Municipality Area Traffic regulations stipulate that student
bus business owners in Chiang Mai must prepare their vehicles to be suitable
for carrying students and there must be signs and signal lights attached to
the bus informing other road-users that this is a student bus. Students must
not hang on to the exterior bars or sit on the roof of the bus. Moreover,
there must be adequate space in the bus to comfortably carry the number of
Traffic police officers will not only arrest those who violate the
regulations, but will also campaign to highlight the safety measures,
cooperating closely with the various academies on this issue. However,
according to the survey of student-bus business owners, it was found that on
the whole, Chiang Mai student buses were generally in good condition, with
traffic regulation violations rarely seen.
Lin Hui still not pregnant
Officials think the boudoir too public
The Chiang Mai Zoo vet team who are responsible for pandas at the Zoo,
together with the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Chiang Mai University have
found that “Lin Hui”, the female panda was still not pregnant, after
Damnui, Director of Zoological Park Organization gave the ultrasound
“Lin Hui”, the female panda had been acting as if she were pregnant
after their brief 116 day courtship, but the veterinarians felt that if
consummated the first signs of pregnancy should have appeared by now. The
Vet team and the teachers from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Chiang
Mai University decided to examine Lin Hui using ultra-sound to check if she
was pregnant or not. The result of the tests showed clearly that the female
panda is still not pregnant. Sophon Damnui, director of Zoological Park
Organization (ZPO) said.
team using ultrasound equipment to examine Lin Hui’s womb and explaining
to the media about the process.
Sophon also revealed that the probable reason why she is still not pregnant
is because she is quite young and not yet ready for breeding. Also, both
pandas need more privacy and a calmer environment. The solution to this
problem is to provide an outdoor exercise area for both pandas so that they
can exercise more often and have more time for relaxation.
If these measures still do not bring results, artificial insemination will
have to be considered as being the best way. However, the vet team has no
experience of panda AI and will have to get advice from professionals from
China or the U.S.A., who have more experience in impregnating pandas.
Night Safari Elephant Park
Chiangmai Mail Reporters
100 local residents of Tambon Nhong Khwai and Baan Pong in Hang Dong
district and Tambon Mae Hia in Muang Chiang Mai gathered to protest about
the Elephant Park at Chiang Mai Night Safari. The Community Rights
Protection Coordination Center submitted the signatures of about 1,000 local
residents to Sagnuan Jaisom, Nhong Khwai TAO calling for the rejection of
the Elephant Park project which is to be a feature of Chiang Mai Night
Local residents living nearby are afraid that this project will affect their
homes and environment because earth moving machines have been brought in to
destroy the forest near the villages to construct the Elephant Park. There
has been no survey carried out to show the extent of the intrusion on the
local residents, despite many requests to Ngong Khwai TAO to elaborate on
the project’s details.
The petition for the rejection of the Elephant Park comes from the residents
of five villages; Baan Fon, Baan Tong Kai, Baan Nhong Khwai in Tambon Nhong
Khwai, Baan Mae Hia Nai in Tambon Mae Hia, and Baan Pong in Tambon Baan Pong
who live close to the project. They claim that officers illegally destroyed
the forest area to make way for the Elephant Park. Local residents are
afraid that if the project goes ahead, there will be problems of water
shortage as the amount of water in the area becomes insufficient to cope
with the increased demand. They are also afraid that the large number of
elephants in the park may destroy the richness of the forest; and that
people that up until now have depended on the forest for their livelihoods,
may no longer be able to do so.
Moreover, it seems that this there has been some underhand issues with this
project because the earth moving machines were brought in to prepare the
area in early 2005, with no public hearing to ask the opinions of local
residents. People living in the area still insist that they do not want this
project, as they believe that it will cause many problems.
Worm swarms in Chiang Rai
Chiangmai Mail Reporters
A strange incident occurred in Chiang Rai on June 29 when residents became
aware of an unusual infestation of worms in their houses causing widespread
consternation and panic. In the house belonging to Chaiyuth Khamnoi,
officers found multi-colored worms in various shades of red, green, and
black spreading all over the dwelling. Alerted by his officers, the
president of Mae Korn TAO in Muang Chiang Rai urgently requested staff of
the Horticultural Research Center in Chiang Rai carry out an investigation.
The pest control officers attempted to eradicate the worms by spraying
strong insecticide, but to no avail. They then decided to spray benzene
which certainly caused the worms to die, but in hind sight was considered a
bit over the top as the slightest spark would have eradicated the house as
well. Further investigation revealed that the worms were spreading all over
bamboo forestsand the fruit orchards of Pang Rim Korn residents. The
investigators also found that the worms were living in cracked and rotting
timber as well as underground. Agricultural experts collected several
specimens of worms for closer examination.
One of prevention officers said that these worms had spread just recently.
It was a large infestation and the worms had many colors and looked strange.
If they were observed in a bright area, they appeared to be green, but if
seen in a dim area or in a tunnel, they appeared to be black and green.
Nobody in the area had ever seen them before and there had been no reports
of infestations elsewhere. The only good thing was the worms did not appear
to cause injury or eat human beings.
Chaemchan Nolak-ngern, the Tambon Mae Korn agricultural officer reported
that after being closely examined by officers of the Horticultural Research
Center in Chiang Rai, it was found that this kind of worm was a species of
millipede, with life cycle of only one year. The oldest millipede among the
swarm was red-colored. This kind of worm has been found before, but never so
much as this time. The factors causing this sudden infestation is that the
area’s soil is rich in nutrients and contains no insecticides enabling the
worms to breed and spread rapidly. However, he reassured residents that the
worms were not dangerous, but lived on decomposing vegetable and animal