Thailand celebrates the 54th birthday of HRH the Crown Prince today, Friday, 28 July, 2006
On the auspicious occasion of
HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn’s 54th Birthday on Friday, July 28, we
at the Chiangmai Mail join the Kingdom in humbly conveying our best wishes
to HRH the Crown Prince for a very happy birthday. (Photo courtesy Bureau of
the Royal Household)
Chiangmai Mail Special Correspondent
Photos courtesy Bureau of the Royal Household
Born on 28 July 1952 at the Royal Dusit Palace in Bangkok, HRH Crown Prince
Maha Vajiralongkorn is the second of four children, and the only son of
Their Majesties King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great and Queen Sirikit.
His Majesty the King conferred the title of “Somdech Phra Borama Orasadhiraj
Chao Fah Maha Vajiralongkorn Sayam Makutrajakuman” on December 28, 1972,
designating his son as the Crown Prince and Heir to the throne.
The Crown Prince underwent primary schooling at Udorn Hall of the Dusit
Palace and attended secondary school in Sussex and Summerset, England. In
August 1970, he attended the King’s School, Paramatta, Sydney, Australia. In
1976, he was awarded a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Military Studies at the
University of New South Wales. In 1978, he attended the Royal Thai Army
Command and General Staff College, graduating in 1978 and, later that year,
received a Bachelor of Laws Degree from Sukhothai Thammatirat University in
Then, in 1990 he attended training at the Royal College of Defense Studies
in the United Kingdom and subsequently military training courses in
Australia and the United States, with observation tours in England, Belgium,
Germany, France and the Netherlands.
The Crown Prince has been schooled in many other military operations,
including aviation in helicopters and high-performance aircraft, special
warfare, demolition and parachute training, as well as courses in small arms
and other weapons used in modern warfare.
Special assignments have included: Commanding Officer of the King’s Own
Bodyguard Regiment and Command, Commanding General of the Royalty Security
Command and Instructor Pilot of the F-5 E/F. He has also engaged in actions
for counter-insurgency purposes in the North and Northeast areas of
Thailand, as well as for protective purposes in areas around Cambodian
refugee camps at Khao Lant, Trat Province.
The Crown Prince has continued the Royal Family’s assistance programs to
underdeveloped areas around the country and visited depressed urban areas
around Bangkok, distributing food and necessity items to people in need. One
such undertaking was participation in a fertilizer preparation project in
Suphan Buri Province, using natural ingredients to enrich the land in
support of the country’s great agricultural pursuits.
As farming is a highly-significant and noble profession in Thailand, the
Royal Family takes an active role in advancing the vital industry of
agriculture and the Crown Prince has contributed considerably in these and
many other projects.
For example, in the first half of last year, the Crown Prince visited people
in the southern provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwas to listen to their
problems and find ways to assist them. To this end, he met and entered
dialogue with Muslim priests, local community leaders, volunteers, the
dedicated mobile medical teams and their doctors and the public in general.
Here, he urged the officials to improve irrigation systems to aid farmers
and foster other agricultural activities.
Then in July, 2005, he travelled north to mark the opening of Poppy Hall in
Golden Triangle Park, in Chiang Saen district, Chiang Rai, constructed under
the patronage of the Mae Fa Luang Royal Project. In the past, hill tribe
residents grew opium for their living, but after mutual efforts by the Royal
Family, government and local community heads, today the people understand
the bad affects of opium. Consequently they have changed to the farming of
fruit, vegetables and other cash crops, resulting in a vast reduction of the
number of opium growers in the country.
A highlight of the Crown Prince’s past 15 months - in fact, a blessing for
all the Royal Family and the Kingdom at large - was the birth, on April the
29, 2005, of a son, when the Crown Prince and HRH Princess Srirasm became
the proud parents of a baby boy - their first child, HRH Prince Dipangkorn
Thus, on the auspicious occasion of the 54th Birthday of HRH Crown Prince
Maha Vajiralongkorn, we at the Pattaya Mail, Pattaya Blatt, Chiangmai Mail
and the Pattaya Mail on TV join the Kingdom in humbly conveying our best
wishes to his family and a very happy birthday to the Crown Prince.
Gangsters in possession of weapons were recently arrested by officers of
Provincial Police Bureau Region 5, in Chiang Mai.
On July 19, Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, Commissioner of
Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 and Pol. Maj. Gen. Jiruj Promobol,
Commander of Chiang Mai Provincial Police gave a press conference to report
on the arrest of several young men accused of committing robbery and murder
in Chiang Mai. The accused were identified as Tom (supposed name), 18, the
gang leader, Pom (supposed name), 17, Tor, (supposed name), 19, Jack, 16,
and Dew (supposed name), 17. At the time of their arrest they were carrying
1 long knife, 3 pocket knives and a screwdriver. They were charged with
murder and robbery.
Gang members identify the
At 8.30 p.m. on July 15, members of this gang robbed two
local residents and stabbed each of them to death with a knife. The callous
gangsters murdered Theeraphat Ngam-pan, 20, a student of Chiang Mai Rajabhat
University (CMRU) by riding into him with a motorbike and slashing him on
his back. Theeraphat was sent to hospital, but he died whilst undergoing
treatment for his wounds.
Then at 9.30 p.m. on the same evening, police received numerous complaints
that several gangsters were riding three motorcycles and had attacked
Thaweesak Wancharun, 20, a resident of Mae Hong Son. They hacked Thaweesak
to death, after which the murderers robbed the dead man of all his property.
The murderers seemed not to care that their actions had been observed, so
there were many witnesses and the police were able to arrest all those
involved in a very short time.
These young gangsters were still students in schools and colleges in Chiang
Mai. Tom, the gang leader confessed that he had murdered both of the victims
and admitted to being stressed and angry with his parents because they had
expelled him from home due to his bad behavior. In retaliation, he and his
gang had gone on a rampage, murdering the two young men and committing
robbery to relieve his fury.
Aware of disruptive behavior perpetrated by unruly teenagers in the area,
police officers had been given orders to pay particular attention to gang
behavior at night. They had been issued orders to arrest suspicious
teenagers and seize unregistered motorcycles to be checked for ownership.
The main purpose of these measures was to prevent crime in advance. Prior to
these murders, there had been several instances of robbery being committed
at night; and more recently, the gangsters had escalated their criminal
behavior from robbery to murder.
Night Safari still losing money
Chiang Mai Night Safari in the
Chiang Mai Night Safari has been open since the end of last year. There
have been many visitors, both Thais and foreigners, but the numbers are
lower than the target and although it is bringing in a large income, this is
still insufficient to cover expenses. In an effort to boost visitor numbers,
the safari says it is constantly seeking new and exciting attractions to add
to its program. Management is also hoping for a spin-off from the
International Horticultural Exposition 2006. A spokesman reported that the
safari had received 1,641,139 visitors up to June 30, 2006, bringing in
revenue of 17,495,329.25 baht.
Chiang Mai Night Safari has tried to boost its image as a first class
tourism location by commissions with tour agents. After agreement over fees,
the numbers of tour groups is steadily increasing.
There are now 121 types of animal, of which, 1,149 are displayed in the
safari. There have been 68 new births since the safari opened, but
unfortunately 66 different animals had died (as reported previously in
It is believed that the International Horticultural Exposition 2006 will
attract many visitors to Chiang Mai and the safari is confident of being
able to support the huge number of tourists that are sure to flock to the
city for the exposition. A special package will be provided by selling a
single ticket to cover visiting five different places, Doi Tung, Opium Park,
Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden, International Horticultural Exposition and
Chiang Mai Night Safari.
Thaksin’s supporters evict Sondhi and allied leaders
A group of around 50 Thaksin supporters calling themselves Chiang Mai
Hak Chat (Chiang Mai people who love the country) gathered at the garden of
Suan Prung Gate in Chiang Mai on July 17th, calling for the expulsion of 5
heads of the People’s Alliances for Democracy of Thailand. The reason for
their dissatisfaction was because they believed that these 5 leaders caused
chaos and disunited the country.
assemblage threw an earthenware pot containing the simulated ashes of 5
heads of People’s Alliance for Democracy into the klong.
Thaksin’s supporters also invited a shaman to put a curse on Sondhi
Limthongkul, one of the senior heads of the People’s Alliance for Democracy.
One of local residents wore a mask of Sondhi and lay down on the ground to
represent Sondhi’s dead body. The shaman then performed black magic by
summoning Sondhi’s soul into an earthenware pot and threw the pot into
Chiang Mai moat; after which he released a cursing balloon to expel the 5
heads of the People’s Alliance for Democracy
Another reason that Chiang Mai Hak Chat performed the black magic ritual at
Suan Prung Gate was because of Chiang Mai people’s belief that in the past,
this gate was the place where people moved the dead bodies out of the city
to arrange cremation. This location is still superstitiously regarded by
many as a ghost gate.
The over-riding intention of these occult activities was to expel Sondhi
Limthongkul and his allies. Efforts to remove him had occurred several times
before in Chiang Mai; such as burning hay dolls, casket burning, and even
setting alight effigies of all the principals of the People’s Alliance for
Democracy at the local cemetery.
Big storm in Mae Hong Son
Villagers very unhappy with local officialdom1
Government officials have promised for a long
time to solve village budget and village temple invasion problems, but
villagers feel the problems are still ignored.
Officials proclaimed it was just petty conflicts that took place among local
residents, so they set up a team, ostensibly to manage the village. Seksan
Jairakphaprasuk, Baan Rak Thai Village headman disclosed to reporters that
he had received a document from Mae Hong Son Province saying that a
committee would be set up to manage the border village. The document stated
that this was being done to deal with a conflict among villagers that might
affect the security of the country. This resolution was apparently agreed to
when a meeting was held at Mae Hong Son City Hall.
Baan Rak Thai villagers then presented a petition complaining that Mok
Champae, a TAO member in cooperation with other accomplices had been
illegally trespassing and excavating in the grounds of Baan Rak Thai Temple;
and he had also deceived the residents about the village budget which they
alleged he had spent for his own private use.
The province set up the committee, not to seek the truth, but to manage the
village, and proclaimed it was just petty conflicts among the local
residents and was just a storm in a teacup. However, the villagers were not
satisfied with this reply and presented a petition to Direk Konkleep, Mae
Hong Son Governor, asking him to deal with this case. They also threatened
that if the problem is not solved quickly, they will bring the matter to the
attention of higher government officials. Big storm, big teacup!
Garbage processing center
in Doi Lo sub-district
Chiangmai Mail Reporters
Chiang Mai Municipality, which is responsible for the collection and
disposal of garbage in the southern area of Chiang Mai has provided 652 rai
of land in Doi Lo sub-district, Chiang Mai, on which they propose to set up
a garbage processing center. The Faculty of Engineering Chiang Mai
University was given a budget of 3 million baht to study and design the
processing system and now it is finished.
The municipal authorities also found another adjacent area of 1,000 rai and
were permitted by the Treasury Department, who owned the land, to use it as
part of the garbage disposal facility. They hired a consultant environmental
engineering company to build the garbage processing system and emphasized
that it must be acceptable to local residents, must not adversely affect the
environment and should be able to recycle garbage efficiently.
This new southern garbage processing plant was part of the Systemic Garbage
Elimination of Chiang Mai project. The northern area is taken care of by
Wiang Fang Municipality, Fang District, Chiang Mai; and has operated
successfully for a considerable period, while the central area is handled by
Chiang Mai PAO, who is now constructing a new processing facility in Doi
Saket. Chiang Mai Municipality has been faced with objections from local
people who quite naturally were afraid of the effects of living close by a
garbage disposal plant and did not want the facility to be sited on their
Long Neck Karen tire
of being tourist attractions
Want to return to Burma
Chiangmai Mail Reporters
In a further development resulting from Direk Konkleeb the Mae Hong Son
Governor’s policy, the affected Karen have indicated they would rather go
back to Burma, than accede to forcible relocation. The plan had been to move
Long Neck Karen people living in two local villages to a single village in
Thailand. However, the Long Neck Karen people in question have stated that
they would prefer to return to Myanmar instead of moving to Baan Huay Pu
It is believed that the Mae Hong Son governor was stung into action
following criticism from a foreign NGO. The leader of the NGO had stated
that the province did not take care of the Long-Neck Karen and treated them
The reason for the harsh words and the governor’s reaction to them probably
stems from the fact that the Long Neck Karen earn on average 1500 baht per
month. Apparently, there were suggestions that the Long Neck Karen were
being taken advantage of by the rest of the community, who earned money from
the thousands of foreign visitors who flocked to Mae Hong Son, principally
to see and experience the culture and lifestyle of the hill-tribe people.
Studies have shown that on average every member of the community earns an
extra 250 baht per person per month on top of their normal wages. In 2005,
142,520 foreign visitors came to Mae Hong Son; mainly drawn there to visit
the Long Neck Karen, who do not receive any of the benefit from the money
that the tourists spend whilst in the province.
Ma-ga, the female leader of the Kayah Karen in Kayah state said that it was
her understanding that the Long Neck Karen who live in Mae Hong Son are
ready to return to Baan Huay Tee in Kayah state in Myanmar. This village is
located approximately 9 km. from Baan Nam Phiang Din on the Pai River and
they wish to go there, instead of being moved to Baan Huay Pu Kaeng as per
the Mae Hong Son Governor’s policy.
There are approximately 70 families of Long Neck Karen in Mae Hong Son,
inhabiting the three villages; Baan Huay Sua Thao in Tambon Pha Bong, Baan
Nam Phiang Din or Baan Huay Pu Kaeng in Tambon Pha Bong, and Baan Nai Soi in
Tambon Pang Moo, Muang district, Mae Hong Son.
Mae Ping River to be dredged
for 20 km through city center
Mae Ping River will be dredged to a width of 90 meters and according to
the results of a study, should then be able to support a flow of 837 cubic
meters per second. During the catastrophic floods last year, the flow was
measured and found to be 800 cubic meters per second.
The river will be dredged for a total length of 20 kilometers, 10 km to the
north and south of Nawarat Bridge. In the meantime, the legal problems of
solving the encroachment at certain points along the river banks are still
The resolution to dredge the river was finally agreed at a meeting of the
Land Development Department, the Department of Land, the Marine Department
and the Royal Irrigation Department, and was presided over by Col. Surin
Phikulthong, the chairman of the board tasked with solving the Mae Ping
River encroachment problem. These organizations have jointly worked together
and collected information about the ownership of the land along both sides
of the river, especially around the area in Muang, Chiang Mai.
The official map of the Land Development Department was used to show exactly
where the river was flowing in 1954; and this was compared with where the
river actually flowed now. Using the Nawarat Bridge as the central point,
the map shows the river to be at least 90 meters wide for a distance of 10
kilometers north and south of the bridge.
This resolution will be presented to Newin Chidchob, acting for the Prime
Minister’s Office and is responsible for this controversial issue. Residents
should also realize that the proposals to dredge the river will not affect
their rights, but one good thing that hopefully will come of this latest
idea to solve the disastrous flooding of the surrounding area, is that the
plans to erect a hideous and totally ineffective concrete wall along both
banks of the river will finally be put in the dustbin where they rightfully
Concerning the river-bank encroachment, the Marine Department reported that
106 separate cases were already being pursued in the courts and at this
time, 32 cases had been resolved, but only 10 river-bank land owners had
accepted the court’s decision, while the rest vowed they would continue to
appeal. Recently, 138 additional persons were found to be involved with the
river-bank encroachment and they are also to be sued.
Military training residents at
Mae Hong Son border before leaving
7th Infantry Regiment Special Task Force has recently been involved with
providing military training to residents of Baan Pang Khong, a village under
HM the Queen’s Royal Patronage in Tambon Na Poo Pom, Pang Ma Pha district,
Mae Hong Son. Previously, the 3rd Army Region had beefed up the military
forces in the area after the recent unrest caused by a Burmese soldier
shooting down a Thai Army helicopter.
The 7th Infantry Regiment Special Task Force tasked their soldiers with
going to villages along the border area and training the men in military
strategies, using arms, patrolling and how to set up an ambush. This
training was apparently designed to fortify and encourage people (to be
aggressive, one presumes). The military instruction was also given to Pang
Ma Pha administrative officers, Pang Ma Pha police officers, and Mae Hong
Son Immigration Police.
Lt. Col. Suthat felt that this military training was necessary after the
incident that occurred on July 10 when the Burmese 66th Light Infantry
soldier shot at a helicopter belonging to 7th Infantry Regiment Special Task
Force, causing severe damage forcing the pilot to perform an emergency
landing. Because of this incident, 3rd Army Region sent extra troops and
heavy arms to the area to push back the Burmese military forces. The two
opposing forces then entered into negotiations, after which the Burmese Army
admitted liability for the incident and apologized for their actions. After
the apology and training the residents, the 3rd Army Region will pull back
and leave the border area.
Police officer’s killer indicted
Adul Chanthanuparn, 36, a resident of Chom Thong district, Chiang Mai,
and a part-time forest fire-fighter; has been accused of murdering Sgt. Maj.
Boonchuay, a Squad Leader of the Crime Prevention and Suppression Unit of
Chom Thong Police Station on July 16. The investigation superintendent of
Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 and the superintendent of Chom Thong
Police Station jointly held a press conference to report on progress in the
Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, Commissioner of Provincial Police
Bureau Region 5 identifies the murderer.
The accused had denied all the charges and applied for bail, but the
officers refused bail, because Adul knew many people in the area. The police
felt that if he was bailed out, he might murder his two accomplices and any
witnesses who observed them commit this heinous crime.
The police investigation had revealed that there were three people involved
with this murder; one being Adul and the other two, identified as Ko Nokham,
30 and Chaiyadej Supha.
Adul, the man in police custody said that Pol. Sgt. Maj. Boonchuay was
killed because he was having a secret relationship with Adul’s wife and had
also stolen 200,000 baht cash causing him to lose his temper and become very
angry with the whole situation. They followed the policeman on his way home
after he had finished his duty and shot him. After committing the crime, he
fled to live with his relatives. They persuaded him to give himself up to
the police and to face legal proceedings in court.
Burmese laborer murdered
Another alien laborer chief suspect
Nopniwat Krailerg and Preeyanoot Jittawong
A body of a Burmese laborer was discovered near a swamp at Sa-u Village.
Chiang Mai Provincial Police found the body and are making urgent enquiries
to trace the murderer.
the spot where the body was found.
Pol. Maj. Gen. Jiruj Promobol, Commander of Chiang Mai Provincial Police and
his deputy, Pol. Col. Chamnan Ruadrew took a team of officers to check on
the body. The found that the dead man was wearing a white shirt, camouflage
pants, and holding a bag. A check of the body revealed a wound to his head,
leading the officers to assume that he had been murdered.
The police conducted enquiries in the neighborhood; and local people
identified the victim as La Na-pang, 20, a Burmese laborer, who had a permit
to work in Thailand and was employed as a cleaner at Big-C department store,
Chiang Mai. On the previous evening, La had been to his friend’s wedding
ceremony at the village and had got drunk. At the party, he had quarreled
with a man and got into a fight, but nobody had intervened.
Police officers believed that the victim was probably hit with a club, after
which he managed to crawl to the swamp and became unconscious and died.
Pol. Maj. Col. Jiruj issued orders to investigation officers of Muang Chiang
Mai Police Station to trace the murderer who is believed to be an alien
laborer. There were many witnesses to the fight so the police are confident
of an early arrest.
Bright soldier hacker
A serving army sergeant was discovered to have
hacked into the computers of the Government Fiscal Management Information
System: (GFMIS) and transferred a large sum of money into an account at a
On June 21, Lt. Col. Preecha Ekkaphap, head officer of the financial
department of Army Circle 33, Kawila Military Camp was going about his
normal duties of checking accounts when he discovered that the army
manufacturing budget account was short by 887,073.04 baht. Further checks
revealed that money had been transferred from the central accounts over a
period of time in small amounts and deposited in another account in the
Krung Thai Bank, Khun Meng Rai Branch, Chiang Rai Province in the name of
Kingthong Chantawong. This could only have been accomplished by someone
using a secret password or by a person who had hacked into the Army computer
Further enquiries revealed that there was only 300,000 baht remaining in the
account, with around 500,000 baht having been withdrawn from several ATMs in
and around Chiang Rai. Army police arrested Kiungthong Chantawong, the
holder of the account who, after gentle questioning, admitted that there
were four persons involved in the gang.
The leader was Sgt. Sirakorn Tonlah, 27, who worked as a Chiang Mai
registrar clerk. He had a bachelor degree from a university in computer
science, and he was the one who had used his computer skills to hack into
the Army computer system. The others involved were Amnat Saenping, 22,
Kingthong Chantawong and a former soldier,Thasanai Rodphai, living in
Phichit Province. The gang-leader accepted all the charges of theft and
embezzlement and was taken to 13 points in Muang, Chiang Mai to re-enact
what he had done. He stated that he intended to use the money to cover the
cost of his wedding and pay his car installments.
Big drug dealers busted
in Chiang Rai
Chiangmai Mail Reporters
A recent police operation with a storyline worthy of a James Bond novel
led to the eventual arrest of five major drug dealers and the seizure of
approximately 50,000 ya ba pills by Narcotic Suppression Police in Chiang
The hectic action was led by Nopporn Tonrap, Chiang Rai Deputy Governor and
Pol. Col. Surachet Thopunyanont, Deputy Commander of Chiang Rai Provincial
Police. The first man arrested was identified as Juthamat or Kanchana
Jinakoon, 27, a resident of Phrae who had 10,000 ya ba pills in his
possession when he was apprehended. In an effort to mitigate his actions, he
identified two other drug traffickers, namely Wanwipha Petcharophat, 27 and
Somchai Sukprasert, 24, both residents of Bangkok, whom the police also
Meanwhile, officers at Mae Sai Police Station, Chiang Rai planned to arrest
another major Burmese drug dealer named Jai-lah (last name unknown) who came
to buy ya ba pills at the Thai-Burmese border in Chiang Rai; and was also
known to be involved with a drug dealer in Krong Teui “Phap 70 Rai”.
Officers took Jai-lah into custody along with a large consignment of 40,000
ya ba pills.
Disguised as a drug dealer, a policeman bravely volunteered to deliver the
package of ya ba pills to a dealer network at the parking area of the On Nut
Branch of the Carrefour department store in Bangkok. There, after completing
the transaction, officers were able to arrest Patcharee Theerarangsan, 50
the receiver of these drugs. Officers had traced the movement of these drug
traffickers for quite a while before closing in and arresting them.
Police pounce on
pistol packing pill pusher
Police at Muang Chiang Mai Police Station were recently tipped off that
there was a large speed-pill network operating in the area. Officers went to
check Room 411 in a residential dormitory in Tambon Hai Ya, Muang Chiang Mai
owned by Suphat “Khe” Sukasem, 22, a resident of Saraphi.
officers checking Suphat “Khe” Sukasem’s evidence.
When questioned, Suphat
quickly denied that he sold speed pills. Despite his speedy denial, officers
decided to check his room and found 390 speed pills packed in three blue
bags hidden in a trash bin. They also found a .38 caliber Smith & Wesson
pistol with 37 rounds of ammunition. Suphat admitted that they all belonged
to him, so officers seized all his belongings including a red Mitsubishi
Lancer parked at the dormitory.
Suphat confessed that he had sold speed pills for three years, receiving
2,000-3,000 speed pills at a time from a Lahu tribesman at Doi Chiang Dao,
to sell them to his friends at pubs in Chiang Mai. His uncle, who had been
arrested at Hang Dong Police Station last month, had given him the pistol.
Suphat was taken into custody and charged with possessing type-1 illegal
drug (speed pills) and offering them for sale as well as owning guns and
ammunition without permission. No mention was made of the Mitsubishi Lancer.
Officers will continue their enquiries and make every effort to trace other
members of the drug network.