Heavy rain causes temple pagoda to collapse
Krailerg and Preeyanoot Jittawong
The pagoda at Phan Own temple collapsed on August 18 following heavy rains.
The pagoda, which was about 505 years old and dated from the Meng Rai
dynasty, collected water in fissures in its bricks. On August 18 the
increased weight meant the structure was no longer able to support itself,
leading to the collapse.
Phra Kru Amorn Thamathad, abbot of Phan Own temple, told reporters that the
17 metre high pagoda was last restored 27 years ago. The temple was making
preparations to restore the pagoda again after fractures were discovered in
the bricks. The restoration, which was to be paid for with donations, was
due to be completed in 2007 as part of HM the King’s 80th birthday
Klitsadaporn Siampakdee, Chiang Mai deputy governor, visited the temple to
inspect the damage. He said that the pagoda is not on the Department of Fine
Art’s list of protected structures so the province will approve a budget
for the construction of a new pagoda.
Officers from Chiang Mai municipality were also sent to the temple in order
to protect Buddha images amongst the ruins from collectors. A number of
Buddha images have already been moved to a safe place.
Thailand ready to counterattack Myanmar
The commander of the 7th Infantry Regiment Special Task Force recently
issued orders to prepare helicopters in readiness to counterattack if
Thailand was assaulted again by the Burmese army.
This was in response to the Burmese government reneging on their promise of
full reparation for a Thai chopper that was shot down several weeks ago by a
Burmese soldier. The Burmese authorities now claim that the Thai helicopter
had flown over Myanmar airspace.
The commander also disclosed that cross-border human trafficking gangs
engaged in smuggling young people from Myanmar to Thailand would be
suppressed, and authorities would come down hard on drug dealing networks
that were starting to enter local administration organizations with a hope
that it could protect them from the law.
On August 14, Col. Suthas Jarumanee, commander of the 7th Infantry Regiment
Special Task Force reported to the media at the Montalaeng headquarters in
Mae Hong Son that the Burmese authorities had gone back on their word that
they would pay for the damage inflicted on the Thai chopper that was shot
down whilst peacefully engaged in transferring victuals to Thai soldiers on
duty along the Thai-Burmese border near Mae Hong Son.
He said that the Burmese authorities now claimed that the Thai helicopter
was in the wrong, because it had trespassed into Myanmar airspace. This has
caused the incident to become a big problem which now needs to be sorted at
national level. Instead of it remaining a local conflict it was now up to
the governments of both countries to come up with a solution to deal with
In anticipation of belligerent action by the Burmese Army, he had issued
orders to the Infantry Regiment Special Task Force to install weapons on
every helicopter in readiness to counterattack if Thailand was assaulted in
any way. Heavy weapons were also being prepared to protect the country
should the need arise.
The commander also drew the media’s attention to the prevalence of
cross-border human trafficking by Thai and Burmese gangs. Furthermore, it
had become evident that certain members of some government organizations
were involved in it and were turning a blind eye to the illegal dealing;
however, the task force already knew the identities of many people in the
trafficking network and he promised that it would be suppressed shortly.
Moreover, it was recently found that drugs were also being transferred
together with the human trafficking process, so the task force is going to
participate with Mae Hong Provincial Police to jointly suppress the
activities of these gangs.
Some villagers in Baan Na Pla Jad, Tambon Huay Pha in Muang of Mae Hong Son
had become concerned that the human trafficking network in Myanmar,
especially in the northern region and central parts of the country, was
smuggling young people into Thailand. Young Burmese girls were being forced
into prostitution, while most boys were sent to work as laborers at
construction sites in the main cities of Thailand; others worked for the
fishery industry. Drugs were also being transferred along with these young
people, who walked for 7-10 days from Mae Hong Son to Chiang Mai.
Military needs efficient equipment to assist rescue operations
Third Army Region: five out of six helicopters unfit for use
Lt. Gen. Saprang Kanlayanamit, commander of the Third Army Region, stated
that the military plays an important role in rescuing residents affected by
natural disasters. In order to carry out this role effectively, Saprang
said, it needs to have efficient equipment. He added that all sectors of
local administration must be ready to assist the victims of natural
disasters, and contingency plans should be in place before the disasters
Lt. Gen. Saprang made these comments on August 16 at a meeting entitled
“Cooperation in Public Disaster Prevention and Relief in the Northern
Region.” During the meeting, officers from disaster prevention agencies,
along with governors of the 17 northern provinces brainstormed plans for
disaster prevention and relief in the northern region. Around 200 people
attended the meeting, which was organised by the Third Army Region and
Security Administration Region 3.
Several events were held up as examples of what happens when this is not the
case. Saprang cited recent events in Uttaradit province when, due to lack of
useable equipment, officers were unable to help disaster victims. Although
this was a small event, Saprang said, the consequences would be more serious
if a disaster on the scale of floods in Bangladesh or the earthquake in
China took place. He added that the army also needed to be prepared for
terrorist incidents, such as those currently plaguing the deep south.
The commander revealed that when the acting prime minister visited
Uttaradit, he had already requested a budget of 1.3 billion baht to repair
the Third Army Region’s helicopters. The Third Army Region initially had 6
helicopters, but currently only one of them is operational. An additional
three helicopters were provided by Singapore during the Uttaradit floods.
Saprang also brought the meeting’s attention to the recent incident in
which Burmese military fired shots at a Thai army helicopter flying along
the border. Although compensation has been requested from Burma, Saprang
believed this was, at best, a minor issue. He asked for greater attention to
be paid to the need for clear communications between the Burmese and Thai
military officers in the areas concerned.
Thaksin checks progress of horticultural expo
PM Thaksin Shinawatra consults with the horticultural expo organisers.
Acting Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra presided over a meeting of the
International Horticultural Exposition organisers on August 14 at the Royal
Agricultural Research Centre, Tambon Mae Hia. He received reports on the
progress of preparations for the expo and stressed the need for all sectors
of Chiang Mai’s infrastructure to make preparations to support the
Thaksin particularly emphasised the need for firm plans to be put in place
regarding transportation and accommodation for the expected visitors. He
said that organising teams need to find a way to transport the maximum
amount of people with the minimum number of vehicles in order to reduce
traffic problems. He also said that parking areas need to be prepared and
that Chiang Mai’s mass transport system should make arrangements to pick
up visitors to the expo from several points within town.
Organisers informed Thaksin that the buildings and utility systems for the
exposition were more than 80% complete, and well ahead of schedule, while
display zones for various international organisations were 70% complete. He
also heard details of the various special features, such as the “night
light garden”, which will give night time illumination to three separate
parts of the exposition. Also planned is the “Flora Fantasy Electric
Parade” and a light and sound water show. A Bohd tree will be planted and
visitors will have the chance to inscribe blessings on brass plates to be
hung from the tree as a demonstration of their faithfulness to HM the King.
Sudarat Keyuraphan, minister for agriculture and cooperatives, revealed that
the entire preparation process was 80% complete. She said that the expo will
run for 92 days and would be open daily from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. She added that
tourists should book tickets in advance to avoid disappointment.
International Vocational Training Centre opened in San Patong
On his recent visit to Chiang Mai, acting Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra
opened the new International Vocational Training Agency, located in the
grounds of Chiang Mai Agriculture and Technology College in San Patong
Shinawatra, acting prime minister, demonstrates how to make a large water
The International Vocational Training Centre will be used as a base at which
to train participants in the Asset Capitalisation Project; a government
initiative aimed at supporting local community enterprises and creating new
producers. It is hoped that the Assets Capitalisation Project will expand
the economic base and stimulate job creation within local communities.
The International Vocational Centre also hopes to train graduates from
vocational colleges how to set up and run their own businesses and act as a
centre for the exchange of ideas concerning the production, modification,
service and marketing of new products.
At the opening of the centre Thaksin praised the natural atmosphere of the
campus. He said that this would give students the opportunity to both study
and play sports. He also suggested that the nearby lagoon could be developed
as a tourist attraction.
280 million baht budget to solve Mae Ping flooding problems
Acting Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra approved a budget of 280 million
baht to widen the Mae Ping River at seven locations. The budget was approved
following a brainstorming session between Newin Chidchop, minister of the
Prime Minister’s Office, Chiang Mai’s governor and the head officers of
the relevant governmental organisations, on August 13. The project aims to
avoid the widespread flooding that caused chaos in the city last year.
PM Thaksin Shinawatra consults with Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na
Ayuthaya, commissioner of the Provincial Police Region 5, concerning Mae
Ping River dredging.
Through dredging, officials hope to widen the river to 90 metres at the
seven points. The first place to be dredged will be the section of the river
adjacent to the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 offices. Participants at
the meeting suggested that the offices be removed and allocated 90 million
baht to relocate. It was also suggested that only 30 metres of the area
around the provincial police officers be dredged, in order to avoid damaging
structures such as the memorial to police officers who have died in the line
of duty and police residences.
Initially, Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 only wanted 10 metres of the
river to be dredged, citing possible damage to buildings as a reason for
caution. Thaksin stated that initial dredging of the area should be
completed, then new locations should be sought for police residences.
Following this, the dredging should be completed and a new location for the
bureau’s offices should be sought. Thaksin emphasised the need for Chiang
Mai residents to see that the government was participating in the dredging
process and working towards solving Chiang Mai’s flooding problems.
There are 200 residents who hold land rights across the seven proposed
dredging points, and of these, 20 will have their lands purchased by the
authorities. At present the dredging project is to be presented to the
cabinet for further authorization.
OTOP Chiang Mai Festival to honor HM the King
(From left) Somsak Sutthisarn,
head officer of Chiang Mai Provincial Development Office, Thongchai
Wongrianthong, Chiang Mai deputy governor and Ongkarn Chai-ongkarn, chairman
of Indeed Creation Co., Ltd., the organizer of the festival jointly announce
the fair during a press conference.
Nopniwat Krailerg and Preeyanoot Jittawong
The OTOP Chiang Mai Festival is to be organized this year at JJ Market in
Chiang Mai, from August 30 to September 3, to honor HM the King on the
occasion of his 60 year anniversary of ascending the throne. OTOP stands for
One Tambon One Product and the 400 or so OTOP producers will put their 3-5
stars products on display in the festival.
There also will be an exhibition about HM the King and 9 OTOP villages, as
well as a Lanna mixing market called “Kad Mua”, including entertainment
performances by well known stars. The opening ceremony will be presided over
by Somchai Soonthornwat, deputy minister of interior on August 30, at 5 p.m.
Thongchai Wongrianthong, Chiang Mai deputy governor said that OTOP was
produced by using the local wisdom of general residents with the added
advantage that the widely differing products they created could be exported,
thereby bringing income directly to the villagers who made each product; and
it was a method used by the government for solving poverty in the rural
The value of OTOP products exported from around Chiang Mai stood at 200
million baht in 2001 and has increased annually to reach 1.7 billion baht in
2005. This year, the amount is expected to exceed 2 billion baht; mainly
because producers have gained in knowledge and experience and are
continually enhancing the quality of their products.
In the meantime, Somsak Sutthisarn, head officer of Chiang Mai Provincial
Development Office said that the organizing committees will ensure that the
products on display this year would be different from several previous
occasions. He confidently predicted that the revenue from this festival
during the five days and nights would be at least 20 million baht.
Sex-slave trafficking campaigner speaks in Chiang Mai
Sometimes in life, you meet someone who makes everything you’ve done in
your life seem insignificant compared to what they’ve achieved. Norma
Hotaling is one of these people. Norma is the founder and director of SAGE,
an organisation dedicated to helping those living on the streets and
involved in prostitution. Her story is an incredibly powerful one.
Norma spent 20 years on the streets of San Francisco as a heroin addict and
prostitute. In 1989, she was released from prison and vowed to turn her life
around. She enrolled on a detox and support programme and moved into a
‘sober living’ programme.
In 1990, Norma began seeing a counsellor who helped her to see that she
wasn’t a bad person, just a tragic victim of circumstance. She had been
abused as a child and her subsequent life spent on the streets was linked to
this early experience. Her drug and alcohol addiction was merely a way to
numb the pain she felt rather than dealing with it.
Just over two years after leaving prison, Norma earned herself a degree in
Health Education and shortly after that, in 1995, she founded SAGE (Standing
Against Global Exploitation) which was set up to “provide services locally
and to advocate for an end to trafficking people for sex both nationally and
Norma is “committed to the creation of alternatives to homelessness and
the incarceration of women, girls, men and boys.” She wants to help ease
as many people’s suffering as she can and use her experience to show
others that there is a way out.
With the support and organisation of the United States Embassy, Norma has
just finished a five day tour of the country where she was sharing her story
and offering help and support to those who need it. She has been to Thailand
four times before and each time learns a little bit more about what she
described as a “wonderful country”. During her present trip, she has
visited the many support groups in Thailand that are committed to helping
the country’s many prostitutes. I was lucky enough to be present at a
press conference that Norma gave in Chiang Mai last week.
She has specifically asked for her story not to be sensationalised so I hope
I can document the facts accurately and paint an honest picture of a subject
which is highly controversial as well as being incredibly shocking.
After explaining what SAGE is and what it hopes to achieve, Norma began by
explaining that “Trafficking at its core is a supply and demand issue. The
girls that are now being recruited and drugged and trafficked into Thailand
are feeding a 30 million dollar trans-national organised crime ring.” This
was a bold statement to make but was not made without its research. She went
on to say, “It is so important to remember that the 30 million dollars is
paid for one dollar at a time by men who have decided to buy a human being.
They are the demand … We are taught to keep silent and protect the demand
side of trafficking … How is this right? These men are feeding organised
Norma went on to explain that during her visits to the numerous support
centres around Thailand, she found out that they are seeing more and more
young boys who are being trafficked into the sex slave industry. She wants
to see the authorities “really focus on the men who are buying children,
both girls and boys.” She believes that in order to be effective,
“It’s really important to look at the issue as a whole – then we start
to see the oppression that exists.”
She understands that to get people to listen takes time. She has been
writing about the plight of trafficked girls in the US since 1992 and only
now are people sitting up and listening. “It comes down to the same point
as I was making at the beginning; take away the demand and you are left with
nothing.” She has been working with the authorities in San Francisco and
they are now arresting the men who are picking up the girls as well as the
girls themselves. Men have to pay a stiff fine if they are caught with a
prostitute. This fine goes towards one of the programmes which Norma has
developed to help completely rehabilitate the girls and boys on the streets.
Norma gave a moving account of her own life story - hiding nothing, simply
telling the facts. She has moved forward and wants to help as many young
people as she can move forward with her. “It’s a horrible, horrible
legacy for our children and its time for all of us around the world to join
together and say we are going to stop this. Sex with children, taking
advantage of their vulnerability and abusing power is wrong.” She wants
people to judge these men very critically and not hide behind the fact that
it is a taboo subject. She asked for Thailand to be the leader, “To step
forward and protect its girls and boys who are being used to serve the huge
sex industry here. If Thailand leads the way, many other countries will
I found her talk fascinating as did everyone else present. She was asked
many questions, mainly on how to handle the vast number of tourists
travelling to Bangkok on holiday and who do not see anything wrong with what
they’re doing. Norma responded by saying, “It’s important for the
people of Thailand to decide for themselves on what to say about that and
what they think about it. I know what I think about it – it’s a
racialised sexism because how these men justify it is by saying ‘Thai
women like it…’ The men that do this look at women and children in very
narrow ways. They take advantage of Thai people’s polite and kind nature.
It’s up to Thailand to turn around and stop it.”
One of the last and possibly most powerful questions asked was how old are
these children that are being sold into prostitution. She simply said, “5
or 6 years old.” We were all shocked into silence and the reality of this
problem really sank in.
Norma was leaving Chiang Mai to continue her excellent work in the US where
she sees over 300 people a week walk through her doors. She is an
inspiration to thousands and hopefully some of the girls she encounters will
look to Norma and turn their lives around just as she has done.
Chiang Mai International Airport ready to support horticultural expo
Chiang Mai International Airport has laid out plans for security and
accommodation measures in preparation for the International Horticultural
Exposition 2006, to be held in Chiang Mai at the end of the year.
Mai International Airport ready to protect security of visitors.
At a meeting presided over by Flight Lieutenant Suthara Huangsuwan, director
of Chiang Mai International Airport, and attended by airlines and other
relevant parties, the groups brainstormed ideas to prepare for
accommodation, transport, traffic and security in light of the expected
increase in visitor numbers. Suthara said that the security measures would
be similar to those employed during the APEC conference in Chiang Mai. He
reminded the attendees that the horticulture exposition was in honour of HM
Passengers on all flights will not be allowed to carry sharp objects or
liquids onto the flights and checks will be performed thoroughly. Suthara
said that although this might inconvenience some passengers, security
concerns take top priority.
Heavy rains bring flash flood to village and mudslide to Doi Suthep
Heavy rains on the night of August 13 caused large trees to fall onto the
road leading to Wat Phra Thad Doi Suthep. Monks and local residents cleared
the road the next morning. In addition, a mudslide occurred at Khun Gan
curve near the temple, making 50 meters of the road impassable to large
vehicles. Tourists taking large tour buses to the temple had to be taken by
minibus. Again, with the help of local residents the road was cleared and
normal transportation resumed in the evening.
Meanwhile, a flashflood swamped the village of Baan Don Pin, Tambon Mae Hia,
muang Chiang Mai, damaging over one hundred houses. Residents of 20 houses
did not have time to remove their belongings, resulting in further damage to
household goods, including motorcycles.
President of Tambon Mae Hia administration organisation, Thanawat Yodjai,
said that he believed the flashflood was caused by changes made to local
waterways by the Night Safari and the International Horticultural
Exposition. He said the two projects had diverted water into Mae Hia creek.
The rains meant that the increased volume of water did not have time to flow
away, causing the flood.
Thanawat went on to say that to prevent this happening again the creek would
have to be widened for five kilometers to allow the water to drain to the
Crash on Mae Rim Road leaves one dead, another seriously injured
Chiang Mai PAO to blame?
A motorcycle accident that left one teenager dead and another seriously
injured occurred at around midnight, August 20, outside the Special Forces
Regiment 5 on Chiang Mai-Mae Rim Road.
safety procedures on the part of the PAO caused a fatal accident on Chiang
Mai-Mae Rim Road.
On receiving news of the accident officers from the Mae Rim district police
station, along with Prakaiphruek rescuers from Mae Rim municipality were
dispatched to the scene. Upon arrival they discovered the body of a
teenager, aged approximately 18 years old, with another teenager who had
sustained serious injuries. The passenger was sent to Nakon Ping Hospital.
Nearby was a heavily damaged red Honda motorcycle. Officers were unable to
find ID on either of the casualties.
Following an investigation police discovered that the pair had been riding
their motorbike from Chiang Mai to Mae Rim. The accident was caused by the
bike colliding with construction steel being used for repairing pipes by the
Chiang Mai provincial administration organisation (PAO). The steel had been
laid in the road and there were no warning lights indicating its presence.
Nearby residents laid the blame squarely at the doorstep of the PAO, citing
their lack of adequate safety measures until a serious accident had occurred
as the cause of the accident.
Largest flood in 30 years hits Nan
A low pressure front in the northern region has caused several days of heavy
rain in Nan province. Flooding has been reported in a number of areas,
especially the Tha Wang Pha district. Residents said that the floods were
the largest in over 30 years. Many people were unable to move their
belongings to safety in time, leading to widespread damage.
Two people are reported as missing from the flood, one in Bor Kuea and one
in Tha Wang Pha.
In the Tha Wang Pha district, the hamlets of Pakha, Sri Phum, Saenthong, Pha
Thong, Tarn Chum and Pha Tor were hit by floods. At Baan Na Tao water levels
reached almost four metres. 280 families sought safety on the roofs of their
houses and waited to be evacuated.
The province has begun to evacuate residents using boats, but due to the
extent of the flooding they lack enough boats to carry out the task
effectively. The province has asked Phrae province, the Disaster Prevention
and Relief Centre and the 3rd Army Region in Phitsanulok for assistance in
providing boats, helicopters and personnel.
Nan Governor Prinya Pangthong, together with staff from the Disaster
Prevention and Relief Centre, provided help to those affected by the
flooding. Initially they were given survival sacks containing food and other
essential items. Later they established coordination centres to assist in
the directing of resources to flood victims.
Residents in Chiang Dao taken through escape from battle area rehearsal
Pha Muang Task Force held a rehearsal for 1,000 Chiang Dao residents on
August 17. The purpose of the exercise was for the villagers to be prepared
for unexpected events that might take place along the border.
The scenario of a battle with a heavily armed enemy was supposed at the Kew
Pha Wok trade area, where Chiang Dao is close to the Burmese border. As the
simulated situation became more violent, the army raised the alarm and
warned administrative officers to be ready to move residents from Baan
Arunothai Village to assemble at Baan Nawai School, Tambon Muang Na, which
10 kilometers away from the battle scene.
Resident numbers were then counted and first aid was administered to the
injured, including admitting patients in a serious condition to Chiang Dao
Hospital. The purpose of the rehearsal was to save residents from the
consequences of the battle if a real event took place.
Kew Pha Wok trade area has been opened for more than 2 years, and now is
only used by vehicles of a few companies authorized to transfer construction
supplies from Thailand to Myanmar, and soldiers of the Pha Muang Task Force,
who are responsible for that crossing point.
Tourist punch-up results in one hospitalised
Two foreign tourists in Chiang Mai, while visiting a beer bar near the Night
Bazaar on the evening of August 13, had a difference of opinion which
unfortunately got out of hand and resulted in blows being exchanged. Police
were called to the scene and confiscated the passports of both antagonists
until the conflict is suitably resolved.
Pol. Lt. Col. Thanadon Noisuwan, duty inspector of Muang Police Station,
Chiang Mai, told Chiangmai Mail that the argument took place at the
Peak Bar on Thapae Road, between two foreigners; Brian Pern and Lewis David
Cohen, both from the U.K. Eyewitnesses told the police that Lewis had
visited the bar with his girlfriend and Brian Pern had come into the bar in
the company of a male friend. The eye witnesses stated further that after
the two men had exchanged a few heated words, Cohen walked over to Pern and
punched him. The bar owners and several helpful customers sent Pern to
Chiang Mai Ram Hospital for treatment.
The police seized the passports of both assailants, but had to wait for Pern
to be discharged from the hospital and Cohen to return from travelling in
different areas before they could satisfactorily resolve the situation.
Cohen will be charged with assault, but the cost of the damage depends on
negotiations between the two men.
Pol. Maj. Gen. Jiruj Promobol, commander of Chiang Mai Provincial Police
stated that because Chiang Mai is a popular tourism destination, it attracts
many visitors, some of whom unfortunately become belligerent, especially
after drinking alcohol. He impressed upon his officers the need to take good
care of the visitors’ security, and especially to watch out for the
improper acts of some foreign tourists. He said also that beer bars must
abide by licensing laws, otherwise the business could be seized and the
owners could lose their license.
Three students die as a result of tour bus accident
Three students were tragically killed when one of a convoy of five tour
buses transferring 250 students of Kenneth Mackenzie School returning from a
visit to Science Week in Bangkok crashed. Ten others were seriously injured.
On August 20, Mae Phrik Police Station of Lampang Province was informed of
an accident that had occurred at kilometre 492-493 at Tambon Phra Bat on the
Phahonyothin Road. Police dispatched to the scene found a blue and white
tour bus had overturned; and a 10-wheel truck had suffered damage to the
back of the vehicle. Three students were found dead and around 30 students
were injured, some seriously, all of whom were admitted to hospital.
During the trip back from Bangkok, four buses parked at a market to give the
students the opportunity to do some shopping but the fifth bus did not park
and carried on. It was believed that the driver fell asleep at the wheel,
causing the bus to crash into the back end of the truck driven by a man
called Athid. As a result of this collision, the tour bus overturned.
The truck driver was there waiting for the police to arrive, but the tour
bus driver had fled the scene of the accident.
The three deceased school children were all 14 years old and studied in
grade 8 at Kenneth Mackenzie School, Lampang.
Mae Sai Customs seize illegal brand-name products
Valued at 1.7 million baht
Customs officers at Mae Sai discovered 32 sacks containing thousands of
counterfeit products outside Mai Lumkhon School on Muang Daeng Road in Mae
Sai. The discovery was made on August 18, as officers searched the soi
adjacent to the school.
Of the counterfeit products confiscated by the police there were 2500 fake
Billabong trousers, 10 fake Louis Vitton handbags and 2000 fake Chanel and
Louis Vitton purses. The total haul had a street value of approximately 1.7
Chuchai Udompode, Mae Sai customs officer, presented the fake goods at a
press conference. He said that the seize had occurred as a result of the
director general of the Ministry for Customs ordering a crackdown on untaxed
and illegal products entering the country from Mae Sai.
Amphetamines packed in sanitary napkins
Chiang Rai police were tipped off that a number of ya ba was to be
transferred from Chiang Rai to Bangkok on August 16 on a tour bus. Acting on
the information received, the officers stopped and searched a tour bus of
Cherdchai Tour Company.
All the passengers were subjected to a search and the police noticed two
women wearing sunglasses acting nervously. A search of their belongings
revealed 4,200 speed pills packed in sanitary napkins hidden in a bag. The
two offenders were identified as Bang-earn Jareunphon, 25, resident of
Rayong Province and Nichapa Chuachoom, 31, living in Bangkok.
Bang-earn stated that she was a waitress working in a karaoke shop and
Nichapa worked as a motorbike taxi-rider. They said that somebody suggested
to them to transfer some drugs and they agreed to do it because it earned a
They were hired for 90,000 baht, with instructions to purchase ya ba from a
hill tribe gang at a bungalow in Chiang Rai. They then packed the drug in
sanitary pads and intended to travel to Bangkok and distribute the drugs,
charging 350 baht for one pill.
It is well-known by the local police that Chiang Rai terminal bus station is
a point that drug dealers often use for transferring drugs to Bangkok; and
in the past, many traffickers have been arrested there.