Delays to Mae Ping River dredging expected
The Mae Ping River dredging project is expected to encounter delays as many
of the contractors have yet to get their dredging equipment in place.
Chiang Mai Mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn revealed that the plan to dredge
seven flood-prone points of the Ping River in Chiang Mai may have to be
postponed as the responsible organisations do not have their equipment in
place. He added that there were several places where dredging could not
begin until the government purchased private land that would be damaged by
the dredging process.
The mayor went on to say that although already partly dredged, the narrow
point of the river opposite the offices of Provincial Police Bureau Region 5
faces further delays as they have not yet received a permission form from
the Treasury Department authorising the purchase of new buildings to replace
those affected by the dredging.
Fortunately, Chiang Mai municipality has provided sand sacks and built
temporary river walls at the seven points in case floods occur before the
end of rainy season.
Natural gas service stations planned in the north for 2007
Plans to increase the availability of NGV (Natural Gas Vehicle) fuel in the
north were discussed at a meeting last weekend at the Imperial Mae Ping
Hotel. The Energy Policy and Planning Office of the Ministry of Energy said
that it hopes to open 320 NGV service stations throughout the country in
2007 and increase this number to 740 by 2010.
The meeting, entitled “Direction of Thailand’s Energy”, took place on
August 25th and was presided over by Metta Buntheongsuk, director of the
Energy Policy and Planning Office. The meeting aimed to share opinions on
the NGV scheme, disseminate policy and act as a pilot meeting for other
future NGV meetings to take place around the country.
Metta drew the meeting’s attention to the unstable energy situation, where
fuel prices are increasing and at the mercy of volatile Middle-Eastern
politics. He pointed out the NGV fuel could be produced domestically and is
almost 30% cheaper than regular fuel oil. He accepted, however, that
Thailand still has to take a number of measures before it would be ready for
widespread NGV fuel use, including establishing service stations and
amending energy laws. He said that the commercial sector would be offering
free installation of NGV gas tanks for taxis and buses in Bangkok.
The meeting outlined its hope that in the future NGV fuels would supply most
of Thailand’s energy needs. It was pointed out that although there is a
demand for NGV fuels, the service stations and other infrastructure aspects
are not yet in place. Many drivers use Liquid Petroleum Gas (LGV), which is
also cheaper than fuel oil, but this benefits from government subsides and
may well see its price rise in the future.
The Energy Policy & Planning Office plans to set up 320 NGV service
stations throughout the country in 2007 and increase this number to 740 by
2010. It also hopes to see 171,000 NGV vehicles in operation by 2007 and
over 500,000 by 2010.
In the northern region the Energy Policy & Planning Office aims to
establish NGV service stations in Nakhon Sawan, Kamphaeng Phet, Tak, Lampang
and Chiang Mai in 2007. These stations will mainly support trucks and
vehicles running on regular routes to reduce costs for business owners. The
natural gas distributed in the northern region is from a natural gas source
in Kamphaeng Phet Province.
Change to Thailand’s mobile telephone numbers
From the Thai National News Bureau Public Relations
Department: Thailand has changed from a 9-digit to 10-digit mobile telephone
system, which started on September 1.
Setthaporn Khusripithak, a member of the National Telecommunications
Commission (NTC) said the change, approved by the telecoms regulator, was in
response to the rapid expansion of the use of mobile telephones.
With the 10-digit system, the country will have enough mobile telephone
numbers for the next 30 years, Mr. Setthaporn said.
Beginning September 1, users of all mobile telephone systems will have to
dial the prefix 08, he said.
For example: the number 01 123 4567 will change to: 08 1123 4567; the number
09 123 4567 will be: 08 9123 4567. (Tip: a new mobile number will always
start with 08 followed by 2 groups of 4 digits.)
Red minibuses to be prosecuted if they stop at prohibited stopping points
Many disgruntled residents are becoming increasingly fed up with the traffic
jams caused by red mini-buses at two busy locations.
Complaints are filing in to the media about red minibuses stopping at Chiang
Mai Gate and in front of Kad Suan Kaew Department Store, causing traffic
chaos, even though police have placed a “Stopping Prohibited” sign at
both locations. Many drivers simply ignore the signs.
The residents would like police to deal with this hazardous situation,
because it causes huge traffic jams, especially during morning and evening
rush hours, and it affects the city’s image in the eyes of tourists.
Pol. Col. Atthakit Kornthong, deputy commander of Chiang Mai Provincial
Police, responded that Chiang Mai traffic police have already been ordered
to pay attention to this issue, especially in light of the upcoming
International Horticultural Exposition.
A communiqu้ will be issued to all red minibus drivers, asking them to
strictly observe the police “No Stopping” signs.
Pol. Lt. Col. Phitak Sutthikul, Chiang Mai’s traffic police inspector,
added that red minibus drivers who do not follow the rules will be
prosecuted. Police officers will check on each route, especially around the
two choke-points at Chiang Mai Gate and in front of Kad Suan Kaew department
Land shrinks and cracks for 500 meters in Nan
A ground contraction in the Chiang Klang district of Nan caused large cracks
to appear over a 500 metre stretch of land, damaging roads and houses. A
total of 288 residents have been evacuated from Baan Kok, Tambon Chiang
Klang and the Department of Mineral Resources warned that four other
villages may also be at risk and face evacuation. Further cracks were
discovered in the mountains behind Baan Kok. It is believed that the ground
contraction was caused by the heavy rains between August 18 and August 20.
Suklit Suta, a resident of Baan Kok, said that the ground contraction had
badly damaged his house, cracking walls and floors and breaking the struts.
He said that at the time of the incident he, along with his wife and
mentally disabled son, were in their house when they heard a loud crack,
like something breaking. On inspection he found that the walls and floors
and cracked so he evacuated the house.
Charnchai Suta, village headman, revealed that 38 families (approximately
290 residents) had been evacuated to a shelter at Phuwae National Park. He
said that as this kind of disaster had never occurred before, residents were
worried and government officials seemed uncertain as to how to proceed.
Thawat Petchweera, chief of Nan Disaster Prevention and Relief, told
reporters that officers of the Department of Mineral Resources were
investigating the cracks, but at present were not certain as to their cause.
He went on to say that residents of Baan Nam Kor, and Baan Nam Chun in
Phetchaboon may also face evacuation.
Accept Taiwanese investment or face revocation of citizenship, villagers told
Local politicians in Baan Rak Thai allegedly are using strong-arm tactics to
get villagers to approve a project that they have already turned down.
Sawat Suwan-aram, member of the Mok Cham Pae Tambon Administration
Organisation in Mae Hong Son, said that that villagers had been threatened
with revocation of their Thai citizenship if they do not accept a Taiwanese
proposal to invest in their village.
The disputed project involves Taiwanese investors growing temperate climate
plants in the village, which is being assisted by some local politicians.
The villagers had previously turned down the project because it had
encroached on a temple and a bamboo forest under auspices of HM Queen
Sirikit. They also claimed that a local village headman had deceived them,
first by not informing them of the project in advance, and then, without
their knowledge, he had entered their names on a list of people who had
allegedly agreed to the project.
Sawat revealed that at a meeting with Mae Hong Son district officer, Decha
Satthapon, he was told that the villagers had to either accept the Taiwanese
business proposal or face the prospect of being stripped of their Thai
citizenship. He also said that he was told villagers would be accused of
drug dealing and forest encroachment.
The mainly Chinese Haw villagers of Baan Rak Thai have said that they would
leave their village if forced to accept the investment project proposed by a
group of Taiwanese businessmen. Villagers have said that they wish to
support investment in the province but would move out of Baan Rak Thai if
the proposed investment went ahead. They requested that the province provide
them with land for housing and farming. The villagers are still awaiting the
settlement of a case in which the project was given the go-ahead, but
subsequently encroached on the village temple and nearby bamboo forest. The
villagers said that if the case was not resolved they would protest at Mae
Hong Son City Hall.
Suwat went on to say that a meeting would be held with Decha, Thinnakorn
Chaidee, head officer of Mae Hong Son provincial prevention, and the
villagers. The meeting would request that the villagers accept the
investment proposal and that the project be handled by Thongchai Jarujit,
president of Mok Cham Pae TAO.
Museum exhibition celebrating six decades of HM the King
The Chiang Mai National Museum is holding an exhibition displaying the art
and literature of HM the King as part of the 60th anniversary of his
ascension to the throne celebrations.
Director of Chiang Mai National Museum, Wiset Phetpradup, revealed that the
exhibition, which will take place until September 10th, hopes to attract
many visitors, both young and old, who wish to experience this important
part of Thailand’s heritage.
Wiset added that a special exhibition of ornaments and Siamese decorative
arts, consisting of items on loan from museums throughout the country, will
be on display from now until July 2007. The museum is open daily, excluding
Recaptured wolf dies from lung infection in Thai zoo
Bangkok, Thailand (AP) -
A Canadian gray wolf that was recently recaptured after escaping from a zoo
in northern Thailand has died of a lung infection, a zoo keeper said
A tracker shot the wolf with a tranquilizer pellet on Aug. 6, about a month
after the animal escaped from Chiang Mai Night Safari. The wolf, which is
believed to have roamed nearby forests feasting on local chickens during its
weeks of freedom, was then returned to the zoo but kept in quarantine as a
precaution to protect the other wolves.
Supot Methawiwat, who looked after the animal after it was returned to the
zoo, insisted however that the animal did not die of bird flu.
“The wolf suffered from a severe lung infection and died six days after we
recaptured him,” Supot said. “It is 100 percent guaranteed that the wolf
did not die from bird flu.”
He said he did not know how the animal caught the infection, and that the
zoo’s five other wolves are in excellent health.
The night safari is located near the city of Chiang Mai in a vast national
park that is dense with mountains and forests.
Long Neck Karen to gather at Huay Poo Kaeng
Mae Hong Son’s governor has confirmed his intention to relocate Long Neck
Karen to new homes at Baan Huay Poo Kaeng. “Doing so,” he said, “would
prevent influential people taking advantage of the tribe and help to
conserve their culture and tribal ceremonies.”
Direk Konkleep, Mae Hong Son governor disclosed that it was necessary to
manage the Long Neck Karen in order to protect their lifestyle. Long Neck
Karen tribes-people at present living in Baan Nai Soi Village, Tambon Pang
Moo and Baan Huay Sua Thao Village, Tambon Pha Bong of Muang, Mae Hong Son
are to be relocated to Baan Huay Poo Kaeng now that the province is
responsible for doing the village planning.
The task of re-homing them is being organized by Mae Hong Son Provincial
Public Works Office.
The main reason for moving the tribes-people is to prevent influential
groups taking advantage of them and to change the perception of certain
ill-informed people that the Long neck Karen are being treated like animals.
The new living place of the Long Neck Karen is separated into three zones
and visitors will be invited to join the tribe’s activities for which
there will be a small charge. Artefacts produced by the tribe will be
offered for sale and will receive OTOP support. A bridge across the Pai
River is to be constructed to give access to tourists visiting the new
village and a portion of the revenue from these tourists is to be spent on
Governor Direk said that some groups, afraid of losing income, are fiercely
resisting the planned relocation and are inciting the Long Neck Karen to
protest against their relocation.
However, the province has tried to be sympathetic about every aspect of the
situation and if any tribes-people do not wish to move out from the old
villages, the authorities will not force them to do so, he said.
Myanmar postpones opening Thai-Burmese Relationship Bridge
Myanmar has asked for a postponement of the re-opeing of the Relationship
Bridge crossing the Mei River between Mae Sot and Myawadi in Myanmar because
they are waiting for approval from the central government. Thailand has
given their ok to use the bridge, but is waiting for approval from the
Burmese government before declaring the bridge to be fully open.
A meeting was held on August 25 between the two committees responsible for
the Thai-Burmese Relationship Bridge at Myawadi in Myanmar; jointly chaired
by Chanchai Techathong, an engineer involved with survey and design from the
Department of Highways and Watchara Taengcham, director of 2nd Tak Highways
Center (Mae Sod district) on the Thai side and Ne Aung Ye Myint, an
engineering executive from the Department of Public Works on the Burmese
The purpose of this meeting was to reach an agreement for the re-opening of
the bridge after both countries had cooperated to carry out structural
repairs since July. Thailand had requested 3.8 million baht from the
Department of Highways for the initial repairs. Although the bridge has been
repaired and Thailand opened the carriageways on the Thai side on August 25,
vehicles were only allowed to travel to the middle of the bridge.
The Burmese side claimed to have some problems with protocol at Myawadi that
made it necessary for them to have to seek confirmation from the central
government for official permission to completely re-open the bridge. Myawadi
reported that they were awaiting a swift reply and expected that the bridge
will be fully open within the week.
Watchara said that repairs to the bridge were considered necessary to
strengthen the structure so that it was safe for heavy vehicles to use.
Engineers had observed undermining of the bridge’s footings caused by
erosion of sand around the base of the bridge supports.
Although strenuously denying it, Myanmar had been observed dredging sand
from near the bridge supports to use as landfill on the Mei River shore.
Myanmar claimed that they had not dredged the sand for years, but many
people had noticed the dredgers operating in the vicinity of the bridge at
However, the bridge supports have now been successfully reinforced by
putting concrete at the base, but this had to be discussed with Burmese
officials and a proposal made to their central government.
Website and post box set up to monitor possible breaches of election law
In the run up to the general election, a website and post box have been
established to accept information on contraventions of the election law by
the Thai Rak Thai party. Meanwhile, police say they are ready to deal with
demonstrations by people both supporting and criticising acting Prime
Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
Towijakchaikul, Thai Rak Thai parliamentary candidate, presents a petition
to Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya; commissioner of the
Provincial Police Bureau Region 5.
Suriyan Thongnu-iad, coordinator of the Alliance for Northern Political
Reform Network, revealed that the website www.thainovote.com and Chiang Mai
University PO box 164 had been set up to let people who boycotted the April
2nd election share information regarding Thai Rak Thai breaches of election
The website and PO box were set up to coincide with Thaksin’s “Nok
Khamin” tour of the northern provinces. There were a number of reports of
places where residents were told that they had to be present to welcome
Thaksin when he arrived in their areas.
Suriyan said that information was always checked to ensure its reliability,
and that the website would continue until the election was completed. The
information would then be complied and presented to the new members of the
In the meantime, Surapong Towijakchaikul, a Thai Rak Thai parliamentary
candidate, along with 20 residents, presented a petition to Pol. Lt. Gen.
Panupong Singhara Na Ayutthaya, commissioner of Provincial Police Bureau
Region 5, asking him to deal with troublemaking opponents of Thaksin.
Panupong said that he had already commanded police officers of the eight
northern provinces to be ready to manage demonstrations, whether they were
pro or anti Thaksin.
Elephants and wildlife export to China resisted
Five elephants, several chimpanzees, five color leaf monkeys and a number of
gavials are to be exported from Chiang Mai Night Safari in exchange for two
white tigers from China, attracting strong objections from the Asian
Conservation Alliance: ACA. The director of animal management of the night
safari stated that he did not know whether these animals would be exported
but the white tigers had already arrived at the safari.
On August 22, Soraida Salwala, secretary-general of Friends of the Asian
Elephant (FAE) revealed that the ACA, expressing the united view of 40
networks in 10 Asian countries, spoke out against the proposed export of
five Asian elephants and other wildlife which was to be sent to Chime-Long
Night Zoo of China.
“The number of Asian elephants in Thailand has fallen to unprecedented
levels, which is scandalous considering the elephant is a revered national
symbol. Therefore the ACA is trying to stop the export of these animals to
China and not allow them to follow in the footsteps of the eight elephants
recently exported to Australia,” she said; adding that the five elephants
from Chiang Mai night safari had already been transferred to Bangkok, in
order to be convenient for continuing their shipment to China.
Wattana Wetayaprasith, director of Wildlife and Plant Conservation Bureau
stated that the night safari had asked for permission to exchange animals
with China two months ago but the bureau had not yet approved the export of
the elephants. A license to allow their export was still under consideration
according to the law. Although there were documents confirming that
microchips had been subcutaneously implanted in those five elephants, it
still needed other certificates and documents that would prove that the five
elephants had been bred in captivity.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment staged a meeting
concerning the recording of the appearance and individual characteristics of
captive bred elephants. Chawan Taphikorn, deputy director-general of
National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department exposed that the
recording of each elephant’s appearance would be applied to new born
elephants, commencing after it was 30 days old and continuing up to each
animal’s eighth year, to confirm the real relationship of the mother and
baby elephant; and this information would be recorded on the implanted
This resolution will be presented to the cabinet soon and a census
registration of elephants is to be renewed. The record will also keep a
picture of each elephant and a log of other details to positively identify
each animal’s appearance.
This is the first time microchips have been used, after 67 years of keeping
records of captive-bred Asian elephants.
HRH Princess Siribha Chudhabhorn hands out survival packs in Nan
On August 26 in Nan, HRH Princess Siribha Chudhabhorn, president of Siribha
Chudhabhorn Aviation and Rescue, distributed 5,000 survival packs to
unfortunate residents who have been affected by recent floods. The princess
has travelled throughout the province, visiting those who have been flooded.
People who wish to donate consumer goods or money to help people affected by
the flood in Nan can give their donations to Siam Commercial Bank, Acc. No.
067-2-10402-8 on behalf of HRH Princess Siribha Chudhabhorn.
People in the central region can make donations at the HRH Princess Siribha
Chudhabhorn Volunteer Aviation and Rescue Center. For more information,
contact Sura Homchit, chief of the HRH Princess Siribha Chudhabhorn
Volunteer Aviation and Rescue Center, tel. 0-1343-9783.
People in the northern region can make donations at the Conservation and
Thai Aviation Development Club, Wing 41, 3rd Squadron, Chiang Mai. For more
information, contact Col. Weerachat Palee, chief of the Conservation and
Thai Aviation Development Club, Wing 41, 3rd Squadron, Chiang Mai, tel.
Tribes should be accepted and offered basic rights
left) Sawaeng Wongsriwichai, Mae Ai district chief officer’s assistant;
Hannarong Yaowalert, member of the Assistant Council of National Economy and
Society, and Wiwat Tamee, secretary and officer of the Center of Highland
People Problem Resolution want the government to take better care of its
hill tribe people.
Many tribes in Thailand that have been living in this country for a long
time, and their even children born in the kingdom, still have not received
Thai nationality. Therefore, a request has been made to the government to
pay more attention to tribes-people living in Thailand with a view to
accepting them as Thai citizens and offering them basic rights similar to
other Thai nationals.
A seminar concerning the status of hill tribes-people was held on August
19th at Chiang Mai Phukham Hotel, attended by representatives of the various
tribes, staged by the Assistant Council of National Economy and Society. The
Center of Highland People Problem Resolution and Northern Hill Tribe Network
have studied the many problems faced by hill tribe or highland people
attempting to achieve Thai nationality since 1999. They concluded that
around 220,000 hill tribes-people who have emigrated to Thailand since
October 3 in 1985, have still not received Thai nationality, although the
authorities claim they have tried many times to deal with the matter.
They are now treated as displaced persons or illegal aliens and could not
legally improve their lives or circumstances. It has been found that one
cause of this problem is that there are difficulties with communication
between the authority officers and the hill tribes, resulting in the hill
tribes and their children not being accepted to have the same rights as
other Thai citizens.
However, the real cause that prevents the hill tribes from gaining Thai
nationality is the blatant corruption of government officials, the seminar
concluded. The officials drag their feet when participating with the private
sector to solve these problems. Many of them ignore their duties, make
deliberate mistakes when filling out documents and neglect to impart
relevant information to the hill tribes, by not making them aware of the
different organizations that are in place to look after their welfare.
Not having full Thai nationality infringes the basic human rights of the
hill tribes, affecting their freedom to travel outside controlled areas and
find higher paying jobs. After finishing education at each level, hill tribe
students only receive a “knowledge certificate” that lasts only 3-6
months; and not an educational level certificate. This causes a lot of
trouble for students when they want to continue their studies or apply for a
Another problem experienced by hill tribes-people concerns their lack of
rights to public health benefits. The government denies approving health
insurance for these people on the grounds that they do not have Thai
nationality despite the fact that it is a basic human right that all should
be protected. The government’s 30 baht scheme that could heal all diseases
has been rescinded for 280,000 hill tribes-people who do not hold Thai
nationality. This places a very heavy burden on these people if they become
ill, because they have to pay the full cost of treatment, despite the fact
they are very poor.
Furthermore, their human rights are further eroded as they cannot pass on
land to their family and have no land possession rights. The government
needs to address these problems urgently, and should stop treating the hill
tribes-people as second-class citizens.
The representatives attending the seminar announced they would like the
government to treat the hill tribes as a part of Thai society, instead of
constantly accusing them of causing problems and affecting national
security. Instead of treating them like social pariahs, the government
should start to seek their cooperation and good will; and to adjust policy
and laws to support these people instead of alienating them further by
discriminating against them.
The government ministers should offer the hill tribes the opportunity to
participate in the resolution of the problem and listen closely to their
point of view. The government should realize that one of the basic human
rights of the people who were born in Thailand is to be accepted by law; and
they should be treated as citizens of this kingdom and should have the same
rights as any other Thai person, especially in matters of public health,
freedom of speech and travel. By allowing these problems to go on, the
government is failing in its duties and could be building up a far greater
problem for the future.
Stolen car fence arrested
Chiang Mai police arrested a stolen car agent and confiscated 10 stolen
cars. The cars were to be modified and supplied with fake registration
before being sent to be sold. According to the investigation, approximately
100 cars had been stolen and illegally modified.
Police brought the 10 cars to the Chiang Mai Provincial Police Office. The
cars consisted of 5 as-new pick-up trucks, 4 used pick-up trucks and 1 sedan
car. The accused was identified as Sorasart Khlongphanich, 29, a resident of
Chiang Mai. Police arrested Sorasat at a garage in Saraphi district.
Unfortunately, Sorasart suffers from anemia, and was taken to hospital
before legal proceedings could commence.
Chiang Mai Provincial Police received information from Saraburi Provincial
Police that led to Sorasart’s arrest. Sorasart acted as an agent for car
theft groups in central Thailand who sent car’s to him to be modified,
registered and resold. During the investigation police learned that
Sorasart’s garage was used as both a place to hide cars and to store them.
Some of the modified cars were sent to a parking area near Arcade Bus
Terminal, Chiang Mai, before being sold.
Pol. Col. Chamnan Ruadrew, Chiang Mai Provincial Police deputy commander,
said that according to the accused and the initial inspection of the
evidence, Sorasart had committed this kind of crime for some time. There
were approximately 100 cars that had been stolen. People who think that
their cars might have been stolen can check the evidence at Chiang Mai
Provincial Police Station.
Large numbers of teak planks seized in Pai, Mae Hong Son
After being tipped off that a large consignment of teak was to be
transferred through their district, officers set up an ambush and waylaid a
pick-up carrying teak planks. The driver managed to escape, but his violent
evasive maneuvers caused the vehicle to fall over a 100-meter cliff. Three
more pick-ups following the first one made a hasty U-turn and fled at high
speed after spotting the officers and they also managed to escape.
The ambush took place on August 20 after Chamlong Nenyaem, the district
chief officer, and Pongsak Wuttisarn, head officer of the National Park were
informed of the timber smuggling on the route linking Baan Tan Jed Ton and
Baan Huay Chang Thao in Tambon Wiang Nua, Mae Hong Son. A truck loaded with
teak drove into the ambush and the officers jumped out of hiding to ask for
a search. The driver tried to flee, but drove the vehicle over a cliff. The
officer checked the bottom of the cliff where the truck had fallen down but
only the teak was found, the driver having disappeared. All 22 teak planks
Pai district chief officer in cooperation with the officers of Pong Nam Ron
National Park 2 disclosed that if any more teak was cut in Pai district, it
would surely affect the natural eco-systems and endanger tourism in the
future. He added that this was not the first time the gang had cut teak in
Pai district. Only last year, in association with Ranger Force 36, he had
arrested a gang of tree cutters and found that two of his own officers had
been involved with the gang. They are no longer on the force.
Former well known boxer arrested for ya ba
Officers form Border Patrol Police 33, Chiang Mai recently arrested Wilai
Longsri, 29, for possession of 2,000 speed pills and 5 cell phones, all of
which were seized by the police.
Wilai Longsri is better known as Lai Siam Soe Pattanacheep, a former boxer
from Lamphun Province. His sister, Kanokwan Thianthong, 46, and Namfone
Mantino, 30, were also arrested. They were captured on the Mae Malai-Pai
Road in Baan Papae area, Mae Taeng District of Chiang Mai.
Police enquiries revealed that Namfone had been employed to transfer ya ba
from a hill tribe village in Pai to Chiang Mai. On being stopped at the
checkpoint, she threw the drug into a nearby grove on the wayside. She later
asked Wilai and Kanokwan to pick up the ya ba that she had thrown into the
grove, and all three were subsequently arrested. When interrogated, they
admitted that they had done similar drug runs four times previously and each
time had received 20,000 baht as wages.
Pol. Col. Pongsak Sawangpon, superintendent of the Border Patrol Police 33,
Chiang Mai stated that he believed around 10 million ya ba pills were still
being kept in villages along the border, and that drug traffickers try to
transfer the narcotics in small batches to clients in the major cities of
each province. Sometimes the drugs were concealed in vehicles carrying
agricultural products for delivery to the central part of Thailand.
Police officer punished over alien laborers transfer
The commander of Chiang Rai Provincial Police recently issued orders to
arrest a Pol. Lt. Col. in his division after learning of his involvement in
transferring illegal alien laborers over a period of time. He will be
charged on disciplinary grounds and suspended from duty until he is
Pol. Lt. Col. Wichian Maiman, an interrogation officer at Doi Luang
sub-district Police Station in Chiang Rai, stands accused of smuggling 9
illegal alien-laborers into Thailand. He was arrested in front of the Mae
Sai branch of Tesco Lotus and charged with illegally providing a hide-out
for alien laborers.
His fellow police officers found that Pol. Lt. Col. Wichian had allegedly
used his position to smuggle many alien laborers from Burma into Thailand.
Police officers reported this matter to their commander, who planned for his
arrest. They observed Pol. Lt. Col. Wichian whilst he picked up 4 alien
laborers in front of a hotel and another 5 in front of Tesco Lotus
department store and arrested him as he prepared to send them to a financial
backer in Chiang Rai.
Pol. Maj. Gen. Chamnong Kaewsiri, commander of Chiang Rai Provincial Police
said this case sullied the reputation of the entire police force, as the
accused was a high-ranking police officer. This matter has to be reported to
Chiang Rai Provincial Police commanding department with a recommendation for
Blaze at Mae Hong Son Customs office
A fire at Mae Hong Son customs office has badly damaged a filing cabinet and
an air conditioning unit. Firefighters from Mae Hong Son municipality said
that an initial investigation of the scene showed no signs of electrical
cables or anything else that might have started the blaze. Investigators
believe the fire was started deliberately in order to destroy important
At 8 p.m. on August 24 Mae Hong Son police station received notification of
the fire at Mae Hong Son customs office, Khun Lum Prapat Road, Tambon Chong
Kham. On arriving at the scene police, together with the fire department,
discovered the fire in the offices administration room. Firefighters took 30
minutes to extinguish the blaze, which damaged an air conditioner and a
number of filing cabinets.
Sources inside the police department revealed that Mae Hong Son forensic
police are still investigating the cause of the blaze. Pradit Srithananant,
Yuwadee Thepkaew, and Somboon Rangseechan, the customs officials responsible
for security at the time of the blaze, are also being questioned.
A firefighter present at the scene said that there was nothing nearby the
filing cabinets that might have started the fire accidentally. He also said
that the distance between the filing cabinets and the air conditioner was
too great for the fire to have spread there on its own. Consequently, the
fire is being treated as arson.
Intelligence officers in Mae Hong Son believe that the blaze may have been
started in order to destroy certain documents. The day before the fire, 844
boxes containing 10,128 bottles of various foreign alcoholic drinks were
exported to Burma at the Baan Huay Phueng border crossing. Additionally, a
number of Japanese cars have recently been illegally exported to Burma at
the same point.
Road accident kills one, injures seven
Valued at 1.7 million baht
On August 21, Chiang Rai police were informed of a road traffic accident
involving two vehicles, resulting in dead and injured on the Chiang
Rai-Chiang Mai Road at Baan Cham Bon, Tambon Mae Chedi Mai. The police sent
a forensic team and an ambulance from Wiang Pa Pao Hospital to tend the
injured and identify the dead body.
At the scene of the accident, officers found an air-conditioned bus
belonging to Thai Pattanakij Transport Co. parked on the street. It had been
plying the Mae Sai-Hot route. There was evidence of a glancing collision at
the front of the bus and seven passengers had suffered injuries requiring
treatment at Wiang Pa Pao Hospital.
Approximately 15 meters away from the bus, a black Toyota Vios was
overturned in the bushes. The car was in a bad condition with extensive
damage to the engine compartment at the front of the vehicle.
When police checked the interior of the car, they found the driver to be
dead from extensive injuries to his head and chest as a result of coming
into heavy contact with the steering wheel. The driver’s seatbelt was not
fastened and he was later identified as Hugo Panero, 49, an Italian
national. Officers brought the body to the mortuary at Wiang Pa Pao Hospital
and coordinated with the Italian Embassy to contact the dead man’s
relatives to reclaim the body.
Pol. Maj. Col. Boonrat Buayen, duty inspector said that according to the
evidence of the skid marks made by both vehicles prior to the collision, it
was found that braking point and crash point were in the middle of the
carriageway and strongly indicated excessive speed and carelessness on the
part of both drivers.
Police charged the bus driver Somnuek Thipjai, 50, resident of Chiang Mai,
with reckless driving and causing an accident, with a second charge of
causing loss of property, injury and death.
Chinese acupuncturist demands 2 million baht from his patients
Two Chinese men were arrested on August 26, accused of demanding 2 million
baht ransom for the son of an elderly patient. Chiang Rai Provincial Police
busted Afang Sae-lee, 55, a Chinese acupuncturist and his accomplice Yangsin
Sae-yang, 40, both from Yunnan, China and charged them with kidnap. They
were accused of demanding 2 million baht for the release of Nathaphon
Jiwakulcharoen, 36, son of Ko-lang Sae-Chao, 80.
Two months prior to their arrest, Ko-lang Sae-Chao’s relatives had
contacted Afang to cure the octogenarian, who was in a lot of pain from a
tendon pressing on his nerves. Afang agreed to provide treatment to Ko-lang
and asked to be allowed to stay at his house.
At the end of July, Nathaphon’s wife, Xian-yun Jiwakulcharoen informed the
police that Nathaphon had disappeared from his home, along with his new
unregistered Toyota pick-up truck. His relatives had tried to look for him,
but found no trace of the missing man.
On August 21, they received a phone call at Nathapon’s house from a person
speaking in a Chinese dialect with a Tai tribal accent, informing them that
Nathaphon had been arrested by police from the Office of Narcotics Control
Board (ONCB). The caller said he would be released if his relatives paid 2
million baht as a ransom.
The caller also gave instructions that the relatives should pay the ransom
to Afang who was the acupuncturist who had cured Nariya Jiwakulcharoen, a
sister of the victim. Nathaphon’s relatives managed to negotiate the
ransom down to 300,000 baht and then chased Afang out of their house because
he had caused so much trouble to the family.
The kidnapper made a further call and told them to bring the 300,000 baht
ransom to Afang at Hmuang Daeng-Koh Chang Nai Road, Mae Sai district in
Chiang Rai. After receiving this final instruction, the relatives informed
the police and demanded they arrest Afang.
Police located Afang and his gang at a resort, but his accomplice A-sang, a
Tai tribesman had already fled. Afang confessed that he had kidnapped
Nathaphon and held him to ransom. Afang also admitted that he had previously
been involved with narcotics and had turned to acupuncture, offering cures
to Chinese and Thai people.
The victim, young Nathaphon, was returned safely home, a bit shaken but