Continuous rainfall causes Chiang Mai wall to collapse
Part of the 700-year-old wall at Chang Puek Gate collapsed after the
continuous rainfall on the night of August 31. After several hours of rain
it was no longer able to support the weight of water-logged bricks.
Additionally, a 50 metre stretch of concrete wall on Manee-Noparat Road
collapsed and a number of communities experienced flooding.
The wall was built in the King Mang Rai period, sometime after 1276. It was
previously known as “Pra Tu Hua Wiang” (City Gate).
Chiang Mai MP Pakorn Buranupakorn and Chiang Mai Mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn
inspected the damaged wall. Boonlert revealed that many historical sites in
Chiang Mai suffered from cracks, making them susceptible to this kind of
collapse. He said that at present the Office of Fine Arts Region 8, Chiang
Mai, is in the process of checking and repairing damaged sites. The repair
of the wall at Chang Puek gate will begin as soon as possible and the cost
is estimated at around 2 million baht.
The 30-year-old city canal concrete wall was also damaged on Manee-Noparat
Road. A 50 metre stretch of the wall collapsed, leaving the lane closest to
the canal blocked and causing traffic jams. The province has requested 63
million baht to repair the wall as soon as possible, in order to prevent
erosion to the Manee-Noparat Road.
The rainfall also caused a number of floods around Chiang Mai. Around Doi
Suthep houses were damaged at Baan Chang Khian, Baan Pa Ngae, Baan Sala and
the road to Baan Na Huek-Saluang. On the Chiang Mai-Fang Road, in front of
Tambon Khee-Lek, a flood prevented access to two of the road’s four lanes.
The flood damaged over 100 homes, with water levels rising to 30 cm.
A 40 cm high flood at Sri Ping Muang in Hai Ya sub-district blocked access
to the Khuang Singha intersection, causing heavy traffic congestion.
Although the water levels had decreased to normal conditions by September 1
residents were still anxious. Many closely monitored the water level and
built sandbag walls to prevent flood damage.
Firefighters arrive too late to extinguish pickup blaze
Firefighters were called to the scene of a burning pick-up truck on the
evening of September 1 at Don Chan overpass on Chiang Mai-Lampang Road.
burning Isuzu on Don Chan overpass became a fiery issue for Chiang Mai’s
The pick-up truck was spotted ablaze at the side of the road approximately
one kilometer from the Nong Hoi intersection. The engine was on fire and it
appeared that the driver had fled into the crowd.
Onlookers alerted Chiang Mai Municipality police and fire departments, yet
it took officers over half an hour to arrive at the scene. On arrival,
officers found that a water valve on the fire engine was broken, rendering
Firefighters then attempted to bring the blaze under control using five
hand-held fire extinguishers. Despite their best efforts the car continued
Admitting defeat, officers contacted Thasala Tambon Administration (TAO) for
assistance. They arrived on the scene within five minutes, bringing with
them a fully functioning fire truck, which enabled them to extinguish the
fire in less than a minute.
Onlookers criticized Chiang Mai’s fire department, and speculated as to
what would happen if they were called to a house fire.
322 flooded villages in Nan Province urgently need help
Officials in Nan Province, which suffered heavy flooding recently, surveyed
the damaged area and found that 322 villages in 60 sub-districts urgently
need help. Although donations of cash and necessities have been continually
coming into relief organizations, the devastation caused by the floods are
making distribution extremely difficult.
The flash floods that took place in Nan Province caused immense loss of
possessions and many people to lose their lives, since the waters rose on
August 19. Now that the floods are starting to subside, the province is
trying to survey the damaged area. They discovered that 151,294 residents,
43,436 houses have been severely affected by the flooding. 30,170 occupants
of 11,796 houses were moved to safer places by rescue teams and two dead
persons were found. 46,046 patients have needed treatment for diseases
caused by the flooding, which has severely stretched the medical facilities
in the province.
Rescue efforts and aid distribution have been made even more difficult by
the fact that 191 routes have been disrupted by the destruction of 65
concrete bridges. The rising waters also burst 153 dams and caused damage to
141 weirs, 113 drains and destroyed 2,075 fishery wells.
Farmers have reported the loss of 72,988 winged livestock, 4,176 cows and
buffalos and 4,176 pigs, which have either drowned or been swept away by the
78 schools and 61 government offices have been severely damaged or destroyed
and 78,956 rai of farmland is under water. 14 houses have been destroyed
completely and 715 houses have been damaged. 411 vehicles have been washed
away and have disappeared.
The flooding situation is now easing, although water is still covering some
low-lying plain areas.
Fine Arts officers prepare to rebuild pagoda at Phan Own Temple
have been collecting valuable artifacts from the ruins of Phan Own
Temple’s collapsed pagoda and have designed a new pagoda to replace the
Officers of the Fine Arts Department have started removing artifacts from
the Phan Own temple pagoda, which collapsed last week. After the artifacts
have been removed a new pagoda will be built to replace the old one. The
artifacts themselves will be registered and maintained in Chiang Mai
On August 30, officers of the Office of Fine Arts Region 8, Chiang Mai,
together with a committee from Phan Own temple, Chiang Mai municipality
officers and soldiers from the 7th Infantry Regiment, Kawila Camp, began to
remove the rubble from the 500 year-old collapsed pagoda. They also searched
for artifacts that were stored in the pagoda.
The initial search has recovered hundreds of artifacts, such as a bronze
Buddha from the Chiang Saen age, Singha Nueng Buddha figures and assorted
pieces of chinaware.
Trakoon Hanthongkoon, chief of the Office of Fine Arts Region 8 Historical
Places Department, said that it would take approximately one week to
completely remove the remains of the old pagoda, after which it will be
examined by Fine Arts department officers for information about the era in
which it was built. The new pagoda is still in the design process and will
take approximately six months to build. It is being designed to look exactly
like the old pagoda. Architects are basing the blueprints on photographs of
the old pagoda.
Officers have made a record and taken photographs of all artifacts recovered
from the site of the old pagoda. After they have been registered they will
be on display in Chiang Mai National Museum.
Mekong cargo ship and ten thousand logs swept away by raging torrent
A Chinese cargo vessel, out of control in the fierce current of the
rain-swollen Mekong River, recently collided heavily with a Thai tourist
ship near the port of Chiang Saen. The raging torrent was made even more
hazardous by around 10,000 logs that were being swept along by the swiftly
On August 29, heavy and continuous rain during the previous week caused the
water-level in the Mekong to rise sharply at Chiang Saen district of Chiang
Rai province. The already fast flowing torrent was made even more dangerous
by whirlpools and eddies, making navigation of large vessels extremely
difficult, especially where the river flows through the Golden Triangle,
along the border of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos.
Caught in these hazardous conditions, a Chinese cargo vessel crashed into a
Thai passenger ship, which at the time was transferring tourists at the port
of Chiang Saen. The tourism ship was damaged but there were no reports of
anyone killed or injured.
At the same time that this incident occurred, local boatmen also reported
that a large number of big logs were floating downstream in the swift
current and two men were seen holding on to the logs. Fishermen braved the
hazardous conditions and rescued the two men, and used their long tail boats
to pull the logs from the river and hauled them onto the riverbank near the
Thai border. Between them, they managed to salvage about 10,000 logs, which
will be made into various products and distributed to businessmen for sale.
During the rainy season, villagers around the area will earn extra income
from the sale of the products they fashion from the salvaged timber.
Suthep Dechaisri, head officer of the Department of Public Disaster
Prevention and Relief, Chiang Rai informed there were several risky points
on the slopes of Doi Kew Satai in Mae Chan District. He warned the Akha
tribes-people living in three villages to be aware of the danger of
mudslides, owing to the fact that their houses were situated on highlands
and near high-risk locations.
Warnings were also sent to the villages of Tambon Mae Sai, Tambon Wiang
Phang Kham and Tambon Pong Pha of Mae Sai District that they should watch
out for potential disasters.
Chedi Luang Temple’s Buddha image hall being restored
Luang Temple’s Buddha image hall that is being restored.
A 50 million baht restoration of the Buddha image hall at Chedi Luang Temple
is expected to be finished in time for HM the King’s 80th birthday. Phra
Kru Palad Wichiarn Samathiko, secretary of Chedi Luang Temple revealed that
the abbot of the temple, Phra Phuttapoj Waraporn, together with the
temple’s committees had agreed to restore the Buddha image hall there. It
was hoped that the work would be completed in time for HM the King’s 80th
birthday next year and the abbot’s 90 year anniversary.
Around 50 million baht is to be spent on the restoration, which was
commenced in 2005; and up to now, around 4 million baht has already been
The Buddha image hall is an ancient Lanna place, expressing the beauty and
identity of local art and culture. It will be restored to good condition and
strengthened where required and made suitable to practice Buddhism
Temple monks would like to see all local Buddhists participating in the
restoration; and for them to jointly protect and conserve their own art and
culture in the temple. This year the temple has requested 20 million baht of
the budget and a further 30 million baht will be asked for next year, coming
to a total budget of 50 million baht.
The restoration process will be applied more vigorously this month, after
tenders were accepted from specialist constructors at the end of August.
Phra Kru Palad Wichiarn Samathiko added, however, that the budget requested
from authority might be not sufficient to complete all the necessary work,
so Buddhists could make donations for the restoration of the temple. More
information is available by phone number 053-814309, 053-814119, 053-814308
New Samoeng-Mae Hong Son route to be constructed
Despite financial concerns, a study has found the proposed construction of a
new road between Samoeng and Mae Hong Son to be a worthwhile investment.
At a meeting presided over by Mae Hong Son Governor Direk Konkleep, the
results of a study into the economic, engineering and environmental impact
of the new route were announced. The proposed new road will be 175
kilometres long and link Samoeng and Mae Hong Son. Epison Co. Ltd., Plan Pro
Co. Ltd., Thara Consultant Co. Ltd., and Asia Lab Consultant Co. Ltd. were
hired by Mae Hong Son Department of Highways to conduct the impact study.
The study estimated the budget for the road building to be around 100,000
Direk ordered a review of the studies in order to assess whether the budget
could be reduced. He told reporters that he would present the results of the
study to Chiang Mai governor before presenting it for approval before
parliament. He said that he hope the new road would lessen the time of the
journey between Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son.
Chiang Mai provides 24 million baht for online tourism
The College of Arts, Media and Technology, Chiang Mai University, has been
granted a budget of 24 million baht with which to establish and run an
e-tourism and e-handicrafts (2Es) program. The aim of the program is to
enable the tourism and handicrafts industries in the eight northern
provinces to reach out to new markets and potential customers via the
Initially the funds will be used to set up a training program to teach
participants the theoretical and practical basics of communications
technology. Applicants who pass the training program will then spend an
additional 2 months being trained on how to apply their knowledge to tourism
and handicrafts industries, working with leading companies of the two
sectors. The aim of the training program is to develop IT professionals who
will have the skills and knowledge to develop the region’s tourism and
handicraft sectors into world-class industries operating on a global scale.
The College of Arts, Media and Technology will cooperate with
www.Thaicom.com and www.ThaiTradePoint.com in developing export markets for
Thai handicrafts, with the new online business “Last Minute Sales -
“Last Minute Sales - Thailand” will also enable hotels, resorts, and
guest houses to contact potential customers in order to fill vacant rooms
during low season. New businesses will also be able to promote themselves on
a global scale.
Businesses interested in services offered by “Last Minute Sales -
Thailand”, which include website design and online promotion, can do so
for a minimal service charge. Online sales officers of “Last Minute Sales
- Thailand” have claimed that they can boost Thailand’s global
competitiveness by bringing local businesses to the attention of world-wide
Tourism business owners or people who are interested can ask for more
information at the public relations department of Last Minute Sales -
Thailand program, College of Arts, Media and Technology, Chiang Mai
University, tel. 0-1287-4276, 0-6913-6888 or e-mail: lastminute@thai
tradepoint.com, lastminute firstname.lastname@example.org
Chiang Mai Zoo welcomes White Bengal Tiger
Chalakka, a 6 year-old male White Bengal Tiger made his first
appearance at Chiang Mai Zoo on August 29. He had come from Khao Kheow Open
Zoo in Chonburi as part of a wildlife conservation and breeding project.
a 6 year-old male White Bengal Tiger is a new member of Chiang Mai Zoo.
Chalakka was received by Thanaphat Pongpamorn, director of Chiang Mai Zoo,
who held a welcoming ceremony attended by the media. Chiang Mai Zoo already
has 2 female White Bengal Tigers, named Kheaw Muk and Kheaw Kaew who have
been in residence at the zoo since 2005. Both female White Bengal Tigers
have achieved breeding age and it is hoped that if Chalakka mates with them
it will be beneficial to White Bengal Tiger breeding as they are considered
one of the world’s rarest animals.
White Bengal Tigers live in India and have white fur on their body with
black stripes and blue eyes. Their preferred habitat is jungle or dense bush
and they are good swimmers, but like lions, are not good at climbing trees.
They are meat-eaters and usually hunt at night time. They reach maturity at
around 3-4 years of age and they can breed throughout the year. The
gestation period for a female tiger is between 98-110 days and they usually
produce 2-4 offspring.
They have been hunted almost to extinction and are rarely seen in their
natural habitat. They were hunted so severely because many people,
especially the Chinese, will pay large sums of money for their flesh and
other body parts, which they mistakenly believe have curative powers or even
possess aphrodisiac qualities. Their skin is also in great demand and is
made into handbags and other ornaments.
Pai organises service training for tourist sector businesses
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), in cooperation with business owners
in Pai district, organised a service and welcome training program for
businesses operating in the tourist sector. The program was organised in the
hope of attracting tourists back to the district following a mudslide in
The training program was held at Baan Krathing, Wiangthai sub-district in
Mae Hong Son and attended by 300 Pai business owners. Aphichat Damdee,
television producer and lecturer at the program, said that Pai had suffered
a downfall in tourist numbers following the mudslide in 2005, which damaged
houses and tourist attractions. The TAT said that it hoped the training
program would help entice tourists back to Pai.
Chiang Mai transportation is ready for Ratchaphruek 2006
buses will be provided for the International Horticultural Exposition
The head of the Office of Land Transport recently announced his confidence
in the plans being put in place ahead of the forthcoming Ratchaphruek 2006.
Chiang Mai Tourism Business Association, Provincial Police Bureau Region 5
and the Office of Land Transport, Chiang Mai are jointly preparing to
welcome visitors during Ratchaphruek 2006 and ensure that transportation and
sufficient accommodation are provided.
Adisak Srisanphakit, director general of Department of Agriculture said that
in preparation for the International Horticultural Exposition Ratchaphruek
2006, which will start in 10 weeks time, the Office of Land Transport and
Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 have devised plans to provide 3 forms of
transportation to facilitate visitors traveling to the expo. There will be 3
“Park and Ride” parking areas, located at the 700 Year Anniversary
Stadium, the Winter Festival place and Chiang Mai City Hall; and there will
be 30 buses supplied by Chiang Mai Mass Transit Authority, providing a free
service throughout the duration of the exposition.
There will also be 20 mini red-buses operating from each of the following
locations: From Tesco Lotus, Hang Dong Branch and Central Airport Plaza
Chiang Mai department store to the location of the International
Horticultural Exposition, for a fare of only 20 baht; from Tesco Lotus, Kham
Thiang Branch, Carrefour and Big C to the exposition, for a fare of only 30
Chiang Mai Municipality has also added two further routes, operating
minibuses with a 15 baht service charge along the way. The designated routes
are from the Arcade Bus Terminal, running along Thapae Road calling at
Chiang Mai International Airport and terminating at the International
Horticultural Exposition; the second route starts at the Railway Station,
along Thapae Road, calling at Maharaj Nakhon Chiang Mai Hospital, and then
proceeding along the Irrigation Canal to the International Horticultural
On arrival at the exposition, visitors who pass the entrance to the 470 rai
exhibition ground can choose to walk around the exposition or ride on the
trams provided to transport people around the showground. There will be 15
of these vehicles and each tram can carry 60 passengers with a service
charge of 10 baht for children and 30 baht for adults.
To ensure that there is sufficient accommodation, Chiang Mai Tourism
Business Association in cooperation with North-Chiang Mai University has
created a website www.cnxtourism.com to gather information on every kind of
available accommodation in 600 places (approximately 25,000 rooms). Visitors
can log on to this website and ask for information and make a reservation
online or access www.royalfloraexpo.com to see details of the exposition.
Since the websites have been open, they have received more than 1,000 hits
per day from both Thai and foreign tourists. Visitors who plan to attend the
exposition are strongly advised plan their trip well in advance and make
reservations as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.
Central Airport Plaza practicing public disaster prevention plan
disaster exercises are practiced inside the store.
Chiang Mai Department of Public Disaster Prevention recently organized
fire-drills and other emergency exercises to show people what to do in
unexpected circumstances. These emergency exercises were held in the
motorcycle parking area of Central Airport Plaza, in association with
trading partners like Robinson, Top Supermarket and Major Cineplex, to train
staff in the correct procedures in case of fire or other unexpected
Orachorn Chanwiwattana, general manager of Central Airport Plaza said that
training plaza staff was extremely important so that they knew what to do in
case of fire or other unexpected emergencies. The Plaza had a duty to train
its staff to be able to assist its customers to evacuate the building
swiftly and safely and prevent panic by remaining calm and helpful should an
emergency situation arise. This applied to the staff of cinemas and
supermarkets and any venue where large numbers of people gather in an
victims from a tall building.
Members of the public were invited both to watch and join
in the demonstrations of the fire drills and practice the emergency
procedures. Orachorn said that after the training, she was confident the
staff was ready and knew what to do in the face of unexpected events. They
were also able to show customers that the plaza would be able to assure
their safety if unexpected events occurred in reality.
The GM concluded by thanking the members of the public that watched and
participated in the demonstration, the fire fighters and everyone concerned,
including Phuping Police Station, BIG C, Central Department Store,
Department of Public Disaster Prevention and Relief of Chiang Mai, Chiang
Mai Municipality, Chiang Mai Gate Fire Station, Lanna Hospital, Wing 41 and
Border Patrol Police 33.
Wang Bua Baan Waterfall claims another victim
A weekend visit by a group of students to Wang Bua Baan Waterfall on Doi
Suthep turned into a tragedy when one young man drowned there. One of the
students left the group to swim alone at the waterfall. However, recent
rains had swollen the stream and the strong current swept him into a deep
whirlpool, from which he was unable to swim clear.
A rescue team was called from Phuping Police station, but although they
managed to recover the student’s body and apply resuscitation, they were
too late to save the young man.
Police interviewed the students and Suriyapong Sinjai, a friend of the
deceased disclosed that he had tried to reach his friend’s hand but the
strong current swept the body into a 3-meter deep whirlpool, where he
disappeared under the surface.
The police continued their enquiries and the students admitted they had been
drinking alcohol before the tragedy took place on August 29. The dead
student was known as Aroonrit Pratheoungsawat, 18. He studied at Technology
The police came to the likely conclusion that Aroonrit, his sense of danger
diminished by consuming too much alcohol, went swimming in the stream and
the strong current immediately caused him to be swept into deeper water from
which he was unable to escape.
Wang Bua Baan Waterfall attracts many visitors throughout the year. The
waterfall cascades from a high cliff and during the rainy season, becomes
even more spectacular, drawing increased numbers of visitors to enjoy the
spectacle. Unfortunately, each year several of these visitors lose their
lives when they rather foolishly attempt to swim in the dangerous waters.
Soldier busted with 160 ya ba pills
Police officers arrested a soldier and the driver of the car he was
traveling in after discovering 160 ya ba pills in his luggage. The arrest
took place after police pulled over a bronze Toyota at a checkpoint in front
of Mae Ma sentry box, Tambon Sri Don Moon, Chiang Saen.
Once stopped, the car’s passenger produced identification revealing
himself to be Private Withaya Mingkhwan, in hope of avoiding the search.
Private Withaya, 21, is a soldier of the 2nd Infantry Battalion Division,
7th Infantry Regiment, Chiang Dao. On searching the car police found 160 ya
ba pills concealed in the luggage. Private Withaya and the driver, Wasut
Kheereewong, 23, were arrested and taken to Chiang Saen police station.
During the subsequent interrogation, Private Withaya confessed that they
were hired by a financial backer in Chiang Rai and given 6,000 baht to buy
the ya ba pills from a group based in Mae Sai. They were then to deliver the
ya ba to Chiang Rai where it would be collected and distributed to
Suspects arrested in Grammy representatives’ shooting
Two suspects in the case of the shooting of two GMM Grammy Co. Ltd.
representatives have been arrested, while two others managed to escape. As
reported in last week’s Chiangmai Mail police searched several
houses in Mae Rim and Saraphi districts. The searches produced shotguns,
pistols and ammunition.
The arrests followed the shooting on August 17 of two GMM Grammy Co. Ltd.
representatives as they were leaving Chang Puek police station. Earlier that
day the Grammy representatives, together with Pol. Lt. Col. Narueban
Jittayanun, had searched a number of restaurants at the Im-Boon Market
behind Lotus Khamthiang branch. Three restaurant owners were arrested for
owning unlicensed karaoke boxes on which they played pirated Grammy music
CDs. Police took the restaurant owners to Chang Puek police station to be
charged. Just as the record company representatives had left the police
station they were shot in their car. Both were admitted to hospital and
treated for wounds.
During the investigation police learned that individuals with licenses to
set up karaoke boxes were setting up more than their allocated amount. The
boxes they set up over their quota were supplied with fake authorisation
stickers and pirated music. Police suspect the restaurant owners,
disgruntled over their arrests, arranged the shooting.
Following the searches in Mae Rim and Saraphi, police arrested Sasithorn
Fuangfukitjakarn and Thongdee Ngaotu. Police are also searching for Somdej
Ngaojin and Wirat Thongborisut in connection with the shooting, but so far
the pair have managed to evade arrest. A press conference following the
arrests was held on August 31 presided over by Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong
Singhara Na Ayuthaya, commissioner of Provincial Police Region 5, and Pol.
Maj. Gen. Jiruj Promobol, Chiang Mai Provincial Police commander.
At the press conference Panupong said that music piracy was a never-ending
problem and that officers had been assigned to investigate gangs
Former Chang Puek councilor injured in attempted assassination
On September 2 a bomb exploded under the pick-up truck of Pratheep
Kaewsuwan, or “Sia Pae”, former municipal councilor from Chang Puek
sub-district, Chiang Mai. Pratheep suffered injuries to his leg. His poodle,
which was with him at the time, was also injured in the blast.
Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, commissioner of Provincial Police
Bureau Region 5, together with forensic police officers inspect the crime
Police officers from Chang Puek police station arrived on the scene to find
the wounded Pratheep and two damaged vehicles. The initial investigation by
forensic officers of Chiang Mai provincial police and the patrol police
discovered that a quantity of M26 explosive had been hidden under the front
right wheel of Pratheep’s car. The bomb had been set to detonate when the
car was moved.
Pratheep was the municipal councilor of Tambon Chang Puek sub-district until
he was compelled to resign last year. Recently he has been awarded a
contract to deal with garbage incineration by Chiang Mai municipality. He
has also expressed an interest in running in the 2007 elections. It’s
believed that the assassination attempt is linked to Pratheep’s business
and political activities.
Pol. Lt. Gen. Panupong Singhara Na Ayuthaya, commissioner of Provincial
Police Bureau Region 5, said that he believed the bomb was planted by a
professional assassin with the aim of killing Pratheep and his family.
Panupong went on to say that he had ordered officers to investigate
Pratheep’s political and business rivals, with the hope of bringing the
perpetrators to justice.