18 tourists injured in tour bus crash
Group was returning to Chiang Mai from a day at an elephant camp
On lookers and rescue teams at
the scene of the road carnage.
A tour bus loaded with Polish tourists on their way to Chiang Mai collided
with a pick-up truck on the Mae Ping-Sa Moeng Road. The driver of the
pick-up truck, Mr. Eed Pongsuk died while being transported to Nakorn Ping
Hospital. A passenger in his vehicle is still recovering from his injuries.
The accident occurred on February 21 when the tour bus, operated by M. Manja
Travel Company was returning from a visit to the Mae Sa Elephant Camp in Mae
The group of tourists had begun their bus tour of Thailand in Pattaya and
was traveling through Northern Thailand when the collision occurred.
Police and local residents spent more than three hours providing rescue and
first aid treatment to the injured.
According to initial reports the bus driver was unfamiliar with the roads
and encountered the pick-up truck traveling at a high rate of speed.
Locals protest against
high-rise building projects
Residents of the Wat U-mong
community protest against the high-rise building projects.
By Saksit Meesubkwang
Representatives of Wat U-mong community, located behind Chiang Mai
University, petitioned the Governor of Chiang Mai calling for the halt of a
high rise building project that may destroy the landscape and cause
environmental problems for the surrounding area.
Earlier this month, about 50 community members in Tambon Suthep, Chiang Mai,
led by Assoc. Prof Dr. Thanes Charoenmuang from the Faculty of Political
Science at Chiang Mai University, called on Chiang Mai Deputy Governor
Krisadaporn Siempakdee to follow this case, which was already proposed to
Deputy Governor Wongchai Wongrianthong,
Dr Thanes said the high-rise buildings were causing environmental problems.
The construction projects had been approved several months ago by the Tambon
Suthep Administration Organization for these buildings, which are more than
4 stories tall.
Many projects are currently under construction, resulting in problems for
people living nearby in dormitories, apartments, hotels, and condominiums. A
major problem was the water supply, which has become scarce because of the
influx of many new residents to the area.
They also limit the parking space in the area of dormitories, resulting in
students parking their cars on the roadsides, causing traffic jams.
Protestors complain that the community used to enjoy a traditional way of
life in a peaceful place with fresh and clean air. They say this life-style
is now threatened by noise and air pollution because of the huge and crowded
The community representatives will also call on the Chiang Mai
Administration Court to ask for suggestions, advice and guidelines for
further actions. They hope to find laws that could help to force investors
and authorities to stop constructing high-rise buildings.
Meanwhile, Deputy Chiang Mai Governor Krisadapon Siempakdee admitted there
were other problems concerning the high-rise buildings. He said having
received the complaint lodged by Dr Thanes, he would ask officials to look
into the case, and investigate the scene of the ongoing construction
projects, seek guidelines for solutions to the problems, and work with
community members and nearby villagers who have been affected.
Cheers turn to screams at Chinese New Year celebrations
By Saksit Meesubkwang
Celebrations mixed with tragedy lands a 3 year girl in the hospital during
the Chinese New Year festivities in Chiang Mai.
As locals and tourists gathered to watch the celebrations hosted by the
Chinese Descendants Association, smiles turned to horror as a 3 year old
girl plummeted 6 meters to the ground after a stunt went terribly wrong.
10 meter high acrobatic pole, similar to the one from which the 3 year old
The tragic ending began when the performing group took a frightened-looking
girl and pulled her to the top of the 10 meter-high wooden column. The girl
was crying the entire time she was being pulled up by the tiny belt.
Many onlookers expressed concern about the girl’s safety, but the
commentator told people that the girl was just pretending to be afraid. The
commentator announced that there will be a special trick and that the people
should not miss the highlight.
An adult on the top of a wooden column brought a green belt to tie the
girl’s ankle to a piece of towel. Then the performer suspended the girl over
the stage and began lowering her down, supported only by the towel he held.
When the girl was still suspended 6 meters over the stage, the adult dropped
the 3 year-old. Many screams were heard as the girl fell to the ground
It was reported that the piece of towel that tied the girl’s ankle slipped
from the belt and the performers on the stage failed to safely catch the
girl during her fall.
As the injured girl’s mother rushed to her to Maharaj Nakhon Chiang Mai
Hospital the Mayor Boonlert of Chiang Mai stated that children may no longer
perform in such risky performances.
The Mayor also paid a visit to the injured girl who is recovering from head
injuries and fortunately did not suffer any brain damage.
Warning from Military Commander “they will be punished”
Military Commander Col. Sutat Jarumanee of the 7th Infantry Region (Naresuan
Taskforce) based in Mae Hong Son issued a stern warning during a special
session with government officials.
“If there are any government officials involved with those networks, actions
will be taken, and they will be punished,” said Col Sutat Jarumanee.
He has called on provincial administration officers, regular police,
immigration police, and officials to inform them about the human trafficking
networks who smuggle humans, especially laborers and young women, to enter
Thailand illegally from Burma through Mae Hong Son, Chiang Mai, and
transport them to Bangkok.
Apparently a military tip-off led authorities to believe that there are
government officials involved with the smuggling and human trafficking, he
said. “These problems were also reported by the regiment’s high ranking
officers on the Thai-Burmese border.”
Col. Sutat disclosed that there are groups of foreign laborers, especially
Burmese aliens moving from the central and southern parts of Burma’s Shan
State. Those people then contact Thai agencies who help them enter into the
country illegally through Ban Namon inside Burma, and then crossing the
border to Ban Huay Pueng, Tambon Huay Pha, in the Muang district of Mae Hong
A military intelligence source noted that, during the past two years, about
5,000 laborers, children, and young women were smuggled into Thailand
through the Mae Hong Son border with Burma. This was done by human
trafficking syndicates who charge 5,000 baht a person, totaling 25 million
baht in revenue.
Drug suppression operation destroys 4 rai of opium poppy fields
The combined forces of local administration officials and border patrol
policemen launched an operation last month to suppress and destroy opium
poppy fields illegally grown by hill tribe people on the mountains in Ban
Palo, Tambon Mae Na, Chiang Dao district of Chiang Mai.
make-shift shed is burned to the ground.
Local villagers had lodged complaints with Chanachai Settapat, Chiang Dao
district officer informing him of the illegal activities on the mountain.
Based on these complaints the combined forces of the Suppression Division
and the combined forces of volunteers and 335th border patrol police
launched the search and destroy operation.
The task force trekked along the treacherous jungle routes for more than
three hours before arriving at the poppy fields. The illegal plant was found
to be thriving on over 4 rai of land scattered over the mountains. The
government forces destroyed and burned all the plantings. During their
operation, there was neither sign of nor any resistance from the poppy
A spokesman for the combined forces told reporters that the poppy fields
belonged to Hmong hill tribes in the Chiang Dao area. He said that more
areas were being investigated by government officials to possibly widen the
scope of the operation.
The source added that, at present, there are still many hill tribesmen who
illegally grow opium poppy deep in the forests on the mountains in the
Chiang Dao district area. Investigations are progressing to uncover these
areas so that further action can be taken.
Soldiers destroy the poppy
flowers by thrashing the plants with a stick.
American tourist arrested for possession of marijuana
Pai policemen in Mae Hong Son arrested an American national and charged him
with possession of marijuana.
On February 11, the drug suppression police division of Pai Police Station
in Mae Hong Son charged American Darius Conrad Klein, 27, for possessing 20
grams of marijuana and detained him at the Pai Police Station for
detained for questioning at Pai police station.
According to the Pai police, they encountered Klein during a routine patrol
along the village and town roads in the Pai district. Klein, who was driving
a motorcycle from Ban Ya Po village, was searched for illegal products when
police found the marijuana hidden in his backpack.
The police held him for further investigation and said Mr. Conrad had
confessed to the crime he was charged with, stating that he had purchased
the marijuana from the Lisu hill tribe people at Ban Ya Po for his own
personal use. Klein had been staying at a guesthouse in Mae Hong Son.
Meanwhile, The Northern Office of Narcotics Control Board has begun an
investigation into the practices of some travel agencies’ who apparently
encourage foreign tourists to purchase drugs.
These tour agencies will be punished under the law, the ONCB source noted,
and added that these activities lead to a bad reputation for Thai tourism.
US fugitive busted in Nan
Accused molester was posing as a school teacher
A joint FBI -Thai Interpol operation led to the arrest of an escaped
cross-border criminal (Trans-national crime) accused of rape in the USA
The accused, Brian Michel Jones apparently worked as an English teacher at a
secondary school in Nan province for over 6 months before being detained.
Michael Jones (right) being questioned at the Nan police station.
Pol Col Veerachai Bang-ngern, commander of the Nan provincial police
division, revealed that the FBI informed the commander of Thai International
Police that the alleged criminal from the United States was living in the
Pua district of Nan Province.
The Muang Nan police commander and the Pua district police commander
initiated an investigation based on the information provided by the FBI. Mr.
Brian Michel Jones had been allegedly in hiding due to the FBI issuing a
warrant for his arrest and from an arrest warrant issued by the Thai court
dated December 24, 2004.
The man was accused of a trans-national crime, which meant that with the
cooperation of the FBI and Thai police teams, he could be arrested while he
was resting in his mansion room. Mr. Jones declined to speak to
investigators so the police decided to hold him for further questioning.
Using subpoena #75/2550, dated February 10, 2007, Pol Col Viroj Veerasakul
held Mr. Jones as they searched his apartment in Prang Mansion. The police
team found several forms of identification, including a Canadian passport
issued on February 24, 2000 with an expiration date of February 24, 2005. A
second passport, this one from the United Kingdom, with an issue date of
August 29, 2000 and an expiration date of August 24, 2010. Also confiscated
was a driver’s license issued by the state of Nevada in the United States.
In addition, the searching team also found a large amount of pornography,
both photographs and VCD’s. Police were able to verify that Brian Michael
Jones had been living in Nan for over 11 months. Jones also worked as a
tutor at Ban Prang School in Nan province for over 6 months.
Brian Michael Jones was being hunted by the FBI to answer charges he
allegedly sexually harassed children, and that he allegedly raped a woman in
Las Vegas, Nevada in 1999.
Hollywood star on his way to Chiang Mai
Rambo 4 to be filmed around Chiangmai
The producers of ‘Rambo 4’, have chosen Chiangmai as their base for the
duration of the filming of the latest installment of the Vietnam war veteran
The director and his crew scouted the northern areas for locations in
mid–January for the hit movie series and decided to use Ban Kidchang in the
Mae Taeng district of Chiang Mai as a base and location for the film.
Local auditions that took place last month resulted in the choice of Jaiharn
Suamao, 40, Thai Yai man and a former Shan State Army (SSA) soldier to play
the gang leader who has to deal with John Rambo, played by Sylvester
Stallone a veteran of the first three Rambo action films took it upon
himself to train the cast to hunt and handle snakes in the forests of
The story line of the film has a Christian priest who brings medical
supplies to the Karen people and preaches Christianity to them. The pastor
is then kidnapped by Burmese soldiers. Rambo is assigned to go deep into the
jungles to try and free him. Rambo 4 is scheduled to be released in Thailand
A New World Record?
Weird Stunt on Elephant may make it into the Record Book
AP/ Staff reporter
When New Yorker Ashrita Furman looked around for a record he could break, he
settled on doing the most squat thrusts in one minute on the back of an
elephant at the Maetaman Elephant Camp located 50 kilometers north of Chiang
He achieved his goal Thursday as he climbed onto a platform on the back of
an obliging pachyderm named Kamee and powered through 40 of the vigorous
kicks in a minute. The previous squat thrust record performed on level
ground in Britain without an elephant in sight - was 30.
A squat thrust is a great exercise routine for the heart and circulatory
system. To start, put your hands on the floor, shoulder width apart. Stretch
your legs out behind you as if you are about to do a press up. In one
movement, bring both legs into a tuck position, bending the knees into the
chest and then repeat first movement.
Furman, 52, is accustomed to setting bizarre records. By his own count, he
holds 54, and has held 144 in total. These include the record for the
fastest 11 yards on a space hopper - a heavy rubber balloon on which
children bounce - and the fastest mile balancing a cue pool on his finger.
“To me the real beauty of this record is that I did it on the back of a live
elephant,” he said. “I’ve had this dream of doing a record on the back of an
elephant for many, many years but I’ve had no way of really accomplishing it
until I came to Thailand.”
The movements of Kamee, a 40-year-old female elephant, initially created
difficulties as Furman practiced his routine. But for the actual
record-setting bid, Kamee was solid as a rock.
Furman’s new claim for a record will be forwarded, along with witness
statements, to the Guinness Book of World Records.