NEWS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

HM the King endorses new constitution

Verdict clears Madame Mayor

The Gate to reopen in November

New U.S. Consul General arrives in Chiang Mai

Tachilek vendors close up shops

Sole protestor detained for condemning government

5 trips and get a free car

Police cars running on used cooking oil

Police sharpen skills with simulated terror acts

 

HM the King endorses new constitution

His Majesty the King endorsed the country’s 18th constitution, five days after the kingdom, a constitutional monarchy since 1932, voted in favor of the newly-drafted charter in the first national referendum to pave the way for the first post-coup national poll scheduled for this December.
The charter took effect immediately after it was announced in the Royal Gazette last Friday. TNA

 

Verdict clears Madame Mayor

Saksit Meesubkwang
A 46 page verdict cleared the Madame Mayor of all charges brought on by the local Election Commission office and the national Election Commission that sought to disqualify her from the recent mayoral elections.
On August 22nd, the Chiang Mai Administrative Court read the verdict inside a packed courtroom filled with family members and supporters of Dr. Duentemduang na Chiang Mai who was accused by the EC office of failing to affix a stamp on one of her candidacy forms and for a tax issue involving a rental property.
The Mayor had filed the complaint against the Election Commission after winning the election by a landslide on June 25.
The Mayor said she was pleased by the verdict and she can now proceed with the business of the city.
She added that one of her priorities is flood control management and she has begun work on ways to prevent a repeat of last year’s disaster that inundated parts of the city.
She can now finalize building her management team that will assist her during her four years in office.
The national Election Commission has 30 days to file an appeal against the verdict and at press time had not announced if it would continue to seek her disqualification.


The Gate to reopen in November

Vendors not allowed

Workers lay concrete slabs as they renovate the Thapae Gate and surrounding area. The first phase should be completed in time for the Loy Krathong festival to be held 23-25 of November.

Saksit Meesubkwang
The City of Chiang Mai hopes to reopen the Thapae Gate in time for Loy Krathong on the 23rd of November said Dr. Ken Santitham, Deputy District Chief.
The long planned renovation of the Thapae Gate and its surrounding began on July 13th after it was decided to beautify one of Chiang Mai’s most transited areas.
The 63 million baht project is now 30% complete as workers pour 0.15 meter thick concrete and resurface the 5,700 square meter area.
The area will also include additional close circuit cameras, added walkways for easier transit across the moat, better lighting and tree barriers in a park atmosphere.
City officials expect the first phase of the renovation project to be completed in time for the Loy Krathong festival in November.
The first phase is comprised of the Gate area where vendors used to gather every Sunday to sell their merchandise. The city has decided not to allow the vendors to return once the project is completed.
The second phase which includes the immediate surroundings of Thapae Gate is set to be completed by May 2008.
Thapae area will only be open for important events such as government and religious activities. Private organizations who wish to hold activities will have to enter into lease agreements with the city.


New U.S. Consul General arrives in Chiang Mai

Michael K. Morrow has been appointed the new U.S. Consul General in Chiang Mai.

U.S. Consul General Michael K. Morrow has begun his duties at the U.S. Consulate in Chiang Mai. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Consulate

Mr. Morrow previously served overseas at the U.S. Embassies in Gaborone, Botswana, Warsaw, Moscow, and Lagos.
His most recent Washington assignments were Director of Crisis Management Support in the Operations Center, and Deputy Director of the Office of Russian Affairs.
Mr. Morrow received a Masters Degree in International Affairs from Columbia University in 1986. He also has a Certificate from Columbia’s Averell W. Harriman Institute for the Advanced Study of the Soviet Union. He earned a B.A. in Political Science at Miami University in 1984. Mr. Morrow is from Saline, Michigan.
His wife, Shannon, is from Vancouver, British Columbia. They have two sons, Sean and Brett.


Tachilek vendors close up shops

Business as usual last Thursday at the border crossing between Mae Sai and Tachilek.

Many traders on the border town of Tachilek in Myanmar have closed up shop amid fears that soldiers from the Myanmar army have begun to arrest owners who deal in illegal DVD and CD sales.
Many of the vendors in Tachilek are members of the Red Wa tribe and have been allowed under an agreement with the Myanmar government to sell their wares provided they do not carry or store weapons.
This past week reports surfaced that several vendors had been arrested by soldiers from the Myanmar government which prompted the closing of many shops, notorious for plying illegal goods, mostly from China.
Reports (that could not be verified by the Chiangmai Mail) state that members of the Red Wa army have been purchasing weaponry and stocking up on food provisions in preparation for future skirmishes with the Myanmar military.
The government of Myanmar had ordered the ethnic Red Wa members to volunteer as soldiers but this call has fallen on deaf ears. (CMM Reporters)


Sole protestor detained for condemning government

An unemployed engineer, Supachok Thongdart, 37, was charged with condemning the current government under the lead of Prime Minister Gen. Surayud Chulanont and the national referendum which was approved by voters last week.

Supachok Thongdart shown here after being detained for condemning the government.
He was arrested while distributing leaflets critical of the government at Pa-Ngae market which is opposite the 7th Artillery in Mae Rim district.
The contents of the leaflet can be literally translated as ‘the seizure of power over Thailand’. He was sent for questioning at the 7th Artillery and Kawila Military Camp.
Supachok, a graduate with a bachelor degree in engineering, told soldiers that he criticized the government and had the right to inform others. He admitted that he published the leaflets and distributed them on his own willingness. He also sent a letter informing The Royal Thai Army Commander-in-Chief and Council for National Security (CNS) Chairman, Gen. Sonthi Boonyaratglin and the PM Gen Surayud of his actions.
Supachok is being detained by soldiers at the Kawila Military camp and may face charges under martial law which is still in effect in Chiang Mai. (CMM Reporters)


5 trips and get a free car

Members of the 5th Region Police inspect the latest haul of methamphetamines as one of the suspects (center) looks on.

Saksit Meesubkwang
The promise of a free car was just too tempting an offer for two men to turn down. In return for a set of wheels the two men had to make 5 roundtrips between Chiang Dao and Chiang Mai and transport methamphetamine pills or yaba.
The frequent drivers did not fulfill their part of the bargain and won’t be seeing any wheels for a long time if they are found guilty in a court of law.
Theradaech Vitayathan, 26, and Kritapat Saetang, 30, both residents of Fang were detained at a checkpoint last week and arrested for transporting 105 plastic bags containing 21,000 yaba pills.
The men said they were headed for the Big C parking lot in Chiang Mai to make the delivery.
The suspects were former tour guides in Chiang Dao and were allegedly paid 50,000 baht to make the delivery. They told police this was their first trip.
Both face charges of distribution of a class A drug.


Police cars running on used cooking oil

Saksit Meesubkwang
The Chiang Mai police have come up with a novel way to reduce their fuel bills.
Used vegetable cooking oil is now being processed into bio diesel that will keep their patrol cars operating round the clock.

Pol. Gen. Seripisuth Temiyavej, Acting National Police Chief, presided over the opening of a Bio Diesel Project at Chiang Mai police headquarters.
Acting National Police Chief Seripisuth Temiyavej was in town to preside over the opening of the new bio-diesel pump at the district police headquarters.
The project will be implemented nationwide, according to the Police Chief.
He added that the rise in the price of oil has increased the cost of regular fuel and the police departments will be able to reduce their fuel bills by using bio-diesel.
Currently there are 40 bio-diesel pump stations and more are being created to provide nationwide coverage.
The used vegetable cooking oil is being provided to the police by restaurants, hotels, factories and traders. Patrol vehicles will use the bio diesel, but vehicles over 10 years old will have to be filled with 50% bio-diesel and 50% diesel.


Police sharpen skills with simulated terror acts

Saksit Meesubkwang
Members of the Special Forces unit take down a “terrorist” during their annual training drill in Chiang Mai.

More than 500 officers involving Special Forces from 5th Region Police, the 33rd Division Border Patrol Police, the Immigration Police, the Mahrach Chon Nakhorn Chiang Mai Hospital and Chiang Mai Municipality employees participated in simulated acts of hostage taking, unruly demonstrations and bomb removals as part of their annual training exercise.
The drills took place to prepare the police should these incidents occur in Chiang Mai. The simulations involved a group of “terrorists” taking someone hostage and the Special Forces moved in to rescue the hostage.
Fake bombs were placed in different locations and removal experts succeeded in disarming the explosives without incident.
Crowd control maneuvers using water cannons and police dogs also took place to prepare police for unruly demonstrations.
The training exercises were monitored by Pol. Gen. Vichien Photsri, Deputy National Police Commissioner and Pol. Gen. Kittitat Ruongthip, 5th Region Commander.