Monorail at zoo rolls into service
Newest thrill to come to the city
The long awaited Chiang Mai Zoo monorail has finally rolled out into
service. Trial runs are being conducted between December 12-20 when visitors
can enjoy the thrill of riding one of Chiang Mai’s newest attractions at no
Thanaphat Pongpamorn, Chiang Mai Zoo director and Prasert Kasemkomes,
Monorail Project director introducing the new project on December 11 said,
“The monorail allows visitors to ride around the entire perimeter giving an
elevated view of Chiang Mai city, as well as watching all the animals below.
The operation of the tram service will cause no ill effects on the animals
and generate no noise and air pollution. The tram operation is controlled by
the latest and safest technology available.”
This monorail system was developed under a joint venture of the Thai
Monorail Company and Ampan Technology. Research on the tram system began in
2003 and its first trial run was conducted in 2005 followed by initial test
runs at the zoo the following year.
The zoo’s monorail track is 47 centimeters wide. The total length of the
route is 2 kilometers with four stations along the way. The air-conditioned
tram has a capacity of 50-70 seats.
The operators of the monorail have established fees at the following rates -
50 baht for children, 70 baht for adults and 150 baht for foreigners.
Road accident leaves 1 dead and many injured
A Chiang Mai-Chiang Rai bound tour bus swerved to avoid two
motorcycles that cut across its path causing it to lose control, hitting an
oncoming pickup truck, toppled over crushing another vehicle, leaving one
dead and over a dozen injured.
rescue worker points at the pickup truck crushed under the bus, while
another wrecked vehicle is seen in the background.
The accident took place at 10.20 a.m. on December 13 at the kilometer 9
marker on the Chiang Mai-Chiang Rai highway.
Pol. Col. Chartchai Niewsakul, superintendent of Doi Saket district police
station, led a police force of 20 policemen accompanied by a rescue unit
team to the scene of the road carnage to provide emergency medical attention
to the 17 injured passengers, who were transported to Maharaj Nakhon Chiang
Mai Hospital for further treatment.
The dead man was identified as Thitipong Nakayon, 44, the driver of the
crushed pickup truck.
Police said there were 24 Thai and foreign passengers on the bus heading for
Chiang Rai when the accident occurred.
Mr Sarawut, the bus driver, was detained by police for more questioning and
charged with reckless driving.
over election weekend
The Election Commission has issued a letter warning the
public that serving alcohol during the election weekend is punishable by
Notices have been sent out to business operators that they are to refrain
from selling alcoholic beverages between 18.00 hrs on December 22 until
24.00 hrs on December 23.
This ban includes sales, distribution and organizing any parties serving
Violators face a fine of up to 10,000 baht or a maximum of 6 months in jail
Chiang Mai hosts First Astronomy and Physics Olympics
Thai students win individual and team gold medals
Professor Dr. Vichit Srisa-an, (right) Minister
of Education, presided over the closing ceremony and awarded certificates
and prizes to the winners.
Professor Dr. Vichit Srisa-an, the minister of Education, presided over the
closing ceremony of the 1st Astronomy and Physics Olympics, hosted by Lotus
Pang Suan Kaew Hotel, Chiang Mai. Competitions had been held during the
previous week, involving 87 students from 21 different countries. Thailand’s
entrants were Suwan Suwanratt, Bunnawit Khongpitaksakul, Chayanont
Ruamcharoen, Sirivit Surapruk, and Theerasit Isaranont, all of whom were
upper secondary students. The Thai team, managed by Dr. Arachuree Muanwongs
and Dr. Krisanadaech Charoensuthasinee, was highly successful, scoring not
only the highest accumulated team points and the highest accumulated
individual points, but also winning three Gold Medals. The entire team said
that the awards were the highest accolades of their young lives, and wished
to present them to His Majesty the King and to the people of Thailand.
Thailand and India each won 3 Gold medals, China and Poland collectet 2 Gold
medals each from a total of 17 awarded. Poland won the most silver medals
with 3 whilst Iran won the most bronze medals with 4, followed by Belarus
with 3. There were also 16 awards of honour presented.
In the accumulated points Thailand won gold, Poland won silver and China won
bronze. Poland won the gold in the theoretical event. China won the
application event and the innovative event was won by India and Azerbaijan.
The Minister of Education said the success of the Thai team is an important
step in the development of Astro Physics in Thailand, which is fundamental
to the improvement of human resources and is the start point of the study of
science. He praised the high standards of the individual students,
particularly in this relatively new field of study and also praised the
organizers for their success in hosting the event
Suwan Suwanaratt said that he was happy and proud of his gold medal, having
studied hard for 6 months prior to the competition. He thanked his parents,
friends and sponsors for helping him achieve success, and gave a message of
encouragement to all new and existing students in the field. The competition
next year will be held in Indonesia.
Police plan succeeds in foiling evil plot
Police arrested two Thaiyai men on charges of kidnapping and holding
for ransom the 2-year-old son of a Chiang Mai businessman.
arrested kidnappers sit dejected at the police station after police foiled
their get-rich-quick plan.
At the time of the arrest the accused, Muang Loonglu and Tom Sookjai, both
21, police found two mobile phones, 20,000 baht, and a motorbike in their
possession. The 2 year-old boy’s mother, also of Thaiyai ethnicity, had died
several weeks earlier, apparently having owed the kidnappers the sum of
60,000 baht, which she was unable to pay.
On November 24th, the two men came to the village nursery and on the
pretence of having permission from the child’s father convinced the nursery
caretaker to allow them to pick up the child from the school to take him
home. But that was not to be, as the boy’s father soon discovered.
The kidnappers subsequently demanded a ransom of 65,000 baht but the amount
was bargained down to 20,000 baht. The boy’s father agreed to take the cash
to an agreed location, but not before police were informed and a plan to
catch the kidnappers was put into place.
At the agreed location of the meeting and as the exchange was taking place,
police sprung out of their hiding places and pounced on the perpetrators.
The child was rescued unharmed.
Two charges have been filed against the kidnappers. The first, separating a
child under 15 years of age from a parent or nursemaid without reasonable
cause, and the second of kidnapping a person with intent to obtain a ransom.
Third bogus shares investment case handed over to DSI
The Share Case Investigation files have been delivered to the
Department of Special Investigation (DSI). The deputy director of the DSI
said that the public has been defrauded for some time and it will take some
time to recover the public’s property. The governor of Chiang Mai is to
instruct district chiefs and village headmen to warn the public.
On 11 December at the Mae Ping Police Station, Phinyo Thongchai, Deputy
Director of the DSI, Pol. Lt. Gen. Theerasak Chukijkhun, Commissioner of the
Provincial Police Bureau Region 5, Phairoj Saengphuwong, Deputy Governor of
Chiang Mai, Col. Piyawat Kingkate, Commander of the Special Criminal
Investigations Bureau, Pol. Maj. Gen. Suwat Krungkrai, Deputy Commissioner
of Region 5 Police and Pol. Col. Krich Kittilue, the Superintendent of the
Mae Ping Police Station, held a news conference on receiving the share case
files of Somkid Turakij Company Limited.
Pol. Col. Krich Kittilue said that early November, investigations commenced
when 800 claimants filed complaints at Mae Ping Police Station against
Somkid Turakij Company Limited, through Somkid Taengtang, the managing
director of the company, for having defrauded the public.
Investigations proved that the company had committed the crime and police
requested Chiang Mai Provincial Court to issue arrest warrant 780/2550,
dated November 8, 2007 for the arrest of Mr Somkid Taengtang. Because the
case involved millions of baht, police handed the case over to the DSI who
came to compile evidence and take the case files, prosecute the offender and
recover the public’s property. The case involving Somkid Turakij Company
Limited is the third public fraud case to occur in Chiang Mai.
Previously DSI investigators had investigated the cases involving Golden
Gate Group (Thailand) Company Limited and Ruam Thun Kha Pleek Company
The cases were all similar which involved placing of advertisements offering
shares in the herbs and grain rice businesses for 650 baht each and after 25
days the 650 baht per share would be returned with 550 baht per share
interest. To help deceive the public, the company sold sacks of rice for 800
baht per sack which was cheaper than the normal market price. The company
refused to repay the shares and eventually disappeared, resulting in the
Phinyo Thongchai said it was found during investigations that the companies
had conned the public and therefore warned the public not to fall for the
sham again. The public is instructed to promptly notify the police if they
feel they are being swindled. Not even 10% of the property has been
recovered and the process will take some time.
The Ruam Thun Khapleek and Somkid Companies have caused no less than 200
million baht worth of damage and 900 claimants have pressed charges with Mae
Ping Police. Mae Ping and Chang Puak Police Stations have obtained arrest
warrants for the offenders. They have warned those acting as agents for the
companies to return the money that they have stolen. Questioning and
investigations will be completed within a month whereby the cases can be
brought before the courts.
Phairoj Saengphuwong, Deputy Governor of Chiang Mai, said that the crimes
occurred in Chiang Mai and the Provincial Authorities understand that the
public need to be informed and not to fall for the scam. District chiefs and
village headmen have been ordered to warn the public and not become victims
of these people and companies.
Opium plantations on Doi Wawee and nearby mountains destroyed
Cultivating of illegal crops continue in spite
of last year’s eradication strategies
A combined force of Chiang Rai
police officers and over 50 Army rangers destroy more than 10 rai of illegal
opium plantations in and around the mountainous area inhabited by Muser hill
On December 8, a force comprised of Chiang Rai police
investigators together with more than 50 Army rangers discovered and
destroyed more than 10 rai of illegal opium plantations in and around the
mountainous area inhabited by Muser hill tribes. During the previous year,
officers had implemented opium eradication strategies on mountains in Mae
Suay district, resulting in growers disappearing and certain district
administration officers being arrested and punished. However, it transpired
after investigation, that this year criminals from Fang district, Chiang Mai
province, had hired Muser growers to illicitly plant and harvest opium for
delivery to drug traders on the Thai-Burmese border. The raw opium was then
processed and distributed.
At the time of the raid, a Muser man, Mr. Ja Mo Laba, was found in
possession of 1.1 kilos of raw opium, concealed in a bamboo pole. During
questioning, he admitted that he had been hired to transport the opium to
Chiang Rai for sale He was charged and remanded in custody.
Transport Ministry targets less New Year’s traffic accidents
The Transport Ministry’s Land Transport Department has
set its target to reduce road traffic accidents by 12 per cent during the
“seven dangerous days” period of the New Year’s celebrations, starting
Deputy Director General Ronnayut Tangruamsap told journalists after
attending a meeting with representatives of bus operators and drivers that
he had asked them to check their buses’ engines and the condition of the
drivers before driving during the upcoming holidays.
Reckless driving and driving while intoxicated are seen as the cause of a
large portion of Thailand’s road accidents during the festivities, including
The Department intends to reduce road accidents during the seven-day period
by 12 per cent from last year’s total, Mr. Ronnayut said.
Also, starting from January 1, operators of public buses must have their
buses inspected twice a year, instead of annually, in order to ensure safety
of passengers, according to an announcement issued by the department.
Drug smugglers killed
in shootout with police
Border police, military and
the narcotics suppression police inspect the contraband and weapons seized
from the smugglers.
In a sting operation the combined forces of the border police,
military and the narcotics suppression police foiled the plans of drug
smugglers from delivering a large cache of heroin to Chiang Mai.
Early this month, Border Patrol Police Region 3 received a tip-off that
there would be a caravan delivering drugs from the Thai-Myanmar border to
the Wiang Haeng District, en route to Chiang Mai. Pol. Lt. Col. Noppakao
Kokilawathee, the Chief Investigator of the Border Patrol Police Region 3
was assigned to cooperate with a contingent of 30 men from Narasuan military
force and Narcotic Suppression Police officers to lie in wait to arrest them
at the ridge of a hill in Ban Paksaem.
At approximately 03.00hrs on December 5, ten people carrying the illegal
drugs were seen approaching on foot along the ridge of the hill. The
officers gave a signal them to stop for a search to be conducted. But as
expected the smugglers opened fire with automatic weapons at the officers.
After 15 minutes of exchanging gunfire, officers were still not able to
secure the area. Both parties were pinned down throughout the night keeping
a close watch over each others movements.
At 07.00 hrs the combined forces made another attempt to storm the area but
were met by a barrage of gunfire that lasted 5 minutes. This time the
smugglers retreated and the officers were able to enter and secure the area.
In the mean time word was sent back to Pol. Lt. Col. Chamroen Chaimongkol ,
Inspector on duty at the Wiang Haeng Police Station in Chiang Mai that
police officers had engaged in a shootout with the smugglers delivering
drugs in the forest of Ban Paksaem, Tambon Piangluang, Wiang Haeng District
on the Thai-Myanmar border. He immediately mobilised a team of Wiang Haeng
police, prosecutors, administrators and a doctor to fly to scene by
At the scene of the shootout, they found 2 dead men, their bodies riddled
with bullets and a trail of blood obviously of the wounded smugglers who
were carried away by their comrades back across the border. Near the corpses
were eight bars of heroin weighing a total of 2.6 kg, with a street value of
3 million Baht in Thailand, one AK-47 rifle and 1 magazine containing 3
bullets, one empty 7.62 x 39 mm bullet cartridge and a sharp 17" knife. It
is presumed that they were delivering more than 100kg of heroin.
Maj. Gen. Surachet Chaiwong, Commander of the Naresuan Military Force,
positioned along the borders from Tak, Mae Hong Son to Chiang Mai, stated
that his group had the task of strictly controlling people’s movements at
strategic areas along the border. It was a well know fact that Paksaem
Village in the Wiang Haeng district on the Thai-Myanmar border had many
amphetamine and heroin production factories.
‘We have strict orders to use every resource available to prevent the
movement of drugs into our country and to distribute them elsewhere, but the
smugglers keep coming up with new methods to try to deceive us.” the general
Thai and Burmese authorities
meet to discuss various issues
Lieutenant Colonel Soe Nai-u
and Col. Phadung Yinphaibunsook shake hands as both delegations pose for a
group photograph. (Photo courtesy of Army officers of the Special Task
Forces, Infantry Regiment 17, Naresuan Force)
On December 5, Lieutenant Colonel Soe Nai-u, commander of Infantry
Battalion 430 and also Chairman of the Thai - Burma Border Committee (Mae
Jae) welcomed Col. Phadung Yinphaibunsook, Commander Special Task Forces
Infantry Regiment 17, and Chairman of the Mae Hong Son Local Thai – Burma
Border Committee and his 15 member team to the 14th TBC Meeting which was
held at Mae Jae District Office, Loi Ko Province, Myanmar.
One of the points brought up for discussion was the problem of heavy smog in
Mae Hong Son during the summer. The Thai party claimed that the smog which
emanates from the Burmese side of the border is severely affecting the
economy, especially those who have to fly in from Chiang Mai and Bangkok.
Tourists sometimes have to cancel their travel programs, stating that last
year many tourists had done so. Lt. Col. Soe Nai-u said he would take the
matter to his commander.
The Burmese side submitted a proposal to the Thai side to repatriate the
Long Neck Karen Hill Tribes peopl who are presently living in Ban Huay Pu
Kaeng and Ban Huay Sua Dao villages. Burma claimed that the long neck people
were an ancient Burmese tribe and fled the fighting between Burmese
government forces and minority insurgents. The Burmese said that they would
guarantee their safety. Col. Phadung Yinphaibunsook said that he would take
the matter to the Governor of Mae Hong Son and the next step would be to
notify the third Army Region Commander.
On a positive note, TBC meeting agreed that they would try to create peace
and harmony along the border allowing coordination and cooperation between
military forces. They would also hold mutual relation-enhancing meetings and
sports competitions. They also agreed to cooperate to suppress or control
drugs and other illegal activities and will notify each other’s counterparts
of any findings. The meeting was held in an orderly and friendly atmosphere,
both sides promising to cooperate and forge better relationships between
their two countries.
Election Commissioners job
is never done
Wrongdoers use every trick in the book to evade detection
The Chiang Mai Election Commission held a training course on 9
December for defence officers in order that they can perform their duties
more efficiently in the final run up to the elections.
It was also reaffirmed that there had been vote buying, but there are no
witnesses at present. Manop Sakdaphorn, Chairman of the Chiang Mai Election
Commission, said that the training should increase the efficiency of
officers. Violence during the elections requires that defence officers be
out on the streets and strictly perform their duties to prevent breaches of
the election laws.
He reiterated that election laws had already been broken in Chiang Mai, but
no arrests have been possible as there are no witnesses. There are rumours
that candidates instruct their people to give out money after they have
finished campaigning and have left the location. The Election Commission is
continually investigating these reports and seeking ways and means to arrest
The political parties are emphasizing on campaigning in order to making
direct contact with the public, rather than doing stage shows.
It is noticeable that there are not too many bill boards erected on the
streets of Chiang Mai. Candidates prefer to compete with each other by
personally knocking on doors of the citizens to drum up support. This was
quite evident as party leaders abandoned their plans to speak on stage
preferring the knock-on-doors strategy.