Vol. VI No. 44 - Tuesday
December 25, - December 31, 2007



Home
Automania
News
Business & Travel
Book-Movies-Music
Columns
Community
Happenings
Dining Out & Entertainment
Features
Letters
Social Scene
Sports
Cartoons
Current Movies in
Chiangmai's Cinemas
Advertising Rates
Classifieds
Back Issues
Updated every Tuesday
by Saichon Paewsoongnern


NEWS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn presides over opening of Royal Project Fair 2007

Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah

God’s Shepherd

Tighter security measures in place after unrest in refugee camp

14 kg heroin confiscated

Royal pardon for 227 inmates of Chiang Mai Central Prison

Mae Kuang Dam may run out of water

North Koreans on watch list for illegal entry into the country

Land Transport Office issues ‘smart card’ drivers licenses

Complaint filed with the Lawyers’ Council concerning the release of toxic substances

Phrae schools receive 7 million baht in development grants from Japanese Government

Restaurants breach law prohibiting alcohol sales on election day

Mystery disappearance of two victims of Mekong River collision

65,101 votes cast at the two day advance voting period

Blitz on illegal aliens in Chiang Rai

81 pretty women from the Northern provinces to compete in the Miss Chiang Mai Pageant

 

HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn presides over opening of Royal Project Fair 2007

Saksit Meesubkwang
On December 13, at Chiang Mai University Convention Hall, Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn graciously presided over the opening ceremony of the Royal Project Fair 2007, in honor of His Majesty the King’s 80th birthday celebrations this year.
Attending the ceremony was His Serene Highness Prince Bhisatej Rajani, chairman of the Royal Project Foundation and Prof. Dr. Pongsak Angkhasit, the president of Chiang Mai University, as the organizing committee chairman,
The fair was held during December 13-16 to honor His Majesty The King, as well as display the Royal Project’s activities, sales of the Royal Project’s new products, under the Doi Kham Royal Project brand name, as well as exhibiting other academic and research works.
The Royal Project
By Peter Cummins
It was in 1969 that HM the King, vitally concerned about the Hill Tribes’ cultivation of and addiction to opium, established the Royal Project, the first manifestation being a Hmong village on Doi Pui in Chiang Mai Province. Development has now spread to Chiang Rai, Lamphun and Mae Hong Son.
Over the years, the Projects have been instrumental in the conversion of the poppy fields being turned into groves of temperate fruits and vegetables. It is under the dynamic direction of HM the King’s close colleague, friend and confidant, Prince Bhisadej Rajanee who manages the projects from his base at Chiang Mai University, that there are now five research stations and 35 Royal Project Development Centres which incorporate some 300 villages, comprising 14,000 households and approximately 90,000 farmers.
The Royal Development Projects Board, under the Office of the Prime Minister, also serves as the secretariat for the Chai Pattana Foundation which is directly responsible for the work related to the Royal Development Projects.
Thus, more than three decades later, the results can be seen in the new life that has come to many of the mountain villages. Greenery has returned to areas once denuded of forest cover through the highly-destructive slash-and-burn agriculture, leaving only barren hills in its wake, and opium cultivation, a cause of extreme national concern, is relegated to the dust-bin of history.
“The key to the success of the Project lies in His Majesty’s guidelines,” explains Prince Bhisadej. “They focus on obtaining knowledge, through research, avoiding bureaucratic entanglements and swift action to respond to the villagers’ needs, while promoting self-reliance,” he adds.

 

Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah

Peace on Earth, goodwill towards all

As if out of a Cecil B. Demille biblical epic movie, children in their period costumes representing shepherds, angels, the three wise men and not forgetting the giant-sized Roman centurions, re-enacted the Nativity Play at the Gymkhana Club last week. At this holiday time of warmth and happiness, the Chiang Mai Mail team wishes everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah. May there be peace on earth and goodwill towards all.


God’s Shepherd

By B. Phillip Webb Jr.
The frost of forty winters had etched deep lines into the shepherd’s face. Having spent his entire life outdoors on Bethlehem’s hills, he was old at forty - and cold. The hillside where he sat this day was cold, too, and he pulled his mantle close about him to block the wind.
Every so often he would shift position, not out of discomfort so much, but from a sense of unease, anxiety, crowdedness. Instead of hundreds of sheep with whom he felt quite at home, this hillside was flooded with people-thousands of them-listening attentively to the Teacher. They could hear him fairly well, except when the wind would whisked away the words.
Tobias Ben David (pronounced Da-Veed) was the shepherd’s name, though people called him Toby. His flocks were in good hands this week, cared for by his grown sons, but Toby had left them to listen to Jesus of Nazareth. Today the Teacher was talking about salvation, how God will save his people from their waywardness and sins, to rescue them and gather them close.
Now Jesus’ illustration turned to sheep. Toby felt a lot better. He knew a lot more about sheep than people.
“The good shepherd,” Jesus was saying, “lays down his life for his sheep. The hired hand who doesn’t own the flock runs away when he sees the wolf coming. But not the good shepherd...”One night, years ago the men Toby hired to watch the flock with him fled when they saw a mountain lion roaming the hills. But Toby had stayed. Shepherding was his livelihood. He knew the sacrifices that good shepherding required. He knew about defending defenceless lambs. He knew about putting his life on the line for sheep. That’s what good shepherds did.
Jesus continued, “Suppose you have 100 sheep and when night comes one is missing. What do you do? You leave the 99 sheep all together and then climb the hills, looking, searching until you find the lost sheep. Then you pick him up, put him on your shoulders, bring him down the hill to the camp, and ask your fellow shepherds to rejoice with you.”


Tighter security measures in place after unrest in refugee camp

Khajohn Boonpath,
and staff reporters

Mae Hong Son Governor Thongchai Wongrianthong, launched three measures following the recent riot caused by a group of refugees at Baan Pang Tractor refugee camp in Tambon Pang Moo, Mae Hong Son’s Muang district. The riot, which occurred on 16th December, caused one refugee to lose his life and official and voluntary soldiers’ assets to be damaged.

Damaged motocycles lay strewn over the courtyard in the aftermath of the refugee unrest.
The governor has been waiting for inspection and investigation report from officials. The three measures launched include: 1) doctors and prosecutors were assigned to perform the forensic inspection of the dead body and inspect the damaged assets respectively, 2) substitute the present volunteer soldiers, who are positioned at the refugee camp, with a new group of volunteer soldiers from the 17th Infantry Special Task Force and the 336th Border Patrol Police Camp and, 3) the security officers to retain their control in the refugee area and enforce Thai laws to control these refugees based on the strict human rights practices. A special committee has been formed including the district’s administrative officer, tambon and village heads, head of Karen refugees and an officer from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Mae Hong Son office. The committee’s meeting is scheduled once a month and the three measures were implemented immediately.
The governor said that an investigation on damaged assets belonging to government and voluntary soldiers would be carried out as soon as possible. So far, the UN has accepted the three measures.
The Decision as to whether the refugees would be deported home belongs to the UNHCR, Mae Hong Son office.


14 kg heroin confiscated

The two suspected heroin traffickers being interrogated
by narcotics suppression officers after their arrest.

Staff reporters
Two drug dealers were arrested by soldiers from the Pa Muang Task Force in joint force with the police team from Denchai District Police Station, Phrae. Confiscated were 40 bars of heroin, weighing altogether 14 kilograms.
The two dealers are reported to be residents of Chiang Rai’s Wiang Kaen district, named Pinyo, 27, and Wichit, 38.
The press conference to announce the arrests was held on 16th December at the task force office and presided over by Maj. Gen. Chaovalit Sirikit, Pa Muang’s Task Force commander, Pol. Lt. Gen. Theerasak Chukitkhun, the commission of the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5.
The two dealers alleged they were paid 19,000 baht for transporting the drugs and hired by an anonymous businessman in Chiang Rai. However, the police team assumed that they were members of a big drug network rather than just typical transporters.
The military source reported that the drugs would be transported from the border through Phrae, and handed to a dealer in Bangkok. The dealers used the pre-election period to smuggle the heroine into the Kingdom.
A Phrae investigation police team has been investigating for further gang members who might have been involved in this trade.


Royal pardon for 227 inmates of Chiang Mai Central Prison

In keeping with His majesty’s wishes in celebration of his 80th birthday

Staff reporters
At 15.00 on 12 December 2007, Chuchart Chailert, director of Chiang Mai Central Prison, presided over a male prisoners release ceremony for those who were pardoned on His Majesty the King’s 80th birthday on 5 December 2007. Each of the prisoners were moved by His Majesty’s grace and vowed that they will be good citizens.
Chuchart said that Chiang Mai Central Prison has a total of 3,750 prisoners, 2,671 sentenced, 411 on appeal, awaiting sentence, 473 under investigation and 11 children in custody. On the occasion of His Majesty the King’s 80th birthday, a number of prisoners were pardoned in honor of His Majesty and to give the prisoners a chance to become good citizens. To meet the wishes of His Majesty, the Central Prison submitted names to the inspection committee and applications submitted to the courts to request that the court free the selected prisoners. Five prisoners were released under Article 5(1), 265 who had less than a year to serve, were released under Article 6(1) and seven prisoners were released un Article 6(2) for excellent behavior who had less than two years to serve. The group of 277 prisoners to be released underwent preparations and training for their release, which included ways to seek employment, prepare them emotionally and providing them with social welfares.
Reporters said that after the names were announced, those pardoned displayed their happiness at the news and were touched by the clemency shown by His Majesty the King, some were even moved to tears. All promised to be good citizens for the furtherance of society and promised to change their ways and not to commit any more crimes.


Mae Kuang Dam may run out of water

Staff reporters
The Provicial Waterworks Authority warned that the water level in the Mae Kuang Dam is low and could lead to possible shortage of piped water. People have been advised to save water. Anyone living in afflicted areas can contact the Water Works Office for assistance.
Chawalit Saran, the PWA Governor, revealed that the shortage of water was the result of long, discontinuous rainfall. The Mae Kuang dam, which has a capacity of 260 million cubic meters, has declined to just 70 million cubic meters.
The volume of water supplied from the dam to the Chiang Mai Waterworks Office during September to December 2007 was reduced from 48000 to 43000 cubic meters a day and will be reduced even further to 33000 cubic meters a day during January to March 2008 respectively.
50% of households have been affected by this shortage of water. Mae Rim Water Works has to increase its capacity to generate piped water at 9600 cubic meters to supply to Chiang Mai Water Works. Construction of the water works expansion will be finished in December 2007. The enhancement of water generation and distribution of Patun Plant to increase its capacity to 19000 cubic meters a day will be completed in April 2008.
Chawalit said that in this coming drought, consumers would not be affected by the shortage of piped water for sure, however, people suffering shortage of piped water can contact the office of Chiang Mai Water Works at 053-252155.


North Koreans on watch list for illegal entry into the country

Using Thailand as a gateway to third countries

Staff reporters
Korean immigrants were spotted entering the city and attempting to board a bus before Thai authorities were able to apprehend and charge the “tourists”. At the current state, more and more North Koreans are entering Thailand illegally in hopes of being sent to a third country.
At 10.30 p.m. on December 11, Mae Ping Municipal Police, led by Pol. Capt. Badin Phitsanuraksa, deputy inspector, and a team of officers were on patrol near Charoen Muang Road at the front of Chiang Mai railway station when they saw a group of men and women walking down the road carrying their belongings. The group was attempting to flag down a bus and were acting in a suspicious manner. The officers went to question them and found that they were North Koreans and arrested all eight individuals. They were identified as Han Un-Ching, 21, Jung Ha-Yong, 27, Hee Kun-Yong, 30, Chang Ngoen-Yang, 21, Dee Chum-Kun, 18, Dom Hin-Chong, 35, Chung Yae-Chaeng, 20, and Chang Hang-Chu, 40. The group was handed over to Pol. Lt. Col. Ittiratt Saenpanya, duty inspector of the Mae Ping Municipal Police, Chiang Mai and charged as illegal immigrants.
Official reported that many government agencies are watching the North Korean illegal immigrant situation. The immigrants use Thailand as their route to a third country. In the past they entered Thailand at Chiang Saen from the Lao border and carry on their journey from there. If spotted, they willingly submitted to arrest and ask the Thai authorities to extradite them to a third country.


Land Transport Office issues ‘smart card’ drivers licenses

Staff reporters
The Chiang Mai Land Transports Office issued Drivers License Smart Cards to drivers, so they could further use them in neighboring pact countries
The Chiang Mai Land Transports Office held an activity to honor His Majesty the King’s 80th Birthday by modifying drivers’ licenses to have Smart Cards made from plastic with magnetic strips. This is being done so that it will be more difficult to have counterfeit data, to increase the card life-span, and they will be beautiful with the graphic design symbol of each province. Chiang Mai province lisences will have a Borsang umbrella, a Panda, and Huay Namdang National Park.
Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai were the first provinces in the North apart from Bangkok to do this. Mr. Chanchai Keelapaeng, Chief of the Chiang Mai Land Transports Office, said that the Smart Card drivers’ licenses could be used in neighboring conventions between countries because they have both Thai and English writing. On the first opening day of service more than 500 people applied for the Smart Cards.
Interested people can apply with an ID Card, a Medical Certificate, house registration, and the 200 Baht fee. It’s free, considering that the entire public doesn’t come all at the same time. However, it can be used for private vehicles only. Trucks and larger vehicles must still use their specific licenses.


Complaint filed with the Lawyers’ Council concerning the release of toxic substances

Cadmium poisoning and pollution of agricultural land

Staff reporters
On December 16th, a meeting was held at the Sansai Training Centre, Sansai District, Chiang Mai, comprising Mr. Pongsakorn Sribunmee together with Mr. Parat Yatheon, the chairman of a group of victims of cadmium poisoning, and 100 member of the group. The toxic substances were released 30 years ago in the Maeku and Prathadphadang sub-districts of Maesod by 2 well-known companies licensed for zinc and smelt concessions in that area.
The purpose of the meeting was to submit a complaint to Mr. Ratsada Manoorratsada of the Lawyers’ Council concerning the fact that although several previous complaints against the companies concerned had been made, very little action had been taken or concern shown for the victims of the companies’ neglect of duty of care.
The release of the toxic substances had damaged the lives, livelihoods and property of the inhabitants of two sub-districts, and resulted in 13,000 rai of land becoming contaminated and unable to be used for agricultural purposes. The previously submitted complaints had been sent to the relevant government offices, and to the Prime Minister’s office, but nothing had been done to alleviate the victims’ distress and inconvenience. A solution to their problems had not been offered, nor had reimbursement for the damage caused.
In 2004, cadmium was found both in the sediment of the river, in agricultural products and more seriously, traces were found in the residents themselves. 6,000 people were affected. Officers destroyed and buried the agricultural products, and farmers were banned from planting or working the land. Previously, rice, soy beans, garlic and vegetables had been cultivated on the contaminated land; as a result of the ban inhabitants were forced to buy rice and food, although they were short of the income from the use of the contaminated areas. Government officials suggested planting alternative crops, these also did not succeed because of the high levels of cadmium in the soil.
Since 2004, the government had provided reimbursements of 4,220 baht per rai for the contamination of the now useless land, and other reimbursements were made in 2006. However, neither those people who had fallen sick nor relatives of those who had died due to the toxic effects of the cadmium, had never received any compensation, nor any explanation as to how the contamination had occurred.
The companies responsible for the contamination expected to have their concessions extended for another 20 years, and as a result the people affected stated that they need to know, both from the state itself and from the licensing office, how the state plans to deal with this problem in the long run, and who will take responsibility.
Mr. Ratsada told the suffering people that he would submit their complaint to the Lawyers’ Council at their meeting in Bangkok, and that he would arrange and lead a group who would survey the area in order to gain knowledge regarding the best manner in which to track down the source of the problem and to help the victims.


Phrae schools receive 7 million baht in development grants from Japanese Government

Human Security Project endowments include constructions, vehicles and school equipment

Staff reporters
As part of the Grassroots Human Security Project, requests for grants to assist in construction projects, the purchase of school equipment and the purchase of a vehicle were recently presented for consideration to the Japanese Government through the Consulate-General of Japan in Chiang Mai. Ban Naluang School in Sa-iab sub-district, Song, requested 3,594,100 baht to develop two dormitories for their boarding pupils, and the Santijintana Blind School in Denchai, Phrae, requested 3,593,400 baht to construct a cafeteria and to purchase school equipment and a vehicle. Both projects were approved. Subsequently, on December 17th, Mrs. Junko Yokota, the Consul-General of Japan in Chiang Mai, presented the now completed dormitory buildings at Ban Naluang School to Sec. Lt. Pongsak Plaiwet, the Governor of Phrae, acting on behalf of the school, and on 18th December she presented to him the completed cafeteria, the vehicle and the school equipment requested by the Santijintana Blind School. Both grants were used according to the tenets of the projects, and have provided assets which will belong to the schools and to the community. This will both benefit the students and provide educational opportunities. The vehicle which has been provided for the Santijintana Blind School is more than welcome, as it will enable pupils to be taken for treatment in the case of illness, and will also allow them to attend outside activities.


Restaurants breach law prohibiting alcohol sales on election day

Two restaurant owners arrested on Saturday Dec. 15

Staff reporters
Predictably, the recently announced law preventing sales of alcoholic drinks on parliamentary election days was disregarded at various entertainment venues in the Chiang Mai area. During inspections on 15th December authorised by the commander of San Kamphaeng Municipal Police Station, a team of officers led by Police Captain Phakhorn Suravichai visited a number of venues, and arrested two persons who were found to be in breach of the law. Mr. Nakharin Faknak, the owner of the Rainbow at Moo 3, San Kamphaeng, and Mrs Sompopng Khonlasit, the owner of Kuk Kai Karaoke at Moo 1, Tan Pao, also in San Kamphaeng district, were taken to San Kamphaeng Police Station and charged. They will both be prosecuted for illegally selling alcohol inside designated election zones.


Mystery disappearance of two victims of Mekong River collision

Two men missing, presumed drowned

Staff reporters
At 6 p.m. on 14th December, Police Captain Somrit Sibnha, the duty inspector at Chiang Saen Municipal Police Station, received notification of a collision between two boats on the Mekong River, near the Golden Triangle. A team of officers immediately attended the site of the accident, and found the “Siriwatt Man Choke”, a large tour boat with seating for 40 passengers which runs from Ban Sobruak to Koh Don Saow in Laos, moored at the river bank. The pilot, Mr. Suwan Phrompanya, reported that his craft had collided with a long-tailed boat, the “Sri Chiang Saen”, which had sunk in the middle of the river immediately following the impact. The pilot of the long-tailed boat, Mr. Manas Sutwong, had survived with just a cut to his face and had swum to shore, but his two passengers, who had also been thrown into the river, had disappeared. The two missing persons were identified as Mr Prasong Phongpanyayuen, husband of Mrs Aphorn Khamngoen, Chairwoman of Mae Chan District Administration, and himself a former village elder of Sansay, Mae Chan, Chiang Rai, and Mr A-Liw, the owner of A-Liw Restaurant in Mae Sai. It transpired that the pilot of the long-tailed boat had collected his two passengers earlier from the Lao side of the Mekong. Whilst returning to the Thai side of the river, the boat was struck by the larger craft, and sank immediately. Mr. Prasong was well known in the district, having worked with many politicians, and had recently entered the construction business. His trip to Lao was in order to visit a site leased by Chinese investors in Muong Ton Phang, Bo Keo province, where his company was building a hotel, a casino and a duty-free market.
Police are at present searching the area in order to determine whether the two missing persons have drowned, or may have managed to swim to either bank of the river.. Their fate is at present unknown.


65,101 votes cast at the two day advance voting period

31,220 temporary residents make use of the “advance voting” facility

Staff reporters
A strong response was noted during the two day “advance voting” period last weekend, when 31,220 previously registered temporary residents and 33,881 previously registered permanent residents cast their votes.

A strong response was noted during the two-day “advance voting” period last weekend, when 31,220 previously registered temporary residents and 33,881 previously registered permanent residents cast their votes.

Pongpan Rewthongtawee, the director of the Election Command Centre, noted that 2825 voters who had registered to use the advance voting facility had not cast their vote, and had lost their right to vote as a result.
Ballots cast by temporary residents are being sent to the voters’ home districts by the Thai postal service, whilst ballots cast by permanent residents in Chiang Mai are being kept in secure storage at locations within police stations designated by the Election Commission.
In response to the former Thai Rak Thai Party’s leader Jaturon Chaiseang’s expressed concerns about swapped ballots, Pongpan Rewthongtawee stated that the operations of the Election Committee were transparent, and can be checked and verified by any member of the public.


Blitz on illegal aliens in Chiang Rai

Employers and illegal immigrant workers arrested and charged

Staff reporters
Recently, Provincial Labour Officers led by Mr. Chalermsak Utoksin co-operated with Pol. Lt. Col. Nitinat Wittayawutticul and his investigating officers in organising a raid on shops and premises in Chiang Rai in order to search for illegal immigrant workers. The search took place at the Night Bazaar adjacent to Chiang Rai Bus Station, Inner Paholyothin Road. Officers were divided into three groups in order to conduct operations. The first group searched the “ Jaew Hon” food shop located behind the Night Bazaar, owned by Mrs. Kanika Ardla. There they found illegal immigrants working as waiters. The second group searched the Pilzaria Restaurant located on Inner Paholyothin Road, owned by Mrs. Somkhuan Chanpao, where an Italian man without a work permit was found working as a cook. Mrs. Somkhuan stated that the man was her husband, and was told by officers that all alien workers were required to have a work permit. The third group searched the Malangpor Restaurant, located behind the Night Bazaar, owned by Mr.Saengchom Jitmetta, finding an alien woman working illegally as a waitress. When asked her name, she gave an alias, Miss Meenae..
All those arrested were taken to the Provincial Labour Office. The inspector on duty charged the owners with employing illegal alien workers, and the alien workers themselves were charged with illegally working without a work permit.


81 pretty women from the Northern provinces to compete in the Miss Chiang Mai Pageant

Grand prize of 300,000 baht to be awarded to the winner

Staff reporters
The Miss Chiang Mai Pageant and the Red Cross Winter Fair, 2007, will be held from December 28th to 30th at the Sports Field behind the Chiang Mai Government Office Centre. A record 81 beauties from the northern provinces applied to compete, perhaps because the grand prize had reached the 300,000 baht mark for the first time ever! The selection of 60 contestants to go forward to the first round was held on 20th December at the Chiang Mai Ratanakosin Hotel. The first round pageant will be held on .28th December, with the final contest taking place on the 30th.
Amongst the lovely ladies was Miss Natahakhan Kiatinmaetha, (Look Kaew), a 23 year old Masters’ Degree student from Mae Jo University, who had previously won second place in the Miss Yipeng Chiang Mai 2005 Pageant. Many of the contestants hoping to be chosen for the final round, (and perhaps even for the title!!, had been successful in previous competition pageants, including Miss Wilawan Pengwan, (Miss Yipeng 2006 and Miss Motor Show 2006), Miss Thanyarak Thabuakam (Miss Glutinous Rice, Sampatong District), Miss Saowalak Promsorn, who is also a nurse at Maharat Nakhin, Chiang Mai, ( Miss Mae Ying Kee Rottheep Kang Jong 2007, Miss Flowers 2006 and Miss Noppama 2007), Miss Kritchakorn Hormboonyasak, (Miss Sansrai 2007, Miss Teest Chiang Mai 2006, 4 Religions Beauty Queen 2006), and Miss Nipawan Pungpak, (Miss Sngkran Sukothai Province 2007). So many beautiful women a true feast for the eye, and we wish them all the best of luck!



Chiangmai Mail Publishing Co. Ltd.
189/22 Moo 5, T. Sansai Noi, A. Sansai, Chiang Mai 50210
THAILAND
Tel. 053 852 557, Fax. 053 014 195
Editor: 087 184 8508
E-mail: [email protected]
www.chiangmai-mail.com
Administration: [email protected]
Website & Newsletter Advertising: [email protected]

Copyright © 2004 Chiangmai Mail. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Advertisement