Their Majesties the King and Queen preside over bathing rites for
HRH Princess Galyani Vadhana
Government announces 15 days of mourning
Their Majesties the King and Queen presided over the
bathing rites for Her Royal Highness Princess Galyani Vadhana at the Grand
Palace on Wednesday afternoon.
By Royal Command of His Majesty the King, the Bureau of the Royal Household
was responsible for the Royal Rites in accordance with royal tradition and
the Lying in State will be at a throne hall of the Grand Palace.
On Wednesday afternoon, thousands of people from all walks of life
thronged to the Grand Palace where His Majesty the King had given permission
for the general public to participate in bathing rites before a portrait of
the late princess.
By Royal Command, the Court will be in mourning for 100 days. Likewise, the
national flag will be flown at half mast for 15 days and government and
state enterprise employees are instructed to be in mourning for 15 days.
The government also requested the cooperation of both private and public
agencies to refrain from organising entertainment activities during the
15-day national mourning period.
Thailand mourns the
passing of HRH Princess Galyani Vadhana
HRH Princess Galyani Vadhana
May 6, 1923 - January 2, 2008
(AP Photo/Buerau of the Royal Household)
Her Royal Highness Princess Galyani Vadhana, the elder sister of HM the
King, died on Wednesday January 2. She was 84 years old.
HRH Princess Galyani Vadhana had been hospitalized since June last year,
after doctors found she had abdominal cancer. In a statement issued hours
before her passing, the palace said that Princess Galyani’s kidneys were not
functioning and her breathing had weakened. According to the Royal Household
Bureau’s 39th statement, even though all possible care had been given by the
team of Royal Physicians, Princess Galyani’s condition gradually declined
and she succumbed at 2:54 on the morning of Wednesday January 2.
the Princess Mother with her three young children, (l-r) Bhumibol Adulyadej,
Ananda Mahidol and Princess Galyani Vadhana.
His Majesty the King, accompanied by his son HRH Crown Prince Maha
Vajiralongkorn, the Royal Consort and their son, visited HRH Princess
Galyani Vadhana at the hospital about 6pm Monday.
In his New Year address broadcast Monday night, HM the King thanked
well-wishers who showed their heart-felt concern for his elder sister.
People from all walks of life turned up at hospital to sign books wishing
the princess well.
HRH Princess Galyani Vadhana was born on May 6, 1923 in London. She was the
oldest child of Prince Mahidol - a son of King Chulalongkorn - and his
commoner wife, Sangwal, later Somdej Phra Srinagarindra Baromarajajanani,
lovingly known as the Princess Mother. All three of their children were born
abroad, where Prince Mahidol traveled and studied medicine.
The family’s early life was difficult, with Prince Mahidol dying in 1929,
leaving his wife to raise the three children alone.
After Thailand’s absolute monarchy was abolished following a 1932 coup
d’etat, the Princess Mother and her children moved to Switzerland to be away
from the maelstrom of politics.
In 1935, HRH princess Galyani’s other brother, Ananda, was named king,
though he was to spend most of the next decade, including World War 2, in
“We were in a small country and we were just monsieur, mademoiselle, not
prince or princess,” she recalled in 2000. “Some people did not know we were
a royal family. We were like Swiss children and we knew a simple life of
ordinary people.” HRH Princess Galyani married Col. Aram Ratanakul
Serireungriddhi, a royal aide but a commoner, in 1944, which meant she had
to give up the royal title she was awarded in 1935. The couple had a
daughter but were divorced in 1949. The royal title was later restored by HM
King Bhumibol Adulyadej in 1950.
She married again in 1969 to Prince Varananda Dhavaj, a professional pilot,
who passed away in 1990.
Perhaps the most cosmopolitan of her generation of royals, HRH Princess
Galyani taught French language and literature at Thai universities after her
post-war return from Switzerland, though she had graduated with a bachelor’s
degree in chemistry from the University of Lausanne. A lifelong Francophile,
she founded the Association of Teachers of French in Thailand, which she
headed in 1977-81.
She also took up an intensive schedule of charity work, which is a mainstay
of royal responsibility. She was a patron of at least five health-related
“My father was a doctor and my mother was a nurse. I suppose that has
something to do with my work on charities,” she said. “I lived a long time
in Switzerland and when I came back to Thailand I saw there was much to be
done in every domain.”
While dedicated to teaching and the arts, Princess Galyani considered it
important to continue the work begun by her mother, the Princess Mother, in
supporting the activities of the Foundation of Voluntary Doctors under Royal
Patronage of HRH the Princess Mother.
Alleviating the pain and suffering of ordinary folk who are suffering
illness, especially those who could not afford normally available medical
services, is a special concern of the voluntary doctors. The doctors
particularly try to reach people in Thailand’s more remote areas.
The princess was heavily involved in projects under her royal patronage,
especially traditional Thai arts, education, sports and social welfare. She
was president and honorary president of organisations and foundations as
diverse as the Cardiac Children’s Foundation, the Princess Mother’s Charity
Fund and the Autistic Foundation of Thailand.
The late princess was noted for her interest in the arts, especially theater
and classical music, a taste cultivated when she, like the king, was
educated in Switzerland, where she spent much time until later life.
She spoke five languages, and loved to travel, documenting many of her
journeys in books. Known to be modest and self-effacing, she told an
interviewer in 2000 that: “I don’t like gala dinners. They’re boring.”
She created her own foundation for funding the studies of gifted young
musicians, and she was the Royal Patron of the Bangkok Opera.
HRH Princess Galyani also traveled widely within Thailand and overseas to
represent the Royal family and her country on missions and was a focus of
affection of the Thai people.
HRH Princess Galyani is survived by her daughter and a grandson.
By Royal Command of His Majesty the King, the Bureau of the Royal Household
is responsible for the Royal Rites in accordance with Royal tradition and
the Lying in State will be at the Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall of the Grand
By Royal Command, the Court will observe a period of mourning of 100 days.
His Majesty the King gave Royal Permission for the general public to
participate in bathing rites which were conducted before a portrait of the
princess at the Sahathaisamakhom Hall of the Grand Palace on Wednesday
The government has ordered flags to fly at half-mast at all government
offices. Employees of State enterprises are to observe a 15-day mourning
period. (AP, TNA)
Please visit: www.hrh84yrs.org for more stories and pictures of HRH
Princess Galyani Vadhana.
Chiang Mai citizens pay homage to HRH Princess Galyani
Citizens sign condolence books
placed in front of a portrait of HRH Princess Galyani Vadhana at City Hall.
Chiang Mai Provincial Authorities held the bathing rites
ceremony in front of a portrait of Her Royal Highness Princess Galyani
Vadhana at the City Hall on January 2. Chiang Mai Governor Wiboon
Sa-nguanphong has also advised all companies and entertainment venues to
suspend festive activities. He also has asked the public to sign condolence
books at the appointed locations in the city to pay their respects to the
Citizens all over the country are wearing black during the 15-day mourning
period in honour of Her Royal Highness Princess Galyani Vadhana.
Prof Dr Pongsak Angkasit,
president of Chiang Mai University along
with the institute’s administrators perform bathing rites at City Hall.
The Princess Mother’s Medical Volunteer Foundation mourns the loss of
Princess Galyani Vadhana
The Princess Mother’s ideology to be continued at
full capacity in Mae Hong Son
Mae Hong Son government offices and the offices of the Princess
Mother’s Medical Volunteer Foundation were awash with sorrow and black
clothing as all mourned the death on January 2nd of the highly respected and
loved Princess Galyani Vadhana.
The Medical Physician at Mae Hong Son’s Public Health Department, Dr.Suwat
Kittidilokkul, spoke with great sadness about her passing away, and
announced that Mae Hong Son Public Health will join with The Princess
Mother’s Medical Volunteer Foundation at full capacity in order to follow
and promote her ideology.
The Princess Mother’s Medical Volunteer Foundation was created in 1969,
and has as its roots Princess Galyani Vadhana’s concern about the lack of
medical care amongst impoverished people in country areas far removed from
adequate medical facilities. The Foundation in Mae Hong Son is one of the
beneficiaries of the princess’s compassion, who visited the area on numerous
In 2007, a total of 2,218 sick people were treated by volunteer doctors from
the Foundation, involving 25 visits to 19 far flung villages. At 21 Health
Centres in the area, an innovative project involving the use of mobile
phones was begun, thus enabling medical assistance to be given from far.
On the afternoon of January 2nd, the Governor of Mai Hong Son, Mr. Thongchai
Wongreangtong, joined with 150 people by sigining the condolence book at the
Community Hall to honour the Princess and to celebrate her life. After the
ceremony, all present sang one of the Princess’s favourite songs from the
area, in loving memory of her life and her kindness to them. Later, in the
evening, officials from the Princess Mother’s Medical Volunteer Foundation
and Mae Hong Son Public Health came together at Srisangwarn Hospital to hold
a funeral prayer in the Princess’s honour. She will be greatly missed by
Bus services increased to serve
large influx of travellers
during holiday period
Holidaymakers leave the city while students and workers return
Chiang Mai Arcade Bus Terminal was busier than
ever during the holidays.
Tourists began to leave Chiang Mai after celebrating the New Year.
To cope with the extra demand, the Land Transport Department provided extra
buses on popular routes, and were confident that no passengers would be left
Since 1st January, the Nong Pa Khrang Bus Terminal was crowded with people
either leaving or returning after the celebrations. On the Chiang Mai –
Bangkok route, the usual 80 trips had been increased to 140, and all seats
had been reserved. A number of buses were also held in reserve in case of
Mae Hong Son’s Royal Palace opens to visitors-and sheep!
Sheep, lamb and woolly goodies much appreciated!
The latest tourist attraction at Pangtong Palace in Mae Hong Son,
devised and arranged by the Livestock Nurture Section of the Department of
Livestock Development, was a great success with visitors when it opened
recently. Surprised visitors to the palace found that they were able to feed
the specially introduced sheep, (after appropriate instruction!), and were
delighted to discover that photo opportunities involving lots of woolly
lambs were also being provided. Tourists, (possibly “dyed in the wool” at
this point.), were also able to purchase a variety of woollen products from
the Royal-Initiated Project, which is supported and encouraged by Her
Majesty the Queen. A large proportion of the 2000 plus visitors per day did
just that, ensuring that a great idea was also a financial success!
The spectacular scenery and beauty of the area drew more than 60,000
visitors to Mae Hong Son, the tiny town in the mist, during the New Year’s
festivities. Ban Rak Thai at Kuomintang Village, Tham Pla, Tham Kaewkomoi
and the popular Pai district were all favoured locations with the tourists,
and all accommodations in the town itself were fully booked. Hastily erected
tents in the parks provided basic shelter for many; the forest and the
roadside took care of the rest! More than 90 million baht was spent in the
town and surrounding countryside during the holiday period, giving “Happy
New Year” an entirely new meaning for the many businesses and service
providers in the area.
Road death and injury tolls in
Chiang Mai rise over the festive season
Majority of accidents caused by drink driving
Over the 5 day Christmas and New Year holiday period the total number of
accidents on the roads increased from that of the previous year, leaving 8
dead and 115 injured. Accidents mainly involved motorcycles; on New Year’s
Day alone when three people died.
shows a luxury tourist bus narrowly missing homes, electric poles and a
phone booth. The number of road accidents with casualties was high during
the 5 day Christmas and New Year holiday period.
The fatal accidents occurred in Ban Thung Daeng, (Phrao district), Ban Muu,
(San Kampaeng), and on Highway 118 between Chiang Mai and Doi Saket.
A major cause, as in past years, was a general disregard of the effect
excess alcohol has on driving abilities. Drink driving is a year round
problem in Chiang Mai, exacerbated by the increase of alcohol consumption
during festivities. The majority of accidents occurred on municipal and
village roads, and were the result of reckless driving and speeding
resulting in loss of control.
occupants of this car had a narrow escape as their car burst into flames on
a busy street.
Chiang Mai’s Centre for Accident Prevention extended their preventative
measures by two days this year, and implemented stricter measures at an
increased number of checkpoints throughout the city, outer areas and
surrounding villages, unfortunately with little effect.
On 2nd January, the Deputy Governor of Chiang Mai chaired a meeting at the
Centre for Accident Prevention, called to assess and summarise the
situation. The Deputy Governor stated his distress about the loss of life on
the roads, and emphasised the preventative importance of village
checkpoints. He requested a stricter approach and more co-operation between
the district Centres and local authorities, commenting that the high risk
city areas were not experiencing as severe a problem as the outer areas. All
in attendance were concerned and distressed about the worrying trends.
Huge visitor influx to
Mae Hong Son causes fuel crisis
Holiday period problems for gas station owners
Gas station owners in Mae Hong Son district found themselves in a
quandary during the recent festive season due to a much larger than expected
influx of tourists, mainly from Bangkok. Having ordered, as they thought,
enough to cope with anticipated demand, many found themselves with empty
pumps and inconvenienced customers, resulting in emergency supplies having
to be ordered at from the nearby Saraburi province. Gas stations all over
the area were affected, and many ran dry by 31st. December, resulting in a
total of 75,000 litres of fuel, approximately three days’ supply, being
trucked at great speed from Saraburi. The emergency supplies finally arrived
in Mae Hong Son at 7 p.m. the same evening. Later, the Mai Hong Son’s
Tourism Authority Chief, Mr. Wisut Buachum, announced that the crisis had
been caused by more visitors deciding to visit the Mae Hong Son area than
had attended even the Thai Royal Flora Exhibition. The economic benefits to
the Mae Hong Son area had, as a result, been considerable, in spite of the
problems caused by the fuel shortage.
401 dead in “seven high risk
travel days” of New Year holiday
The overall death toll from road accidents throughout
Thailand reached 401 on Thursday, the last day of the “seven high risk
travel days” of the New Year’s holiday, a senior official said on Friday.
Deputy Interior Minister Bunyat Junsena, in his capacity as deputy director
of the government-initiated Road Safety Centre (RSC) said that 354 road
accidents took place nationwide on Thursday, causing 32 deaths and 389
Drink driving was a factor in most accidents and most accidents involved
motorcycles, he said.
Total road accidents during the so-called “seven high risk travel days” from
December 28 through January 3 reached 4,475, up 19 from last year, while the
number of people killed was 401, 48 victims less than 2006, while the total
number injured was 4,903, down 40 from last year.
The northern province of Chiang Rai had the most accidents (157) and most
injured (169) , while Bangkok had 24 fatalities, highest among the country’s
The north eastern province of Yasothorn recorded the fewest accidents (3).
However, provinces that were fatality-free were Mae Hong Son, Pattani, and
In an attempt to reduce both road accidents and the number of casualties
during the New Year celebrations by at least 10 per cent from last year, the
government established the RSC.
In operation through January 3, the centre aimed to reduce road accidents to
4,133 at most and the death toll to not more than 413, while the number of
injuries was projected to reach 4,568 nationwide by the end of the seven-day
After the press conference, Mr. Banyat officially closed the RSC. Thanking
all those involved in ensuring the safety of the public during the holiday,
the deputy minister said he would apply the lessons learned from operating
the centre this year to make more effective measures in the future. (TNA)
Retail oil prices likely
to rise 40 satang a litre
Retail oil prices in Thailand were expected to increase
by 40 satang per litre today on the back of declining market margin
following the sharp rise in global crude oil price to US$100 a barrel, oil
An increase would see diesel oil and gasoline 95 prices hit record highs at
Baht 30.14 and Baht 33.69 per litre respectively.
Meanwhile, Apinan Sumanaseni, president of Thai Airways International Public
Co., Ltd. (THAI), said the national flag carrier planned to increase the
fuel surcharge fee on long distance overseas routes, probably in the next
one or two months.
Concerned officials at THAI were now conducting a study and a conclusion was
expected later this month, Mr. Apinan said, adding the fuel surcharge fee
for THAI’s domestic flights would remain unchanged because of an increasing
number of passengers.
Board members of both the government-run Transport Co., Ltd. and the Bangkok
Mass Transit Authority were scheduled to meet on January 14 and discuss
whether it was necessary for both agencies to raise fares after these had
been frozen for three months.
Sources close to the issue said it was quite possible the boards would
freeze fares for another three months, in line with Transport Minister
Admiral Thira Haocharoen’s policy to help the traveling public in light of
increased cost of living.
An earlier proposal by inter provincial bus operators meanwhile to increase
fares by 6 satang per kilometre was being studied. (TNA)
Police arrest husband and wife for the 2006 murder of retired air force man
Couple had been under suspicion and on the run for two years
Pol. Col. Thanaratt Khumsawat, Superintendent of Investigations
Region 5 held a Press Conference on 3 January. He announced the arrest of
Narong Wonghom, 48, of Phathumthani and his wife Boonhom Oubalee, 37, of
Lampang, long term suspects in the murder of retired Group Captain Rachen
Panprung, 74. The couple had also stolen a large amount of valuable
personal property, including a Rolex watch, from the victim. The murder was
committed in 2006 in Nong Tong sub-district, Chiang Mai. After the killing,
police ‘arrested’ Ard (surname unknown), an illegal Cambodian immigrant, who
was the deceased’s servant. During questioning, Ard admitted to the killing
and the Courts sentenced him to life imprisonment. Narong and Boonhom also
participated in the killing and made off with the valuables. Police came
close to arresting the couple on numerous occasions, but they managed to
evade arrest each time.
On 2 January 2008 Pol. Col. Thanaratt Superintendent of Region 5
Investigations, discovered that the couple were hiding in Kho Kha District,
Lamphang and coordinated with local police to finally carry out the arrest
and prosecute the killers.
The war against drugs and guns-security tightened at Thai-Lao border crossing
New high-tech scanners will be installed
Security at the Thai-Lao border check point on the Mekong River at
the Buck Ferry Landing, Tambon Wiang, Chiang Kong, Chiang Rai, will be
tightened by the installation of a new high-tech scanner. The new equipment,
sponsored by the Thai government and installed by the Marine Unit based in
the area, will considerably improve detection rates of drugs, explosives,
weapons, and other illegal items being smuggled into the Kingdom. Scanners
will also be installed in popular tourist areas, parking places, and other
Immigration Police at Chiang Khong District headquarters expect an increased
number of tourists and visitors to arrive during 2008, using the border
crossing from Huay Sai in Lao to Chiang Khong. The installation of the new
scanner at the border crossing is crucial, as its use will ensure that
illegal items of any type are not brought into Thailand during the tourist
high season and the remainder of the year.
Three men charged with drug
smuggling and possession for sale
Ya Ba (amphetamine) smugglers linked with Hmong drugs ring
The three suspects were
intercepted and detained
for further questioning and charging.
On January 3rd, a combined operation between the Special
Investigation Police Unit and the Office of Narcotics Control Board resulted
in the arrest of three men, who were charged with drug smuggling and
possession with intent to sell. The three men, Mr. Saksit Netheepraiwal, 33,
from Mae Sot district in Tak province, Mr. Vichai Saekue, 27, also from Mae
Sot, and Mr. Nathasit Arkararungroj, 31, from Phobphra district in Tak, all
deny the charges.
As a result of a tip-off, plain clothes police became aware that a drugs run
was being planned. It was intended to take place from the Thai – Burma
border through to the Fang and Chai Prakarn districts. Plain clothes police
subsequently planned to contact a Lisu drug dealer to order the purchase and
delivery of 100,000 ya ba tablets at a cost of 200,000 baht. The dealer
demanded 300,000 baht – this price was agreed and delivery was promised, to
take place at a soi on the Ban San Makokkwan Road, Tambon Mae Ngorn, Fang
district. Extensive surveillance was planned to cover the entire area.
At 5.30 p.m.on January 3rd, a car containing three men was observed coming
from Ban San Makokwan, heading towards Ban Huay Jo in Fang. It was followed
by plain clothes police. On arrival, the three men began to unload both
their belongings and the suspected packages into an orange truck, later
found to be bound for Bangkok. Police swooped on the gang, finding the
100,000 yaba tablets. At this point, the three men escaped, got into their
car, and fled in the direction of Chai Prakarn district. After a radio call
from the police at the scene, a road block was set up at Ban Hua Fai by the
Military Rangers, Third Army Region, at which the suspects were intercepted
and detained for further questioning and charging. Further investigation of
this case will take place regarding links with major players in the drug
smuggling field in the hope that arrests may follow.
The drug suppression police teams are fully aware of drug trafficking routes
between the border areas down as far as Bangkok, and are determined to
continue surveillance if these areas.
Illegal immigrant labourers from Burma arrested and repatriated
Employers will be charged if found to be at fault
Following the orders of the Commissioner of the Provincial Police Bureau,
Region 5, more than 60 illegal immigrant labourers from Burma were recently
arrested in Muang, Chiang Mai. They were subsequently charged with offences
including illegal entry into the Kingdom, and being in possession of invalid
work permits. They will all be subject to repatriation to their home
country. If any employer is found to be guilty of violating Thai law
concerning this issue, charges will also be brought. Instructions have been
given to the Special Investigation Police to concentrate on making more
arrests of illegal immigrants, mostly from Burma, who attempt to find
labouring work in the Kingdom. A stricter policy on this issue is to be
The vast majority of illegal immigrants seeking labouring work are coming
from Burma in increasing numbers since the unrest in their home country last
summer. The northern region of Thailand contains the main transit routes
from the border; this area is a focus for temporary residences for men,
women and children before they move on to other parts of the country.
There have been claims that illegal immigrants are responsible for social
problems, crimes, chaos and causing suffering to local residents. Some
reports even claim that they have caused problems to foreign tourists in the
region. The Commissioner stated that Thailand is fully conscious of the
present humanitarian issues concerning Burma; however, caring for a much
larger influx of immigrants than is usual may well cause difficulties.
Local police are inviting information regarding the location of illegal
immigrants in order that they may arrest and repatriate them.
Police interrogate the
arrested illegal immigrants before deporting them.