Vol. VII No. 35 - Tuesday
August 26 - September 1, 2008



Home
Automania
News
Business & Travel
Book-Movies-Music
Columns
Community
Happenings
Dining Out & Entertainment
Features
Letters
Social Scene
Chiang Mai FeMail
Daily Horoscope
Cartoons
Happy Birthday HM Queen Sirikit
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]:

Miracle baby survives shoot-out at Carrefour

Doi Suthep temple undergoes first major restoration for 600 years

Burglar targets teacher’s house

2 month old white tiger cub dies at Night Safari

Illegal marijuana plantation destroyed

Driver of well known tour bus company arrested for transporting protected birds

His Majesty the King donates food aid to Chiang Rai flood victims

Change of Speaker for August 27 Chiang Mai Friends’ Group meeting

Heavy rains uproot trees and block roads in Mae Hong Son

Paedophile Glitter tricked into returning to UK

Correction

Fatal shooting in lam yai plantation

Mayor speaks about flood prevention measures in Chiang Mai city

Lamphun reports increased drug crime, increased arrests

Mekong environmental groups reject MRC’s statement on worst floods in 100 years

 

Miracle baby survives shoot-out at Carrefour

Bullet lodges in infant chair shoulder harness

The story below is a first-hand account written by the father of the baby who was shot, detailing exactly how this near-tragedy happened.
Lala, (Isobel), was shot outside of Carrefour on Tuesday afternoon, but is now making a speedy recovery, more so than both Nee and I. For those who have not heard, we were leaving the Superhighway exit of Carrefour just before 3 pm on Tuesday afternoon, when the curbside passenger window exploded. We both looked round in shock and I noticed a small round hole at the bottom of the window. I said ‘We have been shot!’ We both looked at Lala, who was screaming, but initially seemed ok - then, as Nee tried to console her, blood started to stain the left hand side of her dress. This was without doubt the worst moment of both our lives. A motorbike rider who had witnessed ‘several people shooting at each other’ stopped and jumped in to direct us to the nearest hospital. Neither of us could think straight at the time.

Lala leaves hospital - surrounded by adoring nurses.
We went straight to McCormick hospital where Lala was taken into emergency. We were not admitted, but a couple of the nurses had to leave in tears, which made it worse for us. I phoned the British Consul - he came straight down and helped translate for me. Nee and I were in pieces, and the press were everywhere taking video and pictures, which did not help.
The doctor explained to us that they had taken a first set of X-rays but couldn’t find the bullet, maybe it was in her back. After more X-rays they could still not find it. He explained that rather than a round hole that he would expect from a bullet, Lala had a 2 cm deep gash in her chest with bits of plastic in it. I suggested we looked at the car, and it was there we found what appeared to be a bullet lodged in the infant chair shoulder harness. Later, police confirmed that it was a 9 mm bullet.
The medical staff are calling it a miracle, the harness stopped the bullet passing through from left to right at chest height, and almost certainly killing our baby. Lala has been stitched up and was released from hospital yesterday - she seems to be fine. Nee and I, however, are really struggling coming to terms with almost losing her.
Both the local and tourist police are investigating the incident. Anyone with any information could pass it on to them, or to the British Consulate who are aware that a British baby girl has been shot in Chiang Mai.

 

Doi Suthep temple undergoes first major restoration for 600 years

Stupa containing relics of Buddha at risk

Recent reports state that the ongoing restoration of the main stupa at Doi Suthep temple is running out of government funds as of the 150 million baht grant requested, only 7 million baht was approved.
The stupa, traditionally believed to contain relics of the Lord Buddha, was considered to be at risk due to moisture accumulating in the ancient brickwork due to poor drainage and high humidity, has been under restoration for several months. The work is being done in 3 stages by skilled Salah Lanna craftsmen, who dress in white out of respect for the reliquary which contains the relics.
On August 18, due to concern for the safety of the many worshippers and tourists who are still visiting the famous temple, the work was accelerated to involve the replacement of the granite floor around the reliquary with porous earthenware tiles. 200 new water drainage pipes are being installed around the base of the stupa and the top section containing the relics is being restored.
The Fine Arts Department and the Praboromatat Doi Suthep Foundation were previously aware of damage caused by local natural disasters including flash floods and several earthquakes, which affected the stability of the area and caused deep long-line landslides, making strengthening of the ancient structure a priority. Although the site gives the appearance of stability, its foundations are, in fact, built on soft earth rather than the rock of the mountain, according to geologists from government and private sectors who had conducted several surveys and warned the authorities. The renovation is intended both to stabilise the stupa and to strengthen the basement area, and is the first major renovation carried out for over 600 years.


Burglar targets teacher’s house

Proceeds of thefts fed gambling habit

The owner of the stolen goods, Nantawan Sripitak, pictured with the arresting officers and the burglar, Thammanoon.

Saksit Meesubkwang
A report of a burglary on August 18 sent local police to the Saraphi home of Nantawan Sripitak, 58, a teacher at Yupparat Chiang Mai School. The thief had disabled an alarm system, forced entry into the house, and stolen a number of items valued at approximately 200,000 baht before being spotted escaping on a Yamaha Click motorbike.
Later, police on patrol in the Saraphi area spotted the suspect vehicle outside a house in Nongpueng sub-district, occupied by Thammanoon, 25, unemployed. A search of the house revealed a diamond trinket and 25 precious stones valued at 180,000 baht and a pawnshop ticket, together with other items that had been stolen from Nantawan and other victims.
After he had been arrested and charged with burglary, vandalism of a security system, evading arrest and receiving stolen property, Thammanoon denied any involvement with the thefts. It would appear that he had pawned stolen items and used the money to feed his gambling habit.


2 month old white tiger cub dies at Night Safari

Suspected cover-up by administration

Saksit Meesubkwang
One of three white tiger cubs recently born at Chiang Mai Night Safari has died of hepatitis, reportedly on June 30. The Night Safari’s administration have been suspected of hiding the date of death of the 2 month old cub and announcing on its website after its death a “White Tiger Naming Contest” for all three cubs.

Litte baby tiger Ping Sakhon died of hepatitis.

The three names chosen were Kwan Raming, Ping Lanna and Ping Sakhon, the last being the name given to the dead cub. When reporters tried to verify the date of the cub’s death, they found the administration unsympathetic and unable to comment, possibly due to concern about a budget approval of several hundred million baht due for consideration by the Central Administrative Board at the beginning of August. The naming contest had offered a prize of 10,000 baht and 2 night’s free accommodation at the Night Safari.


Illegal marijuana plantation destroyed

Drug intended for Pai tourist district

Officers from the 336th Company of the Border Patrol police seen destroying 1,000 kilogrammes of illegal marijuana plants.

Kajohn Boonpath
A tip-off received by Mae Hong Son’s Governor Thongchai Wongrianthong has resulted in the destruction by police and border patrol officers of an illegal marijuana plantation hidden in rice fields owned by hill tribe farmers in Pai district. The area had been cleared and the plants destroyed on 5 previous occasions.
A force of 30 men from the 336th Company of the Border Patrol police together with Pai district police officers were sent to the area, and destroyed 450 marijuana plants weighing 1,000 kilogrammes. No suspects were found at the time. The drug was to have been smuggled into the tourist area of Pai district and sold to locals and tourists.


Driver of well known tour bus company arrested for transporting protected birds

Checkpoints set up by Phrae police and military in Nan trapped the driver of a tour bus owned by a well-known local company when 1,390 bird from protected species were found hidden in the luggage compartment of his bus.
When questioned by police after his arrest, Saksit Suancharoen, 45, from Lampang, denied all knowledge of his contraband cargo, as did the passengers on his bus, owned by the New Udomchai Transport Company. The bus was headed to the south of the country; the birds were contained in 44 baskets and 7 cages, and hidden behind other luggage. Locals in Nan are hired by criminals in the south to transport the birds, which sell for 50 baht each in Nan, and fetch at least 500 baht each on arrival at their destination.
Whilst being questioned, Saksit had acted strangely and was given a urine test, which confirmed that he had taken drugs. He was charged with possession of protected wildlife and being under the influence of an illegal substance.


His Majesty the King donates food aid to Chiang Rai flood victims

A foundation under the Royal patronage of His Majesty the King has distributed essential food aid donated by His Majesty to 2,000 families who had fallen victim to the recent floods in Chiang Rai province. Following exceptionally heavy rains which resulted in the Mekong River bursting its banks, the president of the foundation, Disthorn Vacharothai, and its general secretary, Prasong Phitoonkitja, together with members form the central region travelled to the affected areas to deliver the aid. Villages in the Chiang Saen and Chiang Khong areas were targeted as recipients, and expressed their grateful thanks for the Royal generosity.


Change of Speaker for August 27 Chiang Mai Friends’ Group meeting

As the result of a last minute change of plan by the advertised speaker on Buddhism in Thailand, Dr. Pichai, the talk will now be given by one of the most important Buddhist scholars in Northern Thailand, Dr. Sang Chan-Ngam. Dr. Sang, Dr. Pichai’s teacher, is considered to be the Diamond of Buddhism here in the north, and a highly regarded expert in his field. He teaches mainly to monks, having graduated from the University of London and also gaining an MA in Linguistics at Michigan University, USA. His talk will be in English, and he will welcome your questions. For further information please contact Khun Boong on [email protected]


Heavy rains uproot trees and block roads in Mae Hong Son

Recent exceptionally heavy and continuous rainfall in the Mae Hong Son city area has caused the uprooting of large trees, closing off roads and making them impassable. Disaster prevention officers, police and electricity workers have been sent to clear the roads, but are experiencing difficulty due the size of the trees. Metrological Department statistics for Mae Hong Son City confirm continuous rainfall, which has continued unabated since the beginning of the month; however, measured levels are still slightly below those recorded for the same period of time in 2007.


Paedophile Glitter tricked into returning to UK

CMM Reporters
Gary Glitter, the former famous Glam Rock star of the 70s and 80’s, who was released August 19 from a Vietnamese jail where he was serving a 3 year sentence for sexually molesting two underage girls, finally ended up last Friday exactly where he had stated he would not go - London, UK.
Deported from Vietnam on a plane bound for London via Bangkok immediately following his release in compliance with Vietnamese law, he refused to re-board the plane in Bangkok. Despite his protests that he was a “free man”, Thai police and immigration officials refused to admit him to Thailand, saying that he was a threat to public morality. As the convicted paedophile’s deportation papers stating the UK as the destination country had not been received from Vietnam, Thai customs officials tricked Glitter into boarding a flight to Hong Kong. Thus began a farcical three day hunt for a new bolthole during which Glitter arrived in Hong Kong and was refused an entry visa, forcing him to eventually return to Bangkok. As soon as the plane touched down, Glitter was served with fresh deportation papers supplied by the Hong Kong authorities and forced to choose between boarding a plane to London or being placed in a Thai detention centre. “It was a trap and he fell for it”, stated a source within Thai immigration.
On his arrival in London he was met by 35 police officers but ducked out of a court appearance to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register for the second time, sending his lawyer instead to argue that he should not have to sign. The judge rejected the claims and ordered Glitter to sign within three days. However, he is free to travel outside the UK, making a mockery of Home Secretary Jacqui Smith’s tough talk about new measures to clamp down on paedophiles. The millionaire ex-rock star is demanding permanent police protection as he fears that he may be the victim of a murder attempt, and is expected to take advantage of free NHS treatment for a heart condition. He will face constant monitoring by police and restrictions on his movements within the UK He may also be issued with a court order which prohibits him owning a computer or going near children.
Glitter, (real name Paul Francis Gad), was famous in the UK during the 70’s and 80’s for his outrageous stage performances and costumes as much as for his music. From 1972 to 1975 he charted 26 top hit singles whilst continuing with his live performances. During the 80’s he was a member of the then fashionable Nichiren Shoshu sect of Japanese Buddhism, also popular with City of London financial traders. In 1999, however, Glitter was arrested in Britain, sentenced to a term of 4 months in prison for possessing child pornography and listed as a sex offender. After his release he fled to Spain; when the media discovered his whereabouts he moved on to Cambodia where, after two years, he was deported, initially to Thailand, as being “a threat to security and the national image of the country”. In 2005, two years after having taken up residence in Vietnam, he was arrested at Ho Chi Minh City’s airport whilst trying to board a flight to Thailand, charged with having under-age sex with minors, and sentenced to three years’ imprisonment. In January this year, Glitter was diagnosed with a cardio vascular disorder, after having what was reported as a heart attack.


Correction

In the report “Last suspect in attempted murder of CM editor arrested” in the August 12 edition, the Chiang Mai Mail inadvertently stated that the man pictured was the editor. In fact, the picture showed Chan Paomongkhon, (left), the last suspect to be arrested for the attempted murder of Northern Thailand News’s editor/owner Amnaj Jongyosying.


Fatal shooting in lam yai plantation

Murdered man had married lover

CMM Reporters
A Chiang Mai resident, Chatkla Chaenoi, (28) was shot in the chest August 18 by unknown assassins whilst having a meal with his married lover, Suriyanee Kholhop, (35). Neighbours, who had heard the shot and Suriyanee’s screams, had taken Chatkla to the nearest hospital, but doctors were unable to save him. When police attended the scene, they found a pool of blood and scattered plates in the hut, and footprints in the mud outside the hut where the killers had been. After questioning the neighbours, it became apparent to police that the couple’s affair had resulted in Chatkla’s murder.
The murdered man, who, according to his uncle, had been living alone in a hut on his family’s lam yai plantation, had been visited there several times by his lover Suriyanee, who was married to a foreign national and had a young son. At the time of the killing, Suriyanee’s husband, who was not permanently resident in Thailand, had returned to his own country. Neighbours had been aware of the visits, as the couple had been jealous of each other, which had resulted in loud arguments. Local police will be calling Suriyanee in for further questioning.


Mayor speaks about flood prevention measures in Chiang Mai city

Contingency plans laid down to ensure protection

Pictured is Dr. Duentemduang na Chiengmai, the Mayor of Chiang Mai,
 with members of her administration.

Saksit Meesubkwang
Dr. Duentemduang na Chiengmai, the Mayor of Chiang Mai, spoke August 19 on the readiness of the municipality’s flood prevention services and strategies during this rainy season, stating that projects have been put in place for both long and short-term solutions. The projects involve the participation of the 33rd Military Circle, Marine Office 1, Chiang Mai, the Regional Irrigation Office, Chiang Mai, the Disaster Prevention Provincial Office, and the 7th Infantry Battalion.
As regards the possibility of flooding in the city, heavy rains are known to cause stagnant water to accumulate as drainage facilities are not sufficient. In the case of the Ping River flooding the area around its banks, this becomes a major problem. Plans have been laid to facilitate the digging of more drains, and a variety of canals to drain large amounts of water efficiently. The municipality itself is responsible for the Ping River, and has cooperated with Marine Office 1 in its widening. The ridge has been reinforced, Vetiver grass has been planted along the river’s banks, and more than 20,000 sandbags have been distributed and laid down as added protection.
The Mayor also announced that sandbags are available as needed at the Sanitary Work Division and municipal district offices. For more information, people should contact the Sanitary Work Division on 053 259 292. The Mayor and her group subsequently inspected the Bantor Market area of the Ping by boat.


Lamphun reports increased drug crime, increased arrests

Concern about increased drug traffic through Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai

CMM Reporters
Narcotics Control Board officials in Lamphun are concerned about the increase in narcotics use in the area, but report that arrests have also increased. Between October 2007 and June this year, 524 arrests connected with drugs were made, with 239 arrests on drug distribution charges, 139 on possession charges and 146 on use of illegal drugs, a 60% increase in arrests of dealers and an 87% increase in arrests of users. Increased trafficking of drugs through Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai is thought to be the main cause of the increases.
The number of users entering rehab units also increased, from 222 in 2007 to 290; 95% of those involver were amphetamine users. Social indicators supporting the trend include the number of workers coming to the area, a high number of entertainment facilities employing 78,000 workers, and a large number of rooms for rent. Lamphun’s provincial administration will compile a register of migrant workers from outside the province in order to carry out background checks.


Mekong environmental groups reject MRC’s statement on worst floods in 100 years

New early warning system fails to warn residents of danger

Elena Edwards
Environmentalists have criticised the Mekong River Commission, (MRC), over its recent statement that the worst Mekong River floods in 100 years were caused by unusually heavy rainfall and had no connection with the release of water from the Chinese dams situated upstream in mainland China.
High water levels in the Mekong reached a new peak of 14 metres this month, exceeding the previous highest level recorded by well over a metre, causing vast areas of agricultural land spread over 4 provinces to be inundated, and leaving village homes under water reaching to roof height. Farmers and residents are complaining that a new early warning system supposedly combining both scientific and local knowledge has failed its first major test by neither issuing warning before the floods struck on August 12/13 nor providing essential information about rising water levels in the river. A spokesman for Living River Siam, (LRS), stated that the first that local villagers knew about the danger was when they were forced out of their homes by the swiftly rising flood water.
After the event, the MRC had issued a statement confirming that the unusually heavy floods had been caused by “meteorological and hydrological conditions”, and had no connection with the possibility of the release of water from the dams in China. It stated that the volume of water contained in the dam lakes was far too small to affect the amount of flood water from the river, and blamed run-off from the northern area of the Mekong’s basin following exceptionally heavy rainfall as a result of tropical storm Kammuri.
A spokesperson from the Chiang Mai-based LRS commented that she was unable to understand why the MRC had issued such a statement, which was inconsistent with her own information, and also that she could not accept that the MRC, the representative of the 4 countries bordering the Mekong River, could give untrue information in order to protect China. She also confirmed that the total storage capacity of the reservoirs behind the three Chinese dams was more than enough to affect the water flow of the river in the northern Thailand area.
A coordinator of the Chiang Khong Conservation group, Somkiat Khuaenchaingsa, also commented that he was unable to believe that the MRC had told the whole truth about the flooding. He noted that the blasting of small islands in the river to facilitate the passing of Chinese cargo ships had caused the river top flow much faster, thus increasing the risk of flooding, and suggested that, to prevent future severe flooding, the MRC should hold urgent talks.
Footnote: August 23. According to the Bangkok Post, the Mekong River Commission has now requested details from China of the dams’ sluice gate management at the time of the floods. To date, a satisfactory reply has not been received.



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