Red-shirted riot hits CMU – shots fired
Members of the pro-Thaksin Rak
Chiang Mai 51 group
shout protests at Chiang Mai University.
50 red- shirted members of the pro-Thaksin group Rak Chiang Mai 51,
led by Petchawat Wattanasirikul, staged another protest on January 24 at
Chiang Mai University, during which a demonstrator drove his car at a group
The subject of their protest was Democratic Party icon Suthep Thaugsuban,
who was on a visit to Chiang Mai in order to attend an alumni party being
held at the university. Suthep had already arrived at the venue to greet and
talk with CMU president Prof Dr Pongsak Angasith and his friends, when the
demonstrators intruded, causing police, already in attendance as a
precaution, to attempt to restrain them. Police fired at the demonstrator’s
car as it was being driven at them. Unconfirmed reports state that the
driver was hit in the shoulder. Pornchai Suwanpichaiyos, a 43 year old
demonstrator, was arrested by police. During the incident, Pensuwan
Nakapreecha, director of CMU’s library, was slapped in the face by one of a
group of protestors as she tried to get them to leave the university’s
premises. She later reported the assault to the police. During the protest,
Suthep left the university grounds, using another exit.
Two days later, Petchawat and 30 members of the group petitioned Surachai
Jongrak, Chiang Mai deputy governor, urging that he transfer the policeman
who shot at the demonstrator’s car to a different area within 5 days. The
group also demanded that provincial authorities should be sent to inspect
the Santi Asoke monastery in Mae Tang, belonging to Maj Gen Chamlong
Srimuang, as they claim it is built on national park land, and should be
demolished as a result.
On the same day, CMU’s president called deans of all faculties together to
discuss the Rak Chiang Mai 51 group’s violent intrusion into the alumni
party. A representative was appointed to liaise with local police in
charging the group with destroying official property.
Monday February 9
is Makha Bucha Day
Banks, offices will be closed
This year, Makha Bucha Day (Buddhist All Saints Day) falls on Monday,
February 9. Government offices, banks and many businesses will be closed.
This holy day commemorates the miraculous event when 1,250 disciples of the
Buddha, Gautama Sakayamuni, traveled to meet with the Buddha with no
prearranged agreement, at Weluwan Mahawiharn Temple in the area of
Devout Buddhists are expected to turn out in the thousands at local temples
to conduct religious ceremonies.
Chiang Mai hosts
Over 80 leading meteorologists from 14 countries gathered in Chiang
Mai recently to brainstorm on the upgrading of tropical storm early warning
systems and responses at a week-long Typhoon Committee meeting aimed at
promoting and coordinating efforts for reducing the impact from tropical
storms. The participants also discussed ways to reduce damage caused by
Thai delegates reported on the impact of tropical storms on the country as
well as presenting a study on climate change and resultant changing tropical
storm patterns. The role of weather forecasting in disaster preparations and
responses was a highlight of the presentation, and it was stated that the
public had more confidence in the Meteorological Department’s predictions
over the past years, due to its improvements in accuracy and regional
detail. Investment in human resource development and advanced technology for
weather forecasting has contributed to the increased reliability of the
agency’s information. Since technology and staff training are important in
weather forecasting, Bangkok will ask for cooperation and support from
Typhoon Committee members, especially the US and Japan, for technology
transfers and skills training for the weathermen.
Established in 1968, the Typhoon Committee currently has 14 members –
Cambodia, China, South Korea, North Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, Laos, Macao,
Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, the United States, Vietnam and
Climate expert Anond Snidvongs, director of the Southeast Asia Regional
Research Centre, said Thailand is likely to face only minor impacts from
tropical storms this year, thanks to the mild effect of the La Nina
phenomenon, which is characterised by unusually cold ocean temperatures in
the equatorial Pacific. It brings humidity from the sea to the land, leading
to a sharp rise in rainfall.
New Zealand aid worker mauled by tiger at Khumsu Tiger Centre
A New Zealand aid worker with an organisation which runs orphanages,
emergency relief operations and development programmes along the
Thai-Burmese border is receiving hospital treatment after being mauled by a
tiger at the Khumsu Chiang Mai Tiger Centre on January 25.
officials give some flowers to New Zealand aid worker Ruth Corlett as she
recovers in the Lanna Hospital after being mauled by a tiger at Khumsu
Chiang Mai Tiger Centre.
Ruth Corlett, 45, on a break in Chiang Mai with her husband and three
children, had been allowed to enter the 1 year-old tiger’s cage, along with
staff at the facility, having been assured that the tiger had been
conditioned to safely interact with humans. As she stroked its head, the
tiger became annoyed and attacked her, mauling her leg. She was immediately
transferred to Lanna Hospital, where she received 54 stitches to the wound
and is now recovering.
A staff member at the Tiger Centre told reporters that the tiger, Pancake,
had always been friendly and had never bitten anyone before. The facility
has pledged that they will pay all medical expenses, and will tighten
controls on visitors’ entry to cages in order to prevent the possibility of
An assistant to the Governor of Chiang Mai told reporters that, as the
unfortunate incident may have affected tourism to the city, an inspection of
the facility would be carried out by the Office of Animal Species
Conservation. The inspection will determine whether the facility’s policy of
allowing visitors to approach dangerous animals is unlawful. The office will
also recommend measures to ensure the safety of visitors to all such
Link with international
software company will benefit
college’s IT students
The official opening of the Software Training
and Development Camp.
The 20-week Software Training and Development Camp, a unique link
between Chiang Mai’s College of Arts, Media and Technology (CAMT) and Chiang
Mai Lanna Business Services (CLBS) was officially opened on January 22.
Dr. Nopasit Chakpitrak, Dean of CAMT, explained that the link felt,
‘Something like a wedding,’ and had come about due to one of CAMT’s PhD
students working with C<BS on cross-cultural issues, adding that it was
invaluable to CAMT to have found an international software organisation in
Chiang Mai with which the college could work. Dr. Nopasit considers that it
provides an opportunity his students cannot afford to miss, with its focus
on teamwork and the development of commercially related technology. Matthew
Schenk, web development leader at CLBS, which has bases in Germany, Malta
and Thailand, stated that the company will sponsor and help the Software
Development Training Camp.
Strategies for wildfire prevention on Doi Inthanon discussed
Municipal authorities and local leaders
gather together to discuss wildfire prevention measures at Doi Inthanon
A meeting between community and local leaders, municipal
departmental heads and other concerned organisations was held recently
in Chiang Mai’s Chom Thong district, during which the prevention of
forest fires in Doi Inthanon national park during the upcoming hot
season was discussed. Local administrative organisations were urged to
encourage their communities to participate in wildfire prevention,
rather than focusing on budget settings and allocations, as there are
serious concerns over the effect of wildfires on the delicate natural
environment of the park.
Chom Thong’s’s district chief stated that it was imperative for
awareness of fire-fighting protocols to be made known to local
communities in order to protect the forests. Also present at the meeting
was Upai Wayupat, the Department of National Park, Wildlife and Plant
Conservation’s director general, who emphasised the need for cooperation
and vigilance. Adul Jaipeng, chief of the local Fire Control Unit,
stated that, ‘Winter this year has been unusually cold, which has
increased the risk of wildfires. However, setting fires is now
prohibited; should farmers need to burn agricultural land they must
first notify their local community leaders.’
In the years since Doi Inthanon’s establishment in 1968 as a national
park, forest fires in the designated area have been a serious
environmental threat, with large areas of forest being destroyed.
Protection of the area cannot be left to a single organisation, but must
involve all concerned parties, according to Adul, as fire damage in the
important national park takes a considerable to time to reverse.
A Memorial to David Crisp
Friends of David Crisp pictured gathered
at Wat U Mong for the blessing and memorial.
Last Thursday, friends of the late David Crisp met at Wat U Mong
for a blessing. They presented offerings in David’s memory to the Abbot,
including a palm tree, and were assured by the Abbot that the tree would
be planted in a very special place where there are animals, and that as
the tree grew it would be a living memorial to their friend.
The blessing and memorial was arranged at short notice by Tom Somsak;
after the blessing David’s friends were invited to go to his home to lay
roses – a Thai tradition.
Police have reported they have made two arrests in connection with
David’s murder; a further suspect is reported to have crossed the
Local residents urged to save water due to low reservoir levels
It has been announced by Chiang Mai’s provincial water authority
that the flow of town water originating from the Mae Guang Dam will be
reduced from 48,000 cubic metres per day to 25,000, due to low water
levels in the reservoir. The authority is taken various measures to
lessen the possibility of a drought, including improving the capacity of
the Patan filtering plant to 24,000 cubic metres per day. Additional
pipelines are being installed on Chotana Road, in front of the Lanna
Golf Course, and in front of Mae Jo University, in order to link up
water supplies from the Mae Rim works to those of Chiang Mai. Supplies
from Lamphun are already linked with the Chiang Mai system. The work in
hand should be able to handle anticipated shortages.
Replacement work is also being carried out to solve the problems caused
by slow water flows through existing pipes, which may cause uneven flows
until its completion. The authority apologises fro any inconvenience
caused. Cooperation is also being sought from the department of Royal
Irrigation and the 33rd Army’s Kawila military camp should water
supplies to the city be interrupted. Both organisations are able to
transport water to the city. However, residents are being asked to
economise on their water usage and to store water wherever possible.
Problems with broken pipes and water shortage can be reported directly
to the Chiang Mai Water Work Office on 1162 or 053-233479. This is a
New Chiang Mai provincial
district to be formed
It was recently announced that three tambon areas of Mae Cham
district are to be grouped together to form a new amphur, in order to
enable residents to access their own local government offices rather
than having to travel long distances as at present.
The three districts are Mae Daed, Ban Chan and Chaem Luang, which will
be grouped together under one of four names, Ratchanakarin,
Galayanivadhana, Galayamitrayarn and Wat Chan Chalermprakiat. The move
has already received cabinet approval, with Royal approval for the
chosen name applied for.
Chiang Mai province will promote the new district as being liveable for
both residents and visitors due to its beautiful and fertile natural
surroundings and its cooler weather. 200 rai of land has already been
allocated for government offices. The area is already famous for its
pine forests, for its Queen Sirikit Arts and Crafts Centre at Ban Wat
Chan, and its Forest Industry Organisation’s High Land Agricultural
Development. Several private tourist enterprises are also located in the
A Valentine’s Day romantic wedding package from TAT
This year’s St. Valentine’s Day in Mae Hong Son’s Pai
district will have a special meaning for 50 couples, as a result
of the Tourist Authority of Thailand’s organisation of special
marriage ceremonies to be held between February 13 and 15.
The weddings will take place in a romantic natural mountain
setting, amongst trees and flowers and next to a stream. TAT is
planning to provide the 50 happy couples with an unforgettable
experience including a 3-day honeymoon stay at a nearby resort,
and it is asking perticipants to dress in Lanna style wedding
attire. The couples will take part in an elephant parade, be
photographed at the historical Tha Pai Bridge, and will be
invited to a special dinner at Pai Hot Spring Resort.
TAT is hoping that couples who would like to take part will
download application forms from www.paiallscason.com or call on
089-557-6079 between now and February 10. The cost of the entire
package will be 4,999 baht per couple.
Public heath warning given against consumption of raw pork
The Phrae Public Health Department has issued a warning
against eating raw pork, as there is a significant risk of a
possibly fatal Streptococcus Suis infection.
The viral infection can cause serious symptoms such as fever,
renal problems, toxic shock syndrome, deafness, meningitis,
septicaemia, endocarditis, and coma, and can in some cases
result in death. Workers with pig carcasses are also at specific
risk, especially if they have open cuts or abrasions on their
hands, and should wear protective gloves when butchering pigs.
Cases of Streptococcus Suis infection are occurring in the area,
all of which have been traced to either the consumption of
dishes containing raw pork, such as Lab Moo and Sok Lek, or the
handling of infected pig carcasses.
Chiang Rai opium plantations destroyed
More than 4 rai of opium plantations in Chiang Rai
province were destroyed on January 25 by a combined force of
more than 100 armed special operations police. Following a
tip-off concerning two plantations on the border between Chiang
Mai and Chiang Rai provinces, police found 1 rai of land, mostly
harvested, and 3 further rai in an adjacent valley. In both
plantations illegal growers who were harvesting the raw opium
and guarding the plantations fled into a heavily-wooded area of
forest upon the arrival of the police.