Tassanai Buranupakorn takes office as Mayor of Chiang Mai
Tassanai Buranupakorn arrived at the Chiang Mai Municipality Office
as the new Mayor of Chiang Mai. Accompanied by his uncle, Boonlert
Buranupakorn, President of Chiang Mai Provincial Organization and a cheering
red-shirted crowd of Rak Chiang Mai 51 members. Officially approved on the
29th, he revealed at his press conference, after making merit at the spirit
house in front of the municipal building, that he hopes to comprise his
administration team of both long standing members of the political community
as well as the new generation of politicians.
Buranupakorn, the new Mayor of Chiang Mai Municipality, greets the cheering
crowd of his supporters after praying to the spirit house in front of the
Office of Chiang Mai Municipality.
Tassanai did not mention any names as he said he must first introduce his
new policies to the Municipal Council. Although, he added, that he did not
plan on changing any members of his current team.
The new Mayor said that the key issues to be addressed will be to diminish
the environmental damage and renew the landscape of the province, repair
public utilities, and cooperate with the business sector to develop methods
for attracting tourism to the province.
He plans on implementing measures to halt the spread of swine flu in the
province as Chiang Mai’s economy and tourism could not risk another bad high
season. He also felt it important to continue a good relationship with local
civil servants as the development and improvement of Chiang Mai is the goal
of every Municipal Officer.
He addressed the irregularities cited regarding his election and expressed
confidence in his innocence and that he did everything according to the law.
Majority of Chiang Mai residents feel Red Shirt activity
has damaged tourism
Chiang Mai has long been famous for abundant natural attractions,
traditional way of life and unique art and culture. However, tourism has
been on a decline since 2006, affecting thousands of people who rely on
tourism for income. Maejo University conducted a poll of 1,106 Chiang Mai
residents between the 19th and 26th of October to gauge local opinions on
the reasons for the decline and solutions to this problem.
50.5% of those surveyed felt that the perception that Chiang Mai is the
center of the Red Shirt activity has damaged Chiang Mai’s tourism, that
tourists feel it is not safe to travel to Chiang Mai. While 26.8 % believed
that tourism has not been damaged by the Red Shirts but by the current
economic crisis, 26.8% marked other. 29.4% of respondents felt that the
statement that Chiang Mai was the center of Red Shirt activity was true,
while 38.9% disagreed and that felt that only a few residents in Chiang Mai
42.5% of those polled believed that the best way to improve Chiang Mai’s
tourism industry was more publicity about the unique attractions Chiang Mai
has to offer, 25.6% felt that improving the image of the province, the
preservation of its culture and customs and the restoration of its tourist
attractions would improve the situation. 12.7% believed that solving the
political and social conflicts would addres the issue, 9.7% believed that
more interesting activities should be arranged, and 9.6% have other
Of the respondents, 36% believed that natural attractions were the biggest
draw for tourists to Chiang Mai, 28.5% believed it is the traditional ways
of living, art and culture, 14.6% felt it is the nice weather during cool
season, 10.1% felt that it was Chiang Mai’s temples and historical sites,
while 8.2% marked other.
19 North Korean migrants arrested in Chiang Rai
Nineteen illegal North Korean migrants were arrested October 29 while
travelling by boat on the Mekong River in Chiang Saen district of the
northern province of Chiang Rai.
A Thai Navy river patrol boat on duty along the Mekong to crack down on
illegal goods and drug smuggling and found the suspect boat which was later
found to be carrying 19 illegal North Korean migrants.
The boat pilot was a Lao national who confessed that he had been hired for
Bt3,000 (US$85) to smuggle the 15 women and four men from the Lao PDR to
Speaking through an interpreter, all of the party, aged between 12 and 70,
are mainly from one family, all from Hamgyong province.
All 19 North Koreans would be detained and charged with illegal entry.
Chiang Rai drugs bust
nets 30,000 Ya-bah pills
Following an earlier tip-off, a team consisting of officials from
the Mae Chan Administrative Organization and the Pha Muang Force of the 2nd
Calvary Regiment was sent out in the early hours of October 20 to intercept
a suspected drug trafficking felony taking place on the road between Muang
district and Mae Chan district in Chiang Rai.
Three motorcyclists were observed passing by at 4:30 a.m. and officials
ordered them to stop for a random search, but one of the men pulled a gun
and began firing at the law officers. A shoot-out ensued which lasted about
5 minutes, after which time the officials went to inspect the area and found
30,000 amphetamine pills with the WY label contained in a bag and abandoned
with a blue Yamaha motorcycle displaying Chiang Rai license plates. However,
they found no dead or injured bodies at the scene.
All the items found were later sent to Mae Chan Police Station for forensic
testing and further investigation.
‘Gay Natee’ files complaint against new bar
Natee Teerarotchanapong, otherwise known as “Gay Natee”, Chiang
Mai’s well-known activist who has been fighting for the preservation of the
cultural heritage in Chiang Mai and the northern region, handed in a
complaint letter on October 20 to Chumporn Saengmanee, Chiang Mai’s Deputy
Governor, with regard to a new gay bar that has opened for business in the
area of Jang Hua Rin, Chiang Mai’s old city gate.
Natee’ files complaint against new bar
The letter stated that the new gay bar “Power Boy” was inappropriately
advertising using a large billboard with a pornographic image of a
half-naked man, which was detracting from the Lanna cultural environment of
Natee, who is the secretary of the Chiang Mai Araya Group and the
coordinator of the Chiang Mai Conservation Network, said that his
organizations had requested that Chiang Mai’s Governor arrange for the
billboard to be removed within 24 hours. The representatives from the group
and the network also wanted to discuss with the owner of the club to arrange
a change of the club’s name to something more suited to the province.
Chumporn Saengmanee said that he had forwarded the case to the organization
in charge, which is the Chiang Mai Municipality, to make a decision
regarding the appropriateness of the advertising board and contacted the
Chiang Mai Muang District Chief Officer for cooperation in examining the
He added that it was impossible to follow the request to immediately remove
the board due to rules and regulations. Additionally, he said that “gay
bars”, which officially register as entertainment venues in a similar way as
other types of entertainment businesses, have to operate according to both
the law and morality.
In a subsequent interview with reporters, Natee said that the owner of the
“Power Boy” bar had already taken away the allegedly pornographic
advertising board, however he said he would still petition for a change to
the club’s name, and added that he had bought a half-priced megaphone with
the intention of using it for protest purposes outside of said bar.
Chiang Rai drug suspect arrested with 500,000 ‘speed’ pills
A local administration officer in this northern province was arrested
Wednesday with 500,000 amphetamine pills as Deputy Prime Minister Suthep
Thuagsuban instructed security personnel to tighten security along the
Thai-Myanmar border to prevent drug trafficking.
Panya Sithong, 40, a member of local administration of Ngiew subdistrict
in Chiang Rai’s Thoeng district was arrested, while he was about to
delivering the drugs to his client in the provincial seat Tuesday night.
Police accused Panya of being a member of drugs trafficking network of
the United Wa State Army (UWSA), an ethnic minority army along the
Minister Suthep, on a mission to inspect the drugs situation in the
northern province, said he instructed security agencies to step up
security along the border to stem drugs influx from neighbouring Myanmar
In the wake of a major crackdown of the Myanmar junta on ethnic minority
groups, Suthep said, the minorities military and militia forces need
money for ammunition for their looming battle with the Myanmar armed
forces, they are forced to release drugs to neighbouring countries to
collect funds to buy weapons and ammunition.
Suthep said the government will install more drug scanners along the
Thai-Myanmar border to detecting drugs smuggling across the border.
‘Pang Wan’ gives birth to healthy offspring: mother and son doing well
A 20-year-old heavily pregnant elephant named “Pang Wan”
from Huay Poeng Elephant Camp was brought to the Elephant
Conservation Center in Lampang on September 21, and during the
night of October 10 she gave birth to a healthy male calf of
80kg in weight and 90cm in height.
elephant “Pang Wan” from Huay Poeng Elephant Camp gave birth to
a healthy male calf, with 80 kg in weight and 90 cm in height,
at the Elephant Hospital in the center.
According to Dr. Sittidet Mahasawangkul, the head of the
Elephant Hospital in the center, “Pang Wan” is now taking better
care of her calf, in contrast to her earlier hostile behavior
towards the baby elephant. As observed by the vets, “Pang Wan”
is always around her newborn, which is also becoming stronger
physically as it is now being fed by its mother.
The vet additionally said that proper food in larger quantities
would be provided to “Pang Wang” for her own health as well as
to increase the nutritional benefits of her milk for the calf.
The elephant hospital is also initiating the “Elephants’ Milk
Bank” project for storing milk for newborn elephants.
There are currently 4 elephant-trapping pens with female
elephants and their newborns at the Elephant Conservation Center
in Lampang’s Hang Chat district. Visitors are welcome everyday
from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Handicrafts on offer at the OTOP Fair
The Community Development Department cooperates with Central
Airport Plaza in hosting the “OTOP” products sale event between October
19 and November 4 at the Lan Muan Jai in the Central Airport Plaza
department store. The event is to be held as new marketing channel for
sale of the products from the communities to boost the economy and help
raise the incomes of the local people.
The great selection of OTOP (One Tambon One Product) products, including
foods, drinks, clothing, consumer goods, accessories, souvenirs and
herbal products, from 4 regions of Thailand will be available for
purchase. The art and cultural performances will be presented to the
interested Thais and foreign tourists, and the attendees can also join
many fun activities in the event.
A large selection of OTOP (One Tambon, One Product) goods will be on
sale at Lan Muan Jai in the Central Airport Plaza department store from
October 19 to November 4. The Community Development Department, in
cooperation with Central Airport Plaza, is holding the event to help
raise the incomes of local artisans and boost the economy.
Koalas at Chiang Mai Zoo move into their new home
Takaharu Saito, left, Managing Director of
and Tanapat Pongpamorn, right, Director of the Chiang Mai Zoo,
in the ribbon cutting ceremony for the koalas’ new home.
Chiang Mai Zoo koalas can now move back into their newly
refurbished, more natural habitat after the official reopening took
place on October 28. Thai Lotte, the distributor of the Koala’s March
food product, sponsored the renovation of the display area as well as
the construction of a new arch and signposts.
koala cub “Chiang Muan”
The company also generously donated a 600,000 baht, or assistance for
two years supply of food for the 6 resident koalas, which was handed to
Tanapat Pongpamorn, the Chiang Mai Zoo’s Director, by Takaharu Saito,
the Managing Director of Thai Lotte.
Two koala bear cubs were born at the zoo in the past two years, Ken, a
male and Chiang Muan, a female. The zoo now has three pairs of koalas, 3
females and 3 males. Koalas have unique eating habits in that they
receive 90% of their hydration from eucalyptus leaves and rarely drink
water. An adult koala can consume between 200 and 500 grams of
eucalyptus leaves a day, and are slow moving creatures as the tough
leaves take time to digest.
Running in honor of
H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej
Five runners plan to run 960 km from China to Thailand between
November 5 and December in honor H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s 82nd
birthday. The runners, Pol. Sen. Sgt. Maj. Plam Promchapa, Chachet
Kittisopon, Satit Saisongtham, Sgt. Sakchai Donchada and Po. Banlang
Kantapol, will run 235 km from Chiang Rung to Mohan in China, 190 km
from Boten to Huay Xai in Laos with the remainder of the run to take
place in Thailand.
Not only do they wish to honor H.M. The King but also hope to promote
tourism and strengthen ties between Laos, China and Thailand. They will
pass through Chiang Rai, Phayao, Lampang, Phrae, Uttaradit, Phitsanulok,
Nakhon Sawan, Chainat, Sing Buri, Ang Tong and Ayutthaya to the finish
line at Sanam Luang in Bangkok, where they will attend Father’s Day
events to celebrate the King’s birthday. Residents are encouraged to
join the short-distance running when the runners pass through their
provinces. Interested people can come to the arranged locations to sign
in the books to wish the King a long life and happy birthday.
Chiang Mai’s high season kicks off hoping for better times ahead
Chiang Mai’s Governor, Amornpan Nimanant, presided over
the opening ceremony for Chiang Mai’s high tourism season on
October 21 at the arrivals terminal of Chiang Mai International
Nimanant, Chiang Mai’s Governor, presents a Bo Sang umbrella to
a tourist as a souvenir from Chiang Mai. (Photo by Jedsadapong
The ceremony, titled “Time to… Moving in Chiang Mai!” was
attended by many honorary guests including Pol. Maj. Gen. Sommai
Kongwisaisuk, the Commander of Chiang Mai Provincial Police,
Boonlert Booranupakrn, the President of Chiang Mai Provincial
Administrative Organization, and Chalermsak Suranant, the
Director of the Chiang Mai Office of the Tourism Authority of
The event featured special performances by Thai traditional
musical groups to welcome the passengers of a Thai Airways
flight from Suvarnabhumi International Airport, the first
international arrival of the day at Chiang Mai airport. All the
tourists were presented with garlands by Chiang Mai’s Governor
and the honorary guests in a Thai-style welcoming ritual.
According to the Chiang Mai Governor, the ceremony marked the
official opening of the ‘high season’ for the city’s tourism and
Amornpan requested that Chiang Mai residents cooperate as nice
hosts, presenting the genuine Chiang Mai ways and Thai
hospitality, so that the city and region can reach the status of
a world-class destination.
He also added that the people of Chiang Mai should strive to
maintain high standards of services, to not take advantage of
the tourists, and should work together to overcome the past
three years of declining tourist numbers.
During this coming high season Chiang Mai has many interesting
events to offer visitors and residents including the Yipeng
Festival in November, the Father’s Day celebration, the
countdown to 2010 party, the Winter Roses festival and the Red
Cross Society event in December.
Next year’s attractions include the Bo Sang umbrellas festival
in January, the Ban Tawai carving works event, the flowering and
ornamental plants show in February, the Chiang Mai and districts
products show in March, a Lanna art and culture event, the
traditional Songkran festival in April and the Intakil Festival
Chiang Mai Zoo aquarium introduces 100-year-old softshell turtle
The last and largest narrow-headed soft shell turtle,
known as Sumo, over one hundred years old, weighing 130 kg and
with a 1.5 m diameter shell was introduced to the public at the
Chiang Mai Zoo Aqurium by the Zoo’s director, Tanapat Pongpamorn
and Roj Thuwanalin, the Executive Director of Marinescape
female softshell turtle “Sumo” or “the Great Grandmother”, the
newest member of Chiang Mai Zoo Aquarium.
According to Roj Thuwanalin the female softshell turtle, worth
more than two million baht, is also known as “the great
grandmother” due to her great age. She was raised and owned by
an anonymous donor who decided to loan her to the aquarium for
display in order to provide young people a good opportunity to
learn about this nearly extinct animal.
Sumo has unusual markings on her neck and shoulders, resembling
the images of pagodas. She is in good physical condition, eating
up to 20kg of small fish a week, and could live up to two
hundred or three hundred years old.