Chiang Mai creates world’s largest lantern in honor of
HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej
A 9 meter long Lanna lantern was the highlight of the event held in
honor of King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s 82nd birthday at the 80th Anniversary
Commemoration Public Park near Chiang Mai City Hall between December 1 and
5. Every corner of the park was decorated with the Lanna sculptures and
Lanna animal lanterns.
The inside of the lantern was decorated with photographs of HM King Bhumibol
Adulyadej. Lanterns are a traditional Lanna handicraft which reflects the
belief that light helps guide lives to happiness and prosperity. The world’s
largest lantern was created to represent Chiang Mai residents’ love,
gratitude and loyalty to the King as well as to publicize his kindness and
vision that has enabled the country.
Chiang Mai Zoo opens newly restored orangutan display zone
A male orangutan enjoys special food at the
of the newly restored orangutan habitat.
Orangutans at the Chiang Mai zoo can now enjoy their newly
refurbished and orangutan friendly enclosure. The enclosure has been
expanded to suit orangutan’s need for space. Tanapat Pongpamorn, the
President of Chiang Mai Zoo, presided over the opening of the zoo’s newly
restored orangutan display zone on December 10.
The new home for the orangutans is set in 3,310 sq m of space, nearly the
same size of their natural habitat. There are both real and fake trees, as
well as exercise equipment for them. The display zone has also been
re-decorated and installed with educational signs and games for zoo
Orangutans are nearly extinct, with only 50 or 60,000 left in an ever
decreasing habitat. Orangutans live in rainforest and mangrove forests and
generally eat plant material. Orangutans can live up to 50 years and the
male can weigh up to 90 kg. Due to their long period of gestation, around
270 days and the fact that baby orangutans are not weaned until they are two
or three years old, their population does not increase very rapidly.
Indonesia, where orangutans originate, has one of the fastest rates of
deforestation in the world.
Baby Hippo missing from Chiang Mai Night Safari found dead
The body of the baby hippo being readied for
to the veterinary hospital at the Chiang Mai Night Safari.
The one month old female baby hippopotamus that went missing from the Chiang
Mai Night Safari veterinary hospital on Thursday, December 3 was found dead
on Monday, December 7. Fifty zoo staff members and the Hang Dong police
conducted a search of the 819-rai area before a police team using a sniffer
dog found the baby hippo in the sewer less than 100 meters away from the
search team from the Night Safari pulls the body of the baby hippo out of
the sewer on Monday December 7.
The 30 cm long ailing baby hippo had been taken to the veterinary hospital
after its sibling had been killed in an attack by the mother. The hippo, who
suffered from lung issues caused by inbreeding, was being treated in a
fiberglass container of warm water and was kept behind a one meter high
steel fence. The security guard assigned to guard the hippo fell asleep,
when he awoke the hippo was no longer there.
Narong Tananuwat, who manages the special zone of the Chiang Mai Night
Safari, said “The accident was related to internal conflicts at the zoo” and
that “staff would face punishment for the negligence that led to the death
of the hippopotamus”. Chiang Mai University veterinarian Chatchote Thitaram
and Night Safari veterinarian Anurut Angsusing examined the body of hippo
and said she had died of suffocation and starvation over a period of two
Bird flu clean up campaign kicks off in time for the tourist high season
Swine flu also update for Mae Hong Son
Volunteers from the Livestock Development
Department don protective gear in preparation to hand out disinfectants for
farmers to use to fight bird flu.
Kanayuth Danmek & Khajohn Boonpath
A campaign to clean up possible bird flu infected areas was launched
on November 13 by the Chiang Mai Provincial Livestock Office, Chiang Mai
Municipality and local administrative organizations. Boonlert Buranupakron,
President of Chiang Mai Provincial Administrative Organization (PAO)
presided over the launch at the 700 Years Stadium.
Weerachat Khuanrat, the Chief of Chiang Mai Provincial Livestock Office,
said that the government has asked provincial authorities to initiate clean
up campaigns four times a year in a bid to keep the virus under control.
“The change between rainy and winter season causes poultry to molt and the
weather can weaken their immune systems. Moreover, research from the
Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation has found that
the period from August to November, large flocks of migrating birds make
their home in Thailand. Increased numbers of wild birds can be an important
factor in the risk of transmission of the H5N1 bird flu virus,” he noted.
The campaign will promote awareness to poultry and agriculture farmers about
the increased need for vigilance and plans to distribute to farmers the
chemicals necessary to keep the disease in check.
Meanwhile, Mae Hong Son has had 97 confirmed swine flu patients with Pang Ma
Pha bearing the brunt of the virus with 49 infected people. Wittaya
Kaewparadai, Minister of Public Health, visited Srisangwal Hospital on
November 15 to observe and advise the hospital on a health plan to help
prevent the spread of swine flu in the province.
The Minister said that there have been an estimated 6 million people
affected by the swine flu nationwide but added that with the start of the
cool weather and the tourist high season with its higher concentration of
crowds, the Ministry is concerned that the virus may spread. He reiterated
the importance of education for residents and tourists in swine flu
prevention measures such as washing hands and wearing masks.
Teams of specialists have been set in place at 96 provincial hospitals
across the country and the Department of Medical Services has set up a 24
hour hotline staffed by specialists to advise doctors treating high risk
patients. High risk patients for the swine flu include those with
respiratory ailments such as asthma, heart disease, diabetes, the elderly
and the very young. The death toll due to confirmed swine flu cases has
reached 185 since the virus first appeared in Thailand.
Representatives from Mae Hia Municipal district,
in Chiang Mai joined
the campaign “To clean and To disinfect H5N1 in risk areas”.
Mae Hong Son sees tourism boost over holiday weekend
Mae Hong Son’s Director of the Tourist Authority of Thailand (TAT),
Chanwit Nakasuwan, announced that the recent long holiday weekend for H.M.
the King’s birthday was a boon to Mae Hong Son area tourism. He estimated
that 50,000 people visited the province’s popular attractions. Pai, Pang
Ung, Ban Rak Thai, home of Chinese ex-KMT soldiers, Pla cave, the Bua Tong
sunflower fields and Kaew Komon cave were the top tourist destinations.
The director revealed that an estimated 225 million baht flowed into Mae
Hong Son province from tourism beginning December 5.The Walking Street
Market in Mae Hong Son’s Muang district proved to be a hugely popular
attraction, with the city center streets quite crowded with tourists and
their vehicles, keeping local traffic police quite busy.
2 Wa drug traffickers killed in shoot out with Pha Muang Task Force
Two other arrests yield 120,000 yabaa tablets
Supoj Thiamyoj / Nopniwat Krailerg/ Kanchanit Manukkong & Kanayuth
Acting on a tip off that a major drug delivery was expected, Major
General Prakarn Chonlayuth, Commander of the Pha Muang Task Force,
ordered troops to patrol the area of Mae Ai district that borders Burma.
On Sunday, December 6, the patrol encountered 5-6 uniformed and armed
men presumed to be members of the United Wa State Army near the village
of Taton, also known as Laota.
Muang Task Force patrol view the body of one of the Wa Army soldiers,
and the cash and weapons found with him.
The Task Force patrol attempted to arrest the men but a ten minute shoot
out ensued. After the remaining men fled, the patrol discovered the
bodies of two men wearing the uniform of the Wa army, one AK-47 and 1.7
million baht in a black bag. It is believed that the men had crossed the
border to collect earnings from drug sales in Thailand. The Task Force
suspects that local influential people are involved in drug trafficking
with the Wa army and plan to take action to halt the sales of drugs
across the border in that area.
On the 2nd, Police arrested a man with 80,000 Yabaa pills hidden in
plastic bags in the fuel tank of a Mitsubishi pickup truck in Chiang
Dao. Kanchanaburi resident, Pairat Posawaeng, 38, was stopped in a
routine traffic stop at a police checkpoint near the Chaiprakarn
District Police Station, police were alerted by his suspicious behavior
and decided to search the vehicle where they discovered the drugs.
Pairat has been charged with possession of a Class A drug with intent to
Pairat confessed to police that he had been hired by two men in
Kanchanaburi, Akom Nilsawat and Narongchai Klaigek, to travel with them
to Fang in a black Nissan pickup truck. In Fang, they picked up the
Mitsubishi, which Pairat drove back while the two men led in the Nissan.
Police are on the lookout for the black Nissan since it had already
passed through the checkpoint when Pairat was stopped. Pairat has a
record of arrest for drug use in Kanchanaburi.
Police believe that this group, operating out of Kanchanaburi, Suphan
Buri and other Central provinces, are obtaining the drugs from the Wei
Sia Kan gang based in the border area adjacent to Chaiprakarn, Fang and
Tadon districts in Chiang Mai. The value of the confiscated Yabaa could
be as high as 16 million baht.
On December 9 the Pha Muang clashed with another group of drug smugglers
in Ban Huay San, Mae Ai district, resulting in the arrest of Lang Shang,
28, who was found in possession of 40,000 yabaa pills. He told members
of the task force that he had been hired to transport drugs for 10,000
baht each trip.
Major General Prakarn Chonlayuth, Commander of Pha Muang Task Force,
Third Army Region ordered the military rangers’ task force from the
Third Army Region’s Operations Center, the 4th Calvary Regiment to set
up roadblocks until December 12 as the unit had received a tipoff that a
drug gang was planning to bring large amounts of drugs over the border.
Third Region Army Commander Lt. Gen.
Thanongsak Apirakyothin and Commissioner of Provincial Police Bureau,
Region 5 Pol. Lt. Gen. Somkid Boonthanom announced the arrest and drug
seizure drug arrest at Pha Hong checkpoint in Chaiprakarn district in
Local businesses encouraged to use open source software
(L - R) Pongsak Ariyajitpaisarn,
President of SIPA Chiang Mai, Santipab Panpikul, Founder of
Santipab Pack Print, Panu Kwanyuen, Chiang Mai Deputy Chief
Prosecutor, Narong Kongpraset, the President of Chiang Mai
Chamber of Commerce, and Araya Lyeprawatt, Assistant Treasurer
of Chiang Mai Chambers of Commerce were all speakers at the
The police have shut down many businesses across the
country for running illegal software since the start of a
campaign against software piracy on October 26. The operators of
businesses found using pirated software can receive from 6
months to 4 years in prison and 100,000 baht to 800,000 fines.
In order to aid local businesses the Chiang Mai Chamber of
Commerce, in cooperation with the Software Industry Promotion
Agency (SIPA), hosted the seminar “Alternative Office Software
for Business Operators” on November 24 at the Empress Chiang Mai
At the event, it was recommended that local businesses switch to
open source software, such as Open Office, a Thai language
version has been developed in cooperation with SIPA, NECTECH and
Software Park. The Electrical Generating Authority of Thailand
(EGAT) is one of the numerous businesses that have made the
switch to this program.
Narong Kongprasert, the President of the Chiang Mai Chamber of
Commerce, hosted the event where lectures were offered by
experts on office software and intellectual property laws.
Open Office fully supports all office related needs and is
available in Thai fonts. Free customer service is offered and
there are no maintenance costs. For help and support, please
call 1111, SIPA Call Center, or visit www.thaiopensource.org,
Visitors for the Chambers of Commerce meeting could add up to 2 billion
baht to the local economy
recent meeting of all provincial Chambers of Commerce could
bring up to 2 billion baht in income for the city from the
estimated 2,000 people expected to attend but Narong Kongprasert
, the President of the Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce, expressed
fears that political conflict could adversely affect the meeting
and damage the revival of Chiang Mai’s economy at that time.
Narong Kongprasert , the President
of the Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce (Photo by Supoj Thiamyoj)
The Chiang Mai Chamber proposed several new projects at the
meeting; the construction of a high-speed double rail system,
the establishment of Chiang Mai as the center of regional
aviation, and the development of border trade at Chiang Dao
district. The members of the various chambers and Governors who
attended discussed regional proposals as well as national
economic strategies in a bid to speed up the economic recovery.
Mae Hong Son children with cleft lips receive “Beautiful smiles and voices”
“Beautiful smiles and Voices”, the program to treat
children with cleft lips, celebrated its 5th anniversary on
November 16 with Wittaya Kaewparadai, Minister of Public Health,
presiding over the the program, this year in honor of Princess
Sirindhorn’s 50th birthday, at the Srisangwal Hospital in Mae
Hong Son. With a budget of 32 million baht, sponsored by the
Thai Red Cross and the National Health Security Office (NHSO),
the program has provided surgery and speech therapy for 5,300
children with cleft lips since 2005.
In Mae Hong Son, the program has treated 160 patients since
2006, of those 40 children from refugee camps, according to Dr.
Suwat Kittidilokkul of the Mae Hong Son Public Heath Office. 106
of those were treated for cleft lips while 54 had plastic
surgery for other issues. There are still 54 patients on the
waiting list and they hope, with the help of the specialized
medical teams from the Thai Red Cross, Chiang Mai University’s
Faculty of Medicine and Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital to
treat them by March, 2010 when the program hopes to have treated
376 more children nationwide.
Children in the more isolated areas and poorer families often
went untreated prior to the implementation of the program
according to Dr Suwat, with perhaps only 2 or 3 in the entire
province being treated each year. The lack of specialized
medical training also contributed to the problem. However, with
the implementation of the program, Mae Hong Son’s children can
now enjoy “beautiful smiles and voices”.