12 deaths push Chiang Mai to the top of the list for the country during New Year holidays
Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Nakhon Ratchasima led the toll in number
of deaths during the 7 dangerous days of the New Year holiday with 12 deaths
in each province. Chiang Mai reported 116 accidents with 124 people injured.
The majority of accidents were the result of drunk and reckless driving and
driving without a helmet. Most of the vehicles involved in accidents were
motorcycles traveling secondary roads.
At the closing of the center for the prevention of road accidents during the
New Year, Chiang Mai Deputy Governor Pairoj Saengpuwong discussed the 4
measures the government plans to take in preparation for the next big
holiday, Songkran. The plan is to make sure the roads are in good repair,
strictly enforce the driving laws, educate the public with a campaign to
fight drunk driving,and to ready medical personnel in preparation. He added
that although they had failed to reduce the number of casualties from road
accidents the staff at the center had performed well.
Chiang Mai saw an increase of 27 accidents from last year or 30.34%. Fang
district had the highest number of accidents, with 14 accidents while the
Muang district had 12 accidents. Samoeng and Mae Chaem districts reported no
Chiang Rai, which also topped the nationwide death toll had 92 accidents, 26
less than last year, a 22% drop. 98 people were injured and 12 people died
which was an increase from last year’s total of 9 fatalities.
The nationwide total was reported as 3,534 accidents, killing 347 people and
injuring another 3,827, while Narathiwat, Pattani, Sakon Nakhon, and Ang
Thong had no road accidents during the 7 dangerous days of the New Year.
Air Bagan inaugurates direct flight to Yangon
The inaugural flight of Air Bagan’s direct
Yangon – Chiang Mai route touches down at Chiang Mai International Airport
on January 7.
Myanmar’s Air Bagan launched the inaugural flight of its new direct
Yangon – Chiang Mai route on January 7 with Chiang Mai Deputy Governor
Chalermsak Suranant, Director of Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Chiang Mai
Office, and Flying Officer Wisit Aiwprapa, Director of Chiang Mai
International Airport on hand to greet Htoo Thet Htee, the Managing Director
of Air Bagan to Chiang Mai as he and Air Bagan board members arrived at
Chiang Mai International Airport on the airline’s first flight of the new
The new route will fly twice a week, one flight each on Sunday and Thursday
using Fokker 100 airplanes with a seat capacity of 100. Departure time from
Chiang Mai will be at 2:30 pm and from Yangon 12 p.m. and the flight will
only take two hours.
Chiang Mai Deputy Governor Pairoj Saengpuwong
presents Htoo Thet Htee, Managing Director of Air Bagan
and Air Bagan board members a welcome gift on their arrival in Chiang Mai.
Ban Nong Krai native wins Miss Chiang Mai 2010
A Chulalongkorn University first year student, Ban Nong Krai native
Miss Khishakorn Homboonyasak. 19, won the 57th Miss Chiang Mai 2010 Beauty
Contest. The Miss Chiang Mai 2010 beauty pageant’s final round was held at
the Chiang Mai Winter and Red Cross Fair on January 5, out of 22
contestants, 5 finalists were selected. Audiences cheered on their favorites
despite the cool weather.
Chiang Mai 2010 Khishakorn Homboonyasak is joined by the runner ups at the
57th Miss Chiang Mai contest.
Nutcharin Chanpraisri, the Chief Judge of Region 5 headed the contest
judging panel of 20 people. The first round of the contest saw all 22 girls
dressed in Thai Lanna traditional costumes, followed by the swimming suit
competition. Following a selection by the judges, only 10 girls participated
in the evening gown competition which resulted in the 5 finalists. The
remaining 5 underwent an interview with the judges and the winner was
pronounced after this final round.
In addition to the title, Khishakorn Homboonyasak received a cash prize of
100,000 baht with a cloak, a sash, a diamond crown and a trophy. The new
Miss Chiang Mai Krishakorn also won Miss Photogenic by popular vote.
The first-runner up was Miss Thanyanuch Singkham, 17, the second-runner was
Miss Chananporn Wongsaa, 23, and the third –runner up was Miss Athitaya
Kunnala 18 while the fourth-runner up was Miss Machimala Suthana, 20.
Chananporn, the second-runner up, also won the title of Miss Popular which
was voted by counting the number of balloons she had received from the
audience, she also won Miss Personality.
Miss Chiang Mai 2010 Khishakorn, also known as Gift, is a student in
Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Communication Arts. She enjoys
photography and wants to enter the entertainment industry. “One of my
favorite things is to visit the baby panda Lhin Ping, after visiting Lhin
Ping I feel so proud and lucky,” she concluded.
60th Anniversary of The U.S.
Consulate General, Chiang Mai
President of Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce
Narong Kongprasert, left, and staff present a basket of flowers to
congratulate U.S. Consul General Michael K. Morrow on the 60th anniversary
of the US Consulate General in Chiang Mai.
The U.S. Consulate General in Chiang Mai celebrated its 60th
anniversary on January 7 with U.S. Consulate General Michael K. Morrow
joining Chiang Mai Governor Amornpun Nimanun to welcome guests and open the
Puttharuksa, 20, receives the award for winning the 60th Anniversary Logo
Design contest from the U.S. Consulate General in Chiang Mai, Michael K.
Morrow. Weerasuk, a student at the King Mongkut Institute of Technology,
displayed the national flags of the United States and Thailand under Chiang
Mai’s famous symbol, Wat Prathart Doi Suthep.
Prince Royal’s College students opened the event with a performance of Lanna
Drum and U.S. Consulate General Michael K. Morrow announced upcoming
projects that the U.S. plans to develop to further trade between the two
countries, as well as provide support for both cultural and economic
projects. The U.S. Consulate General will host conferences between American
and Thai IT business people and also develop programs for Thai youth to
combat drug abuse and develop their skills.
Weerasak Puttharuksa, 20, from the King Mongkut Institute of Technology in
Ladkrabang Faculty of Architecture was announced the winner of the 60th
Anniversary Logo design. The event concluded with the showing of the contest
winning short film by Maejo University titled “Kid Thueng Chiang Mai”.
A group of Chiang Mai University’s Faculty of
Education students join
the celebration at the U.S. Consulate General in Chiang Mai.
Bo Sang Umbrella Festival begins this weekend
Chawan Swas-chuto, 2nd left, deputy director of
the SMEs Promotions Office, Chiang Mai Deputy Governor Chumpron Saengmanee,
2nd right, and the Miss Bo Sang Umbrella or Miss Thida Rom Bo Sang
contestants announce the upcoming Bo Sang Umbrella Festival.
The Bo Sang Umbrella and San Kamphaeng Handicraft festival are set
to begin January 15 and run through January 17 Chiang Mai Deputy Governor
Chumporn Saengmanee, and Chalermsak Suranant, director of Tourism Authority
of Thailand ‘s Chiang Mai Office, Thanupong Chalernsurapirom San Kamphaeng
district-chief officer, and Tonpao Mayor Paitul Chaiyasoundwong Tonpao
announced at a recent press conference.
Chiang Mai Governor Amornphan Nimanant will celebrate the opening of the
festival on January 15, at 4.30 p.m. at Bosang intersection, San Kamphaeng.
Tonpao Mayor Paitul Chaiyasoundwong said “the highlight of the festival will
be a grand parade, with pretty girls holding umbrellas as well as a cultural
parade, local cultural shows, Northern Thai musical instrument concerts and
the Miss Bo Sang beauty contest. We hope the festival will draw Thai and
foreign tourists to the villages. This festival allow visitors to learn more
about the long history, culture, arts, and way of life of Bo Sang villagers,
“ the Mayor concluded.
Former Japanese Prime Minister helps Karen students at Om Koi
By Khajohn Boopath
Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was on hand to
dedicate a new 3 room school at Ban Huai Kong in Om Koi recently. Prime
Minister Abe told the gathered crowd that the 700,000 baht building was
constructed to add further capacity to a school that provides
kindergarten and primary education for 399 Karen children living in the
isolated areas around Om Koi.
The Build Schools for Children in Asia Association, of which the Prime
Minister is a member as well as 65 current and former members of the
Japanese Parliament, was founded in 1997 and has given financial support
for the construction of schools in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and other
Asian countries. The association plans on building schools in Vietnam
next year but takes requests for help as well.
Canadian tourist lost during a visit to Monthatharn Waterfalls
Canadian Andrea Hatvani, center, is
seen with the Tourist Police and Rescue teams after finding her
way down Monthahtarn Waterfalls with their help.
Canadian Andrea Hatvani, 26, was rescued after becoming lost at
Monthatharn Waterfalls on Doi Suthep by calling the 1155 Chiang
Mai Tourist Police phone number. The rescue team, realizing she
was high up the steep track the follows the waterfalls, turned
on the emergency siren to guide her back down the mountain.
Meanwhile, rescue teams ascended up the track beside the falls
to find her making her way back down. She expressed her
gratitude at being helped so quickly and efficiently.
Drunk driving continues
to be a problem
By Shana Kongmun
Chiang Mai has the dubious distinction of tying for the
highest number of deaths from accidents over the New Year
holidays. A heady stew of reckless and drunk driving, uneducated
drivers and lax enforcement over the years has led to the high
death tolls. This despite the highly publicized police intention
to crackdown on drunk and reckless driving over the holidays.
This despite an increased police presence across the city and
around the province. Drunk driving is a huge problem in
Thailand, something officials seem to have belatedly noticed.
The death tolls over holiday periods continue to be appallingly
high not only in Chiang Mai but across the country, New Year
after New Year and Songkran after Songkran.
Crackdowns on alcohol sales to minors, and restricting alcohol
sales to specific time periods certainly did no noticeable
damage to the drunk driving problem nor reduce the number of
seriously drunk teens on Huay Kaew at 5 a.m. New Years Day. And
while the government reports more than 3,600 arrests for drunk
driving nationwide for the 7 day period around New Year, it is
guaranteed that this is just a fraction of the number of people
When it is socially acceptable to drink and drive, when the
police make no serious effort to arrest drunk drivers every day
of the year and not just New Year and Songkran and when there is
no real education in schools, not just on drunk driving but on
driving itself. The Thai government can certainly come up with a
program to apply the same effective techniques to drunk driving
education that were used to reduce population 30 years ago, and
HIV/AIDS education 10 years ago. The new stricter fines, license
suspensions and revocations certainly are a start but until the
law is enforced on a daily basis, until people are educated to
the dangers, until it no longer becomes socially acceptable to
hop on one’s motorbike or get behind the wheel of one’s car
pissed as a newt, the changes will be as dramatic as the 5% drop
in the death tolls from last year.
Mae Sai border trade
booms over New Year
More than 30,000 tourists visited Mae Sai, Chiang Rai during the
New Year holiday season, to shop for cross border goods. Traffic
into the Mae Sai border area was heavy as many Thai tourists
headed there for last minute New Year shopping at the border
markets in both Mae Sai and Tachilek in Myanmar with traffic
stalled at some points for nearly a kilometer. Immigration
queues were quite long as tourists waited to cross the border.
An Immigration Officer revealed that during the New Year period
from December 31, 2009 – January 2, 2010, an estimated 8,000-
10,000 came to the border every day, boosting the economies of
both towns by approximately 100 million baht.
The immigration officers at border check points were kept busy
inspecting for contraband, such as liquor, cigarettes, porn
videos and other illegal goods.
Ban Sobruak , Chiang Saen district, in the Golden Triangle, many
locals and tourists came to pay respect to the 15.99 meter high
statue of Lord Buddha, named Nawalarntue, which resides in the
temple there. Many people came to make merit there and also
prayed for the good health of HM the King. (PRD)
Pai officials destroy 5 rai
of opium poppies
5 rai of opium poppy fields were destroyed in Khun Sa
village in Pai district recently. Niwet Poolsawat, Pai District
Chief Officer joined the director of the Pai Drug Control
Command, and 68 officials including the Army, Pai police and
Ranger Forces in the hike over the mountainous region to find
the fields hidden in thick forest.
According to Pai’s District Chief Officer, opium poppy fields
have been reported in many isolated areas in the Pai district.
He added that it is believed the destroyed fields belonged to a
resident of Pong Sa subdistrict and that police intend to take
Our Better Chiang Mai
Members of various youth
groups attended the Chiang Mai Iam or Our Better Chiang Mai workshop at the
Chiang Mai Arts and Culture Center, near Three King Monument in order to
learn the necessary skills in helping to develop Chiang Mai city. Songkrod
Baoyeekan, editor of A Day magazine, far left, explains about the media and
the necessity of media and magazines to Chiang Mai. “Chiang Mai Iam”, or Our
Better Chiang Mai project plans to improve Chiang Mai and make it a more
livalbe city, designed by both the local people and their communities and
experts in design and city management. The three main areas of the project
to be implemented this year will focus on reducing the number of garbage by
30 percent in the city, halting the release of waste water into city canals
and promoting access to organic food sources.
Over 539,000 yabaa pills confiscated over the New Year holidays
3 drug traffickers were arrested by
the Pha Muang Task Force with 100,000 yabaa pills, 15 packages
of raw opium weighing 20 kgs, a .38 with 55 rounds of
ammunition, and a grenade at Ban Rin Luang checkpoint in Chiang
Dao District on January 3, 2009.
By Supoj Thiamyoj
Muensae Mouka, 26, a resident of Mae Ai, Chiang Mai, was
arrested by the 334th Border Patrol Police (BPP) operations as
he drove past the the police check-point at Ban Pa Low – Ban Cha
Na in Mae Ai. The police were alerted by his suspicious behavior
and stopped him for a search. The search revealed 10,000 yabaa
pills and 30 grams of raw opium.
Muesae confessed to police that he had been hired by Pai Kha U
to smuggle the drugs from Myanmar over the border into Mae Ai
and then deliver to a drug buyer at Ban Pong Hi. He was taken to
Mae Ai Police station to be charged with drug smuggling and for
Acting on a tip off received over the New Year holiday that
large numbers of drugs were expected to be smuggled over the
border, the Pha Muang Task Force, in a joint operation with the
Office of Narcotics Control Board, patrolled the area around
Chiang Dao. Two Lahu tribesmen from Chiang Dao and a Burmese man
were caught with 100,000 speed pills, 20kg of raw opium, a .38
revolver, 55 rounds of ammunition and a grenade were arrested at
a police checkpoint in Ban Rin Luang, Chiang Dao District after
engaging in a gun battle.
Maj Gen Prakarn Cholayuth, Commander of the Pha Muang Task
Force, and Pornthep Aimprapai, the director of ONCB, region 5,
reported that the members of the Task Force were patrolling the
area around Ban Rin Luang on January 2 when they encountered
three men carrying bags, when the police stopped them to open
the bags, the men opened fire and tossed a grenade which failed
to detonate. The Task Force members managed to overcome the
three men and arrest them for assault and drug trafficking.
The next day, on January 4, the Pha Muang Task Force seized
nearly a half a million yabaa pills in a road block near Fang.
In this incident, the Special Unit of Cavalry Regiment 4 under
supervision of Pha Muang Task Force found 4 men crossing over
the border from Myanmar carrying backpacks at Ban Pangtong in
Fang district of Chiang Mai. When called out to stop and be
searched, the men dropped their backpacks and fled back over the
border into Myanmar. The backpacks were found to contain 400,000
Pai Walking Street sees crackdown on alcohol advertisements
The operators of 20 venues along the Walking Street in
Pai were prosecuted for violating the Alcoholic Beverage Control
Act by advertising alcoholic drinks with signs and posters on
December 26 when Dr. Saman Futrakul, Director of Alcoholic
Beverage Control Office, Sumet Ongwandee, Deputy Director of Mae
Hong Son Public Heath Office, and provincial excise officials
inspected entertainment venues on Pai Walking Street.
According to Dr. Saman Futrakul, about 600 venues nationwide
have been found in violation of the act by serving alcohol to
minors as well as displaying public ads, and about 65 cases have
been prosecuted. The Alcoholic Beverage Control Office has
assigned provincial public health officials to inform business
operators about the regulations of the act.
Sumet Ongwandee revealed that Mae Hong Son has seen an average
of 3 drunk driving related deaths a month in the age group of 15
to 20 years old in the past 6 months. He has asked the Pai
Police to redouble efforts to combat underage drinking and drunk
6,000 yabaa pills discovered after deadly clash with drug smugglers in Mae Ai
Pha Muang Task Force rangers clashed with drug smugglers
in the mountainous area of Ban Huay Poo in Mae Ai resulting in
the wounding of a ranger and the death of one of drug smugglers.
The rangers encountered the smugglers in the early hours of
January 8 and stopped the men with the intent to search them.
One man carrying a backpack ran into the forest firing a weapon
at the members of the task force who returned fire. The second
man resisted arrest pulling out a knife and cutting one of the
rangers, Sak Bualek on the head. The man died at the scene after
being shot by Sergeant Thawatchai.
The rangers then searched the surrounding area and found a
second man lying dead with a one foot long knife, an MK 2
grenade, a bag containing forest trekking equipment, ammunition,
a rifle, and 3 packages containing a total of 6,000 yabaa pills.
The ranger Sak Bualek was admitted to Mai Ai hospital for
10 million baht worth of ya ice confiscated in drug arrest
Mae Ai man arrested with 30,000 yabaa pills
By Supoj Thiamyoj
3 traffickers from Fang were arrested on
January 6 with possession of 5.4 kilos of ya
ice, or crystal methamphetamine. Sukhon
Kongmuang, 48, Kammoon Yomkham, 51, and Sawang
Himavej, 54, were arrested by the Pha Muang Task
Force in Mae Na Wang in Mae Ai district with the
traffickers from Fang were arrested on charges
of possession of 5.4 kilos of ya ice, or crystal
methamphetamine. Sukhon Kongmuang, 48, Kammoon
Yomkham, 51, and Sawang Himavej, 54, were
arrested by the Pha Muang Task Force in Mae Na
Wang in Mae Ai district on January 6.
Maj-Gen Sawat Krataithong, director of the
coordination center for drug suppression along
the northern border, and Pornthep Iamprapai,
director of the Region 5 Narcotics Suppression
Office announced the arrest and stated that the
drugs could be sold for 2 million baht a kilo,
making the value of the confiscated drugs more
than 10 million baht.
Jafu, 55, of Mae Ai, was arrested by the Pha
Muang Task Force in Mae Ai District on December
28, after the Task Force found 30,000 yabaa
pills in his bag.
In a separate incident, a Mae Ai man was
arrested with 30,000 yabaa pills. Police
arrested Jaka Jafu, 55, in Mae Ai District on
December 28, after finding 30,000 yabaa pills in
his bag. The Pha Muang Task force was patrolling
the area around Na Muan Village in Mae Ai when
they spotted the resident of a remote village
carrying what appeared to be a suspicious bag.
Upon searching the bag, they found 30,000 yabaa
pills and arrested the man for drug trafficking.
The Pha Muang Task Force will continue to
investigate into the situation as they hope to
uncover the network behind the drug trafficking
in the area. The high number of drug arrests and
confiscations in the area, led authorities to
set up an operations center to combat drug
trafficking in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Mae
Large opium poppy
fields destroyed in Phrao
Phrao District Officer with local police and
governmental get ready to destroy fields of
opium poppies in Ban Samlee in Phrao District on
Phrao District Office
Acting on a tip off, Phrao district
officials found 3 opium fields, two fields were
covered with 200 square wah of opium poppies,
with an estimated weight of 200 kilograms and
estimated value of 40,000 baht, while the third
field was about 100 sq wah and an estimated
weight of 100 kg. Parkasit Mahasingh, the Phrao
District Officer, together with other local and
government officials, found the fields located
at Ban Samlee, Moo 11, Tambon Mae Waen in Phrao
District on January 7.
The opium plantations were found fairly high in
the mountains, at an altitude of 1,256 meters
above the sea level. Four wheel drive vehicles
were necessary to climb the mountainous roads.
There was no direct access to the fields and the
officials had to walk a further 3 and a half
hours before locating the fields. Pol Col Pitak
Thuwasithipong of the Phrao Police said that no
suspects were apprehended in the raid as they
must have fled before the police arrived to
destroy the felds.
Phrao, given its high altitude, remote access
and temperate climate is a well known location
for the cultivation of opium poppies.