NEWS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Songkran schedule set by Municipality

4TH bomb in a week

City accelerates CCTV installation

Kantary Hills to open new shopping and hotel complex on Nimmanhaemin

Ken Hagerman Water Project, a boost for Mae Pun Deng

Lhin Ping moves into her new home

Summer storm brings hail and severe winds in the North

Mae Hong Son refugee camp razed in accidental fire

Summer storm hits hard

Tha Sala fire damages warehouse

3 dead, 100,000 yabaa pills in latest Chiang Rai clash

 

Songkran schedule set by Municipality

Jedsadapong Wongkiew

Tassanai Buranupakorn, Chiang Mai Mayor, 4th left, Boonlert Buranupakorn,
the Chiang Mai PAO President, 5
th
left, Chalermsak Suranant, Director of TAT Chiang Mai Office, 6th left announce the Songkran festivities at Tha Pae Gate.

Chiang Mai will host another hugely popular Songkran Thai New Year festival beginning next week, with organizers setting plans into place for many fun activities for residents and tourists alike.

With a campaign to have fun, eat good food, and get in touch with Northern culture without drunk driving, the Chiang Mai Provincial Administrative Organization (PAO) hopes to make the upcoming Songkran an enjoyable holiday for all revelers.

Chiang Mai PAO president Boonlert Buranupakorn, said this year’s Songkran will still maintain Lanna charm, featuring local art and culture and the Northern way of life.

Events scheduled for the Songkran period of April 12-15 will focus on Tha Phae gate, the Chiang Mai – Lamphun road, Yang Nerng in Saraphi, and in the Nong Hoy community.

On the morning of April 13 there will be a merit making ceremony with alms giving to Buddhist monks at Tha Phae gate. A parade of beautiful girls carrying traditional Lanna umbrellas and dressed in local costume will then start from the TAT office on the Chiang Mai – Lamphun road and end at Tha Phae gate.

Other events during the Songkran festival will be the Miss Songkran beauty contest at Tha page gate, cultural events at the gate, rafts in the middle of the Ping River and “Songkran through history”, with the four corners of the city moat walls to host music and shows of Lanna culture.

The Chiang Mai Songkran Family Fun Park will open at the parking lot near Kad Suan Kaew shopping center on Huay Kaew road.

In the afternoon of April 13, there will be a procession carrying the revered image of the Phra Buddha Sihing followed with sprinkling holy water on the Buddha Sihing image as well as other most important Buddha images, in traditional Songkran ceremonies.

Finally, on the 13th, there will be a parade of the Khun Sangkhan carriage accompanied by the Miss Songkran beauty contestants from Sanpakoi to Wat Phra Sing temple.

April 14 will see a procession carrying sand and salee wood to the temples, starting from the TAT office to temples located on Tha Phae road.

April 15 will have a procession carrying the “rod nam dam hua” offerings to pay respects to Chiang Mai Governor Amornphan Nimanant and other senior officials from Three King Monument to the Governor’s residence on Tha Pae road.

For more information about Songkran celebration in Chiang Mai visit the website of the Chiang Mai Municipality at www.cmcity.go.th.

Last year’s winners of the mae ying kee rod theep kang jong beauty contest join in the announcement for Songkran fesitivities.

 

Explosions at three different locations in less than a week

Two cars damaged in explosion behind Central Memorial Hospital

The damaged phone booths near Wat Sri Moon Muang.

Nonpiwat Krailerg

The 4th bomb in a week and the 8th bomb in the past few weeks exploded behind the Central Memorial Hospital on Chang Klan Road at 2:00 a.m. on April 3rd.

A 7 inch wide and 1 inch deep crater was made by the explosion with the blast damaging two cars, one belonging to the hospital. Police and military investigators believe the bomb was homemade with a possible intent to damage hospital vehicles.

However, police will continue their investigation to find the culprit and determine the motive behind the early morning blast.

With three bombs in Chiang Mai in less than a week Chiang Mai Governor Amornphan Nimanant expressed concern that these incidents would seriously damage tourism in Chiang Mai. He said police and concerned authorities are investigating the latest three incidents; a grenade thrown at the Administrative Court in Chang Phuak, the second was a homemade bomb near Wat Sri Moon Muang, and the third an M79 grenade was launched at the Provincial Transportation Department in Mae Hia. All three resulted in damaging explosions but no injuries.

Police Col. Sombat Suphapha, Deputy Commander of the Chiang Mai Provincial Police Division,joins forensic police in an investigation of the bomb damage at the Administrative Court on March 28.

The first incident involved an M76 grenade thrown over the fence into the Administrative Court parking lot around 10 p.m. on March 28, resulting in an explosion that flung debris around the parking lot and caused 10 cm deep craters in the paved area. However, because the Court was closed for the day, there were no injuries.

The second explosion occurred an hour later at 11 p.m. on March 28 and involved what appeared to police to be a homemade bomb, consisting of some kind of explosives in a can. Police were unsure what was used to detonate the blast that damaged two phone booths and blew out the rear windshield of a car belonging to Pol. Capt. Manop Khakhai, a Region 5 Police Officer, parked 20 meters from the phone booths.

Police inspect the damage caused by the grenade launched at the Transportation Department office on March 31.

Mr. A-ja Maikam, a security guard for the Chiang Mai Music School, located near the scene, was on duty when the explosion occurred and said he saw some white smoke coming out of the phone booths. He approached to investigate and saw a powder can emitting smoke. Realizing it be a bomb, he ran away, escaping before the bomb detonated.

Initially, the police suspected that the explosive was placed there by a prankster who wanted to create a sensation, but given the other incidents, are now unsure and are running a thorough investigation to find the culprit. CCTV footage is being viewed by the police to pinpoint the suspect.

Finally, on March 31, an M 79 grenade was launched at the Provincial Transportation Department resulting in damage to three cars and a nearby telephone booth.

Police believe that unknown parties are attempting to create political turbulence and destabilize the area with fear of violence.


City accelerates CCTV installation

Chiang Mai Municipality plans to add more CCTVs to be installed in high risk areas, authorities have reported. Sensitive areas, such as the bus terminals, will be fast tracked for CCTV installation as authorities fear these areas may be targeted for unrest and disruption in an attempt to cause trouble during the upcoming Songkran festival.

Atsathai Rattanadilok na Phuket, the director of Chiang Mai Provincial Land Transport Office, and Tassanai Buranupakorn, Chiang Mai Mayor, accompanied with his deputy mayors inspected the Chiang Mai Arcade Bus Terminal, where many people use during the Thai New Year celebrations and determined that there were not enough CCTV cameras in the area due to the recent bombs and bomb scares.

The Chiang Mai authorities asked for cooperation from the general public, to report suspicious objects to authorities immediately.

In addition, the Municipality and Land Transport Office also have asked for help from the police and military authorities to add more officers and patrols, military inspectors, and rescue teams to help increase security to ensure safety for visitors to Chiang Mai during the festive season. (PRD)


Kantary Hills to open new shopping and hotel complex on Nimmanhaemin

Phitsanu Thepthong

Kantary Hills will open its new 80-million-baht Kantary Terrace project in Chiang Mai in July this year, said Magarin Promyothin, general manager of Kantary Hills Hotel and Serviced Apartment, Chiang Mai.

Magarin Promyothin, General Manager of Kantary Hills Hotel and Serviced Apartments announces the new shopping complex.

Kantary Terrace has been designed to offer its guests, visitors and shoppers a relaxing location on Nimmanhaemin Road, Soi 12. With Erb Spa, PhuFah and a Tony & Guy Salon planned to join restaurants, cafes, ice cream shops and other retail shops, the area will draw more visitors to the popular Nimmanhaemin area.

Mr. Magarin said that the Terrace and shopping plaza is nearing 50 per cent completion, and when it is finished, will be an ideal place for Thai and foreign residents, senior visitors, corporations, tourists and college and university lecturers due to its proximity to Chiang Mai University.

“This is a part of the hotel and serviced apartment’s expansion plan, the Kantary Terrace has been designed as a life style center with full services, after two- year success of hotel and apartment operations here in Chiang Mai,” said GM Magarin.

“When saw the bright outlook for the hotel we decided to invest in a major expansion. The new Kantary Terrace has a modern and unique design, especially among the 5 old houses in the gardens. In the front of the Terrace, there will be shop houses blending in with the gardens,” he added.

Kasikorn Bank and other commercial services are also scheduled to open in the new complex and parking for shoppers will be added behind the plaza.

GM Magarin added that the hotel and serviced apartments also plans a major re-launch of its Kantary name soon.’

Kantary Hills proposed shopping and residential complex.


Ken Hagerman Water Project, a boost for Mae Pun Deng

By Stefan Geiger

The Ken Hagerman water project for Mae Pun Deng was finished in March, this project aimed to install sand filters to produce clean water for villagers and was instituted in the memory of long time Chiang Mai visitor Ken Hagerman. This month the last 80 BioSand Filters of the 240 BioSand Filter project were installed. There were a few more people living in Mae Pun Deng in need and for these people we built 10 more BioSand Filters. Also there are 4 more BioSand Filters in Mae Pun Deng we haven’t installed yet. Those filters are including the filter media and some spare filters for new people moving to Mae Pun Deng in the future.

Villagers are presented a sign celebrating their new water filters by a volunteer.

The kind of water filter installed in Mae Pun Deng needs a starting phase of 21 days. The filter needs to be filled with water every day at least once a day. After the 21 day starting phase pure, clean and safe drinking water is the result. Before the period is up the water can be used for cooking and cleaning but not for drinking.

To ensure the people use the filter properly and to prevent mistakes and to answer questions, several follow up visits have been made.

It was a pleasure to see the very high acceptance from the villagers. Out of the 125 filters installed just 2 are not in use. The two filters aren’t being used because these families went out of the village for harvesting their crops. But they told us they will use it after they return to the village.

A very good response was received from the 123 families using the BioSand Filter daily. The villagers made reports of fewer cases of diarrhea, no need to buy water leaving extra cash for the children’s education, the independence of being able to produce their own drinking water, assurance that the water is clean, and the water tastes better and less like plastic.


Lhin Ping moves into her new home

Lhin Ping is introduced to her new surroundings by Zoo officials.

Supoj Thiamyoj

Lhin Ping celebrated her 10 month- birthday anniversary on March 30 when Sophon Damnui, Director of the Zoological Park Organization of Thailand, accompanied by Thanaphat Pong-amorn, Director of the Chiang Mia Zoo, and zoo staff attended her new house warming party.

Her new house was built at a cost of 20 million baht with a 300-square meter Panda display section area, 3 rooms, a nursery room , staff room , walkways, and tunnels linking each others to give her places to play and wander around.

This new home can be visited all day. During the first phase of her adaptation to her new home, Lhin Ping’s housing is scheduled for 3 rounds of viewing daily; 9.00 -10.00 a.m., 12.00 p.m. -1.00 p.m., and 3.00 – 4.00 p.m.

In between viewings, Lhin Ping will stay home with her mother Lhin Hui. It is expected that after a two weeks after settlingin period both Lhin Ping and Lhin Hui will stay in the display zone all day.

Lhin Ping is now 10 months, weighs 30 kilograms, and is 1 meter long. She is in very good health and has captured the hearts of the public in Thailand.


Summer storm brings hail and severe winds in the North

10 houses in San Kamphaeng were severely damaged in the sudden summer storm that blew through on March 29. (Photo by Supoj Thiamyoj)

By Staff reporters

A strong summer storm hit Lampang and Chiang Mai with damaging winds, strong and hail. Lampang saw trees uprooted and damage to a fresh market while parts of Chiang Mai saw hail, damaging crops and houses.

In Lampang, the storm hit uprooting a tree near the Lampang Hospital, the tree fell onto a parked car belonging to a local man visiting a relative at the hospital. The buildings at the fresh market in TonThong Chai were also damaged by strong winds in the March 30 storm. No injuries were reported.

Chiang Mai saw hail damaging crops and houses in San Patong, San Kamphaeng, Saraphi and Mae Rim. Thousands of trees in lamyai and longan orchards across the area suffered severe damage, and more than 400 houses in the affected districts were damaged

The historic Wat Charoon Wattana in Chiang Dao reported severe damage and more than 100 homes in Mae Rim were damaged by large hail. Mae Rim also saw damage to soybean, orchids and other crops.

Damage and losses have been estimated in the millions and 8 Tambons in Mae Rim have received government assistance.

Strong winds, rain and hail fell on Mae Rim and the Four Seasons Resort,
Chiang Mai (Photo courtesy of Four Seasons Resort, Chiang Mai)


Mae Hong Son refugee camp razed in accidental fire

300 Karen refugees left homeless

Residents of the Pang Moo holding center in Mae Hong Son are left homeless after an accidental fire razed the camp.

Khajohn Boonpath

The refugee holding center in Pang Moo, Mae Hong Son, was damaged by fire on March 23 and more than 300 Karen refugees were left homeless. Mae Hong Son provincial authorities and UNHCR have pledged to rebuild houses and install a new water supply system after the fire.

Thaweesak Wattanathamraks, Deputy Mae Hong Son Governor, accompanied by Col Boonyuen Inkwang, Deputy Commander of the Special Task Force of Infantry Regiment, Pol. Col. Suriyong Wuthi, the superintendent of Mae Hong Son police station, Prasert O-Sataphan, Mae Hong Son district officer, and Watchira Chotirosseranee, the permanent secretary who manages the holding inspected the destroyed areas of the refugee camp.

Watchira said that the fire started because one of the residents had lit a candle and then left to visit a friend’s house. Strong winds knocked the candle over. Made of bamboo and grass roofs, the fire caught quickly and spread across the camp rapidly.

He added that this refugee camp was often attacked across the border so many of the residents panicked at the fire, worried it was another attack.


Summer storm hits hard

An electric pole knocked over by the uprooted tree
fell on top of a motorcycle, severely damaging the bike.

Nopniwat Krailerg

A sudden, fast moving summer storm uprooted a century old giant Phothi tree which knocked over electric poles, blacking out the neighborhood, damaging four motorcycles and injuring a bystander.

Chiang Mai police were contacted at 4 p.m. on March 30 that a large tree had knocked over electric poles, blocking the road near Wat Chang Kien in Chang Phuak.

The Public Relief Unit, Chang Phuak Municipality and volunteers from the Ruamjai Foundation rescue team rushed to the location to find Mrs Ruang Kruapaeng, 54 injured by a falling electric cable.

Mrs. Ruang said that while she was driving her motorcycle past the temple carrying her 6 year old nephew, the severe storm struck suddenly, uprooting the tree and knocking over the poles. The cable hit her and then fell on the ground taking her nephew and the motorcycle down with it. Fortunately, her young nephew escaped injury and she suffered from minor injuries to her shoulder and was treated at the scene.


Tha Sala fire damages warehouse

A warehouse in Tha Sala is damaged in a fire on March 26.

Supoj Thiamyoj

A fire on March 26 at 4 p.m. burned down the warehouse of Chiang Mai CD Supply Company, owned by Thaweewat Ratiromporn, regarded as the largest distributors of alcohol in the North.

Police and 10 fire engines rushed to the scene on the second ring road after the fire was reported, arriving to find the thick smoke billowing from the building. It took the firemen 20 minutes to bring the blaze under control.

Sparks from welding on the nearby construction of the owner’s flew onto the warehouse roof, igniting the building and resulting in the fire, according to witnesses. Police will investigate further. Damage is estimated around 50,000 baht.


3 dead, 100,000 yabaa pills in latest Chiang Rai clash

Supoj Thiamyoj

The Pha Muang Task Force clashed with a group of drug traffickers in Mae Fah Luang district, Chiang Rai, killing 3 suspects and confiscating 100, 00 yabaa pills.

Acting on a tip-off from a special intelligence operation unit that members of a Wa group would be smuggling drugs from the Muang Yawn area inside Myanmar to Mae Fah Luang district in Chiang Rai Maj Gen Prakarn Chonlayuth, the commander of Pha Muang Task Fore ordered the 2nd Calvary Regiment, as a Special Task force, under the 3106th Military Rangers Division, to block the route. On March 28, the force found 5 men carrying backpacks and armed with weapons.

Despite being asked to surrender the men opened fire and after exchanging fire found three men dead and two backpacks containing 100,000 yabaa pills, a rifle, pistol and grenade.

None of the members of the Special Task Force were injured in the gun battle.