Elephant protest at City Hall
Mrs. Amphai Thapthong of the Maetaman Elephant Camp
presents the protest letter to Deputy Governor Chumphorn Saengmanee at City
12 elephants and nearly 100 staff members and mahouts
from Maetaman Elephant Camp, operators of other elephant camps in the Mae
Taeng Valley, and Friends of Chiang Mai members staged a protest at Chiang
Mai City Hall on May 4.
Maetaman Elephant Camp has been forced to shut down from
lack of business during the recent crises. Mrs. Amphai Thapthong of the
Maetaman Elephant Camp led the group in submitting a letter of complaint to
Chiang Mai Governor Amornphan Nimanant. The letter, received by Deputy
Governor Chumphorn Saengmanee, asked for help in sustaining the elephants
and for government efforts to redouble in restoring the tourism sector in
The letter also requested the government work harder to
restore peace and normality in order help restore tourist confidence in
Amphai said that the elephant camps operators suffered
from the political turbulence that has seriously affect the tourism sector.
“Many countries and their governments announced warnings to their citizens
not to visit Thailand during the Red shirt protests in Bangkok,” she said.
“At present,” Mrs Amphai continued, “the elephant camp
operators have to carry huge expenses. Each month; we have to pay out 2
million baht for the salary and elephant food expenses. We have been forced
to close down the camp,” she concluded.
Anchalee Kalmapijit, Chairperson of the Hug Chang Club or
Love Elephant Club added that the Maetaman Elephant camp still feeds and
looks after the elephants but that some employees have had to be laid off to
cut expenses. They hope that normality can be returned and tourists will
come back to Thailand. “That would hopefully help us a lot,” she noted.
The group vowed to keep the elephants protesting at City Hall until the
issues had been addressed.
Royal Ploughing Ceremony May 13
Oxen are guided by royal attendants during royal
ploughing ceremonies in Bangkok. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
The annual Royal Ploughing Ceremony at Sanam Luang near
the Grand Palace in Bangkok, and the accompanying Cultivation Ceremony held
at the Temple of the Emerald Buddha the day before, are of great
significance in Thailand. This year the ceremonies take place on May 12 and
During the ceremonies, appropriate strains of different
grains for cultivating crops are selected just prior to the planting season,
and rituals are performed to interpret the year’s harvest. Grain selection
is an important consideration when planting crops, as the crops rely on soil,
ample rainfall and other natural factors.
The Cultivation Ceremony is also performed to help keep
the different grains free from disease, producing a bountiful harvest.
His Majesty the King, accompanied by Her Majesty the
Queen, always presides over the Cultivation Ceremony held at the Temple of
the Emerald Buddha.
The Royal Plooughing Ceremony signals the beginning of
the planting season in Thailand. Two well cared for oxen of the same color
pull an ancient plow, breaking the ground so that sacred seeds may be
planted. Two other oxen wait in reserve.
Two Brahman priests sprinkling sacred water along the
path lead the royal procession, with its nine-tiered royal umbrella.
Two pairs of female guardians carry grain in one gold and
one silver container following behind the ploough, seeding the tilled
Three circuits tilling the earth around Sanam Luang are
completed and at the end the oxen are offered seven types of foods to select
from: rice grain, corn, peas, sesame, liqueur, water and grass. Brahman
priests then interpret their selection.
Following the ceremony, many people collect the seeds
from the ground to keep as sacred objects promising a prosperous year, while
others sow the ceremonial seeds mixed in with other seeds to sanctify the
Japanese government promotes organic farming in Phayao
The Government of Japan, under its Grant Assistance for
the Grassroots Human Security Projects Scheme (GGP), has provided funds
amounting to 2,789,500 baht for “The Project to Improve the Environment and
to Promote Organic Farming in Phayao Province”. On April 30, 2010, Mrs.
Junko Yokota, Consul-General of Japan in Chiang Mai and Dr. Misaburo
Taniguchi, President of the Foundation of Training Center for Agriculture
and Occupation were present at the donation ceremony of agricultural
equipment and a vehicle at the Foundation’s farm in Chun District, Phayao
Mrs.Junko Yokota, Consul-General of Japan inspects the
rice baler donated to the Phayao Foundation of Training Center for
Agriculture and Occupation with funds donated by the Japanese government.
The Foundation of Training Center for Agriculture and
Occupation has engaged in the promotion of agricultural techniques for
farmers, young people, and hill tribe members as well as community
development in rural areas. Specifically, aiming at sustainable
environmentally-friendly farming, the Foundation has cultivated organic
crops without the use of pesticides or chemical fertilizers at its farm and
extended the techniques elsewhere.
In the Northern provinces, a smoky haze in the dry season,
partly caused by burning agricultural waste, such as rice straw and stubble
after reaping, is a serious environmental problem. Currently, governmental
bodies and local administrative organizations are urging farmers to reduce
this agricultural burning. However, without providing knowledge and
techniques on how to utilize rice straw instead burning it, this will not
lead to behavior change among farmers. Therefore, the Foundation has
recommended utilizing rice straw for compost, feed for livestock, and
mushroom beds, and plowing rice stubble back into the ground. However, it is
still difficult for farmers to carry out these techniques in practice due to
the lack of agricultural equipment and a vehicle to reduce their heavy
In response to a request from the Foundation, the
Government of Japan has agreed to provide funds for the purchase of
agricultural equipment and a vehicle to compress, bale, and transport rice
straw efficiently. They will be lent to some 300 farmers promoting organic
rice farming and utilized in agricultural training targeting annually some
200 trainees and visitors to the Foundation’s farm. This is expected to
reduce air pollution from the smoky haze and to promote sustainable
environmentally-friendly farming. For more information about GGP, please
contact Mr. Sato, Consul, or Mr. Tsuda and Ms. Hoshii, Coordinators for
GGP,Consulate-General of Japan in Chiang Mai,
Telephone: 053-203-367 / Facsimile: 053-203-373
Links between China and Thailand promoted
On May 3, a Memo of Understanding (MoU) signing
ceremony was held at Khum Phaya Resort and Spa to introduce and launch
the Nine Towers and Twelve Walls mega project, which is being developed
in Xishuangbanna in southern China. The MoU will help to link trade and
investment projects between China and Thailand as well as Myanmar and
Laos in the near future.
Prasong Nilbanchong, Director of the Industrial
Promotion Center, Region 1, presided over the MoU signing ceremony on
trade , tourism and investment cooperation at the Khum Phaya Resort and
China’s Hai Cheng Group introduced its Nine Towers &
Twelve Walls project, the biggest development project in the Greater
Mekong sub region. This ambitious plan has been mapped out and is being
constructed in Xishuangbanna city in Yunnan province.
Prasong Nilbanchong, Director of the Industrial
Promotion Center, Region1, Industry Department, presided over the MoU
signing ceremony, accompanied by Mr. Zhou Kun, the company chairman of
Hai Cheng Group, Arkhom Supangpao, the President of Thai SMEs Promotion
Association for Chiang Mai and Lamphun provinces, Manoo Somjit, Vice
President of Thai Boxing Teachers, Jittapat Nathakarn of Phrae Chamber
of Commerce, and Mr. Guo Bin Wang, company chairman of Wah Soeng
International trades and business development.
Mr. Zhou Kun, the Hai Cheng Chairman, said the Nine
Towers & Twelve Walls project will help develop new cities in Southern
China, especially in the Yunnan province. He added that the unique and
outstanding cultures and traditions of each minority group in the
Greater Mekong sub region will be included.
Once completed the Chinese mega project will become a
hub of the economic and tourism sectors in the Golden Triangle. He
remarked that the project was aimed at becoming a center for cultural
tourism as it boasts the beautiful Li Jiang city, which is being
developed as a gateway for tourism to the Golden Triangle in the GMS
The Hai Cheng Group’s Nine Towers & Twelve Walls will
cover a 600 -rai area, with 1,200 villages, and a budget of 60,000
million baht to be provided by the Chinese sector for the new city
developments. Currently under construction in Xishuangbanna completion
is expected at the end of this year. There will be a large shopping
center, handicrafts distribution center, five star hotel, restaurants,
and a fitness park all built in the Thai Lue style of the area.
BOT shows first quarter
economic growth in the North
The Bank of Thailand, Northern Region branch stated that
the economic and financial status in the North in March 2010 and during the
first quarter of this year had grown since the beginning of the year,. March
had proved better than the previous month and performance had improved over
the same period last year.
According to Senior Director of the Bank of Thailand (BoT)
Northern branch, Chantawan Sujaritkul, exports had expanded for the past 6
consecutive months. With exports mainly to Asia, Japan and Europe, she said
it signalled the economic recovery of these regions.
She said those factors have resulted in growth of the
industrial sector in the North, specifically electronic appliance as well as
agro industry, processed food and commodities, ornaments for exports, and
Consumer purchasing power is also in good condition, she
continued, judging from the income earned by the farming and tourist
sectors, which are also expanding respectively. This has resulted in a high
volume of trading growth, as well as investment in construction projects by
both government and private sectors.
“These are from the government measures with economic
stimulation packages, the inflation rate is also slowdown, following more
job employment, due to the overall economic recovery, while the money
deposited and credits in the commercial banks is also still expanding,” she
“As the effect of the government’s measures on economic
stimulation packages is felt, the government expenditure has been reduced,
while the credit and deposits in the commercial banks are expanding,” she
For the agricultural sector, it was found that important
field crops like sticky rice grain, sugarcane, cassava, corn, garlic and red
onion production was higher than last year for the same period, but rice
grain and soybean were less than last year’s first quarter for production.
For the tourism services sector, like hotels and
restaurants sector, this year’s first quarter generated 107 million baht,
higher than last year’s first quarter which was at 104 million baht in
Passenger numbers through Chiang Mai International
Airport during this year’s first quarter was at 1,190 (thousand persons per
unit) which was higher than the passenger number during the same period last
year which was at 1014 persons, while this year’s first quarter, hotel
occupancy rates were at 48. 7 percent, higher than last year for this period
at 45. 9 percent.
For the private consumption sector, it was found that the
number of motorcycles and cars registered with the government authorities
was 74,766 for motorcycles, and 25,679 for cars during the first quarter of
this year, higher than last year during the same period which was at 57,050
for motorcycles and 19,427 for cars registered with authorities.
For Board of Investment (BOI) approved investment
projects this year’s first quarter showed 20 projects worth 3.311 billion
baht. These numbers were higher than last year’s first quarter (during the
same period), which had 14 projects worth 8.59 billion baht.
In the foreign trade sector, first quarter exports
through Customs checkpoints, the Customs Department and Chiang Mai
International Airport were higher than last year‘s first quarter. While
border exports to Myanmar and Laos were also higher than last year’ s first
quarter, this year’s exports of 13.7 million US $ to South China were lower
than last year’s exports, valued at 17.2 million US $.
Deposits to commercial banks in the Northern provinces,
mainly Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phitsanulok and Lampang, were registered at
398,901 million baht in March 2010, a 4.5 percent increase over the previous
year. Credit issued in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, and Phitsanulok was 5.1 %
higher than last year, with a total amount of 316.3 billion baht.
She concluded that these figures showed that during the
first quarter of 2010, it has become clear that the overall economy in the
North has expanded in the export, tourism, consumption and investment
sectors. Exports from the North are accelerating following the recovery of
export markets and border trade.
Chiang Mai celebrates Coronation Day
Governor Amornphan Nimanant presented offerings
of His Majesty the King‘s portrait to celebrate
Coronation Day at CMU’s
Convention Center on May 5.
Chiang Mai and the Kingdom celebrated Wan Chatramongkhol
(Coronation Day) on Wednesday, May 5.
Chiang Mai Governor Amornphan Nimanant lit auspicious
victory candles at the ceremony to honor His Majesty the King on his
Coronation Day at the Chiang Mai University Convention Center. The Governor
was joined by government officials, foreign consuls, military and police
officers, students and members of the public in the candle lighting
ceremony. Alms bowls were also presented in front of the HM the King’s
portrait, to offer wishes for long life and health and the Royal Anthem was
Four vehicle accident injures one
The driver of a Honda that hit the back of a Daihatsu
Mira on Chang Klan Road on April 30 was taken to Central Memorial Chiang Mai
Hospital with injuries.
Chang Klan Roiad was the scene of an accident involving
three cars and a motorcycle on Friday, April 30, leaving one person injured.
Witnesses report that the Honda, driven by a woman with
two children seated inside, was headed in the direction of the Chiang Mai
Night Bazaar when it suddenly hit the back end of the Daihatsu, then veered
into a Nissan parked on the side of the road before finally skidding off the
road and hitting a Honda Dream motorcycle parked nearby.
Passersby came to the aid of the driver of the Honda, calling police and
rescue teams who took her to the hospital with injuries. Police surmise the
driver of the Honda may have fallen asleep at the wheel.
3 dead in two hit and
run accidents in one night
Chiang Mai Mail
May 2nd proved to be a deadly night
with two accidents resulting in the deaths of three people in it and run
The first accident occurred around 2 a.m. of the 2nd,
when a pickup truck filled with young people slammed into the back of a
motorcycle on the Chiang Mai-Hod Road. The driver of the motorcycle,
Uthaiwuth Chantarafun, 17, of Hang Dong district was found dead, having been
thrown from the bike after being hit at high speed. After hitting the
motorcycle, the truck hit an electric pole killing one passenger,
Parimintara Sirwijai, 16 of Hang Dong and injuring another seven. A bottle
of whisky was found inside the vehicle, police are searching for the driver
who fled the scene before the police arrived.
The second accident occurred shortly after, when police
received a report of an accident on the 2nd ring road
in Chiang Khan where they found Mrs. Ampai King-umong, 45, a resident of
Lamphun province, dead near her motorcycle. Witnesses told police that a
black car had hit Mrs. Ampai and then drove off, leaving her dead in the
Police are searching for the drivers of both of the hit
and run vehicles.
Mae Hong Son residents warned of Hemorrhagic Dengue fever
Mae Hong Son health officials have diagnosed 5 people
with Hemorrhagic Dengue Fever so far this year. They called for residents to
sleep inside mosquito nets and to eliminate standing water so as to remove
the breeding grounds of the mosquitoes.
Dr Suwat Kittidilokkul of the Mae Hong Son Provincial
Office said that between January and April 2010, officials had diagnosed 5
patients, with the latest two in Ban Pang Moo and Ban Huay Makuasom in
The most recent cases involved children, who, while
critical were receiving care and recovering. Officials encouraged people to
cover up, use mosquito repellent, sleep under mosquito nets and remove the
breeding grounds of the infected mosquitoes in order to ward off this
potentially fatal disease.
Murder in Mae Hia market
Chiang Mai Mail
A soybean milk seller stabbed a pad Thai vendor to death
after an argument over space between the stalls turned violent.
Banchong Champanont, 48, and his son Sakda Champanont,
22, both of Mae Hia sold Pad Thai at a stall in the market and argued with
Wichian Sae Plian, 39, of Phichit, over the amount of room in the space
between the two stalls. Banchong felt that Wichian had set up his soy milk
stall too close to his own and argued with him. Banchong punched Wichian in
the argument and Wichian then pulled out a knife and stabbed Banchong in the
chest and Sakda in the throat.
Banchong was admitted to nearby Klaimore Hospital where
he died, while Sakda was sent to Maharaj Nakhon Chiang Mai hospital where he
is currently in critical condition.
Police arrested Wichian who claimed self defense, and was
treated for a cut over the eye at a nearby hospital. Police will investigate
further but have charged him with murder.
2 Filipino men arrested for ‘ice’ smuggling at Mae Sai border
Chiang Rai sees arrest of three Myanmar nationals
Two Filipino nationals were arrested for smuggling 5.3 kg
of methamphetamine (ice) after they crossed into Thailand’s Mae Sai border
entry from Thachilek in neighbouring Myanmar on May 3, according to the Thai
Darong Titong Maoyaz, 35, and Salvador Aweebon, 52, were
apprehended with 16 bags of the drug, which had been hidden in their
According to the initial investigation, the suspects said
they had arrived in Mae Sai district on Sunday night before leaving for
Thachilek in Myanmar’s Shan State on Monday morning. They said they were
carrying the drugs for sale in Malaysia.
According to the Thai authorities, the price of the
confiscated methamphetamine was about Bt1 million per kilo at the border. If
successfully smuggled and sold in Malaysia as stated by the detainees, the
drug would fetch as much as Bt50 million per kilo.Thai officials have
already contacted Burmese authorities in order to locate related dealers and
for further investigation of the case.
Additionally, on May 5 Thai narcotics suppression police
in cooperation with the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) caught
three Myanmar nationals in the parking lot of the Tesco Lotus supermarket in
Chiang Rai and seized about 30,000 amphetamine tablets. Police later
searched their house in Mae Sai district for further investigation in an
attempt to learn the production site which is believed to be located in