hit Chiang Mai
Strong winds from the storm that struck Chiang
Mai city on June 14 at 5:30 p.m. uprooted a large tree which fell on a
nearby parked car near Wat Phra Singh Worawiharn, nobody was injured in this
incident although one injury was reported due to the storm in other areas of
By Supoj Thiamyoj
The storm that hit Chiang Mai on June 14 knocked out
electric poles and street lights, causing blackouts over several areas of
A storm that hit Chiang Mai city on June 14 at 5:30 pm.
Knocked over billboards, trees and electric poles causing a blackout as well
as property damage. Wualai road in Tambon Haiya was blocked when a giant
tree was uprooted by the strong winds, another tree was knocked over in the
area of Wat Phra Singh Worawiharn, and near Wat Nong Prakang three
motorcycles were damaged, with one person was admitted to the hospital with
injuries. 5 road accidents occurred around the city as a result of the
Blackouts occurred in many parts of the city for several
hours as crews worked to repair the lines knocked out by falling poles and
trees. City crews cleared city streets of fallen trees and electric poles
within a few hours of the storm.
Gold prices surging
Gold prices topped 19,000 baht per one baht weight on June
The price of gold has been surging drastically and is
expected to reach 20,000 baht for a one baht weight within 3 months.
Sert Tantiphanpipat, the owner of Saengsuwan Gold Shop in
Waroros market said, “Today, June 19, the 96.5% gold (buy) is priced at
19,100 baht, while the gold (sell) is priced at 19,200 baht.”
He predicted that in the next 3-4 months it could go as
high as 20,000 baht.
However, he noted that trade was still sluggish due to
the negative impact from the recent political crises, he said, adding that
most of customers bring in their gold for sale or exchange for one with more
“As the gold price rises we expect to see an increasing
number of clients bring in their gold for sale, he remarked.
Navy helps to bring turtles to Chiang Mai
Governor Amornphan Nimanant and Rear Admiral
Chakchai Phuchareonyos enjoy the Turtle Festival at the Chiang Mai Zoo
“Turtle Festival Episode”, the only turtle exhibition
held in the North, opened at the Chiang Mai Zoo Aquarium on June 5. The
Royal Thai Navy’s Sea Turtle Conservation Centre and the Zoological Park
Organization of Thailand organized the exhibit to honor HM the Queen’s
efforts to conserve endangered turtle populations.
Chiang Mai Governor Amornphan Nimanant presided over the
opening ceremony accompanied by Rear Admiral Chakchai Phucharoenyos,
commander of the Air and Coastal Defense Command, Roj Thuwanalin, Chairman
of the Chiang Mai Zoo Aquarium, and Prayuth Nawacharoen, Deputy Director of
the Zoological Park Organization and other guests of honor.
Roj Thuwanalin, Chairman of Chiang Zoo Aquarium said that
the exhibition is held with the aim of exposing and educating Northerners to
the amazing lives of turtles and the importance of preservation of this
It will be a rare chance for northern Thais far from the
Eastern Seaboard to learn about the important animals and give students a
chance to earn valuable scholarships.
The exhibit will feature turtles in various stages of
life, from newly hatched to adult. It also will showcase historical
photographs about the role of the conservation center, which has been
working to rebuild populations of Thailand’s four breeds of endangered
turtles for 60 years.
More than 80 sea and fresh water turtles were brought to
the Aquarium from Thailand and abroad. Many different turtles are featured,
from the biggest in the world to Green Turtles and Hawksbill Sea Turtles. An
exhibition also educates people about the lives of these long lived
On August 10, Chiang Mai Zoo Aquarium will display baby
turtles, and 99 sharks born at the Aquarium as well as some turtles will be
released back into the wild to mark Her Majesty the Queen’s 78th
birthday and the 60th anniversary of the Sea Turtle
Conservation Centre. Her Majesty Queen Sirikit took a deep and abiding
interest in the plight of the sea turtles when, in 1979, she donated her
island property to the Department of Fisheries to house the project.
Rear Adm. Chakchai Phucharoenyot, commander of the Air
and Coastal Defense Command, said the Navy will also be offering 40,000 baht
in scholarships to winners of a drawing competition and other activities.
Winners will also travel to Sattahip on HM the Queen’s birthday on Aug. 12
to release juvenile turtles raised by the center back into the wild. For
more information please call 038-431 477 or 02-466-1180. Tourists and
visitors can view the exhibition at the Chiang Mai Zoo from now on until
August 4, 9.00 a.m. - 5.30 p.m.
U.S. sponsored program discusses democracy and the rule of law
The U.S. Consul General in Chiang Mai, the U.S.
Embassy in Bangkok and Payap University’s Institute of Religion, Culture
and Peace sponsored a speaker in the U.S. Speakers program on Democracy,
Rule of law, and Conflict Resolution in Chiang Mai on June 16.
Dr. Larry Berman spoke on democracy, the rule of law
and conflict resolution with local leaders at Payap University.
Dr. Larry Berman, spoke on these hot political issues
at the university campuses in Chiang Mai, Phitsnaulok, Chiang Rai and
Phayao. This program was a part of the United States’ effort to support
and strengthen democracy in Thailand though the northern region.
Dr Berman, who currently teaches in the Department of
Political Science at the University of California-Davis, said that he
was pleased to be back in Chiang Mai to lecture and then participate in
round table discussions.
Dr. Berman visited Chiang Mai in June last year
speaking on “ Political Transition and Roles of Opposition Parties”,
which attracted a large audience from various sectors and organizations.
He added that last year he had spoken with members of both the red shirt
and yellow shirt groups as well as various political parties. Prior to
coming up to Chiang Mai this year, Dr Berman gave a talk at UC Davis in
May on “The Past has another pattern : Lessons learned and lost from
Vietnam to Iraq and Afghanistan.”
He said politics has different meanings both in
Thailand and abroad, as well as for the red shirts (UDD), and yellow
shirts (PAD). “Thai politics is very interesting issue, there are
differences on both sides.”
He noted that both sides feel the need to gain
‘political power’, adding that “in my own view, truth and trust is
biggest challenge facing Thailand today. Compromise could be achieved
with conversation and a willingness to concede.”
He remarked that the concept of democracy is sometime
not perfect, adding that “Democracy is the only form of government that
protects human rights.” He continued, “Democracy has different meanings;
from free election, to free party, and free press. Both individual and
groups in the society must use the ‘Rule of Law’ to help preserve
He pointed out that while all humans are equal it is
not always realized and it is the democratic government’s duty to use
its abilities to serve its citizens. “People elect their own government
by election, and then the government uses this power to the benefit of
the country, a military coup cannot satisfy this requirement.”
In discussing conflict resolution, Dr. Berman said
“the reconciliation plan needs to be discussed in a transparent manner
that provides truth, trust, mercy and justice. As long as the Emergency
Decree is still in force in Thailand, it is very difficult for talks on
the reconciliation plan to move forward. Compromise is key.”
He added that all actors need to be brought to the
table to hammer out the reconciliation plan, adding, “Individuals and
institutions must also offer compromise in order to make the
reconciliation plan work, the government alone cannot.”
He furthered that the reconciliation plan must follow
a roadmap, and must abide by the law and the Constitution.
Dr Berman, who is also the Director of the UC Davis
Washington Program suggested that the reconciliation plan must be
developed with input from all sides so that it reflects everyone’s
needs. Before the reconciliation plan can work, all parties must first
reveal the truth to help relieve the political crisis, it will take time
and effort to build peace.”
“Moreover,” he added, “ the reconciliation plan will
allow for a democracy that can help reduce poverty, and educate people
as to the democratic way and about human rights. “The government should
promote the reconciliation plan through education and communication,” he
The United States Embassy’s U.S. Speakers programs brings American
experts on a diverse range of issue to speak to and exchange views with
a Thai audience, including government officials, students and media.
Composting education for
farmers to combat smoke haze
One of the participants demonstrates methods of composting
A workshop for farmers on composting methods was held
recently by the Northern Science Park, lecturers of the Faculty of
Engineering and Faculty of Agro Industry at Maejo University along with the
Chiang Mai Provincial Administrative Organization (PAO) in a bid to lessen
the annual effects of smoke haze caused by the burning of agricultural waste
in farms and on fields.
Representatives from 210 local administrative
organizations in Chiang Mai attended the workshop, so far 2,100 people have
attended the course which is run by Assoc. Prof. Theerapong
Sawangpanyangkoorn, Ajarn Ratchata Chuewiroj, Ajarn Dr. Chanawat
Nithasanawijit and Ajarn Saenwasant Yodkham.
After the workshop it is hoped that these people will
then help spread the knowledge they have gained to other farmers to reduce
this problem. It is hoped that instead of burning farmers will compost the
materials to produce fertilizer and lessen the smoke haze that chokes Chiang
Ministry of Interior holds road show
on rights of foreigners in Thailand
By Shana Kongmun
The Ministry of Interior came to Chiang Mai Grandview
Hotel on Thursday, June 16, 2010 to answer a few questions and to determine
what expatriate residents, consulates and the media feel are needed changes
in some of the fundamentals of life for foreigners in Thailand.
Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior
Kwanchai Wongnitkorn opened the session asking for people to contribute
their ideas freely to the symposium.
Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of the
Interior Kwanchai Wongnitkorn opened the event by remarking to the crowd
that this was the second such conference, one had been held in Bangkok in
February and another was planned for Songkhla. He told the gathered crowd
that included Mrs. Junko Yakata, the Japanese Consul General, Ben Svasti
Thomson, the British Honourary Consul, Chinese Consul General Zhu Weimin,
and other representatives of consulates in Chiang Mai that they had been
assigned by the Ministry of Interior to discuss ideas. He said the Prime
Minister Abhisit Vejajiva wanted the Ministry to see if the government has
any room for improvement or anything it can extend to its expatriate
residents to help promote investment and habitation rights.
The conferences are being held to collect information and
suggestions that will be sent to a committee for refinement and then sent to
the Cabinet for consideration. The goal, he said, “is to provide the best
possible consistent system for everyone”.
He added, “they have to be plausible and feasible
concepts that fall under the law, we can’t start everything new but we can
come up with some reasonable propositions.”
The Director of the Foreign Affairs Division Tassana
Vichaitanapat laid out the framework of the conference and the 5 major
issues to be addressed; rights to nationality, immigration and habitation
rights, right to work, investment rights and alien’s rights to property.
Director Tassana said, “We are trying to improve our
legal framework. Part of our expectation is that we can develop frameworks
about laws that foreigners can read.”
“The starting point,” he added, “is to hear your
suggestions and recommendations. In our talks, we want to make sure that we
will adhere to the law. We can think outside the box but our underlying
focus is the legality of the propositions and that we understand our legal
The first issue of naturalization to Thai citizenship by
foreigner was addressed by the Department of Provincial Administration
representative. Foreigners must add themselves to the census registration (house
registration, ie tabien ban). Holders of Permanent residency can get a blue
book (Tor Ror 14) and holders of temporary visas can get on the yellow book
(Tor Ror 13) before they can apply for naturalization. The Provincial
Administration reiterated an important point, that foreigners have the right
to be listed on the census registration, “It is not well known even among
officials. We have contacted registration officials that you have this right
and you should insist on it.”
The official discussed the inequalities facing Thai women
married to foreigners stating that it is a cultural construct, “While we
have equal rights under the Constitution, the law is different. Men are
regarded as the head of the family in our culture, they need to be able to
earn a living and support their wives.”
The requirements for naturalization were laid out,
including the income requirements for both those married to Thais and those
not married to Thais. The linguistics requirement has been reduced but the
applicant must be able to sing the National and Royal anthems. Speaking and
listening is mandatory but reading and writing is no longer required.
Application can be made to either the Special Branch
Police department in Bangkok or the Provincial Police in the province the
The official pointed out that if those people who
naturalize as Thai citizens are found using the passport of their previous
country the Thai citizenship will be revoked. Applicants must relinquish
their previous nationality and the Ministry of Interior will report their
cases to their embassies.
The next issue under discussion was Immigration and the
right of habitation. Immigration officials discussed the various visas and
how to obtain them as well as how to obtain Permanent Residency. The main
issue of contention brought up by multiple Consul Generals, including
Japanese Consul General Junko Yakata, was that of the 90 day reporting
required of all foreigners on long stay visa extensions. Consul General
Yakata told the officials that there are 3,000 Japanese nationals living in
Northern Thailand. She requested a simplification of the process, perhaps by
extending the length of time needed in between reports.
Chinese Consul General Zhu Weimin requested a change in
the 90 day reporting procedure as well, citing the large numbers of Chinese
students who attend Chiang Mai schools who cannot take time off from school
to travel to Immigration to report. He suggested they open on the weekends
for those who have jobs and classes.
The official justified the 90 day reporting by saying “it
allows us the best possible protection. If someone goes missing then we have
more recent information as to their whereabouts to give to the Embassy.”
The officials said they would consider amending the
length of the report and might add reporting via the internet in the future.
Martin Venzky-Stalling of Chiang Mai University suggested
they streamline their procedures to attract foreign investors. He
recommended a business visa for those who come to conduct business in
Thailand. He also suggested a form of a green card which contains both
permanent residency and the right to work, and an extension for
international students to stay on after they graduate to enable them to
undertake internships or further job training.
The Labour Department was next, again citing the various
regulations for work permits. Chris Hedges of the Chiang Mai Expats Club put
forth a question that concerns many Chiang Mai residents; that of the
definition of work and those retired expats who wish to volunteer to help in
their new homes. The Labour Department official, while not refusing to put
forth the idea to the committee stated, “Retirees are not here to work.
Their visa is issued for one particular purpose and they have to adhere to
Suggestions were put forth to amend this regulation as
well as to implement a one stop service similar to that of Bangkok in Chiang
Mai. The officials said that this would have to be approved by the Cabinet
but that the suggestion would be put forth. Zhang Zhi Ren, Chinese
Commercial Consul suggested that an accurate, updated website with different
languages would be of great benefit as well as having officials who speak
Foreigners’ right to property was the final topic, with
officials listing the requirements for owning and buying condos.
Additionally, the spouse of a Thai person can inherit one rai of land for
residential or commercial purposes or 10 rai of agricultural land if their
Thai spouse dies. If the spouse held more than the requirement, then the
foreign partner has one year to sell or to give away. Thai children can
inherit from their parents, and foreign parents can buy land for their
children if they are minors but must apply for a court ruling before
Requests were made to make it easier for those living and
working in Thailand to purchase a condo without having to bring money in
from outside the country. Additionally, restrictions on condo ownership
percentages were suggested to be relaxed.
The meeting concluded with Japanese Consul General Yakata
saying,” We are encouraged that you come here to listen to our suggestions
and we would like to know how they fare.”
Director Tassana ended by stating “We are here to take on
your suggestions and to serve you to the best of our abilities. We will
compile your questions and suggestions and submit them to a committee to see
if we can address these issues.”
American detained by police on pedophilia charges
Saksit Meesubkwang and
Acting on a phone tip-off that 72 year old Wilbert Willis
Holley was bringing underage girls to his room, police arrested the American
at his guest house on Loi Kroh.
Former U.S. Army soldier Wilbert Willis Holley is
detained by Chiang Mai police and charged with sexual misconduct with a
Investigative police staked out Mr. Holley’s room for two
days to determine if he was bringing back girls under the age of 15 for
sexual purposes. They observed him bringing a 10 year old girl to his room;
investigation revealed that she was in Prathom 4 in a municipality school.
The girl told police that Mr. Holley had brought her to his room many times.
Police obtained an arrest warrant and detained Mr. Holley on June 16 for
further legal action. Mr. Holley denied all charges.
Deadline looms for Japan scholarships
In a recently released notice the Japanese government
announced it will grant scholarships to Thai students who wish to further
their study at universities in Japan for academic year 2011, as part of the
“Undergraduate Student” and “Research Student” Programmes.
The Japan Information Service, the Embassy of Japan in
Thailand will select and recommend approximately 10 candidates for the
Undergraduate Student Programme and 50 candidates for the Research Student
Programme to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and
Technology (Monbukagakusho:MEXT) in Japan for the final selection.
Application will be accepted from June 14-22, 2010
(Monday-Friday.) between 13:30-16:30 hours at the Japan Information Service,
the Embassy of Japan, 177 Witthayu Road, Lumpini, Pathum Wan, Bangkok 10330
and the Consulate-General of Japan, Chiang Mai, Unit 104 -107 Airport
Business Park, 90 Mahidol Road, Chiang Mai 50100.
Applicants for the Undergraduate Students programme must
have acquired more than 3.80 in cumulative average credits at upper
secondary school. Applicants for the Research Students programme must have
acquired more than 3.25 in cumulative average credits at university. Special
consideration will be given in favor of those who hold the certificate of
the Japanese Language Proficiency Test and/ or the Examination for Japanese
Further information and application forms for the
scholarships are available at the Japan Information Service, the Embassy of
Japan (Tel. 02-207-8504. 02-696-3004 -Ms. Supatra Pothong and Ms. Junpraew
Topoklang), the Consulate-General of Japan (Tel. 053-203-367 -Mr. Wanlop
Saelee and Ms. Sahatsaya Charoensap), and at the Japanese Embassy’s homepage
http://www.th.emb-japan.go.jp. and the Consulate-General of Japan’s homepage
Ancient Kings of Chiang Mai honored in ceremony near 3 Kings Monument
A traditional dance ceremony was held to venerate the
spirits and pay respects to past rulers and kings of Chiang Mai who had
protected Chiang Mai city and its people by the Fine Arts Department of
Chiang Mai University on June 12, 2010. Along with the Chiang Mai Arts and
Culture Center, Chiang Mai University hopes that the traditional ceremony,
held at the Center behind the Three Kings Monument, will become an annual
tradition offering gratitude and honoring the memories of those rules who
served Chiang Mai.
Candles and joss sticks are lit among offerings to the
spirits of ancestors and past rulers of the Chiang Mai City in veneration
Chalermsak Suranant, Director of Tourism Authority of
Thailand, Chiang Mai office, accompanied by Assist Prof Dr Manop Manasam,
the Deputy Dean of the Fine Arts Department and Assoc Prof Dr Woralan
Boonyasurat, head of Thai Arts Department, CMU, presided over the ceremony.
This year was the first year the ceremony was held to
preserve Lanna arts and cultures with the cooperation and support of both
government and private organizations, as they wanted to promote awareness of
the abilities of ancient rulers and kings of Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai had two
main royal dynasties; the Mengrai and the Chua Chao Jedton, who protected
and advanced Lanna society.
Organizers hope that this event will promote an
understanding of Thai history and culture to people and to mark the opening
up of a ‘sacred place’ in city areas so that the public learns and
appreciates the area.
Assist. Prof. Dr. Manop added that organizers hope the
event will be held annually, with the first day of the event, on June 12,
featuring the ceremony to honor Kings past and the second day a dance
ceremony with mediums from Chiang Mai and Lamphun offering themselves to the
spirits to ride was performed to venerate the spirits of the ancient Kings.
A photo exhibition on Chiang Mai history was also staged
for visitors to view and learn about it.
Mediums from Chiang Mai perform the dance
to offer themselves as spirit
horses for the ancient rulers.
Lamphun installing CCTV
in high risk areas
The midnight market in Lamphun is the site
of the first
CCTV system set up in Lamphun.
Lamphun began to install CCTV in high risk areas around
the city in a bid to reduce crime in the city.
Prapas Phucharoen, Mayor of Lamphun Municipality said
that the aim is to protect the quality of life of its residents and visitors
by ensuring safety.
“The CCTV system will be installed in high - risk areas
for road accidents, crimes, bus stations and other public transport depots
used by tourists, travelers and residents, to ensure safety in Lamphun,” he
During the first phase of the installation, the CCTV
system with two control panels will be installed at points covering the
Nongdok fresh market, the midnight market and at the Queen Chammadhevi
Under the Mayor’s plan CCTV systems will eventually be
set up to cover all municipal areas.