Grenade attack on army camp investigated by security agencies
Security agencies are probing what persons or group is
responsible for a grenade attack on an army camp two days ago in Chiang Mai,
Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban said Saturday.
Mr Suthep said he had not yet received intelligence
reports on who fired grenades into Khun Nen army camp in Chiang Mai’s Mae
Rim district Thursday night.
Five grenades from an M79 launcher were fired into the
army camp that night but only four exploded, and those were on the lawn of
the facility. No casualties were reported.
Thursday night’s attack followed grenade and bomb
incidents in the capital in recent month.
The anti-government United Front for Democracy against
Dictatorship (UDD) will hold major rallies this week in Bangkok, Chiang Mai
and elsewhere to mark the fourth year anniversary of a bloodless coup on
September 19 which toppled the then government of prime minister Thaksin
Mr Suthep, who is responsible for national security,
admitted that it is difficult to prevent M79 attacks on government offices.
Asked whether the government would re-impose an emergency
decree in Chiang Mai as many incidents had taken place after it was revoked,
Mr Suthep said the standard security laws and procedures will be used in
provinces where the decree had been revoked and it is not necessary to
He added that the government will also try to revoke the
emergency decree in the remaining seven provinces. (TNA)
Creative MICE meet at Playhouse brings hope to Northern Economy
By Phitsanu Thepthong
Creative MICE or Meetings, Incentive Travel, Conventions
and Exhibitions is the latest government project to boost tourism and
spending in Thailand, hoping to attract conventioneers, and other tourists
as part of the Thai Khem Kaeng Project, or Strong Thai.
Akapol Soarasuchart, Director of Thailand Convention and
Exhibition Bureau (public organization) TCEB (Photo by Supoj Thaimyoj)
Akapol Soarasuchart, the Director of the Thailand
Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) said the government expects
increased promotion in this direction will create more job opportunities and
generate income for the provinces. He added that he believes that promoting
Thailand’s convention and exhibition industry will fuel growth. The MICE
project is expected to grow tourism and strengthen tourism businesses in
regional centers such as Hat Yai, Chiang Mai, Pattaya and Bangkok.
The MICE meeting in Chiang Mai was held at the end of
August while the Eastern and Southern meetings were held earlier in August
in Songkhla and Pattaya.
The TCEB is a public organization established by Royal
Decree n 2002 and has been actively in operation since 2004. Their main
objectives are to to promote meetings, incentive travel, conventions and
exhibitions, hence the acronym, MICE. The TCEB intends to make Thailand a
regional hub as a convention and exhibition destination.
“After all regional Creative MICE meetings have been held
then the TCEB will collect suggestions and ideas to bring up in Bangkok on
September 21. The proposals will be compiled and published. Our target is to
make Chiang Mai a regional center for MICE activities. About 1,000 people
nationwide attended the MICE introduction, and we expect it to have accessed
over 5 million nationwide,” said Akopol.
“Creative MICE” markets or events could generates revenue
of 40 to 50 billion baht per year and has brought in around 785,000 foreign
businesspeople into Thailand. Showing that MICE has potential to increase
revenues to the country,” he added.
Both Akapol and Chiang Mai Governor Amornphan Nimanant
agreed that Chiang Mai is the center of MICE markets, as it located in the
Greater Mekong Sub-region and BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for
MultiSectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) countries, as it is
strategically based for unique culture and natural tourist attractions.
He stressed that Creative MICE needs to be further
developed to attract tourists not only from Asia but Europe and North
America to the Chiang Mai area. The expansion of the Chiang Mai
International Airport was completed earlier this year, Governor Amornphan
pointed out, nothing that it can now handle as many as 8 million passengers
a year, up from 3 million. He noted the enlarged passenger terminal features
with a new section for international arrivals.
“Chiang Mai has really high potential, when tourists from
abroad come here for international meetings, seminars and international
exhibitions. These people could provide triple the income of ordinary
Akapol noted that the growth rate of MICE in Chiang Mai
is about 15-20% per year, rated higher than other regional provinces because
of its roads, rails, airport , hotel and other basic public infrastructure.
Chiang Mai Governor Amornphan Nimanant said at the
meeting that this project should improve the Chiang Mai economy, and
“strengthen our efforts in trade, investment, education and tourism.”
“The Chiang Mai MICE center is under construction and
scheduled for completion next year,” the Governor pointed out that this will
be a major draw for visitors to Chiang Mai. He noted that the new convention
center under construction will consist of l conference rooms with a capacity
of 6,000 people and more than 10,000 sq m will be available for exhibition
“The MICE center is expected to be finished and will be
ready for events within two years” he insisted.
Director Akapol of TCEB remarked that “TCEB has recently
signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Chiang Mai Provincial
Authorities and the Thailand Incentive Convention Association (TICA), to
launch the promotion of Chiang Mai as the hub of MICE in this region. Chiang
Mai at present has more than 32,000 rooms to accommodate participants in
meetings and seminars. Currently available convention rooms have a capacity
of 1,500 – 3,400 people, making them available to a maximum of 10,000 people
The Governor noted that the Chiang Mai International
Airport can easily handle more international flights and that at least 6
direct flights from abroad will be linking with Chiang Mai in the near
future. He pointed out that the government has given a green light to plans
for four high speed rail routes from Bangkok, including one to Chiang Mai
and noted that once constructed it should increase the number of tourists
travelin to Chiang Mai.
“Chiang Mai is being pushed forward as the ‘Creative
City’, in order to draw more investors which will generate income and help
the country’s economy recover,” said Governor Amornphan. He added that the
abundance of higher education will allow the province to cope with the
increased demand of skilled labor.
He also suggested that Chiang Mai work towards becoming a
medical hub in the North, providing top class medical, spa and health
“Chiang Mai can host world class events, as the Royal
Flora Expo showed”, Governor Amornphan said.
Prime Minister Abhisit put forward Chiang Mai as one of
three provinces to host the World Expo 2020 on his visit to the current
World Expo in Shanghai China on September 5. The other two candidates are
Songkhla and Chonburi provinces.
Mr. Akapol said Chiang Mai is among those to be nominated
as World Expo hosts because of the already existing infrastructure and its
potential for growth and improvement, with both and the Governor expressing
their belief in Chiang Mai’s readiness to face the task.
Governor Amornphan concluded, saying that, voted as the 2nd
Best City by Travel & Leisure Magazine, Chiang Mai is famous for its
abundant cultural and natural attractions and noted the fame of Chiang Mai
charm, “The generosity of Chiang Mai people who always give a warm welcome
to visitors and tourists to their home is one of the charms of Chiang Mai.”
Caravan tour around
the North and North East
TAT Director Chalermsak Suranant announces the
upcoming caravan tour
at Warm Up Cafe along with other organizers.
Chiang Mai Mail
The popular TAT sponsored caravan tour around the North,
East and North East will be held from September 18 -23 TAT’s Chiang Mai
Office Director Chalermsak Suranant said at the press conference held at the
Warm Up Cafe on September 3.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), and V Sign Media
Co are managing the tour that starts from Chiang Mai in the North on
September 18 traveling through Issan and the East and ends in Ayuthaya on
the 23rd.. TAT Director Chalermsak added that the tour
is expected to help boost domestic tourism and travel marketing, especially
as the caravan tour is a popular new trend among tourists.
The trip is 4,000 baht per person including meals, 5
nights accommodation and a boat trip to Koh Chang, but excluding petrol.
For more information , please contact TAT Chiang Mai Offices Tel. 053 –
248 604 – 053 – 248 607, or Khun Paradorn at 08 3750 5665, 085 527 6459.
Chiang Rai hilltribes hope
to see tourism boost
Community based tourism project
Traditionally built lodges at Lanjid Lodge as part of the hilltribes
run community based tourism project at Ban Kiewkarn.
Supoj Thaimyoj and
in Chiang Khong, Chiang Rai
Hilltribes villagers in Ban Kiewkarn in Chiang Khong
District in Chiang Rai are benefitting from a new community based
tourism project that has developed their village as a destination for
those interested in experiencing hilltribe village life in natural
Ban Kiewkarn community consist of Hmong and Lahu hill tribes people.
Most of the women in the village earn their living from embroidery work
to sell as part of HM the Queen’s SUPPORT Project.
Originally established in 2000, the Lanjid Tourist
Lodge has since grown to include four lodges with a total of 16 rooms.
Asian Oasis is working with the non-governmental organization the
Population and Community Development Association (PDA) in developing and
promoting the project.
A group led by the President of the Chiang Mai Guide
Association, Somrit Haikum, recently paid a visit to the project which
now covers 3 rai to view the project at which about 1,500 Lahu and Hmong
villagers grow cash crops and produce embroidered goods for sale.
“Most of Hmong people like to do embroidery work,
with simple patterns called Teen Chang batik clothes, which are to be
made into skirts for the Hmong hill tribes costume, especially on the
occasion of their traditional New Year in November,” said Nikhom Kamlue,
Manager of Lanjid Tourist Lodge and head of the development project.
All profits from the project will be split evenly
between the PDA, Asian Oasis and the villagers. The villagers profits
from the project go to the Village Bank which is operated by the Village
committee, he noted.
“Villagers will be able to obtain no interest loans
from the Village Bank. Ten percent of the Bank’s money will be used for
developing roads and infrastructure,” he added.
“This is a good place to help draw more tourists and
visitors. To reduce the narcotic plants grown in the area, this project
development here is expected to bring more employment and higher
incomes. This is expected to benefit the crop replacement program,” he
Some of the Bank’s money will also go to help develop
cultural attractions such as the upcoming Hmong New Year celebrations in
“Most of the visitors foreigners and about 100 guests
a month, with none of the money being used from the Government.”
Villagers who participate in the project earn about
2,000 baht a month more. Most of the population earn their living by
growing highland crops as part of the crop replacment program to
encourage hilltribes people to grow cash crops.
The village already is under the Her Majesty the
Queen’s SUPPORT development project, Nikom noted.
Burmese sex workers avoid arrest with bribes and not carrying condoms
Banyar Kong Janoi, Rangoon, Burm
It’s a Sunday night and the JJ night club is full of
working girls that look between 16 and 20 years old. They cross the dance-floor
in super high stiletto heels and miniskirts made from flimsy material. They
move awkwardly to blasting heavy music while a few Burmese male customers
watch closely from low tables.
While sex work is illegal in Burma and the Burmese
military government strictly prohibits prostitution and brothels, 18-year-old
Yan Min says it’s easy to bribe the police. “We bribe local policemen so we
can work. When other police come they call us and warn us there will be a
raid and to hide. We pay them a monthly fee of between 30 and 50 US dollars,
sometimes they take 150 dollars. We have to give them whatever they ask. I
never carry condoms because if they see the condom they know that I am a sex
worker,” says Min.
Burma has one of the fastest rates of HIV/AIDS in Asia
after Cambodia and Thailand. Figures released by the Burmese National AIDS
Program in 2005 showed that more than 30 percent of sex workers in the
country were HIV positive. Sex workers like Min are in a high-risk category,
but she says she must work to survive.
“I do this job to support my family because they don’t
have enough money, so I invest my body,” she says. Min began working as a
prostitute two months ago after she struggled to find another job in the
Lawyer U Aung Thein from the central executive committee
of the National League for Democracy, condemns the government’s handling of
sex workers. He says the Suppression of Prostitution Act, which was enacted
in 1949, is unjust. “The law aims to stop all sex work. Women can be easily
labeled as prostitutes and houses that are suspected of being brothels are
targeted, but the law does nothing to the men who have sex with
prostitutes,” says Thein.
He says the military regime has mishandled the issue.
“Because it’s criminalized the sex workers go underground and therefore they
are not being educated about health and sexually transmitted diseases. In
this situation HIV/AIDS is spreading quickly because there are no controls,”
Another sex worker who goes by the named Tin Tin says
many of her colleagues are HIV positive. “One of them was beautiful and
young when I met her but she became very thin and had abscesses on her body
and mouth. When everyone was cold, she was hot and vice versa. Then her
abscesses became bigger and bigger. I don’t really know what a HIV patient
looks like but another colleague said she had it,” says Tin Tin.
She says her colleague was sent back home after her boss
found out that she was HIV positive. “He gave her some money to go back
home. The girls also gave her some money. We encouraged her not to be
depressed but she was very sad. I told her that she would be OK when she got
home to her family,” says Tin Tin, unsure if her friend is still alive.
As those who are HIV positive are usually poor, they
can’t afford antiretroviral drugs. Tin Tin has never even heard of them and
says sex workers use traditional medicine.
“Three of my colleagues are HIV positive. They inject
penicillin and drink some leaf liquid that you can buy on the street. It’s
made by mixing the leaves with salt. It’s believed to kill the HIV virus.
There are some people who drink that tea and stay healthy,” she says.
Tin Tin says that despite the risk she will continue
working as a prostitute. “I will not regret my decisions if I get HIV/AIDS
because I have chosen my path. I knew the risks when I started this job. I
do it because of the money. I don’t know if my body is clean. Some clients
use condoms; some don’t. Some only use one when I ask them to. Sometimes the
condom breaks. I protect myself as much as I can but I have to sleep with
lots of men, I can’t say how many,” she says.
Economic hardship also drives Burmese girls to travel to
China and Thailand and work in the sex industry. Along the Thai-Burma border,
agents recruit women by promising them jobs but then force them into the sex
trade. Naw Kanda is the spokesperson for a safe-house that helps migrant
workers on the border. She says most sex workers have very limited choices.
“In my own opinion, sex workers, especially people from
Burma, have no choice. They are forced to do it even though they don’t want
to. Men will often not wear condoms and they contract HIV that way.
Sometimes they even contract HIV from sharing needles because they are using
drugs so they can work harder,” says Kanda.
This article was first broadcast on Asia Calling, a
regional current affairs radio program produced by Indonesia’s independent
radio news agency KBR68H and broadcast in local languages in 10 countries
across Asia. It is published in conjunction with the Faculty of Mass
Communications, Chiang Mai University. You can find more stories from Asia
Calling at www.asiacalling.org.
Inaugural flight of Happy Air
inaugural flight of Happy Air Travellers Co., Ltd. from Nakhon Ratchasima to
Chiang Mai arrived at Chiang Mai International Airport on August 19. The
passengers were greeted by the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Chiang Mai
Office, the management team of Chiang Mai Airport and Chiang Mai business
people. The direct regular flight from Nakhon Ratchasima to Chiang Mai will
be on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday with a 33 seat plane. For more
information and reservations please contact Happy Air Travellers Co., Ltd.
Tel. 0 7632 7777 – 80.
Latest crackdown on encroaching
yields illegal timber in Mae Hong Son
the wood found to be in excess of the licensed amounts
on a truck stopped at a checkpoint in Mae Hong Son.
At a recent checkpoint in Mae Hong Son a woman from Tak
was found to be in possession of wood far in excess of the amount she had
been given legally licensed permission to carry.
Mae Hong Son Governor Kamthorn Thawornsathit ordered
authorities to crack down on wood smuggling in an attempt to reduce illegal
encroachment and smuggling. Wood is commonly smuggled in from Tak and newly
processed wood is treated to look aged. Police and rangers have set up
checkpoints in a bid to catch smugglers.
On September 4 at a checkpoint in Ban Huay Kung, wood was
seized from driverc carrying lumber for Mrs. Amporn Ngaokaew, 51. While
legally licensed to transport lumber from Tak to Hang Dong in Chiang Mai,
the license was for only 1,700 pieces yet the truck was found to carry more
Police confiscated both trucks and wood for further
Yabaa traffickers arrested
in Chiang Mai with 40,000 pills
Phrae man arrested in Lampang for possession
of 40,000 yabaa tablets displayed at the police station with suspects,
Wichit Chaisu, Pongsakorn Klamsuk, and Rungsak Techwan.
Supoj Thaimyoj and
Two separate arrests in Chiang Mai and Lampang yielded
more than 40,000 yabaa pills.
In Chiang Mai, Provincial police arrested three members
of a drug ring carrying 40,000 yabaa pills hidden in a transport company’s
truck carrying garlic on September 5. According to Pol Maj Gen Sommmai
Kongwisaisuk, the commander of Chiang Mai Provincial Police, the drugs were
found after the truck was stopped at a police and army checkpoint at Pha
Hong in Tambon Sridongyen, Chaiprakarn district.
The driver of the ten wheel truck, Wichit Chaisu, 48,
confessed to police that he had been hired by drug dealers to transport
drugs to Suphan Buri at the rate of 40,000 baht per trip, He admitted that
this was the third time he had done so. He led police to the delivery point
in Suphan Buri to hand over the drugs to Mr. Pongsakorn Klamsuk,30. Police
were able to arrest Mr. Pongsakorn as well as one more suspect, Rungsak
All three men have been charged with possession and
distribution of a class 1 drug, methamphetamine or yabaa.
In Lampang, 19 year old Peerapol Nochak, 19, from Phrae
province was arrested at a police checkpoint when a search uncovered 384
yabaa tablets in his pocket. He told police that he had purchased the drugs
for personal use as he was a yabaa addict.
Japanese government aids
organic agriculture in Lampang
The Government of Japan, under its Grant Assistance for
Grassroots Human Security Projects Scheme (GGP), has provided funds
amounting to 3,012,000 baht for a project entitled “Construction of a
Promoting Center for Organic Agriculture in Ngao District, Lampang Province”,
and on September 7, 2010, Mr. Masahide Sato, Consul of Japan in Chiang Mai
and Ms. Kannika Kuankachorn, Director of the Thai Volunteer Service
Foundation (TVS), attended the opening ceremony at the Center.
Since 2004, the TVS, in cooperation with the local
residents’ group of Heng Tai village in Ngao district,0has been promoting
sustainable community development and cultivating human resources in the
region through activities such as training in organic agriculture and
environmental education. As these activities have shown remarkable results,
in 2008 Heng Tai village was certified as a model village practising “the
Sufficiency Economy” which His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadei encourages.
Consequently, the role of the TVS in the field of
promoting organic agriculture has been well-received throughout the region,
and many people, even from other districts, wish to attend the training.
However, the TVS had only temporary conference space with a capacity for 20
trainees and no accommodation facilities for trainees from elsewhere.
Therefore, in order to provide effective training over several days, it was
an urgent issue that the TVS should have a training center with
In response to a request from the TVS, the Government of
Japan bore the construction costs of a training center including
accommodation facilities. It is expected that this support will help to
implement the training of organic agriculture and environmental education
more efficiently and effectively, and lead to stabilizing the means of
village livelihood, as well as sustainable community development, and the
cultivation of human resources capable of shouldering responsibility for
these matters. For more information about GGP, please contact Mr.Sato,
Consul, or Ms. Hoshii and Mr. Tsuda, Coordinators for GGP. Consulate-General
of Japan in Chiang Mai,Airport Business Park, 90 Mahidol Road, T. Haiya, A.
Muang, Chiang Mai 50100. Telephone: 053-203-367 / Facsimile: 053-203-373.(PR)
Rak Chiang Mai 51 pressure police for arrest in murder of guard
Murdered member’s coffin carried to police HQ to protest
coffin carrying the body of murdered Kritsada Klaharn is carried by family
and Rak Chiang Mai 51 members to protest at Provincial Police Bureau Region
More than 50 members of the Rak Chiang Mai 5, family and
friends paraded the coffin containing the body of murdered Red Shirt guard
Kritsada Klaharn at the Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 on September 6 to
pressure the police in speeding up the investigation into his shooting that
took place on August 30.
Twenty-one year old Kritsada, or James, succumbed to
wounds on September 5. An unknown assailant fired an M16 at the car James
was traveling in, wounding him while the driver escaped without severe
On the morning of September 6 about ten pickup trucks
filled with friends, family and Rak Chiang Mai 51 supporters carried the
coffin laden with Kritsada’s body from Maharaj Nakhon Hospital to the Region
5 Police Headquarters on Mahidol Road. After speaking for about a half an
hour requesting the police move faster to catch the killer and to prevent
violence against Red Shirt members, they took the coffin to the crematorium
at Sala Hathong Mahakhun in Wat Phra Sing Wora Mahaviharn for funeral rites.
There, the religious ceremony was presided over by the
Buddhist monk Phra Khru Suthep Sithikhun, the abbot of Wat Sri Boonruang,
spiritual adviser of ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, while Mr.
Petchawat Wattanapongsiri, the chairman of the Rak Chiang Mai Group also
attended. The cremation ceremony will be held on September 12, at Haiya
cemetery in Muang district.
On September 5, Kritsada died at the ICU of Maharaj
Nakhon Chiang Mai Hospital from serious wounds sustained after an attack at
12:30 a.m. on August 30 on the Hang Dong road by unknown assailants who
fired an M16 at the car he was traveling in, firing more than 10 times at
the vehicle being driven by his girlfriend.
Spurned lover confesses to the murder of Lampang woman
Spurned by his lover after she called off their
relationship prior to her marriage to another man, Kittisak Niemsaeng, 30 of
Lampang, confessed to police that he had tied her up in a rage and stabbed
her to death.
Kittisak Niemsaeng of Lampang re-enacts the murder of his
lover in her car, he tied her up and stabbed her to death before fleeing to
his wife’s house.
The suspect told police that he had been having an affair
for three years with Sucharee Sanomchan, 27 of Suandok in Lampang and that
she called him to meet in her car in front of a video shop where she told
him that she was ending the affair to marry another man.
After the brutal stabbing death of Sucharee Sanomcham, 27
of Suandok in Lampang, police arrested Kittisak Niemsaeng, 30, who then
confessed to the crime.
Ms. Sucharee was a member of the Law Division staff of
Niyompanitch Lampang when she was murdered on September 3. Police arrested
Kittisak on September 5 at his wife’s house in Chompoo in Lampang and
charged him with murder.