Elephants make merit on 11/1/11
On the auspicious date of 11/1/11 Nipakorn Singhabhudathangkoon, Head of the
National Elephant Institute, Forestry Industry Organization in Lampang led
staff, officials, mahouts and 11 elephants from the Elephant Conservation
Center in making merit and giving alms of rice and dried food to 11 Buddhist
monks in Lampang. (By Thaweerat Pensalaphan).
Chiang Mai bids
for World Expo 2020
Vicente Gonzales Loscertales, the Secretary General of
the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) is now in Thailand to inspect
potential sites for the World Expo 2020. He was expected to visit Ayutthaya,
Chon Buri and Chiang Mai. He was in Chiang Mai January 13 and 14 explore the
city and ascertain its readiness for hosting the World Expo in 2020.
Samroaeng Chaisen, head of the Chiang Mai Provincial Development Strategy
working group discusses Chiang Mai’s preparations for the World Expo 2020
According to Samroeng Chaisen, Head of Chiang Mai
Provincial Development strategy working group, the Thai Cabinet proposed the
three provinces to vie for the Expo in August of 2010. The Thailand
Convention & Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) has been assigned by the Thai
Government to run a Detail Project Feasibility Study and to finalize the
host province within 120 days and the Cabinet will choose the hosting
Province in February 2011.
Chiang Mai has offered 1300 rai of government land in Don
Kaew in Mae Rim to host the expo and will expand Chiang Mai International
Airport to receive up to 12 million passengers by 2020. Chiang Mai’s
infrastructure linking it with other major cities and foreign countries is
already fully in place, he added. The Thai cabinet also approved the high
speed train plan on November 11, 2009 and to do feasibility studies on the
high speed train between Bangkok and Chiang Mai.
Chiang Mai also has many first class resorts, spas and
hotels and is developing the city as a medical and wellness hub in the City
of Life and Wealth plan which will improve the livability of the city.
Chiang Mai will host the .Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS)
Expo 2015 and hosted the World Horticulture Expo in 2006, in which 30
countries participated, showing its ability to handle such events.
Travel & Leisure magazine voted Chiang Mai second best
city for tourism in the world in 2010 and the Lonely Planet selected Chiang
Mai as one of the top ten cities for world tourism as well.
Cool temps bring visitors to the North
cool temperatures brought visitors flocking to the North for the New Year
holidays. Mae Hong Son saw many visitors with their cool temperatures and
morning fog. Chiang Mai saw a more than 20 percent increase in visitors (story
on Page 5). With 107 road accidents in Chiang Mai with 10 deaths ranked the
province 7th highest in the nation. 105 people were injured which pushed
Chiang Mai to number 5 in injuries in the country. (Photo by Khajohn
file complaint with ERC
Nakwiroj filed a complaint regarding current fund dispersal regulations for
the Mae Moh Lignite Plant with the ERC.
Representatives of the victims of the Mae Moh Lignite
Power Plant in Mae Moh, Lampang, filed a complaint with the Energy
Regulatory Commission (ERC) to revise the drafted regulations put in place
to speed up the distribution of funds to the community in aid of development,
patient treatment and enforcing regulations regarding the fund.
Ms. Maliwan Nakwiroj, secretary for the victims’ rights
groups, said that they had raised the issue late last month in a bid to
enforce effective and regulated distribution of the fund. Earlier this month,
they urged the Commission to revise the regulations as they felt that the
latest regulations were not meeting with Fund objectives.
She said that the latest draft “should not benefit the
Electrical Generating Authority staff but those people who suffered from the
lignite plant in Mae Moh. Most of the funds are going to other projects that
are not related to the Fund objectives.”
She also noted that victims of the plant have not
received top treatment in a timely manner as the fund intended, “if they
received compensation money, it was very late and in small sums when
compared to the other projects’ funds allocation.”
Ms. Maliwan added that the draft of the Fund regulations
to be announced this year should be more in line with meeting the needs of
the victims of the power plants health effects. She asked the Executive
Committee of the Office of the ERC to speed up the final amendments to the
regulations of fund dispersal noting, “Those who suffered due to the power
plant are experiencing hardship and have to receive any real benefits from
the funds. If the Executive Committee neglects their needs then the network
will have to protest against the committee and Fund dispersal.”
Illegal immigrants arrested on way to Petchabun
group of illegal workers after they were detained by the police in Lampang.
A dozen illegal immigrants from Burma were detained when
the bus they were travelling on was stopped at a police checkpoint in Donfai,
On January 6, at 1.30 a.m., the Maetha police in Lampang
detained 12 Burmese immigrants; 9 men and 3 women, aged 18 -37 years old,
while they were travelling on the Phuluang Tour bus to Petchabun. The police
stopped the bus in a routine police checkpoint and arrested the group when
they failed to produce ID cards or work papers.
Mr. Tor, a 22 year old man from Myanmar, said they had
planned to travel to Petchabun to work in a chicken farm after crossing the
border into Thailand.
Blankets for the needy
The Master Ruma Foundation, having received its
license to operate in Thailand on Nov.3, 2010, based on the teachings and
philosophy of Master Ruma, a well known and well traveled Spiritual Master
of Vietnamese heritage, the Foundation is working to alleviate poverty and
stress spiritual growth. Here they handed out 250 blankets to the most needy
Ban Pong villagers and another 100 blankets for the residents of Baan Toong
Elephant injured by landmine shows good recovery
Khapae is seen her with the prosthetic and splint on her injured leg, the
15kg splint allows her to balance the more than 2,000kg the elephant weighs.
Pang Mae Khapae, the 22 year old elephant seriously
injured by a landmine near Mae Sot in Tak in August last year is showing a
good recovery at the Elephant Hospital in Lampang, Dr. Preecha Puangkham,
Hospital Director said recently. The hospital fitted a splint over her
injured leg to help her balance and strengthen the leg.
After 5 months of treatment, she is recovering well and
hospital veterinarians are quite satisfied with her progress having fitted a
stainless and aluminum prosthetic on her left foot with a splint to allow
her to use the leg. Dr. Preecha said that once she makes a full recovery and
becomes strong enough, she can return home to Tak.
Crackdown on illegal
occupation of public land
Chiang Mai Mail
Two builders encroaching on public lands saw their appeal
to authorities to allow construction to continue on the site at Kamphaeng
Din dismissed after they had been charged with illegal construction and
trespass on public lands.
Chiang Mai Provincial Authorities ordered the suspension
of construction and ordered government offices concerned to tackle the
growing issue of encroachment on public property. The Deputy Director-General
of the Fine Arts Department inspected the locale and found illegally issued
land title deeds with more than 596 cases involved in the area.
Governor ML Panadda Diskul called on the public to
respect their heritage and to not construct buildings on public lands. He
added that any buildings found in violation of the laws would be pulled down
and the builders charged.
Golden teak illegally logged near Royal project
of the golden teak logs seized near Ban Huay Sua Tao in Mae Hong Son.
Authorities seized more than 50 golden teak logs near
Ban Huay Sua Tao village under the Royal initiative of Her Majesty the
Queen’s “A Small House in the Vast Jungle” project in Mae Hong Son on
On January 5, 2011, Khanchit Wongphraya, the Head of
Huay Pong Forestry Conservation and Prevention Unit, Mae Hong Son was
informed by village headman Uthit Tayadee of Ban Huay Sua Tao in Tambon
Phabong, Muang district, Mae Hong Son of the illegally logged trees. A
combined force of forestry officials, local government officials and
villagers went to the scene where the logs were seized and further
investigations will take place to find the poachers.
Meet the Consuls
The Honorary Consul for the French Republic
Baude is an old Chiang Mai hand, having arrived in Chiang Mai in 1980.
He is a well known figure among both the Thai and expats resident in
Chiang Mai and is an active promoter of not just the Alliance Fran็aise,
but all things French. A charming man with a terrific sense of humor, he
is certainly very approachable to not just the French who may come
seeking help, but to everyone.
He recently joined the Alliance Fran็aise in hosting a
charity Ramwong night for the Juvenile Protection Center with his lovely
wife, Chamaiphan (Pu) an Associate Judge with the Juvenile and Family Court
in Chiang Mai, where he was dressed in local Lanna attire for the occasion
while his wife was elegantly dressed in more formal attire. Active in many
events, he tirelessly promotes the Alliance Fran็aise activities and helps
Thai students with their French as well.
A visit to Thailand when he was still in school led him
to further interest and after completing his one year stint in the Army, he
began studying Mandarin Chinese and Thai. He went on a round the world trip
where he met an old friend running the Alliance Fran็aise in Bangkok who
offered him a position should he wish to stay. However, he returned to Paris
to complete his schooling but due to strikes school was delayed a month. A
letter arrived from his friend with the offer still on the table, so he took
it up and flew out to Thailand in January of 1980. He eventually moved to
Chiang Mai to run the rudderless Alliance Fran็aise here in November of 1980
and, it seems, never looked back.
He noted that the Alliance Fran็aise is a Thai
organization but that French citizens would come to him for help. After a
while the French Embassy realized since he was already acting as an honorary
Consul, they might as well make it official and he was made French Honorary
Consul 15 years ago.
Mr. Baude said, “Personally, the diplomatic social life
doesn’t appeal, but nobody else would do it, and I was doing the work
He said the first day of work was the day the wife of a
United States Drug Enforcement Agency agent was shot at Anusarn Market, so
it’s a day he won’t be forgetting any time soon!
The French Honorary Consul offers a few notarial services
to French citizens such as income certification but also visits French
prisoners and contacts their families and gives them the address of lawyers
that can help. He added that they contact families when there is a death in
the family, and will offer help when possible. He noted that while French
citizens must make their passport applications in Bangkok, they can pick
their passports up here in Chiang Mai, saving a second trip south to the
However, his most important role is representing the
Ambassador and the country here in Chiang Mai. He noted, “We are the link to
the Embassy for authorities here.”
After so many years in Chiang Mai, he said it was not
difficult to pinpoint a favorite thing about the city, “The quality of life
here is very good, and the general niceness of the Chiang Mai people. If I
weren’t happy, I wouldn’t have stayed.”
He concluded, “I have travelled quite a bit and there are
very few places in the world with this special feeling.”
The 7 dangerous days of New Years
Chiang Mai sees reduced tolls from last year
Lampang’s first death of the New Year holidays was a result of this
accident when the driver of a pickup truck died when his vehicle plunged
into an irrigation canal in Ban Maekong. (Photo by Thaweerat Pensalaphan).
and Thaweerat Pensalaphan
The 7 dangerous days of the New Year holidays,
December 29, 2010- January 4, 2011, saw 107 road accidents in Chiang Mai
with 10 deaths (9 men, 1 woman) ranking Chiang Mai as the 7th highest in
the nation. 105 people were injured (77 men and 28 women), which pushed
Chiang Mai to number 5 in injuries in the country.
This is a 5 percent drop in road accidents from the
same period last year when there were 116 accidents in Chiang Mai and 12
deaths with 124 injuries, a more than 15 percent drop for each.
Motorcycle accidents totaled 82.9 percent of all
accidents in the Province while 40.3 percent of accidents involved drunk
driving while 18 percent involved speeding.
Chiang Mai Governor ML Panadda Diskul chaired the
closing ceremony of the operation center set up to help prevent and
reduce the number of road accidents during the New Year holiday 2011 at
the Chiang Mai City Hall. He noted that plans will be started in advance
of the Songkran festival to help reduce the number of accidents during
that holiday in April.
Governor Panadda noted, “The number of visitors to
Chiang Mai was 15 – 20 percent higher than last year and yet the number
of dead and injured was lower than last year’s figure.” He noted that
the prevention of big tour buses driving up Doi Suthep, Doi Angkhang and
Doi Inthanon as well as road blocks and check points helped reduce the
number of accidents this year.
Lampang saw 62 accidents with 65 injured and 4 dead
during the New Year holiday, most of the cases involved motorcycle
accidents Kritpetch Petchburanin, head of the Lampang Disaster
Prevention and Mitigation Office reported, adding that most cases
involved drunk driving.
“This year the death toll was higher than last year
when we had only two deaths,” he added.
Nationwide, the country saw 358 deaths from road
accidents during the 7 dangerous days of the New Year, 11 more than last
year with 3,750 injured, a drop of 77, government officials reported. A
slight drop in total accidents was met, with 3,497 this year, down from
3,534 last year.
Phitsanulok and Chiang Rai had the highest number of
injuries while Lopburi had the highest number of deaths nationwide with
13. Drunk driving and speeding were the two major causes of accidents
and most involved motorbikes and pickup trucks. One fourth of those
injured or killed were under the age of 20.
LPG powered minivan catches fire on Chang Klan Road
white Toyota minivan owned by Ekasit Laisaengphong, 39 of Mae Taeng,
caught fire on January 5 on Chang Klan Road near the Seasons Department
Store. The owner told police he stopped the modified LPG vehicle when he
smelled a leak and got out to investigate. The van suddenly burst into
flames and billows of smoke filled the air as passersby quickly got out
of the area of the fire. Police and Municipal fire engines rushed to the
scene and brought the fire under control. (By Nopniwat Krailerg)
Mortar shells fall on Thailand from Myanmar border
The New Year saw fighting intensify between Karen
soldiers and the Myanmar government in Myanmar opposite Ban Sob Moei in
Sob Moei District of Mae Hong Son. During two nights of fighting
beginning January 3, gunfire and the sounds of mortar could be heard by
Thai villagers and on January 4 two mortar shells fell inside the Thai
border landing 150 meters from the village of Ban Pa La Ue’s Thai
Community Learning Center.
Thai authorities said heavy fighting erupted between
the two groups in December as combined Karen forces attacked Myanmar
government strongholds near Ban Sob Moei, causing 74 refugees to flee
across the border to seek shelter from the fighting, authorities
reported. The refugees have not yet returned to Myanmar.
Drug trafficking continues during the New Year
January 6, Lampang police arrested former Army Sgt Maj. Uthane Ponsri of
Nonthaburi with 8,000 Yabaa pills hidden in his car after he was stopped
at a checkpoint in Tambon Nakae in Lampang.
Chiang Mai Mail
reporters and Thaweerat Pensalaphan
A Mae Taeng man was arrested in Lampang after police,
acting on a tip off, set up a roadblock and caught him with 296,000
Yabaa pills on January 8. The man had hidden the drugs inside the
speakers in the pickup truck. The suspect confessed to police that four
hilltribes men in Chiang Rai hired him to deliver the drugs to Bangkok
for 300,000 baht a trip.
A police sting at the Maesa Waterfall in Mae Raem
turned deadly when police surrounded the dealers, one of whom opened
fire on the police. Return fire resulted in the death of Chartchai
Laochang, 23 of Kong Kaek in Mae Chaem. Police uncovered a shotgun, 1.4
million baht in cash and 20,000 yabaa pills. His accomplice is being
held by Mae Rim police.
On January 6, Lampang police arrested former Army Sgt
Maj. Uthane Ponsri of Nonthaburi with 8,000 Yabaa pills hidden in his
car after he was stopped at a checkpoint in Tambon Nakae in Lampang. He
told police that he had bought the pills in ban Rongkhun in Chiang Rai
for 600,000 baht and planned to transport the drugs to Pattaya for sale.
The former cavalry soldier was charged with possession with intent to
Two tour guides were also charged with drug
trafficking during the New Year holidays when Maetha police in Lampang
arrested tow Udon Thani based guides with 200 Yabaa pills at a police
checkpoint. The police stopped the Phuluang bus from Chiang Mai to Khon
Kaen when they found the drugs in the pocket of one of the passengers.
Pornchana Srisuwan confessed they had bought the pills in Chiang Dao,
Chiang Rai for 15,000 baht with a plant to sell the in Udon Thani.
Two Krabi men and a man from Satun were arrested by
police after a checkpoint in front of Wat Chai Sriphume in Lampang
stopped their vehicle and a search yielded 1kg of crystal
methamphetamine, 1 and a half kilograms of heroin and 14,000 Yabaa
tablets worth over 10 million baht on December 30.
on the roads of Lampang
windshield of the truck was shattered
by marbles on the highway in Lampang.
Around 10.30 p.m. on January 9 THE Kor Kha police
station in Lampang were informed by a truck driver that a young man
driving a motorcycle on the wrong side of the road swerved towards his
truck and threw marbles at his windshield, shattering the windshield and
forcing him to stop immediately. The driver, who was coming from the
Northern Region Industrial Estate in Lamphun was on the Paholyothin
Highway when the unknown young man caused the damage to his vehicle.
Police are investigating the incident which, so far, has no suspects.
Chiang Rai Governor visits Laos
Chiang Rai Governor Somchai Hatayatanti called on the
governor of Bokeo district of Lao PDR, on the New Year in a bid to
improve relations and boost trade and tourism between the neighboring
countries and the two provinces.
Some 20 Thai government officials led by the Governor
paid a visit to Than Khams Man Soonwilers, the District Governor of
Bokeo, which is situated opposite to Chiang Khong border district of
Chiang Rai. The meeting covered drug suppression activities along the
border as well as cooperation on trade, investment and tourism as well
as the exchange of agricultural products, especially rubber.
Chiang Rai has a plan to set up a development project
for a joint economic zone, particularly the areas close to the 4th Thai-Lao
Friendship Bridge construction site across the Mekong River linking
Chiang Khong District and Bokeo District of Laos.
Governor Somchai also visited the construction site
of the bridge, construction is expected to be completed at the end of
2012. He then visited the Bokeo District Hospital in Laos whos
construction is supported financially by the Thai government as well as
being provided with medical equipment and an exchange of Thai and Lao
knowledge and personnel for hospital work.