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NEWS
 

His Majesty the King wishes for a united and happy Thai people

The 2013 royal new year greeting card shows His Majesty the King wearing a casual outfit flanked by his beloved royal pets, Khun Thongdaeng and Khun Mali. His Majesty’s poem on the card speaks of compassion which is a virtue and can bring happiness to all. The gratitude expressed to those who extend their compassion will add to ties of care and friendship between people. Small human smiling faces frame the postcard. (Photo: Courtesy Bureau of the Royal Household)

His Majesty the King’s utmost wish on the New Year’s Day is to see Thai people have compassion towards each other, help and encourage each other and keep strong bonds of friendship.
In his televised New Year address, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej urged people in every sector to cooperate for the happiness, stability and prosperity of all individuals and the nation as a whole.
He also expressed grateful appreciation to the people who had turned up in full force on his birthday with good intentions which he would never forget.
He thanked his subjects for their concern about his recent illness and their wishes for his speedy recovery and good health. He also extended his wishes for them to enjoy happiness and success in the coming year.
His Majesty urged all Thais to perform their duties to the best of their ability and allow wisdom to guide their actions.
“Each and every one of you should think first of the public interest in your personal behaviour and work performance. That is a truly sustainable benefit that everyone can share in, and it can lead to improved welfare for individuals and Thailand as a whole, which is what everyone desires.”
His Majesty called on the power of Khun Phra Sriratanatrai (Triple gems) and all that is sacred to protect his subjects and grant them happiness, success and good health in the new year.


Nimmanhaemin Road to become one way

Trial period from January 20, 2013

Police have erected signs up and down Nimmanhaemin road informing drivers of the changes, however, the signs are almost entirely in Thai.

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Traffic police have decided to start a 30 day trial period of one-way traffic on Nimmanhaemin Road on January 20, 21013. With the one way beginning on Soi 17 and ending at Soi 3. Traffic will be diverted down side sois and to Sirimangkalajarn to go the other direction. It has not been announced that Sirimangkalajarn will be one way as well, only Nimmanhaemin.
Pol. Col. Suthichai Thananchai Superintendent of Chiang Mai Traffic Police told the Chiang Mai Mail that it was hoped this would ease congestion and allow cars to park on Nimmanhaemin road directly. He added that the one way would be 24 hours a day and not at rush hour only. Traffic jams were expected initially but the police are hopeful this will resolve the near gridlock conditions that hit Nimmanhaemin every day.
However, concerned area residents and businesspeople expressed disapproval of the idea. “I don’t think this is a good idea,” said one Sirimangkalajarn home owner. “It will divert traffic onto Sirimangkalajarn which is already quite narrow and backed up.” A man who works in the Nimmanhaemin area felt it would be better to restrict parking on the main road, allowing traffic to flow. He added that he felt the police didn’t want the added work of policing illegally parked cars. A Nimmanhaemin road business owner felt that it would be better to stop traffic flow going to and from the Superhighway through Nimmanhaemin, adding that they could use canal as the way through instead. This way, he said, the street could become more pedestrian friendly and live up to its boutique shopping and dining area reputation.
 


City signs MoU for transport and traffic management

Chiang Mai Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn signed an MoU with the World Bank to begin projects for bike paths around the city as well as for traffic planning.

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The Chiang Mai Municipality signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the World Bank on December 14, 2012 in a project that will tackle the growing traffic and transportation problems that face Chiang Mai.
Chiang Mai Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn met with World Bank Representative Dr. Chanin Mano-Pinivej and Chanchai Suwisuthakul, Deputy Director of the Office of Transport, Traffic Policy and Planning at Le Meridien to sign the MoU. The signing means that the city will receive technical assistance in planning and creating transportation alternatives.
Mayor Tussanai said that the City understands how important transportation and traffic planning are and will be looking at appropriate land use and routes for non-motorized vehicles. The planned paths for bicycles and other non-motorized vehicles will be designed under a project funded by the Global Environment Facility, which has donated U$729,300 for the 18 month period.
Additionally the City will work with the World Bank, the Office of Traffic and Transportation Policy Planning, the Ministry of Transport and Communications in a joint operation with the Bureau of Public Debt Management Policy under the Ministry of Finance to formulate transport policy and planning, and support public participation in transportation planning and traffic in the city as well as for the bike paths.


Public and private groups join forces in LEAF meeting

Chiang Mai Governor Tanin Subhasaen paid a visit to the recent LEAF meeting held at the Chiang Mai Grandview Hotel. The USAID funded Lowering Emissions in Asia’s Forests (LEAF) held a workshop on December 18, 2012 to establish a collaborative network of to guide activities in the Mae Sa-Kog Ma Man and Biosphere Reserve which was established in 1970 by UNESCO to minimize the loss of biological diversity and to make people aware that cultural diversity and biological diversity affect each other. LEAF is working to apply an integrated approach with Thai counterparts to address climate change challenges. The LEAF program is a 5 year cooperative agreement and is being implemented by Winrock International in partnership with SNV-Netherlands Development Program, Climate Focus and RECOFTC The Center for People and Forests. More information on www.leafasia.org.


Mayor works to instill confidence in Moo Kata

Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn eats at a grilled pork restaurant to instill confidence in moo kata restaurants in Chiang Mai.

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After the recent death of a student from Streptococcus Group B bacteria at a “moo kata” or grilled pork restaurant, Chiang Mai Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn called upon consumers to feel confident in eating grilled pork at these restaurants but to make certain the meat is fully cooked.
Mayor Tussanai paid a visit to the Sukhontha Moo Kata restaurant on Huay Kaew Road in December to point out that eating grilled pork was harmless so long as the restaurant was clean, the meat fully cooked or the that the restaurants had been approved by the Public Health Department as clean and safe.
The Mayor noted that in today’s society people have changed from cooking and eating their own food at home to going out to eat, the moo kata restaurants have become very popular due to the low costs. He reiterated that people should make certain the food is thoroughly cooked before eating, to use chopsticks to pick the food out rather than fingers and to always wash ones hands before eating. He added that if anyone were to fall ill after eating they should always visit a doctor. Mayor Tussanai concluded that consumers need to be aware of the food safety when eating at these restaurants.


Police ready for New Year’s holiday

More than 300 police officers met at 3 Kings Monument to pledge their cooperation with local forces, government officials and police volunteers to help combat crime during the New Year.

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Police Region 5 have increased measures to ensure visitor safety during the New Year holidays, over 300 police joined Pol. Lt. Gen. Eakarat Meepreecha Assistant of Royal Thai Police Commander at 3 Kings Monument on December 15, 2012 to hear the measures being taken.
Region 5 Police are working with the local police and government officials as well as volunteer community police to increase patrols in busy tourist areas and to enforce laws against thieves, drug dealers and those suspected of criminal activity.
The Assistant Commander noted that Chiang Mai is a major destination for holiday makers during the New Year period and that the close cooperation between all sectors involved shows that they are working together to prevent and combat crime during the New Year to reinforce confidence and trust in the safety of Chiang Mai.


Convention Center slated to open at Songkran

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In a progress report on the construction of the Convention Center, Seksan Nagwong Deputy Permanent Secretary Ministry of Tourism and Sports, said the construction is complete, some remaining outbuildings and infrastructure remain to be completed but it is expected to be fully completed by March 2013 and the opening is scheduled for some time during Songkran.
The Deputy Permanent Secretary also announced that the Cabinet has approved the Pingnakorn Development Office (Public Organization) which will see the merger of the Chiang Mai Night Safari, Royal Park Ratchaphruek and the International Convention and Exhibition Centre under one management, commemorating His Majesty’s 7th Cycle Birthday Anniversary or CMICE. This operation will be used to promote both domestic and international tourism.
“The Chiang Mai International Convention and Exhibition Center is a policy driven and MICE driven project. Thailand’s MICE industry promotes normal growth of 7-10% to 10-15%. Chiang Mai has organized 427 different MICE conventions, with more than 60,000 people bringing in more than 3.35 billion Baht to the economy. The conventions have included public sectors, Chambers of Commerce, trade fairs, private associations and more in the year 2012. Among international events, conventions from the Federation of Global Exhibition, UFI: Union des Foires International Association, IAEE: International Association of Exhibition and Events Association, and ICCA: International Congress and Convention Association. Marketing strategies such as roadshows, tradeshows, and marketing development through networks such as chambers of commerce members have been the main focus,” the Deputy Permanent Secretary said, adding that CMICE will be used to promote both domestic and international visitors.


Health Office checks on New Year’s gift baskets

Department stores around Chiang Mai

The Public Health Office inspected pre-packaged gift baskets to make sure they were safe for human consumption.

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The Chiang Mai Public Health Office has sent officers to department stores and superstores around the city to check the popular gift baskets that go on sale for the New Year. Dr. Surasing Wisarutrat, Deputy Head of the Chiang Mai Public Health Office joined officials on visit to the Tesco Lotus Khamtieng on December 17, 2012 to inspect gift baskets for sale.
Dr.Surasing Wisarutrat said that because the supermarkets, department stores and supercenters sell a wide range of goods in already prepackaged baskets it is difficult for consumers to check on the products to make sure they are not expired or not safe. It is the duty of the Public Health Office to check these goods to make sure they are safe and still valid.
Any goods purchased that are past the expiry date in a gift basket should be reported to the Public Health Office, noting that any food products that are found to be expired or products that contain hazardous substances could see two years imprisonment and up to 20,000 Baht in fines. Any product label that does not give the expiration date can result in a fine not more than 30,000 Baht.


Free Wi-Fi at Chiang Mai Zoo

TOT will launch a free Wi-Fi service at the Chiang Mai Zoo after Deputy Governor Charoenrit Sanungsat, Zoo Director Thanapat Pongpamorn and Acting Manager of Sales for TOT Chalermsilp Sukserm signed a memorandum of understanding to offer 11 free hot spots around the Zoo, offering a speed of 512 kbps which the public can access using their ID card number to log in and use for 2 hours per day. The Deputy Governor said the project offers access to communication and is a New Year’s gift to the people who visit the Chiang Mai Zoo.


Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi celebrates 8 years

Two lovely ladies clad in traditional dress were on hand to greet visitors to the Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi’s welcome party.

Shana Kongmun
The Mandarin Oriental Dhara Devi threw a welcome party for General Manager Andrew Abram on Monday, December 17, 2012 as well as for newly arrived F&B Director Carmen. The evening started with a tour of the property and ended at the Rice Terrace restaurant with members of the local press. Andrew chatted with guests at the dinner party noting that he had arrived in Chiang Mai back in September and has enjoyed his stay here so far, coming from Jakarta he finds the much lower rate of humidity and cool temperatures a refreshing change.
The evening ended with a khom loy release in front of the main lobby of the resort.
The large resort covers 60 acres, including their own rice terraces growing sticky rice that is donated to local schools, and an organic garden. The hotel has 54 colonial suites set in beautiful colonial style buildings, 64 private villas and 5 residences. The hotel is also adding longer term time share residences for people looking for a holiday home in Chiang Mai. (Photos by [email protected])

General Manager Andrew Abram releases a khom loy after the dinner.

The beautiful private villas are in a traditional Thai style, two stories with a magnificent bedroom and bathroom upstairs.


Midnight Tak Bat at Wat Suan Dok

The midnight alms giving at Wat Suan Dok takes place every full moon that falls on a Wednesday. Buddhist faithful gather at Wat Suan Dok around 11 p.m. with offerings of food, drinks, robes and other items for the monks in residence at Wat Suan Dok. The ceremony, called Peng Pud is based on the legend of Shin Upagutta, a Buddhist monk living in the reign of Ashoka in India, who would go out at midnight to ask for offerings from the faithful. The belief is that anyone who gave food offerings to him would be prosperous and protected by the monk. Wat Uppakut is also the site of another midnight alms giving. (Photo by Ronnakit Norkham)


Chiang Mai Zoo makes merit for baby elephant

A merit making ceremony was held on December 17 at the Chiang Mai Zoo for baby elephant Hong Kwan Chang who was born to Billy and Chaiyo on June 17, 2012. Elephants are considered very good luck for the Northern people and so Zoo Director Thanapat Pongpamorn and Deputy Director Nipon Vichairat led the staff in a Lanna style parade from the monorail station to the Elephant enclosure to perform the ceremony for Hong Kwan Chang.


Global motorbike travelers to meet in Chiang Mai

The 7th annual Southeast Asia gathering of global motorcycle adventure seekers is slated for January 11-12, 2013 in Chiang Mai. The travelers and travel dreamers will meet at the Rider’s Corner Bar and Restaurant both evenings at 6 p.m. to mingle and trade information on everything from the latest and best maps, motorbikes, routes and border crossing regulations and Customs.
On Friday there will be a “Welcome Motorcycle Travellers” reception sponsored by The Heaven and Earth Golden Triangle Riders’ Band from 6 -7 p.m. Attendees from as far away as Canada, Germany, Singapore, Australia and the Republic of South Africa have registered. Saturday evening is scheduled to include multimedia presentations by travelers from Great Britain, Canada and Australia after a BBQ (200 THB, reservations required for the BBQ). The shows will feature topics such as ongoing motorbike journeys around the world, through China and one adventure that seems to have no end. More information can be found at the globalmotorcycle adventure travel website http://www. horizonsunlimited.com/meetings/Thailand2013 (PR).


Countdown to 2013 at Tha Pae Gate

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Chiang Mai will celebrate New Year at Tha Pae Gate with the Chiang Mai Happy Festival to welcome in the New Year as part of the ongoing celebrations to celebrate HM the King’s 85th birthday this year.
The Chiang Mai Municipality, together with the Provincial Administration Organization and the Thai Health Promotion Foundation are holding shows and performances at Tha Pae Gate every night from December 25. The performances focus on Lanna culture, also, there are colorful floral decorations and sound and light shows. There will be live concerts from such bands as Lemon Band, Blossom Blooming, as well as ballet and hip hop performances from the Ballet Academy and Hug Academy. Fireworks will culminate the New Year in the No Alcohol zone around Tha Pae Gate.


Baby tapir born at Chiang Mai Night Safari

The fourth baby tapir to be born at the Chiang Mai Night Safari was born on December 13 and named Christmas, CEO Dr. Sarawut Srisakun announced. Tapirs are an endangered species on the CITES list and live in the wild in only protected forest zones in wildlife reserves. The tapir can gestate for up to 395 days and has only one baby at a time. The tapir belongs to the same group of herbivores that also includes rhinos and horses and the genus Tapirus can be traced back 8 million years. A tapir can grow up to 2.5 meters long and weigh up to 500 kg. They are forest dwelling creatures that eat twigs, leaves, and fruits, they are mainly nocturnal. The Night Safari now has 6 tapirs in residence.


Opium poppy fields destroyed in the North

Army personnel with hilltribe people growing cash cool weather crops instead of poppies.

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The Royal Thai 3rd Army based out of Phitsanulok has been eradicating opium poppy fields in conjunction with the United States Embassy and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency in Thailand since 1994. The project is a bid to reduce opium poppy cultivation in Thailand, about 1,200 rai are destroyed every year for the past 3 years, according to Lt. Gen. Preecha Chan O-Cha, Deputy Commander of the Operations Forces of the 3rd Army.
Lt. Gen. Preecha said that cultivation in the Northern provinces continues and that eradication can be problematic as fields are usually in extremely remote locations in mountainous areas and can be difficult to reach in poor weather conditions. He added that the price of opium remains high so it does not offer a disincentive to farmers to stop growing. He said that they continue to find poppies cultivated in the usual places but that new cultivation has been undergone at Tha Song Yang District, Tak Province close to Ohm Koi district Chiang Mai.
1,297.35 rai of land under opium poppy cultivation was destroyed in 2011, representing 95.71% of the area planted in year 2011 -2012.


Region 5 police visit Nan after arrest of area policemen

Deputy Commander of Police Region 5 Chamnan Ruwdrew and Wichai Chaimonkol, Director of the ONCB Region 5 paid a visit to Auan Police Station in Pua District, Nan, after ranking police from the station were arrested for drug trafficking.

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Following the arrest of 5 high ranking local police officers from the Auan Police Station by Narcotics Police in Ayutthaya on December 13, 2012 with 1 million Yaba tablets, Region 5 police paid a visit to the Auan Police Station. The police were accused of using police vehicles to smuggle drugs over the border from Burma undetected and it is suspected that they smuggled hundreds of million tablets.
Deputy Commander of Police Region 5 Chamnan Ruwdrew and Wichai Chaimonkol, Director of the ONCB Region 5 paid a visit to Auan Police Station in Pua District, Nan, to offer encouragement to local police after a drug trafficking network was uncovered involving five ranking police officers and 3 civilians operating out of their station. The Deputy Commander said they were ready to provide support in practical duties to the police station and have instructed the police there to keep a more watchful eye. He said that the police must ensure justice and that those arrested be prosecuted despite their ranking as police.
He added that confidence must be restored at the station and that most police officers are good, but good judgment must be used and that respect and dignity must be restored to the police.


Tai Yai couple arrested in murder

Chay Tah age 25 and his wife Lee Kwuan age 27 of Burma were arrested for the murder of their employer; Chanok-Suda Amatayakul in Doi Saket.

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A Tai Yai couple from Myanmar were arrested on December 13 for the murder of the woman’s employer in their luxury villa in Doi Saket. Chay Tah age 25 and his wife Lee Kwuan age 27 were arrested in Lamphun and confessed to the murder, stating that they fell into a rage and strangled Chanok-Suda Amatayakul age 63 after she refused to pay their wages. They stole jewelry, a computer, mobile phone and other valuables.
Police were called to Sila Waree Lodge in Baan Pang Fan Doi Saket on December 12 when the body of Chanok-Suda was found, police said she had been dead at least 5 days. The victim lived alone and witnesses said she had not been seen for several days. The police tracked the couple to Lamphun where they were arrested.


Drug arrests net 180,000 methamphetamine pills

Two men from Mae Hong Son were arrested with 60,000 Yaba or methamphetamine tablets in a series of sting operations that netted 180,000 methamphetamine pills and 7 people arrested.

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Two Mae Hong Son were arrested on December 13, 2012 after a sting operation in a restaurant in Nongpakrang. Phuwadol Siriang and Nitat Klinkajorn both of Mae Hong Son were arrested by police after information led them to set up a sting with the two men as part of a broader drug trafficking network. Police arrested Phuwadol after they set up a meet at a local restaurant, he came with a backpack with 40,000 methamphetamine tablets. They investigated the room where he lived with Nitat where they found a further 20,000 methamphetamine tables, a 9 mm handgun and 2.5 million Baht in cash. The two men pled guilty to the charges saying they brought the drugs over the border from Myanmar to sell in Thailand.
On December 17 Fang police and Narcotic Police and Border Patrol police arrested three drug traffickers netted in a sting operation in Fang District. Guan Jiang Farn, age 41 Ying Kamsai age 34 and Mat loongsu age 49 all from Burma were arrested with 60,000 methamphetamine tablets and a hand grenade. However one suspect named Soon escaped from police.
And in a separate case, two Lahu hilltribe women were arrested in Mae Taeng; Payanart Jalae age 22 and Lumi Jawha age 28 were found with 30 packs of drugs totaling about 60,000 methamphetamine tablets. Police were informed that drugs were being trafficked in Mae Taeng and police set up a sting to arrest the two women.


Body found in Irrigation Canal

22 year old CMU student

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Phu Ping Police were called to the irrigation canal near Baan Sai Kham in Suthep after a body was reported to be floating in the canal on December 12, 2012 at 11:30 a.m.
Doctors and rescue personnel used a rope to pull the body from the canal to the bank. The victim was 22 year Chiang Mai University student Pathompong Chikthaweepanich of Nakhon Sawan.
Pathompong had been reported missing on Sunday, December 9 at 5 a.m. when his friends went to the police to report that he had crashed his motorbike on the road. He had gone out with friends on the evening of December 8, they returned to the dormitory but Pathompong did not show up. They returned back along the route and found his crashed motorcycle opposite Chom Doi Condos on Canal Road but no sign of Pathompong.
Police theorize he had been catapulted into the canal and floated to the surface several days later, his friends and family went to the scene of the rescue when the report came in.


41 students hit with food poisoning

Chonpatan Phatake School in Doi Saket

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41 primary and secondary school students ranging in age from 7 years of age to 15 were hit with mass food poisoning on December 19, 2012 at Chonpatan Phatake School in Doi Saket District. All students were sent to Doi Saket hospital to treat the symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea.
Students fell ill after eating steamed rice with chicken soup for lunch, with many starting to show symptoms later. 9 students returned home from the hospital to be treated at home.
Public Health Officials have taken samples of all food served at the school to determine what caused the food poisoning and how the tainted food came to be served.


 
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

His Majesty the King wishes for a united and happy Thai people

Nimmanhaemin Road to become one way

City signs MoU for transport and traffic management

Public and private groups join forces in LEAF meeting

Mayor works to instill confidence in Moo Kata

Police ready for New Year’s holiday

Convention Center slated to open at Songkran

Health Office checks on New Year’s gift baskets

Free Wi-Fi at Chiang Mai Zoo

Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi celebrates 8 years

Midnight Tak Bat at Wat Suan Dok

Chiang Mai Zoo makes merit for baby elephant

Global motorbike travelers to meet in Chiang Mai

Countdown to 2013 at Tha Pae Gate

Baby tapir born at Chiang Mai Night Safari

Opium poppy fields destroyed in the North

Region 5 police visit Nan after arrest of area policemen

Tai Yai couple arrested in murder

Drug arrests net 180,000 methamphetamine pills

Body found in Irrigation Canal

41 students hit with food poisoning