Rally at City Hall for transparency on new green area
Call for public participation in city projects
The Chiang Mai Community Conservation group
calls on the government for transparency and public participation in
determining the usage of the space at the old Women’s Prison.
Around 20 people from the Chiang Mai Community Conservation group,
led by Panngam Somna and Saowakon Sriboonruang, rallied at City Hall on
February 5 to present a petition to Governor Tanin Subhasaen calling for a
public meeting on the fate of the site of the old Women’s Prison inside the
city. They asked for a meeting with the public for feedback on the proposed
Kuang Wiang Kaew green space.
The group submitted a letter calling for a public forum hosted by the Chiang
Mai Provincial office to brainstorm ideas and allow for public participation
in the project, calling for full transparency into the project. Panngam
Somna said that the decision on the area requires the participation of all
sectors and that the group would like the government to oversee the project,
they also said that they did not feel another Buddhist shrine there as the
old city already has 38 temples.
The Mahanakorn Chiang Mai group also held a meeting on the proposed site at
Buddha Satan on Sunday, February 17, 2013. The group is also calling for
transparency and public participation in decisions.
Additionally the Chiang Mai Community Conservation group called on the
Governor to check out shops, restaurants, pubs and karaoke bars in town to
ensure that they are following all laws closely and are not allowing for
excessive noise or underage drinking.
Makha Bucha Day on February 25
This year Makha Bucha Day falls on Monday, February 25.
Makha Bucha day is one of the most important days in the Buddhist holy
calendar which commemorates the miraculous event when 1,250 disciples
traveled to meet with the Buddha with no prearranged agreement, at Weluwan
Mahawiharn Temple in the area of Rachakhryha, India, seven months after the
Buddha began his teachings.
This took place on the full moon of the third lunar month, a month known in
the Buddhist Pali language as ‘Makha’. “Bucha’ means to venerate or to
honor. There will be a candlelight procession as devout Buddhists walk in a
clockwise direction three times around the ordination hall or Phra Ubosot.
Called “Wian Tian”, each person will hold a lighted candle, incense and
flowers, the walk around the Ubosot is for each of the Three Jewels – the
Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha.
This day is a public holiday and government offices, banks and many
businesses will be closed. It is against the law for businessmen to
distribute alcohol. This includes bars and restaurants, supermarkets,
convenience stores, department stores, and community retail stores. An
amendment to the decree exempts hotels from the ban. Those caught breaking
the law can face up to six months in jail and fines up to 10,000 baht.
Cobra Gold military exercises headquarter in Chiang Mai
U.S. Ambassador co-chairs opening ceremony
U.S. Ambassador Kristie Kenney and Admiral
Yuttana Phagpolngam, Deputy Supreme Commander of the Thai Armed Forces join
hands with partner nations in the 32nd annual Cobra Gold exercises held in
Thailand from February 11-21, 2013.
U.S. Ambassador Kristie Kenney visited Chiang Mai on February 11,
2013 to join Admiral Yuttana Phagpolngam, Deputy Supreme Commander of the
Thai Armed Forces in chairing the opening ceremony of the Cobra Gold joint
exercises at Le Meridien Hotel in Chiang Mai.
Cobra Gold 13 (2013) is an annual military exercise with the joint forces of
the Thai military and the United States Army that has been held for 32
years. 7 main countries participate; USA, Thailand, South Korean, Japan,
Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia. A further ten countries take part as
observers including Brunei, China, Laos, Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia,
South Africa and United Arab Emirates. Joint military exercises are held in
Lopburi, Phitsanulok, Sukhothai, Chonburi and Chanthaburi while the
exercises are headquartered in Chiang Mai.
The exercise, which ended February21, will improve the capability to plan
and conduct combined-joint operations and will provide an opportunity for
partner nations to build relationships and improve interoperability across
the range of military operations. CG 13 is designed to advance regional
security and ensure effective response to regional crises by exercising a
robust multinational force from nations sharing common goals and security
commitments in the Asia-Pacific region.
A total of 12,593 soldiers are taking part in the exercises, nearly 9,000
from the U.S., 42 from Singapore, 69 from Indonesia, 72 from South Korea, 74
form Japan, 65 from Malaysia and over 3,200 from Thailand.
The exercise includes humanitarian and civic assistance projects, a staff
exercise and field training exercises. Joint and multinational training is
vital to maintaining the readiness and interoperability of all participating
When you train together, talk together, plan together … I know that if a
disaster strikes my country or a neighboring country you will all be there,”
said Kristie A. Kenney, U.S. Ambassador to Thailand. “You’ll be there at
once because whether it’s flooding in Thailand, a typhoon in the Philippines
or a tsunami in Indonesia, you know because you’ve worked together how to
respond immediately and effectively to save lives. As a civilian, I know
that makes us safer, more productive and more prosperous.”
Prime Minister launches bio-gas project in Mae Taeng
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra had a busy
schedule on a recent visit to Chiang Mai, overseeing the launch of a bio-gas
project in Mae Taeng, visiting Mae Rim and CMU Art Museum to preside over
the opening ceremonies there.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra had a full schedule on a recent
visit to her hometown of Chiang Mai on February 14 and 15 where she visited
several projects around the province.
On February 14 she presided over the opening ceremony of a project to launch
an integrated environmental community with the underlying philosophy of
theSufficiency Economy at the Chiang Mai University Art Museum on
Nimmanhaemin Road, members of community networks around the North attended
The Prime Minister then traveled to the Mae Rim campus of Chiang Mai
Rajabhat University to sign a cooperation agreement between the Fund and the
National Community institutions and relevant sectors. The financial
community will assist in raising funds raised for the project”A million new
shares. Open the financial community “which will formalize the transfer of
funds to the one million baht village fund. A total of 15,027 funds received
a total 15,027 million baht with 8,000 people attending.
The Prime Minister traveled to Mae Taeng on February 15 to preside over the
launch of a Compressed Bio - methane Gas for transport in Mae Taeng
District. This pilot project sees the integration of several sectors of the
government and the private sectors to develop renewable energy from the raw
materials from agriculture. Waste from pig manure is used to produce biogas
and converted to gas CBG and can be used as natural gas NGV vehicles, the
project is a possible alternative fuel for the transportation sector in the
Lin Ping wins votes as favorite panda
Giant Panda Zoo Awards
Lin Ping poses with her gold medal win as “Most
Beloved Panda outside China” at the Chiang Mai Zoo.
Beloved Chiang Mai Giant Panda Lin Ping took the gold medal award in
the Giant Panda Zoo Awards 2012 after she garnered the most votes as “Most
Beloved Panda outside China”. The poll saw 28,000 people participating
around the world, the Chiang Mai Zoo announced on Valentine’s Day. The
awards are held to raise awareness for the need to preserve the Giant Panda
species. The awards have ten categories of which Lin Ping took the gold
medal in her category.
Chiang Mai Zoo Director Thanapat Pongpamorn said that everyone at the Zoo
was very excited and proud of Lin Ping’s win. Wen Xia Yu, Miss World 2012
visited the Zoo when the announcement was made and gave fruit and bamboo to
Lin Ping as a gift.
Eco-rally on bicycles
Chiang Mai Deputy Mayor Soonthorn Yamsiri joined a group of concerned
citizens who held a bicycle rally at 3 Kings Monument on February 17, 2013
as part of a program to not only encourage students to ride bicycles but to
also to bring students and teachers together on a bicycle tour of the city
to learn more about its history and heritage. The students and teachers
cycled around the moat to visit historic sites.
New Fire and Smoke Protection center opens
Plan to bring burning under control in 80 days
Deputy Governor Adisorn Kamnerdsiri chairs the
new Fire and Smoke Protection Center meeting held at City Hall.
A Fire and Smoke Protection Center was opened at the Chiang Mai
Environment and Natural Resources Office, located in Chiang Mai City Hall on
February 6, 2013 with Deputy Governor Adisorn Kamnerdsiri presiding over the
The Center will focus on prevention, preparation, response and recovery and
plans to implement 8 main measures to bring the burning under control within
the next 80 days. Those include risk prevention, promoting community support
to stop burning, promote private sector participation and partnership
networks in preventing smog, provide alarms for smoke levels, and to expand
cooperation with neighboring countries in order to reduce haze over the
region and finally to establish a regional smoke and haze center to allow
for cooperation between countries.
Measures include a fire ban that has been in place since January 21 and
extends through April 30, 2013. The government has also started a project to
allow the private sector public and private organizations take part in
raising funds to fight forest fires in the region.
The Deputy Governor noted that the reduction of haze and smoke in the region
is necessary to the public health and overall economy of Chiang Mai.
34 couples join the
5th Season of Love in Pai
Valentine’s Day in Mae Hong Son
Mae Hong Son Governor Narumon
Palawat joins the newlyweds in offering alms at the Pai Historical Bridge.
The 5th Annual Season of Love in Pai was held on February 14 and 15
at the Bura Ram Pai Resort. 34 couples joined in the event with 3 getting
married. One couple traveled as far as Koh Samui to participate in the
events and the oldest couple was 71 years old.
Narumon Palawat, Governor of Mae Hong Son, presided over the ceremony held
at the Pai Historical Bridge where the newly married couples joined in
giving alms to 11 Buddhist monks. Following the ceremony the couples were
given a marriage gift and anointed with ritual water before registering
their marriages at the Pai District Office.
The Royal Park Rajapruek also held a “Season in Love” event for 22 couples
who registered their marriages at the Royal Pavilion.
International Tomato Breeder’s Roundtable Forum in Chiang Mai
World leading tomato experts from Europe and America
Tomato breeders meet in Thailand to discuss
methods of improving yield and reducing disease to help feed a growing world
For the first time since 1955, the ‘International Tomato Breeder’s
Roundtable’ (TBRT) was held in Asia on February 6, 2013, with a total of 90
world-recognized tomato breeders and plant scientists from Europe and
America and over 50 plant scientists and geneticists from Thailand
attending. The 44th Tomato Breeder’s Roundtable Forum, presided by the
Minister of Science and Technology, Mr. Woravat Auapinyakul, took place in
Chiang Mai, during February 6-8,2013. This adds to the celebration of the
30th anniversary of East-West Seed in Thailand.
The Tomato Breeder’s Roundtable started as an informal meeting of tomato
breeders in 1955 in the USA. Over the past five decades the TBRT has become
an important meeting for tomato researchers and breeders from public
institutions and industry across the world. Today, it is one of the world’s
most recognized forum for the leading researchers, scientists in genetics
and genomics and highly regarded tomato breeders to meet, update and
exchange new knowledge and new technology.
The discussions focused on the development of improved tomato varieties that
have stronger resistance against diseases and pests, resulting in higher
yields and contributing to better food nutrition for the increasing world
Among the many high-profile plant scientists attending was Dr. Jay Scott,
professor of horticulture from the University of Florida. Dr. Scott is well
respected in the US for tomato breeding. Much of his recent work has
involved the discovery of molecular markers linked to disease resistance
genes. At the TBRT, he presented current approaches for developing bacterial
spot resistant tomato cultivars.
Conference chairman of TBRT 2013, Dr. Darush Struss, biotechnology and
molecular plant breeding manager at East-West Seed, revealed that the
company was chosen for this special event following its staging of a
successful international conference on Solanaceae in Thailand in 2011 in
cooperation with NSTDA, Maejo and Chiang Mai universities with over 300
“This conference offers a tremendous opportunity for Thailand’s scientific
communities and those who are involved in vegetable breeding, as well as
horticultural scientists and students, to acquire first-hand information
regarding advanced breeding technology,” said Dr. Struss.
“Our breeding programs for tomato are focused on better fruit quality,
higher yield, and development of resistances to disease and pests. When
plants have stronger resistance to diseases, farmers not only have better
productivity but also have less need for chemical pesticides. For consumers,
that means cleaner, more nutritious vegetables,” Mr. Simon Jan de Hoop, Vice
President for Research and Development at EastWest seed added.
“Thailand holds a key position as a high quality hybrid seed producer, has
good infrastructure and is a conducive business environment for research
companies. This is why Thailand is important as an R&D and innovation base
for East-West Seed,” Mr. de Hoop concluded.
Under the spotlight: Caroline Marsh
LCLN, smog and what we can do to help
Caroline Marsh of the Lanna Community Life
Network gives a dragon fruit plant to Chairman of the Schools’ Foundation
Khun Metta Soratiwa. This year the Chairman of the Schools’ Foundation Khun
Metta Soratiwa, Puttisopon Director Banyot Somlid, Acharn Monk Sombat
Siriponno, Kru Nongluck DaengThai Head of Social Studies whom invited HEUSP
and other school representatives along with head of the PTA Khun Manit
Hongkaew celebrated by giving 87 students each a 1000 Baht to help support
their studies with many children having social issues as sadly many have
lost parents with mainly Grandparents without government support caring for
these kids and families under the poverty line. (Photo courtesy of LCLN)
The Lanna Community Life Network was set up after a group of
concerned locals got together in 2009 to organize a walk and deliver
petitions to the U.S., Japan, and Chinese Consulates in support of the
global climate change meeting in Copenhagen. Sadly, Caroline Marsh, one of
the co-founders of LCLN, pointed out, that fell through to special
There may be something in the air or water just that special Chiang Mai
something that attracts strong women who end up staying. Caroline Marsh has
been in Chiang Mai for 25 years and it has not been difficult to find other
active, dynamic and socially active women who have been here equally as long
or even longer.
Caroline is married to a Bangkok native and has children in school here,
hence her deep and abiding concern for the health risks posed by not only
the annual smog and haze caused by burning but the year round pollution
emitted in large part, she says, by diesel engines. It is well known that
diesel, while more fuel efficient, emits ultrafine particulate matter into
the atmosphere which is damaging to lung health, especially to children and
She initially came to Chiang Mai fresh out of school, graduating early, at
the age of 19 she said she had a visa to India in her pocket and was going
to see the world. She ended up trying to get into Chiang Mai University’s
architecture department but, at that time, it wasn’t possible for her to get
in. She ended up marrying, and living in a small neighborhood in the old
part of the city where she helped her neighbors learn English.
“The English level in Chiang Mai was much lower than it is today,” she
added, noting that she ended up helping the kids after school and the
parents after that. She and her husband started an eco-trekking business
which didn’t make it a big leap to concern for the environment around her.
She pointed out that the old houses used to be in family compounds, planted
with trees and medicinal and edible plants. “We need to preserve local
culture” she pointed out, noting that valuable information on medicinal
plants and herbal remedies could be dying out as the older people pass away
and the younger people have no interest in their local wisdom.
Caroline has a few small remedies, ones that each and every one of us can
do. Drive less, cycle more. Turn off the lights, conserve energy, recycle
and reuse. For the government and the community at large she points out that
the bike lanes need improving, people need education on allowing bicycles to
use these lanes. She added, slow down the traffic around the moat, 60 kph is
too high and dangerous for people who want to walk and for people on
“All these Chinese tourists are all renting bicycles. With a real mass of
people we can force a change.”
The government needs to pull in all polluting vehicles, no matter who is
driving them or what they are. They need to equip the police with equipment
to test for pollution and require them to fine vehicles that pollute.
Styrofoam should be banned and fees for plastic bags. Tour buses should turn
off their engines while they are waiting, people can sit in a warm bus for
the few minutes it takes to cool it down again, Caroline added. A law needs
to be put in place requiring land owners to green some of their property.
She bemoaned the early announcement of the fire ban, stating that it just
gave people plenty of warning and they all started burning before the fire
ban was put in place so the “burning just starts earlier.”
Caroline said a key factor “is to bump up pride in the local community. The
community does have pride in Chiang Mai but it is under-utilized. The
tourism community also needs to get involved and take the lead. They need to
extend their boundaries to effect the neighborhoods around them, not just
their own properties.”
LCLN has offered a series of pledges, for both companies and inviduals, to
plant trees, save energy, refuse Styrofoam, use bicycles and more. People
sign the pledge and, “we hope will follow it!”
Finally, she noted that kids need to feel empowered. “Kids are aware of the
future of the environment, they are learning about these things but they
feel they have no ability to make changes,” Caroline noted. She added that
often they feel that nobody is listening. “Also, the small children have
empathy for the environment but as they age they get indoctrinated by the
media, the internet, their parents and only care about what kind of job they
can get and how much money they can make. Dentistry is very popular,”
Caroline said, adding that it was seen as an easier way to make money.
“We need to have a healthy city, and we need to safeguard the well-being of
More information about the Lanna Community Life Network can be found online.
Tai teens arrested in robbery and attack on foreign tourist
Another four arrested in murder
Police arrested a gang of 5 young Tai men after
an attack on a foreign tourist in January.
5 ethnic Tai youth ranging in ags from 16-24 were arrested on
February 12 after an attack on an Australian tourist resulted in injury and
police investigation led to their capture.
On January 19, an Australian tourist was held up at knife point at Phra
Pokklao Road, Soi 13, her mobile phone was stolen and she was injured in the
knife attack. The phone was tracked down to a phone shop in Santitham where
the shop’s CCTV recorded the seller. Police tracked down the five young men
at a dormitory near Wat Suan Dok.
On February 12, Pol. Maj. Gen. Kasemsan Boonyakran, Commander of Chiang Mai
Provincial Police and Pol. Col. Aksorn Wongyai Superintendent of Muang
Chiang Mai Police announced the arrest of the five men; Ungjor Loongsor age
18, Lor Loongta age 19 Jang Naiong age 19, one boy age 16 and San Ngwe age
24, resident in Baan Piang Luang Wiang Haeng Chiang Mai.
In a separate case, 4 Tai teens were arrested after an attack on a young man
at a bar resulted in his death. The four men had an altercation with
Prakobkran Srithong, age 20, at Wiangping Road in Chiang Mai and came back
to attack him with a long knife. They stabbed him in the neck and he died on
the way to the hospital.
Police later arrested four men; Kum Nuwa, Nor Loongta, Nor Loonglar and Nu
(last name unknown) at a construction site in Fahmai in Haiya.
Pol. Col. Aksorn Wongyai said that in this case the criminals had come to
Chiang Mai to work, police will continue to investigate migrant workers for
criminals and to arrest illegal immigrants.
DSI continues investigation of fake ID cards
officials continue their investigation into government officials after
one was arrested in Wiang Haeng for issuing thousands of fake ID cards.
The Chief of the Department of Special Investigation (DSI)
Tharit Pengdit and department officers met with Chiang Mai Governor
Tanin Subhasaen and officials from the ID card department on February
11, 2013 to continue the investigation into the fake ID cards uncovered
in Wiang Haeng.
The government intends to prosecute any officials found involved in the
scam that saw the issuance of perhaps thousands of ID cards to
undocumented people by government officials. Tharit Pengdit said that
the ID cards were a serious threat to national security as the cards
could have been issued to known, wanted criminals. He added that the
investigation of the Registration and ID card officers in Chiang Mai
would conclude and all officials would be required to follow all
procedures strictly as the Registration offices need to prepare for the
ASEAN community in 2015.
One dead in high speed
accident in Mae Rim
A 58 year old Mae Rim resident was killed
after a car struck his motorbike on the Chotana Road.
The driver of a red Honda motorbike was killed in Sanpong in Mae Rim on
February 12, 2013 after he was struck by a car traveling on the Chotana
Ambulances were called to the scene opposite Tarnporn Villa after a
Mitsubishi car struck Vilas Chomsak, age 58 as he tried to cross the
road. Witnesses told police that the car, driven by Pipatpong Duangkaew,
age 20, was seen traveling at high speeds along the road coming from Mae
Rim. Police believe that he struck the motorcycle as it attempted to
cross the road.Mr. Vilas was struck by the car and landed on the
windshield before being flung into the road where he was severly injured
and died at the scene before any medical teams could render assistance.
Nearly half a million Yaba
pills seized in Chiang Rai
Further 400,000 uncovered in Lampang
Two men were uncovered carrying 410,000 Yaba
tablets for delivery to Chiang Rai on February 11, 2013.
Police seized 410,000 Yaba or methamphetamine pills in Chiang
Rai on February 11, 2013 after two men on a motorcycle attempted to flee
a police checkpoint.
The motorcycle was seen heading towards Chiang Rai city and when police
signaled to the driver to stop he tried to break through the blockade.
Police managed to stop the motorcycle and detained the two men on it. A
search of the two men uncovered 410,000 methamphetamine tablets. Pol.
Maj. Gen. Wanchai Suwansiriketh Commander of Chiang Rai Provincial
Police announced the arrest of Lorma Shemer, age 25 and Arsanai Mernlae,
age 36 of Baan Therdthai in Mae Fah Luang District were charged with
drug trafficking. The men confessed that they had been hired by a Mr.
Lorpool (surname unknown) to deliver the drugs to the King Mengrai
Monument in Chiang Rai for 150,000 Baht.
On February 15, Pol. Lt. Gen. Suthep Dejraksa Commander of Police Region
5, announced the arrest of 46 year old Boonsri Choklab of Chiang Mai
with 400,000 methamphetamine tablets hidden in his White Hino 6 wheel
Police had a tip off to expect a major shipment of drugs through Lampang
and set up a checkpoint where they stopped the truck at 2 a.m. Upon
searching the truck, loaded with ceramic dishes and cups, the police
uncovered 4 bags of methamphetamines with 400,000 tablets in total.
Boonsri told police that he was a professional truck driver delivering
cargo to customers but that he had started carrying drugs as well as
ceramics and deliver to a dealer in Bangkok. Police are searching for
the dealer in Bangkok.
Fraud complaints filed over new luxury condo project on Nimman
Victims of alleged fraud involving a luxury
condo project planned for Nimmanhaemin Soi 15 meet with their lawyer and
the press to push their complaint forward.
A group of condo buyers intend to file a complaint of fraud with
the police over the construction of the Rawee Waree Residences planned
for Nimmanhaemin Soi 15. Kwanprewee Wongsri, one of the victims of the
alleged fraud, told reporters that many people had paid a lot of money
to reserve condos in the new project that was reportedly supported by
CJR Group Co. Ltd. managed by Chitsanupong Tangsiroj. According to the
victims, the owner of the project was Raweewan Wongwai and that the
project would have a total of 69 apartments with prices ranging from
2.85 million to 7 million Baht. The group said they had been told there
were special promotional rates for pre-booking.
However, by April 2012 a billboard had gone up in front of the site
announcing that the project was not affiliated with the CJR Group Co.
Ltd., that the contract had been cancelled and that CJR Group was not
responsible in any way for the project. The group has filed a case with
the Civil Court ordering that the rooms cannot be sold on by the new
project manager. Former Miss Thailand, Panadda Wongpudee said that the
group had filed a claim with the Consumer Protection Board in Bangkok.
Phruektaphong Rattanasangwan, lawyer for the group, said that an audit
had found that the project had assigned CJR Group Company Limited as
Sales Management. The lawyer noted that the two companies have a legal
responsibility to refund the money deposited already. If they take no
action then criminal fraud charges will be filed.