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Vol. XII No.18 - Sunday September 8 - Saturday September 21, 2013


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Update by Saichon Paewsoongnern
 
 
 
NEWS
 

Lucky license plates bring in 33 million baht

301 “cool plates” for Road Safety fund

Over 33 million baht was raised by the Land Transport Department in its annual auction of lucky license plates.

Nopniwat Krailerg
301 license plates with auspicious numbers were auctioned off August 31 – September 1, 2013 at The Empress Hotel & Convention Center by the Chiang Mai Provincial Land Transport Office in its 12th auction to raise funds for the promotion of traffic safety.
Wattana Pattarachon, Deputy Director General of Land Transport Department, Rittipong Techapan, Chiang Mai Deputy Governor and Chanchai Keelapang, Chief of Chiang Mai Provincial Land Transport Office presided over the auction which saw over 700 bidders. The auction bypassed the target of 30 million baht to raise 33,128,000 baht selling off “lucky” license plates.
The office has raised 297 million baht from the 12 auctions of license plates and has used the funds to purchase 10,000 helmets for people, CCTV and Speed Cameras and to build a learning center for safe driving. The 13th “301 Cool Plate” auction will be held on February 22 – 23, 2014 at the Empress Hotel Chiang Mai.
 


Plans to fight annual smoke

Kamolchai Kohcha reports on the smog situation this year and announces new plans to combat smog in 2014.

Nopniwat Krailerg
The Provincial Offices for Natural Resources and Environment Chiang Mai held a brainstorming workshop on August 22, 2013 where they invited members of all sectors to work out plans to fight the annual smog that builds up over Chiang Mai annually. The workshop passed a resolution separate the problems into key areas to be managed separately; control burning in urban areas and agricultural areas, control forest fires and arable areas with a Cabinet resolution to fight the fires; increase publicity and encourage public participation in not burning and reporting fires; fuel management ie controlled burns before the hot dry seasons starts; and prohibit all types of fires in the 100 dangerous days from January to April except in a few areas.
Kamolchai Kohcha, the Director of the Provincial Office for Natural Resources and Environment Chiang Mai reported on the smoke situation from January to April of this year noting that air quality reached a maximum of 212 mcg PM10 level while the Air Quality Index (AQI) saw the highest number of 140 on March 22 and the lowest of 21 on March 5 during the first four months of the year. The PM10 level was over the acceptable levels for 25 days in total. He said that over 12, 758 acres were damaged in 1,172 reported forest fires. There were 2,153 hot spots with Mae Chaem the highest number at 525 and one each in the Muang District and Sarapee District. The number of patients affected by the smog was lower in 2013 than in 2012; a total of 69,830 people according to the Ministry of Health.


City works to rehabilitate Kanchanpisek Park

Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn meets with members of a green group and city officials to discuss the rehabilitation of Kanchanapisek Park.

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
Chiang Mai Municipality is joining hands with the Beautiful Green Chiang Mai group to rehabilitate Kanchanpisek Park which was established near Suan Prung Hospital to honor HM the King’s 50th year on the throne. Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn met with members of the group and city officials to survey the park and to discuss work that needs to be done on August 28, 2013.
They discussed the completion of the Pavilion which is expected to be finished by November as well as plant grass, seasonal flowers and maintain the pathways along the canal.
The Park, which covers 8 acres, has fallen into disrepair since its initial opening. It will be open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and will have 24 hour security.


Rak Chiang Mai 51 members rally in support of outgoing Governor

Members of the Rak Chiang Mai 51 group and a farmers group rally in support of outgoing Governor Tanin Subhasaen.

Nopniwat Krailerg
Rak Chiang Mai 51 member Kritsana Prombuengram led over 200 people from the Rak Chiang Mai 51 group and the Chiang Mai Farmers Group to City Hall to present Governor Tanin Subhasaen with a bouquet of flowers in support and to protest his transfer to the post of Governor of Lampang after ten months as Governor of Chiang Mai. The group announced at the rally held on August 22, 2013 that they wanted the Cabinet to reconsider the order because the Governor had worked hard for Chiang Mai.
The group said that there was no good reason for the transfer as the Governor had promoted Chiang Mai tourism and suppressed crime and drugs. They believe the transfer came about because some influential businesspeople were not happy with the Governor’s opposition to the construction of a private house near Kruba Srivichai Monument and to high rise buildings in the city.
The Government reported that the Governor was being transferred was a simple transfer due to the retirement of the incumbent in Lampang and not due to a conflict of interest or political reasons. Chiang Mai Governor Tanin Subhasaen will take the post of Lampang Governor on October 1, 2013. No replacement has as yet been named.


20 Districts affected by heavy rains in the past 3 months

Nopniwat Krailerg
The Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, Chiang Mai reported that due to the heavy rains brought by the storm Mangkhut in early August and other storms from the period of May 20 – August 21, 2013 that 56,522 people in 518 villages across 20 districts in Chiang Mai had been affected by the heavy rains and flash floods. 27,411 acres of agricultural land saw damage and 976 homes were hit. 48 bridges were damaged and repairs were needed on 159 roads. These damages were repaired by various units across Chiang Mai.
The government has set a center in each District to report on rains, wind, and landslides and to provide 24 hour/ day notice to the government of any damage as well as to alert villagers of any incoming bad weather that could cause damage. 243 warning stations were set into place during the kick off ceremony on July 8, 2013.


Chamber of Commerce presents 3 strategies for business growth

Nopniwat Krailerg
The Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce formulated three strategies to further business growth in the province at a recent coffee meeting held. The three point plan included developing Chiang Mai as a “Wellness Center” for retirees and those who need health care, develop commercial areas for tourists, and promote Chiang Mai as an aviation hub for tourism in the Mekong region through the development of strategic relationships.
Chalermchart Nakarangkul, the President of the Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce said that they had presented the plan to the public and private sectors to fall in line with the government’s plan to make Chiang Mai the center of development in the North through the government investment in infrastructure and transportation. The planned high speed rail line to Chiang Mai will boost promotion of the region.
The Chamber proposed the regeneration of such areas as Chinatown on the Khuang Meru – Waroros Market road, Halal Street and the Night Bazaar, Nimmanhaemin Road and other areas of interest for tourists.


New Immigration regulations regarding passport renewal

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
The Immigration Bureau of the Royal Thai Police recently announced a change in its policy towards the expiration of passports and one year visa extensions. From now on, if the passport expires before the expiry of your extension of stay then that extension is only valid until the expiration date of the passport.
If this occurs then the passport holder will need to apply for a new extension once they obtain the new passport. Immigration also warns that overstays will still be fined 500 baht per day if they do not obtain a new extension in the new passport once the passport is renewed.
An example would be if the one year extension expires in June annually. If the passport expires in February of 2015 then the passport holder would need to apply for a new passport before the June 2014 extension or the visa extension would only be valid until February of 2015 and once the new passport was received the holder would need to apply for an extension. As announced on the Bangkok Immigration page: http://bangkok.immigration.go.th/intro1.html


Police to fight crime against tourists

Four major tourist areas targeted

The Advisor to the Royal Thai Police, Pol. Gen. Wut Liptapanlop addressed police soldiers and volunteers at the Three Kings Monument on August 27, 2013, calling on them to assist tourists and fight fraud and crime against tourists.

Nopniwat Krailerg
The Advisor to the Royal Thai Police, Pol. Gen. Wut Liptapanlop paid a visit to Chiang Mai to address scores of police, soldiers, Narcotics Suppression Division officers, and volunteer forces to fight crime against tourists in Chiang Mai in a visit to Three Kings Monument on August 27, 2013.
He told the gathered officials and volunteers that Thailand must solve the problem of crimes against tourists as well as to provide greater security for tourists as part of the government policy to promote tourism. He noted that tourism is expected to general 2 trillion baht in income.
The Pol. General has been assigned by the government as director of the Special Center of Management in Important Tourism Areas in 4 Provinces; Phuket, Surat Thani, Chonburi and Chiang Mai. He is mobilizing police in these areas to crack down on crime, especially against tourists, and to be good hosts for Thailand’s visitors.
He told the officers it was their duty to fight fraud against tourists, to police entertainment spots and to provide good service to visitors. The first operation began on August 16 – 31, 213 and the next will run from September 1 – 30, 2013.


TEDx Chiang Mai 2013 on September 14

The international creativity forum TEDx will be held at Le Meridien Hotel Chiang Mai on September 14 and will cover the theme of “Smart Societies” and feature international speakers and artists as well as Duangrit Bunnag, Architect; Boaz Zipper, Poet and Photographer; Amarit Charoenphan, Co-Founder of Hubba Coworking Space; Gordon Falconer, Director IBSG Smart Cities Solutions, CISCO; Dr Thammarat Kottatep, AIT Researcher and many others. There will also be student speakers from Chiang Mai sharing their ideas with a local and global audience.
The full day program will feature speakers covering a vast array of topics, which Martin Venzky-Stalling, TEDxChiangmai license holder, likens to a “spa treatment for the brain and soul”. TED talks are held globally and televised on ted.com.
For more information, please visit www.tedxchiangmai.com. Tickets are available at www.amiando.com/tedxchiangmai. Tickets included access to the event, snacks, tea, coffee, drinks, gifts, printed programme, and access to the post-event party/reception in the evening. The event is on 14 September 2013 at Le Meridian Chiang Mai, from 8:45 a.m. – 6 p.m. followed by a post event party.
This non-profit event is entirely based on voluntary resources and sponsorship. TEDxChiangMai is supported by various organizations but the organizer still welcome additional sponsors and partners, including media partners. http://www.tedxchiangmai.com/sponsor.php


Pakorn Buranupakorn, former Member of Parliament for Chiang Mai dies of heart failure

His family, including brother Boonlert Buranupakorn, President of the Provincial Administrative Organization, niece Tassanee Buranupakorn, current MP for Chiang Mai and nephew Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn, are seen here awaiting the arrival of the Thai Airways cargo plane carrying his casket on September 1, 2013.

Nopniwat Krailerg
Pakorn Buranupakorn, age 55, died of a heart failure on September 1, 2013 at Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok where he had been hospitalized since August 27. He was born November 5th, 1958 and held the office of Mayor for Chiang Mai Municipality for two terms as well as holding the office of Member of Parliament for Chiang Mai but was one of the 111 politicians banned for 5 years by the Constitution Tribunal for violation of election laws in 2007. Pakorn Buranupakorn is known for his push to forward the Sunday Walking Street Market.
His body was transferred to Chiang Mai where the funeral ceremonies were held at Wat Chedi Luang until September 8. The cremation was held at the San Kulek Crematorium on Sunday, September 8.


New Chinese tour launched

Mr. Songvit Ittipatanakul Managing Director of Standard Tour Company, recently held a press conference at The Imperial Mae Ping Hotel to launch the newest project; Chiang Mai Join Tour, a new tour for Chinese travel groups. Here Mr. Peter Schnyder, third right, General Manager of The Imperial Mae Ping Hotel congratulates Mr. Songvit Ittipatanakul, third left, Managing Director of Standard Tour Company on the occasion of their press conference held at the Imperial Mae Ping Hotel on August 23, 2013.


Baby hippo at the Zoo is going to need a name!

As soon as Zoo veterinarians determine the sex of the newest baby hippo the Zoo will hold a baby naming contest.

The latest member of the Hippo family at the Chiang Mai Zoo entered the world at 5 a.m. on August 31, 2013, Tanapt Pongpamorn, Chiang Mai Zoo Director announced. The sex of the new baby has not yet been identified and when it is, the Zoo will hold a baby naming contest for the latest addition to the hippo family. Father Yak and Mother Maliwan were transferred from Dusit Zoo on July 3, 1978 and now have a boy; Matoon and a girl, Mayom who was born in August of 2010 and the newest addition.
The Hippopotamus is a native of Sub-Saharan Africa, is the third largest land mammal and are actually related to whales from whom they diverged 55 million years ago. They can reach up to 5 m long and 1.5 m tall, the female reaches sexual maturity at 5 – 6 years old and gestation is 8 months.


Sunday Walking Street Market wins Best Street Market in Thailand

Chiang Mai snags three in Trip Advisor Top Ten

The Sunday Walking Street Market took first place as best street market in Thailand (Photo by [email protected])

By Andrew J. Wood
TripAdvisor has revealed what its users from around the world believe are the top ten street markets in Thailand.
Topping the list is Chiang Mai’s Sunday Night Market which is located near Tha Pae Gate and extends for approximately 1 kilometer down the full length of Ratchadamnoen Road.
As recommended by a TripAdvisor traveller, “Great shopping with amazing bargains. You can graze your way through the walking streets with every kind of appetizer, main course, sweet on offer.”
Bangkok’s most famous Chatuchak Weekend Market also features in the list, as well as the unique Maeklong Railway Market and Amphawa Floating Market.
According to TripAdvisor, the top 10 street markets in Thailand are:
1. Sunday Night Market Walking Street– Tha Pae Gate, Chiang Mai
2. Maeklong Railway Market (Talad Rom Hub), Samut Songkhram
3. Saturday Night Market Walking Street – Wua Lai Road, Chiang Mai
4. Pak Khlong Talat (Flower Market) – Bangkok
5. Chatuchak Weekend Market – Bangkok
6. Phuket Town Night Market – Phuket Town, Phuket
7. Amphawa Floating Market – Amphawa, Samut Songkhram
8. Siam Square – Bangkok
9. Hua Hin Night Bazaar – Hua Hin, Prachuap Khiri Khan
10. Night Bazaar – Chiang Mai
“Street markets are an integral part of Thai culture and are popular with both locals and foreigners alike,” said Jean Ow-Yeong, TripAdvisor spokesperson. “For that authentic and unique Thai shopping experience, TripAdvisor’s global community of travellers have uncovered the best street markets in the nation.”


International Lantern Festival Chiang Mai 2013

The International Lantern Festival saw local trishaw drivers lined up to take tourists around the moat for photos of the lanterns decorating the city at night.

Yuttapoom Bunruang
The International Lantern Festival, in honor of HM the Queen’s Birthday, was held at Tha Pae Gate and saw the city decorated with beautiful lanterns. The Festival, which saw Deputy Governor Mr. Jarernrit Sa-nguansut joined by Montree Piyakul, the Director of Chiang Mai Provincial Office of Tourism & Sports at the grand opening ceremony held on August 21, 2013. The festival ran from August 21 – 29, 2013.
The festival was created to help promote Chiang Mai in the off season, there were concerts by acts such as Super Baker as well as Chinese acrobatic performances over the week-long festival. Tourists were encouraged to travel around the moat via trishaw and take photos of the lanterns lit up at night.


Chiang Rai police uncover 1 million methamphetamine pills

Facebook drug dealer arrested again

1 million methamphetamine tablets were found stashed in a pickup truck in Chiang Rai, three men were arrested in this case.

Nopniwat Krailerg, Yuttapoom Bunruang, Chiang Mai Mail reporters
A man who arrested for selling drugs online through social media and emails earlier this year was arrested again on August 24, 2013 for selling drugs. Wuttichai Khayan, age 29 of Mae Taeng, was arrested on August 24, 2013 at 12:30 a.m. when police tracked his movements to Sukkasem Road behind Lanna Hospital where they caught him selling 3.200 methamphetamine tablets to a friend.
He confessed to police that he had purchased the drugs from a Chiang Dao man known as S or Sathit Sriya. He arranged a buy for the police and when he went to meet pick up the drugs arrested Surachar Jabae, age 20, a member of S’s gang with 4,400 methamphetamine pills. Police continue their investigation of “S”.
3 Chiang Rai men were arrested carrying 1 million methamphetamine tablets hidden in a pickup truck on August 26, 2013 in Muang District of Chiang Rai, the Prime Minister’s adviser Pol. Gen. Priewpan Damapong and Pol. Maj. Gen. Wanchai Suwansirikhet, Chiang Rai Police Chief announced. Chiang Rai police said they saw two pickup trucks driving together, with the second truck clearly following the first. They pulled the trucks over and found 5 sacks of drugs hidden in the second pickup truck. The 3 suspects confessed that they had been hired over the phone and were paid 100,000 baht to carry the drugs from Tha Sud sub district, Muang in Chiang Rai to an apartment in the Muang district in Chiang Rai.
The same day in Lampang, two men were arrested with 412,000 methamphetamine tablets and 10 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine hidden in a secret compartment in a pickup truck. Police had been tipped off that two cars would be carrying drugs from Chiang Mai to Ayutthaya on August 26. Police set up an ambush at the police checkpoint in Sop Prap but the suspects avoided the checkpoint. Police went to the Thern Park Hotel in Lampang where they arrested Tassagun Saewan age 21of Chiang Mai and Chalerm Sinchaw age 29 of Sukhothai. The two men confessed that they had been paid 60,000 baht to carry the drugs by a LiSu man named Keang to trafficking the drugs from Fang district in Chiang Mai to Ayutthaya.
At 5.30 a.m. on August 28, 2013 Mae Sai police shot dead a man they believed to be Akha in Pong Ngam Sub District in Mae Sai of Chiang Rai. Police had been tipped off that traffickers would be carrying drugs over the border and upon investigation found two men carrying large sacks. They fired upon the police when they were told to stop. One man escaped and the other was found dead with 200,000 methamphetamine pills in a sack. The police believe that the two men were hired by a dealer in Tachileik Burma to carry the drugs into Thailand.
On the same day in Mae Ai police arrested 6 Hmong men with 426,000 methamphetamine tablets hidden in agricultural products stored in a pickup truck. Police were given a tip off that drugs were being trafficked through Thaton in Mae Ai to Bangkok. Police arrested the men and later found 4,000 methamphetamine pills and 1g of heroin. Police also seized one of the suspect’s property; 100,000 baht, about 4 acres of land and building, 3 cars, 2 motorcycles and other property totally value about 8 million baht.


Hitmen arrested in attempted murder of village headman

Police arrest two of the hitmen hired to kill a village headman in Chiang Dao who was known for being strongly anti-drugs in his village.

Yuttapoom Bunruang
Two men were arrested on charges of the attempted murder of a village headman in Muang Khong, Chiang Dao. Police investigation uncovered shell casings at the site of the shooting that took place on July 7, 2013. Witnesses saw an old white Toyota pickup truck with 3 or 4 men inside drive into the village and open fire.
Police tracked the truck to Asuepha Jakamchiro of Fah Suay, Chiang Dao. The police raided his house but he and his 18 year old son, Kasaem, had already fled. Police found weapons and ammunition in the home.
Police investigations led to the arrest of Nisan Tasawang and Sungnern Gupha who confessed to police that they had been hired along with 4 other men to kill the village headman. He was known for being strictly anti-drugs and had been involved in trying to stop trafficking in the area.
Police are pursuing the four other men and the employer.


SWAT training for Region 5 Police

Special Weapons and Tactical (SWAT) training was held from August 27 – 29, 2013 for officers from Police Region 5. Pol. Lt. Gen. Suthep Dejraksa opened the ceremony for the event where he was joined by Gregory S. Miller of the Force Protection Detachment of the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok, and Regional Security Officer Michael Megeath of the U.S. Consulate General in Chiang Mai. The training was held in coordination with Police Region 5, the Force Protection Detachment Thailand and the Consulate – General of the United States Chiang Mai to enhance skills and knowledge of police tactics that will prove useful in effectively performing police duties in the region.


Man stabs traffic police because he “hates the checkpoint”

Pol. Sub. Lt. Siripong na Lamphun was treated at the hospital after being attacked by a man who “hated traffic police checkpoints.”

Nopniwat Krailerg
Lamphun police reported that a traffic policeman stationed at the Lamphun Industrial Estate police box was stabbed at 2 p.m. on August 29, 2013. Pol. Sub. Lt. Siripong na Lamphun was stationed at the box and upon returning to his motorbike was accosted from behind by a man. The police officer was rushed to the hospital for treatment.
Police arrested Suparerk Wanwana, age 44 of Lamphun later, they found a knife with a 9 inch blade on his person. Police investigation found that witnesses saw the man lurking behind the police box. Once the police officer left the police box he slashed at the officer’s head and neck before stabbing him in the ribs. He then ran from the scene.
Upon arrest the suspect confessed to police that he had become infuriated with the traffic police over the frequent police checkpoints and so attacked the officer.


Over 37 million baht in assets seized from drug traffickers

The Sriwichai Operation to seize property of drug traffickers was launched from the International Convention and Exhibition Center on August 23, 2013. Over 37 million baht in assets seized.

Nopniwat Krailerg
The Sriwichai operation was launched at the International Convention and Exhibition Center on August 23, 2013. The operation seized property belonging to drug traffickers in the area as part of the government policy to seize the profits of drug traffickers.
The Secretary General of the Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) Pol. Gen. Pongsapat Pongchareon and Pol. Gen. Somyos Pumpanmuang Deputy Commissioner General of the Royal Thai police launched the operation at 5 a.m. to seize the property of 28 key drug traffickers in Chiang Mai, Mae Hong Son and the Upper North. Over 800 officers from the ONCB Region 5, the Narcotics Suppression Bureau, Police Region 5, the Pha Muang Task Force and the Border Patrol Police took part in the operation.
As a result of the operation over 37 million baht in property was confiscated under the law. The property of Chiang Mai resident Suradech Yahja, who was arrested with 400,000 methamphetamine pills on Dec 20, 2012 in the car park of the Tesco Lotus Mae Malai was seized; 3 houses in Rom Yen Place, Pha Ton sub district that he used his relative’s name to purchase, as well as 4 cars, 2 motorcycles, gold jewelry, a 9mm automatic pistol, 6 title deeds and other property totally value approximately 20 million baht.
Additionally six more members of the gang of Kittipan Akarabunnon were arrested. The gang, operating out of Galyani Vadhana District, were first under investigation from October 12, 2012. Police continue to investigate, searching out another 6 members of the gang.
As part of that operation police uncovered 102,020 methamphetamine tablets, crystal methamphetamine, 8 guns, 7 cars, 10 motorcycles, 4 safety boxes, 3 title deeds, 4 bank books, 5 houses with land and cash of 9,100 baht.


 
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Lucky license plates bring in 33 million baht

Plans to fight annual smoke

City works to rehabilitate Kanchanpisek Park

Rak Chiang Mai 51 members rally in support of outgoing Governor

20 Districts affected by heavy rains in the past 3 months

Chamber of Commerce presents 3 strategies for business growth

New Immigration regulations regarding passport renewal

Police to fight crime against tourists

TEDx Chiang Mai 2013 on September 14

Pakorn Buranupakorn, former Member of Parliament for Chiang Mai dies of heart failure

New Chinese tour launched

Baby hippo at the Zoo is going to need a name!

Sunday Walking Street Market wins Best Street Market in Thailand

International Lantern Festival Chiang Mai 2013

Chiang Rai police uncover 1 million methamphetamine pills

Hitmen arrested in attempted murder of village headman

SWAT training for Region 5 Police

Man stabs traffic police because he “hates the checkpoint”

Over 37 million baht in assets seized from drug traffickers

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