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Vol. XII No.19 - Sunday September 22 - Saturday October 5, 2013


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Update by Saichon Paewsoongnern
 
 
 
NEWS
 

Mayor resigns to become a monk

Chiang Mai Mayor announces his resignation to take up the saffron robes at Wat Chedi Luang to honor and repay the kindness of his late uncle Pakorn Buranupakorn.

Nopniwat Krailerg
Chiang Mai Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn announced his resignation on September 6, 2013 citing his intention to become a Buddhist monk to honor his late uncle, well known politician Pakorn Buranupakorn who passed away on September 1, 2013 of heart failure at the age of 55.
He noted that while he was resigning one month ahead of the end of his term, which would have expired on October 3, he explained that he felt he needed to repay the kindness and support of his uncle by becoming a monk at Wat Chedi Luang.
He announced that he would run for re-election under the Chiang Mai Khunnatham party as City Council members in the party joined him for the press conference. He added that a good leader should be grateful to those who helped them as well as be knowledgeable and hard working.
He is confident that his re-election campaign will be successful and that in his next term he will work to install CCTV cameras around the city to increase security for locals and tourists and will work to eliminate dengue and other diseases that endanger the health of locals. He thanked the Deputy Mayors including Chatree Chua-manocharn, SoonthornYamsiri, Wilai Booranupakorn and Natchudej Viriyadiloktham for their support now and in the next election which will take place within 60 days after his resignation.
 


Lin Ping returns to China

Chiang Mai’s beloved panda to leave September 28

Lin Ping turned 4 in May and will be sent to a special sanctuary in Chengdu, China to find a mate. She will return to Chiang Mai in a year.

Nopniwat Krailerg
Chiang Mai’s favorite furry animal, panda celebrity Lin Ping, will be returning to China for mating on September 28, 2013. Lin Ping will travel via Thai Airways to Chengdu in a special pressurized and temperature controlled live animal chamber in the Airbus A 330. The disease free zone will be prepared to minimize vibration and noise and will be as comfortable for Lin Ping as the passenger section. Veterinarians will travel with Lin Ping on the 2 and a half hour flight to monitor her situation.
The Chiang Mai Zoo, under the management of the Zoological Park Organization under the Royal Patronage of H.M. The King was confident that Thai Airways was the best choice for the transportation as they had previous experience bringing Lin Ping’s parents, Lin Hui and Chuang Chuang to Chiang Mai, it was announced by Dr. Singthong Buachum, member of a special committee appointed by the Zoological Park Organization for the operation.
The Zoo will hold countdown activities beginning September 21 and on the 27th will hold a traditional Lanna ceremony followed by a parade at 7 a.m. Lin Ping will not take part in the parade but will leave the Zoo for the first time to travel to the airport at 9:15 a.m. and then depart for China at 10:30 a.m. to minimize her stress at the trip.
Lin Ping will return to China for one year to find a mate, she will then return to Thailand with her mate for the next 15 years under a new loan agreement that sees Thailand pay China US$ 1 million a year as well as a further US$500,000 a year to extend the stay of her parents, Lin Hui and Chuang Chuang.


800,000 Yaba tablets smuggled in health volunteer bus

TAO candidate head of ring

4 men were arrested after hiding 800,000 methamphetamine tablets on a bus carrying Khon Kaen health volunteers in Chiang Rai.

Nopniwat Krailerg
The suspected head of a ring arrested smuggling 800,000 methamphetamine tablets was a candidate for a Sub-District (Tambon) Administrative Organization position in the sub-district of Jorakae in Khon Kaen province. Thanyaphat Khumdej was arrested by Region 5 police on September 16 along with 3 accomplices after police uncovered a plot to smuggle the drugs in a tour bus carrying a group of health volunteers who were traveling from Khon Kaen to Chiang Rai. Police were tipped off that someone was planning on trafficking drugs on a tour bus and set up a checkpoint between Nong Mor village and Wat Rong Khun in Chiang Rai on September 15, 2013.
Region 5 Police arrested Nattawat Kerdsuk age 44 of Chumphon, Thanyaphat Khumdej age 41 of Khon Kaen, Santad Naluang age 18 of Lampang and Suphachok Pholkhokklong age 25 of Prachin Buri with 800,000 methamphetamine pills hidden in the bus. The gang dropped the group of volunteers off at the hotel before picking up the drugs. They confessed to police that they had been hired to smuggle drugs to Bangkok for a buyer there for 2 million baht.
Pol. Lt. Gen. Suthep Dejraksa said the drugs came from the Mae Fah Luang area. He added that the drug traffickers were constantly changing their methods and that police needed to be alert and do random checks on tour buses as well.


Japanese government provides ambulance to remote Uttaradit village

Consul General of Japan Akihiko Fujii and Sombat Boonsaklert, Director of Nampad Hospital sign the agreement for the new ambulance.

The Government of Japan, under its Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects Scheme (GGP), is providing funds amounting to 1,515,000 baht for “The Project for Procurement of an Ambulance for People in Mountainous Areas in Nampad District, Uttaradit Province”. On September 11, 2013, Mr. Akihiko Fujii, Consul-General of Japan in Chiang Mai, and Mr. Sombat Boonsaklert, Director of Nampad Hospital, jointly signed a funding contract for the project at the Consulate-General of Japan in Chiang Mai.
Nampad district is surrounded by mountainous areas and the northeast part borders Laos. The majority of the population are Thai-Lao people engaged in agriculture. They live in a hard environment on poor hilly farmland. As a result, people survive in extreme poverty and suffer from chronic malnutrition, diarrhea, food poisoning, parasitic diseases and dengue fever. Unfavorable geographical conditions and poor maintenance mean that many roads in these steep mountainous areas are muddy or blocked in the rainy season, impeding access to health care. It is impossible for many to receive adequate medical services.
Nampad hospital, which is the only government hospital in the district, covers 38,000 residents of 55 villages in 7 sub-districts, and treats about 62,000 cases a year. Moreover, it provides humanitarian treatment regardless of the expense, because there are many stateless residents from Laos.. However, because there is no four wheel drive ambulance, only a pickup truck which has neither bed nor life support equipment can be used to transport patients. Therefore, many patients lose vital time in receiving treatment.
The Government of Japan has decided to provide funds for a four wheel drive ambulance with life support equipment for Nampad hospital. This will give patients better prospects for recovery through prompter treatment and transportation. It is expected that this assistance for Nampad hospital will strengthen the emergency transport system and health services in Nampad district and neighboring areas, helping the medical services to reach all and reducing the regional disparity. (GGP)


Suandok Healthy and Happy Day

The Suandok Healthy and Happy Day Episode: HUG was organized on September 4, 2013 by the Committee on Health Promotion and Occupational Health, Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University together with the Nursing department, Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital to raise awareness of health care and to be a place to exchange knowledge for health projects. The opening ceremony of the activity was held at the 50 Year Operation Building, Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University and was presided over by Assoc. Prof. Wattana Navacharoen, Dean of Faculty of Medicine Chiang Mai University.


Chiang Mai lawyer tosses her hat into the election ring

Thidarat Siriwittayakorn runs for Mayor

Thidarat Siriwittayakorn or Jah, announces her candidacy with Manat Sirimaharaj, a legal adviser.

Nopniwat Krailerg
Chiang Mai lawyer Thidarat Siriwittyakorn or Jah as she is known, announced her candidacy for Mayor of Chiang Mai Municipality on September 15, 2013 at the Chiang Mai Orchid Hotel. K. Thidarat will run under the Phuer Chiang Mai Group’s banner which has announced its policy to develop Chiang Mai with integrity and transparency under the new generation with experience in management and the community.
Thidarat Siriwittayakorn is a Chiang Mai resident and the daughter of Thawatchai Siriwittayakorn, a real estate businessman. She graduated from Chiang Mai University with a Bachelor’s degree in Law and has been working on community disputes. She said that her working experience made her aware of the problems and needs of Chiang Mai people as well as understand the problems of management of various agencies. She said she wants to make changes in the development of the city, work to solve the traffic and waste problems. She will develop Chiang Mai to be the second city of Thailand and prepare the city for the AEC. She added that she plans on upgrading the quality of schools under the Chiang Mai Municipality to the same level as private schools, and provide training courses in foreign language, and tourism management. Elections will be held on November 3, 2013.


ACT NOW! Anti - Corruption Day

Over 200 students participated in the seminar on fighting corruption.

Nopniwat Krailerg
The annual Anti-Corruption Day 2013 was held at the Conference Room of the Bank of Thailand Northern Region on August 6. 2013 under the theme “Act now”. Held by the Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce, the Bank of Thailand Northern Office, the Office of the National Anti – Corruption Commission and the Chiang Mai government the event was organized to make Chiang Mai people aware of the risks of corruption as well as to commemorate former CMCC Chair Dusit Nontanakorn whose initiatives to fight corruption in the private sector has helped to change attitudes towards corruption especially among the youth.
Deputy Governor Charoenrit Sanguansat presided over the event which saw over 200 students participate in speech contests on what young people think of corruption as well as receive more accurate information on corruption and its effects on society.


Tiger Air launches Chiang Mai route

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
Singapore based low cost carrier Tiger Air has launched new Singapore – Chiang Mai direct route that will travel between the two cities four times a week; departing for Singapore from Chiang Mai on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Return flights from Singapore to Chiang Mai depart on the same days. The flights are scheduled to begin with the onset of the high tourist season in the beginning of November. Fares begin at 2,375 baht plus tax.
Tiger Air’s Chief Commercial Officer told reporters that history and nature play a big part in attracting seasoned travelers. He added that their four new destinations which include Chiang Mai, Lijiang in Thailand, Langkawi in Malaysia (all four times a week) and Lombok in Indonesia three times a week.


Family of Man Festival at Prasert Land

The Family of Man Festival will be held at Prasert Land on September 26 – 29, 2013 and is being hosted by the Province of Chiang Mai, and the Provincial Administration Organization of Chiang Mai and is organized by Todd Tongdee and Lannaworld1.com. The Family of Man begins at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 26 when Lamphun New World Colors opens. Other performers include the Kamu people of Nan, Tai Lue people of Chiang Mai, Padong of Mae Hong Son, the Puan people of Udon, Burma’s Mandalay Dance, Central Thai rap with Jum – Uad na Man, Korean Pung Ryu, Ted Lewand of the U.S., Superyouth from Mae Hong Son and Todd Tongdee. The event brings together music from around the region and the world and will feature dancers as well as singers and bands. The last performance begins at 10:30 p.m. every night.


Bangkok Air only airline to fly to capital of Myanmar

Bangkok Airways has recently announced its latest expansion to Myanmar by offering non-stop flights from Bangkok to Nay Pyi Taw, the capital city of The Republic of the Union of Myanmar. Commencing on 30 September 2013, the airline will be the first scheduled foreign air carrier to service this route and the only Thai airline that serves all three main cities of Myanmar.
Mr. Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth, Bangkok Airways’ President said, “It has long been our plan to cover the three key cities of Myanmar by the end of this September. Mandalay service will commence on 15 September 2013 offering 4 non-stop flights per week. Lastly, the capital city of Myanmar – Nay Pyi Taw, from 30 September 2013 with 3 non-stop flights per week.”
Bangkok Airways will offer 3 non-stop flights per week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) from Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi) – Nay Pyi Taw with 70-seater ATR72 aircraft.
The outbound flight PG721 will depart Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi) at 17.00hrs and arrive Nay Pyi Taw Airport at 19.00hrs. The inbound flight PG722 will depart Nay Pyi Taw Airport at 19.30hrs and arrive Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi) at 22.30hrs. All of Bangkok (The local time in Myanmar is 30 minutes behind Thailand).
For more information and reservation, please contact www.bangkokair.com or Call Center Tel. 1771 (24 hr – services) or contact Bangkok Travel Club for package tour in the Republic of the Union of Myanmar at Tel: 02 265 8966 or visit website www.bangkoktravelclub.co.th.


Chiang Rai’s Lam Nam Kok National Park plan to develop tourism

Khon Korn Waterfall in Lam Nam Kok National Park (Photo courtesy of the Department of National Parks Thailand).

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
Chiang Rai’s Lam Nam Kok National Park is located in Doi Hang Sub district, Mae Chan District and is a beautiful mountainous region divided by the Mae Namkok River. The Chief of the Park, Jirasak Saenkhat met with groups at the Visitor’s Center Building in the park on September 5, 2013 to discuss development of tourist facilities in the park including nature trails, building facilities for tourists, ensuring tourist safety and prohibiting encroachment by locals as well as burning.
The Chief noted that the main problem with encroachment and burning was a lack of knowledge by area residents and that rubber tree plantations have been planted in boundaries of the park. He noted that such plantations will be destroyed and the farmers charged with encroachment.
Lam Nam Kok National Park has significant waterfalls including Huai Kaeo, Huai Mae Sai, Khun Korn and Pongprabaht waterfalls as well as Huai Mak Liam and Pong Fu Fueang hot springs. The popular Huai Kaeo waterfall is only 25km from Chiang Rai city.


Akha Swing Ceremony in Chiang Rai

The Akha Swing Ceremony was held in Ban Huay Yuak Pah So-yard village on September 10 this year.

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
The traditional Akha Swing Ceremony was held in Mae Fah Luang on September 10, 2013 and saw District Chief Vorayan Bunarach and Tambon Mae Salong Nai President Piyadech Choengpithak preside over the opening ceremony of this popular event. The timing of the Swing ceremony will vary from village to village depending on the village headman’s determination of an auspicious time but it is held in the 10th lunar month of the Akha calendar. It is a village ceremony and so each family will take part in the construction of the swing.
Ban Huay Yuak Pah So yard in Mae Salong Nai sub district, Mae Fah Luang district in Chiang Rai held their ceremony for four days which included the day to build the swing, feeding village elders and festival day when men and women wear their finest to swing on the swing. The ceremony is also held to celebrate planting season and the restoration of traditions and tribal culture, encourage children and youth to learn traditions and local culture of the Akha tribes, and publicize tribal culture to tourists worldwide and enhance unity in the village.


Chiang Mai tops the list for new passports

The Chief of the Passport Office Chiang Mai, Waraphannee Damrongmanee, announced that 64,510 Chiang Mai people applied for passports in the past fiscal year, an average of 6,000 people per month or 300 people per day except Saturday and Sunday. Chiang Mai has the highest number of passport applications of any province outside of Bangkok but that number is expected to drop as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has opened a branch office in Chiang Rai at the Central Stadium there.


New stops to support AEC tourism in Chiang Rai

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
Chiang Rai plans on building a series of rest stops along the road between Chiang Rai Mae Fah Luang University to attract visitors and support transport and logistics to the University.
The first stop at Mae Khaw Tom Sub-district opened on September 23, and another three stops will be added along the 12 kilometer route with the ASEAN Flower stop at Kok River Bridge, the Art stop at the entrance to the Chiang Rai Airprot, the Fruit stop at Mae Khaw Tom and a Coffee and Tea stop at Mae Fah Luang University.
Chiang Rai Deputy Governor Piphat Ekphaphan said that this will enable Chiang Rai to link tourist routes seamlessly and create jobs for locals as well.


Chiang Mai Night Safari offers Buddhist meditation

Dr. Sarawut Srisakun of the Chiang Mai Night Safari invited Buddhists and interested parties to join a meditation retreat at the Night Safari as part of a 4 day 5 night package held by Dr. Siri Karinchai and her team. This is the 7th such meditation package to be offered by the Special Area Office of the Chiang Mai Night Safari and will be held form October 2 – 6, 2013. Participants will receive accommodation, 3 meals, and snacks in addition to the meditation teachings. 053-999020 or 053-999000 ext. 1074 for application or further information.


Man arrested for kidnapping his own nephew

A 20 year technical college student was kidnapped and held for ransom by his uncle and a family relative.

Nopniwat Krailerg
Region 5 Police announced the arrest of two men for kidnapping 20 year old Adisorn Srimee on September 16, 2013. The two men confessed that they had conspired with a man named Derm to kidnap the student of a private technical college in Chiang Mai. Both men arrested were related to the victim, Rungroj Saelee age 34 is his uncle and Siwakorn Panthusil age 21 is also a relative.
The police said that Adisorn had been lured to meet the men who had been posing as a pretty girl on Facebook at the B2 Premier Hotel on Canal Road. At the hotel the men cut their car in front of Adisorn’s and claimed to be Narcotics Suppression Police before grabbing him and holding him in a resort in Mae Rim. Police say the suspects demanded 500,000 baht from his mother and then released him after they took him to several ATM machines over a few days to withdraw the money. The victim went to Chang Puak police on September 10 after being released.
Police viewed CCTV tapes from the banks where the victim had been forced to withdraw the money to find two out of the three kidnappers. The two suspects confessed to police that they had worked together with Derm but get the money and a police investigation showed that the victim had not been involved in the crime. They apologized to Adisorn and his mother saying that they did not intend to hit the victim but that Derm had been too rough.


Drug arrests in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai net 600,000 Yaba pills

Ten arrests total, one dead in Chiang Rai firefight

Nopniwat Krailerg and Chiang Mai Mail reporters
Police seized 602,000 methamphetamine tablets in arrests in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai from September 4 – 16, 2013 resulting in the arrests of ten men in the two provinces.
Two men fled from the Pha Muang Task on September 4, 2013 after suspicious behavior triggered a police investigation in Ban Pha Ji in Chiang Rai. The two men stopped the motorcycle and fled on foot, escaping police. Police found 120,000 methamphetamine tablets in a bag on the bike.
On the same day in Hod, Chiang Mai police arrested Sojo Anurakpongprai of Om Koi with 4,000 methamphetamine tablets hidden in a soda can under the seat of his Honda Dream motorbike. Police stopped the 34 year old man at checkpoint in Dong Dam village as they had information leading them to believe he was trafficking drugs. The suspect was arrested although his friend who was also on the bike, Jangjo Pananimitr, escaped into the forest.
Police have been actively investigating the spread of drugs among Chiang Mai youth set up a sting to buy drugs from Sitthichon at a corn farm in Chiang Dao on September 5, 2013. However, the suspect and another person opened fire on the police and escaped. Police uncovered 10,000 methamphetamine tablets there. Arrest warrants have been issued for Sitthichon or Pae Chalor age 25 of Chiang Dao, Pae’s wife Yupin Jader age 23 of Mae Ai and Aeu unknown surname age 18 of Chiang Dao.
Lampang police arrested two men alleged to be carrying 18,000 methamphetamine pills at a checkpoint in Sop Prap. Manoon Khanta of Chiang Mai and Manit Lopralang of Krabi were arrested by police after they had received a tip off that drugs were being trafficked out of Chiang Dao to Nakhon Si Thammarat in the South. The drugs were hidden in the glove compartment of the car and the two suspects confessed that they had been hired by a Lisu man named Sam to carry the drugs for 150,000 baht.
On the same day in Chiang Mai on the Chiang Mai –Hod Road near Mae Soi four Lisu men were arrested with 400,000 methamphetamine pills as they drove three pickup trucks and towed a speedboat. The police had information that they planned on taking the drugs to Bhumibol Dam and carrying the drugs by the speedboat to avoid police detection. The officers then tracked them and stopped them at Mae Soi sentry box to find the drugs packed in 2 boxes in the black Toyota Vigo pickup truck. The officers later seized the properties of Phuwit Wisarnwattana, one of the arrested men, including a house in Sivalee Village, 5 cars, the speed boat, 9 mm pistol and other properties worth over 10 million baht.
The officers of the 31st Rangers Regiment of the Pha Muang Task Force ambushed a group of drug traffickers after a tip off led them to Ban Huay Rai Samakhee in Mae Fah Luang, Chiang Rai on September 11, 2013 at 11:45 p.m. The officers found a group of 5-6 suspicious persons carrying sacks and weapons through the area. The group opened fire on the Rangers and the officers returned fire. After a ten minute firefight the group scattered into the forest. The Rangers found one man dead and 40,000 methamphetamine tablets packed in a sack. The Pha Muang Task Force sent more troops to find the other members of the group.
Region 5 Police announced the arrest of a member of a known drug trafficking gang operating out of Chiang Dao. Anusa Saeli was arrested with 10,000 methamphetamine tablets on September 13 after Khajorn Putthima and Montree Sakpong, arrested on September 11 with methamphetamine tablets led police to the man.


Opium poppy cultivation on the rise

80% of fields in Chiang Mai

80% of the opium poppy fields under cultivation in Thailand are located in Chiang Mai. (Photo courtesy of davric).

Nopniwat Krailerg
Chiang Mai is home to 80% of the illegal opium poppy fields being cultivated in Thailand Tipaporn Tassapakdi, Director of the Strategy and Administration Division of the Narcotic Crops Survey and Monitoring Institute, Office of the Narcotics Control Board recently announced. The office has been conducting ground and aerial surveys of 76 highland areas since 1984 and recent surveys found that cultivation has grown to 1,659 acres 2012/2013, up from 1,303 acres in 20122/2012. They surveyed 8 provinces in the North and one North Eastern province and found that 80% of those fields were located in Chiang Mai province. Tak came in a distant second followed by Mae Hong Son, Kamphaengphet, Nan and Phetchabun.
The survey found that there were 1,300.20 acres under cultivation in 20 sub districts, a 36.64% increase from last year. Om Koi was home to the largest number with 888.29 acres, followed by Chiang Dao and then Mae Taeng.
Units from Army Area Region 3, Border Patrol Police 33 and National Command Centre for Drugs Elimination Chiang Mai office destroyed 1,2950.90 acres of the illegal opium under cultivation or almost 100%.
Tipaporn Tassapakdi said that opium had quite a high price of 134,000-168,000 baht per choi (1 choi=1.6kg) and as high as 200,000 baht when it is not peak growing season. The areas are located far from cities with bad roads and the lack of transportation makes it difficult for locals to improve their lives. Also teens in the area want the same comfortable life as those in the city and grow opium to meet their needs. Authorities are working to discourage cultivation and encourage other crops.


Corn farmers demand price controls from government

Mae Chaem corn farmers demand price controls from the Thai government.

Nopniwat Krailerg
200 Mae Chaem area corn farmers gathered at City Hall on September 17, 2013 to demand that the government buy corn at the same price in all areas and not just to those areas with the right documents. Other demands they submitted to Governor Tanin Subhasaen to send to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra include set buying locations in the district so that farmers can more easily sell their corn, set the price of corn until February 28, 2014 at 8 baht per kilogram for corn with a moisture content of less than 30% and 10 baht per kilo for that less than 14.5% moisture content.
The farmers said that they expect an answer from the government by September 24 and if they don’t get the assistance they need they will protest to pressure the government like the rubber growers in the South.


 
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Mayor resigns to become a monk

Lin Ping returns to China

800,000 Yaba tablets smuggled in health volunteer bus

Japanese government provides ambulance to remote Uttaradit village

Suandok Healthy and Happy Day

Chiang Mai lawyer tosses her hat into the election ring

ACT NOW! Anti - Corruption Day

Tiger Air launches Chiang Mai route

Family of Man Festival at Prasert Land

Bangkok Air only airline to fly to capital of Myanmar

Chiang Rai’s Lam Nam Kok National Park plan to develop tourism

Akha Swing Ceremony in Chiang Rai

Chiang Mai tops the list for new passports

New stops to support AEC tourism in Chiang Rai

Chiang Mai Night Safari offers Buddhist meditation

Man arrested for kidnapping his own nephew

Drug arrests in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai net 600,000 Yaba pills

Opium poppy cultivation on the rise

Corn farmers demand price controls from government

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