2,000 corn farmers block City Hall
More than 2,000 corn farmers blockaded City Hall
on October 1 as they awaited a Cabinet decision on fixing corn prices.
Over 2,000 corn farmers from Mae Chaem blocked the four entrances of
City Hall on Tuesday October, 1, 2013 at 6:30 a.m. saying they would not
disperse until the Thai Cabinet announced their decision on fixing the price
Led by Uthai Buntiam the group began their rally on September 28, camping
out at City Hall. However once they blocked the entrances, riot police were
sent in to control the protest. The protesters blocked City Hall on the
first day that the new Governor started work in Chiang Mai.
Uthai Buntiam said that Mae Chaem had 7,948 corn farmers registered and
132,616 acres of corn planted.
The farmers first held a meeting on September 11, then again on September 17
when they submitted a letter to the Governor to give to Prime Minister
Yingluck Shinawatra. Then a third rally in Mae Chaem on September 24 at the
Mae Chaem District Office but as they saw no progress from the government in
fixing corn prices they traveled again to City Hall to present their demands
At 11.30 a.m. Ritthipong Techaphan the Chiang Mai Deputy Governor invited
the leader of the group to meet to discuss to solving the problem of the
blockade but they said they were waiting for the Cabinet’s answer that was
expected that day. Later in the day the Cabinet approved a budget of 2,300
million baht to intervene in fixing corn prices at 7 to 9 baht per kilogram.
The protesters left at 5:45 p.m. as their demands had been met..
Lin Ping arrives safely in Chengdu
Chiang Mai bids farewell
to their favorite panda
Lin Ping lovers gathered at the Bifengxia
Conservation Center at Ya'an City to welcome Lin Ping to China.
There was a steady stream of last minute visitors to the Chiang Mai
Zoo to bid Lin Ping a fond farewell as the 4 year old panda goes to China to
find a mate at the Bifengxia Panda Conservation Center at Ya’an City.
The Chiang Mai Zoo gave the panda a sendoff on September 28, 2013 with a
parade (which she did not take part in) of well-wishers and panda lovers
from the Zoo to the Chiang Mai International Airport. The parade included
the Lin Ping mascot, members of the Lin Ping Fan Club, Lin Ping caretakers,
Zoo officials and students from various schools who went to meet Lin Ping at
Former Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat met with members of the Lin Ping Fan
Club to lead the farewell.
Lin Ping traveled to the airport by van at 9:50 a.m. and arrived a little
stressed as she had never traveled outside the Zoo before. She flew on Thai
Airways A300 with 300 government representatives, the executive board of the
Zoological Park Organization under the Royal Patronage of H.M. the King, fan
clubs and media at 10:30 a.m.
Lin Ping was in the pressurized cargo cabin with 6 caretakers alternating
care during the flight. They said she was frightened during the flight and
cried and made noises, often shaking her head. On arrival in Chengdu her
cage was taken to the Bifengxia Panda Conservation Center at Ya’an City.
A welcome ceremony was held for Lin Ping on September 29 with Thai
representative, Karnchana Silapaarcha, of the Ministry of Natural Resources
and Environment and Executive of Zoo Organization.
Lin Ping will stay at the center for one year as they hope she chooses a
mate from one of the 6 male pandas in residence there. Officials expect it
to take at least a month for Lin Ping to feel comfortable in her new
surroundings but her Thai caretakers will remain for 15 days to watch her
closely. They expect it will take her a few days to settle in and begin
eating. Once she is more settled they will make sure she is well and then
introduce her to the other pandas.
Officials of the Bifengxia Panda Center said the center was committed the
collaboration of research with international organization and to create
extensive relationships with 9 zoos in places such as Thailand, the USA, and
England by sending 20 pandas that have given birth to a total of 15 pandas.
The center had largest area for pandas of Sichuan including 1 research
center and 3 breeding centers. They care for 188 pandas, 19 pandas are baby
pandas. They said that the Thais can trust they will take good care of Lin
New Governor arrives in Chiang Mai
Wichian Phuttiwinyu new Chiang Mai Governor
Wichian Phuttiwinyu arrived in Chiang Mai on Tuesday, October 1,
2013 to take up his duties as Chiang Mai Governor. He immediately traveled
to the key sacred locations in Chiang Mai; Chang Puak Gate, Wat Chiang Yuen,
the Three Kings Monument, Wat Sadue Muang, Wat Chiang Mai and the Joss house
at the Chiang Mai City Hall before meeting the chiefs of various units.
Accompanied by his wife Angkana and his daughter, the former Governor
Nonthaburi said that he was sent by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to
develop tourism, help combat drugs and face other key issues in Chiang Mai
including the development of the Pinkanakorn Development Agency (Public
Organization), Royal Park Ratchaphruek and CMICE.
Governor Wichian Phuttiwinyu, age 57 was born on May 14, 1956. And graduated
high school from Amnuay Silpa School, earned a Bachelor of Political Science
from Ramkhamhaeng University and a Masters of Development Administration
from NIDA. He began serving the crown in 1979 as a Community Development
Official at Phen district in Udon Thani. From 1980 to 1996 he was a Deputy
District Chief and Minor District Chief in various areas. In 1997 he was
made District Chief at Na Yai Arm district in Chanthaburi and held the
office of Nonthaburi governor from 2009 to the present.
Candidates in the Mayoral race
6 people have declared their candidacy for
The Chiang Mai Municipality announced the full list of candidates
for the Mayor election that is scheduled to be held on November 3, 2013.
Each candidate drew a number and that is prominently displayed on their
campaign posters and signs.
Candidate number 1 is Thidarat Siriwittayakorn of the Phuer Chiang Mai
party, number 2 Samphan Chatmongkolphan, independent, number 3 former Mayor
Tussanai Buranupakorn of the Chiang Mai Khunnatham party, number 4 Pornchai
Jitnavasathien, number 5 Wanlop Saetiaw, number 6 Non Hiranchet and number 7
Yongyut Auiprapatsorn, President of the Chiang Mai Municipal Election
Commission said there are 108,497 voters in the municipality but in the last
election turnout was 60.99%. This election the target is to see the number
of voters rise to 70% of registered voters.
Thidarat Siriwittayakorn said she wants to improve the quality of life of
people and is not worried about competitors because each is doing his job
and she will do hers to the best of her ability.
Samphan Chatmongkolphan said this election is his 10th election. He plans to
campaign with integrity without buying votes.
Tussanai Buranupakorn said his successful work as Mayor for the past 4 years
made him confident voters will want him to continue his projects.
Pornchai Jitnavasathien said he wants to make the city a livable city for
tourists and residents, improve the public transit system and improve
education. In the short term to fix sidewalks that are cluttered with power
lines and light poles.
Former Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn resigned to become a monk on September 3
triggering the election on November3, 2013.
Samoeng receives fire truck from Japanese government
Mr. Akihiko Fujii, Consul-General of Japan in
Chiang Mai, and Mr. Praphan Kawinna, Mayor of Samoeng Tai Municipality
signed the funding contract for the new fire engines on September 23, 2013.
The Government of Japan, under its Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human
Security Projects Scheme (GGP), will provide funds amounting to 3,715,000
baht for “the Project for Procurement of Fire Engines in Samoeng Tai
Municipality in Samoeng District, Chiang Mai Province”. On 23 September,
2013, Mr. Akihiko Fujii, Consul-General of Japan in Chiang Mai, and Mr.
Praphan Kawinna, Mayor of Samoeng Tai Municipality, jointly signed the
funding contract at the Consulate-General of Japan in Chiang Mai.
The problem of wildfires and haze arises every year during the dry season
and wildfires damage the natural environment; while the resulting haze
threatens the health of residents and the quality of agricultural produce
and also disrupts transportation due to poor visibility.
Samoeng Tai subdistrict, located in a mountainous area about 40km southwest
of Chiang Mai City, is 208km2, 90% of which is covered by forest. As most of
the forest areas are designated as national forest or national parkland,
residents engage in farming in the narrow flat areas between the mountains.
Every dry-season, forest fires break out but in recent years they have
become more serious, threatening the loss of homes, possessions, and lives
of residents, and health problems from haze, as well as floods and
landslides in the rainy-season due to deforestation. The Samoeng Tai
Municipality has made great efforts in firefighting and prevention as well
as education, in order to control the outbreak of wildfires and prevent
their expansion. However, the 20-year-old large-sized fire engines the
Municipality possesses are decrepit and unreliable, which frequently causes
problems on the mountainous roads, such as stalling due to insufficient
horsepower and other kinds of breakdowns. As a result, the fire fighters
often arrive late on the scene, when the fire has already spread dangerously
and caused serious damage over a wild area. Besides, the narrow roads in the
mountains make it difficult for the large fire engines to pass, thus, there
is a great need for fire engines with higher mobility.
In response to a request from Samoeng Tai Municipality, the Government of
Japan will bear the costs of purchasing two fire engines, one is medium-size
with a comparatively-large feed tank and the other is small with high
maneuverability and a short turning circle, and fire-fighting equipment to
make firefighting more efficient and effective.
SIPA announces plan for 2014
The Software Industry Promotion Agency (SIPA) announced their
strategy for 2014 to increase the number of software entrepreneurs in the 8
provinces of the North recently.
Trairat Chatkaew, the President of SIPA,
announced the agencies strategic plan to grow the number of software
developers in the North for 2014.
Trairat Chatkaew, the President of SIPA, said the agency hopes to grow the
number by 10% next year from 120 entrepreneurs to 150. The agency will
operate in 2 provinces per year to encourage software entrepreneurs to
establish there. The first two provinces to be promoted are Chiang Mai and
It will also create a group of entrepreneurs with the ability to penetrate
the market in Japanese customers that focus on 4 Digital Content such as
Animation, Game, New Media and E-Learning by selecting the best 10 from 200
entrepreneurs. The agency will also provide Business Matchmaking Program
between entrepreneurs and users of software and continue promoting existing
projects such as the”Chiang Mai, I Love You”, Project “Ancient Lanna
Platform Software” and “Smart ICT for Tourism”.
Robinson Bright & Charm Awards 2013
Charoenrit Sanguansat (4th front left), Vice
Governor of Chiang Mai and Chao Duangduen na Chiengmai (5th front right)
presided over the opening ceremony of the Robinson Bright & Charm Awards
2013. With them is Preecha Ekkunakul (5th front left), President of Robinson
Department Store, Rattana Anunotkarun (2nd front right) Assistant President
of Robinson Department Store, Wachara Tantranont (2nd back right) Executive
Director of CR Chiang Mai (Thailand) Co., Ltd. and Boonlert Buranupakorn
(2nd front left) President of the Chiang Mai Provincial Administration
Organization. They are joined by 8 winners in 8 categories at the event that
was held at Robinson Chiang Mai on September 21, 2013.
Blossom Melodies on the
table at Robinson Chiang Mai
Robinson Chiang Mai held the Luxury Home & Gift
show which featured elegantly laid tables in the theme “Blossom Melodies on
the table” from Nakara Jardin, Siripanna Resort & Spa, Vulcano Restaurant,
Sala Lanna restaurant and the Rim Tara Boutique Resort. Also Special Guest
singer Jennifer Kim designed the table for Robinson. The opening ceremony of
the event was presided over by Chao Duangduen na Chiengmai, President of the
Chiang Mai Culture Council and was welcomed by Rattana Anunotkarun Assistant
President of Robinson Department Store and Wachara Tantranont Executive
Director of CR Chiang Mai (Thailand) Co., Ltd. In addition to showcasing the
art of dining table, there also held exhibition of special World class
brands product of home department. Here the chef of Nakara Jardin discusses
the design and layout of this table set for high tea.
Rules to be set for foreign drivers renting cars
After receiving numerous complaints from local people about foreign
tourists renting cars and motorbikes in Chiang Mai the Chiang Mai Provincial
Land Transportation Office and the Chiang Mai Police have decided to
implement rules requiring rental agencies to check the driver’s license of
tourists before allowing them the rent a car.
Charnchai Keelapaeng, the head of the Chiang Mai Provincial Land
Transportation Office, said that the complaints stemmed from foreign
tourists from Europe, America, and Asia but especially the large influx of
Chinese tourists that don’t follow traffic signs, drive the wrong way and
cause traffic jams and accidents.
The Office and the Police will establish aTourist Assistance Center and
Training center at the Chiang Mai Provincial Land Transportation Office.
Enforcement of the rules will begin November 1, 2013 and rental agency
owners that allow tourists who do not have a driver’s license to rent will
be punished under the Motor Vehicle Act. The Office will coordinate with
each consulate to publish the information.
Charnchai Keelapaeng and the Chiang Mai Traffic
Police agree to enforce regulations requiring visitors to have driver’s
licenses before they can rent a car.
Chiang Mai Night Safari wins
Thailand Tourism Awards 2013
On September 27 2013 at the 9th Thailand Tourism
Awards 2013 at Royal Jubilee Ballroom, IMPACT Muang Thong Thani Somsak
Pureesrisak, Minister of Tourism and Sports awarded the Chiang Mai Night
Safari with the Excellence Award. Netnapha Suttithamdamrong, Deputy Director
of the Chiang Mai Night Safari accepted the award on behalf of the Night
Safari. Dr. Sarawut Srisakul, Director of the Chiang Mai Night Safari said
the office has been working hard to improve and develop activities to serve
the Chiang Mai Night Safari over the past 3 years. The Night Safari remains
committed to developing and maintaining high standards of service to
travelers and to developing educational activities for youth and tourists.
Zoo trying to
inseminate Lin Hui
Zoo veterinarians announce that Lin Hui will be
inseminated as she appears to be in estrus already.
The Chiang Mai Zoo announced plans to attempts to artificially
inseminate Lin Hui mother of Lin Ping, as it appears she has entered into
On Sep 25, 2013 at Chiang Mai Zoo Dr. Singthong Buachum, member of a special
committee appointed by the Zoological Park Organisation to take care of
pandas and other animals, Tanapat Pongpamorn the Chiang Mai Zoo Director and
veterinarians Dr. Boripat Siriaroonrat, Dr. Ampika Thongphakdee and Kannika
Chantararangsee announced at the press conference that she had appeared to
be behaving differently and her estrogen levels have been rising since
September 16, 2013.
The team inseminated her on October 1 2013 although according to
veterinarian Dr. Kannika Chantararangsee initially had hoped that Lin Hui
and Chuang Chuang would breed naturally but determined to inseminate her
artificially after all. If the insemination is successful this will be the
second panda bred in Thailand after Lin Ping who has gone to China to be
bred with a male panda there.
Rising Buddhist Extremism in Myanmar
Ali Fowle, Myanmar
As the anti-Muslim 969 campaign spreads throughout Myanmar, more and
more ordinary Buddhists are displaying the movement’s logo on cars and
shops. “I have it because now Muslim people are very extreme so we should be
extreme too,” says one local taxi driver.
The 969 campaign has been blamed for provoking deadly anti-Muslim riots and
now the striking multi-colored 969 logo has become a familiar sight across
Myanmar. The image was created and designed at a monastery in Mawlamyine,
Mon state, under the guidance of head monk, Ashin Sada Ma.
“It is for contemplating the enlightenment; the six colors don’t mean to
harm any religion, or individual,” argues Ma, “That is why we included this,
to bring back significance to Buddha’s religion.” Ashin Sada Ma began the
969 sticker campaign in October last year when religious tension in the
country was high.
Since then violent clashes between Buddhists and Muslims have spread across
the country and dozens of people have been killed. Local people displaying
the 969 image connect the symbol with the rise in anti-Muslim sentiment. But
Ashin Sada Ma insists the design has no message regarding other faiths and
refutes the implication there is any connection with the clashes.
“In every situation many people are having trouble with conflict and
violence,” he says, “This has not been started from 969 or Buddhism.”
Despite his insistence, the sticker is being used as a way to identify
places as exclusively Buddhist, thereby isolating Muslims. Many taxis, shops
and even public buses now display this symbol. “In some cases taxi drivers
are asking more price from Muslims,” says another taxi driver, “Everyone
But other taxi drivers say they have had to remove the stickers to make
Muslim customers feel more comfortable. “Some people don’t put it on because
Muslim people also want to take taxi. If they see the 969 sticker many
Muslims don’t want to take the taxi so some people took it off again,”
explains the taxi driver.
U Wirathu, who has been described as the ‘Buddhist Bin Laden,’ is an
outspoken monk and the face of the nationalist, anti-Muslim movement.
Although 969 has been portrayed as a Buddhist movement, leading Buddhist
figures reject it, including U Ghambira, a prominent figure from the 2007
“I don’t like Nine Six Nine. This concept is completely against what Buddha
taught,” states Ghambira.
But Wirathu’s views are gaining traction and have led to a proposed
anti-interfaith marriage law that has some support on the streets.
“Burmese women are getting married to other religions and other races and I
don’t want this to happen,” says Wirathu, “I remind them.”
U Wirathu has been accused of inciting violence against Muslims with hate
speech and racist views. Monk Ashin Sada Ma says he is protecting Buddhists
from the influence of other faiths and insists the movement is peaceful. “U
Wirathu knows what the purposes of 969 are,” he says.
And despite the racist message the symbol has become associated with, Ma
doesn’t regret creating the sticker campaign. “I do not regret at all
because I believe our purpose is right,” he says.
This article was first broadcast on Asia Calling, a regional current affairs
radio program produced by Indonesia’s independent radio news agency KBR68H
and broadcast in local languages in 10 countries across Asia. It is
published in conjunction with the Faculty of Mass Communications, Chiang Mai
University. You can find more stories from Asia Calling
Remote Uttaradit residents receive ambulance from the Japanese government
Mr. Akihiko Fujii, Consul-General of Japan
in Chiang Mai, and Mr.Wichan Chantasing Director of Bankhok Hospital,
jointly signed a funding contract for the project at the
Consulate-General of Japan in Chiang Mai on September 30, 2013.
The Government of Japan, under its Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human
Security Projects Scheme (GGP), is providing funds amounting to
3,344,000 baht for “The Project for Improving Medical Service for
Residents in Remote Areas in Bankhok District, Uttaradit Province”. On
September 30, 2013, Mr. Akihiko Fujii, Consul-General of Japan in Chiang
Mai, and Mr.Wichan Chantasing Director of Bankhok Hospital, jointly
signed a funding contract for the project at the Consulate-General of
Japan in Chiang Mai.
Bankhok district is a remote region surrounded by mountainous areas and
the east part borders Laos for 115km. 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. (Cut one paragraph)
Bankhok hospital, which is the only government hospital in the district,
covers 15,000 residents of 28 villages in 4 sub-districts, and treats
about 62,000 cases a year. Moreover, it provides humanitarian treatment
regardless of the expense, because there are many Lao patients coming
across the border to receive the medical treatment from Laos as there is
no well-equipped medical institution in their area.
Bankhok hospital has provided regular mobile clinics which include
dentistry and prenatal checkups, targeting remote mountain villages.
Moreover, the hospital also conducts referral services between villages
and hospital for people who lack any other means of transport. 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
In response to a request from Bankhok hospital, the Government of Japan
has decided to provide funds for a four wheel drive ambulance with life
support equipment and medical equipment for Bankhok hospital. This will
give patients better prospects for recovery through prompter treatment
For more information, please contact the Consulate-General of Japan in
Chiang Mai, Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects
Scheme (GGP). Tel: 053-203-367 / Fax: 053-203-373 / Email:
Research reveals alarming statistics of abuse amongst male sex workers
Jarrett Davis of Urban Light presents the
data on MSM workers that the organization has recently collected.
Urban Light, a local organization dedicated to working with
underage and trafficked male sex workers held a seminar in conjunction
with Love 146 to discuss the results of a recent survey of male sex
workers in Chiang Mai.
One of the things that was pointed out by Dr. Glenn Miles of Love146 is
that the male sex industry is largely overlooked by NGOs, with 84% of
research articles focusing exclusively on girls and women. Boys and men
are seen as not being vulnerable and yet 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused
as compared to 1 in 4 girls. Love 146 is based out of Phnom Penh and
works with local organizations around Asia.
Research that the organization did in Cambodia showed that boys aged
12-15 say they had been sexually abused by the age of 9. Jarrett Davis
was the lead researcher in Chiang Mai and said that they had great
difficulty in finding respondents as some clubs would not allow any
access, others would allow it but the manager sat nearby as the person
was being interviewed. They visited massage places, karaoke bars, show
bars and known gay bars to interview and found 51 who were willing to
answer to some extent. He noted that most of them do not actually
identify as gay and may find full disclosure shameful for their culture.
Research showed that 68% of respondents identified as straight, 20% as
gay and 12% as bisexual.
39% of those interviewed were born in Burma while 58% were born in
Thailand. Of those, 47.22% came from Northern Thailand. 11.11% from Isan
and 19.9% were born near the border. He noted that most of them were
from ethnic minorities and many had ID card issues which would not allow
them to find regular work. 1 in 5 had no schooling whatsoever while 80%
had a 9th grade education or lower. The age ranged from 15 to 35 but
most of the respondents were in the 15-24 year old age bracket.
One of the things researchers pointed out was that the information given
was what the respondents were willing to admit, even though they had
been told that it would not be revealed and they would not be reported.
21% admitted that they had begun work before the age of 18 and 45%
before the legal age of 20. The youngest were usually freelance workers.
A large number said they were in the business to send money to their
families either for debts or for family assistance for things such as
education, food etc. For 88% of those interviewed they said sex work was
their only source of income. Karaoke and male massage workers usually
earned a salary but most of those working in showbars earned only tips.
Most of the workers felt they had no choice to do the work they were in
and if given a choice said they would take other work. 69% said their
families were unaware of their work and 25% said their partner was
The researchers noted that getting accurate numbers was difficult
because of the difficulty in gaining access to a larger number of
respondents and that they wanted to find more hilltribe language
speaking researchers to be able to access younger workers. They expect
to publish further results at the end of the year but called on people
to be aware that while boys are expected to be resilient and
invulnerable the truth is that boys and girls were both vulnerable to
TCEB works to push Chiang Mai as MICE hub of ASEAN
The TCEB predicts MICE revenues will grow by
10% this year and is working to push Chiang Mai as the MICE destination
The Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) are
cooperating with Chiang Mai Province to push the 2nd phase of the
“Chiang Mai MICE City” road map in a rush to promote Chiang Mai’s
convention market regionally through both the Greater Mekong Subregion
and BIMSTEC or the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical
and Economic Cooperation which will push for a free trade agreement
between Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand
The TCEB organized a seminar at the International Convention Center from
September 26 to 28, 2013 on the project of promoting Chiang Mai moving
confidently to become a meeting destination of Thailand. The projects
aim to build knowledge, understanding and skills for entrepreneurs and
relevant agencies, lay the foundation MICE industry and push Chiang Mai
to become the center of MICE industry in ASEAN.
Nopparat Methaveekulchai, President of TCEB said that the TCEB realizes
the potential of Chiang Mai in the development to become a MICE city.
The Thai government defined 2013 as the Year of MICE of Chiang Mai then
initiated the MICE Summit in January 2013 to integrate collaboration
with Chiang Mai and 7 partnership networks; the Chiang Mai Provincial
Administrative Organization, Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce, Chiang Mai
Tourism Business Association, Office of Commercial Affairs Chiang Mai,
Tourism Authority of Thailand Chiang Mai Office, Chiang Mai Creative
City (CMCC) and Chiang Mai University as representatives of 8 University
in the North. These groups are to define the operational framework to
develop Chiang Mai to be the center of MICE industry of ASEAN within 5
years. The operations are divided into 3 phases; the1st phase in 2013
focuses on the domestic market and lays the foundation of MICE industry,
build knowledge, understanding and develop infrastructure for Chiang Mai
to be a strategic town for MICE.
The 2nd phase is in 2014-2015 and will promote regional market through
cooperation frameworks of the GMS and BIMSTEC and the 3rd phase in
2016-2017 will raise Chiang Mai as a destination for international
Chiang Mai Deputy Governor Ritthipong Techaphan said the implementation
of the plan in the past 9 months ago has had the desired results. Chiang
Mai has over 33.000 rooms, and has the 3rd largest international airport
in Thailand. The Chiang Mai International Airport has 401 domestic
flights a week and 76 international flights a week totally 12,377 flight
per year with 8 million passengers per year and supports air cargo of
30,000 tons per year.
The value of the MICE industry of Chiang Mai in 2012 totaled 3,859
million baht, MICE travelers both domestic and international MICE
totaled 68,976 people and there were490 MICE events. This year they
expect growth of 5% or 72,424 MICE visitors while revenues from MICE
events are expected to grow 10% in 2013 totaling 4,245 million baht. The
overview of the MICE industry in Thailand of 2556, TCEB has targeted 15%
growth or 4.3 million MICE visitors bringing in revenues of more than
13,706 million baht.
FTA Watch rally against
EU FTA talks in Chiang Mai
Around 2,000 protesters rallied at Tha Pae
Gate and then marched to Le Meridien to present letters to the Thai and
EU representatives at the Free Trade Talks held in Chiang Mai.
The Thai government is undergoing free trade agreement (FTA)
talks with the European Union and Chiang Mai was the scene of not only
the most recent talks but also nearly 2,000 members of the group FTA
Watch who gathered to protest against the talks on September 19, 2013.
The group, wearing orange shirts and carrying posters in both English
and Thai gathered at Tha Pae Gate on September 18 to protest the second
round of treaty negotiations that were held at Le Meridien Chiang Mai
from September 16 – 20, 2013. On September 20 the group rallied at Tha
Pae and then marched to Loi Kroh Road and to Le Meridien Hotel to
present their demands in person.
Riot control police were brought in and halted the group at the
intersection next to Centara Duangtawan Hotel and Le Meridien Chiang
Mai. The protesters were blocked there for some time as they demanded to
meet with representatives from both Thailand and the EU.
Representatives came out to meet the protesters and receive a letter
amid strict security. The Thai representatives assured the protesters
that they will negotiate with the European Union with caution and will
maintain benefits to Thai people and not impact the Thai workers or the
Olarn Chaipravat, President of the Thailand Trade Representative
announced that this round of negotiations is an important step in the
draft of the discussion that covers trade, investment and sanitation and
phytosanitary measures. Other issues discussed include the issue of
Intellectual Property in regards to access to medicines and medical
supplies, protesters stressed that the Thai government needed to give
precedence to public health.
Thailand will negotiate with the principles of the agreement on Trade
Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) under WTO and on the Doha
Declaration on the TRIPs Agreement and Public Health. However, the EU
said they were aware of the concerns of Thai people and confirmed that
the EU will be flexible on this issue and come to a decision that is
beneficial to both sides.
1 million methamphetamine tablets uncovered in Mae Sai
Phrao police found 40,000 methamphetamine pills in a canal
Police uncovered 40,000 methamphetamine tablets
in a bag thrown in the canal in Phrao after locals reported a strange acting
man in the area.
Nopniwat Krailerg and Chiang Mai Mail reporters
The Mae Sai police and Pha Muang Task Force uncovered 1 million
methamphetamine tablets hidden in the pickup truck of Phichit man Warayut
Yomsri on a road along the Thai – Burma border on September 21, 2013. Police
said they flagged down the truck and a search found the drugs in a sack on
the back seat. The driver told police he had picked up the drugs from Lahu
people in Ban Pha Hi to carry to Nonthaburi. He said he had been paid
300,000 baht for the trip and that he had successfully carried drugs twice
before. He told police that he needed the money to pay for treatment for his
Pol Maj Gen Wanchai Suwansirikhet, the Chiang Rai provincial police chief
announced that the drugs came from the gang led by Lt Col Yi Sae and that
they hope to arrest members of the gang shortly.
In Phrao on the same day police received a report from a resident of a
strange man pacing up and down the street in Rom Klao village in Phrao,
Chiang Mai. The resident said that the man had told the villagers that he
had lost his necklace and was looking for it in the canal that was in the
village. However, when police arrived he jumped into a pickup truck and
drove away. Police found a black bag in the canal and inside there were
40,000 methamphetamine tablets.
Police believe the drugs came from a gang in the area and suspect that it’s
the same gang that saw two men escape on a motorbike at a police checkpoint
the day before after police had received a tipoff about trafficking between
Phrao and Chiang Mai city.
Border Patrol Police arrested two men at a checkpoint on the road between
Ban Salak and Ban Wawee in Mae Ai on September 23, 2013 after a Burmese man
named Arlong (surname unknown) and Chiang Rai man Wichian were stopped at
the checkpoint on a motorbike. The two men were carrying 1 kilogram of
crystal methamphetamine. They told police that they were being followed by a
Chiang Rai man who was driving a white pickup truck. Police arrested Somchai
Chaiyutsakul when he passed the checkpoint.
Police have stepped up investigations at checkpoints because of an increase
in drug trafficking in the area.
Patient escapes from hospital, drowns in irrigation canal
5 patients escaped from the drug and alcohol treatment center at
Chiang Mai Thanyarak Hospital on September 20, 2013, officials managed
to find four of the patients but one man remained missing. On September
23 the body of the missing patient, Bunpaeng Loiperm, age 56, was found
in the water of irrigation canal near the hospital.
Investigation did now show any signs of violence on the body. Relatives
told police that they had taken the man to the hospital to treat his
alcoholism on September 18 but he ran away and was not found until they
recovered his body a few days later.
Soldier found dead in his car
A 37 year old Royal Thai Army soldier from Artillery 7
was found dead in his car on September 22, 2013 by a security
guard. Chang Puak police responded to a report and found Sgt.
Maj. 1st Class Phuwanai Chaiphrom in the driver’s seat of his
pickup truck parked behind a restaurant.
His wife told police that he had gone outside to move the car
when someone had complained that it blocked the way. A security
guard noticed that the truck was still obstructing the way and
went to check and found him dead inside. Police suspect carbon
monoxide poisoning as they think he may have gone to take a nap
in the car as his wife told them he had stayed up all night the
night before on duty and may have fallen asleep in the car due
He had just been promoted to a commissioned officer. Police sent
his body to the forensic department at Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai
Hospital for autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.
Karaoke pubs told to stop charging exorbitant prices
7 pubs meet with government
Chiang Mai Governor Tanin Subhasaen invited relevant
departments to a meeting on September 23, 2013 to solve the
problem of karaoke pubs charging customers exorbitant prices.
This is the second such meeting the Governor called to try and
resolve the problem.
The agencies have asked cooperation from 7 pubs that have had a
history of complaints from customers; I IE Karaoke, Violin
Karaoke, Bunny Girl, Pink Lady, Casanova Karaoke, Rose and Cleo.
They were asked to resolve conflicts over expensive charges and
informed that if they were found to not cooperate in regards to
the problems would find themselves punished by both criminal and
The measures will be extended to other pubs as the city plans to
use it as a framework for the behavior of these businesses. The
7 pubs that are currently involved will be inspected
periodically as officials monitor the situation. The Regional
Revenue Office 8 has been assigned to review the taxes for the 7
pubs and to determine if the businesses are still owing revenue
as well as instruct them in the appropriate taxes to charge.
All relevant agencies must report the results on the operations
to the government every month start on Sep 30, 2013.
Police uncover unidentified
human bones on Doi Suthep
A forestry official uncovered human remains in a dense
forested area around 50 meters from the road between Wat Pha Lad
and a forestry checkpoint on September 20, 2013.
Phuping police sent a forensic team and a forensic doctor from
Majaharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital to investigate the area and
retrieve the bones found at the scene.
The forestry officials said that a villager who had been
foraging in the forest had found the bones on September 17, 2013
but had not given them clear directions to find the remains so
the officer started searching and finally found them on the
At the scene police found the remains, an aluminum cane and a
backpack which contained a mobile phone, iPod and a passport
belonging to American Mark Meurs.
Mark Meurs, age 59, was a Chiang Mai resident who went missing
in February 2012. U.S. Consular officers have contacted the
family and the police will conduct DNA testing to confirm the
identity of the remains but the identity as yet remains