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Protests around the city oppose the amnesty bill

Protests took place around the city on November 6 and 8 as many residents voiced their opposition to the amnesty bill. Photo by Hathaichanok Suphaloet.

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
Chiang Mai residents rallied around the city to protest the amnesty bill that has been proposed to the government in Bangkok. Protesters held signs and blew whistles at Tha Pae Gate, Chiang Mai Maharaj Nakorn Hospital and at Chiang Mai University.
On November 6, 2013 at 4 p.m. in front of the Dhamma Hall at CMU students, lecturers and staff protested with signs and blew whistles to show their opposition to the amnesty bill. Protesters signed a petition and garnered 9,000 signatures that were presented to Senator Watchara Tantranon who received the petition in person.
Protestors rallied at Tha Pae Gate on November 8 as well as many residents showed their disapproval of the bill that passed the House of Representatives on October 31, 2013. Around 300 Maharaj Nakorn Hospital staff rallied in front of the statue of His Royal Highness Prince Mahidol of Songkhla, front of Sjinno building to protest the amnesty bill. Led by Assistant Professor Narain Chotirosniramit Deputy Director of Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital and Asst. Prof. Dr. Arnon Chotirosniramit, Deputy Head of the Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, CMU the group called on the government to drop the bill saying it sends the wrong message to society and tells people that corruption is not wrong.
Many protesters are dismayed by the numerous corruption cases that are now before the National Anti-Corruption Commission that will be dismissed if the bill were to pass. The Chiang Mai Peoples Anti-Corruption Network said that every case before the National Anti-Corruption Commission must be brought to justice to the last and to be fair to all parties. The network also asked the Chiang Mai Senator to work honestly for the benefit of the people.
CMU officials issued a statement emphasizing that state authorities, politicians and political parties must take into account what benefits the majority when making any political decisions including both political and economic. They stated that the government needs to legislate for the right reasons and allow for full accountability. Politicians must adhere to the rule of law in a democracy and strengthen democracy so that Thai people can live together in peace and solve their conflicts.
 


Veterans hold Remembrance Day at the Foreign Cemetery

Remembrance Day ceremonies were held at the Foreign Cemetery on November 11, 2013 at 11 a.m. and were attended by veterans, friends and families of those who fought and sacrificed for their nations. Michael Hancock, Her Majesties Consul, gave the reading at the solemn ceremony and then was joined by U.S. Consul General Michael Heath, Japanese Consul General Akihiko Fujii, British Honorary Consul Ben Svasti Thomson and Canadian Honorary Consul Jakarin Wangwiwat who also laid wreaths and poppies to honor veterans. A soldier from the Royal Thai Army played last post followed by 2 minutes of silence. The Royal British Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, schools, organizations also joined in placing wreaths around the War Memorial after the piper played The Flowers of the Forest.


Blessing ceremony as Chiang Mai Mail starts its 12th year

Xanxai Visitkul followed by Peter Malhotra and staff chant prayers during the religious ceremonies.

Shana Kongmun
The Chiang Mai Mail held a blessing ceremony at the office on the 2nd Ring Road on Wednesday, November 6, 2013 to bring continued success as the newspaper entered its 12th year of publication. Attending the Buddhist ceremony that was held by Phrakru Pipat Silplasangworn from Wat San Sai Moon was Managing Director of the Pattaya Mail Media Group, of which the Chiang Mai Mail is a part, Pratheep “Peter” Malhotra, founding partner Xanxai Visitkul, Elfi Seitz, Executive editor of the Pattaya Blatt and editors Nopniwat “Jae” Krailerg and Shana Kongmun as well as friends, family and staff of the Chiang Mai Mail and Pimthong Accounting.

Phrakru Pipat Silplasangworn anoints the Chiang Mai Mail office with holy markings.

Phrakru Pipat Silplasangworn chanted in Pali while holding white “sai sin” string which was later tied around the wrists of all the participants. As part of the ceremony Xanxai poured lustral water into a bowl as the monk chanted in Pali. Offerings were made to the monk to make merit and the front doors of the office were then anointed by the monk to ensure good luck and good fortune. The monk then blessed the gathered staff, friends and family with lustral water and the sai sin sacred thread was tied around everyone’s wrist, to be worn to represent the Buddhist Sutras to be a constant reminder to act according to Buddhist principles as well as for good fortune and happiness.

Managing Editor Shana Kongmun, Pattaya Blatt Executive Editor Elfi Seitz and Peter Malhotra join together with Xanxai Visitkul as he performs the ritual of pouring lustral water while the revered monk chanted in Pali.


Hollywood Returns to Chiang Mai

American production company Bold Films, in collaboration with the Thailand Film Board,are excited to bring another Hollywood production to Thailand. “The Coup” starring Owen Wilson, Pierce Brosnan and Lake Bell is an action thriller that began filming in Chiang Mai on November 3rd until December 20th 2013.
“The Coup” is a movie about a family who moves to a fictitious Asian country. In their new overseas home, they soon finds themselves caught in the middle of a coup, and the father frantically look for a safe escape for his wife and children. This movie involves pyrotechnics, with explosions, gunfire and scenes designed to recreate a war. Prosthetics, fake blood and a large stunt team are being used to create the action scenes. All these elements are fake and are movie props, but may appear real. Between November and December, filming will take place during the day and at night. It is the first time that Chiang Mai has seen such a large - scale film production.
The production company assures residents that the Asian country in the film is in fact fictitious and will in no way be presented as Thailand in the movie.
“The Coup” helps put Chiang Mai on the map as a desired filming destination. Bringing a large financial injection to the Chiang Mai economy, “The Coup” has employed many local people, filled hotels across town and brought new business to many vendors throughout Chiang Mai and Bangkok.Local companies acknowledge that filming such a large project may mean some inconveniences and ask for everyone’s patience and cooperation during the November to December period.
UbolwanSucharitakul, Director of the Thailand Film Office said, ‘We welcome the production to Thailand. This once again shows that whether comedy, drama or high action, Thailand has the facilities and resources to provide the quality of teams and production resources that Hollywood demands.’
In 2009, there were under 500 productions shot in Thailand each year. This has grown every year since, and by the end of this year should be approaching 700.


3rd annual International We Love Our King Day Parade

The 3rd annual International We Love the King Day will take place on December 3 and is an opportunity for foreign residents to show their love and respect for HM the King.

The International, We Love Our King and International Harmony Day will be held on December 3, 2013 in honor of HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s 86th birthday on December 5, 2013. The parade, which is a gathering of 117 organizations from Chiang Mai and the North, will hold a parade from JJ Market, departing the market at 4 p.m. Everyone is encouraged to join, according to organizer Ruchuchai, wearing national costume or a pink or yellow shirt in honor of HM the King. At 6 p.m. the crowd will sing the Royal anthem and then representatives of different countries will present ceremonial silver and gold “Phan Phum” objects in honor of HM the King followed by a minute of silence by candlelight to honor His Majesty King Bhumibol. The parade and ceremony is held by every nationality to show their love and respect for Thailand’s beloved monarch.


Campaign to fight smoke season kicked off at City Hall

Army, police, district officials and tourism authorities join Governor Wichian Phuttiwinyu at the launch of the campaign to combat air pollution in Chiang Mai.

Staff Reporter
The Chiang Mai Provincial Government kicked off their annual campaign to try and fight the smoke and pollution season that usually starts in earnest in March every year. Governor Wichian Phuttiwinyu presided over the launch of the campaign at City Hall on November 1, 2013.
Boonlert Buranupakorn, President of the Chiang Mai Provincial Administration Organization (PAO) said that high pressure systems from China cover the upper North bringing dry weather and causing the air pollution in the summer to worsen as forest fires and out of control burning that affects peoples’ health. In order to prevent air pollution, Chiang Mai will cooperate with local governments and organizations to set up centers to fight fires and air pollution in every district in Chiang Mai.
Governor Wichian Phuttiwinyu said that last year 25 days total were higher than the standard for air pollution and that this affected the health of the people of Chiang Mai as well as effects on tourism to the province. He said the government was meeting with representatives from the 25 districts and offering funds for solving air pollution problems as well as an education campaign to stop burning.


Food Bank set up for disasters

The Chiang Mai Public Health Office and Central Food Retail Co. Ltd., Huay Kaew Branch of Tops Supermarket, signed an agreement to help coordinate a Food Bank in times of disaster. On October 29, 2013, Dr.Paisan Thanyawinishkul, Public Health Physician and Dr.Toranee Gayee, Project Manager of the “Development of Incident Management System, Chiang Mai” signed the Memorandum of Understanding for Tops to handle the purchase and procurement, storage and maintenance of the Food Bank. This would include checking expiry dates, replacing expired food and delivering food to the injured.


Khru Ba Sriwichai Foundation gives awards to outstanding members of society

Khru Ba Sriwichai Award winners with Luang Phor Prathep Kosol at the awards ceremony held at Wat Phra Singh.

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
The 24th annual Khru Ba Sriwichai Awards were given out on November 9, 2013 by the Khru Ba Sriwichai Foundation for those outstanding in the Buddhist field, the government field and in the public sector.
Luang Phor Prathep Kosol, Chiang Mai Provincial monk dean, presided over the awards ceremony that was held at Wat Phra Singh in Chiang Mai. The President of the Foundation then welcomed everyone and reported on the works of the foundation.
In the first category of Buddhist monks the Khru Ba Sriwichai award was given to Phra Khun Chao Wimon Munee, Deputy Abbot of Wat Sri Soda in Suthep, he is also the secretary to Luang Phor Prathep Kosol. He graduated as a Dhamma Scholar Advanced Level, Pali Scholar Level 5 and earned a BA at Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University and a Master’s in Education at Chiang Mai University.
Mayuree Yoktree with the Chiang Mai Provincial Social Development and Human Security, Chiang Mai won the award in the Government category. She graduated with a Bachelor of Social Work from Thammasat University, and a Master of Arts (Development Administration) at Maejo University.
The General Public award went to Saowakon Khuntaraj, a retired civil servant who is active in charity and social welfare work and a busy public activist. Saowakon graduated from Wattanothaipayap School and earned a Bachelor from Chiang Mai Rajabhat University.


Department of Employment supports job fair for hill tribes

Pravit Khiengpol, Director-General of the Department of Employment presided over a job fair held in Wawee in Chiang Rai.

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
A Job Fair was held by the Department of Employment in T. Wawee in Mae Suai District in Chiang Rai on October 30, 2013 for members of hill tribes ethnic minorities. Pravit Khiengpol, Director-General of the Department of Employment presided over the fair which is hoped to give ethnic minorities alternative sources of income and to help them avoid drug trafficking and drug abuse. District Chief o Mae Suai Chavengsak Jaikam said that usually when people have steady jobs and income they do not use drugs and do not traffic in drugs.
The targets are hill tribe members in Chiang Mai, Mae Hong Son, Phayao, Nan, Lamphun, Lampang, Phrae, Tak, Phetchabun, Loei, Phitsanulok, Sukhothai, Kamphaeng Phet, Kanchanaburi, UthaiThani, SuphanBuri, Ratchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Phetchaburi, and Chiang Rai.
The Director-General noted that people can take jobs to their homes or they can work outside the house if they prefer. The Department of Employment will organize recruitment and language training for who want to go abroad to work and earn higher wages.


Night Safari greets new baby animals

Unique Goral bred at the Chiang Mai Night Safari

Dr. Sarawut Srisakun with the newest member of the Night Safari family; the baby Goral born on October 21, 2013.

Chiang Mai Night Safari’s breeding pair of Gorals successfully produced a new baby Goral to the Night Safari family. The sex of the Goral remains unknown but the baby, born on October 21, 2013 to 3 year old mother Sang Dao and father Silp is the 20th Goral to be born at the Night Safari. There are no 26 of these CITES listed endangered species at the Night Safari. The Chinese Goral is a goat like creature distributed through Burma, China, India, Thailand, Vietnam, and possibly Laos. Gorals usually weigh between 25-40 kg and are 80-130 cm in length, with short, backward-facing horns.
Dr. Sarawut Srisakun, Director of the Chiang Mai Night Safari also annoucned the birth of two new baby serows, a male born to mother Pee Mai on October 15 and a female born to Tong Hog on October 21, both share the same father; Tong Ou. There are now 8 serows in the Night Safari. Serow is another goat- like species native to Asia and are related to the Goral. Both animals have suffered habitat destruction and hunting by poachers who mistakenly believe their parts have the ability to heal bones.


Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn re-elected

Chiang Mai’s Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn was re-elected as Mayor of Chiang Mai Municipality after giving it up one month before the end of his first term to become a monk to make merit for his uncle Pakorn Buranupakorn who passed away at the age of 50. Mayor Tussanai, number 3 on the ballot, won the election with 26,700 votes while number 1 on the ballot newcomer Thidarat Siriwittayakorn came in second with 20,873 votes. Third place went to Pornchai Jitnavasathien, who garnered 7,962 votes. He expects to be sworn in as Mayor within a month.


City readies for New Year’s accidents

Chiang Mai is already readying for the 7 dangerous days of New Year the head of the Victim Assistance Bureau, Office of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, Chiang Mai, Worawit Intajai reported. The Office of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation has formed a committee to prepare measures to reduce road accidents during the New Year’s holiday season. They intend to push for law enforcement, tackle traffic engineering, medical emergencies and rescue and push for education to combat drunk driving, speeding and driving without a helmet. Checkpoints will be set up and those who are caught in violation of helmet, seatbelt, speeding and drunk driving laws will be fined.


Farmers want progress report on debt transfer

Around 1,000 farmers gathered in front of City Hall to demand a progress report on debt restructuring plans.

Staff Reporter
Around 1,000 members of the Farmer’s Reconstruction and Development Fund from 17 Northern provinces gathered at the front of Chiang Mai City Hall on November 4, 2013 to demand a report on the progress of the transfer of farmers’ debt from the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives into the Fund. The Fund was set up by the Government to restructure farmers’ debts.
Led by Waropat Sangchan, the network coordinator, he said that the group feels there has been no action on the debt restructuring and that so far they have seen no benefits from the Fund. Representatives from central Thailand joined the demonstration that also saw farmers from Lamphun, Chiang Rai and Lampang. The group moved to the field behind City Hall and said they would stay in place for 3 days, about 2,000 people were expected to be involved in the assembly.


Girl’s quick action stops a thief

Police commend her for her actions

Nopniwat Krailerg
Phuping Police praised 3rd year Rajamangala University of Technology Lanna student Ransimaporn Yotsuk after her quick thinking caught a thief. Pol. Col. Duldecha Achawasamittrakool gave Ransimaporn the certificate at the station on November 6, 2013 a few days after the incident.

Ransimaporn Yotsuk receives a commendation from Phuping Police station for her quick action in helping to stop a thief.

Witnesses said that a woman working at Chiang Mai Public Health Office had left her bag on the table beside her as she ate at a restaurant in front of Chomdoi Condos on Canal Road on October 28, 2013. A man snatched her purse off the table and jumped on a motorbike to flee. Ransimaporn saw the thief driving away and opened her car door in time to knock the man off his motorbike and bystanders detained him until police came.
The purse, which contained 29,000 baht and an iPhone was returned to the grateful woman, police arrested Sompob Sitthiprasert, age 30, from San Sai and Ransimaporn was praised for her quick witted action.


Realistic rescue drill for Loy Krathong staged by authorities

The Chiang Mai Municipality held a realistic mock disaster drill in preparation for the Yee Peng Festival.

Staff Reporter
The Chiang Mai Municipality held a very realistic mock disaster rescue drill on November 7, 2013 at 10:30 a.m. in front of the Municipal Building. The drill, which was simulating a building fire after an earthquake saw Urban Search and Rescue teams enter the building to search for “victims” and a fire was lit to train firefighters and medical rescue personnel.
The drill, held in preparation for the Yee Peng Festival saw many agencies from around the Province take part including the Civil Protection Volunteers of Chiang Mai Municipality, The Chiang Mai Provincial Electricity Authority, Traffic Police of Chiang Mai police station, Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Chiang Mai Provincial officials, Wing 41 officers, 33rd Military Circle personnel, Chiang Mai Provincial Administration Organization officer, the Chiang Mai Public Health Office, and many hospitals in Chiang Mai. The drill went smoothly although many tourists stopped to view the realistic exercise drill.


Gang arrested after stealing more than 40 motorcycles

A couple was arrested for stealing over forty motorbikes in San Sai, two men were arrested for dealing in stolen goods as part of the gang.

Nopniwat Krailerg
Over the past two months more than 50 motorcycles have been stolen in the San Sai area and police used CCTV cameras in the area to find the thieves. The cameras revealed a couple that scouted out potential bikes to steal, mainly Honda Dreams.
On November 7, 2013 Pol. Maj. Gen. Krit Kitilue, Commander of Chiang Mai Provincial Police and Pol. Col. Boonlue Eiamyai Superintendent of San Sai police announced the arrest of Anucha Bunsai age 38, Piyaporn Srihasuk age 19, for theft and Waranyu or Som Taweesaengsopol age 33 and Saengwong Inkham age 35 for dealing in stolen goods. Police uncovered 5 motorcycles, a passkey and equipment used to steal the bikes.
The suspects confessed that they had stolen more than 40 motorcycles in the past two months. They would use a screwdriver to crack open the keyhole and then steal the bike. They said it would generally take them around ten seconds to steal a bike. The suspects, Anucha and Piyaporn, said they would then sell it to Waranyu and Saengwong in Mae Sai for 15 – 19,000 baht and the bikes would then be transported into Burma for sale.


Man arrested for sexual assault on a minor

Police arrested Sombun Chantip, age 62, for indecent sexual assault on a minor after an alleged incident in a bookstore where a 6 year old girl was groped.

Nopniwat Krailerg
Police arrested a 62 year old man after he was accused of sexual assault on a 6 year old girl in bookstore in a shopping center in Chiang Mai. Police allege that the girl was reading a book in the store and when her guardian turned away for a few minutes Sombun Chantip, age 62, aka Somboon Fumfuay from Sarapee, groped under the girl’s skirt, touching her genitalia.
The manager of the store saw the assault and intervened to rescue the girl but the man ran away before he could be caught. Police used CCTV cameras to track down the suspect.


Smart and safe Yee Peng Festival 2013 November 16 – 18

Miss Yee Peng 2012 joins President of the PAO Boonlert Buranupakorn police and government officials to light the lantern sculptures around the moat.

Shana Kongmun
President of the Provincial Administration Organization (PAO) was joined by Chief of Muang District Police Aksorn Wongyai, Touchpol Aphiratimai, Deputy Municipal Clerk, and Public Health official Dr. Anuwut touched in major issues that Chiang Mai faces during the Loy Krathong period including danger from drunk driving and fires from Khom Loy. The police will set up checkpoints and the area around the moat has been declared an alcohol free zone.
The small parade was held on Saturday, November 17, 2013 and the Grand Parade takes place this evening from 6:30 p.m. starting at Tha Pae Gate and ending in front of the Municipal Building on the river where the judges panel will sit.


Celebration of Blind musicians

2nd Thailand International Blind Music Festival in Chiang Mai

President of the Thailand Association of the Blind Torpong Selanon announces the 2nd annual Thailand International Blind Music Festival at a press conference.

Nopniwat Krailerg
The 2nd Annual Thailand International Blind Music Festival is scheduled to be held in Chiang Mai at Tha Pae Gate on December 20 – 21, 2013. The event, which will also be held in Bangkok December 14 – 15, 2013 is being held to show the musical skill of both Thai and foreign blind people. Performers from Brazil, Kenya, Portugal, Indonesia, Laos and Cambodia will also perform with music ranging from Jazz to pop, rock, and international music. The Festival is being held by the Thailand Association of the Blind, its president Torpong Selanon said, after they were elected to host the World Blind Union 8th General Assembly which was held in Bangkok last year. The Festival came to fruition for the first time last year because of the inspiration from the General Assembly the President of the Union reported.
“This festival will promote Chiang Mai tourism during the high season. It is the way to show their abilities of blind people through music. These blind musicians will be role models for other blind people. They have ability, even though they are disabled. They will be the inspiration for other blind people to find their talent.” said, Torpong.


 
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Protests around the city oppose the amnesty bill

Veterans hold Remembrance Day at the Foreign Cemetery

Blessing ceremony as Chiang Mai Mail starts its 12th year

Hollywood Returns to Chiang Mai

3rd annual International We Love Our King Day Parade

Campaign to fight smoke season kicked off at City Hall

Food Bank set up for disasters

Khru Ba Sriwichai Foundation gives awards to outstanding members of society

Department of Employment supports job fair for hill tribes

Night Safari greets new baby animals

Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn re-elected

City readies for New Year’s accidents

Farmers want progress report on debt transfer

Girl’s quick action stops a thief

Realistic rescue drill for Loy Krathong staged by authorities

Gang arrested after stealing more than 40 motorcycles

Man arrested for sexual assault on a minor

Smart and safe Yee Peng Festival 2013 November 16 – 18

Celebration of Blind musicians