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HM the King wishes Thais happiness, prosperity, mutual concern

His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej on Tuesday, Dec. 31, conveyed his New Year greetings to his people, wishing happiness, success and prosperity to the Thai people, and peace to the country.

In his traditional televised New Year’s address broadcast at 8pm, HM the King called on Thais to pay great attention to the country’s collective interest and Thainess.

HM the King urged his loyal subjects to take care of and keep their physical and mental health so that they could fully perform their duties to the best of their abilities.

The most important thing was to keep in mind the mutual regard and Thai ways so that personal tasks and national tasks could progress and successfully achieve targets smoothly, he said.

Meanwhile, His Majesty the King also presented a traditional personally made New Year’s greeting card to his people.

The card depicts HM the King in a dark blue suit, and a white shirt with a light green necktie, sitting in a white chair in front of windows.

The photo was composed at Pratamnak Piamsuk in Klai Kangwol Palace in Prachuap Khiri Khan’s Hua Hin district.

By His Majesty’s side sits his favorite royal pet dog, Khun Thong Daeng. (MCOT)
 


Panda-monium to return to Chiang Mai?

Lin Hui’s pregnancy still uncertain

Giant panda Lin Hui is believed to be pregnant with her second cub and despite hormone levels and changed behavior Zoo veterinarians hope she will give birth to a healthy cub soon.

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
More famed as the mother of the beloved giant panda Lin Ping, who is currently in China trying to get pregnant herself, Lin Hui is becoming a household name in Thailand as her second pregnancy was announced recently.

Zoo veterinarian Boripat Siriaroonrat said the team was concerned by rising hormone levels and behavioral changes that may have signaled a miscarriage but it appears she may still be pregnant. Veterinarians did an ultra sound on Lin Hui on January 8, 2014 and while there is no noticeable fetus there are indications that she is pregnant. Her hormones have leveled out over the past four days giving the vets an indication that she remains pregnant.

Determining pregnancy in giant pandas is difficult; a newborn panda is only 5 -17cm long. New research indicates that late stage loss of the baby is more common than previously expected. However, veterinarians remain hopeful that Lin Hui will give birth to a healthy baby cub soon.

After the press conference, the Chiang Mai Zoo also held a ceremony to pray for the protection of Lin Hui and her cub. Sophon Damnui, President of the Thai Zoo Society vowed that if Lin Hui gave birth to her cub safely he would offer the classical Southern Thai Manora for 7 days and 7 nights to give thanks.

Once the panda cub is born the Zoo will hold a naming contest, entries can be sent in via mail or online.


Eleven die in 7 dangerous days of New Year

Chiang Mai comes in 2nd nationwide for accidents

Chiang Mai ranked 2nd in number of accidents nationwide over the 7 dangerous days of New Year. (File photo)

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
Chiang Mai’s 7 dangerous days proved deadly for 11 people according to the Office of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, Chiang Mai. From December 27, 2013 to January 2, 2014 there were 119 road accidents, second in the nation after Nakhon Sawan.

Most accidents occurred in the Muang District of Chiang Mai. Eleven people were killed, down from last year that saw 14 dead, and 125 people were injured. Chom Thong and San Sai Districts had the second highest number of accidents and only San Kamphaeng and Galyani Vadhana Districts saw no accidents.
Forty-eight accidents were caused by drunk driving, and 106 of the accidents involved motorcycles. Most accidents occurred between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Nationwide there were 366 people killed and 3,345 people were injured in in 3, 174 accidents. Nakhon Sawan had the highest number of accidents with 127, Nakhon Si Thammarat came third after Chiang Mai with 111 accidents. Five provinces recorded no deaths; Pattani, Mae Hong Son, Phang Nga, Bung Kan and Trat while Nakhon Ratchasima had the highest number of deaths at 21, Surat Thani was second with 16 killed and Udon Thani saw 14 dead in road accidents.


Over 1 million people affected by the cold weather

All 25 districts declared disaster areas

Cold weather affected mountain villagers as temperatures dropped into the single digits in the mountains.

Nopniwat Krailerg
Over 1.4 million people in the 25 districts that make up Chiang Mai province were affected by the cold weather according to the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Provincial Office. According to the Office, the cold weather spell that started in December affected 204 sub districts, 2,064 villages, 534,849 houses and 1,403,964 people.

The Provincial government distributed warm clothes to people around the province. Donations were supplemented by various government and private agencies such as the 33rd Military Circle, Thai Beverage Public Company Limited, Honda Company Limited and Muang Chiang Mai District.

Governor Wichien Puthiwinyoo said that the province found that 336,354 people lacked adequate clothing. Temperatures plunged across the North in December, with Doi Inthanon seeing temperatures reach below minus 1 C. Temperatures around the province reached 8 – 10 degrees.


47 candidates to run for Parliament

Pairoj Sangphuwong, Chiang Mai Election Commission officer, presided over the meeting with 47 registered candidates for the upcoming Parliamentary elections.

Nopniwat Krailerg
The Chiang Mai Election Commission held a meeting for registered candidates for Parliament in the upcoming election at the Khum Phucome Hotel Chiang Mai on January 2 2014. Presided over by Pairoj Sangphuwong, Chiang Mai Election Commission officer, the event was held to inform candidates on proper procedures during the election.

The elections, which are scheduled for February 2, saw 47 candidates from parties such as Pheu Thai, Cooperative Power, Democratic Force, Chart Thaipattana, Voice of People, and the Puea Pandin party.
Pairoj Sangphuwong said that the elections in Chiang Mai will be held with fairness and justice to all parties. He noted that the last elections saw 83% of voters go to the polls.


Beauty blossoms at the 38th Chiang Mai Flower Festival

February 7 – 9 at Suan Buak Haad

The 38th annual Chiang Mai Flower Festival Parade will be held on February 8 from 8 a.m. and will start at Nawarat Bridge and end at Suan Buak Haad. The floats will remain on display at the park for the remainder of the Festival.

Nopniwat Krailerg
The 38th annual Chiang Mai Flower Festival will be held under the concept “Beauty Blossom, ASEAN Flora” it was announced by Governor Wichien Puthiwinyoo at a press conference.

The Governor said that the Flower Festival will be held from February 7 – 9, 2014 at Nawarat Bridge, Tha Pae Gate and Buak Haad Park. The parade with flower covered floats, dancers and performers from agencies and organizations from around Chiang Mai Province will be held on February 8 at 8 a.m. from Nawarat Bridge with the judging stand at the Governor’s House. The parade will end at Buak Haad Park. Miss and Mr. Flower Festival contests along with the Miss International Flower Festival featuring women from around the world, will be held on February 7 at Suan Buak Haad.

The Opening Ceremony on February 8 will feature the Vanda Coerulea Griff or Blue Vanda, also known as the “Queen of Thai Orchids”. The Fa Mui, as it is known in Thai, has been declared the symbol of this year’s Flower Festival.

In addition to plant and flower sales at Buak Haad Park there will also be flower and plant competitions including fabulous bonsai and many others. There will be cooking demonstrations and garden arrangements for visitors to enjoy. Plants, flowers, and handicrafts will be on sale in the area as well as food and music in the park. The city will be decorated with flowers for the event as well.

Residents are reminded that the road around the inside of the moat at Suan Buak Haad will be closed for the festival.


Prayers for the New Year

Ceremonies held around the city

Chiang Mai Governor Wichien Puthiwinyoo participated in prayers for the New Year at Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep on New Year’s Eve.

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Blessings ceremonies for the New Year were held around Chiang Mai city on December 31, 2013 at 11 p.m. Chiang Mai Governor presided over the prayers for the New Year at one of the most sacred places in North Thailand; Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep. Organized by the Provincial Office of Buddhism, the ceremony was held at the 6 royal temples in Chiang Mai.

Governor Wichien Puthiwinyoo presided over the ceremony at Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep. Deputy Governor Adisorn Kamnerdsiri presided over the ceremony at Wat Phra Singh while Deputy Governor Charoenrit Sa-Nguansat presided over the ceremony at Wat Srisoda. Chana Pangpibul, Deputy Governor presided over the ceremony at Wat Chedi Luang and the Muang District Chief presided over the ceremony at Wat Suan Dok. Chief District Officers presided over the ceremony at the royal temple in each of the province’s districts.

Sermons were given and a prayer ceremony was held at 10 p.m. Then food offerings were made to monks in the morning of January 1, 2014. The ceremonies were held to celebrate the New Year with family and to encourage society to engage in Buddhist activities instead of going to a nightclub. The ‘Prayer over the year 2013-2014’ was approved by Sangha Supreme Council of Thailand.

Buddhist faithful flocked to Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep to pray and watch the fireworks from the top of the mountain.


Corn farmers protest against delayed aid

Corn farmers from Mae Chaem rallied at City Hall on December 24, 2013 calling on the government to follow through with promises made in regards to compensation for corn growers.

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
Corn farmers from Mae Chaem rallied at City Hall on December 24, 2013 to call on the government to extend their corn selling quota as well as the period of time they are allowed to sell. Uthai Buntiam, head of the Mae Chaem corn growers organization, said that the protest is not political but rather that they called on the government to help as they are still waiting for compensation that they were promised in October.

The group said that government gave them only 28,000 tons of corn as their quota, but that they had produced around 140,000 tons of corn this year. They submitted a letter to Deputy Governor Adisorn Kamnerdsiri to solve the issue surrounded by around 100 police and police volunteers.

Deputy Governor Adison Kamnerdsiri said that a meeting had already been held with related agencies on intervention in the corn market and a 10 million baht fund for farmers had been approved for the first round and that the quota had been expanded to 48,000 more tons to help corn growers. However, he asked the farmers to be patient as they were speeding the operation along as quickly as possible.

Adisorn Kamnerdsiri Chiang Mai Deputy Governor said that had a meeting with related agencies in the subject of intervention measures of corn market. The meeting approved 10 million baht to the farmers in the project in the first round and will be expanded corn quota more 48,000 tons to help corm farmer. However, he asked that the farmers be patient because the officer was speeding operation.


Royal Thai Army meets to discuss forest fire prevention for the coming smoke season

The Royal Thai Army Region 3 held a meeting with 8 military units to hammer out an integrated plan to fight forest fires in the upcoming dry season.

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The Royal Thai Army Region 3 held a meeting with representatives of 8 military units from around the North to create an integrated plan to control forest fires and smog in the 9 Northern provinces in the smoke and smog season that usually strikes in March.

Maj. Gen. Thana Charuwat, 3rd Corps Chief of Staff and Deputy Commander of the Ad Hoc division to control forest fires and smog of Royal Thai Army Region 3 presided over the meeting where he noted that the Ad Hoc Division had been created December 16 2013 and will be in operation until April 30 2014 at the 7th Artillery Battalion, Mae Rim district in Chiang Mai.

The creation of the Division was ordered by HM the King to prevent and resolve forest fires and smog problem in the North. The division is responsible for providing support troops and supplies to each province. The provinces are required to have a plan in place to battle smog and the division will provide support to that plan.

The Royal Thai Army Region 3 has a budget of just 2 million baht, while each province has budget 20 million baht, the commander noted, so, it’s absolutely necessary to have an integrated plan together with the provinces. The division has assigned 14 teams of forest fire control officers to campaign and 100 teams of forest fire fighters to support each province when requested.

The Commander noted that the team will be set on high alert on January 30, 2014 as that it is considered the start of the high risk period for fires.


Prime Minister checks on underpass construction at Highway 107

Concerned about traffic in Chiang Mai

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra traveled to Chiang Mai on December 26, 2013 to inspect the underpass under construction on Highway 107 as well as discuss ways to tackle Chiang Mai’s growing traffic problem.

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Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra traveled to Chiang Mai on December 26, 2013 to inspect the underpass under construction at Highway 107 and Highway 121 with Chiang Mai Highway District 3 officials on December 26, 2013.

Highway 107 is the major route for tourist attractions to Mae Rim, Samoeng, Fang, and Pai district in Mae Hong Son as well as a major route for the transportation of goods.

The area sees regular heavy traffic as it is near a busy area, with a village and army camp, and during rush hour and high season regular traffic jams ensue. Fairs and conventions at the Convention Center also contribute to heavy traffic so the Department of Highways used money from the 2013 budget to construct the underpass.

Sermsanguan Construction Company Limited and Bureerum Thongchai Construction were chosen as contractors and the budget is 598,645,269.54 million. Construction period is 720 days, and began July 16, 2013 and is scheduled to be completed by July 5, 2015.

The Prime Minister expressed concerns about the long term traffic problems facing Chiang Mai and suggested that the Highway Department consult with the Ministry of Interior to transfer the associated roads to be under the control of local administrations.

The Prime Minister pointed out the traffic problems that occurred during the 2nd Asia-Pacific Water Summit last year and suggested that they add a new entrance to the International Convention and Exhibition Center to alleviate the congestion of traffic entering the site as well as improve security.


Rotary Foundation donates a mobile medical clinic to Suandok Hospital

Suandok Hospital Association received a mobile blood donation and dental clinic from Rotary Foundation grants totaling 4.5 million baht.

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
The Rotary Foundation donated a mobile clinic to Suandok Hospital Association to provide treatment and offer blood donations to poor people who live far from the city. The donation of 4.5 million baht was used to purchase the mobile medical clinic that was received at the meeting room at the Chalerm Prabaramee Building, Faculty of Medicine of Chiang Mai University, Suandok Hospital Foundation by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Wattana Navacharoen, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University on December 20, 2013.

Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital or Suandok as it is known, offers many specialized treatments for patients such as cardiac care, kidney transplants, cancer treatments etc and as one of the largest hospitals in Chiang Mai also has a high need for blood donations. The blood bank provides approximately 300 units per day of blood and blood components and so need around 100,000 units per year.

The new mobile medical clinic will also function as a mobile blood donation center to help supplement the increasing need for blood supplies. Additionally it will offer mobile dental services. The van is divided into sections including one for registration and physical examination, another with 4 beds and the blood storage refrigerator. The third part is reserved for dental care

The Rotary Foundation acts as the charitable arm of Rotary tapping into a global network of Rotarians. Foundation grants for Districts fund smaller, short-term activities that address the local community needs and each Rotary district gets to choose which projects it will fund with these grants. Chiang Mai is in Rotary District 3360 led by District Governor Suparie Chatkunyarat.


Check for 32 million baht is for children’s lunches not vote buying

San Kamphaeng Mayor explains Facebook photo

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
The Mayor of San Kamphaeng called a press conference to explain a photo of a check for 32 million baht that went viral on Facebook as many people thought it was set aside for vote buying was actually part of the San Kamphaeng municipality budget for children’s lunches.

San Kamphaeng Municipal Mayor Supanimit Worakitti explained to Padungsak Hanpreechasawat, Chief of the Provincial Local Administration Office and the mass media at Chiang Mai City Hall on December 27, 2013 that the photo of a check amounting to 32 million baht that was posted on Facebook had not been transferred to from secret accounts to be used in buying votes in local elections.

The money was actually part of the annual San Kamphaeng Municipality budget received from the Local Administration Department to support various activities such as local children’s lunch allowances and living allowances for local disabled people.

The Mayor asked the police to investigate the cause of the rumor as it was damaging to the municipality’s reputation. She also asked the public to stop sharing the post.


Thick fog disrupts Chiang Rai flights

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
On January 5, 2014 thick fog in Chiang Rai caused poor visibility and delayed flights at Mae Fah Luang Airport. The Director of the Mae Fah Luang Airport, Damrong Khlong-akkhara, said that due to the heavy fog visibility on Sunday, January 5 was only 200 meters and flights were delayed as the airport increased safety measures.

Passengers in and out of the airport found flights delayed by 1 – 2 hours. Temperatures in Chiang Rai were still hovering around 13 degrees Celsius despite the fog.

The Airports of Thailand (AOT) has slated Mae Fah Luang Airport for improvement while Chiang Mai Airport is destined to become the Northern hub and Hat Yai Airport could be used to supplement Phuket.


Chiang Mai and Lamphun police say they are on the side of the rule of law

Chiang Mai and Lamphun police have gathered to show support to whichever side that abides by the law and regulations as well as to protect the police’s dignity.

Over 1,000 police and former police officers yesterday gathered at Chiang Mai Provincial Police Headquarters to show power and to express that they were ready to protect the honor and dignity of the Thai police. They said they would be on the same side as those playing by the rule.

Chiang Mai and Lamphun police have recently been deployed in Bangkok to help the government maintain law and order following the rallies by People’s Democratic Reform Committee protesters who tried to cause disturbances during the registration period of the upcoming general election.

They said they could not stand watching fellow officers, unarmed, being viciously attacked by the protesters. They were however proud of their fellows who were exercising restraint and patient with the rally-goers. This is the reason why the police came out to show their support to the police who served this nation with honor and dignity. (NNT)


NARIT welcomes Ministry of Science and Technology visit

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
The National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand (Public Organization) (NARIT) welcomed public relations officials from the Ministry of Science and Technology led by Somchai Tiamboonprasert, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Science and Technology on December 19, 2013.

Fifteen officials from the Ministry of Science and Technology PR Cluster joined the Deputy Permanent Secretary during a visit to publicize the Ministry of Science and Technology on December 19 and 20, 2013.

The group attended the lecture of Dr. Saran Posayajinda, Deputy Director of NARIT on the topic “Thai National Observatory; the development of the astronomical Thailand on the world stage”.

They also viewed the planet of Jupiter through the 2.4 meter high technology telescope, visited Doi Inthanon to view the millions of stars and visited the construction site at Astro Park, which will be the largest Astronomy Learning Center in Southeast Asia in Mae Rim district and is scheduled to be completed in 2017.

Somchai Tiamboonprasert, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Science and Technology and officials from the Ministry visited NARIT in Chiang Mai on December 18 and 19, 2013.


18 year old beauty wins Miss Chiang Mai Crown

Grade 12 student picked from a field of 20

18 year old Grade 12 student Woraluck Jaija took the Miss Chiang Mai 2014 and will represent Chiang Mai in the Miss Thailand 2014 contest.

Nopniwat Krailerg
The annual Miss Chiang Mai contest was held at the Red Cross Winter Fair on January 7, 2014 where an 18 year old grade 12 student plucked the crown from a field of 20.

Woraluck Jaija, who attends Nawaminthrachinuthit Payap School took first place and will hold the crown as Miss Chiang Mai, 2014 attending events throughout the year. She received 100,000 baht along with the crown, sash and trophy. Second place went to Veenus Nantachai, a 19 year old Chiang Mai Rajabaht University student who won 50,000 baht; she also took the Miss Photogenic award and a further 10,000 baht in cash. Third place went to SuwassaWipankhet, she attends Bangkok University and took home 20,000 baht in cash. The fourth runner up was Tanaporn Potathip of Chiang Mai University with a cash prize of 10,000 baht.

The contest saw 20 contestants take part in a retro-swimsuit and evening dress competition. From that contest 10 contestants were chosen as the finalists with the final five seeing Woraluck crowned as Miss Chiang Mai 2014. She will go on to represent Chiang Mai in the Miss Thailand 2014 contest and perhaps Miss Universe!


Area businesses aid people in the North

AIS and Central Group organize blanket donations

AIS board members led by Dulayadej Shinnawatra, AIS’s Northern Regional Director donated blankets to people around the North, a total of 6,000 for the year of 2013.

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
Many local businesses and companies have organized blanket donations during the cold snap that affected all 25 districts of Chiang Mai province, with the poorest being the hardest hit.

Advanced Info Service Public Company Limited (AIS) organized a project to helps people who suffer from winter weather, in 2013, AIS planned to donate 6,000 blankets to people in the north. AIS board members led by Dulayadej Shinnawatra, AIS’s Northern Regional Director donated 500 blankets to Seubphong Nimpulsawasdi, Muang-Pan District Chief, to give blankets to people at Baan Mae Cham, Muang – Pan District. A further 300 blankets were handed out to people in Pa Meang sub district, Doi Saket district in Chiang Mai.

AIS has already donated 3,000 blankets around the North; 500 blankets at Lom Kao district in Phetchabun,135 blankets to Nan Prariyuttithum School, 500 blankets to Medical Volunteers of Chiang Rai Prachanukroh Hospital to pass on to indigent patients, 700 blankets to indigent patients in Buddhachinaraj Hospital in Phitsanulok, 280 blankets at Bor Pak sub district in Chattrakarn district in Phitsanulok, 300 blankets to Naresuan University Hospital in Phitsanulok, 500 blankets to Kamphaeng Phet Hospital, 500 blankets to Phetchabun Hospital.

AIS plans to donate more blankets to people in 8 districts including Chalermprakiat district and Bor Kluea district in Lamphun, Baan Nakian in Wiang Sa district in Nan, Baanlaowu in Wiang Haeng district in Chiang Mai, Baan Wawee in Mae Suai district in Chiang Rai, and Baan Huag in Chiang Kham district in Phayao.

AIS has organized blanket donations for the past 13 years, handing out around 141,350 blankets to people in the North during the winter.

Central Group also organized a donation drive, providing 1,000 blankets to poor people in Chiang Mai on January 7, 2014. Governor Wichien Puthiwinyoo was on hand at Kad Suan Kaew Shopping Mall to receive the blankets from Central Executives on behalf of the people of Chiang Mai. The blankets will be distributed around the province to those in need.


Red shirt group blocks PDRC rally

Bricks thrown at anti-government protesters

Members of the anti-government PDRC were forced to move their rally after a brick and rock throwing attack by members of the Freedom Red Shirt Party intercepted their parade and blocked them from traveling to Three Kings Monument.

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
An anti-government rally by the People’s Democratic Reform Committee turned violent on January 5, 2014 when members of the Freedom Red Shirt Party led by DJ Auan intercepted the group at Ratchawong intersection near Wat Chai Sriphum and started throwing water, bricks and rocks at the group. People were kicked off bicycles and motorbikes and assaulted on the ground according to witnesses.

Police moved in to intervene and the PDRC members changed their rally point from Three Kings Monument to Nong Hor Racetrack as many red shirt members mobilized at Three Kings Monument to block them.

The PDRC group rallied in front of the First Church of Chiang Mai at 1 p.m. on Sunday January 5 and had planned to parade to Three Kings Monument calling on the acting Prime Minister to resign and reform the country before elections.

At 1.00 p.m. on January 5 2014, People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) of Chiang Mai gathered in front of The First Church of Chiang Mai for traveling to the rally point at the Three Kings Monument to calling for the acting prime minister resigned and reform the country by guidelines of the PDRC.

Chiang Mai PDRC must change the way from Nawarat Bridge to Nakornping Bridge because Freedom Red Shirt Group led by Dj. Auan gather to interrupt Chiang Mai PDRC near Nawarat Bridge. However, the red shirt intercepted the PDRC at Ratchawong Intersection and side of Wat Chaisiphum, the red shirt kicked bicycle, splash water and throwing rock to the PDRC car before police stop the incident then move forward.

The incident made the PDRC changed the rally point to Nong Hor Racecourse while the red shirts mobilize people to the area around the Three Kings Monument among a lot of police. There were two mobile stage trucks, 10 cars and motorcycles and bicycles involved in the rally led by former Democrat Mayor Dr. Duantemduang na Chiang Mai.


Police raid Central Prison searching for drugs

Proactive push to clean up prisons

Nopniwat Krailerg
As part of a government policy to proactively clean up Thailand’s prison system of drug dealing and other illegal activities, the Royal Thai Police in cooperation with the Central Prison officers, led a raid on Chiang Mai Central Prison on December 27, 2013 at 6 a.m.

Chiang Mai Governor Wichien Puthiwinyoo and Pol. Maj. Gen. Krit Kitilue, Commander of the Chiang Mai Provincial Police led the raid on the prison in Mae Taeng as part of the policy to of the Director-General of the Corrections Department to clean up prisons.

The proactive operation searched prisoners’ cells for drugs and other prohibited items including mobile phones and items modified to be weapons. The raid uncovered two mobile phone SIM cards, 3 pieces of drug equipment, pornography, gambling material and over 50 items modified to be weapons such as sharpened spoons.

Police prepare for the early morning raid at Chiang Mai Central Prison where they uncovered modified weapons, drug equipment and other illegal and prohibited items.


Pheu Thai draws 5,000 for campaign rally

Nopniwat Krailerg
The Pheu Thai Party held a campaign rally at the International Convention and Exhibition Center on January 4, 2014 drawing around 5,000 supporters from Chiang Mai and Lamphun.

Former Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat was one of the featured speakers as were candidates for 10 areas in Chiang Mai and Lamphun as well as party list candidates. Chadchart Sittipunt, Minister of Transport, addressed the crowd attacking the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) movement and Suthep Thaugsuban who seeks to change the government before elections can be allowed.

Dr. Yodchanan Wongsawat, candidate of area 3 Chiang Mai was introduced to the audience, the son of Somchai Wongsawat and Yaowapha Wongsawat, the sister of the current Prime Minister. Dr. Yodchanan is a 35 year old Assistant Professor of Engineering at Mahidol University.

He stressed to the audience that he is his own man and laid out plans to promote Thai technology when he made his political debut.
Elections are scheduled for February 2, 2014.

Around 5,000 Pheu Thai supporters gathered outside the International Convention Center to hear party leaders speak on January 4, 2014.


Woman intercepted with 3 kg of crystal meth at Chiang Mai Airport

Packed in tins of pet food

Chutima Boonsam-Ang of Lampang was arrested with 3kg of crystal methamphetamine packed into tins of pet food in her luggage, she told police she was unaware there were drugs in the tins and had carried them for some people she met in Macau.

Nopniwat Krailerg
A 24 year old Lampang woman was arrested at Chiang Mai International Airport with 3 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine or Ya Ice packed in tins of pet food and in packages of chocolate at 11:30 a.m. on January 1, 2014.

Chutima Boonsam-Ang was arrested by Immigration officers in the International Arrivals area after receiving a tipoff that drugs were being smuggled into Thailand on a flight from Macau. Customs and Immigration performed thorough checks on passenger luggage and found the tins packed into her suitcase.

The suspect told police that she regularly travels to Malaysia to work in her mother’s restaurant and had gone to Macau for a holiday. She claimed that some Chinese people in Macau asked her to carry the pet food and chocolate back to Thailand to send to a friend and that she did not know the tins were filled with drugs.


Swedish man overcharged at karaoke bar files charges with police

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
A 49 year old Swedish male visitor filed a complaint with the Chiang Mai police on December 29, 2013 after he alleged a local karaoke bar had charged him extortionately high prices for beer after an evening in the bar.

The man told police he ordered 5 small bottles of beer and sang a few songs with the female staff for a few hours but was given a bill for over 50,000 baht when he went to leave at 5 a.m. When he offered 3,000 baht for the bill he said he was surrounded by ten men who held him at his will until the staff used his credit card to withdraw the cash. He said his friends told him to go to the police to report the charges.

Police are investigating the case; the incident comes after a meeting with karaoke bar owners in August to eliminate the karaoke bar overcharging problem as it damages Chiang Mai’s reputation.


Mae Hia drug dealer arrested after fleeing from police

Narong Chiwong of Mae Hia was arrested by police on suspicion of selling drugs.

Nopniwat Krailerg
A Mae Hia man was arrested at 1:30 p.m. on January 2, 2014 after a police investigation into drug dealing in the Mae Hia area uncovered the suspect, Narong Chiwong, age 34, as a suspected drug dealer.

Police raided the home of Narong in the Ban Tamnak Mai area of Mae Hia sub-district and uncovered 70 methamphetamine tablets, or Yaba and a walkie-talkie. The suspect attempted to flee the scene when the police arrived but they caught him before he got away.

They searched him and found the drugs and the walkie talkie in his bag. The suspect confessed to police that he would buy around 50 -100 methamphetamine pills from a friend named Don for 140 baht per pill and later sell it for 5 times the price. There was an outstanding arrest warrant lodged with the Chiang Mai Provincial Courts for the suspect on drug charges.


Chiang Mai Governor announces readiness for smog season

Chiang Mai prepares for the prevention of forest fires and smog problem

Chiang Mai Province has put in place measures to combat the annual burning that plagues Chiang Mai residents.
(Photo courtesy of Ajarn Ron)

Nopniwat Krailerg
Chiang Mai Governor Wichien Puthiwinyoo discussed the province’s readiness to tackle smoke and burning that begins in January through April, typically resulting in choking haze covering the province for several weeks. He noted that every year 9 Northern provinces with a total of 832 sub-districts suffer from smog and smoke from the burning of farmlands and weeds along the side of the road and in the community as well as forest fires. He noted that the pan shaped area of the North along with the low humidity trapped the smoke and dust in the atmosphere affecting people’s health and visibility.

The Ministry of Natural Resources has commanded each of the 9 provinces, including Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Lamphun, Lampang, Phrae, Nan, Phayao, Mae Hong Son, and Tak, to find solutions for the problem, leaving the Governor in command to manage the issue allowing for a speedier and more effective means of finding solutions.

The Governor said that they had established the education campaign “Kick Off” on November 1, 2013 to educate people on the dangers of smoke and to persuade them to cooperate in preventing fires. He also set wildfire control zones and set measures to prevent forest fires in those zones in each village, sub-district and district. Additionally he issued measures to prevent burning in the National Parks and Conservation Centers, ordering that offenders caught setting fires in these places for hunting game or forest products will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Governor Wichien also announced his order that people find violating the laws on burning in open spaces and farmlands, including roadsides, weeds and garbage be prosecuted strictly.

Finally, he called on government agencies, state enterprises and local governments to act as a good example and not burn in their areas.

The Governor added that the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation has predicted the climate to be in a neutral condition with the chance of an El Nino or La Nina to be less than 25%.


 
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

HM the King wishes Thais happiness, prosperity, mutual concern

Panda-monium to return to Chiang Mai?

Eleven die in 7 dangerous days of New Year

Over 1 million people affected by the cold weather

47 candidates to run for Parliament

Beauty blossoms at the 38th Chiang Mai Flower Festival

Prayers for the New Year

Corn farmers protest against delayed aid

Royal Thai Army meets to discuss forest fire prevention for the coming smoke season

Prime Minister checks on underpass construction at Highway 107

Rotary Foundation donates a mobile medical clinic to Suandok Hospital

Check for 32 million baht is for children’s lunches not vote buying

Thick fog disrupts Chiang Rai flights

Chiang Mai and Lamphun police say they are on the side of the rule of law

NARIT welcomes Ministry of Science and Technology visit

18 year old beauty wins Miss Chiang Mai Crown

Area businesses aid people in the North

Red shirt group blocks PDRC rally

Police raid Central Prison searching for drugs

Pheu Thai draws 5,000 for campaign rally

Woman intercepted with 3 kg of crystal meth at Chiang Mai Airport

Swedish man overcharged at karaoke bar files charges with police

Mae Hia drug dealer arrested after fleeing from police

Chiang Mai Governor announces readiness for smog season