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Vol. XIII No.14 - Sunday July 13, 2014 - Saturday July 26, 2014


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NEWS
 

Happy Birthday to HRH Princess Soamsawali

The Chiang Mai Mail would like to join the Thai nation in wishing HRH Princess Soamsawali a very happy 57th birthday today, July 13, 2014. The Princess is very active in many Red Cross programs for children who have been affected by HIV/AIDS and commended by the UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé for her “tireless dedication, commitment and leadership” in the country’s HIV response and presented HRH with a plaque for her ongoing efforts to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV. HRH Princess Soamsawali is a strong advocate for HIV prevention of mother to child transmission and spearheads campaigns against public discrimination against those with HIV/AIDS. Her dedication for the past 26 years to provide support for those who have suffered due to HIV/AIDS has earned her worldwide recognition and respect.
 


Buddhist faithful flock to temples for Buddhist holy days

The rains have begun and so has Buddhist Lent

The Buddhist faithful circle three times around the temple in the Wientian ceremony held at temples around the city and the country. Wat Phra Singh has great significance for many Chiang Mai residents and is a popular place to perform the ceremony.

Two of the holiest days in the Buddhist calendar fell this past weekend; Asarnha Bucha Day which fell on July 11, and Khao Phansa, or the start of Buddhist Lent which began on July 12.
The Buddhist Holy Day of Asarnha Bucha falls on the 15th night (15 kham) of the full moon during the eighth month of the Buddhist Lunar calendar and honors three important events that occurred on that day; the“Triple Gem” the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. The day marks the first sermon given by the Buddha, also it is considered to mark the birth of Buddhism and thirdly, it is considered the day the Sangha was established. On this day, the first person listened to the Buddha’s sermon, realizing the truths contained therein and became the first Buddhist monk. This created the Buddhist order “Sangha” and the day is known as “Sangha Day” as well as Asarnha Bucha Day.
Buddhist temples throughout the Kingdom arrange ceremonies venerating the important historic events in the past. Devout Buddhists participate in the ceremonies by presenting offerings to monks, listening to sermons and performing ritual prayers. The entire day is revered and certain precepts are adhered to by the more devout Buddhist; the Wientian ritual ceremony is performed in the evening as many go to nearby temples bringing candles, flowers and joss sticks, walking three times around the temple area sacred grounds.
Khao Pansa falls on the day after Asarnha Bucha Day and marks the day when monks return to the temple for the duration of the rainy season, usually to the temple where they were ordained. They stay there for approximately three months. The monks are not supposed to leave the temple, or stay overnight at any other location during this period. Once the period is over the Katin ceremony is held where people attend temples in the morning, bringing food, necessity items, money, the traditional candles, garments and ceremonial items for the monks, with flowers and candles in hand. Then the monks may leave the temples.
Like Catholic Lent, many will refrain from the eight recognized offenses for the duration of the 3 month period, just as monks do, while others may give up a single vice or 5 -8 offenses for the day.


Special service center for citizens of Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia

Pol. Cpt. Chatree Charachit, Deputy Inspector of Chiang Mai Immigration announced the opening of the new service center for citizens of Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar near Promenada Resort Shopping Mall.

Nopniwat Krailerg
The Chiang Mai Immigration Bureau has set up a special center to provide service for migrants from Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar in Chiang Mai, Lamphun and Lampang. Pol. Cpt. Chatree Charachit, Deputy Inspector of Chiang Mai Immigration said that the new office, near Promenada Resort Shopping Mall will provide services for these citizens. The office will also provide 90 day notification services as well as the two year work visa for these three nationalities.
The new office was built to relieve the serious overcrowding that plagued the office near Chiang Mai International Airport. Citizens of these three countries who do not comply with the 90 day reporting will be fined 200 baht a day.
The original Airport Immigration remains in operation, providing services for foreigners who are not from Laos, Myanmar or Cambodia.


Illegal community radio station shut down

The NBTC shut down an illegal community radio station on June 25, 2014.

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
A local community radio station that was broadcasting illegally from a house in Faham was investigated and shut down and the equipment seized in a raid on June 25, 2014.
Officers from the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission Region 9 (Chiang Mai) and soldiers of the 33rd Military Circle, Kawila Camp investigated the community radio station “Siang Tham Phuer Prachachon”, 100.25 Mhz in Faham and charged the operator with violating NCPO order No. 66/2557.
At 3.30 p.m. on June 25, 2014, officers of Office of The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission Region 9 (Chiang Mai) combined with soldiers of the 33rd Military Circle, Kawila Camp investigated and seized community radio station “Siang Tham Phuer Prachachon”, 100.25 Mhz at a house in Faham sub district in Muang Chiang Mai in offense of infringed NCPO’s notification No. 66/2557.
The Deputy Director of NBTC Region 9 said that three provinces Chiang Mai, Lamphun and Mae Hong Son had 248 community radio stations that were allowed to broadcast. However, three licenses are required to operate; a license for the station of transmitter and antenna and only less than 10 stations have all three types. The NCPO ordered the suspension of broadcasting by illegal radio stations as they often incite problems or exaggerated advertising.


PWA readies for rainy season water service

Trucks ready to deliver water in case pipes break

Nopniwat Krailerg
The Provincial Waterworks Authority (PWA) Chiang Mai Branch is confident that it will be able to ensure that Chiang Mai residents have enough tap water during the rainy season. Mongkol Valyasevi, Director of the PWA in Chiang Mai said that the organization had increased water pressure in areas that had previousy experienced low pressure to make certain that residents in those areas would have adequate water supplies. Additionally, the PWA has readied fresh water trucks for water delivery to citizens in case the water pipes break.
The PWA will carry out service preparation in an area of 137 square kilometers, covering 8 districts: Muang, Saraphi, San Kamphaeng, San Sai, Hang Dong, Doi Saket, San Pa Tong, and Mae Wang.
He noted that there are four water stations in Chiang Mai; Pa Ton Station in Muang District which has an output of 1,500 cubic meters per hour using the Ping River as its source, Mae Kuang Station with an output of 2,200 cubic meters per hour using the Mae Kuang Dam, the Umong station with an output of 1,250m³/hr which draws water from the Mae Taeng Irrigation Canal and the Ping River and finally Mae Wang which has an output capacity of 100 m³/hr and uses water from Kuang River.
The total capacity of the four stations is 5,050 m³/hr. PWA Lamphun and Mae Rim branches also transport their water to help affected areas as well.
“As for long term solution, PWA Chiang Mai has built a water station with a capacity of 2,000 m³/hr in Mae Faek, San Sai district, as well as a Mobile Water Plant with capacity of 500 m³/hr in Pa Daet, Mueang district. These stations use raw water from Ping River to produce clean water. In essence, these plants will enable the PWA to generate sufficient tap water and to efficiently support the growth of Chiang Mai in the future,” said Mongkol.


Immigration to enforce visa exemption entry limits

Thai Immigration authorities have informed Embassies and Consulates in Thailand that it will enforce existing foreign entry regulations and step up efforts to prevent abuse of the 30-day visa exemption policy for tourism granted to some foreigners, including U.S. and European citizens. Thai immigration authorities will review travelers who have received permission to stay for 30 days through the visa exemption policy, and who then seek to reenter Thailand repeatedly for an additional 30 days under the same program. If it appears to immigration officials that these people are using the system to reside in Thailand for an extended time or even indefinitely then they may be denied re-entry. If they are denied re-entry they will be told to apply for a regular Thai visa at a Royal Thai Embassy outside of Thailand before attempting to enter Thailand again. Embassies and Consulates have informed us they are not able to intervene with Thai Immigration or the airlines regarding their regulations and policies on behalf of citizens who are denied re-entry.


Night Bazaar vendors seek Army help to remain open longer

Municipality wants stalls to set up at 6 p.m.

Vendors of Night Bazaar hawker stalls complained to the Commissioner at Kawila asking for a relaxation in Municipal rules regarding set up and closing times.

Nopniwat Krailerg
Around a hundred vendors from the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar converged on the Kawila Army Camp to ask Commissioner Maj. Gen. Sarayuth Rangsee for assistance in their dispute with the Chiang Mai Municipality on June 26, 2014.
Bunnuch Saetiaw, representing the vendors, said that Municipal officers were enforcing the rules and regulations too strictly for those running hawker stalls. They were requested to set up no earlier than 6 p.m. and to break everything down and remove it by midnight. They said that it was an impractical regulation that needed to be revised.
Decha Pooplub of the Chiang Mai Municipality said that there had been many failed attempts to make a deal with the stall owners. Finally the officers had to file a lawsuit against them in the administrative court in order to obtain their cooperation. Decha said that the vendors needed to follow the municipality’s rules and regulations, to ensure their stalls were in good condition and, more particularly, to be more careful not to cause any problems or inconvenience to commuters and owners of shop houses on the street.
The Municipality claimed that commuters had been affected by the hawkers stalls blocking the road during rush hour and that they had previously caused accidents. Decha added that when the hawker stalls were being pushed by migrant workers who did not know Thailand’s traffic regulations and norms they often moved them in ways that blocked traffic. Additionally, store owners and commuters had often quarreled with vendors for block the road or pathways.
Maj. Gen. Sarayuth said that after discussion, stall sellers were permitted to run their shops so long as they still followed the rules and that such conflicts would not occur if people strictly respected others rights of equal access to public spaces.


Northern farmers ask NCPO to solve land problem

Members of the Northern Farmers Federation congratulate Tana Yasopha on his acquittal on corruption charges stemming from the longan subsidy scheme in 2004.

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
Over hundred members of Northern Farmers Federation met at the front of Lamphun Provincial Prison to congratulate Tana Yasopha on his acquittal on July 3, 2014. Thana Yasopa is mainstay of the Northern Farmers Federation; he was arrested on charges of corruption in the longan subsidy scheme of 2004.
Tana said he was very happy to have his freedom returned and then called on powerful people in the country to care for the poor in Thailand and give them the same standard of justice as the rich. He claimed that in the courts the poor were the ones who had to pay for their guilt, while the rich were always the innocent ones.
The group then moved to the Lamphun Post Office to send postcards to NCPO chief, Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha asking the government to solve the land problem. Firstly, according to the law of office of Prime Minister on title deed organization issued 2010, the agencies had to quickly solve the lack of agricultural and residential land. Secondly, according to the issuance of the Royal Decree to establish Professional Qualification, the government had to establish a land organization to solve the land problem as soon as possible. Thirdly, according to the cabinet resolution on May 21, 2014, the government was required to give the land organization 167 million baht as their budget to solve the problem.
They also called on the government to manage the land properly by not allowing someone to own the land uselessly. They want the government to increase the land tax and use that money to build a land bank for the poor and for farmers. They claim that this will equal the land system and increase the chance for everyone to have a place to live and farm, in addition, they want the government to decentralize land management by allowing the villagers manage their own land, forest, water and sea. They believe that this is the best way to manage the land effectively. Furthermore, they also want the government to allocate local society rights and freedoms protected by a temporary constitution. This is because this law will allow the traditional local villagers to last long save, manage and gain benefit from local resources properly. All of these activities were monitored by the military.


Chiang Mai economy focus of NESDB conference

Discussion of Doi Pui cable car research

Chiang Mai Governor Suriya Prasatbuntitya heard economic plans and research on the proposed Doi Pui cable car project, he asked the Pinkanakorn Development Agency to publicize the results once the research was in.

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
The Chiang Mai economy will be the focus of monthly meetings held between the provincial government and the National Economics and Social Development Board (NESDB), with Governor Suriya Prasatbuntitya presiding over the conference on June 27, 2014 at the Chiang Mai International Convention and Exhibition Center.
This monthly meeting consists of planning and operation in setting the economic direction and propelling both the government and private sectors in Chiang Mai. In addition to discussing economic issues research on a proposed cable car project linking the Chiang Mai Night Safari, Doi Pui, and Doi Pha Dam given by Pinkanakorn Development Agency (Public Organization). The project is now in the research phase and the Governor asked them to publicize the results after the phase is fully completed.
The conference also included the considerations on operations such as the development and construction of tourism facilities, Chiang Mai tourism reliance renovation project, medical tourism projects, the elevation of border commerce at Ban Laktaeng, Wiang Haeng district and demand-driven orientation of the Chiang Mai tourism industry.


WETV launches donation project for earthquake victims

Patibat Yomkerd, Production Manager of WETV Channel announced company plans to sell 3,000 t-shirts and donate the profits to the victims of the Chiang Rai May 5 earthquake.

Nopniwat Krailerg
WETV Channel of the World Entertainment Television Co., Ltd. has started a project to raise funds for earthquake victims in Phan, Chiang Rai by selling t-shirts. The company plans to sell 3,000 t-shirts at 250 baht each and donate all profits to the earthquake victims at at Ban San Mafaen, Than Thong sub-district, Phan district, Chiang Rai.
Patibat Yomkerd, Production Manager of WETV Channel said that the company had attempted to gather donations earlier but that some of the aid did not come through so had come up with the idea of selling t-shirts to raise the funds necessary. Phan, Mae Lao and Mae Suai Districts were at the epicenter of a 6.3 Richter earthquake on May 5, killing 1 person and damaging many homes and temples.


Chiang Khong hospital receives help from Japanese government

New ambulance and medical equipment for Crown Prince Hospital

The Crown Prince Hospital in Chiang Khong, Chiang Rai was able to purchase a new, fully equipped ambulance and other hospital equipment with the help of the Japanese Government program Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects Scheme (GGP).

The Government of Japan, under its Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects Scheme (GGP), has provided funds amounting to 3,494,000 baht for “The Project for Improving Medical Service for Residents in Chiang Khong District, Chiang Rai Province”. On 3 July, 2014, Mr. Akihiko Fujii, Consul-General of Japan in Chiang Mai, and Mr. Somprat Munjit, Director of Chiang Khong Crown Prince Hospital, were present at the hand-over ceremony of an ambulance and medical equipment at Chiang Khong Crown Prince Hospital.
Chiang Khong District borders Lao People’s Democratic Republic to both the north and east across the Mae Khong River. Chiang Khong Hospital is a central hospital located in the east of Chiang Rai Province and there is no end to the number of cross-border patients coming over from Lao People’s Democratic Republic. The hospital treats these Lao patients from a humanitarian standpoint in addition to treating the local residents. It also conducts referral services to hospitals in Chiang Rai City for seriously ill patients.
However, a shortage and the aging of ambulances along with outdated medical equipment at the hospital have caused difficulties in providing prompt patient transportation and adequate medical treatment. Procurement of a new ambulance and new medical equipment was thus an urgent issue to be addressed.
In response to a request from Chiang Khong Crown Prince Hospital, the Government of Japan bore the costs of purchasing a wagon type ambulance and updated medical equipment. Meanwhile the fourth bridge spanning the river to connect Kingdom of Thailand and Lao People’s Democratic Republic opened in December last year. It forms part of the R3E Asian Highway that passes through Lao People’s Democratic Republic to People’s Republic of China. With the ASEAN Community due to be established in 2015, it is clear that Chiang Khong District will prosper as a key transit point and the flow and the volume of both people and goods will increase dramatically in the future. This timely support for Chiang Khong Crown Prince Hospital is expected to significantly strengthen the medical system of the region. (GGP)


Clean food under the Q Sign in Chiang Mai

A large number of restaurants certified under the government’s Q Standard were monitored to ensure that they maintained cleanliness standards.

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
A number of restaurants in Chiang Mai were monitored in June to ensure that they lived up to the Q Standard certificate issued by the government. The Office of Agriculture and Co-operatives Chiang Mai, authorized by National Bureau of Agricultural Commodity and Food Standards (ACFS) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, worked with local offices to monitor certified restaurants to ensure that they were cooking with clean ingredients and selecting only Q products under the campaign to promote using clean ingredients and Q products.
The Thai government has worked hard to raise the safety and quality standard of agricultural foods to be accepted in a worldwide market. The government uses the “Q” sign as a guarantee for quality and high standard of foods in order to boost consumer confidence. Q products are increasing popularity now among Thai consumers as they know the vendor has been certified as clean and safe.
A number of restaurants which were monitored included Khao Fae, The Richy, Khum Thai, Krua Classic, Suan Phak, Ka Lae, Salad Maejoe, Petch Doi Ngam, Aden, Fai Bakery, Khum Suae, Baan Rai Yamyen, and many other restaurants.
The Chiang Mai Office of Agriculture and Cooperatives announced the appointment of a working group to certify Q eateries and Q fresh-food markets in Chiang Mai. The working group is in charge of monitoring, at least once a year, restaurants and markets supporting Q products for certification renewal, following its criteria, and also of reporting on the results to the final ACFS committee which make the decision on certification renewal.


Smugglers dump 300,000 Yaba pills on the road after fleeing police

Drugs produced by Lt. Col Yi Sae uncovered in separate cases

Police discover bags containing 300,000 Yaba pills dumped on the side of the road after a truck fled the police checkpoint in Lampang

Nopniwat Krailerg
Seven people were arrested in a series of raids against drug dealers in the Muang District of Chiang Mai on July 1 and 2, 2014. The biggest case was the arrest of a couple living in Mae Rim who were in possession of 1,750 pills with the intent to sell. Other cases involved drug dealers in San Pee Seua and Saraphi while one addict was arrested with possession of a small amount.
Two Chiang Rai drug traffickers were nabbed in Wiang Pa Pao District in Chiang Rai on July 2, 2014 in a sting operation that netted 94,000 methamphetamine tablets. The Deputy Commissioner of Region 5 Pol. Maj. Gen. Tanitsak Teerasawat said that the pills had a 5&9 and 999 marked on them, and suspected the two men were involved in the Baan Mae Poon Luang drug network. The two men confessed that they had been paid 100,000 baht to deliver the drugs to a customer in Central Thailand.
That same day in Lampang more methamphetamine tablets marked with 999 were uncovered in three bags left on the side of the road in Lampang after a truck fled a police checkpoint. On July 2 police set up a checkpoint on the Mae Phrik-Mae Wa road, Phrabatwangtuang, Mae Phrik, Lampang at around 5 p.m. Police attempted to intercept a pickup truck with no license plate but the truck sped away, escaping from police. The police gave chase and found 50 bundles containing 300,000 methamphetamine tablets in three fertilizer bags dumped on the side of the road. The pickup truck was nowhere to be found. The police estimate the drugs have a street value of 60 million baht.
Pol. Lt. Gen Wanchai Thanatkit, Assistant Commissioner General of the Royal Thai Police and Acting Commander of Police Region 5, Pol. Maj. Gen. Chamnan Ruwdrew, Deputy Commissioner of Police Region 5, Maj. Gen. Chatri Settakorn, Director of Center of Narcotics Information, 3rd Army Area, and Pol. Maj. Gen. Prachuab Wongsuk, Commander of Investigation Division Provincial Police Region 5 said at a press conference that the drugs are being produced by the drug network of Lt. Col. Yi Sae, the famous drug dealer at the Thai-Burmese border.
Police had set up a checkpoint in Lampang after noting it had become a corridor for a large amount of drug trafficking using Phahonyotin road, passing through Lampang Province.
Pol. Lt. Gen Wanchai Thanatkit said this confiscation was the result of an intensive crackdown on drug smuggling from the soldiers and police forces. He noted that the traffickers have changed their route from main to secondary roads. The Acting Commander has commanded the Police Forces of Region 5, total of 153 police stations, to increase their strict checks at all checkpoints. For each 8-hour shift, at least for 2 hours the police have to set up checkpoints at 3 locations. In 24 hours per day, there will be 6 hours that check points are set up. There is also a heightened collaboration with the army force.
On July 7, 2014 police announced the arrest of grilled pork seller who was arrested in Phrao at a checkpoint with 156,000 methamphetamine tablets hidden in an icebox in his truck. The man confessed to police that he had not been making any money selling grilled pork and so had been hired by another man via friend to carry the drugs for 100,000 baht.
Governor Suriya Prasatbuntitya noted at the press conference that officers in Chiang Mai had been working together to stop the spread of drugs following the NCPO’s 30 day process to suppress the spread of drugs. A full report on the outcome of the 30 day crackdown would be announced at a press conference on July 10, 2014.


Maejo pub destroyed in fire

The Belive Pub in Maejo suffered over 5 million baht in a fire that broke out in the kitchen on July 1, 2014.

Nopniwat Krailerg
The Belive Pub in Maejo suffered over five million baht in damage after a fire broke out in the pub’s kitchen on July 1, 2014. Police received a report via the emergency191 line that a fire had broken out at the pub and police and firefighters rushed to the scene to find a raging fire that engulfed a large part of the structure.
It took seven fire engines over an hour to put out the fire. The pub saw all interior furnishings damaged or destroyed and many cracks developed in the walls as a result of the heat of the fire. The pub has been temporarily closed since coup announced the curfew so only one person was injured in the fire; the pub’s night watchman.
Fire investigators believe the fire started due to an electrical short in the closed pub’s kitchen.


Pregnant woman strangled in murder-suicide

Nopniwat Krailerg
A two month pregnant woman found strangled and her ex-boyfriend dead after a friend saw the ex-boyfriend visit Pimploy Santhorn and knocked on the door to see if her friend was ok. The ex-boyfriend Kiattisak Kosanla refused the friend entry and so she called the police worried for her friend.
Chang Puak police entered Pimploy’s room and found that she had been strangled and that Kiattisak’s body was found hanging by the window. Kiattisak left a suicide note to both his family and Pimploy’s saying that he was very sorry for his actions.
Pimploy’s friend told police that the couple had broken up when Pimploy found out she was pregnant. The man tried to get back together with her but she refused him and didn’t forgive him for leaving her while pregnant. The friend said his suspicious behavior after visiting Pimploy pushed her to call the police but they found them both dead at the scene.


Bar owner and woman charged after lewd video hits social media

Nopniwat Krailerg
A video showing a young woman dancing topless and in a sexually suggestive manner, that was shared widely on social media launched a police raid of the Par Pern Bar in Nong Kaew, Hang Dong. The video and photos were widely shared on social media the night before garnering widespread criticism and showed a young woman dancing topless and performing simulated sex acts on July 2, 2014.
Pol. Gen. Wuttikrai Luecha, superintendent of Hang Dong Police Station said that police had summoned the owner, Rittikrai Pongti (Arm) age 28 to the station for the investigation. Rittiakrai told police that he employed three girls as coyote dancers for 500 baht each on July 2, 2014 and that around 11 p.m. a friend of one of the girls working there came to the bar to visit and got very drunk before taking off her top and performing simulated sex acts.
The bar owner will be prosecuted for running a bar with no license while the woman will be charged with public indecency. Her friend told journalists that the woman was very drunk and when she woke up the next morning was so ashamed she wanted to kill herself and she begged people to not share the videos or photos for the sake of her friend.


Pai policeman shoots fellow officer and then himself in work related grievance

Nopniwat Krailerg
Police suspect that a police officer who shot a fellow police officer and then shot himself had done so due to work related grievances.
Police in Pai, Mae Hong Son, were called to the scene of a shooting at Kerd Sri Restaurant in Wiang Tai sub-district and found Pol. Sub Lt. Wichai Kerdsri, age 55, of Pai Police station with a gunshot wound to his head. Police uncovered three .38 bullets and two shells in front of the restaurant after the shooting.
Police said that Pol. Sub Lt. Sanya Thoophom then shot himself in the temple at Pai Police Station after the shooting, police found a pistol on his body that matched the caliber of the weapon that had shot Wichai. Sanya died later at the hospital of his injuries.


Charges against Warm Up shareholder in 9 year old murder dismissed

Wuttichai Jaisamak, a major shareholder in the Warm Up Café, was released after the Provincial Supreme Court dismissed murder charges from a 14 year old case.

Nopniwat Krailerg
After a series of convictions and appeals the murder charges against Wuttichai Jaisamak or Pu Warm Up, a shareholder in the popular Warm Up Café on Nimmanhaemin Road, were dismissed by the Provincial Supreme Court on June 27, 2014.
Wuttichai was charged with the murder of his girlfriend Benchaporn or Annie Phongphiw age 27 in 2005 and sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty on June 18, 2011. Pu Warm Up appealed the case to the Appeals Court which upheld the life sentence in 2012.
Wuttichai took his case to the Provincial Supreme Court which heard the case on June 27, 2014 and saw the case dismissed as the justices said there were no witnesses to the murder. The body of the victim, the owner of a local gift shop, was found behind the PTT station inside CMU, near the 40 Year Anniversary Dormitory. The defendant was released immediately. The father of the victim, Sumet Phongphiw age 62, has been pursuing the case in Civil Court but did not appear at the Supreme Court decision.


Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital keeps staff on toes with fire drill training

Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital held a fire drill involving nurses, doctors, technicians and other staff on the proper procedures for evacuating patients in the event of a fire.

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
The Faculty of Medicine at Chiang Mai University held their annual fire drill training at Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital on June 27, 2014 to train personnel and raise their awareness of correct procedures in case of a fire or other disaster.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Anupong Laohapoonrungsee, Associate Dean of Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University, Chairman of Fire Protection said that the fire drill is held to train staff on how to evacuate patients in the event of a fire. A simulated fire was held on the 7th floor ICU with doctors, nurses, staff of the ICU, security guards, technicians and escort teams all participated in the drill. There was training on helping evacuated patients. The drill started by evacuating critical patients from the 5th and 6th floor, Chaloem Phra Barami Building to Boon Sommatin and Sujinno Building while the other patients were escorted to the assembly point or safe place.


Samoeng Tai receives new fire trucks from Japanese government

Mr. Akihiko Fujii, Consul-General of Japan in Chiang Mai, and Mr. Suwun Sangprasit, Mayor of Samoeng Tai Municipality and local government officials with one of the new fire engines purchased by the Japanese government.

The Government of Japan, under its Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects Scheme (GGP), has provided funds amounting to 3,327,000 baht for “The Project for Procurement of Fire Engines in Samoeng Tai Municipality in Samoeng District, Chiang Mai Province”. On 26 June, 2014, Mr. Akihiko Fujii, Consul-General of Japan in Chiang Mai, and Mr. Suwun Sangprasit, Mayor of Samoeng Tai Municipality, were present at the hand-over ceremony of fire engines at Samoeng Tai Sub-District Administration Organization in Chiang Mai.
Samoeng Tai sub-district is located in a mountainous area, much of which is designated as national forest or national parkland. Every dry-season, forest fires break out. In recent years they have become more serious, threatening homes, possessions and lives of residents. Smoke causes damage to physical health, while deforestation leads to floods and landslides in the rainy-season as well as drought during the dry-season, all having a profound impact on people’s lives.
The Samoeng Tai Municipality has made great efforts in firefighting, prevention and education, in order to control the outbreak of wildfires and prevent their expansion. However, the Municipality had faced many difficulties. The 20-year-old fire engines the Municipality already possessed could not be driven at optimum speed due to their age and at the same time they were too large to pass through narrow mountain roads. This resulted in serious delays and frequently even prevented the fire fighters from reaching the scene of a fire.
In response to a request from Samoeng Tai Municipality, the Government of Japan bore the costs of purchasing two fire engines, one medium-size with a comparatively-large feed tank and the other small with high maneuverability and a short turning circle, as well as some fire-fighting equipment. This support enables the firefighting to be more expeditious and effective and will further contribute to mitigating the ill effects of haze as well as assisting the recovery of the natural environment. (GGP)


Awards given to those fighting drug abuse

International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking 2014

Governor Suriya Prasatbuntitya encourages students to work together to solve the drug problem in Thailand at the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking at Lanna Polytechnic Technology College Chiang Mai on June 26, 2014.

Nopniwat Krailerg
Certificates of accomplishment were awarded to people and institutions that had shown strong work in fighting drug abuse by Chiang Mai Governor Suriya Prasatbuntitya on June 26, 2014. The International Day event was held at Lanna Polytechnic Technology College Chiang Mai and was opened by the Governor who said that the day was important to publicize the dangers of drug abuse and create long term solutions to the drug problem. He noted that drug use is one of the major factors causing trouble in society and so it must be solved quickly.
Governor Suriya also said that the day was held to encourage students, teenagers and people to realize that drug problems can affect everyone and our country as well, so we have to help solve this problem together.
Drugs affect people all over the world and an international meeting is held in Vienna, Austria from June 17 – 26 every year for drug agencies to find solutions to the problem. The Narcotics Control Board is the main organization in Thailand that works to solve the drug problem and it was through their work that the government set June 26 as the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking every year.


Mae Taeng farmers in workshop to reduce chemicals in agriculture

Mae Taeng farmers attended a workshop to learn more about producing chemical free safe and healthy produce.

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
Thailand imported 68,964 tons of active ingredients for chemical pesticides in 2011 valued at 17,732 million baht, an amount that nearly doubled in ten years according to Suwanna Tiansuwan, Director of Environmental Research and Training Center, Department of Environmental Quality Promotion who presided over a workshop that was held in Mae Taeng to teach farmers about reducing the use of chemicals in agriculture not only due to the expense but also for health reasons. Held on July 4, 2014 in Mae Taeng, 102 agriculturalists participated in the workshop held by the Environmental Research and Training Center, Department of Environmental Quality Promotion. The Center had conducted research on chemical contamination in both the environment and its effect on public health and used the workshop to inform farmers of their results.
The Center hopes to encourage farmers to reach their full potential growing healthy food and worked with chemical free farmers in Mae Taeng to find ways to reform the agricultural process. Additionally they are looking for ways to expand marketing channels for chemical free produce and promote local agricultural products so farmers will be encouraged to grow safe, healthy food.


Mae Hong Son’s Joint Private Committee asks for help from NCPO

Solutions sought for chronic transportation problems

Mae Hong Son’s Joint Private Committee is turning to the NCPO to find solutions for their chronic transportation issues.

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
Mae Hong Son’s Joint Private Committee, which is trying to find solutions for tourism and economic issues facing the private sector in Mae Hong Son met at the Golden Pai Resort in Mae Hong Son on July 3, 2014 where the committee resolved to ask for the help of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) in finding resolutions to several pressing issues that Mae Hong Son business people face.
Supoj Klinpraneet, President of Mae Hong Son’s Joint Private Committee and President of the Tourism Council of Mae Hong Son revealed that the key issues that Mae Hong Son now face are having a strong impact to the tourism trade and investment and affecting local people’s revenue. These chronic issues are still unresolved and so the group decided to submit the issues to the NCPO to see if they can help find solutions.
One issue that needs an urgent solution is the lack of any large flights to Mae Hong Son. The committee will propose to ask Thai Airways International Public Company Limited to return to service the route again. Thai Airways covered this route for 50 years but cancelled the route and claimed that a private airline would provide flights. Currently the only service comes from Kan Air’s 12 seats flight which flies three times a day. The committee will also ask the NCPO to see if it can add larger flights with more seats to service the province.
In addition, there has problem of the land transportation due to the province’s mountainous terrain. As a result, travel times are long and transport costs were higher than compared to other destinations with a similar distance. Large vehicles cannot use Highway No. 1095 as the road is too steep and winding. The committee will ask NCPO to consider the construction of a road tunnel between Samoeng - Mae Hong Son. The Ministry of Transportation conducted a study of the economy, engineering and environmental impact of such a tunnel in 2004. The ministry had 3 options for construction; Route C1, Mae Hong Son- Samoeng, distance 73 km; C2, Mae Hong Son- Samoeng, distance 62.9 km.: and C3 Mae Hong Son- Samoeng, distance 54 km. There was also an issue of border trade points.
The Committee hopes the NCPO can help the province find solutions for these issues to help promote the economy.


 
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