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Update May 2016


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Update by Natrakorn Paewsoongnern
 
 
 
Chiang Mai News
 

Royal Plowing Ceremony falls on May 9

National holiday - government offices and commercial banks will be closed

Two well cared for oxen of the same color pull an ancient plow, breaking the ground so that sacred seeds may be planted. (File photo)

The annual Royal Plowing Ceremony at Sanam Luang near the Grand Palace in Bangkok, and the accompanying Cultivation Ceremony held at the Temple of the Emerald Buddha the day before, are of great significance in Thailand. This year the ceremonies are taking place on Sunday and Monday, May 8 and 9.

During the ceremonies, appropriate strains of different grains for cultivating crops are selected just prior to the planting season, and rituals are performed to interpret the year’s harvest. Grain selection is an important consideration when planting crops, as the crops rely on soil, ample rainfall and other natural factors.

The Cultivation Ceremony is also performed to help keep the different grains free from disease, producing a bountiful harvest.

Their Majesties the King and Queen, or, more recently, Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, usually preside over the Cultivation Ceremony held at the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.

The Royal Plowing Ceremony signals the beginning of the planting season in Thailand. Two well cared for oxen of the same color pull an ancient plow, breaking the ground so that sacred seeds may be planted. Two other oxen wait in reserve.

Two Brahman priests sprinkling sacred water along the path lead the royal procession, with its nine-tiered royal umbrella.

Two pairs of female guardians carry grain in one gold and one silver container following behind the plow, seeding the tilled ground.

Three circuits tilling the earth around Sanam Luang are completed and at the end the oxen are offered eight types of foods to select from: rice grain, corn, peas, sesame, liqueur, water and grass. Brahman priests then interpret their selection.

Following the ceremony, many people collect the seeds from the ground to keep as sacred objects promising a prosperous year, while others sow the ceremonial seeds mixed in with other seeds to sanctify the season’s crop.

The day is celebrated as a national holiday, and as such all government offices and commercial banks will close for the day. ATMs and most currency exchange booths, however, will remain open.


Kingdom celebrates Wan Chatramongkhol (Coronation Day) May 5

(Photo courtesy of the Bureau of the Royal Household)

Thursday, May 5 marks the 66th anniversary of the Coronation of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great. The day is celebrated as a national holiday, and as such all government offices and commercial banks will close for the day. ATMs and most currency exchange booths, however, will remain open.

Whist being crowned King of Thailand, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great took a sacred oath to rule with Righteousness, for the Benefit and Happiness of the Thai people, which He has done magnificently, garnering tremendous respect from His people. HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great is the longest reigning monarch in the world. Long Live the King!

Each year on the 5th of May, the Kingdom of Thailand commemorates the day when, in 1950, the Coronation Ceremony was held for His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great, the 9th in the Chakri Dynasty (Rama IX).

HM the King, after studying in Europe, returned to Thailand and was crowned King during an elaborate and highly intricate ceremony that out lavished all previous coronations in Thailand.

A week prior to His being crowned King, on April 28, 1950, H.M. King Bhumibol and Mom Rajawongse Sirikit Kitayakara were married. Following the Coronation, HM the King returned to Switzerland to continue studying.

(Photo courtesy of the Bureau of the Royal Household)

The Coronation Ceremony reinforces the stature of the Kings of Thailand. The first such elaborate ceremony was performed when Pho Khun Phamuang succeeded Pho Khun Bangklangthao as the ruling King of Muang Sukhothai. Phaya Lithai, a former leader in Sukhothai, left a historical record in stone describing the coronation ceremony in Sukhothai at Wat Srikhum.

In the beginning of the Ratanakosin era, the first King in the Chakri Dynasty (HM King Buddhayodfa the Great) took the title of Rama I and moved the capital of Siam from Thonburi to the opposite bank of the Chao Phraya River, and constructed Krung Ratanakosin (Bangkok). In the process of building the Royal Palace and Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha) the first King in the House of Chakri refined the coronation ceremony, establishing important protocol that has lasted to this day. All Kings to follow not undergoing the coronation ceremony would be unable to assume the term “Phrabat” in front of the King’s title of “Somdej Phrachaoyuhua”, and more significantly, the symbol of the nine-tiered umbrella would also not be permissible or officially recognized.

The elaborate coronation ceremony of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great included all the ancient rituals required for assuming the full title and the nine-tiered umbrella. HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej then bestowed the honor posthumously on His brother HM King Ananda Mahidol. HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s benevolent act raised HM King Ananda Mahidol’s regal status from seven to a nine-tiered umbrella.

During the reign of HM King Mongkut (Rama IV), Buddhist monks and Brahmin priests were incorporated into the coronation ceremony to conduct rituals to sanctify the auspicious occasion. Previously the ceremony was arranged and conducted by the Royal Palace staff and members of the Royal Household.

The annual coronation ceremony is currently a three-day affair, starting with a ritual “tham boon” ceremony on May 3 to honor the King’s ancestors. Later on the first day, another ceremony is performed, whereby flags of honor are issued to distinguish various military units.

The following day, Buddhist ceremonies continue with chanting rituals, prayers and Brahman priests announcing the auspicious occasion forthcoming the next day (May 5).

On the 5th of May, His Majesty conducts a merit making ceremony, presenting offerings to Buddhist monks, and leads a “Wien Thien” ceremony, walking three times around sacred grounds at the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.

In the evening the King conducts another sacred ceremony: changing the yellow cloth on the Emerald Buddha, the guardian symbol protecting the Thai people, which was transferred from Thonburi to Wat Phra Kaew by Rama I.

Many rooms in the Royal Palace are opened for public viewing on Coronation Day. Auspicious ceremonies are performed and displays depicting Royal achievements are exhibited to reconfirm the King’s stature.

ChiangMai Mail joins with the Kingdom of Thailand in joyously celebrating Wan Chatramongkhol, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great’s Coronation Day on Tuesday, May 5. Long Live the King!


Court cancels Nimmanhaemin one way system due to complaints

One way soi system cancelled

Nimmanhaemin sois 5 – 17 are now two way from Sirimangkalajarn Road to Nimmanhaemin Road.

Nopniwat Krailerg
The Chiang Mai Administrative Court cancelled the one way soi system set in place by Chiang Mai police on December 25, 2016. The one way system caused much confusion as four subsequent sois from Soi 3 – 9 went one way and the following four sois, Soi 11 15, went one way the other way. Nimmanhaemin soi 17 remained two-way during the period.

Local residents filed a complaint with the Administrative Courts to have the system removed as it caused many problems. The Police have removed all signs from the roads and more signs will be put in place announcing the two way system. Pol.Col. Pitsanu Unhaseree, Deputy Commander, Chiang Mai Provincial Police, said normally it would take about three days to receive the Court order and then the police will wait for approval from the Courts to publicize and appoint an operations team for the next procedure which includes repainting yellow lines and removing the white one way arrows painted on the roads as well as publicizing the changes.

Signs on the main road have been removed and cars are using the sois in both directions now, however during the one way period cars would still drive the wrong way down the sois causing safety issues, which was one of the concerns filed in the complaint.


Army asked to follow up on shooting at Kad Suan Kaew

Victim’s father complains shooter is posting pictures on social media

The father of a young man shot during a fight called on Maj. Gen. Kosol Prathumchart to ask that the case be looked into – he told the Major General that although the police had issued arrest warrants nothing had moved forward and the shooter was posting pictures of the gun on social media.

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The father of a young man shot at the Kad Suan Kaew shopping mall parking lot called on Army Officers at Kawila Army camp to expedite the police case as it has now been ten days since his son was shot and there have been no arrests.

The shooting occurred on May 8, 2016 when Purit “Pop” Rukprach, age 25 was involved in breaking up a fight between his friend and two other men in the parking lot of the shopping center. Pop went to help his friend Thanasab “Man” Kwangwan who was involved in a fight with Pathompong “Boss” Chumtawee and Charnon “Dew” Leungingkasud. During the fight, Boss shot into the melee, shooting Pop in the leg and causing serious injury.

Pop’s father Tatsanai Rukpracha brought evidence to his meeting with Maj. Gen. Kosol Prathumchart, Commanding General of the 33rd Military Circle to follow up after Phuping Police station issued arrest warrants for the two suspects. However, he expressed concern that ten days had passed and still no one had been arrested. Tatsanai told the Major General that the shooter, Boss, worked as a security guard at an entertainment area on Nimmanhaemin Soi 15 and had been posting photos of himself with the gun on social media despite the arrest warrant.

The Major General said he would coordinate with Phuping Police Station to ensure that this case was followed up on as soon as possible, noting that an outrageous case of a public shooting like this needed to be dealt with correctly. He also ordered the strict closing times of entertainment areas and added that he was confident the case would be handled swiftly.


AIS opens new center for disabled employees

Jaiporn Srisakul (center) Managing Director, Advance Contact Center, at the launch of the new AIS Call Center in Phrae employing the visually disabled.

Employees of the new AIS Call Center with Jaiporn Srisakul, Managing Director, Advance Contact Center at the opening of the new call center in Phrae.

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AIS opened their newest call center in Phrae on May 18, 2016. This, the 9th call center, provides career opportunities for disabled people. AIS has been working on a project to provide work opportunities for the disabled at their call centers around Thailand.

The newest call center is set up at Santijintana School in Phrae for visually impaired people.

Wilai Kieangpradu, Senior Vice President Public Relation, Advanced Info Service Public Company Limited said that AIS has been working together with the community to create value and benefit for society by generating sustainable value and growth. Their CSR policy is working to provide disabled people the opportunity to participate in development of the country and society under the theme “Stronger Thai Family, Stronger Thailand.”

They have a three pronged approach; San Rak Kon Keng Huajai Krang (create love among good people), San Rak (create love) in Thai Society, and San Rak for volunteering, especially in Thai society.

AIS believes that disabled people are just as capable as the non-disabled and that giving them the skills and opportunities to work allows them the chance to take care of themselves. Because of this AIS established the “AIS Call Center for career opportunity for the disabled” project by opening call centers geared towards the disabled. The first call center was opened in 2007and AIS call centers have quickly increased. Including the newest call center there are now nine call centers, the new one in Phrae, one at the Foundation for Blind in Thailand under The Royal Patronage of H.M. the Queen in Bangkok, Phaholyothin Place Building in Bangkok, The Northern School for the Blind under the Patronage of H.M. the Queen in Chiang Mai, Redemptorist Foundation for People with Disabilities in Chonburi, Redemptorist Vocational School in Nong Khai, Sri Sangwan Chiang Mai School, Lampang Eye Foundation in Lampang, and Sri Sangwan Khon Kaen School in Khon Kaen.

Jaiporn Srisakul, Managing Director, Advance Contact Center or ACC, said that “AIS has been aware that the disabled do have the same abilities to do premium work and are just as capable of providing service to meet customers’ satisfaction. As a result, AIS has continued to give career opportunities for the disabled by expanding operation centers across the country.

She noted that AIS currently has 89 visually impaired staff and provides work operations to meet their requirements. Vision and physical impaired people would be in charge of calling customers to inform them of privileges and offer services and campaigns of AIS and to provide SMS service for customers receiving, sending, and canceling the service.

Hearing impaired people can serve using sign language via Web Cam. Also, AIS has purchased modern technologies to help work operations to facilitate works, for instance, installing online network, using technologies to detect keyboard motion, screenshot display, or changing to voice which must be used together with Pa Tatip application by Thailand Association for the Blind for research and development, and etc. In addition, AIS is ready to bring technology, human resources, and expertise including abilities of the organization to help society and provide opportunity for all Thais and the disabled in particular, who have been considered as members in Thai family and society.

Jaiporn concluded,” We believe that everyone deserves a chance to present their abilities in order to make themselves strong. This will result in a strong Thai family and a strong Thailand.”


UK opens new visa application centre in Chiang Mai

From Mondya 16 May customers will be able to use the UK’s new Visa Application Centre (VAC) in Chiang Mai.

The new visa application centre, run by commercial partners VFS, will make it quicker and easier for customers in Northern Thailand to apply for their UK visas.

Customers can pay extra for a number of premium services offered at the VAC including the 3-5 day Priority Visa service, Premium Lounge as well as additional services provided by VFS such as ‘’walk in’’ appointments.

Paul Bute, Chargé d’Affaires at the British Embassy said, “This new visa application centre will make it more convenient for our customers in Northern Thailand to apply for their UK visa. VFS Global successfully manage UK visa application centres all over the world, and we expect that through having this dedicated facility we will welcome more visitors from Chiang Mai and Northern Thailand to the UK.”

The new visa application centre is located at the Siripanich Building, floor 6 B, 191 Huaykaew Rd, Suthep, A. Muang, Chiang Mai 50200
There will be no changes to the visa process for customers, who will continue to apply for their visa and book their visa appointment via www.gov.uk/apply-uk-visa . However there will be an extra charge to use this user-pay VAC which is £55 on top of the cost of the visa. The VAC will be open 8.30am to 15.30, Monday to Friday with ‘primetime’ appointments also available on Saturday mornings for a fee.


Chomthong residents oppose solar energy plant

Present concerns about effects to the Governor

Deputy Governor Puthipong Sirimart listened to the concerns from Chomthong villagers and assured them that a planned solar energy plant would not affect their livelihoods.

Nopniwat Krailerg
Residents from Baan Pae in Chomthong presented a letter of opposition to the Governor’s Office on May 17, 2016. About fifty people took part in the protest. The residents said they had originally filed a complaint with the Baan Pae Municipality responsible for the area but that had not been answered.

Deputy Governor Puthipong Sirimart was on hand to accept the letter who explained to the residents how the solar energy plant would work. The residents of the village were concerned that the solar plant would affect the production of longan trees and affect the local climate.

The Deputy Governor explained how the plant would work and assured the residents it would have no effect on the weather and promised them the government would make sure everything was done to regulation.


Wat Chedi Luang to start collecting entrance fees from foreign visitors

Tourists pose in front of the large signs announcing the upcoming collection of fees from foreign visitors.

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Wat Chedi Luang Woraviharn has posted a notice at the entrance that fees will be collected from foreign visitors beginning July 1, 2016.

The abbot of the temple, Phra Rajachetiyajan, said that the temple has seen a huge influx of visitors which has caused wear and tear on the temple requiring extra maintenance and restoration. The fees will be used towards upkeep of the temple.

The posted sign, which is in Thai, Chinese and English, states that a fee of 40 baht per person will be collected from foreign visitors starting July 1, 2016.

Signs announcing the collection of fees from foreign visitors are in Thai, English and Chinese. A fee of 40 baht will be charged starting July 1, 2016

Wat Chedi Luang was built in the 1400s and at one time housed the Emerald Buddha; the temple was damaged in 1551 and rebuilt in the 1990s. The temple is one of the top visited temples in the city.


Summer storm topples trees, power poles

Several homes severely damaged

An ancient Yang Na tree was toppled during the summer storm on the Old Chiang Mai – Lamphun Road in the evening of May 17, 2016.

Cars were damaged and destroyed by falling trees and power poles during the summer storm that struck around 9 p.m. in the Muang and Saraphi Districts.

Homes and shops were damaged by falling power poles and trees in the storm.

In the light of day the damage was found to be extensive in certain areas of the city, Nong Hoi in Muang District and Saraphi were hit the hardest.

Estimates are now at around 26 power poles down in the city, many damaging vehicles and homes.

The Old Chiang Mai – Lamphun road was the scene of extensive damage from falling trees and branches, this old tree split in half in the winds.

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A seasonal summer storm struck parts of Chiang Mai in the evening of May 17, 2016 at around 9 p.m. toppling trees and power poles, causing road closures and power outages. The Nong Hoi area and Saraphi were struck hard by the storm with one home in Saraphi destroyed when an old tree believed to be about 100 years old fell onto the home during the storm.

Several of the ancient Yang Na trees along the Old Chiang Mai – Lamphun Road were damaged or fell completely into the road. The Yang Na trees line the road until the Lamphun border and were planted over a hundred years ago, around 1882.

Several homes and vehicles were severely damaged by falling trees and power poles, which also caused a major power outage for parts of the city and the area outside. The road is closed for clean-up and so far government workers have found 26 downed power poles as well as trees. Further surveys expect to find more and work crews are around the city clearing streets and restoring power poles.


Visakha Bucha Day is May 20

Walk up Doi Suthep on May 19

Buddhist faithful around Thailand and the North gather to honor the Buddha’s birth, death and enlightenment on Visakha Bucha Day, which falls on the Full Moon in May or June. Here, Lampang residents and tourists make merit at Wat Phrathat Lampang Luang. (File photo)

Visakha Bucha Day falls on Friday, May 20 and is one of the most venerated days in the Buddhist calendar. The day celebrates the Buddha’s life, enlightenment and death and finally, achieving final release from the circle of rebirth. It is a national holiday and alcohol will not be sold or served around the country.
However, the day begins the night before as thousands of Buddhist faithful join to walk up Doi Suthep. People begin walking the 11km hike in the evening while most people will arrive at Wat Prathat Doi Suthep around 1-3 a.m. to walk three times around the temple. People will give alms to 225 monks at 6:30 a.m. at Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. There will be a bathing ceremony with Royally blessed lustral water of the Buddha images at 3 p.m.


Japanese government helps Chiang Rai villagers with home medical care

Mr. Shinya Aoki, Consul-General of Japan in Chiang Mai, and Mr. Khongsak Chaichana, Director of Khuntan Hospital at the handover for home medical care equipment on May 17, 2016,

The ambulance purchased with funds from the Japanese Government’s Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects at Khuntan District in Chiang Rai province.

One of the Khuntan villagers enjoys the new electric wheelchair purchased with funds donated by the Japanese government.

The Government of Japan, under its Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects Scheme (GGP), has provided funds amounting to 3,522,000 baht for “The Project for Improving the Home Medical Care System for Residents in Khuntan District, Chiang Rai Province”. On 17th of May, 2016, Mr. Shinya Aoki, Consul-General of Japan in Chiang Mai, and Mr. Khongsak Chaichana, Director of Khuntan Hospital, were present at the hand-over ceremony at the hospital.

At the ceremony, an ambulance, 25 oxygen concentrators, 20 anti-bedsore air mattresses and 5 electric wheelchairs were presented to the Khuntan Hospital.

Khuntan Hospital is the only public hospital in the district and is serving around 31,900 residents of 55 villages in 3 sub-districts. The hospital is also participating in JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency)’s technical cooperation project, entitled the "Project of Long-term Care Service Development for the Frail Elderly and other Vulnerable People (LTOP)", to develop the service model by which the elderly in need of nursing care, the disabled and family caregivers are continuously supported at community level. However, the lack of a vehicle for home visits and medical equipment at the hospital had caused difficulties in providing adequate support.

The oxygen concentrators which were presented will be lent to patients with severe chronic respiratory disease for use at home, and the anti-bedsore air mattresses will be lent to bedridden patients. Electric wheelchairs will be lent to people who have severe difficulties in walking with the purpose of supporting independence and social participation of persons with disabilities. The ambulance will be used for home visits to the needy. It is expected that this support will contribute to improving the home medical care system for the elderly, persons with disabilities and family caregivers in Khuntan District.

For more information, please contact the Consulate-General of Japan in Chiang Mai, Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects Scheme (GGP). Tel: 053-203-367 / Fax: 053-203-373 / Email: [email protected]


Commissioner presides over foundation stone laying ceremony

New office building for Provincial Police Headquarters

Pol. Maj. Gen. Montri Sumbunnanont, Chief of Chiang Mai Provincial Police holds the stone that is being anointed by Phra Dhamma Senabordee, Abbot of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep at the Foundation Laying Ceremony for the new Provincial Police Station.

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The Commissioner of Police Region 5 presided over the foundation stone laying ceremony for the new office building for the Chiang Mai Provincial Police on May 16, 2016 at 9 a.m.

Luang Phor Dhamma Mungkalajan (Luang Phu Thong), Wat Pha That Sri Jom Thong anointed the foundation stone and is joined by Pol. Lt. Col. Thanitsak Teerasawat, Commissioner of Police Region 5 was joined by Chiang Mai Governor Pawin Chamniprasart, Maj. Gen. Kosol Pratumchart - Commanding General of the 33rd Military Circle, Weerayuth Pannuam – Deputy Director of Bureau of the Budget, and Pol. Maj. Gen. Montri Sumbunnanont, Chief of Chiang Mai Provincial Police.

Pol. Lt. Col. Thanitsak Teerasawat, Commissioner of Police Region 5 was joined by Chiang Mai Governor Pawin Chamniprasart, Maj. Gen. Kosol Pratumchart - Commanding General of the 33rd Military Circle, Weerayuth Pannuam – Deputy Director of Bureau of the Budget, Pol. Maj. Gen. Montri Sumbunnanont, Chief of Chiang Mai Provincial Police, policemen, and other honored guests. The ceremony contained gilding and anointing the foundation stone performed by Luang Phor Dhamma Mungkalajan (Luang Phu Thong), Wat Pha That Sri Jom Thong, Advisor to Monk Dean Region 7 and Phra Dhamma Senabordee, Abbot of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, Deputy Monk Dean Region 7 led the religious ceremony with nine monks.

This was followed by a Brahman who led the prayer for the foundation stone laying ceremony for the office building of Chiang Mai Police Station. Attendees gave offerings including 9 sacred woods, the placing of 9 sheets of gold, pink gold, and silver, and set of nine gems. Monks chanted an auspicious prayer – Chai Mongkol and put popped rice and flowers, silver and gold coins into the foundation stone.

The old Chiang Mai Provincial Police office building was built in 1970 and is about 46 years old. Due to the expansion of the work of the police force and other operations the police required a new office building. Pol. Maj. Gen. Montri Sumbunnanont, Chief of Chiang Mai Provincial Police proposed a budget with the support of Narong Phuapiwong, a former Member of Chiang Mai House of Representative and Advisor to the Chiang Mai Committee monitoring and police administration. The Bureau of the Budget approved a 49 million baht budget with 46 million baht for the new office building and 3 million baht for three houses for police deputy commanders and superintendents in the compound of theChiang Mai Provincial Special Weapons and Tactics located behind the Muang Chiang Mai Police Station. The office of Special Weapons and Tactics was moved to Government Complex in Sankampaeng, Chiang Mai. The old building will be partly demolished to make room for the new building.


City Pillar Festival will be held from June 1 – June 8

Inthakin ceremony brings peace and prosperity to city residents

Monks place flowers as a blessing ceremony for the Inthakin or City Pillar Festival.

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
This annual ceremony is held to honor the Inthakin, or City Pillar on the 13th day of the waning moon in the eighth Northern lunar moon and continue until the second day of the waxing moon of the ninth month. This year it falls on June 1 and the festival will conclude on June 8, 2016.
It is believed the current Inthakin was erected by King Mengrai at the founding of the city on April 12, 1296 at Wat Sadue Mueang (also known as Wat Inthakin) on Inthawarorot road. It was brought to its present location inside a shrine on the temple grounds of Wat Chedi Luang by King Kawila in 1800.
The highlight of the ceremony is to sprinkle holy water and place the ‘khan dok’ on the city pillar. The first day of the festival begins with the Fon Saen Ha Buddha image with offerings parading from Wat Chedi Luang through Phra Pokklao Road to Three Kings Monument then right on to Ratvithi Raod to Chang Moi, then on to Tha Pae Gate, and Ratchadamnoen Road so that the faithful may offer their blessings before the image then returns to Wat Chedi Luang.
Governor Pawin Chamniprasart will preside over the ceremony with the City Mayor, administrators and faithful citizens of Chiang Mai participating to sprinkle water onto the Buddha image, offer food to 108 monks, gild Buddha images, and offer prayers at Wat Chedi Luang.
Chiang Mai people believe that the Inthakin brings security and well-being to Chiang Mai citizens. This ceremony has been held annually since ancient times with a belief that the ceremony will bring good luck and spiritual encouragement to live peacefully and seasonal rainfall for farmers.


Employer arrested for hiring migrant workers illegally

Three Burmese nationals arrested for working in the wrong job

A Thai employer was arrested alongside three Myanmar nationals for illegally employing migrant workers without the correct permits.

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Police announced the arrest of four people, one Thai national for employing migrant workers outside their permitted area and permitted job and three Myanmar nationals who were working in the bread factory in Saraphi on May 12, 2016.
Special Branch Police arrested Yodsawat Chansirithanawat of Chang Puak Sub-district after someone filed a complaint with police that he had employed alien workers illegally at his bread factory in Pha Bong, Saraphi. Police investigated and found three people from Myanmar, one woman and two men, who, although they possessed work permits, the permits were not for employment at the factory.
The migrant workers told police they had been working in the factory for 15 days and received a 300 baht a day wage. They did hold work permits but the permits were for unskilled labor and the employer specified in the work permit was not their current employer. They were also arrested for working illegally and taken to the Saraphi Police Station for legal prosecution.


Remains of missing man found in ravine after missing one year

Rescue personnel retrieved the remains from a pickup truck that had crashed into ravine in Mae Chaem.

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The remains of a man who was reported missing one year ago were found on May 12, 2016 in Mae Chaem. A rusting pickup truck was found in a ravine on the mountain in Mae Najon Sub-district and police found skeletal remains inside the truck. Police said it appeared that the truck had crashed on the road and fell into the ravine.

The heavily damaged truck held the remains of an unknown male but police believe they are the remains of a man reported missing a year ago.

The police tracked down the license plate and found the vehicle belonged to Suradej Chulaluck, age 32 of Mae Suk in Mae Chaem District. Suradej had been reported missing by the owners of the rooms he was renting in the Muang District last year. They told police that he had gone to visit family in Mae Chaem but never returned.

The police will have the DNA of the remains checked to match the man’s family but believe the remains to be Mr. Suradej. They believe he may have lost control of his truck while driving on the curve and plummeted 50 meters into the ravine. The Medical Examiner has taken the remains for testing.


Police arrest four suspected drug dealers in sting

Police captured three suspected drug dealers after they attempted to flee a drug sting operation on May 9, 2016.

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Region 5 Police announced the arrest of three men and one woman in a drug sting operation on May 9, 2016.
Police set up an undercover officer to purchase methamphetamine tablets from or Songklod “Jay” Anathachak, age 31, at a garage near the suspect’s house in Tha Sala Sub-district of the Muang District. Police say they purchased eleven Yaba or methamphetamine tablets from the suspect who led police to the a man named Naruedol “Golf” Kaweein, age 26 who they were told regularly smuggled and sold drugs to youths in San Kamphaeng.
Police set up a meeting for Songklod to purchase thirty Yaba pills by contacting the suspect by telephone and using Facebook through his girlfriend, 19 year old Nucharee or Naet Paengjai of Doi Saket. Songklod, or Jay arranged to have the drugs delivered to his house where police lay in wait to arrest the drug suspects.
Three men drove to the house and when police emerged attempted to flee in a pickup truck but were stopped by the police before they could escape. Police charged three men with selling drugs; Naruedol “Golf” Kaweein, Anirut “Ton” Khamsaeng, and Theerachai “Tok” Boonsom, age 25 who were found with thirty Yaba pills. All three men are from Ton Pao in San Kamphaeng District.
Police then searched Naruedol’s home and arrested his girlfriend, Nucharee as an accomplice. All four were taken to the Mae Ping Police station for detention and further police investigation before police file charges in court.


Lychee production could drop 30 percent due to ongoing drought

Lychee production is predicted to be 30 percent less than last year due to the ongoing drought in the North the Chief of the Chiang Mai Provincial Commercial Office Nittaya Muan-anant reported recently.

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The ongoing drought has seen lychee production drop drastically and officials are predicting that 2016 lychee yields could be up to 30 percent less than last year’s crop.

Mrs. Nittaya Muan-anant, Chief of Chiang Mai Provincial Commerce Office, accompanied by officials, visited Chai Prakarn District to view the lychee situation at the buying station at Ban Je Banyen, which began on May 7, 2016.

Although lychees will be smaller and less colorful this year due to the drought the taste is expected to still be good.

The Hong Huay lychee strain is priced at 40-50 baht a kilogram, and mixed grade is at 30-35 baht a kilogram for the wholesale price at the buying station. The trade volume is around 4.5 tons per day. The retail selling price at the station is priced at 50-60 baht per kilo as of May 11, 2016.

Most of the lychees in the market are grown in Mae Ai, Fang, and Chai Prakarn which has been affected by the serious drought in the North. The drought has caused the fruit to be much smaller, lighter colored skin and a burned appearance. However, reports are that the fruit still tastes good, that only the appearance has been affected by the drought.


New fire breaks out in Doi Kham

Fire close to Wat Phra That Doi Kham

Fire has broken out near Wat Phra That Doi Kham in the hills  above Roya Park Rajapruek in Mae Hia. The fire began around 2:30 p.m.

Nopniwat Krailerg

A fire broke out in the forest near Wat Phra That Doi Kham today around 2:30 p.m. Firefighters rushed to the scene to battle the fire and a helicopter from the Royal Rainmaking Project was dropping water onto the flames that are creeping closer to the temple.

The fire is dangerously close to the revered Wat Phra That Doi Kham. Firefighters and a helicopter are on the scene fighting the fire.

Firefighters are in the temple spraying water onto the buildings and onto the fire nearby to save the revered temple from the fire.

Wat Phrathat Doi Kham is located in the hills above Royal Park Rajapruek was built in over 1300 years ago and houses important Buddha relics. A sacred site for local people, the forest temple is only 11 kilometers from the city. (Photos by Pitchayakan Norkaewmoon)

The fire is easily visible from Canal Road in Mae Hia above Royal Park Rajarpruek.

Firefighters spray water onto the fire from the grounds of Wat Phra That Doi Kham.


Wildfire devastates over 300 rai of Doi Suthep-Doi Pui National Park

Flames visible from the city

Flames filled the air on May 8, 2016 as Doi Suthep – Doi Pui National Park was swept by a wildfire. It took over 100 people including firefighters and soldiers, to get the fire under control that damaged over 300 rai of National Park.

Nopniwat Krailerg
Over 300 rai of national park was damaged in a wildfire that swept across the tinder dry park in the early afternoon of May 8, 2016. Firefighters, aided by the Army, worked until past 2 a.m. to get the fire under control.

The fire broke out in a remote forested area near Ban Khun, Chang Khian in the National Park. Social media was filled with photos of the fire that was visible in downtown Chiang Mai. Firefighters were brought in from local administration offices from around the region with over twenty fire trucks rushing in to help the beleaguered local firefighters. Soldiers from the 33rd Military Circle were brought in to help beat back the fire and worked alongside firefighters, officers from the National Park, the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Center in Area 10, Lampang, the Chiang Mai Office of the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Center, and local people who joined in to create fire breaks. Fire breaks were hastily put in place behind the Chang Khian Boy Scouts Camp and the forest around Suan Buddha Dhamma Nong Hor behind the Chiang Mai International Convention Center. Flames were visible from the Convention Center as worried residents monitored the fire and prepared for a possible evacuation.

High temperatures and extended drought saw the fire quickly spread out of control on Doi Suthep near the Chiang Mai International Convention Center and Chang Khian.

Firefighters managed to bring the fire under control around 2 a.m. on May 9, and officers continued to patrol the area to monitor for hot spots. Wat Phra That Doi Suthep and Bhubing Palace were never in danger from the fire which was North of these two important icons of Chiang Mai.

The fire was visible from main streets in the city and social media filled with people taking photos.

Locals pitched in to help, bringing food and water to support the firefighters in the middle of the night, offering their gratitude for the efforts of the firefighters, soldiers and other people in getting the wildfire under control.

Firefighters continue to patrol the area and a helicopter was brought in during the daylight hours to drop water on areas that appeared to still be at risk. Officers speculate the fire may have been started by people searching for forest products.

Over 300 rai of the Doi Suthep – Doi Pui National Park were devastated by the wildfire. Officials continue to patrol for hotspots.

Wildlife in the burned out forest was devastated, however a firefighter found three newborn squirrels that managed to survive the fire and they were taken to the Chiang Mai Zoo to be nursed back to health and raised in the Zoo.

Residents posted on social media expressing anger and concern that despite the sustained high temperatures and drought that there was still burning and in an area that put so many homes and lives at risk.

The native flora and fauna was destroyed by the fire that swept through the tinder dry forest. Officials speculate the fire was started by people looking for forest products.

Local people banded together to show support for firefighters and donations of food, drinks and water were brought to the command center.

A helicopter came in at daylight to fly over the fire zone and drop water on hotspots during the day of May 9, 2016. The fire was finally brought under control at 2 a.m. on May 9.


Chiang Mai celebrates the Coronation Day of HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej

Chiang Mai Governor Pawin Chamniprasat lights candles to honor HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej on the occasion of his Coronation on May 5.

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The people of Chiang Mai joined together to celebrate Coronation Day on May 5, 2016 at the Chiang Mai University Convention Center with Governor Pawin Chamniprasart presiding over the ceremonies.

Governor Pawin Chamniprasart addresses the gathered audience to honor HM the King on Coronation Day.

Molsuda Chamniprasart, President of Red Cross, Chiang Mai Chapter, along with heads of government agencies, government officials and the members of private sectors and public joined in the ceremony to present their offerings in honor of His Majesty the King. They praised his reign on his throne, ruling the country with merit and justice.

The coronation of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyade took place on May 5, 1950 and he is celebrated as the 9th King of the Chakri Dynasty on this date every year.

The Coronation Day royal ceremony celebrated the white nine-tiered umbrella as a symbol of royalty. On His Coronation Day His Majesty the King said, "We will rein the country with justice and righteousness for the sake and happiness of the Thai people.”


Drugs and weapons seized from drug trafficking ring

Policeman injured by suspect in Ayutthaya

Region 5 Police show the suspects in a drug trafficking ring recently apprehended in Lamphun and Ayutthaya.

Some of the weapons seized from the suspects during the arrest.

Nopniwat Krailerg (Chiangmai Mail)

Region 5 Police announced the arrest of a major drug trafficking ring that was tracked down after the arrest of ten members of the ring in January, 2016. Police announced the arrest of five people at a press conference at Region 5 Headquarters on May 3, 2016; four in the North and one accomplice in Ayutthaya.
The case began with the arrest of Phumpipat Intarapradit, and nine other accomplices with a haul of 398,000 methamphetamine pills, 3 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine and ten firearms on January 3, 2016. The investigation led them to Phrae where they worked with police on a tip off that more members of the gang were smuggling drugs hidden under cabbages in a pickup truck.
Police traced the truck, driven by Prakit Puapornsawan, age 68 of Chiang Mai with Nangluck Saraphan age 54, to Li District, Lamphun where they found 218,000 Yaba pills in a paper box hidden inside 700 kilograms of cabbage and cauliflower. The couple told police they had been hired by Sunan Saraphan, age 26 and Thitiwat Nusa, also of Chiang Mai, to carry the drugs to Charoen Daoduangsook, age 32 of Amnart Chareon Province in Ayutthaya.
Police went to arrest Charoen in in front of the central fresh market in Ayutthaya but he attempted to flee the scene and struck a police officer with the truck in his escape attempt. Police fired at the vehicle, injuring the driver slightly. Police then arrested Mr. Charoen for assault and drug trafficking.
In addition to the Yaba pills police found semi-automatic weapons, and froze the assets of the suspects including six cars, 1,181,000 baht in a bank account and many other assets.


Workers protest at City Hall on Labor Day

Calls for allowing free movement of migrant workers

Over 120 workers rallied at City Hall to call for the government to review laws regulating the movement of migrant workers, remove obstacles to the formations of labor unions, and ensure the protection of workers’ rights under the law.

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Over 120 protestors gathered at City Hall in Chiang Mai on May 2, 2016 to call on the Chiang Mai Governor to review laws regulating the movement of migrant workers, remove obstacles to the formations of labor unions, and ensure the protection of workers’ rights under the law.

Members of various groups under the umbrella of the Northern Workers Network file a petition with a representative of Chiang Mai Governor Pawin Chamniprasart on Labor Day.

The Northern Workers Network, which consisted of members of a myriad of organizations including the Foundation for Human Rights and Development, Foundation to promote women’s opportunities(EMPOWER), MPLUS Foundation, Thai Yai Women Action Network (SWAN), the Shan Youth Power (SYP), the Federation of Migrant Workers, Labour Network and many other organizations and groups, presented a list of complaints to the government calling for action issues affecting workers in Chiang Mai.

Those complaints included unfairness in the workplace, violations of workers’ rights, obstacles in establishing more labor unions, unfair pay for migrant workers, and workers not receiving the rights and protections established under the labor laws.

They also proposed that the Ministry of the Interior amend the regulations restricting travel of migrant workers, and ethnic highland groups as well as address their status and other related issues.

They called on the Chiang Mai Governor and the Ministry of Interior to appoint a sub-committee for the Chiang Mai Labor Office to help solve the problems of the health and safety of the workers in the workplace and ensure that the rights and protections of the Labor Laws are enforced.


Japanese government helps remote Mae Hong Son villagers gain access to health services

 

The Japanese government provided funds to purchase four wheel drive emergency vehicles in 2013 in Mae La Noi District in Mae Hong Son and staff traveled to the remote district to check on progress on April 27, 2016.

The Japanese government, under its Grant Assistance for Grassroots Projects program, assisted the villagers in the remote area of Mae La Noi District in Mae Hong Son by providing the funding to purchase off-road vehicles to help provide medical treatment in 2013.

On April 26, 2016 the Consul – General of Japan and the staff from the Consulate – General in Chiang Mai followed up on the progress of the project which provided funds of 3,563,000 baht to Mae La Noi Hospital. The Hospital used the funds to purchase a four wheel drive ambulance, a four wheel drive truck for mobile medical units, a portable ultra-sound machine for use in pregnancy tests and a defibrillator.

The handover ceremony took place in February 2013 and members of the Japanese Consulate – General in Chiang Mai traveled to the remote district to follow up on the efficacy of the equipment. Staff at the hospital reported that the trucks and equipment had really improved services and helped people in the district and nearby areas to get emergency health services.


Prime Minister reviews efforts to combat forest fires

Drought and smog critical issues in the North

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha visited Chiang Mai with Cabinet ministers to review government policies on drought and smog.

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Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha visited Chiang Mai on April 27, 2016 to follow up on government progress on the smoke, wildfire and drought issues facing the North. At the meeting held at Royal Park Rajapruek the Prime Minister urged the community to work together to conserve national resources and combat forest fires.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha was joined by Governor Pawin Chamniprasart, Ministers and government officials for the meeting reviewing measures to tackle smoke, burning and drought.

The Prime Minister was accompanied by Minister M.L. Panadda Diskul, Minister of Interior Anupong Paojinda and Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives Chatchai Sarikulya at a meeting where Chiang Mai Governor Pawin Chamniprasart reported on government efforts in wildfire prevention and cooperation from all government sectors in combatting the wildfire problem during the 60 day burning ban from February 16 to April 15, 2015.

The Governor said that public awareness was on the rise and more people worked together to create a model to fight wildfires and expand that model to other districts and sub - districts.

The Governor also reported on the low volume of water in the upper Ping River resulting in lower volumes of water distribution since January 2016. He told the Prime Minister that water was being distributed in 17 shifts totaling 25.8 million cubic meters since January 2016. This will be in operation until the end of June.

He added that many farmers had taken part in low water planting, with 3,399 projects with a 970 million baht budget to allow local people to work and earn money with new opportunities including agricultural products processing and community participation in tourism activities. He added that Chiang Mai has been working to fulfill government policies for sustainable economic practices.

The Prime Minister then gave an award to Mae Chaem District on their projects to fight burning and also gave agricultural machines from the Ministry of Interior and distributed money from the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperative to support projects that promote agricultural career development based on community’s requirement to release drought 2015/2016 totaling 22.5 million baht.

A letter was presented to the Governor asking for use of National Forest Reserve in Mae Chaem and Mae Fang from 14 village headmen. Also twelve artesian aquifers in 11 areas were approved.

The Prime Minister said that it had been a pleasure to visit Chiang Mai this time. He added that the government and NCPO are greatly concerned for the people’s well-being and handed permission letters for making use and living in national reserved forest area which has been operated in many areas.

He said that the Government will continue this policy in every province where people have occupied deforested areas for a long time. People receiving the right of use can trust that they possess the right to live and make use of the area. He said most wildfires were human caused and not natural. He pointed out that after cultivating rice and corn farmers burn the fields to prepare for the next planting. He said this problem must be fixed at the source. He added that neighboring countries cannot be blamed as the source of the smoke as they have the same issues and farming procedures as Thailand.

He called on the people to be a leader in ASEAN for reducing smoke and smog, noting that “First we must turn to look at ourselves. All people in the country must help together as we are stronger together.”

Instructions were given to the Ministry of Agriculture, Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, and Department of Forestry to find solutions for the watersheds and methods to link the source of water to the destination. The plan must concern all water users especially people living downriver. He added “We cannot lose forest and water resources. We must be careful in solving this problem at the source and it must be done for the whole system because lack of forests will cause water shortage.”


Man sentenced to life in prison for horrific murder

Para Chusri was arrested by police for the brutal murder of a 33 year old Roi Et woman in 2015. He was sentenced to life in prison. (File photo).

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The Chiang Mai Court sentenced a 52 year old man to life in prison for the horrific torture and murder of a woman on April 14, 2015. The body of 33 year old Samorn Klungdej was found in the bathroom of a hotel near Chang Klan Road brutally sodomized by a bottle until it had broken inside her and she bled to death from the injuries.

Police said the Para Chusri, of Chonburi, confessed that he had met the victim in a bar after she got off work and they rented a room after getting drunk in a pub. He claimed that they had taken an aphrodisiac and that he then sodomized her with a bottle until it broke.

The courts granted leniency since he had confessed to the crime and reduced his sentence from the death penalty to life in prison for murder by physical torture.


Police Chief postpones planned motorcycle bans on Chiang Mai roads

Don Kaew underpass and Airport overpass still open to motorbikes

The Provincial Police chief shelved plans to ban motorbikes on the Don Kaew underpass and the Airport overpass.

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The Chiang Mai Provincial Police Chief postponed the planned prohibition of motorcycles on the Don Kaew underpass and the Airport overpass stating the planned ban would cause difficulties and no public hearings had been held on the issue.

Initially the Land Traffic Subcommittee had announced that motorcycles would be prohibited from using the Airport flyover and the new Don Kaew underpass on Highway 107 beginning May 1, 2016.

According to statistics the number of motorcycle accidents has leaped in numbers in the past few years. Additionally, the number of vehicles traveling to the airport has increased resulting in more accidents between cars and motorcycles. The Police also originally said the new underpass on Highway 107 didn’t have large enough paved areas off the road.

The trial was set to take place for two months until Provincial Police Chief Pol. Maj. Gen. Montri Sambunnanont called for a suspension of the plans and said the plan would be revisited after public hearings later next month.

 

 
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Royal Plowing Ceremony falls on May 9


Kingdom celebrates Wan Chatramongkhol (Coronation Day) May 5


Court cancels Nimmanhaemin one way system due to complaints


Army asked to follow up on shooting at Kad Suan Kaew

AIS opens new center for disabled employees


UK opens new visa application centre in Chiang Mai


Chomthong residents oppose solar energy plant


Wat Chedi Luang to start collecting entrance fees from foreign visitors


Summer storm topples trees, power poles

Visakha Bucha Day is May 20

Japanese government helps Chiang Rai villagers with home medical care

Commissioner presides over foundation stone laying ceremony

City Pillar Festival will be held from June 1 – June 8


Employer arrested for hiring migrant workers illegally

Remains of missing man found in ravine after missing one year

Police arrest four suspected drug dealers in sting

Lychee production could drop 30 percent due to ongoing drought


New fire breaks out in Doi Kham

Wildfire devastates over 300 rai of Doi Suthep-Doi Pui National Park


Chiang Mai celebrates the Coronation Day of HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej

Drugs and weapons seized from drug trafficking ring


Workers protest at City Hall on Labor Day

Japanese government helps remote Mae Hong Son villagers gain access to health services


Prime Minister reviews efforts to combat forest fires

Man sentenced to life in prison for horrific murder

Police Chief postpones planned motorcycle bans on Chiang Mai roads


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