Vol. V No. 46 - Saturday December 2, - December 8, 2006
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NEWS
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

80-meter chasm found at Doi Mae Fah Luang

Military Meets with Civilians to Prevent Border Smuggling

Advertising Ban Confirmed

Festive Celebrations for Tai Tribe New Year Marred by Arrest Fears

Violent Gangsters Arrested, Leader Still at Large

Student drives into lamp post in late night mishap

Drug abusers arrested after violent fight with police

80-meter chasm found at Doi Mae Fah Luang

Staff Reporter
An 80-meter long chasm was found in a wooded area of Mae Fah Luang. The land is separated by 6 inches and the hole is 2 meter’s deep. Near the chasm there is a deep gorge and a stream at the bottom.
Somchai Rungsakhon, Mae Fah Luang district chief officer, Siwat Keeratikunthana, chief of Mae Salong Nai sub-district, and Arpha Ma-yher, Mae Yuak village headman, inspected the chasm at Baan Huay Yuak Paso in Mae Fah Luang district. Officers had to walk into the woods on private property, but there were no homes or residents in the immediate area. They warned residents and hill tribesmen not to go near the opening.
Somchai said that the cause of the chasm is still unknown. Earthquakes or crust movements could be involved. He advised that the Province of Chiang Rai would send officers from the Department of Mineral Resources to inspect the location. Of particular concern is the area of Baan Huay Yuak Paso, which faces floods and mudslides.


Military Meets with Civilians to Prevent Border Smuggling

By Saksit Meesubkwang
On October 26, a high-level meeting on environmental management at the border area was held at the meeting room of Kawila Camp in Chiang Mai. Gen. Suthat Jarumanee, Commander of the Special Forces of the 7th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Army Region chaired the meeting that included 160 officers and executives in divisions of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation in Chiang Mai, Lamphun, and Mae Hong Son.

Gen. Suthat Jarumanee, special force commander of 7th Infantry Regiment, gives a map to Roengchai Prayurawet, director of the 16th Office of Conservation Administration

Gen. Suthat said that most people assume it is the military’s responsibility to simply patrol the border areas and defend the country. On the other hand, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment believes that defending the country includes conserving the environment and natural resources. Numerous forest areas are located on the border area.
In the past, lumber smuggling was common from Thailand to Myanmar by businessmen who said the wood belonged to the Burmese. A primary concern of the meeting was to decide how to divide responsibility to take care of the natural resources in border areas and prevent forest trespassing. It was determined that the 7th Infantry Regiment will take responsibility in Tak, Mae Hong Son province, and Wiang Haeng, Samoeng district in Chiang Mai - especially the forest area near the border.
Gen. Suthat also said that forestry officers would be taught about personnel control and management, equipment use, data collection, and Thai and Burmese base-strength comparison. They will have the advantage of being able to use the IT system for normal operations, route construction, and equipment for military units to provide security.
An important tool for forestry officers is the use of Col. Preeda Kasetwethin’s software on how to manage personnel and equipment, and how to collect data that applies to their work. This meeting for boundary management is another test case to see if the military and private sector can cooperate with each other to protect the country’s natural resources.


Advertising Ban Confirmed

Staff Reporter
Dr. Suphan Srithammarat, representative for the Ministry of Public Health, announced the decision on the government policy regarding advertisements of alcoholic beverages. The announcement came upon the conclusion of a conference among the ministry’s administrators, led by Dr. Mongkol Na Songkla. In his statement, Dr. Suphan confirmed the government’s intention to ban all advertisements.
The Food and Drug Administration first announced the resolution on October 18, 2006 forbidding alcoholic products to advertise effective December 3, 2006. The ban is permanent and in effect 24 hours a day. There are two exceptions. Thai companies may advertise in other countries if they have no intention to distribute in Thailand. Also, international advertisements broadcast during live events from abroad on radio and TV are acceptable. However, these two cases do not include commercial breaks while broadcasting the live event.
These new controls are under protest by the media, who contend the rules are unclear and unfair. Importers, distributors, and advertising media say they are confused about how they will be affected.
Some details of the restrictions are still in conflict. The Food and Drug Administration has instructed the royal decree board clear up any problems. Once completed, the Minister of Public Health will announce the details of the plan to head officers of provincial public health offices and hospital directors. The ministry will ask for participation from the Ministry of Education and the National Buddhist Office to help enforce the prohibition.


Festive Celebrations for Tai Tribe New Year Marred by Arrest Fears

Khru Ba Chantarangsri, the abbot of Koo Tao Temple and the event organizers

Staff Reporter
SHAN news agency reported on November 20 that the Tai tribe’s New Year’s celebrations in Chiang Mai were not as lively as in previous years. Many Tai tribe workers did not dare to join the New Year party because they were afraid police would arrest them. However, celebrations in other locations, such as along the border and in Chiang Rai were even livelier than in past years.
The Tai tribe’ New Year on November 19 was organized at Koo Tao Temple in Muang, Chiang Mai. According to their calendar, this is the year 2101. The Tai people were blessed by the most respected abbot of Koo Tao Temple, Khru Ba Chantarangsri. In addition, Manus Sirimaharach, Chiang Mai’s deputy mayor, presided over the celebrations and all attendants jointly honored HM the King in front of His portrait.
There were many performances on that day such as Nok and Tho Tai tribe’s traditional dances and music, performed by Tai tribe youngsters. The estimated attendance was 2000 people, both Tai and foreigners, and all enjoyed the Tai tribe’s New Year’s Day.
However, because the Tai laborers were afraid of arrest, the numbers of attendants this year was not as many as past years.
Muang, a Tai tribesman working in Chiang Mai, disclosed to reporters that he and his friends knew about the new year event but they were afraid to go. Instead, they chose to stay at their rented room and celebrate by themselves. Their celebrations included a prayer for the Tai leaders who were arrested in Myanmar.
The Tai tribe’s New Year was also celebrated at Baan Piang Luang, in Wiang Haeng district of Chiang Mai, Baan Therd Thai in the Mae Fa Luang district of Chiang Rai, and in Bangkok. Many Tai tribes people joined the festivities, especially in Baan Piang Luang where several thousand Tai people attended, supported by village headmen, abbots, a housewives group, and Tai Fa Wiang In culture conservation group. It was presided over by Chao Plengwittaya, Wiang Haeng district head officer and Sanhajutha Jiratiwat, president of Land and Water Love Foundation of Thailand, together with Panlekha Wanmuang, former Miss Thailand World.


Violent Gangsters Arrested, Leader Still at Large

Staff Reporter
Police have arrested 2 brutal gang members who are accused of attacking their victims with iron pipes and pieces of wood before stealing their property. However, the gang leader remains on the loose.
On November 14, Chang Puek police, after receiving numerous complaints, arrested ‘Lek,’ 19, and ‘Nu,’ 17, (nicknames) and charged them, along with other gang members, of criminal activity - snatching and robbing property from citizens.
Both perpetrators confessed to the crimes. They admitted that on November 12, they rode on 4 motorbikes to Chetuphon Temple in Muang Chiang Mai. They stole a mobile phone and then sold it for 1,000 baht. Later, while they were sharing the money and making plans for their next heist, they were arrested by police officers. The two claimed that in each case the gang’s leader (whom they called ‘Kor’) planned and initiated the crimes. Upon the arrest of ‘Lek,’ and ‘Nu,’ the gang leader, ‘Kor’ ran away.
Since the initial arrest, police have been able to apprehend 4 more gang members; ‘Aem’ (18), ‘Jae’ (16), ‘Benz’ (16), and ‘Pae’ (18). Under questioning, all 4 admitted to committing the crimes.
Pol. Lt. Col. Pan-ya Nawatrakulphisut, an investigation inspector of the Chang Puek police department, said that the gang members had committed many crimes in Chiang Mai, and their behavior is a danger to society. Police officers had been tracing their activity but were unable to positively identify that it was Kor’s gang. Police only know his street name. He still roams in the city and is on the run. Police will continue to search for him to bring him to justice.


Student drives into lamp post in late night mishap

A Honda Civic was severely damaged after crashing into a light post late at night on Nhong Hor Road

Nopniwat Krailerg
At 2.30 a.m. on November 20, Chang Puek Police were informed that a car crashed into a light post on Nhong Hor Road.
At the scene, officers found a new Honda Civic had run into an iron light post beside the road. The front of the car was severely damaged. The driver, Sornkheeree Pimsuay, 26, a resident of Ubon Ratchathani and student at the Rajamangala University of Technology Lanna in Chiang Mai, was drunk and slightly wounded. Sornkheeree said that he was hanging out with a friend when he became drunk. After dropping his friend off, he said it was too dark to see the road, and he crashed into the light post. He said he was not in danger. He was charged with drunk driving and damaging property.
Residents who live near the crime scene said that accidents occur often. Recently, there was a fatal motorbike crash involving 2 motorcyclists. Residents have requested more light posts due to a dangerous curve in the road.


Drug abusers arrested after violent fight with police

Staff Reporter
On the night of November 21, police officers in the Wiang Chiang Rung sub-district of Chiang Rai were informed of a drug network smuggling ya ba to monks of the Phonimit Temple. Drug suppression officers rushed to blockade the temple and found four men at the scene, one of them wearing monk’s robes. The four were taking ya ba at the monk’s residence.
While Pol. Sgt. Maj. Paisan Panwaree and Pol. Sgt. Maj. Khatawut Anuputti were in the process of arresting the four suspects, the offenders stabbed the two officers as they attempted to escape.
Police were able to arrest two of the offenders. One was a monk and the other a villager. However, two others were able to get away in the darkness and confusion. Officers are currently pursuing them.



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