Cancelled Flights Leave Mae Hong Son Tourists in the Lurch
THAI airplane parked on the
Chotti Naramonthon, head of the Lanna Tourism Network in Mae Hong Son,
reports that tourism in Mae Hong Son is struggling due to poor service on
Thai Airways (THAI), which provides flights between Chiang Mai and Mae Hong
On November 22, the scheduled flight on THAI was not fully operational and
could not fly to Mae Hong Son Airport, forcing many tourists to return to
Chiang Mai by car. Although THAI compensated the tourists for their travel
expenses, the image of THAI continually worsens due to uncertain air
transportation that causes tourists to change their destination to provinces
other than Mae Hong Son.
Chotti added that 90 percent of tourism in Mae Hong Son depends on air
transportation. When THAI airplanes are not operational, there are no other
alternatives. November – February is the high season for tourism in Mae Hong
Son, so THAI should see the importance of quality service now more than
ever. Moreover, THAI has increased the ticket price from 1,270 to 1,970 baht
without advance notice.
1st Lieutenant Apinan Sumanaseni, Managing Director of THAI, said that the
Mae Hong Son Chamber of Commerce had sent a file to THAI to ask for
improvements on the Chiang Mai-Mae Hong Son flight. THAI replied that the
company always thinks about passengers in order to provide continuous and
adequate service to serve the public’s needs. The company has only one plane
for this flight. If this plane cannot provide service or has scheduled
maintenance, the company has to ask for cooperation from Nok Air to provide
air transportation instead of THAI under the code-share agreement of both
Mae Hong Son Governor Direk Konkleeb said that many tourism business owners
have complained about the THAI situation and want a long-term solution. In
response to their concerns, he will meet with Gen. Surayuth Julanont,
Thailand’s Prime Minister, to find a solution to help the Mae Hong Son
THAI Airways Uses Conference to Promote Chiang Mai for International Conferences and Tourism
Phoonsak Boonchuay, the Sales, Cargo, Commercial, and Postal Manager of
Thai Airways International Airlines (THAI), disclosed that THAI would be
hosting the 34th Air Cargo Agents Association of India (ACAAI) conference in
Chiang Mai. In cooperation with Air Cargo Association Agents of India, they
will invite 400 representatives of air-cargo deliverers to join this
conference in order to share information and promote Chiang Mai as a primary
destination for international conferences.At the conference, they worked to
solve problems and obstacles with cargo delivery between Thailand and India,
in order to expand cooperation in the future.
Phoonsak added that THAI flies to 8 locations in India, including Calcutta,
New Delhi, Mumbai (former Bombay), Chennai, and Bangalore. On November 30,
the company added 3 additional routes; Hyderabad, Buddha Gaya, and Varanasi.
THAI currently provides 36 flights to India each week.
Serm Phenchart, tourism manager of THAI, said that the company had invited
agents from ACAAI to join the conference in Chiang Mai because they believe
that Chiang Mai has great potential, with outstanding attributes in
accommodation, tourist attractions, and other facilities. The company
believes that this conference will help Chiang Mai to become a center for
international conferencing, and the center of international cargo delivery.
They also hope to raise awareness of Indian tourists about Chiang Mai.
The 4th OSHTAK Air Show Will Fly By on December 9-10
The Royal Thai Army, in association with the Department of Aviation, Chiang
Mai Flying Club, and Sport Flying Association (Thailand), is to arrange the
OSHRAK Air Show in celebration of H.M. the King’s 79th birthday, 60 years of
King’s accession to the throne, and 40 years of the Royal Artificial Rain
Department at Tak Airport and Ping River bank.
The 4th OSHTAK Air Show will be held on December 9-10, 2006. It will begin
at Tak Airport on the 9th, and at Ping River bank on the 10th. Featured
attractions include a small aircraft show from nearly 60 clubs (both home
and overseas), para-motor competition, motorcycle and aircraft racing,
radio-controlled air show, balloon show, royal artificial rain air show,
ultra-light show, flying show of Wings 41 Chiang Mai, kiting show, and many
more. All of these activities are free to the public. In addition, for just
the cost of the fuel, attendees can fly with a professional pilot.
Additional information is available at the Chiang Mai Flying Club, by
calling 053-285-218, 05-9700-1267, or log on to www.cmflyingclub.com
CMU is 71st out of International Universities
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pongsak
Angkasith, President of CMU (middle), with vice presidents and executives
On December 1, at a press conference at the President Meeting Hall of Chiang
Mai University (CMU), Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pongsak Angkasith, President of CMU,
said that CMU is one of the best universities in the northern region.
CMU provides 20 faculties, and offers everything from bachelor degrees to
PhD’s. CMU received an award for its outstanding teaching methods and
research in 2006. CMU has also won many awards for its academic standards
from countries around the world. In the future, intensive curriculum will be
provided for new technologies. They will aim to focus on the economy,
society, and culture, which will help CMU to maintain their status alongside
other famous universities.
CMU plans to conduct research to locate new researchers from each faculty to
express their works to society and the public in twice-yearly academic and
administrative press conferences. CMU will also develop an international
intensive course to support foreign students who want to study in Thailand.
At this time, the university enrolls many foreign students spread throughout
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pongsak added that the curriculum provided by the
university provides career curriculum according to the self-sufficient
economy initiated by HM the King. The concept of this curriculum is to
acknowledge the real meaning of a self-sufficient economy, avoid waste, and
use resources efficiently.
Japan donates Bt3.5 million to build dorm for students in Baan Na Luang
(From left) Manus Panya;
president of the Chiang Mai Press Association, Chalermchat Nakarangkul; MD
of Denchai Trading Co., Ltd., Monchai Thesaphat; editor of Thainews
Newspaper, Phongphan Chongyodying; chairman of exhibition organizer and
secretary of the organizer.
The Japanese government agreed to donate 3,594,100 baht to build a dormitory
for students of Baan Na Luang School in Song district, Phrae province as
part of their Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects Scheme
On November 21, Japan’s Consul General Kasuhiro Shinohara signed a contract
to support the project of dormitory construction for Ban Na Luang School
with Thawin Soparat, president of the school. The signing was witnessed by
Phrae’s governor, Artikorn Suwanawong.
Baan Na Luang was built to educate children living in this remote area,
where 4 villages are located 8-32 km from the school. There are only primary
schools in that area, so students have to walk almost 2 hours to Baan Na
Luang School, the only middle school. Walking to school is difficult for the
students, so they sometimes stay with teachers and officers of the
sanitarium. However, their residences are old and in need of repair. Upon
receiving their request, the Japanese government decided to set up a
dormitory at Baan Na Luang School.
Two buildings are to be established, one for boys and one for girls. There
will also be a reading room, a kitchen, and a supply store. It is hoped this
project will ease the student’s difficulty traveling to school, and they can
study in a better environment.
New Tesco Lotus in town - Tak Merchants up in arms
Amphon Chatchaiyaruek, president of the Tak Chamber of Commerce,
together with large shop owners and representatives of merchants, presented
a petition protesting international retail store Tesco Lotus. The petition,
which was given to Tak Mayor Somchat Phetprasert, contained 253 signatures
requesting the mayor and Tak’s administrators to stop the store from opening
a branch in the Muang Tak Municipality area.
Amphon disclosed that the Ministry of Commerce had also requested a limit on
international stores, so as not to compete with retail shops in each
community. The government has requested several regulations, but they are
only requests at this time.
Merchants in central Tak believe that if the transnational store would be
set up at least 15 km away from the city, it would be acceptable. Otherwise,
local merchants would be greatly affected. Even smaller outlets inside the
city limits would have a negative effect on local business owners.
The mayor said that he disagreed with Tesco Lotus plan to open a branch in
the central area of Tak, even it was an issue of free trade. However, it
depended on whether local people would allow the store to rent their land
for construction. Tesco Lotus first requested to open a store in Tak 3-5
years ago, the mayor said.
Northern province governors meet on investment, trade, and security
Chiang Mai’s governor, Wichai Srikwan presided over a governor’s
conference to devise a strategy for the upper north region on trade and
investment. Wichai added that it was important for province leaders to
consult with each other to maximize trade and investment with neighboring
The governor claimed that a major problem was the finance situation,
specifically the amount of budget allocated to each province. From now on,
each province will be receiving 10 million baht. Therefore, the management
and administration needed participation and assistance from all members of
the province group. The important plans involve economics, social, and
security. The next step is to check if Chiang Mai citizens agree with the
Wichai added that implementing the strategy was not only the government’s
duty, but residents and other sectors as well. Even though the CEO budget
was eliminated, the governor believed it would not cause any problem because
all sectors could help each other to develop Chiang Mai. He said even if a
special budget was not provided they would be able to use the general budget
Having consulted with government officers and the private sector in Chiang
Mai, the governor asked to adjust new working structures for clarity. The
new working structures were identified as four ministries - economic,
social, security, and management. There would be deputy governors closely
observing each ministry.
Rarely Seen Pictures of HM the King in Chiang Mai on display
300 rarely seen photographs taken when HM the King visited Chiang Mai are to
be on display from December 1, 2006 to January 31, 2007.
A press conference for this exhibition was held on November 22, at Denchai
Trading Co., Ltd., organized by the Chiang Mai Press Association. Manus
Panya, president of CMPA, said that in honor of the 60-year anniversary of
HM the King’s accession to the throne and 80th birthday in 2007, the
association is providing the exhibition.
The photos, which show the King working in Chiang Mai, will remind residents
of HM the King’s virtues. The exhibition is to be held on the 2nd floor
exhibition zone of Denchai Trading building.
Chalermchat Nakarangkul, MD of Denchai Trading Co., Ltd. said that Denchai
Trading was pleased that the Chiang Mai Press Association selected to
organize the exhibition at their building. The company was ready and willing
to support this activity. This kind of exhibition has been held once before
in the building.
As a special guest, Epson Company would be invited to give knowledge about
photography on December 16. Topics to be discussed include photography and
efficiency picture producing. This will be advantageous for those who
interested in photography, especially for the press.
Monchai Thesaphat, editor of Thainews Newspaper, added that there would also
be an essay writing contest entitled “The Father of the Land” and a “Phirab
Noi” (little dove) photo contest for youngsters to join. More information is
available at the public relations counter of Chiang Mai News and Thainews
newspapers, or by calling 053-412517, 053-412838, and 053-234999, ext. 219,
206, or 240.
Total business registration capital reaches 2 billion baht
AThe Business Development Office of Chiang Mai reports that 543 new
companies, 69 partnerships, and 6 personal ordinary partnerships have been
registered so far this year. The head officer, Pussadee Wattanapanich,
disclosed that the total capital at registration has reached Bt2.27 billion.
The company with the most starting capital is Lanna Culture Co. Ltd., a
hotel business, with 100 million baht.
There were 476 companies withdrawing registration, including 179 limited
companies, 294 partnerships, and 3 personal ordinary partnerships with
Bt1.39 billion of capital. The most expensive withdrawal was Thanasapt
Quality Co. Ltd., while Phao & Pee property business partnership withdrew
registering capital by 3 million baht.
The most common type of businesses who canceled their registering capital
were detail product business, product distribution, food and drink
businesses, and property service businesses offering machine and supply
Both new registration and withdrawn registration were less than last year.
However, the number of personal registration this month increased from last
month by 8.74 percent. This is because the new government has a clearer
policy and the interest rate is still the same, so business owners are sure
to invest more.
However, the registering capital this month decreased from the previous
month because most of the businesses registered were detail product
businesses that spend less money.
Chiang Mai Provincial Land Transport Office Establishes Electronic Driving License Exam
The Chiang Mai Provincial Land Transport Office established an
electronic driving license exam (E-exam) on November 13 to improve driving
Charnchai Keelapaeng, of the Chiang Mai Provincial Land Transport Office,
disclosed that they are now conducting electronic driving license exams to
improve the standard of the test. It is also used to facilitate and clarify
the exam. The test-takers are able to learn traffic regulations, signals,
and driving rules via the audio and visual system. Also, they take a
computerized exam before taking the real driving test via an E-learning
system. For those who are unable to read, the audio system suggests how to
take the exam. Tests can be taken in 5 languages - Thai, English, Chinese,
Japanese, and Pattani Malay.
Different versions of the exams are randomly selected from the database, so
individuals don’t receive the same exam as others. Upon completion, the exam
can be checked immediately. The Office of Land Transport added that they
have acquired 53 computers for use in the program. 32 are at the Office of
Land Transport in the Mae Hia district, 10 at the Office of Land Transport -
Fang district, 7 at the Office of Land Transport - Mae Taeng district, and 4
at the Office of Land Transport -Chom Thong district. If there are more
test-takers than there are computers, the E-exam system will select some of
testers to take the exam, and then take the driving test later. Since its
implementation, the E-exam has worked well, with no problems or obstacles
for the test-takers.
High Technology Bomb and Drug Detectors Demonstrated for Provincial Police Bureau Region 5
On November 29, Pol. Lt. Gen. Kittithat Ruanthip, Commissioner of Provincial
Police Bureau Region 5, and narcotic suppression police officers of the
Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB), welcomed the World Market Thailand
Co., Ltd. to learn about new-innovation bomb and drug detectors.
“ADE-100” the new-innovation
bomb and narcotic detector
Malee Wanasuk, managing director of World Market Thailand Co., Ltd. said
that the company has been importing narcotic detectors from the U.S. for 1
year. They are now the official distributor in many countries in Asia; such
as China, North Korea, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia.
Although new to Asia, this equipment has been used in Europe and America for
some time. In Thailand, border-patrol police in 3 southern-border provinces
have already purchased their equipment and found that their bomb-detection
operations are more efficient. The company wants police, military officers,
and ONCB officers to use this equipment in their operations, so that bomb
and narcotic detection operations will be more effective than just using K-9
“Because the company introduced this equipment to Provincial Police Bureau
Region 5, we decided to call officers from that area who conduct narcotic
suppression operations to join the lecture. We still have not made a final
decision to purchase this technology because we have to consider the
effectiveness of using this equipment on our operations. Also, this
equipment is very expensive,” Pol. Lt. Gen. Kittithat said.
This new-innovation bomb and narcotic detector is called “ADE-100.” It costs
640,000 baht for each unit, and comes with a 2-year warranty. It can detect
a narcotic substance within 300 meters. However, officers must first pass a
2-week training program from the company’s experts.
Pol. Lt. Gen. Kittithat
Ruanthip closely monitored the situation as officers tested the bomb and
narcotic detectors. Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 officers stopped 3
cars and found 50 ya ba pills hidden in them.
Police Officers at the International Horticultural Expo still waiting for pay
Nearly 7 million baht is owed to police officers who are working the
International Horticultural Expo. After one month, very little money has
gone out to the police. Should this continue throughout the Expo, this
figure would rise to 20 million baht.
Pol. Col. Wirat Soomnaphan, head of the Traffic and Transportation Security
Center at the International Horticultural Exposition, asserted that the
security team has done well in the month of November. Official complaints
show that the biggest problem has been lost property. The losses were not
from theft, however, but because the owners left the property in restrooms,
or on tables and benches. Out of 40 persons with lost items, 32 had their
property returned. In other security issues, 15 people were slightly wounded
- 2 from accidents.
In order to pay for the additional security needs, 2 million baht was
transferred from the Department of Agriculture to be paid for training, and
purchasing and renting equipment involved in the Expo. However, it is
insufficient to pay for wages, accommodations, and fuel bills for police
Pol. Col. Wirat added that about 600 police officers who provide security in
the Expo are still unpaid from related agencies. The money for the wages has
to be taken from reserved funds from each agency that sent officers, but
they are still insufficient. Each officer is supposed to be paid 380 baht a
day. If officers work throughout the 90 days of the Expo, it will cost 20
million baht. A cause of the late payment is believed to be the withdrawing
process. However, police officers have everyday expenses, especially those
who come from remote districts and have to pay for accommodations.
Commanders brought reserved funds to pay, but came with an inadequate
amount. Involved agencies must work to resolve this quickly before large
Koala Exhibition opened at the Chiang Mai Zoo
The Chiang Mai Zoo has announced that the 4 koala bears from Australia
are rapidly adapting to their new environment. Visitors can now visit the
koala. Koala behavior research (including food consumption) will also be
The Australian government sent 4 koalas from the Taronga Zoo and Western
Plan Zoo to be monitored at the Chiang Mai Zoo. All of them arrived by
November 22. Since that time, the bears have been in the exhibition zone of
the Chiang Mai Zoo, but tourists have not been able to see them because
koalas must first adapt to their new environment.
Somchai Choti-apisittikul, a veterinarian who takes care of the koalas, said
that since they had been delivered, officers have closely monitored them 24
hours a day. All 4 Koalas are adapting very well, eating and defecating as
usual. If this continues, visitors can view the koala bears starting
December 4. Somchai also advised that people should refrain from shouting,
using flash cameras, and knocking on the glass during the exhibition. These
acts may cause the koalas to panic and become so tense that they could die.
Koalas generally spend approximately 20 hours a day sleeping, so visitors to
the zoo will have to be lucky to catch them in their 4 hours of activity.
They mainly eat eucalyptus leaves, which are abundant in Thailand.
Somchai said that the research project would definitely go forward because
the Chiang Mai Zoo must create a monthly report for Australia. Ken De la
Mot, an Australian koala expert who will help take care of the bears, said
that he is satisfied with the exhibition at the Chiang Mai Zoo. The
environment is at a world-class standard. Thus, it is assured that all 4
koalas will have a good life at the Chiang Mai Zoo.
Residents Unworried about the Effect of Martial Law on Chiang Mai’s Economy and Tourism
Udomrat Akkarachinores, vice-president of the Chiang Mai Chamber of
Commerce, said that the government still enforces martial law in Chiang Mai.
It is believed that this does not affect the economy in Chiang Mai, except
for those who are directly involved in politics. Businesses in Chiang Mai
still run smoothly with no changes, and foreigners still do business with
Thailand. Economically, the government’s new policy matters most, especially
how it affects local business. If there were tanks and soldiers patrolling
the streets, it would definitely affect overall business. However, there is
no such activity, and people still live their lives as usual.
Songvit Ittipattanakul, the president of the Chiang Mai Tourism Business
Association, is of the opinion that martial law has had no effect on tourism
in Chiang Mai. Foreign tourists do not worry about this matter and still
visit Chiang Mai.
However, seminar’s organized by local administration organizations, such as
the Provincial or Tambon Administration Organization (PAO or TAO) may be
affected if people are concerned about this political matter.
Animal Protection Law Sent to the Legislative Assembly
Sanya Sukrasorn, law consultant for the Thai Animal Guardians
Association, and Marry Ann Williams, of animal protection agency Baan Rak
Sat in the Mae Rim district of Chiang Mai, disclosed that the association
had drafted a law to prevent animal cruelty. The law, which was drafted a
year ago, provides protection against animals being treated in irresponsible
ways. If the law is enforced, it will help all animals, especially the ones
The law consultant added that last year Pierre Cardin, the well-known
designer, presented a symbol ESPOIR, a symbol of hope. The design shows a
man raising his right hand and spreading flowers, meaning that living things
should help one another. Therefore, he has contacted companies producing
animal food, asking them to display the symbol and donate a percentage of
their revenue to support animals, especially the many homeless animals that
have become a burden on society.
Authorities Successful in Obstructing Drug Smuggling in Chiang Mai
Police successfully completed 2 drug busts on the same day, November 29.
In the first, Pol. Col. Yuttachai Puaprasert, superintendent of Muang Chiang
Mai Police Station, assigned Pol. Lt. Col. Thanet Wiboonkiart, suppression
inspector, to arrest an opium dealing gang after he learned opium would be
smuggled from the Thai-Burmese border to Chiang Mai.
Thanet led officers to apprehend the gang, and two offenders were arrested.
Asong Simue, 34, was found with raw opium packed in five plastic lumps
weighing 30 grams. Police also reported that Akoo Mayer, 34, was arrested
for carrying 2 lumps of raw opium weighing 5 grams. Both are Chiang Rai
province residents. They were found at a house on Kamphaeng Din Road, in
Muang Chiang Mai. Police said that both confessed that the opium was
purchased from Tinnakorn Mayer, a Lisu tribesman living in Chiang Rai. They
said they intended to distribute the opium to foreign tourists.
In the second incident, officers of Provincial Police Bureau Region 5 were
able to capture Chadchanong Pusuwanrong (also known as Toy Bangmod), 41,
from Bangkok, along with Laksanawadee Kankaew, 37, from Surathanee province.
Police said the suspects were in possession of 2,000 ya ba pills that they
attempted to deliver to agents in Muang Chiang Mai.
Lt. Gen. Jiradech Khacharat, commander of the Third Army Region, said that
drug smuggling in the north was common, especially along the border.
However, good cooperation between soldiers and the police were effective in
obstructing drugs from entering Thailand. Constant vigilance allowed them to
remain in control of the situation.
Precautions taken against possible cross-border crime networks
Rumors about an undercurrent of illegal activities about to make trouble
in Thailand can cause difficulty for the government’s administration and
cause dissatisfaction in the society. The 3rd Army, who are in charge of
security in the Northern region, have issued an order to the security
division to provide security measures and follow-up on intelligence about
On November 9, Col. Suthat Jarumanee, special force commander of 7th
Infantry Regiment, welcomed administration agencies such as, provincial
police, provincial defense, provincial registrars, commanders of police
stations from every district, district registrars, and assistant district
officers (including rangers and border patrol police) to a meeting on
national security intelligence.
“Right now, the problem which jeopardizes national security is transnational
crime. However, in Mae Hong Son, it is considered cross-border crime because
those criminals infiltrate in many agencies to form their network. Then,
they infiltrate the Tambon Administration Organization (TAO) to make
residents believe they are the same group. This is very dangerous to the
country. So, the army must instruct the security divisions in the area to
trace any intelligence, and analyze the situation in order to intercept any
undercurrents before any damage is caused.” Col. Suthat said.
Ex-KNU soldiers riot at shelter camp
According to intelligence delivered by the 3rd Army, on November 8 about
300 Karen immigrants blockaded the Ministry of the Interior office in Mae La
Shelter Camp in Tak Province. During the blockade, they destroyed an
official’s car. Border defense voluntary officers shot M-16 rifles in the
air to warn the immigrants, but they were not afraid of the gunfire and did
not disperse. Voluntary officers decided to coordinate with the Naresuan
Task Force, who are in charge in Tak and Mae Hong Son, to send soldiers to
bring the immigrants under control. The camp was then closed and nobody was
allowed to enter the area. Electricity was also cut in order to investigate
the cause of the riot and penalize perpetrators.
One of Karen’s tribesman said that, previously, the son of a Karen National
Union’s soldier (KNU) was captured and hit. This caused dissatisfaction to
influential KNU soldiers who resided in the camp. They rioted and tried to
attack voluntary officers.
News sources also reported that, according to the intelligence, there are
approximately 40,000 Burmese Karen immigrants in the Mae La Shelter Camp.
Numerous ex-KNU soldiers live there with their families, and they have been
arming themselves. Ex-KNU soldiers frequently cause problems and do not
After the situation is settled, Thai police, military officers, voluntary
officers and administrative officers will inspect the camp to search for
weapons and explosives, which they believe that KNU have hidden inside.
Moreover, if any denizens do not follow the regulations, they will be
Winners at the 4th World Vision Foundation Cup
Winning teams received royal
On November 29, the World Vision Foundation arranged the “4th World
Vision Foundation Cup” sports competition for children less than 12 years
old. Held at the 700th Year Anniversary Stadium, the competition was divided
into 2 events - football and volleyball.
The winner of the football competition was Khunneing Project from Songkhla
province. HRH Crown Prince presented the royal cup to the winner. The 1st
runner-up was Sangkhom Project from Udon Thani province, and the 2nd
runner-up was Pong Pattana Project from Phayao province.
In volleyball, Pha Chang Noi Project from Phayao province won the royal cup,
presented by HRH Princess Sirindhorn. The 1st runner-up was Khun Tan Project
from Lampang, and the 2nd runner-up was Cha-Uad Project from Nakhon Si
Thammarat. The royal cups were also presented by Deputy Chiang Mai Governor