Chiang Mai bus station adds additional buses to accommodate holiday travelers
Chiang Mai bus station crowded
On January 2, the Chiang Mai bus station was packed with tourists trying to
get back to Bangkok after the New Year festival. To accommodate these
additional travelers, the Chiang Mai bus station has increased the number of
buses headed to the capital.
Bus station officer Wanchai Keethapang said that an extraordinary amount of
people want to journey to Bangkok in these few days, but they have been
polite and have had few complaints. The bus companies created additional
buses en-route to Bangkok’s main terminal station. In the evening, 160 buses
ran instead of the usual 80. If necessary, they can increase to 200 trips.
He trusts the passengers will encounter no problems in completing their
Bomb explodes in Chiang Mai, another defused
Chiang Mai Governor Wichai
Srikwan, Pol. Lt. Gen. Kittituck Lerngtib, Commissioner of Provincial Police
region 5, and soldiers of the 33rd Army investigate the bomb at Chiang Khan
Early in the morning of January 1st, Pol. Gen. Monthee Sanboonyanont, Deputy
Commander of Chiang Mai Provincial Police, received a report of a bomb at
Chiang Khan Mosque in the Muang district of Chiang Mai. Police were sent to
investigate and found bomb particles and two .33mm bullet cartridges.
Arsist, a 40-year-old witness, reported that the Burmese mosque guard was
cleaning the mosque when the bomber attacked. Arsist suffered a leg injury
and was sent to Chiang Mai Memorial Hospital.
Police interviewed Arsist at the hospital. He said he saw the bomb at the
front of the mosque in the morning. He believed the bomb came from teenagers
who were fighting the night before.
In a separate incident, a dustman for Chiang Mai city municipality at
Mahanakorn theatre on Chothana road in the Chiang Pheak sub-district of
Muang district in Chiang Mai, said he found a gift box in a garbage bin near
Siriwatthana Market. When he opened the box, he found a bomb with an
electrical board connected to a clock, calculator, and a plastic bar
resembling dynamite. He immediately called police who used an x-ray camera
to see inside the box. They then moved the bomb to Nong Hor shooting
gallery, where it would cause less damage. Once in a safe area, they used a
high-pressure water gun to destroy the package. Although the explosives were
not very powerful, police believe that due to the professional construction,
the bomb-makers were very knowledgeable about explosives.
Pol. Maj. Gen. Bundobp Sukhonthamand, Commander of the Chiang Mai provincial
police, said police believe the bombers intended to create chaos. Police
will now provide extra security downtown, at police locations, and at
33rd Army leader Lt. Gen. Jeesadet said he believes that those who planted
bombs in many places in Bangkok are unhappy with the situation in southern
Thailand and wanted to create problems.
Officers chasing heroin smugglers who sped through police checkpoint
On January 6, 2007, Pol. Capt. Jalernchai Jarupart, Sub-Inspector of Mae Sai
was commanding a security and drug checkpoint with Pa Muang special forces
at Pongngam sub-district, Mae Sai district, Chiang Rai. Police had learned
that many drug smugglers from Myanmar operated in the area. Officers noticed
a suspicious-looking bronze Toyota Vigo pickup truck attempt to drive though
the checkpoint and asked to search the car. The pickup then sped through the
checkpoint and officers followed.
After a short chase, the bandits abandoned the pickup and ran into the
forest. Officers found a bag inside the pickup used to carry 10 kilos of
heroin. After further investigation, officers learned Sawang, 40, of the
Hmong tribe, owned the pickup. Sawang resides in the Wiang Pa Pao district
of Chiang Rai.
Pol. Maj. Gen. Suthep Detruksa, Commissioner of Chiang Rai Province, ordered
a police blockade to arrest the smugglers. 200 Chiang Rai Officer’s of the
Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) manned the blockade. Officers were concerned
the fugitives were armed and might try to escape to the San Pa Sak
mountains. Thus far, the blockade has been unsuccessful.
Pol. Maj. Gen. Suthep Detruksa said that police are confident Sawang Chamua
is part of a network of drug gangsters in Chiang Rai, and have been
monitoring him for quite some time. They are now looking to arrest him.
High tourist season brings over 3 million visitors to Chiang Mai
Attendees at the Royal Flora Expo report a festive atmosphere at the
exhibition in Chiang Mai. Since its opening in November 2006, tourists have
crowded the expo and sold out tickets, especially on weekends. Many tourists
from other provinces have had to wait for tickets to Royal Flora Expo 2006,
forcing them to extend their stay in Chiang Mai hotels.
From November 1, 2006 to January 7, 2007, there were 2,744,063 total
visitors at the festival. By the end of January, it is predicted that the
total will exceed 3 million people.
Meanwhile, the Northern Meteorological Center reported that a strong cold
air mass from China has caused a drop in temperature to 12-17°C, reaching
down to 4-8 °C at the highest altitudes.
Winter marks the high tourist season in the north because tourists want to
experience the cold weather, and many like to camp in the forest to see
plants and animals in the national park.
Mae Hong Son governor initiates a job-training program with school administrators
Mae Hong Son Governor Deerak Khonkerb held a conference with school
administrators to develop a strategy to help the province become a city of
politics and culture. He also asked administrators to help find ways to
assist those who are disadvantaged.
Each district was ordered to search for disadvantaged citizens who can be
helped. Mae La Noi Khun Yum and Shom Maie have already developed a strategy
and actively support these goals. School administrators were chosen because
they work closely with children and are already in contact with parents.
The governor believes all schools have the potential to provide job training
to students. Those school districts without enough budget can ask for
assistance at the Tambon Administration Organization (TAO). If sufficient
money is not available, they can ask at the province level. Districts must
have concrete goals to help graduating students find work.
Arson suspected at the Lamphun Hospital director’s house
On January 3rd at 3pm, Commander of the Lamphun
Provincial Police Pol. Maj. Gen Nanont Singhara na Ayuttaya received a
report of a fire at the Lamphun Hospital Vice Director’s house. When police
detected the fire they sent 6 fire engines, but they were unable to stop the
fire. Including damage to vehicles and the surrounding areas, the estimated
cost to replace the damage from the fire will exceed 1 million baht.
Narin Aemklin, 51, a doctor and vice director at Lamphun hospital, said he
was staying at this house at the time of the fire, but was able to escape
when he smelled the smoke from the fire.
Later Pol. Lt. Col. Kittirut Lerntib, the Commissioner of Provincial Police
Region 5 led the investigation at the house. He said that evidence showed
the cause of the fire was likely arson due to a conflict with management of
the hospital although they still were unsure who was involved.
Straw that was found at the scene of the fire, and also in two places 60
meters away from the house. They found that the straw came from the same
source. An electrical line was also found to be cut, adding to the suspicion
that the fire was intentional. Police are checking people entering the
hospital for clues.
Holiday road accidents and fatalities in Chiang Mai reported
On January 3rd, the group dedicated to preventing and decreasing accidents
in Chiang Mai during the holiday season reported the results of their
program. From December 28, 2006 – January 3, 2007, 9 people were killed in
road accidents. All were men. There were also 125 accidents in Chiang Mai,
injuring 134 people. Of the 134 injured, 113 were men, while 21 women were
sent to the hospital. More than 80% of the accidents involved motorcycles,
and the most dangerous locations were village and sub-district roads,
followed by highway roads. Statistics for January 2nd included 17 accidents
which injured 18 people and left one dead.
Wilard Rujiwatthanawong, Vice Chiang Mai Governor, said people should be
extra careful on this last high traffic day as people go back to their
A concerted effort was also made by police in stopping illegal drug use at
the New Year festival. The Office of the Narcotics Control Board region 5
(ONCB) announced they had set up checkpoints and used Biosens equipment in
Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, and Lamphun. 50 officers were dispatched to the
Chiang Mai railway station to search for drugs.
Pittaya Jinawat, from the Vice Office of the Narcotics Control Board region
5, said officers were checking 8 provinces in northern Thailand. There were
100 checkpoints in existence, with a focus on Mae Tho, Wiang Pa Pao, Chiang
Rai, and Mae Tha. Officers used Biosens equipment to check driver’s on the
road. They also made a point of checking young people in every province at
entertainment venues, dormitories, and game shops.