Storms across the North bring disaster relief
Chiang Mai Mail online reporters
Royal disaster relief kits were distributed to residents in Phu Piang
and Muangnan district of Nan province after the areas had been hit by a
summer hail storm on April 16. Following HM the King’s great concern the
President of the Rajaprajanugroh Foundation under Royal Patronage,
Ditsatorn Watcharothai and a team of Foundation workers visited affected
areas to present the royal relief kits to storm residents on April 19,
2011. Residents from 68 storm-hit houses were granted the royal disaster
relief kits from the foundation at the Phu Piang district hall. The kits
contained rice, dried food and other necessities. Most of the affected
people are farmers living in poverty.
Phrae was also hard hit by storms and Phrae Governor Chian Sirinanporn
and his wife Sumalee President of the Phrae Red Cross, visited storm hit
areas in Ban Pong and Huay Mai on April 19 to inspect the hard hit
areas. The Governor instructed the Phrae Disaster Prevention and Relief
Office to help residents repair their homes damaged in the storms.
Strong winds and hail in a summer storm on April 17 caused damage to
around 20 homes in Pong and 33 houses in Huay Mai. Additionally around
20 rai of corn fields were damaged. The Governor asked citizens to keep
abreast of Meteorological Department warnings and to strengthen their
homes and public salas to provide shelter to passersby when storms hit.
Illegal migrant workers rounded up in Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai Mail online reporters
150 people suspected of being illegal workers were rounded up by Chiang
Mai police on April 19 at the Sri Mongkol and Atsadathorn intersection
in the Muang District of Chiang Mai.
Police from Chang Puak Police Station were joined by officials of the
Chiang Mai Employment Office after complaints from local residents of
large numbers of workers waiting for employers to pick them up were
received by the police Pol. Col. Monthon Panyayong reported.
Only 10 of the 150 people were found to be illegal however, while
another 30 were detained as their documents required further inspection.
Mostly Tai Yai, 110 of the people were released after proving their
The government expressed concern that a large number of illegal aliens
are living in Chiang Mai and that some of these people commit crimes,
further inspection will continue.
No serious earthquake damage to famous Phayao Buddha statue
The famous Phayao Buddha statue Phra Chao
Ton Luang suffered no damage from the March 24 earthquake but will need
renovation due to humidity damage.
Chiang Mai Mail online reporters
The Fine Arts Department sent experts to inspect the famous Phayao
Buddha image at Wat Sri Kom Kam in Wieng District of Phayao on April 19
to survey any possible damage following the March 24 earthquake.
Methadol Wijakkhana, Director of the 7th Fine Arts Office, Kittipan
Parnsuwan, of the Archaeology Office and Noppadol Poochai, Head of the
Phayao Office of National Archives reported that the earthquake had not
caused any damage to the statue but expressed concern that the humidity
was causing the outer surface of the statue to erode. Kittipan said that
the statue can be re-covered with lacquer and gold leaf but that the
pagoda structure needs to have a better ventilation system in order to
The team will come up with a plan for this and submit it to the Ministry
of Culture for budget allocation. The inspection crew also visited many
other historical sites in Phayao to survey for any earthquake damage.
Other ancient sites in the province also need renovation and repair
including the Buddha statue at Wat Analyo and the Phayao National
Archive building. The Director expects that the Cabinet will approve the
budget to renovate these ancient statues and buildings.
PM Abhisit visits Mae Hong Son
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejajiva paid a visit
to Mae Hong Son and stressed the need for treating all aspects of the
drug problem in Thailand, from trafficking to drug use.
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejajiva visited Mae Hong Son on April 25 and
noted that drug suppression measures cannot be successful so long as
demand in Thailand remains high and that it is important to tackle the
cause of drug use in order to fight the drug problem in Thailand.
He said that the Government has a policy to eliminate drugs from all
aspects of Thai society by implementing five measures to prevent and
stop drug trafficking with Mae Hong Son a key area of focus due to the
amount of drugs smuggled over the Myanmar border.
He noted that all sectors must cooperate to help solve the problem and
that focus must be given to prevent drug addiction among the youth. He
also visited Ratprachanukroh School in Mae Lanoi district, to observe
recent implementation of government policy on village public heath
He visited Boripatsueksa school in Mae Sarieng district, meeting with
people at the Chormjaeng market before travelling back to Chiang Mai and
then to Bangkok.
Opium poppy cultivation expands in Myanmar
Opium poppy cultivation continues to expand
in Myanmar districts opposite Mae Hong Son.
In this first part of a two part series on the drug situation in the
North, the cultivation of opium poppies is discussed, the second part
will focus on transit routes and obstacles confronting authorities in
confronting drug traffickers.
The Border Patrol Police (BPP) and military intelligence agencies report
that the areas opposite Mae Hong Son’s Pangmapha District and Ban
Pangkong Pass specifically have seen increasing cultivation of opium
The BPP sources report that Ho Main District in Lang Khoi Province of
Myanmar has seen more than 5,000 rai of land opened up for cultivation
of the poppies and that they are under the control and supervision of
the Southern Shan State (SSS) and the United Wa State Army (UWSA).
The sources added that Pa-o hill tribe villagers have indicated the
poppy fields have been expanding since 2008 under the direction armed
forces of the SS led by a Major who was the leader of the Ban Ho Main
village as well as Lisu man from Pai who has been hiding in Myanmar to
escape drug charges in Thailand. They added that Myanmar government
soldiers have cooperated with the SSS collecting tax on the output.
The raw opium is sold at 25,000 Baht per joi or 1.6 kg. It is then
delivered to heroin refineries under the control of the UWSA in Ban
Khailuang opposite Tambon Thamlod in Pangmapha District of Mae Hong Son.
Prior to 2008 the opium was sent to central parts of the Shan state in
Doi Laem Province under the control of the Myanmar government and the
Red Pa-o or SNPLO. However, since then the opium is being sent to the
Red Wa as they offered higher prices.
The Wa National Army, Shan State Army and Pa-o National Liberation
Organization along with the SSS have been fighting against the Myanmar
government and their patrols of drug routes and tax collection on opium
has resulted in the change of refining areas
The heroin refineries in Myanmar are concentrated in four key areas; Ban
Nayai in Shan State, belonging to former Muan Tai soldiers under the
former heroin kingpin Khun Sa and Chinese Haw; Ban Nong Tao also in the
Shan State under the control of the Red Pa-o; Ban Rongmak-o in Langkua
Province opposite Ban Pangkong Pass under the control of the UWSA; and
Ban Kongthewee in Ban Khailuang of the Shan State opposite Ban Kailuang
Pass in Mae Hong Son under the control of the Red Wa.
Main transit routes are found at Ban Huay Pueng Pass and Ban Huaysan in
Muang District Mae Hong Son, Ban Harndred Pass, Ban Maisangnam, Ban
Pangkong Pass, Ban Huarang in Pangmapha District of Mae Hong Son, Pai
District in Mae Hong Son and Galyanivadhan District and Mae Taeng
District of Chiang Mai.
The nature of elephants
Carol Buckley has dedicated her life to
helping elephants live a natural life.
By Shana Kongmun
So much around us here in Thailand involves the elephant, and indeed
this great creature is a symbol of the country. Sadly, an endangered
symbol that more often than not, is mistreated and abused.
Carol Buckley is a woman who loves elephants. She said she was initially
interested in exotic animal training when, one day in the town where she
went to college in Southern California, she saw a baby Asian elephant
walking down the dusty road. Fluffy was her name and she was working as
an attraction for some store in town. Carol said she volunteered to help
take care of her and from that moment on her love of elephants was born.
She helped to co-found the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, many may
know it for the famous story of the elephant, Bella and her best friend
Tarra. The Elephant Sanctuary is a place for retired elephants and they
often pair up as elephants are a social creature more used to living in
families then alone. Bella, however, paired up with Tarra and the two
friends are inseparable.
Carol is also the founder of Elephant Aid International, an organization
working to promote humane, non-dominant methods of training as well as
teaching the importance of foot care and the need for proper food and
care for elephants.
The problem lies in the fact that elephants are supposed to roam over
vast areas. They are a vital part of the eco system in which they live,
foraging allows the trees to thrive, they clear areas that bring in
sunlight and their droppings fertilize. “You see trees growing out of a
pile of elephant manure,” Carol noted. A healthy elephant leading a
normal life will forage when needed and the walking will keep the foot
pads healthy. However, many elephants are fed a concentrated feed, like
cows, which doesn’t provide the natural roughage they need and being
confined to small spaces causes their feet to develop ingrown toenails
and ingrown skin.
And while Carol reflects the reality of the elephant in Asia is the ever
decreasing spaces allowed to them, she said it is of vital importance
that they be allowed to walk and stay off hard surfaces that can lead to
major feet problems. She noted that they can develop osteomyelitis, or
bone infections, from standing too much on hard surfaces. This can take
years to develop and years to eventually kill the animal as it slowly
loses bone mass, and toes then parts of it feet. Eventually, she said,
they can no longer stand and while there is nothing wrong with their
body, the legs and feet can no longer support them. Either they are put
down or eventually die what is a long and painful death. She noted this
is prevalent in the West where 3 out of 4 elephants will eventually die
from this and hopes to prevent this from occurring in Asia by teaching
not only the needs of the elephant but also proper foot care for the
Her enthusiasm for all things elephant is clear and her care and love
for these giant animals shines through. The importance of humane and
gentle training for elephants is regularly stressed, she also noted that
the brutal breaking of a young elephant is not necessarily an Asian
thing as many in the West will use cattle prods to break young elephants
She has just returned from trips to Nepal and Sri Lanka where she has
been working with mahouts on training and foot care and from India where
the Foundation is working on elephant care centers. In 2008 the Indian
Government mandated that all elephants be removed from zoos and be
placed in alternative facilities better suited to address their needs.
However, there are not enough national parks or sanctuaries for this, so
the Foundation is working to start a series of elephant care centers.
In Thailand she visited the Elephant Nature Park here in Chiang Mai to
teach foot care and work to instruct mahouts on new methods of training
as well as the newly established Elephants World in Kanchanaburi and the
Wildlife Friends of Thailand’s Elephant Refuge and Education Center in
She said she believes the future will be better for elephants in
Thailand, she notes that it won’t be an overnight change, as, “nothing
ever is” but attitudes are changing and that as attitudes change the
government will also follow suit and, hopefully, one day, enact laws to
protect the captive elephants and this country’s national symbol and
ensure their humane treatment.
The Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai and
it’s founder Sangduen “Lek” Chailert, seen here with one of the young
elephants that live there, was one of Carol’s stops where she enjoyed
working with the elephants and mahouts.
Roshan Dhunjibhoy of Lanna Dog Rescue
Roshan is seen here in her tireless work
help dogs in Chiang Mai with Lanna Dog Rescue.
Roshan Dhunjibhoy dedicated her retirement years to Lanna Dog Rescue
since her arrival in Chiang Mai in 1999. Prior to that she was a
documentary film maker in Germany with her German husband and traveled
the globe. She also studied acting, spoke 4 languages fluently,
including German, French, English, and Urdu, and moderate Thai. She
lived in Pakistan, France, India, Germany and Thailand. For a while she
worked with an organization to help oppressed women in Pakistan. In
Thailand she dedicated her life to dogs and started the Lanna Dog Rescue
that became the first organization who, with the help of local
governments, initiated a regular program to sterilize and vaccinate
street dogs. She visited local temples to feed and treat sick dogs.
Her 7 dogs have been left homeless and anyone interested in adopting
please contact Lanna Dog Rescue. Lanna Dog Rescue has also started a new
building and in lieu of flowers donations can be made. Siam Commercial
Bank, Branch Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai, 566-4 34632-7. Donations
to U.S. and German banks are also possible, please contact Lanna Dog
Rescue for details. http://www.lannadog.net/ or facebook:
Services will be held at Wat Pa Paeng May 7 and 8, please contact Lanna
Dog Rescue for details.
Chiang Mai ranked 4th in Songkran deaths
Chiang Mai Governor ML Panadda Diskul hopes
to implement programs to further cut down on the number of road deaths
during long holidays. (File Photo)
Chiang Mai Mail online reporters
The “seven dangerous days” of Chiang Mai Songkran during April 11 – 17
ended with 11 deaths ranking Chiang Mai 4th in the national death toll.
The Chiang Mai Governor will aim for a lower number of fatalities for
the next long weekend.
This was an 8.3% drop from last year, Chiang Mai Governor ML Panadda
Diskul noted at the closing meeting of the Songkran 2011 Road Accident
Prevention Center. 9 of the victims were male and out of 88 injuries, 67
were male and 21 female. There 92 accidents during the 7 dangerous days
The main cause of accidents was drunk driving while unsafe motorcycle
riding and speeding were the other causes. All of the dead were local
Chiang Mai people with no tourist deaths recorded. 4,000 drivers were
caught at checkpoints during the holiday season.
Excise officials arrested 56 sellers of alcohol for selling without a
license and 77 drunk people were caught.
The Governor said that while the reduced accidents was a good move in
the right direction, the Province will prepare for Loy Krathong and New
Years by offering rehabilitation courses for repeat offenders and other
5 districts in Chiang Mai reported no accidents and the Governor said
the Province would reward these districts for their efforts in
preventing road accidents.
Summer storm damages crops and houses
Chiang Mai Mail online reporters
A severe summer storm struck 3 districts in Chiang Mai on April 18,
affecting 105 villages in 10 tambons and damage to numerous crops and
Mae Wang, San Patong and Doi Tao districts saw the most damage with 39
villages in Mae Wang affecting 3,754 households, while San Patong saw
2,330 households affected in 32 villages and Doi Tao had damage in 34
People in damaged areas were visited and assisted by local
administrative officers. Local construction materials vendors were
contacted by the officers to repair infrastructure according to the head
of Chiang Mai Provincial Disaster Prevention and Relief Prajon
3 villages in Phrae saw damage from hail storms on April 17, causing
damage to 33 houses with 3 houses completely destroyed and 20 rai of
damage to area corn fields in Huai Mai in Song District, Phrae Governor
Chuan Sirinanporn reported after surveying the damage. 20 houses in Baan
Pong Hua Hard in Soong Men District were damaged and the Phrae
Provincial Red Cross visited the village to provide relief kits.
The Northern Meteorological Center has warned that severe summer storms
could occur frequently as high pressure has been covering the Kingdom
and temperatures remain high. This causes many areas to have strong
winds, rain and even hail.
Chiang Rai drug bust nets 2kg of ya ice
Drug dealer killed in Mae Hong Son
Chiang Mai Mail online reporters and Khajohn Boonpath
A policeman and a member of the military and 3 other accomplices
were arrested for smuggling 2 kilograms of ya ice or crystal
methamphetamine worth 10 million baht Chiang Rai city on April 19 Pol
Maj Gen Songtham Alpatch, Commander of Chiang Rai Provincial Police
Police Sergeant Jittichai Ngao-sa of Phyathai in Bangkok was arrested
along with Private Suriya Sae Jiew of Pathumwan in Bangkok along with
the other suspects; Narin Prinprasert of Samut Prakan, Abhisit
Chantimsri of Bangkok and Chalermwat Prakonethep of Nakhon Sawan.
Police found the drugs packed in tea bags along with 100,000 baht in
cash and several weapons. Cars, phones and bank books were also
confiscated. The three suspects told the police that the drugs belonged
to friends staying at the Wiang Inn Hotel, Chiang Rai, so the police
raided and charged Abhisit and Police Sergeant Chittichai. Four of the
men confessed the charges, but Narin denied it.
A drug dealer was killed in the forest in Pai District, Mae Hong Son
near the Myanmar border, authorities reported.
On April 21 the Mae Hong Son Police and Pai District officials
encountered a local Lahu man after receiving a tip off that drug
smuggling would be taking place in Wiangnue. Police stopped the man to
search him when the report he pulled out a gun and shot at the police.
The police returned fire. The man, identified as Chasor Patue of Tambon
Thamlod died at the scene. Police found 2,000 Yabaa tablets, the gun and
ammunition and a knife on his body.
PRD announces new projects in the North
The Public Relations Department (PRD) announced the launch of a new
television station run by the PRD, PRD, Region 3 Office Director Mrs.
Jintana Singsuramet announced recently.
Mrs. Laddwan Bua-iam, the Deputy Director General of the PRD, noted that
TV Channel 11 is a public channel and it needs network members to help
it develop. She added that the public should give feedback to improve TV
The new television station will offer 18 hours of programming under the
“Dream Art Academy” along with Radio Thailand and Butterfly Record Co.
to present programs that encourage the arts and offer improvement of
skills through a variety of entertainment programs.
The second project that the PRD announced is the launch of the “Eco Town
Eco Tour which Surachai Jongrak, Permanent Secretary of State for Chiang
Mai Provincial Authority, Prayard Anantapradit, the head group of
environment work of the Chiang Mai Provincial Office of Natural
Resources and Environment, and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pongthep Wiwattanadej,
the Head of Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai
University are working together on the project.
This project is in conjunction with the PRD, Region3, and Mae Hong Son
Provincial Office of Natural Resources and Environment, as well as its
Offices in Chiang Mai, Lampang and Lamphun, to help promote
environmentally friendly policies and make town living more friendly and
Chiang Mai sees drop in Songkran accidents, deaths
By Phitsanu Thepthong and Khajohn Boonpath
The number of road accidents in Chiang Mai during the Songkran festival
from April 11-16 saw a decrease when compared to last year because of
the ‘integrated promotional campaign” according to the Land Transport
Department and Chiang Mai provincial officials.
They said the stepped up measures to check blood alcohol content of
drivers, and road check points were a factor in the lower numbers this
Chiang Mai saw 83 injuries and 9 deaths from road accidents this year,
lower than last year’s 130 injuries and 11 deaths.
Five people were arrested for alcohol sales during the festival, while
78 people had their blood alcohol content checked and were charged when
it was found above the limits. Chiang Mai Police also cracked down on
safety laws; charging 473 people with not wearing a helmet on a
motorcycle, 386 people were charged with not wearing seat belts in cars,
and 818 people were found to be driving without a license.
Officials from the Road Accident Prevention and Safety Control
Operations Center said that high speed, reckless driving and drunk
driving were the main cause of road accidents.
During April 11- 14 Mae Hong Son also saw a reduction in the number of
road accidents when compared to last year. This year saw 19 injuries and
no deaths while last year there were 29 cases mostly caused by drunk
driving and reckless driving according to Thaweesak Wattanathamaraks,
Deputy Governor of Mae Hong Son, acting as director of the Safety
Control Operations Center in Mae Hong Son.
Nationwide 271 people were killed and 3,476 others injured in 3,215 road
accidents from April 11 to 17, the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation
Department reported Monday, April 18, 2011.
Thai-Japan Education Development Foundation donates to Japan disaster survivors
Tomoharu Abihara, left, the Foundation
director and Mrs. Niramil Abihara, a Foundation Committee member
presented donations and money to Mr. Mitsuya Aizawa, 3rd left, committee
and council members of Miyagi Council, at its prefecture offices on
By Chiang Mai Mail online reporters
On the one month anniversary of the Japanese quake and tsunami disaster
committee members of the Thai Japan Education Foundation travelled to
Japan to offer donations to survivors as well as give greetings and
cards from the people of Chiang Mai for Mitsuya Aizawa of the special
committee on Quake Disaster of Miyagi Council prefecture, and Mr.
Kazuyoshi Hatakeyama, the council chairman of Miyagi prefecture to
distribute to those affect4ed in hard hit Miyagi Prefecture.
The Foundation committee also visited the quake and tsunami-hit areas,
and new settlement areas in Miyagi, Japan.
The Thai Japan Education Development Foundation collected more than half
a million baht between March 12-31 as well as goods and necessities for
the survivors of the disaster.
Foundation staff, Chiang Mai University staff, and Naresuan University
researchers were supported by Mr. Tetsuo Ando, the business operator at
Sendai and NGOs staff when they visited the disaster hit areas,
including Miyagi prefecture.
For more information: please contact Thai-Japan Education Development
Foundation (TJEDF). http://tjedf.com/. [email protected] 081-972-9863.
Small Steps raises funds for Southern flood victims
Guests join organizers Jason Tamthai, Preeya
Pramukkul and Tamarind Village General Manager Naphat Nutsati for the
event at the resort.
A charity fundraiser held at the Tamarind Village on Sunday April 10,
2011 to help villagers affected by the severe floods in Southern
Thailand this month. More than 40,000 baht was raised at the event which
featured a silent auction with donations by Tamarind Village, Wine
Gallery, Banthai Village, 2nd Floor Gallery, The House & Ginger,
Rayavadee, Anyawee and Best Western Krabi, AKA Hua Hin, D2, and Azaya
Villas. The donation was given to Dr. Wuttisak Pitsuwan of the
Prateepsasana Foundation for Educational Development (PFED) for
distribution to affected villagers.
The death toll from the floods in Southern provinces reached 61, 535
houses were destroyed and 10,574 were damaged
Hailstorms hit Nan
Chiang Mai Mail online reporters
The Northern Province of Nan saw hail storms and strong winds and rain
damage more than 200 houses and cause serious agricultural damage in the
evening of April 17, 2011.
The sudden struck hard, with hail reported in Muang and Phupiang
Districts damaging houses, rice barns and fruit trees and stored crops.
Lamyai and mango trees were damaged with blossoms knocked off, rubber
trees saw damage and harvested and dried soybeans were destroyed in the
storm after getting soaked with water.
Homes saw rooftops blown off, and the wind knocked down trees into
houses and electricity poles causing a blackout in the two towns.
Nien Luangrit, Deputy President of Na Pang Tambon Administrative
Organization in Phupiang District reported that officials are inspecting
damages and will ask for more financial help once the estimates are
Mr. Thawat Phetveera, the head of the Nan Provincial Public Disaster
Relief and Prevention Office noted that they could ask the Governor to
approve an emergency budget of about 50 million baht to help people