Chiang Mai welcomes new U.S. Consul General
New U.S. Consul General raises
a toast to HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
Shana Kongmun, Photos by Supoj
The U.S. Consulate General’s charming
location on the river was filled with people of all nationalities coming to
greet the new U.S. Consul General, Kenneth L. Foster. Mr. Foster was on hand
to receive the many hundreds of well wishers which included the Governor of
Mae Hong Son, Consuls General from China and Japan, Consuls, Honorary
Consuls, Army and Police officers, government officials both provincial and
local, local business leaders, and members of not only the American
community but the entire expat community in Chiang Mai.
The receiving table was piled high with
the abundance of beautiful flowers as Ken Foster greeted his guests. He then
joined the party to raise a toast to the friendship between the United
States and the Kingdom of Thailand and toast His Majesty the King on the
occasion of his 84th birthday. He then went on to note that as
far back as 10 years, Chiang Mai was his dream post and that he was thrilled
that his dream finally came true.
Chiang Mai Governor ML Panadda Diskul
then took the stand to raise a toast to the United States and to President
Barack Obama and the First Lady, Michelle Obama. The crowd enjoyed his
speech as he talked of the long history of the relationship between the two
countries and how HM King Rama V, King Mongkut, who considered President
Abraham Lincoln a good friend, offered President Lincoln elephants for use
in the Civil War.
The cloudless evening remained pleasant
as Mr. Foster had yet another enjoyable introduction to Chiang Mai.
Governor ML Panadda Diskul (center) shares a drink and a laugh with U.S.
Consul General Kenneth L. Foster and Chiang Mai business and academic
Consul General Zhu Wei Min and his wife greet the new American Consul
Son Governor Naruemol Plawat greets the new Consul General with a gift of
Police Region 5 officials offer American Consul General Kenneth Foster
flowers to welcome him to Chiang Mai.
gathered crowd listened to the new U.S. Consul General give his speech in
both Thai and English.
City police make an arrest in Top Charoen murder
The suspect in the murder of
Sakulwaree Deemak was surrounded by police and wearing protective clothing
as he left the Top Charoen Optical Shop on Chotana Road, outside of which
angry citizens had gathered.
Provincial Police Region 5 and the
Chief of Chiang Mai police announced the arrest of a suspect in the murder
of 25 year old Sakulwaree Deemak on February 24, 2012. Ms. Sakukwaree, an
employee of the Top Charoen Optical Shop was found murdered in her rooms
above the Top Charoeon Optical shop on Chotana Road on February 20, 2012.
Her body was found by co-workers on the
morning of February 20 where she had sustained fatal wounds to her head and
her gold necklace, ring and bracelet had been stolen.
31 year old Oh Jittung has been charged
with the murder after he was arrested at the Cosmo Gas Station in Saraphi
where he worked as a security guard and where they also found a tire iron
they believe was used in the attack.
The suspect has been charged with
trespass at night, and robbery with murder. The accused confessed to the
charges and was taken to the shop for a reenactment where police and the
suspect were surrounded by angry citizens.
Car in the moat
The car of a 23 year old
young CMU student ended up in the moat at 4 p.m. February 23, 2012 but
nobody was injured in the accident. The young woman said that she was coming
along the road inside the moat and just as she reached the u-turn near
Somphet Market, a Dodge vehicle came through the area very fast, cutting her
off and forcing her to turn the wheel quickly, which caused the car to end
up in the moat. (Photo by Sitthixay Ditthavong)
Haze eases in the city
As winds cleared the haze and
reduced PM10 levels of 180 micrograms per cubic meter, which was dangerously
high to recent readings of 81 mcg, the city and police increased efforts to
reduce current and future pollution in the city with smog checks of vehicles
on the road and fire trucks sprayed water in the air to reduce the dust. The
city has instituted pickups of leaves and plant material on Saturdays and
Sundays. Please call 053259117, 085 7179196 to collect leaves. The
government has set up hotlines for members of the public to call if they see
fires. Inside the city please call 053 234444, 234193. The number for fires
in the Province and outside Chiang Mai city is 05 340 9345.
Nawamin students protest at City Hall to remove the school director
Students from Nawamin
Ratchutit Payap school gathered at City Hall to demand the ouster of the
Students from Nawamin Ratchutit Payap
School gathered in front of City Hall on Friday, February 17, 2012 to
protest against the school’s Director, Nikhom Sindhuphong.
More than 1,000 students submitted a
letter of protest to the Director of Education for Area 34, Manop Deemee to
request the removal of the Director for malfeasance.
In the list of reasons for his removal
were the use of inappropriate language with students and teachers,
corruption and asking students for money, and berating teachers and students
publicly. Additionally, money was used for unnecessary buildings when the
school has a shortage of toilets for the students.
The students negotiated with the head
of the Education Department who had said that Director Nikhom would be
removed on February 20, but students felt that was too much of a delay and
demanded his immediate dismissal. The Education department considered the
requests of students, teachers and board members and the director of the
school was dismissed.
City surveys areas for underground cables
Mai Municipality has begun working with the Provincial Electricity Authority
(PEA) and other cable providers in surveying areas around the city to have
electric, cable and phone lines buried in a project to beautify the city and
restore the beauty of the city’s historical sites and neighborhoods.
25 year old woman murdered in robbery
A 25 year old Lampang resident was
murdered in her rooms over the Top Chareon Optical shop on Chotana road on
February 20, 2012 in what police believe was a robbery and attempted rape.
25 year old
Sakulwaree Deemak was found murdered in her rooms over the Top Charoeon
Optical shop on Chotanan Road on February 20, 2012.
At 11:00 a.m. on February 20, 2012
Chang Phuak Police were informed that the young woman had been found
murdered in her rooms in the three storey building. Police found Sakulwaree
Deemak lying face down on her bed with severe injuries to the side of her
head where she had been struck with a blunt object.
The victim had been alone in the
building, and was last known to be alive at midnight when she phoned a
friend to discuss work.
The motorcycle shop attached to the
side of the building had been broken into, giving the thief access to the
shop. Police surmise that someone had then attacked the woman in an attempt
to rape her and when she died during the struggles, stole a gold necklace
off her body.
Region 5 Police continue the
investigation to find the murderer of the young woman.
Shallot farmers ask for government assistance as prices decline
Doi Tao shallot farmers meet
with Governor ML Panadda Diskul to request government assistance in
obtaining fair prices for their shallots.
More than 100 Doi Tao District shallot
farmers gathered at City Hall to request government assistance due to the
declining prices of red shallots.
Representatives of the farmers said, in
the claim submitted to Chiang Mai Governor ML Panadda Diskul on February 20,
2012, that brokers were suppressing prices to only 5 baht per kilogram even
though market prices were at 9 baht per kilogram. They added that many had
increased production after the price of shallots reached 15 baht per
kilogram last year and that Chinese shallots distributed under a Free Trade
Agreement were flooding the market and causing prices to fall. They asked
for government assistance in setting the price per kilo of shallots.
Governor ML Panadda Diskul said that
would encourage retailers to buy directly from local farmers instead of
middlemen and would urge the Department of Trade and supply chain
organizations to accelerate the purchase yield of shallots in Chiang Mai.
Smog blankets Chiang Mai
The smoke season starts as
Chiang Mai skies are covered in haze on February 17, 2012.
As smoke and smog covered the famed view of Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai on
February 17, 2012 the Pollution Control Department reported the PM10 numbers
or particles larger than 10 microns ranged from 83.4 to 235.3 micrograms per
cubic meter. The Air Quality and Noise Management Bureau in the Pollution
Control Department said the overall air quality would have an effect on
health but was not yet at crisis levels in Chiang Mai.
Values between 101-200 can cause harm to people’s health and so health
officials have warned residents with respiratory problems to avoid outdoor
exercise and for everyone, especially the elderly and children to also avoid
prolonged outdoor activities.
The AQM’s report stated that the PM10 level at Chiang Mai City Hall was
109.58 micrograms per cubic meter while Yupparaj Witthayalai School Station
reported 91.20 mcg.
Other northern provinces were hit harder with most monitoring stations
exceeding the Thai government’s recommended maximum levels of a 120 mcg per
cubic meter; Lampang City Pillar station reported 235.33 mcg, Mae Moh 192.33
mcg, Lamphun PAO stadium 194.74 micrograms per cubic meter. Phrae
meteorological station 218.08 mcg, Knowledge Park, Phayao 121.46 mcg, Nan
municipality 92.92 mcg, Mae Hong Son 109.33 mcg while Chiang Rai saw
pollution levels at 86.46 micrograms per cubic meter.
Mr. Banpot Kanthasen, Director Office of Natural Resources and Environment
Chiang Mai, said in a video February 15 that the province had been working
with relevant authorities to establish a center to coordinate between the 15
districts in tackling forest fires and to prevent haze. The center will
coordinate resources and manpower among provincial, district and local
governments to mobilize against forest fires and promote cooperation among
farmers and people in urban areas to not burn fields or rubbish.
Flood aid distributed to victims
Muang Chiang Mai District Chief Adisorn
Kamnerdsiri joined with Chiang Mai Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn and other
government officials in distributing flood aid to victims of last year’s
floods on February 16, 2012. The Municipality, in cooperation
with the Provincial Office of Social Development and Human
Security, has distributed a total of 892,000 baht to needy families in the
50 kilos of Ya Ice 1.73 million Yaba tablets seized in Chiang Rai
Largest drug seizure of the year
Police display the 50 kg of
crystal methamphetamine and over 1.73 million methamphetamine tablets seized
in Chiang Rai.
Nopniwat Krailerg and Supoj
Damapong with Police
Region 5 Commander
Pol. Lt. Gen. Suthep Dejraksa announced the arrest of Worranat Changtaeng,
age 24, at Police Region 5 on February 14, 2012, with the largest drug
seizure of the year; 1,736,000 methamphetamine tablets or Yabaand 50
kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, or Ya Ice, worth over 500 million
Police have been investigating cross
border drug trafficking groups that have been entering the country through
Phaya Meng Rai in Chiang Rai province. A tip off led police to search a hut
where drugs had been reported to be hidden before being transported to
Bangkok in Baan Huay Nam Lat in Chiang Rai.
Police found the young Hmong hilltribe
man living in the hut and arrested him when they found 17 bags of Yaba and
50 kg of Ya Ice hidden in a hole in the ground that had been covered up with
grass. He declined comment on the drugs, saying he was watching them for
National Police Chief Damrong added
that the police had been instructed to concentrate on the interception of
smuggled drugs by working with the military and administrative officials to
coordinate on investigation and interception of drug smugglers.
Further investigation has led to the
arrest of 5 more in Mae Pao in Chiang Rai.
Cycling for a green city
Dutch Ambassador joins in bicycle tour of monumental trees
Dutch Ambassador Joan Boer is
joined by the President of Mae Jo University, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Chamnian
Yosarat, Director of the Regional Environment Office 1, Apiwat Kunarak, and
the Deputy Secretary General of the Offices of Natural Resources and the
Environment, Mr. Santi Boonprakub, Ms. Daphne Dernison, Agricultural
Counselor for the Dutch Embassy, city officials and students and Yawanit
Tharachai, who helped survey the trees.
A new book titled Monumental Trees was launched at Tha
Pae Gate on Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 9 a.m. by the Dutch Ambassador
to Thailand H.E. Mr. Joan A. Boer who was joined by Municipal Officials as
well as collaborators on the book, the President of Mae Jo University,
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Chamnian Yosarat, Director of the Regional Environment
Office 1, Apiwat Kunarak, and the Deputy Secretary General of the Offices of
Natural Resources and the Environment, Mr. Santi Boonprakub.
Today’s ride, titled “Go Green Go Dutch
Go bike Go Chiang Mai” saw the Dutch Ambassador joined by cycling groups,
students and government officials in the ride from Tha Pae Gate to Suan Buak
Haat Park to view some of the old monumental trees in the city.
cycling groups joined the tour and encouraged residents of Chiang Mai to get
off their motorbikes and out of their cars and ride a bike.
The new book on Monumental Trees in
Chiang Mai has been produced by the Office of the Ministry of Economic
Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the
Netherlands and the Urban Development Institute, Yawanit Tharachai from Mae
Jo University, and Dr. Duangchan Apavatjrut Charoenmuang of Chiang Mai
University’s Social Research Institute.
About 20-25 trees in public places
around Chiang Mai qualified as monumental either due to size, age, or
religious significance and were included in the book and many were visited
on the bicycle tour today.
Ambassador Boer stressed the importance
of green cities and praised Chiang Mai’s willingness to aim for that goal.
He said he was looking forward to the ride, pulled off his tie and said “I
am Dutch and we have much experience with bicycles!”
Readers interested in obtaining a copy
of the book on Monumental Trees, which is in English and Thai, can be
obtained by writing to
[email protected]. The Embassy has kindly offered some copies
for Chiang Mai Mail readers.
cyclists joined the ride as well as those just in it for the fun, these
gentlemen proving that keeping fit keeps you young!
Dernison, Agricultural Counselor for the Embassy of the Kingdom of the
Netherlands joins students for the ride.
Couple arrested after assault and robbery of Chinese tourist
The young couple arrested for
the assault and robbery of a Chinese tourist in Chiang Mai last month,
re-enacted the crime for the Muang District Police.
Chiang Mai police arrested a young Thai couple in conjunction of the assault
and robbery of a Chinese tourist, Ms. Liu Xiao Hong, age 36, who was
assaulted by the couple at Wat Chedi Luang at 6 a.m. on January 25, 2012.
Ms. Liu was hit in the head with a piece of wood and her purse was stolen by
a young couple on a blue Honda Mio motorbike. The victim was taken to the
hospital where she remained in care for a week.
Eyewitnesses were able to give the Chiang Mai police a good description and
a review of known criminals led police to investigate Nattapong or Benz
Chaithep, age 19, who had been arrested for similar crimes in August of 2010
and was released on Royal Pardon in December 2011.
Police searched his home in the Wat Gate area where they arrested Benz and
his girlfriend, 21 year old Netamporn Insao. Police found the mobile phone
that had been stolen by a German tourist on February 3 in the Phra Singh
The couple confessed their crime, Muang Police Chief Pitsanu Oonhaseri said,
noting that they admitted to preying on tourists because they wouldn’t be
staying in Chiang Mai long and would be unlikely to provide many details of
Chiang Mai Governor ML Panadda Diskul noted that crimes of opportunity can
happen everywhere but that the Chiang Mai police are working hard to make
the city safe for visitors and residents. He added that they may have to
revise their guidelines on those receiving Royal Pardons.
A representative from the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of
China offered the Consul General’s gratitude, adding that the travel warning
on the website was not recommend that people not come to Chiang Mai but
rather that visitors should exercise caution, especially women. He added
that Chiang Mai is a peaceful city and is becoming more known among Chinese
tourists and that the Consulate wants Chinese visitors to travel to the city
and have a feeling of security.
Thailand Long stay Seminar in Chiang Mai
Japan Consul General Kazuo
Shibata and President of the Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce Narong
Kongprasert visit the seminar held at the Kantary Hills Hotel on Friday,
February 10, 2012.
The Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce
together with the Tourism Authority of Thailand Osaka office held a seminar
titled "Thailand Longstay Seminar in Chiang Mai" on Friday, February 10,
2012 at the Kantary Hills Hotel Chiang Mai. Japanese Consul General Kazuo
Shibata joined President of the Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce Narong
Kongprasert at the seminar.
This seminar was held for Japanese
tourists who are interested in staying long term in Chiang Mai. About 40
people traveled from Japan with several different tour companies to visit
Chiang Mai and attend the seminar.
Lectures were held on the potentials of
long stay visits to Chiang Mai by the President of the Japanese Long Stay
group Mr. Kunitada Shoji and Mr. Yasuo Tomnitani. Prof. Dr. Kannikar
Pornpatkul, Vice Chair of the Chiang Mai Rajjavej Hospital and President of
the Thai Hotels Association for the North, Phunat Thanalaopanich talked to
attendees about medical facilities and accommodation in Chiang Mai. Many
Japanese find Chiang Mai an attractive retirement location due to the
climate, availability of facilities and health care.
Dredging project begins
The Chiang Mai Municipality
is working with Wing 41 to improve drainage of water running into the city
from the mountain by creating a reservoir at Wing 41 and by dredging canals
and waterways to improve water flow and increase water storage in a bid to
reduce flooding in the city in the upcoming rainy season. Chiang Mai Mayor
Tussanai Buranupakorn joined with city officials and Wing 41 officers to
mark the beginning of the project on February 9, 2012 AT 10 A.M. at Wing 41
Air Force Base.
Mobile clinics continue around the city
MOBILE: Local residents
brought their pets in for free rabies vaccinations. Also available were free
health checkups, eye checks, haircuts, massage, and low cost organic
vegetables along with motorbike and appliance repair provided by Rajabhat
Technology Institute students.
The Department of Public Health and the Chiang Mai
Municipality are offering mobile clinics around the city with services such
as health checkups, eye checks, rabies vaccinations, local organic
vegetables and motorbike and appliance repair for free to local residents.
The most recent event took place in Chang Phuak on February 8, 2012 from
4:30 p.m. The Municipality is continuing the program from last year when
hundreds of people received medical care and vaccinations for their pets at
mobile clinics. 053-259-121 for more information.
Under the Umbrella of the King: the 36th annual Chiang Mai Flower Festival
The beautifully decorated
floats that traversed the city streets also featured the Miss Chiang Mai,
Miss Flower Bloom and Miss Flower Bloom International winners. (Photo by
The 36th Annual Flower Festival was held in Chiang Mai from February 3 to 5
with the theme “Under the Umbrella of HM the King”. The aim of this year’s
Flower Festival was to not only pay homage to HM the King for his 84th
Birthday, but to HM the Queen Sirikit for her upcoming 80th Birthday on
August 10 and the 60th birthday of HRH the Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn.
In addition, the exhibitions of flowers, plants and herbal products on
display and for sale at Suan Buak Haad Park also saw gardening seminars and
exhibitions on conservation. There was a beauty pageant, Miss Flower Bloom
2012 with 30 contestants from around Chiang Mai province and an
International Miss Flower Bloom that featured 15 international contestants.
The winner of the Miss Flower Bloom International is a French native that
has been living in Chiang Mai and studying Thai at Payap, Eva Simon, while
Miss Flower Bloom 2012 is a student at Naresuan Unviersity, she also won
media favorite; Kanae Pointhamun.
Former Prime Minister Somchai
Wongsawat presents Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn a plaque for the
Municipality’s beautiful float. (Photo courtesy of Chiang Mai Municipality)
The Flower Parade took place on Saturday February 4 and wound its way from
Nawarat Bridge where the opening ceremony was presided over by former Prime
Minister Somchai Wongsawat, President of the Provincial Administration
Organization Boonlert Buranupakorn, Deputy Governor Worakarn Yokying and
Chiang Mai Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn.
The Flower Festival was expected to bring in more than 150 million Baht a
day in revenues to Chiang Mai and many hotels saw nearly full capacity.
The floats in the parade were
covered in beautiful blooms. (Photo by Shana Kongmun)
Miss International Flower
Bloom 2012 Eva Simon is joined by runners up Mika Lim of South Korea and Li
Dai Lan of the People’s Republic of China. (Photo by Supoj Thaimyoj)
The winner of the Miss Flower
Bloom 2012 contest and the runners up joined the opening ceremony of the
parade. (Photo by Shana Kongmun)
Floats featured fantastic
creatures from Thai and Hindu mythology as well as traditional Thai themes.
(Photo by Supoj Thaimyoj)
3 car accident involving school bus and tourist bus kills one
The horrific crash involved
four vehicles; a minivan carrying schoolchildren, a tourist bus filled with
Korean visitors, a Honda Wave motorbike and the Mitsubishi Pajero that had
one passenger die in the accident. (Photo courtesy of Korean Consulate)
A gray minivan carrying young students
from the nearby Wat Darun Pattana Kindergarten School in Mae Rim collided
with Mitsubishi Pajero and a green Siam IT tour bus carrying 11 Korean
tourists from the city at Baan Kaew Sa on February 6, 2012 at 8:30 a.m.
13 children were on board the minivan,
aged between 2 and 10 years old, 7 of whom were seriously injured and taken
to the hospital. The 87 year old passenger of the Mitsubishi that was also
involved in the crash had to be cut out of the vehicle, Wandee Muensawang
died on the way to the hospital while her husband Sawang Muensaweng 84, and
son Rewat Muensaweng 54 were both seriously injured.
Witnesses at the scene said the minivan
pulled out in front of the speeding bus which caused the bus to slam on the
brakes, it hit the minivan, forcing both vehicles into the oncoming traffic
where the Mitsubishi was hit. Also involved in the accident was a blue Honda
Wave motorbike which was also struck as the vehicles swerved into the
This stretch of road on Highway 118 in
Mae Rim is infamously known as 100 corpses curve as it is the common scene
Municipality offers health education for the elderly
The Chiang Mai Municipality
held a health education seminar for the elderly in Chiang Mai at Buddha
Sathan on January 27, 2012 in conjunction with the Department of Public
of elderly in Chiang Mai is increasing and so are the health problems
associated with an aging population such as increased cases of diabetes,
respiratory ailments, high cholesterol and heart disease. The
Department of Public Health held the seminar in conjunction with the
Municipality and area hospitals to teach older people proper diets and the
importance of exercise. Health checkups were also offered with eye, ear,
dental and mental health checkups available for the many elderly people who
attended the free event.