At our time of going to press, no-one had been charged with the rape-murder
of 24 year old British back-packer Kirsty Jones, who was found strangled
in a guest house near Sompet Market on August 11th. Five foreign and 4
Thai men were detained, questioned and DNA tested by police, but there
was no prompt charge of murder.
However searches of the guest house reportedly revealed heroin, pornography
and a foreign co-owner with no visa or work permit. Two men continue to
be detained at the central Phra Singh police station.
Chiangmai Tourist Police held a press conference on August 25th to warn
the public about sub-standard guest houses.
Of the 120-30 listed in Chiangmai they estimate that 30% fail to conform
to minimum requirements in some way. One of the first signs that a guest
house is not run properly is the lack of a proper guest book listing all
clients' names, addresses and passport numbers.
CAN WALK AGAIN!
The incredible elephant given only 6 to 8 months to live back in April
is now up and walking at Lampang Elephant Hospital.
Thai and American specialist vets were pessimistic about Motala, a 38
year old female who lost her left front lower leg in a landmine explosion
in Burma. But thanks to her remarkable will to live and the care of experts
including the Friends of the Asian Elephant NGO, 90% of the 4 ton jumbo's
wounds are now healed. She walks twice a day and eats grass and leaves
for 1- 2 hours daily.
A committee meets early this month to decide on the manufacture and
fitting of an artificial leg. The most famous elephant in the world was
donated to the Hospital shortly after checking in and is likely to spend
the rest of her days there.
Motala had been taken across the Burma border for logging work in August
last year when she stepped on a land mine while foraging for food. Her
mahout led her back through the jungle for 3 days to find medical aid.
* Vets from overseas are most welcome to help at the Hospital. There
is only one full time Thai vet and currently 9 elephant patients. Volunteers
can contact co-founder Khun Soraida by e-mail at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
* Japanese students are among those training to become mahouts at a
facility by the Hospital, north of Lampang. The school is on 10 rai of
land at Hang Chat and has been funded by the government and the World Wildlife
DRIVE FOR BIKES
The clean and quiet city of Lamphun is promoting the use of bicycles
within a 6 kilometre radius of the City Hall. Mayor Prapat Poocharoen,
the Provincial authority and the Cyclists' Club all sing the praises of
biking for exercise and environmental preservation.
In fact next year 10 bikes will be available for Khun Prapat's staff
and bike-only traffic lanes will be marked out with help from the German
Office of Academic Co-operation.
With petrol prices now over 17b per litre in many places (drivers paying
20% more than only 3 months ago) and hills a rarity - the incentives are
TREES ARE DOWN
Chiangmai province lost almost 16,000 square kilometres of forestry
over the past 5 years, contrasting with a national growth of 5% during
Mae Hong Son saw the biggest increase (1,337 sq km) of 15 northern provinces
and Phrae came a close second. Celebrating this record in his department's
104 year history, national forestry chief Plodprasop Suraswadi said that
the goal of 35% forest cover for the nation was within sight, as 32% had
now been achieved. At the end of WW2, at least 75% of Thailand was covered
Control of fires, human encroachment and illegal logging are key factors
in the national success.
Thai women do not hold their husbands responsible for their behaviour
when they are drunk, an audience at Informal Northern Thai Group heard
on July 11th.
Tolerant wives put up with bad behaviour as a way of making merit and
seldom seek a divorce said Prof. Marjorie Muecke, University of Washington.
In the course of studying reproduction in 500 urban Chiangmai families,
Prof. Muecke had found a "significant number" of wives who reported
husbands being "chronically drunk and abusive."
She concluded that alcohol abuse was not regarded as a serious medical
problem by Thais and was a "blindspot" in the nation's healthcare
In sharp contrast, 'Fantastic Flora' is the title of September's INTG
talk by retired landscape architect David Engel. Venue as usual is the
Alliance Francaise, Charoenprathet Road, 7.30pm on the 12th.
ENGINE FETCHES US$6,100
The WW2 Japanese fighter engine featured exclusively on the May front
cover of 'Good Morning Chiangmai' has been sold for twice the highest estimate
One of 7 bidders from Japan was successful and arrives this month to
collect the enormous 9 cylinder radial engine from a Nakajima fighter (not
a Zero as originally thought). The cash goes to the committee of the village
in western Chiangmai province where the plane crash landed in 1944.
* Our May issue was
one of the most popular ever, but a small number are still available from
our offices at 25b each
Temple honours Japanese
A Japanese WW2 veteran is spending US$15,000 to build a 'Stars and Dew'
temple to honour fallen comrades in Khun Yuam, 62 km south of Mae Hong
Nagase Takashi, 83, chose a location near a former field hospital which
treated 100,000 soldiers. Around 7,000 men are buried in 39 confirmed grave
sites and in May the remains of 11 men were returned to Japan.
The unique Japanese War Museum in Khun Yuam attracts increasing numbers
of tourists with its large collection of helmets, guns, uniforms, swords
and bugles. Local police chief Lt.Col. Cherdchai Chomchavat began the collection
10 years ago when he realised it could help the local economy. In fact
the area could become as well known in Japan as the Kwai bridge at Kanchanaburi
after a documentary made in June is screened in Japan.
Darts is now so popular that 18 local teams are competing in 2 divisions.
White Lotus, Irish Pub and Hash House Pub tied at the top of division 1
late last month with the new Britannia Arms leading the new Check Dart
Pub in division 2. Wednesday night is darts night in Chiangmai and Friday
nights see the Pool League in action.
DOWN ON SCAMS
Thai, Chinese, Malaysian and Singaporean tourism bodies are co-operating
to crack down on the exploitation of visitors.
Almost 800,000 Chinese tourists came here last year and were targeted
by illegal travel operators and guides. Unwanted visits to jewelry shops
and entertainment places resulted in high level complaints. Thailand has
responded by giving a list of 87 licensed agents to China; agreeing to
heavy penalties for rip-off merchants and encouraging Thai tour guides
to learn Chinese.
Claim your prize now!
Invitations to send US$49.50 to claim prizes of thousands, valuable
gemstones etc have been sent out to countless high ranking Thai officials.
The sources include Canada and the USA and the impressive looking scams
arrive by mail or fax. Useful only to the re-cyclers!
BELGIAN & GERMAN CONSULS
The Honorary Belgian Consul in Lampang, Dr. Nirund Jivasantikarn, has
established a Chiangmai branch run by expats Beni and Nadya Plasschaert-Van
Caeseele. Belgian nationals with problems or queries can call them on 221130
or 01 885 1200.
Hagen Dirksen takes up duties as the Honorary German Consul in Chiangmai
from September 1st. He can be contacted at 838698, fax 838993 or 01 8829043,
Thai food is being taken away to all parts of the globe, specialist
restaurants catching on particularly well in Britain and the USA.
Now the Department of Export Promotion has an incentive programme to
help investors in Canada, USA, Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.
Minimum investment needed is 7m baht for a 16 seater fast food shop;
23m for a mid-range place and 45m for a 160 seat up-market restaurant.
They must be named 'Elephant Jump', 'Cool Basil' and 'Golden Leaf' respectively.
More information from the Export Promotion Center, Singharaj Road, Chiangmai
ROUND AND ABOUT
* October 8-14th sees the next big conference hit town with over 400
execs expected to attend the 33rd annual assembly of the World Airline
Clubs Association at the Lotus PSK Hotel.
* One of Chiangmai Airport's sniffer dogs caused a stir when it took
close interest in a bag recently. Far from containing drugs, the bag was
full of our famous Chiangmai sausage and the dog was found to be
badly underfed! When a parliamentary panel was told that only 10b per dog
per day was allocated for feed it more than doubled the budget.
* The music department of Payap University presents 'A Schumann Carnival'
on September 9th at Gong Dee Studio, Nimanhemin Road Soi 1. This rare chance
to hear classical piano and chamber music free starts at 7.30pm.
* Total visitors to Thailand showed an 11.3% increase for the
first 5 months of 2000 compared with last year, say TAT. The Kingdom is
on course for 9 million plus by the year end, almost half a million more