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Chiang Mai hiking spots go up in flames

Jack Burton

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Chiang Mai hiking spots go up in flames | The Thaiger
PHOTOS: Chiang Rai Times
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Wildfires in Thailand’s north have made plenty of news in recent months, and now, Chiang Mai’s Doi Mon Jong mountain, one of northern Thailand’s most popular hiking spots has become the latest victim.

Doi Mon Jong, in the province’s Om Koi District, is considered a legendary “unseen” destination for its breathtaking views, beauty and nature. Nearly 20 rai (3.2 hectares) of the mountain was burned to ash this week. A once lush green area is now an ugly black gash in the landscape.

Forestry department officials report that the wildfires were started by villagers foraging in the forest, though there’s speculation that it was part of a land encroachment ploy.

Doi Mon Jong is among Thailand’s 10 highest peaks, rising 1,929 metres above sea level. It is home to a huge variety of wildlife, including wild elephants, serow and goral, rare goat-like antelope species. Local villagers tell authorities that there are many herds of wild elephants in the area.

Chiang Mai’s governor announced yesterday that from April 1-6 there were a total of 18,913 fire hotspots in Chiang Mai. Most of them found in Chiang Dao, Om Koi, Mae Chaem, Hod, Phraw, Mae Taeng and also Samoeng districts.

Firefighters posted photographs of the mountain’s charred slopes, which used to draw thousands of hikers from across the country and around the world.Chiang Mai hiking spots go up in flames | News by The Thaiger

Chiang Mai hiking spots go up in flames | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

Thailand

Thai Chamber of Commerce urges visa amnesty to be extended after today’s deadline

The Thaiger

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Thai Chamber of Commerce urges visa amnesty to be extended after today’s deadline | The Thaiger

The Thai Chamber of Commerce is urging the government to extend the visa amnesty for the country’s 400,000 tourists after today’s deadline but has so far been turned down. The move comes as such provinces like Chiang Mai’s immigration office sends messages giving tourists until Monday to sort out their visas (which is under the law as Saturday, the final day of the visa amnesty, is usually closed).

“For the foreigners that visas will expire on September 26, 2020, if come to continue the visa on Monday, September 28, 2020, no need to pay for overstay. If you haven’t been able to sort through the queues and online bookings for an appointment, you also have Monday (at any immigration office) to get things sorted. Many of the country’s immigration offices are open today. Good luck.”

TCC chairman Kalin Sarasin says they have repeatedly asked the Immigration Bureau to extend the amnesty by 90 days but have been met with unclear answers as the deadline for sorting visas hits today.

“We were told that this agenda was in the process, but there’s been no progress so far.”

Kalin says the deadline will bring even more chaos to those who await flights out of the country as they are not yet fully allowed. Furthermore, such provinces as Chiang Mai attribute stranded tourists as helping generate revenue at a time when the country desperately needs it. As these tourists need long-term accomodations, they undoubtedly bring revenue to the domestic tourism sector at a time when hotels and other types of accommodations are struggling.

“Instead of blacklisting those foreigners, the government should accommodate them with a more flexible period, particularly when the country cannot reopen for inbound tourists. The uncompromising stance towards visa extension scares tourists away despite the fact that they help drive the local economy in these tough times.”

This week has been the busiest on record for stressed out Immigration officials who have been trying to cope with the last minute influx of tourists and expats whose visas had expired and were trying to extend, or apply for, visas to stay in the country.

Anantorn Hochindarat, president of the Tourism Association of Chiang Mai, says some businesses have received recurring revenue from international tourists which can help a lot when facing difficult times.

Although the profits from such tourists are much lower now, Anantorn says it can help businesses stay afloat. Despite such calls for an extension of visa amnesty, the Immigration Bureau has yet to announce any leeway to be given after today’s deadline.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Air Pollution

PM to tackle Northern Thailand’s seasonal haze… again

Caitlin Ashworth

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PM to tackle Northern Thailand’s seasonal haze… again | The Thaiger
FILE PHOTO

The Thai prime minister says he’s working on a plan to tackle Northern Thailand’s seasonal haze problem by cutting back manmade bushfires known to largely contribute to the air pollution. The issue has been broadly covered in Thai and foreign media for years, and been followed up with ministerial visits, promises, and little else.

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha spoke with governors of 17 northern provinces affected by seasonal haze, saying that he plans to supply villagers and local organisations with equipment, but reports did not go into much detail about what tools locals would get. He says authorities and state agencies need to step in to help combat the haze problem, suggesting that provincial governors head the local fight against wildfires.

“It’s important to eradicate the root cause of wildfires that result from villagers’ way of life… Even more farming space should be provided to farmers who need it to protect natural resources from being destroyed.”

Prayut added that it’s important for state agencies to collaborate on the firefighting effort and said members of the public can help raise awareness about wildfires.

The annual haze/smoke/air pollution problem is not just a Thai issue with the neighbouring countries, particularly Myanmar, causing their fair share of the illegal plantation fires, as shown in sharp detail in the satellite images.

Read The Thaiger’s take on the annual ‘smoke’ problem HERE.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

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Crime

Chiang Mai man charged with murdering baby daughter because he wanted a son

Maya Taylor

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Chiang Mai man charged with murdering baby daughter because he wanted a son | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thairath

A man has been arrested in Chiang Mai after confessing to poisoning his 7 month old daughter. 45 year old Anuphap Jaipanya, a hilltribe member, says he was influenced by his cultural beliefs and, having 2 daughters already, had hoped for a son to carry on the family name and take over his business.

The Pattaya News reports that the girl’s mother, 29 year old Malee Sinprai, originally reported the child missing to Chiang Mai police. She had been led to believe that her husband was taking the girl to visit relatives but became concerned when she could not reach them. Later that evening, Anuphap came home and confessed to the murder, presenting himself to police the following day.

In his confession, Anuphap told police he didn’t want another daughter and is experiencing financial trouble due to the Covid-19 situation. He has admitted to poisoning his daughter by force-feeding her an entire bottle of bathroom cleaner. He then buried her body at a Chinese cemetery in Chiang Mai’s Doi Saket district.

He is now in custody and has been charged with premeditated murder and concealing a corpse. His daughter’s body is being sent to Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital to allow the family to hold a religious ceremony.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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