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Chiang Mai’s Doi Suthep housing protests ramping up for August

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Chiang Mai’s Doi Suthep housing protests ramping up for August | The Thaiger

The protests against the construction of the Thai judge’s residences on the slopes of Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai has gone quiet over the past month. That’s all about to change.

Activists from leading non-governmental organisations from eight northern provinces will next month join a massive protest against the special housing for judges on Doi Suthep.

The Nation reports that Thirasak Roopsuwan, a coordinator of the Doi Suthep Forest Reclamation Network, said on Saturday that the network has sought help from leading NGOs in eight northern provinces and they have agreed to join a mass rally next month. Thirasak said the network and the NGOs from eight northern provinces would pursue the enforcement of an agreement earlier reached between Chiang Mai people and a government committee to dismantle 45 residences and nine apartment buildings built on forestland on Doi Suthep. The committee had reached the resolution amid angry protests by Chiang Mai residents that embarrassed the Appeals Court Region 5.

According to the settlement, the Appeals Court Region 5 was supposed to return the land plot of around 147 rai (23.5 hectares) to the Crown Property Bureau by June 18. But the Doi Suthep Forest Reclamation Network later found that the court had not honoured the agreement and let its officials move in to live in the nine apartment buildings.

The network had initially planned a mass protest at the end of last month but converted the demonstration into a prayer meeting for the 13 young footballers who were then trapped inside the Tham Luang cave in Chiang Rai. Thirasak said his network would from now on communicate with the public on three official channels to avoid confusion.

They are www.welovedoisuthep.com website, a Facebook page of www.facebook.com/lovedoisuthep and a Line account of @welovedoisuthep.

Despite claims that the land plot of around 147 rai (23.5 hectares) in total had been acquired legally, local residents have cried “foul” over the project, which is worth almost 1 billion baht. Locals have called for demolition of parts of the residences, which they view as encroaching upon pristine forest and natural waterways on the mountain. Chiang Mai and other locals in the North also claim the mountain to be a spiritual place, as it is one of the seven “Chai Mongkol” – an auspicious element for victory – when King Meng Rai built the city over 700 years ago.

Chiang Mai's Doi Suthep housing protests ramping up for August | News by The Thaiger

STORY: The Nation



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Chiang Mai

American backpacker refuses to pay for girl he brought back to hostel, punches staff

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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American backpacker refuses to pay for girl he brought back to hostel, punches staff | The Thaiger

An American backpacker tourist, visiting Chiang Mai, had to be restrained after getting into a squabble with hostel staff after being asked to leave the premises.

The video of the altercation was shared on Reddit by ‘EatPrayFart’.

Following a night out, the backpacker brought a girl back to the mixed dorm room that he shared with nine other people. The report alleges the two had sex and were making a lot of noise.

The following morning the man was asked to leave the premises for breaking hostel rules. The staff also demanded he pay 200 baht for allowing the girl to stay in the dorm with him.

The man refused to pay and a fight followed, caught on camera, in the reception of the hostel.

In the footage the American man can be seen punching a member of the hostel staff before being restrained by another man. Some comments in the original post say that the man was also asked to leave by some of the other people staying in the dorm.

The report suggests the man was later taken into custody by Chiang Mai police.

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Air Pollution

Poor air quality and smoke continue to dog Chiang Mai

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Poor air quality and smoke continue to dog Chiang Mai | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Sanook

Chiang Mai continue to suffer from a smog and haze crisis. Residents are suffering the affects of the poor air quality for the second week in a row in the northern Thai city.

A high reading of 176 has been recorded just north of the city centre but the areas all around Chiang Mai are registering high readings recorded as ‘Unhealthy’ today (midday). The readings are on the cusp of starting to cause health problems for people with long-term exposure to the polluted air.

Poor air quality and smoke continue to dog Chiang Mai | News by The ThaigerThere are controlled plantation fires as well as some local scrub fires which are contributing to the city’s woes today. Helicopters are being used to stop the burning and bring the fires under control.

Random water spraying is also being conducted in the city area to limit the effect of PM 2.5 particles in the immediate air.

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Chiang Mai

Experts warn of northern faultlines as aftershocks rock Lampang

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Experts warn of northern faultlines as aftershocks rock Lampang | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Wat Phra Kerd’s abbot leads officials to inspect the damage to the pagoda’s visibly tilted tiered umbrella top after Lampang’s Wang Nua district on Wednesday suffered a 4.9magnitude quake.

The recent tremors around Lampang slightly damaged a few dozen homes in six tambons, including the tiered umbrella of the Wat Phra Kerd pagoda in tambon Thung Hua.

The 4.9 magnitude quake also cracked some walls and knocked off tiles in the Tambon Rong Koh Administrative Organisation and Tambon Thung Hua Administrative Organisation buildings, prompting officials to evacuate.

Luckily the 25+ quakes and aftershocks in Lampang’s Wang Nua district on Wednesday and yesterday didn’t cause too much damage. But academics remain concerned about the North, as it has several faultlines scattered across the region.

Penneung Wanichchai, seismologist at the Asian Institute of Technology, who has served as head of the Thailand Research Fund’s quake-disaster prevention project, said that in theory, a 4.9 magnitude quake can be dangerous.

He says that the Phayao faultline should not be blamed for the Lampang quakes.

“In reality there are many more faultlines under the earth’s surface. These quakes may have stemmed from other faultlines. We may be worried about residents living near visible faultlines, but I’m worried about the entire region.”

“There can be a quake at any time, as seen in the May 5, 2014 earthquake in Chiang Rai. The Lampang quakes have made us realise that quakes can happen any where, so people should be aware,” Penneung said.

Experts warn of northern faultlines as aftershocks rock Lampang | News by The Thaiger

“Houses should be reinforced with metal and larger pillars,” he said, adding this team had reinforced four school buildings and were currently working on another four.

He says the government should add another 15 percent to the budget for constructing state buildings – especially schools and hospitals – so they could be suitable reinforced.

The Thai Meteorological Department’s Earthquake Observation Division has blamed the quakes on the Phayao faultline, which passes through Phayao, Lampang and Chiang Rai provinces.

So far, the 4.9-magnitude quake at 4.05pm on Wednesday in Lampang’s Wang Nua district was the biggest, while the latest 2.6-magnitude aftershock occurred at 6.07am yesterday, the centre said.

Teraphan Ornthammarath, who leads the TRF project for mapping out quake-risk areas in Thailand, said that though the Lampang earthquakes did not cause much damage, people should still stay out of risky buildings in case there are more violent aftershocks.

Citing the inspection of damages in Lampang’s tambon Thung Hua, he said the tambon administrative organisation’s building only suffered cracks in the wall, while the pillars and beams were unaffected. He said only one house in the tambon was coded “red”, as the metal interiors of a pillar had been exposed.

The Lampang quakes could be felt in the provinces of Chiang Mai, Phayao and Chiang Rai. Many Chiang Rai residents worried this might be a repeat of the 2014 6.3-magnitude quake, which had shaken Phan district, damaged buildings and caused “superficial” cracks to the Mae Suay dam.

Mae Suay district chief Kitti Chaidarun said the main dam was not affected by the Lampang quakes.

Experts warn of northern faultlines as aftershocks rock Lampang | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: The Nation

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