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

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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

New Immigration chief sweeping a broom through Chiang Mai Immigration offices

The Thaiger

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New Immigration chief sweeping a broom through Chiang Mai Immigration offices | The Thaiger

SCREENSHOT: Komchadluek

Responding to constant online chatter about the ‘mess’ at the Chiang Mai Immigration offices, the new Immigration chief, Maj-Gen Surachate Hakparn, is poised to transfer the existing Chiang Mai Immigration boss to an inactive post whilst further investigations are made into the office operations.

People have been complaining about all matters, from long waits (some cited having to arrive early and waiting all day to be seen), including Chinese who are having many problems with the northern office as well.

Surachate said that the suspension of the current Chiang Mai chief would likely be for just two or three weeks and shouldn’t be assumed to be anything to do with wrong-doing.  He said he believed that further training of all staff will improve the bad service.

The new Immigration head has only been in the job for a month but made it clear at his appointment that he was going to target the Immigration offices as a priority. He’s already visited some of the southern Immigration offices and is said to have made sweeping changes.

SOURCE: Komchadluek

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Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai abbot defrocked over sexual abuse charges

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Chiang Mai abbot defrocked over sexual abuse charges | The Thaiger

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An abbot in Chiang Mai has been arrested and defrocked for allegedly sexually abusing “more than 10” boys at his temple in Hang Dong district.

37 year old Phra Phansak Thitsilo, has now had his title reverted back to his lay name, Phansak Saenkhamwang, following his arrest at Wat Sriwaree Sathan in Tambon Sob Mae Kha. The warrant was issued on October 11 after several boys and their parents filed complaints with Provincial Police Bureau 5.

The mothers of the boys had collaborated their stories following their sons approaching them individually. When the mothers met to discuss the issue they decided to go to police.

The former Abbot has been accused of buying sex from multiple boys under age 18, paying them in either cash or valuables.

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Chiang Mai

Chinese arrivals down by half in Chiang Mai

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Chinese arrivals down by half in Chiang Mai | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Chiang Mai News

A crisis meeting for tour operators has been held in Chiang Mai where they learned that Chinese tourism was down 50% in the first nine months of 2018.

Some measures were put forward to woo them back – including setting up Chinese language classes to improve communication with the tourists from China.

Reasons blamed for the big drop included the boat tragedy in Phuket and negative publicity from the Don Mueang airport security guard slapping the Chinese passenger. The Chiang Mai News say that “the Chinese were feeling disrespected.”

There were lots of stories discussed about misunderstandings so it was proposed that the authorities set up Mandarin language courses. Other proposals included setting up a call centre, especially for the Chinese.

Everyone concurred that something had to be done to stop any further drop in numbers. The strength of the Thai baht and the weakening Chinese Yuan were also mentioned. Many agreed that a good start was made by immigration to stop under the table payments with the “No Tip” signage.

Chinese arrivals down by half in Chiang Mai | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: Chiang Mai News

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