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Chiang Mai

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

The Thaiger & The Nation

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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.

STORY: The Nation

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Chiang Mai

Nan, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai report damage from current floods

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Weather warnings remain current for 38 Thai provinces affected by tropical storm Bebinka which is currently hovering over northern Vietnam, moving west. Meanwhile its affects are already being felt in the north.

Moutain run-off has hit and washed away three sections of the main Chiang Rai-Chiang Mai road early today. The Doi Saket police station in Chiang Rai was alerted at 3am that the run-off had taken out sections of the highway No 118 making the road impassable. The police station issued an urgent warning for motorists to instead use the Chiang Rai-Prao-Chiang Mai route.

The Highway Department is currently trying to provide urgent temporary repairs to the highway.

Meanwhile, a community on the Nan River bank in the downtown of the northern province has been inundated after the river burst a flood levee.

Nan Governor Phaisarn Wimolrat and Muang Nan Municipality Mayor Surapol Thiansutr visited the Ban Suan Tan community shortly after the river burst its flood levee at 6.40am this morning and the water from the bloated river gushed into the community, flooding it. The community was quickly under 30 centimetre-high water, causing problems for small vehicles.

Officials have since said that water has started seeping into other communities along the river.

Surapol said the water level in the river has surpassed the crisis level to now reach 8.4 metres – the same level as during the 2006 “great flood”.

But Surapol said the damage this year could be less than in 2006, because flood levees have subsequently been built along the river banks and local residents have been warned in advance of possible flooding.

At 7.10am workers were using sandbags to build flood levees around the Nan Provincial Hospital. At 7.50am, hospital officials closed the bridge near the hospital.

PHOTO: Nan provincial administration’s PR office

SOURCE: The Nation

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Chiang Mai

Malaysian tourist caught lying to Chiang Mai police

The Thaiger & The Nation

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PHOTO: Chiangmai News

A Malaysian tourist is in hot water after telling Chiang Mai police that he’d been robbed by a foreigner in the city centre this morning. He’s now been charged with filing a false police complaint.

20 year old Pravin Krishnan was charged early this morning (Friday) less than two hours after lodging the complaint. Police say that he admitted to lying but claimed he did so because he’d run out of money and wanted an excuse for his parents in Malaysia to send him more.

Krishnan’s original complaint was that a Western man with a blond beard robbed him at knifepoint while he was walking along Loi Kroh Road at 1am.

Police went to the scene, spoke to residents and a security guard, but found no witnesses. They returned to the station and confronted Krishnan. The Malaysian admitted he’d made up the story.

He wanted the police complaint document to convince his parents to give him more money and didn’t want to be get in trouble for exceeding his holiday allowance. He’s now got a lot more explaining to do to his parents.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai’s Doi Suthep houses to be immediately vacated

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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PHOTO: The Nation

It’s time to go.

The Chiang Mai OrBorJor and protest groups opposing the Doi Suthep housing project for judges and officials have agreed that the 45  housing units for judges must be immediately vacated.

As those who still stay at a nine-unit condominium building, the meeting agreed that they must be moved too, to a smaller condo building within a set timeframe. The meeting agreed that if f the space in the four-unit building wasn’t adequate to accommodate the occupants, then more space should be arranged for them.

“The controversial  housing units and the condo building must be returned to the Treasury Department as quick as possible.”

Despite the agreement, Thirasak Roopsuwan – a representative of the network of civic groups, says they will press ahead with their plan to hold a rally at Tha Pae city gate on August 26 to reaffirm their demand for the dismantling of all the construction structures of the Region 5 Appeals Court at Doi Suthep so that the area in question can be restored to its natural status.

The Office of the Judicial Affairs has asked for a new land plot at the plants research centre in Chiang Rai from the Agricultural Technique Department to be developed into a new home and office of the Region 5 Appeals Court.

SOURCE: Thai PBS

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