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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

British backpacker returns home for Easter after being jailed in Thailand

The Thaiger

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British backpacker returns home for Easter after being jailed in Thailand | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Facebook.com

A British backpacker is back in the UK for Easter after being released from prison after being incarcerated for 10 days over a ‘trivial’ offence.

26 year old Chris Dodd told the BBC he was arrested for picking up a mobile phone he found on the ground whilst waiting for a taxi at the Chiang Mai airport. He was accused of theft after taking it with him to his accommodation.

According to Chris, he says he picked up the phone trying to find the owner. In doing so he moved it to a different location – considered theft under Thai law. He says his intention was to report it to police and find the owner when he arrived at his hostel accommodation.

Police identified him on airport CCTV. He was arrested at the hostel.

Prison guards shaved Mr Dodd’s head but gave him the shaved-off dreadlocks saying he could keep them.

British backpacker returns home for Easter after being jailed in Thailand | News by The Thaiger

“I was stripped naked, sent in, given a blanket.”

“Nobody spoke English. It was really intimidating. You just have to fight for a space on the floor and you have people’s legs all over you,” Chris told the BBC.

According to his lawyer he faced a five year prison sentence if convicted, but the charges against him were eventually dropped and he was able to leave Thailand. Mr Dodd was released on bail after family and friends raised £20,000 (828,000 baht).

His lawyer told Mr Dodd to leave Thailand immediately after being released. The charges were dropped last Friday.

SOURCE: BBC

British backpacker returns home for Easter after being jailed in Thailand | News by The Thaiger

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Chiang Mai

Freak summer storms damage 1,000 houses around Chiang Mai

The Thaiger

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Freak summer storms damage 1,000 houses around Chiang Mai | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Thai PBS

Up to 1,000 homes were damaged by gusty winds and storm cells over the weekend around Chiang Mai. Ten districts were blacked out for several hours when a freak rain storm struck on Saturday, ripping off the roofs of homes and flinging debris around the districts.

According to the provincial public disaster prevention and mitigation office, the worst-hit district was Hang Don where many houses had their roofs blown off by the gale-force wind which also downed many power poles causing power outage which lasted for several hours. About a dozen cars also sustained damage from flying debris.

Water and power supplies, cut off for many during the storm, were restored later on Saturday evening.

Construction materials such as roof tiles and corrugated iron sheeting have been sent by the office to the affected areas to affect immediate repairs pending detailed assessments of the damages.

The Third Army Region has set up a mobile kitchen at the municipal office of Tambon Nong Kwai to provide free food to the victims on the request of His Majesty the King.

SOURCE: Thai PBS

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Air Pollution

Mae Hong Son continues to be plagued with fires

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Mae Hong Son continues to be plagued with fires | The Thaiger

Mae Hong Son province continues to be plagued by forest fires despite the ban and the raging haze and smoke problems.

In recent months, Mae Hong Son has been struggling with haze most of the time with flights to its airport limited at the height of the crisis. Exposure to the serious air pollution has become a threat to the health of locals. Authorities continue to blame outdoor fires as the key cause of smog.

However, illegal outdoor fires continue to be detected.

Satellite images confirmed that there were at least 23 hotspots in Mae Hong Son yesterday. Of them, 13 were in Sop Moei district.

Kampanart Prachongpim, who heads Mae Hong Son’s forest-fire control division, says that teams from several provinces had come to Mae Hong Son to help extinguish forest fires that were often caused by people. At least, two bushfires extinguished yesterday were caused by people going into the forest to collect forest produce. According to him, by the time these forest fires were put out, about nine rai of forest reserves had been destroyed.

Mae Hong Son is 100 kilometres north west of Chiang Mai, near the Myanmar border.

Mae Hong Son continues to be plagued with fires | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: The Nation

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