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Chiang Mai

Tobacco farmers rally at Chiang Mai city hall

The Thaiger

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Tobacco farmers rally at Chiang Mai city hall | The Thaiger

Chiang Mai City Life is reporting that tobacco farmers have filed a petition after the Thai Tobacco Authority announced it will cease all purchasing for three years.

On June 28 over 300 tobacco farmers and entrepreneurs rallied at the Chiang Mai City Hall to file a petition to the Ministry of Finance regarding an announcement by the Government that the Tobacco Authority of Thailand will not purchase any tobacco from farmers for the next three years.

Tobacco farmers claim that sales of tobacco products have dropped after a tax hike in September 2017. This has left the government with stockpiles of tobacco they wish to use up before purchasing more.

Arun Polita, one of the tobacco farmers, explained that each year Chiang Mai farmers and tobacco factories would receive a purchasing quota of about 600 tonnes, 300 tonnes from farmers and 300 from fermentation factories.

The petition was received by the deputy governor of Chiang Mai.

Read more about this story HERE.

Tobacco farmers rally at Chiang Mai city hall | News by The Thaiger



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Chiang Mai

Disaster zone declared in Lampang after 31 mild tremors

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Disaster zone declared in Lampang after 31 mild tremors | The Thaiger

It’s been a week of mild shocks and tremors in Lampang province in northern Thailand. Although there has been no lives lost, there has been a lot of minor damage to structures, mainly in the north of the province.

The Wang Nua district, the northern-most district in Lampang province, north-east of Chiang Mai, has been now declared a disaster zone after it was hit with 31 mild earthquakes and aftershocks.

Pichet Ekparn, chief of the disaster alleviation division of Lampang Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Office, says the district was declared disaster zone so that government agencies could speed up efforts to help affected people.

UP to a hundred houses and some public buildings have been damaged as a result of the mild earthquakes with building cracks, falling tiles and cracked rendering being the worst of the damage.

The Seismological Bureau of the Meteorological Department says that a total of 31 quakes and aftershocks occurred in Wang Nua from Wednesday up to yesterday.

Lampang provincial governor Songpol Sawattham held an urgent meeting of agencies concerned and instructed them to survey the damage to provide aid immediately.

Wang Nua assistant district chief Bamrung Khamwai said an initial survey found 72 houses, four government offices and seven temples in seven tambon were damaged.

He said government officials have yet to completely evaluate the damage.

Disaster zone declared in Lampang after 31 mild tremors | News by The Thaiger Disaster zone declared in Lampang after 31 mild tremors | News by The Thaiger Disaster zone declared in Lampang after 31 mild tremors | News by The Thaiger Disaster zone declared in Lampang after 31 mild tremors | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: The Nation

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Chiang Mai

Golden Triangle drug labs increase shipments 1000% – Speed and Ice pouring over the border

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Golden Triangle drug labs increase shipments 1000% – Speed and Ice pouring over the border | The Thaiger

The number of seizures of high-purity crystal methamphetamine are surging into northern Thailand. The demand rises and the methods of detection and enforcement also improve. It’s a vicious circle.

Authorities say the number of drug seizures have risen 1000% in just the past 2 years, a stark indication of the growth in industrial-scale production in neighboring Myanmar.

Some 18.4 tonnes of crystal methamphetamine or ‘ice’, was seized in Thailand last year, according to preliminary statistics from the Thai Office of the Narcotics Control Board. They know it’s a tiny proportion of the amounts produced and shipped out undetected.

That figure is up from 5.2 tonnes in 2017 and 1.6 tonnes in 2016. It’s more than three times the amount captured across all of Southeast Asia five years ago – a staggering rise in production and distribution.

Thailand remains a major trafficking route for the artificial drug manufactured in Myanmar’s Shan and Kachin states – the north-eastern states of Myanmar that border China, Laos and Thailand.

Police say organised crime groups work with local pro-government militias and armed rebels to set-up “super labs” and allow transport through the regions to borders beyond.

The same mega-labs are also pumping out ‘cocktail’ tablets of methamphetamine, mixed with caffeine and other ‘fillers’. The drug is nicknamed ‘yaba’ in Thailand. Specialist chemists and ‘cooks’ are brought in from Taiwan and China to run the meth labs in Myanmar, while the ingredients and lab equipment mostly come from China.

The methamphetamine tablets are a low-grade recreational drug, inexpensive and popular with blue-collar workers and low-end recreational drug users across South East Asia. The price for a ‘yaba’ pill has plummeted from around 200 baht to 80 baht in the past five years.

Golden Triangle drug labs increase shipments 1000% - Speed and Ice pouring over the border | News by The Thaiger

But the Golden Triangle, bordering north-eastern Myanmar, Laos and Thailand, has a long history of illicit drug trafficking.

It came to the West’s notice as a cultivation hub for opium and heroin refining but those, now, easily detected crops are being replaced with methamphetamine production. The factories are easily hidden underneath the jungle canopy, and with the assistance of ‘co-operative’ local authorities, armed gangs and state-sponsored militias, the precursor drugs and final product move in and out with little trouble.

Once the drugs have made their way through Thailand the drug syndicates use “motherships” that intercept the drugs off the Andaman coast and distribute them to other parts of South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

Whilst the growth in production and purity of the drugs is alarming authorities, they are also intercepting and detecting a lot more of the road shipments making their way across the Thai borders. But they readily admit they are only netting a tiny part of the larger iceberg.

Despite the frequent showcasing of large drug hauls by Thai police, the vast majority of the drugs coming out of the back-doors of Myanmar’s meth labs are getting through undetected.

Golden Triangle drug labs increase shipments 1000% - Speed and Ice pouring over the border | News by The Thaiger

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Chiang Mai

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

The Thaiger

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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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