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Chiang Rai

Shooting begins on “The Cave, Nang Non” film

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Shooting begins on “The Cave, Nang Non” film | The Thaiger

Tom Waller, a Thai filmmaker with Irish heritage, begun filming a movie which showcases the international operation to rescue the “Mu Pa” football team from the flooded Tham Luang cave in July.

The film, called “The Cave, Nang Non”, captures the tense efforts to rescue the 13 members of the team, that gripped the world’s attention for weeks.

The youngsters were praised at the time for their bravery throughout their ordeal and rescuers were lauded for their successful life-threatening efforts to reach them.

A former Thai marine Saman Kunan lost his life during the mission.

Waller told foreign media recently:

“We want to tell the story of those brave people who selflessly risked their lives to save the boys and their coach. To do it right we need to be as accurate as possible and that is why we are enlisting the help of the real life heroes like Jim Warny and bringing him to Shannon Airport to retell his story.”

Tom’s Facebook page shows a photo of Thai veteran actor, Nirut Sirijanya, sitting on a chair with the cave in the background. Nirut is believed to play then Chiang Rai governor Narongsak Osottanakorn, who commanded the successful rescue operations.
Filming is to take place in Ireland and Thailand until the end of December and the film is expected to be released next year.

Waller was a producer of independent feature films, with Butterfly Man (2002), Ghost of Mae Nak (2005), The Elephant King (2006) amongst the titles produced through his production company De Warrenne Pictures.

In 2008, he produced Thomas Clay’s Soi Cowboy (2008) which was selected for the Cannes Film Festival in Un Certain Regard.

In 2006, Waller was hired by Sony BMG Thailand to direct the El Nin-YO! music video for Thai-American pop princess Tata Young. Both the song and MV went straight to No.1 on Channel V and MTV charts.

After producing assignments in Thailand on foreign films Bitter/Sweet (2009), Creation (2009) and the The Prince & Me: The Elephant Adventure (2010), Waller decided to return to his passion for directing with Sop-mai-ngeap (2011), his Thai language cinematic directorial debut. The film was nominated for five Thailand National Film Association awards including Best Picture and Best Director.

In addition to directing again, he served as a producer on the English language debut of celebrated Thai director Prachya Pinkaew (Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior (2003)) with the Hollywood action thriller Elephant White (2011) starring two-time Academy Award nominee Djimon Hounsou and Golden Globe winner Kevin Bacon.

Most recently, he produced and directed Petchakat (2014), a biopic on Thailand’s last prison executioner, which won the prestigious “Tukkata Tong” or Golden Doll awards for Best Picture and Best Screenplay, given by the Thai Entertainment Reporters Association. He also served as line producer for the action sequel Mechanic: Resurrection (2016), starring Jason Statham, Jessica Alba and Tommy Lee Jones, released by Summit Entertainment in 2016.

Shooting begins on “The Cave, Nang Non” film | News by The Thaiger

Nirut Sirijanya, veteran Thai actor, on set for “The Cave, Nang Non”

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

Better analysis needed to track down the source of new chemicals in illicit drugs

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Better analysis needed to track down the source of new chemicals in illicit drugs | The Thaiger

The Office of Narcotics Control Board has been training personnel in drug analysis to handle new illicit substances coming onto the streets.

A Chinese analysis lab has recently discovered 230 new psychotropic substances which are making their way into recreational drugs and other foods.

China has subsequently banned several beverages and sweets that contain these new illegal substances.

Thailand’s Justice Minister Prajin Juntong says that better analysis was key in drug prevention and suppression, as it helped identify the sources of the precursor chemicals. Each source used different formulae or ingredients, he said.

“New chemicals that were not used in narcotics before, and not listed in official databases, are now being used. So each confiscated batch will no longer be destroyed right away but be analysed first.”

“Lab tests are time-consuming and require new technology to ensure tests can keep up with the drug trade. This information was shared globally.”

He reported that  Thailand has been cooperating with Australia, China and Singapore and other ASEAN countries in sharing knowledge and analysis techniques.

“Thailand usually serves as a transit country for narcotic smuggling to a third country.”

China’s National Narcotics Control Commission analyst Liu Peipei says her agency recently found 230 new psychoactive substances that could yield “highs”, but had different ingredients from heroin, methamphetamine and other common drugs.

“Recently China has banned the sale of a beverage contaminated with a narcotic that may be harmful to consumers. We also found THC (the active chemical in cannabis) in chocolate and jelly,” she said.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Chiang Rai

Tham Luang caves closing for retrieval of all rescue equipment

The Thaiger

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Tham Luang caves closing for retrieval of all rescue equipment | The Thaiger

Chiang Rai’s Tham Luang caves, the scene of the international cave rescue last July, will close to all visitors from February 19 to allow Thai Navy SEALs to enter and recover equipment left in the cave after the rescue mission.

The mission, which captured the attention of media around the world and changed the young men’s lives forever, extracted 13 members of the local Mu Pa youth football team who became trapped by flooding last July when they headed there for a post-training one hour excursion.

Mr. Kavee Prasomphol, chief of the Tham Luang-Khunnam Nangnon national park in Mae Sai district, says the closure of the cave would also allow naval officers to document the scene inside the cave. The areas surrounding the cave remain open to the public.

On January 17, 2019, a SEAL team and rescue workers, including British cave diver Vernon Unsworth and park officials, inspected the cave’s interior and found a large quantity of abandoned oxygen tanks, pumps and other equipment.

They entered the cave system only as far as the third chamber, but have not yet reached the location where the footballers took refuge for more than two weeks.

Enjoy The Thaiger’s dedication to the rescuers and volunteers who found and retrieved the football team…

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