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Chiang Mai: The good, bad and ugly

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Chiang Mai: The good, bad and ugly | The Thaiger

PHOTO: TakeMeTour

Post Magazine has published it’s ‘review’ of Chiang Mai, with the “good, bad and ugly sides to Thailand’s second city”. Here are some of their main points…

The good

There are more than 300 temples in Chiang Mai; they outnumber 7/11 stores, which takes some doing in Thailand. Situated in the heart of the old city, Wat Phra Singh is the most venerated and visited although it’s probably not the ideal place for meditative contemplation. For that, stroll 10 minutes west of the moat and ancient city walls to Wat Suan Dok, where visitors pad around the pagodas in a state of shoeless serenity.

Having attained inner equilibrium, sign up for an hour of Monk Chat. Despite sounding like a dating app for less-than-devout Buddhists, the initiative is an informal way for foreigners to interact with Chiang Mai’s saffron-robed residents. The monks are more than happy to enlighten visitors on topics such as their daily routine and plans for the future, and why they all have a mobile phone. In return, the monks get to practise their English.

If you’re lucky, you might stumble upon a boutique hotel down an alleyway you missed the first three times you walked past. Book a room, order a pot of iced tea and wave at the granny mending clothes on an old sewing machine below your balcony.

Chiang Mai: The good, bad and ugly | News by The Thaiger

The Bad

The digital nomads and retirees are an even-handed bunch. Many of their articles highlighting the advan­tages of Chiang Mai devote equal amounts of space to the drawbacks. Sure, the weather is great – but only in December, January and February, after which it gets hot, hotter still, then wet, and very wet. But it’s not just the stifling heat that causes expats to abandon the city for a month each year.

The Ugly

Thailand has just endured its annual Seven Dangerous Days – the period between Christmas and New Year when road accidents spike. Despite numerous safety campaigns, the nation’s streets are the deadliest in Southeast Asia, according to a World Health Organisation report. Not for the first time, hundreds died nationwide, many in alcohol-related incidents. Chiang Mai was named as one of the worst fatality black spots.

Read the rest of the article from Post Magazine HERE.

Chiang Mai: The good, bad and ugly | News by The Thaiger



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Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai’s sword-wielding song thaew driver charged over intimidating tactics – VIDEO

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Chiang Mai’s sword-wielding song thaew driver charged over intimidating tactics – VIDEO | The Thaiger

Story from Sanook. Video from Thai Rath

The red song thaew driver, who followed a white sedan around the moat road waving a sword in Chiang Mai, has now been charged by the police.

Sanook reports that 69 year old ‘Son’ has now been charged with having a knife in public and behaving in an intimidating manner that could scare the public.

The original video showed the public transport driver tailgating a white Honda Jazz, waving a large knife or sword.

But Son insists he acted because he was “furious about the driving of the man behind the wheel of the white car”.

He claims that the white car was cutting in and out of traffic dangerously before the car braked in a “dangerous manner” three times, almost causing him crash into the back of the vehicle.

He remained adamant that, despite the post being made by a woman, it was a man driving… “a woman would not behave like this, believe me” he told a Channel 7 reporter. Sanook showed the man apologising and doing a wai.

They also reported that the head of the Chiang Mai song thaews as saying that the driver had been warned about his conduct. He said that Son had never been in trouble before.

สี่ล้อแดงชักดาบขู่เก๋งกลางถนน

สี่ล้อแดงเข้าพบ ตร. หลังก่อเหตุชักดาบขู่เก๋งกลางถนน ตำรวจแจ้ง 2 ข้อหา

Posted by Thairath on Tuesday, February 19, 2019

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Chiang Mai

Swordwielding song thaews driver slapped on the wrist – no police action

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Swordwielding song thaews driver slapped on the wrist – no police action | The Thaiger

The head of the infamous Chiang Mai red song thaews says he has spoken with a driver after the man wielded a sword out of his window at another driver who he claimed had tooted his horn.

But that’s it. Nothing more.

CCTV on the Maneenopparat Road shows the incident as the song thaew driver tailgates the white Honda Jazz, waving the sword out of his driver-side window .

The hatchback driver had earlier posted about the incident on Monday. He says that the song thaew had cut in front of him and he had sounded his horn. He was then chased around the city moat.

The post was later deleted.

Bunniam Buntha, head of the local song thaew association, says he spoke to the driver who admitted that he was angry and waved the long knife out the window. He says he was warned the driver that there may be more questioning with a view to possible punishment.

At this stage no police action has been taken.

SOURCE: Sanook

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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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