living in the ‘Land of Smiles’

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Chiang Mai – Arbitrary arrests of Burmese migrants continue

Via: Democratic Voice of Burma

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Arbitrary arrests of Burmese migrant workers continue happening in Chiang Mai, with many saying that the Thai police would only release them after a “protection fee” was paid.

Chiang Mai, located in northern Thailand, has been home for many years to thousands of Burmese migrants. Since the military coup earlier this month, Thai security police have been conducting random raids around the city and detaining people without identification cards. Despite these reports, the new ruling junta has denied that any “crackdown” against undocumented migrants is taking place.

On Monday, eight Burmese migrants in Chiang Mai’s night bazaar were nabbed by plainclothes policemen. Making up a large percentage of the workforce at the popular Chiang Mai market, Burmese migrants are often subjected to arrest by the police due to irregularities in their documents or work permits.

Thein Dan, who was among those detained, said he was freed shortly after he was taken to the Central Police Station because he has been paying a daily protection fee to a man with alleged police connections who came to secure his release.

“We were taken to the police station in the old city where the man who I have been paying the ‘protection fee’ came to get me out,” Thein Dan said, adding that three more were bailed out by their employer on Tuesday.

http://www.dvb.no/news/arbitrary-arrests-of-burmese-migrants-continue-in-chiang-mai-burma-myanmar/41632

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arbitrarybased on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system.

‘protection fees’ – arbitrary, hmm?

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June 20, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Thailand – 120,000 Cambodian migrants flee Thailand after coup

Via: Coconuts Bangkok
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More than 120,000 Cambodians have fled Thailand to return home in the past week, fearing a crackdown on migrant workers after last month’s military takeover, an official said on Sunday.

The mass exodus of labourers who play a key role in Thai industries such as seafood and agriculture but often lack official work permits comes amid a junta warning of arrest and deportation for illegal foreign workers.

“They’re returning en masse like a dam collapsing. They’ve never come en masse like this before in our history,” Kor Sam Saroeut, governor of the northwestern province of Banteay Meanchey where the main border crossing is located, told AFP by telephone.

Around 122,000 Cambodian migrants have returned from Thailand in the last week after being transported to the border by Thai military trucks or making their own way, he said late Sunday.

“They said they are scared of being arrested or shot if they run when Thai authorities check their houses,” Saroeut added. “Most of them went to work in Thailand without a work permit.”

But two days later the Thai foreign ministry dismissed “RUMOURS” the army was deporting Cambodian labourers and later Sunday released a new statement citing spokesman Sek Wannamethee as saying: “No crackdown order targeting Cambodian workers had been issued by the NCPO (junta body).”

As a result of the rumours, “Cambodian illegal workers have reported themselves to the Thai authorities for being repatriated voluntarily to Cambodia,” the statement said, adding that Thai immigration officials had provided transport for them. (NOT RUMOR!)

More than 12,000 migrant workers crossed the border into Cambodia on Sunday alone, according to Saroeut, who expects many more to make the journey over the new few days.

Thousands were sheltering from the rain at local Buddhist temples and a market as they waited for transport to their home provinces.

Cambodian authorities have arranged nearly 300 cars and military trucks to ferry workers home from the Aranyaprathet-Poipet border checkpoint but many would have to stay near the site overnight until transport became available, Saroeut said.

At the smaller border checkpoint of Boeung Trakuon, south of Poipet, around 1,000 Cambodian men and women walked across the border with heavy bags and children in tow, said a local journalist.

Sirichan Ngathong, a spokeswoman for Thailand’s army which seized power in a coup on May 22, had said Wednesday the junta viewed illegal migrants as a “threat” and they faced arrest and deportation.

http://bangkok.coconuts.co/2014/06/16/afp-120000-cambodian-migrants-flee-thailand-after-coup

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Personal thought:

I haven’t read anything similar as to whether this is affecting the Lao and Burmese. If the crackdown becomes more widespread, I believe this will have a dire consequence on the Thai economy.

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June 17, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

(2 of 2) Burma – ‘Killing in the Name of Buddhism’

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It was not so long ago that Burmese monks dressed in saffron robes organised brave protests and peaceful processions against the brutal military junta led by General Than Shwe. It was dubbed the Saffron Revolution.
In 2007, the monks’ Gandhian non-violent resistance was watched with awe, and commanded the respect of millions around the globe.

But these images etched in our collective memory are hard to square with an ugly new reality: Buddhist gangs setting Muslims communities ablaze; acts of collective arson and racist brutality, with some monks playing a vanguard role in instigating this anti-Muslim campaign.

How can the same religion known throughout the world for its commitment to peace, meditation, and reflection engage in hate-filled sermons against the Muslim minority? What has happened to the world religion that is above all other world religions, devoted to peace and non-violence? Has the year of the heroic monks of 2007 metamorphosed into some devilish distortion of Theravada Buddhism, forsaking tolerance and respect for all humanity, into a crassly xenophobic new creed that endorses killing Muslims in the name of Buddhism?

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Most of the media coverage, Burmese and international alike, has narrowly focused on the anti-Muslim rantings spewed out by Buddhist monk U Wirathu, from a monastery near Mandalay. The leader of the ultra-nationalist movement known as “969” has claimed that Muslims commit virtually all the rapes reported in Burma, that their mosques and assets are being secretly financed by the Saudis, and that they will eventually take over the whole country.

Buddha preached calm and contemplation but Wirathu’s agenda calls for the opposite. “Now is not the time for calm,” declares the 46-year-old monk as he denigrates Muslims. “Now is the time to rise up, to make your blood boil.” (This quote was reported in the July 1st edition of TIME Magazine, which featured a cover shot of the angry monk headlined “The Face of Buddhist Terror.” The issue was banned inside Burma.)

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Read more, HERE:

http://www.chiangmainews.com/ecmn/viewfa.php?id=3856

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September 17, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

(1 of 2) Burma ‘No place to call Home’ – Image Gallery

Via: Chiang Mai Citylife

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One of the most negative aspects to develop out of the newly democratic and open society of Burma is the use of freedom of expression and freedom to gather as a catalyst for ethnic and religious hate mongering.

While ethnic tensions between the Buddhists in Rakhine state and their Muslim Rohingyan neighbours have been underlying for generations in both civil society as well as politically, the new open society has allowed for these tensions to be provoked into riots, violence and the destruction of Rohingyan villages in and around the capital of Rakhine state, Sittwe.

This has led to a mass exodus of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya to Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps in outlying areas.

The Burmese government has done little to quell the violence or to set up proper support structures within the camps, where conditions are extremely poor with little access to clean water and enough food as well. The Rohingya that have stayed in Sittwe are relegated to a cordoned-off neighbourhood called Aung Mingalar that is also referred to as “the ghetto.” It is controlled by state security forces that do not let the Rohingyans leave, making it nearly impossible for them to take part in any kind of commerce. These photos depict the day-to-day existence of Rohingya living in Sittwe. While the violence towards Muslims began here, it is now spreading nationwide, spurning a fear of Buddhist jihad as well as retribution by both domestic and foreign Muslims.

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Read MORE, See MORE, HERE:

http://www.chiangmainews.com/ecmn/viewfa.php?id=3873

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September 17, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on (1 of 2) Burma ‘No place to call Home’ – Image Gallery

Chiang Mai – Two Female Burmese Beggars Arrested for Human Trafficking

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Via: City News – Chiang Mai

Prior to the arrest, police received a report from Chiang Mai Shelter for Children and Families that two Burmese women had been taking children to the Night Bazaar in order to beg. Police found Maetu carrying an infant called Seejoaw (2), begging for money on the pavement near Pantip Plaza. Nearby Wuimah was found holding a baby, Netului (10 months), sitting on the pavement and begging.

Wuimah told police that the children were hers. She said that before she came to Thailand Maetu had been to her village and explained how her children could be rented for begging purposes in Thailand.

She said she had been promised 500,000 kyat but had not received the money.

http://www.chiangmaicitynews.com/news.php?id=2032

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Related post:

‘Chiang Mai – Thai Police Rescue 6 Burmese Children’ – (July 28,2011 – SSDD ‘Same Shit – Different Day’

“When we talked with the children from Tuesday’s raid, we found that THEY  WERE FORCED TO TAKE A DRUG TO MAKE THEM DAZED (see photo),” she told The Irrawaddy on Wednesday. “We believe the suspects intoxicated the children because their dazed appearance could be used to cause people to feel pity for them. When the case is over, we will send the children back to their own country.”

https://seattle99.wordpress.com/2011/07/28/chiang-mai-thai-police-rescue-6-burmese-children/

July 6, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Thailand – Santa busted!

Via: Brisbane Times

A 93-year-old Australian man attempted to escape charges that he raped four  young Thai sisters by fleeing illegally into Burma, Thai police say.

But instead of being taken to Burma’s largest city, Rangoon,  and deported to  Australia, Karl Joseph ‘Santa’ Kraus, a former railway worker, was escorted by Burmese  police and officials back across the  border into the hands of Thai police.

Looking frail and dishevelled, Mr Kraus pleaded to be returned to Burma where  he had been staying illegally for about a month after skipping bail on Thai  charges of rape and sexual abuse.

”Where am I? Take me back to Burma. I want to go. You are illegal. My  embassy should be here,” he pleaded with Thai officials late on Friday at the  Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge near the northern Thai city of Chiangmai.

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When asked what he had been doing in Burma, Mr Kraus replied: ”Mostly in  jail.”

Sitting in a border office surrounded by Thai and Burmese officials, Mr Kraus said: ”I am 93 years old and you treat me like this … it is so illegal.

”The embassy man should be here. Why do you like this?”

A Burmese official, who declined to give his name, said Mr Kraus entered  Burma by illegally crossing a river and travelled to the Karen state capital of  Pa-an where he rented a room for several weeks until his arrest on July 24.

Burmese authorities discovered he had entered Burma illegally when they  checked his travel documents.

The charges against Santa are among the most serious Thai police have  investigated in recent years.

Police allege one of four under-age sisters he lured to his house with  promises of imported chocolates and English lessons was aged FIVE when alleged  abuses began.

Police allege they seized more than 100 photographs of naked children,  including some with him posing with them.

Police say Mr. Kraus gave the children money.

They allege he emailed some pictures overseas, suggesting he was part of an international paedophilia network, which police are investigating.

The  girls’ parents told police they learnt of the alleged abuse when they  asked the girls what was wrong because they had lost interest in playing  outside.

Police say Mr Kraus approached the girls’ family in 2008 with an offer to  teach the sisters English.

He has been a frequent long-stay visitor in Thailand for more than a  decade.

Santa claims he was the victim of an extortion attempt by Thai  authorities, who levelled bogus charges against him. His family in Australia say  he has been denied access to medicine and proper care while facing the charges,  which were laid in June 2010.

They say that, while Mr Kraus was in custody, it was made clear to him the  charges would be dropped if he paid the equivalent of $14,175 to several  parties, including Thai officials.

Berlin-born Mr Kraus has been an Australian citizen for decades.

A new judge was recently appointed to hear the charges against Mr Kraus,  meaning his trial will probably not be heard for months.

Neighbours say that, until recently, Mr Kraus drove a car and appeared  spritely, but he has appeared in a wheelchair at his most recent court  appearances.

Thai police colonel Apichart Hathsin, who has investigated Mr Kraus since  2010, warned that the opening of Burma to outsiders was attracting foreign  criminals.

He also called for an increase in bail for Thai suspects. ”In most cases of  foreign paedophiles escaping conviction, they usually post bail and then make a  run for it, out of the country,” Colonel Hathsin said.

” I think it would be a good idea to increase the amount of bail to  correspond with the suspect’s original country. Otherwise, they will be able to  afford the bail and then escape.”

Read more, HERE:

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/accused-child-abuser-93-caught-fleeing-into-burma-20120804-23ma8.html#ixzz22e0NZuh3

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personal thought:

I would like to see, NOT ONLY in Thailand; but NO BAIL for pedophiles, PERIOD.

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August 5, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Thailand – baby elephants are brutally starved and tortured

Via: Thai Visa / Daily Mail

There are few things more adorable than a baby elephant.

Little more than 3ft tall and naturally curious, they are the undisputed stars of the scores of elephant camps created in the forests of Thailand to offer tourists the opportunity to get close to the world’s largest land animals.

For many of the 850,000 Britons who go on holiday to Thailand every year, a trip to an elephant park is an unmissable part of their trip.

While some are doing good work, the vast majority of elephant camps are commercial enterprises, making money from tourists keen to have their photos taken with the young ones, bathing with the elephants or riding them, or watching them paint.

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Some camps even dress up their elephants and have them perform unnatural and demeaning tricks, all in the name of entertainment.

But beyond the happy smiles of tourists posing with elephants, there is a hidden dark reality, of murder, smuggling and torture for the calves on show.

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The booming Thai tourist industry is fuelling a huge illegal trade in baby elephants that are taken from the wild in Burma, beaten, starved and tortured to break their spirit before being paraded in front of fee-paying holidaymakers.

The reports we have recently received indicate that at least 50 to 100 elephant calves are still being taken from the forests of Burma every year to supply the tourist camps.
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EVEN WORSE, it is estimated that for every calf smuggled across the country’s 1,200-mile border with Thailand, up to FIVE adult female and adolescent elephants from the calf’s immediate family group are gunned down in cold blood.

http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/571626-the-agonising-blows-that-expose-the-evil-secrets-of-thailands-elephant-tourism-con/

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After finishing playing with the baby elephant (see photo), you can go to Tiger Kingdom and have your picture taked with the ‘druged-out’ tigers.

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Oh, and HAPPY HOLIDAY!

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July 23, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Chiang Mai – Thai Police Rescue 6 Burmese Children

Via: The Irrawaddy

Thai police rescued six Burmese children, one as young as four years of age, from a trafficking gang in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand, on Tuesday morning. Three Burmese have been arrested—two women and a man—under suspicion of human trafficking, sex offences, and forcing the children to work as beggars.

Lt Col. Hsaiphim Tijarat from Mae Ping Police Station in Chiang Mai said that his officers are still investigating the case, but three suspects—Tin Ngwe (57), Shwe Kyi (54) and Ma Cho (47)—are currently being questioned.

Speaking to The Irrawaddy on Wednesday, Hsaiphim said, “Among the suspects, Tin Ngwe is accused of three crimes: human trafficking, forcing the children into begging and sexual molestation. When we finish questioning the suspects, their cases will be sent to the court.”

Interviewed by The Irrawaddy at the police station, Tin Ngwe said he was originally from Pegu Division and had migrated to Thailand in April 2010 with hopes of earning a better income. He said that he had previously worked as a trash collector in Shan State before moving to Thailand with his wife, Shwe Kyi, who was also arrested on Tuesday.

When I woke up on Tuesday morning, about 30 people had broke in to our house and surrounded us. The police officers said that we were being arrested for human trafficking and for forcing the children to beg on the street,” he said. “I was accused of sexually molesting one of the girls.”

But the girl who has complained that I molested her is my granddaughter. She is the daughter of my own daughter. How can anyone think that I would be so stupid as to abuse my own granddaughter?” he said, adding that all the children are his relatives, and that he has been taking care of them in Chiang Mai.

The girl in question was named as Wai Mon Oo, 18, who has told police that she used to share a house in the Nong Hoi district of Chiang Mai with Tin Ngwe and Shwe Kyi. She reported that she fled two months ago before she filed a complaint with the authorities.

The other children involved are reportedly aged four, six, seven, 16 and 22, the latter perhaps having the mentality of a child.

The six rescued in the raid are currently being housed at the Chiang Mai Shelter for Children and Families where medical staff are checking their blood types and DNA, according to Ms. Mingkwan Weerachart, the head of the shelter.

“When we talked with the children from Tuesday’s raid, we found that THEY  WERE FORCED TO TAKE A DRUG TO MAKE THEM DAZED (see photo),” she told The Irrawaddy on Wednesday. “We believe the suspects intoxicated the children because their dazed appearance could be used to cause people to feel pity for them. When the case is over, we will send the children back to their own country.”

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Washington-based HumanTrafficking.Org says that the mismanagement of the country’s economy and a lack of job opportunities are the main reasons for Burma’s significant trafficking problem.

Christian relief agency World Vision, which is active in Thailand, says on their website that Burmese people are trafficked to other Asian countries, such as China, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Korea and Macao, but that the primary destination is Thailand.
http://www.irrawaddy.org/article.php?art_id=21779

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July 28, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

1 of 2 – Opium production expand in Myanmar

photo: Shan State Army

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Via: Chiang Mai Mail by Khaghon Boonpath

The Border Patrol Police (BPP) and military intelligence agencies report that the areas opposite Mae Hong Son’s Pangmapha District and Ban Pangkong Pass specifically have seen increasing cultivation of opium poppies.

The BPP sources report that Ho Main District in Lang Khoi Province of Myanmar has seen more than 5,000 rai (1,977 acres) of land opened up for cultivation of the poppies and that they are under the control and supervision of the Southern Shan State (SSS) and the United Wa State Army (UWSA).

The sources added that Pa-o hill tribe villagers have indicated the poppy fields have been expanding since 2008 under the direction armed forces of the SS led by a Major who was the leader of the Ban Ho Main village as well as Lisu man from Pai who has been hiding in Myanmar to escape drug charges in Thailand. They added that Myanmar government soldiers have cooperated with the SSS collecting tax on the output.

The raw opium is sold at 25,000 Baht ($833 USD) per joi or 1.6 kg. It is then delivered to heroin refineries under the control of the UWSA in Ban Khailuang opposite Tambon Thamlod in Pangmapha District of Mae Hong Son (Thailand).

Prior to 2008 the opium was sent to central parts of the Shan state in Doi Laem Province under the control of the Myanmar government and the Red Pa-o or SNPLO. However, since then the opium is being sent to the Red Wa as they offered higher prices.

The Wa National Army, Shan State Army and Pa-o National Liberation Organization along with the SSS have been fighting against the Myanmar government and their patrols of drug routes and tax collection on opium has resulted in the change of refining areas.

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read more, here.

http://chiangmai-mail.com/current/news.shtml#hd13

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May 1, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 1 Comment