BANGKOK (Bamgkok Post) – Thailand’s Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin has voiced concern that smugglers have turned to the so-called Golden Crescent as an alternative source of drugs trafficked to Thailand.
Mr Somsak said the Golden Crescent, cutting through Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan, rivals Southeast Asia’s Golden Triangle as a hotbed of drug production.
The Golden Triangle sits on the borders where Thailand, Laos and Myanmar meet and, like the Golden Crescent, has for decades been one of the world’s largest producers of opium.
Although Mr Somsak did not specify which types of drugs are produced in the Golden Crescent, he expressed serious concern over information he had received on the matter.
He said he has instructed his anti-narcotics authorities to work closely with international organisations on drug suppression so as to curb the smuggling of drugs via or into Thailand.
Under the Mekong Memorandum of Understanding on Drug Control (2019-2022), the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) has so far succeeded in seizing a large volumes of precursor chemicals trafficked via Thailand to neighbouring countries, Mr Somsak said.
The agency and its partners have also arrested about 2,000 drug traffickers and seize an estimated 444 million speed pills over the years, he said.
“The government has allocated 5 billion baht to measures that tackle drug problems, both for suppression [of the trade] and for protection [of the public].
”This year, I would like to underline how community resistance has helped to both prevent locals from trying drugs and also promoted treatment of recovering addicts, who suffer high rates of relapse when their lives are troubled and they have nothing to rely on.
“Hence, relevant organisations are encouraged to provide drug campaigns in whatever form [will help]. Nighttime hangouts, where drugs are regularly consumed, should not be overlooked,” he said.