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Justice minister targets drug money laundering

Jack Burton

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Justice minister targets drug money laundering | The Thaiger
PHOTO: The Nation Thailand
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With the government struggling to find revenue streams for its economic stimulus plans to rebuild an economy battered by Covid-19, Thailand’s justice minister thinks he has an idea to help. He wants authorities to target businesses that launder drug money from the Golden Triangle and has set a target of 1.5 billion baht by August.

The minister says anti-drug forces, both civilian and military, have arrested 125 drug suspects and seized millions of speed pills and manufacturing equipment in northern Thailand. Officials are also expected to freeze around 50 million baht worth of assets related to the arrested traffickers. He says the Golden Triangle, bordering Chiang Rai and northern provinces, is a huge source of drugs and a haven for traffickers. Traffickers launder money there then send it back to drug syndicates in other countries.

The money laundering involves the purchase of precious metal bullion, gold ornaments and construction materials as well as online gambling, which facilitates daily money transfers.

“Officials will look for suspicious businesses that have grown disproportionately in the past few years. The Revenue Department will also support the investigation.”

The justice minister believes intensified action should result in the seizure of at least 1.5 billion baht by August, compared with 700 million baht seized from drug traffickers last year. Just last week, assets valued at 42 million baht were frozen by Chiang Rai police.

Drug syndicates smuggle drugs into Thailand across the border from Myanmar, Cambodia or Laos, then distribute them to Bangkok and other major cities. The Thai and Burmese governments have independently stepped up their anti-narcotics efforts in the Golden Triangle region, mostly with little real effect, other than a parade of weekly photo opportunities with large drug seizures – in truth, a tiny proportion of the drugs that leak through their patrols.

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

Thailand remains a major trafficking route for opiates and synthetic drugs manufactured in Myanmar’s Shan and Kachin states, the northeastern states that border China, Laos and Thailand.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Avatar

    ken jones

    June 13, 2020 at 4:43 pm

    I have even a better idea. Lets put a tax of 50% on all illegal money laudering to all Goverement officials. The Land and Tax department. The immigration department. And the police. Example it is known that the monthly rate for soi 6 and go-go bars by the police is 25000 baht! There you go !

  2. Avatar

    Brian

    June 13, 2020 at 5:50 pm

    If the government arranges things so that it benefits from the illegal drug trade like a parasite, it will ensure that the illegal drug trade goes on indefinitely.

  3. Avatar

    Unkel Fart Gas

    June 13, 2020 at 11:32 pm

    Corruption Tax on government ministries, regional offices, hospitals. Everywhere. Corruption is rife. They know we know, but they still allow it ! Beyond contemptuous.

  4. Avatar

    Vincent Vermeulen

    June 17, 2020 at 3:26 pm

    The use of drugs and the war on drugs is as old as the world itself. I’d say just let it run free and eventually many problems will be solved. The Thai look at the drug problem same as the fact that prostitution is illegal! As long as the right ppl benefit of it the problem doesn’t exist 🤷🏼‍♂️

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