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Minister pledges to sort out Thailand’s export procedures in wake of New Zealand drugs bust

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: www.chiangraitimes.com

Following the seizure in New Zealand last month of shipping containers from Thailand packed with drugs, Deputy Transport Minister Athirat Rattanaset says the country must improve its maritime export procedures.

He was speaking at a meeting with exporters, saying the drugs bust in New Zealand has had a negative impact on Thailand’s image and calling on them for their cooperation in implementing improved security and screening measures.

“Today [September 24], I met with representatives of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, Thai National Shippers’ Council and Thai Transportation and Logistics Association to clarify the situation and seek their cooperation. Private exporters are key to creating a more efficient inspection process, as they can produce authentic documents identifying which containers belong to their association members and which ones don’t, making it easier for us to pinpoint suspicious containers.”

It’s understood the containers belonged to a foreign drug network and had not been detected by x-ray machines in operation at Laem Chabang port, leading the minister to urge the Customs Department to improve security measures.

“The x-ray procedure is the Customs Department’s responsibility. So, I have called on them to beef-up security measures by installing more advanced x-ray machines, as well as increase the frequency of inspection. Meanwhile, police and the NIA have promised to provide the Customs Department with in-depth intelligence information, so they can inspect suspicious containers more accurately.”

Minister Athirat says approximately 20,000 containers pass through Laem Chabang port daily, but it is those headed for New Zealand, Australia and Japan that require customs officials to be particularly vigilant.

“Our intelligence confirms that there are drug networks and syndicates for smuggled goods present in these countries.”

SOURCE: The Nation

 

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A seasoned writer, with a degree in Creative Writing. Over ten years' experience in producing blog and magazine articles, news reports and website content.

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