Chiang Rai’s new college to tackle Mekong region drug trafficking

Photo courtesy of Bangkok Post.

The International Narcotics Control College (INCC), a newly founded institution in Chiang Rai, Thailand, is set to provide specialised training for law enforcement agents and associated organisations, with the mission of curbing drug trafficking in the Mekong subregion. Nestled within the compound of the Hall of Opium, Thailand’s opium museum, in Chiang Saen district, the INCC is the first of its kind in the Mekong region.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and Thailand’s Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) jointly launched the college. Jeremy Douglas, the UNODC Regional Representative for Southeast Asia and Pacific, views the college as a beneficial opportunity for the ONCB and its partners to deliver innovative programmes addressing drug trafficking.

“We are looking at offering courses at the INCC in drug intelligence and analysis, border management, precursor chemical control, as well as drug policy and demand reduction.”

The INCC will complement the existing Safe Mekong Coordination Center (SMCC) of the ONCB in Chiang Saen, which continues to monitor drug trafficking in the Golden Triangle and Mekong subregion countries. The Golden Triangle, incorporating Myanmar, Laos and Thailand, is a significant opium-producing area in Southeast Asia. Douglas emphasised that UNODC will support SMCC tasks, such as drug analysis, and provide new intelligence software and training.

Related news

The ONCB’s secretary-general, Wichai Chaimongkhon, said the INCC came into being after the Mae Fah Luang Foundation, which manages the Hall of Opium, donated some land at the museum to the ONCB. The idea of an international anti-drugs institution for the subregion was conceived, leading to the creation of the INCC.

The curriculum will mainly focus on teaching investigation, prevention and suppression concepts in drug trafficking. The college, situated in a forest near the Mekong River, will also act as a research centre in the region. The location is designed to provide hands-on experiences in combatting drug trafficking on land and water.

The INCC is financed by the ONCB’s Drug Prevention and Suppression Fund, which includes a portion of money confiscated by the court from drug traffickers. The centre also receives sponsorship from the UNODC, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and Saudi Arabia.

Wichai sees the current launch as just the first stage of development, with some facilities, such as a seminar room, the shooting gallery and the drug research centre, yet to be completed. The centre is expected to be fully operational by the following year, reported Bangkok Post.

“We hope this training centre will strengthen crime-solving capacities in the Mekong subregion, especially in this period when drug crimes are becoming highly digitised and complex,” Wichai said. “We need to increase our capacity to ensure we can cope with drug crimes in the region.”

Follow more of TheThaiger’s latest stories on our new Facebook page HERE.

Thailand News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

Related Articles