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Golden Triangle drug labs increase shipments 1000% – Speed and Ice pouring over the border

The Thaiger

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Golden Triangle drug labs increase shipments 1000% – Speed and Ice pouring over the border | The Thaiger
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The number of seizures of high-purity crystal methamphetamine are surging into northern Thailand. The demand rises and the methods of detection and enforcement also improve. It’s a vicious circle.

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

Some 18.4 tonnes of crystal methamphetamine or ‘ice’, was seized in Thailand last year, according to preliminary statistics from the Thai Office of the Narcotics Control Board. They know it’s a tiny proportion of the amounts produced and shipped out undetected.

That figure is up from 5.2 tonnes in 2017 and 1.6 tonnes in 2016. It’s more than three times the amount captured across all of Southeast Asia five years ago – a staggering rise in production and distribution.

Thailand remains a major trafficking route for the artificial drug manufactured in Myanmar’s Shan and Kachin states – the north-eastern states of Myanmar that border China, Laos and Thailand.

Police say organised crime groups work with local pro-government militias and armed rebels to set-up “super labs” and allow transport through the regions to borders beyond.

The same mega-labs are also pumping out ‘cocktail’ tablets of methamphetamine, mixed with caffeine and other ‘fillers’. The drug is nicknamed ‘yaba’ in Thailand. Specialist chemists and ‘cooks’ are brought in from Taiwan and China to run the meth labs in Myanmar, while the ingredients and lab equipment mostly come from China.

The methamphetamine tablets are a low-grade recreational drug, inexpensive and popular with blue-collar workers and low-end recreational drug users across South East Asia. The price for a ‘yaba’ pill has plummeted from around 200 baht to 80 baht in the past five years.

Golden Triangle drug labs increase shipments 1000% - Speed and Ice pouring over the border | News by The Thaiger

But the Golden Triangle, bordering north-eastern Myanmar, Laos and Thailand, has a long history of illicit drug trafficking.

It came to the West’s notice as a cultivation hub for opium and heroin refining but those, now, easily detected crops are being replaced with methamphetamine production. The factories are easily hidden underneath the jungle canopy, and with the assistance of ‘co-operative’ local authorities, armed gangs and state-sponsored militias, the precursor drugs and final product move in and out with little trouble.

Once the drugs have made their way through Thailand the drug syndicates use “motherships” that intercept the drugs off the Andaman coast and distribute them to other parts of South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

Whilst the growth in production and purity of the drugs is alarming authorities, they are also intercepting and detecting a lot more of the road shipments making their way across the Thai borders. But they readily admit they are only netting a tiny part of the larger iceberg.

Despite the frequent showcasing of large drug hauls by Thai police, the vast majority of the drugs coming out of the back-doors of Myanmar’s meth labs are getting through undetected.

Golden Triangle drug labs increase shipments 1000% - Speed and Ice pouring over the border | News by The Thaiger

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Air Pollution

North still choked with dangerous smog

Greeley Pulitzer

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North still choked with dangerous smog | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Tasty Thailand

Chiang Mai takes the number one spot for air pollution yet again today, as a thick shroud of smog blankets huge areas of the province. Thailand’s Pollution Control Department reported today that dangerously thick smog covered the upper northern provinces of Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Mae Hong Son. A red alert signifying severe air pollution was posted for the three northern provinces.

Levels of PM2.5 (smoke and dust particles 2.5 micrometres and less in diameter) ranged from 32-241 microgrammes per cubic metre of air in the North over the past 24 hours. The governmnent-set “safe” level is at 50mcg, double the international standard.

PM2.5 was measured at 108mcg in Mae Sai district in Chiang Rai.

North still choked with dangerous smog | News by The Thaiger

In Chiang Mai, PM2.5 rose to 101mcg in tambon Chiang Phuak of Muang district, 100 in tambon Sri Phum, and 241 in tambon Muang Khong of Chiang Dao district.

In Mae Hong Son, the PM2.5 level reached 121 in tambon Chong Kham of Muang district.

Lower, but still unsafe levels of dust were reported in Mae Chaem and Muang districts of Chiang Mai; Mae Mo and Muang districts of Lampang, Muang district of Lamphun, Muang district of Phayao, Chalerm Phrakiat district of Nan and Mae Sot district of Tak.

North still choked with dangerous smog | News by The Thaiger

IMAGE: airvisual.com

Air quality was deemed “good” in the city district of Uthai Thani, at 32mcg, Wichian Buri district of Phetchabun with 36 and the city district of Nakhon Sawan at 37.

According to the Pollution Control Department, PM2.5 levels ranged from 44-48mcg in Kamphaeng Phet, Phichit, Phitsanulok and Uttaradit provinces.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Police say most Chiang Mai curfew violators drunk

Greeley Pulitzer

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Police say most Chiang Mai curfew violators drunk | The Thaiger
PHOTO: The Nation

More than 250 people have been arrested in Chiang Mai province since the national state of emergency was enacted on April 3 to fight the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus, after breaking its subsequent curfew. Police say most were drunk.

Another 43 people were arrested overnight on Tuesday for violating curfew. Police report that amongst those arrested, 2 were in possession of illicit drugs as well. Many of the remaining people “had also been drinking.”

Police say they have so far arrested 278 people for violating the curfew in Chiang Mai.

“Anyone caught breaching the curfew is being fined 1,500 baht and faces being imprisoned for 15 days. After release, they’re subject to 7 days of home detention and a 1 year probation period.”

There have yet to be any reports of police officers with the virus, though 17 are in quarantine and under close observation.

Chiang Mai’s governor yesterday issued an alcohol ban, prohibiting all alcohol sales from April 10 to 20.

“Anyone found in violation of this will face up to a year in jail and or a fine of up to 100,000 baht.”

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Chiang Mai bans booze to battle coronavirus

Greeley Pulitzer

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Chiang Mai bans booze to battle coronavirus | The Thaiger
PHOTO: The Thaiger

There’s likely to be a rush on for booze over the next few days in Chiang Mai. The northern province is banning alcohol sales for 10 days, from April 10 – 20 in its local battle with the Covid-19 coronavirus. Provincial governor Charoenrit Sanguansat issued the order yesterday.

He says the Chiang Mai Communicable Disease Committee has already issued emergency measures to deal with the outbreak in Chiang Mai, but the situation has not improved.

“To enhance measures to monitor, control, and prevent the spread of the virus by focusing on risks of infection and people’s needs, the Chiang Mai Communicable Disease Committee has ordered retail and wholesale stores to temporarily stop alcohol sales.”

He added that the announcement was made under the Communicable Diseases Act, and the national state of emergency declared last week

“Entrepreneurs who violate this order will be punished with not more than a year in prison or a fine not exceeding 100,000 baht, or both, under Section 52 of the Communicable Diseases Act, or they will face not more than 2 years in jail or a fine of up to 40,000 baht or both, under Section 18 of the Emergency Decree.”

“This order will be in effect from April 10 to 20.”

SOURCE:The Nation

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