Woman arrested for selling kratom tea to teens in Songkhla

Photo courtesy of KhaoSod

Police in Rattaphum, Songkhla, arrested a woman for openly selling kratom leaf tea, with teenagers reportedly becoming addicted. The operation seized 500 bottled kratom teas, sold around the clock.

Rattaphum District Chief Wilailak Rueangphon ordered Sub-Lieutenant Surasak Chanakit to lead a team, including local health officers, to apprehend a vendor selling kratom leaf tea from a rented house.

The house, located at 437, Moo 1, Kamphaeng Phet, Rattaphum, Songkhla, along the busy Satun-Rattaphum route, had been the subject of local complaints. Residents reported the illegal sale of kratom leaf tea to teenagers and passersby, noting the shop operated 24 hours a day. In response, district police monitored the situation and sent an undercover officer to purchase two bottles of kratom leaf tea for 100 baht, leading to the subsequent raid.

Upon arrival at the scene, police found the house securely locked. They identified the vendor as 40 year old Ruttairat Kaewsattaya, originally from Nathawi, Songkhla, and a tenant of the house. A search inside the premises revealed a substantial quantity of bottled kratom leaf tea in various sizes: 111 bottles of 600 millilitres, 70 bottles of 750 millilitres, 62 bottles of 850 millilitres, and 230 bottles of 1,500 millilitres, totalling 473 bottles.

Additionally, large containers of ice and Coca-Cola were found, used to chill the kratom tea. The marked currency used in the sting operation, a 100-baht note, was also recovered from a basket on the premises.

Ruttairat admitted to selling the kratom leaf tea, stating that she priced the bottles at 30 baht for 600 millilitres, 40 baht for 750 millilitres, 50 baht for 850 millilitres, and 70 baht for 1,500 millilitres. She sourced the tea from a supplier known only as Tom, residing in the Thakian community, Khuan Lang, Hat Yai, Songkhla, paying 20,000 baht per batch. Her clientele included residents and travellers between the provinces.

Legal proceedings

Police detained Ruttairat and confiscated the evidence, taking her to the Rattaphum District Office to record the arrest before transferring her to the Rattaphum Police Station for prosecution. She faces charges of violating the Ministry of Public Health’s announcement under the Food Act (1979), specifically regarding the prohibition of producing, importing, or selling certain foods listed in the annexe of the announcement, item 52 (kratom).

The district administration has vowed to intensify enforcement in the area, highlighting the ease of access to kratom leaf tea and the prevalence of addiction among teenagers. They emphasised the ongoing issue of illegal sales despite existing regulations, reported KhaoSod.

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Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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