Foreigners executed on drug charges in Thailand

BANGKOK (AFP): A Taiwanese man, a Hong Kong man, and two Thais convicted on drug trafficking charges were executed by firing squad this evening. A fifth man, also a Thai, was similarly executed for murder, officials said. “The Thai government wants to reassure the world that it takes the drug problem seriously,” Yongyuth Tiyapairat, a government spokesman announced, saying that the multiple executions had taken place at 5:00 pm (1000 GMT). He said the government planned to speed up legal procedures in order to hasten the execution of convicted drug dealers. Hong Kong citizen Lee Yuan Kwang, 47, and Taiwanese Chu Ching Kuay, 33, were executed along with Thai national Boonkerd Jitpranee, 40, in Bangkok’s maximum security jail. The three were arrested in 1993 in connection with trafficking in 30 kilograms (66 pounds) of heroin. Another Thai drug convict, Vichien Seanmahayak, 42, was also executed after being convicted of trafficking in 50,000 amphetamine tablets in 1997. The fifth person to be executed was Thai Muslim Ramalee Tayae, 47, convicted of murder. Some 150 drug convicts are currently on death row in Thailand. Under Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Thailand’s new government earlier this year declared a “war on drugs” and has vowed to work with Burma to stamp out trafficking. An estimated six percent of Thailand’s population of 62 million are believed to be drug addicts. Cheap methamphetamines have replaced heroin and opium as the main threat. The pills are churned out in jungle refineries along the country’s northern border with Burma.

Phuket News
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