PHUKET: Drugs dealers and addicts in Phuket have until Friday to turn themselves in and receive lenient treatment under the province’s amnesty program, part of the national War On Drugs. But from next Saturday (March 1), no mercy will be shown, Governor CEO Pongpayome Vasaputi warned yesterday, stressing that, from the end of this month, there will be no more “loving-kindness” in the War On Drugs. Since the drive began at the beginning of February, 574 people have declared themselves to the authorities in Phuket as dealers or users of illegal drugs. From February 1 to 21, unofficial figures showed the surrenders of 68 people admitting to be drug dealers and 506 self-confessed addicts. The amnesty program gives dealers a chance to get out of the narcotics business and addicts to be weaned off their habits and, by turning themselves in, to avoid arrest. The number of people who have surrendered represents only about 60% of the total the authorities had hoped for. The Drug Center has a list of 240 suspected drug dealers and 704 suspected drug addicts in Phuket, based on information gathered from the drugs hotline, the PO box for tip-offs and other sources. During the same period, another 126 people were arrested on drug-related matters. From February 1 to 21, police have arrested 40 people in 36 drug-dealing cases and 86 people in 83 cases of drug possession. The Interior Ministry says it expects each province to arrest at least 25% of named drug trade suspects by the end of this month. This implies that 20 more people must be arrested by the end of this week. Gov Pongpayome said he was confident that Phuket would meet the target.
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