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Phuket hotel staffers test positive for drugs in crime sweep

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PHUKET: Patong Police raided the resort town for drugs this week as part of a Loy Krathong festival crime sweep, busting three for possession of ya ice (crystal methamphetamine) and conducting random drug tests on hotel staffers.

Officers conducted random drug tests on 144 employees of Avista Hideaway Resort and Spa near Tri Trang Beach, at the request of the hotel’s managers.

“Many hotels in the area send letters to the station requesting that we come test their staff for drug use. Avista Hideaway Resort and Spa is one of those hotels,” Patong Police Inspector Sutthichai Tianpho told the Phuket Gazette.

The drug tests yielded 11 positive results, which were sent to the Regional Medical Sciences Center 14 to be confirmed.

“We did not charge any of the staff, as they were not caught in possession of drugs. We will send the results to the hotel managers, who will then decide what they want to do about their employees,” Lt Col Suttichai said.

As part of the campaign, officers descended on a labor camp on Phang Muang Sai Kor Road on Thursday, where they caught Wallop Thammachart, 30, in possession of 300mg of ya ice.

During questioning, Mr Wallop gave up the names of two more people in his drug network. Undercover officers then set up an appointment to buy drugs from Nikorn Sawasdee, 24, and Namfon Yomkote, 24, at a house on 50 Pi Road.

“We found Mr Nikorn with 800mg of ya ice and Ms Namfon with 400mg,” Col Suttichai explained.

Mr Wallop and Ms Namfon were charged with possession of a Category 1 drug, Col Sutthichai confirmed, while Mr Nikorn was charged with possession of a Category 1 drug with intent to sell.

“We are doing our best to sweep the island clean and prevent crime during the festival. Any crime or violence will have a negative effect on the tourism industry, and I don’t want that to happen,” Arayaphan Pukbuakao, a deputy commander of Phuket Provincial Police, told the Gazette on Wednesday (story here).

— Natthaphol Wittayarungrote

 

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