PHUKET TOWN: Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said yesterday that he would bring an end to “evil” in Thailand through the government’s current campaign against “dark influences”. Speaking at a top-level meeting focused on crushing Thailand’s “dark influences” and drug problems, PM Thaksin said, “I will bring an end to the evil.” He added, “[Currently] 35% of all businesses [in Thailand] are underground businesses. When they become legitimate, and when added to the 65% clean businesses [now], then the revenue of the Thai government will be closer to that of the private sector.” As an example, PM Thaksin said that the new three-digit government lottery – set up to compete with the underground numbers racket – had generated more than a billion baht last month alone. Also at the conference, held at the Royal Phuket City Hotel, were Interior Minister Wan Muhamad Nor Matha, Justice Minister Pongthep Thepkarnjana, and the Secretary General of the Anti-Money Laundering Office, Pol Col Peerapan Premaputi. PM Thaksin thanked government officers who were working to reduce the effect of dark influences, including the drug trade and criminal businesses, in Thailand. He said that he appreciated the success of the current campaign to free Thailand from “evil”, which he said has led to arrests in more than 49,000 cases. He said the campaign should continue to focus on catching drug dealers and rehabilitating drug users, and that funds from the sale of assets seized from arrested drug vendors and influential people will be used to upgrade the public sector.
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