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Five murders in Phuket in June

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Five murders in Phuket in June | The Thaiger

PHUKET: June proved a murderous month for Phuket as a wave of violent crime swept across the island with five murders and 14 cases of manslaughter being reported, according to the latest crime statistics released by the Phuket Provincial Police.

Among the unsolved cases is that of the murder of bar hostess Wanphen Pienjai, 33, whose naked body was discovered stuffed into a suitcase in a remote area in Wichit on the morning of June 24.

Ms Wanphen was last seen alive when she left Sweethearts Bar in Kata with a brown-bearded, blue-eyed foreigner on June 18.

For the previous report with composite sketches of the man Ms Wanphen left the bar with click here.

Despite a 50,000-baht reward for clues, police have yet to make an arrest in the case.

At least one ‘person of interest’ was cleared after his picture was shown to staff at the bar, who said he did not resemble the man Ms Wanphen left the bar with.

Police have asked the media not to report other leads case officers are working on in order not to jeopardize the investigation.

The five murders this June more than doubled the figure from June 2009, when two cases were reported.

There were a total of 45 murders reported on the island in 2009, an average of 3.75 per month.

In other crimes resulting in death, there were nine arrests in 14 reported cases of manslaughter, the same number of cases as in June last year.

There were also 14 cases of assault reported, with nine arrests.

There were 35 reported cases of theft with 27 arrests during the period, and four cases of motorbike theft reported with arrests in all cases.

Eight reports of theft led to just one arrest, while there were no arrests in 16 reported cases of embezzlement.

Gambling was up 25% year-on-year, with 160 people arrested in 60 cases, along with 33 people arrested in 31 cases involving the illegal lotteries.

Once again drugs topped the arrest statistics, with 397 people arrested for illegal possession or sale of controlled drugs in 374 drug cases.

Police reported the seizure of precisely 8,389.5 ya bah (methamphetamine pills), 94.7 grams of ya Ice (crystal methamphetamine), 3.8 kilos of dried marijuana, 8 grams of fresh marijuana, 460 leaves of indigenous krathom (Mitragyna speciosa), 100 bottles of cough syrup, five Ecstasy pills, 1.2 grams of heroin and 600 milligrams of cocaine.

— Atchaa Khamlo

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Thailand

Cannabis could generate 8 billion baht for Thai pharmaceutical industry by 2025, expert says

Caitlin Ashworth

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Cannabis could generate 8 billion baht for Thai pharmaceutical industry by 2025, expert says | The Thaiger

Cannabis could become a major cash crop in Thailand. An expert says the cannabis-based medicinal products could generate up to 8 billion baht for the Thai pharmaceutical industry by 2025. Medical cannabis has been legal in Thailand for the past couple years, but recently the government agreed to allow parts of the plant with very, low traces of the “high-inducing” component tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, to be in medicinal products and food.

Cannabis-based medicines have been used as palliative treatment for some cancer patients in Thailand. Last year, nearly 1 million patients used cannabis-based medicines, according to an economist at Kasetsart University’s Agricultural and Resource Economics Department, Ravissa Suchato.

Around 1.2 billion baht worth of medical cannabis was consumed last year, according to Ravissa, who led a recent study on the economic impact of commercial cannabis cultivation in Thailand. If the average consumption rises as expected, medical cannabis could generate 8 billion baht within the next 5 years.

“We believe marijuana has great potential as a cash crop because more patients will start using marijuana-based drugs soon.”

In the past, Thai officials have discussed the opportunity to tap into the global cannabis market by exporting medical cannabis, but Ravissa says Thailand still has a way to go.

“Globally, the recreational use of marijuana has risen a lot faster than pharmaceutical use, so the prospect of exporting marijuana-based medicines from Thailand is still a long way off.”

Parts of the cannabis plant that are rich in THC, like the buds, are still illegal and classified as a Category 5 narcotic. Trafficking the plant is still heavily criminalised. Just over the past few days, border patrol police in the Northeastern province Nakhon Pathom seized hundreds of kilograms of dried, compressed cannabis believed to have been trafficked across the Mekong River from Laos and destined for the South, possibly to Malaysia.

SOURCE: Thai PBS

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Crime

Another drug bust near the Mekong River, 500 kilograms of cannabis seized

Caitlin Ashworth

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Another drug bust near the Mekong River, 500 kilograms of cannabis seized | The Thaiger
PHOTO: MGR Online

In another drug bust in Northeastern province Nakhon Phanom, police arrested a man and seized 500 kilograms of compressed cannabis. Just yesterday, border patrol police in the province seized 920 kilograms of compressed cannabis from a boat on the Mekong River. In both cases, police suspect the cannabis came from Laos, just across the river.

Police say they searched a black Nissan Navara pickup around 1am in the province’s Na Kae district. Police opened the truck’s bed cover and found 12 sacks with 500 packages of dried, compacted cannabis. Each package of cannabis weighed 1 kilogram, similar to the previous bust on the river.

28 year old Saravut Butngam was arrested. Saravut previously worked in construction, but has recently been unemployed. He allegedly told police that a man called him with an opportunity to make 50,000 baht. He was told to drive the pickup truck from a petrol station in the Na Kae district to a specified location in the neighbouring province Sakon Nakhon, police say. From there, another driver would take over.

Border police commander Sippanan Sornkhunkaew says he suspects the cannabis seized in the province was trafficked from Laos across the Mekong River. He says he believes the cannabis was planned to be trafficked to Southern Thailand and then smuggled across the border, possibly to Malaysia.

On Sunday morning, police confiscated 920 kilograms of cannabis from a boat on the Mekong River. When police approached the boat, men jumped off onto a smaller boat and fled the scene. The dried, compacted cannabis was wrapped in 1 kilogram packages.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Drugs

Police seize 920 kilograms of cannabis smuggled across the Mekong River

Caitlin Ashworth

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Police seize 920 kilograms of cannabis smuggled across the Mekong River | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thairath

In a major bust on the Mekong River, notorious for drug smuggling, border patrol police seized 920 kilograms of dried, compacted cannabis from a boat along the Nakhon Pathom riverbank, bordering Laos.

Police were tipped off about a large shipment of drugs being trafficked across the Thai-Laos border. Police spotted a boat around 4am yesterday. When police moved in, men onboard the boat jumped onto a smaller boat and sped off. Police found 23 sacks filled with 1-kilogram packages of compressed cannabis.

Police seize 920 kilograms of cannabis smuggled across the Mekong River | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: MGR Online

In the recent months, police have seized more than 5 tonnes of cannabis. While the Thai government has been loosening measures on cannabis, allowing parts of the plant with low traces of the psychoactive component tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, to be used in food and medicinal products, trafficking cannabis is still illegal. Cannabis with high amounts of THC is still classified as a Category 5 narcotic.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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