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Pavena raid fails to free sex slaves

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Pavena raid fails to free sex slaves | The Thaiger

TUB LAMU: Politician Pavena Hongsakul, champion of abused women in Thailand, yesterday accompanied police on a raid on a brothel in this Phang Nga village in a bid to free women believed to have been forced into prostitution. But she and the police came away empty-handed, the owner of the brothel having apparently been tipped off minutes before they arrived. The raid was the third on the brothel, the Cateye Karaoke at 11/19 Moo 5, Tambon Lamkaen, Thai Muang District, and the second time K. Pavena has accompanied the police. K. Pavena, a former Minister of the Prime Minister’s Office and Chairman of the Pavena Foundation for Children & Women, joined a raid at the end of last year, during which a couple of women were released. A week ago, a second raid at her instigation also freed two women. The women said that they had been beaten to force them to service as many as seven customers a night. “The police didn’t arrest the owners [in the raid last week],” K. Pavena said, “because, they said, the owners had run away.” But, she claimed, her sources had informed her that the owners were still in their home, close to the Cateye. “I came here today because I want to rescue other prostitutes and take drastic action against the owners. The police have been here two times already, but the place was closed for only five days and then opened again,” K. Pavena told the Gazette. In yesterday’s raid, Pavena arrived just too late. The Cateye was closed and locked. After officers forced their way in, they found one room with four drinking tables and eight small cubicles for sex, which appeared to have been used very recently. K. Pavena and the police then checked the nearby home of the owner, which they also found padlocked and abandoned. Inside, the air-conditioning and fans were still turned on, and rice was cooking in an electric pot. The ID cards of 10 women, most from Isarn, were found in a wardrobe, along with paperwork showing the income from each woman’s “service fee”. Some 30 bikinis were discovered under a bed. A plastic jar smelling of marijuana was also found. Also discovered was the house registration paper, bearing the names of Manoon Thongwanich, 48, and his wife Pranee, 42. The couple were identified as the people running the brothel by two of the women rescued earlier. The village head, Thawee Paeyai, told K. Pavena that he had seen Manoon drive away in a red BMW with his family and some of the girls only minutes before the raid started. “I think [Manoon] must have good sources who told him we were coming, though only just in time,” K. Paveena said. “I am coordinating with the Governor of Phang Nga, the police here and the Commissioner-General of the Royal Thai Police to follow up on this case and arrest them.”

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Thailand

Thailand government promotes cannabis as a cash crop at Buriram festival

The Thaiger

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Thailand government promotes cannabis as a cash crop at Buriram festival | The Thaiger
Photo via Facebook / อนุทิน ชาญวีรกูล (Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul)

Thailand’s government is pushing for cannabis use in all kinds of foods and products, as long as the plant’s psychoactive component, which causes the “high,” isn’t used. Over the weekend, people flocked to the Cannabis 360 festival held by the government in the Isaan province Buriram. Those at the festival could get a cone of hemp soft serve ice cream or taste other food and beverages seasoned with cannabis leaves.

The country’s public health minister Anutin Charnvirakul, an avid cannabis and hemp supporter, promoted the event, posting a photo on his Facebook page of himself surrounded by cannabis plants.

The director of the Buriram public health and organiser of the event, Withid Sarideechaikoo, told Reuters that cannabis is “the rising star to bring our good quality of lives and money back in our purses as good (economy) as before and even better.”

The festival also promoted growing hemp, a variety of cannabis which has a low concentration of the psychoactive component tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, and a high concentration of the non-psychoactive component cannabinol, or CBD, which has been used to treat anxiety and muscle pain.

Thailand was the first country in Southeast Asia to legalise medical cannabis back in 2018. Recently, parts of the cannabis plant with low traces of THC were removed from Thailand’s narcotics list. The THC-rich buds are still classified as a Category 5 narcotic, carrying fairly hefty penalties for possession and consumption.

SOURCES: Reuters

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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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