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Phuket takes drug war to the coffee shop

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PHUKET: In a marked departure from the usual line in tackling drugs on the island, Phuket Vice Governor Chamroen Tipayapongtada yesterday took time out to sit down with local village leaders and discuss the drug problem over a cup of coffee.

Joined by Col Jirasak Siemsak of Cherng Talay Police Station and Cherng Talay Tambon Administration Organization (OrBorTor) Vice President Siri Yokthong, Vice Governor Chamroen sat down at a coffee shop in Bang Tao, on Phuket’s west coast, with local village headman, an imam and government officers in the area.

V/Gov Chamroen explained to the group that in the past six months, provincial authorities had tallied 1,637 drug cases: 734 of those cases involved ya ice (crystal methamphetamine), 564 involved ya bah (methamphetamine), 140 cases involved dry marijuana and the remaining 36 cases involved “other drugs”.

Those cases resulted in the arrests of 1,810 suspects, said V/Gov Chamroen.

“But in order to solve the drug problem, we need the cooperation of local people,” he said.

“We are launching a project ‘Government Officers Meet Local Leaders”. We will send officers out to villages to meet the local leaders and the people so they can listen to the problems and come up solutions together.

“We expect this to effective in suppressing drugs because only the local people know how severe the drug problem is in their area,” V/Gov Chamroen said.

He added that Cherng Talay would be the first area targeted by the project.

“We will send officers to investigate the area and encourage the local officials to work with residents in the area and brainstorm solutions to the drug problem,” he said.

— Kritsada Mueanhawong

 

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