“Region 8 Police and local officers in Surat Thani, Nakorn Sri Thammarat, Chumphon, Ranong, Krabi, Phang Nga and Phuket conducted massive raids to get guns and drugs off the streets this week,” said Chalermkiat Srivorakarn, deputy national police chief at the Phuket City Police Station yesterday.
In total, police seized 119 firearms and 732 rounds of ammunition.
“It is much easier to purchase guns right now than it used to be, which is of great concern. Having an illegal firearm can lead to other serious crimes,” Gen Chalermkiat said.
The illegal firearm trade is being facilitated by closed Facebook groups and other social media platforms, the Phuket Gazette revealed in an investigative piece published in September (story here).
In addition to the 120 people arrested for firearm infractions, a total of 744 were arrested for drug related crimes. During the raids, police seized 401,425 methamphetamine (ya ba) pills, 1.28 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine (ya ice), 1.29 kilograms of marijuana and 456 kilograms of kratom.
Additionally, 31 people with outstanding arrest warrants were picked up and 61 suspects were apprehended for gambling.
“A lot of people join in the holiday festivities, which leads to an increased potential for criminal activity. Therefore the Royal Thai Police have issued orders to every police station to focus on crime suppression, as well as water and firework dangers. Additionally, we are tackling traffic issues and ensuring strong public relations so that people are ensured of their safety and can enjoy the festival,” said Gen Chamlermkiat.
During Phuket’s last major festival – the Vegetarian Festival – an innocent bystander was killed after being caught in a crossfire between rival gangs (story here).
— Kritsada Mueanhawong
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