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Phuket Provincial Police Commander Maj Gen Patchara Boonyasit explained, “Recently, there were several cases of people using weapons to attack or try to kill others, or to destroy properties. The police have been cracking down on these things with the aim of decreasing the number of criminals in Phuket to ensure tourists’ safety during that period,” said.
“The week included the Patong Carnival marking the arrival of the high season (November 1-3), the Loy Krathong Festival (November 6-8) and there are in addition the upcoming Asian Beach Games from November 14 to 23.
“We must ensure that the crimes decrease so that tourists will be more confident,” he added.
During the drive, 297 people were arrested in connection with 250 cases.
Of these, 85 cases involved the seizure of weapons – 35 firearms, 138 rounds of ammunition, four shotgun shells, 46 knives, two sets of brass knuckles and an axe.
A total of 181 people were arrested in 134 cases involving drugs. Police seized 2,213 methamphetamine pills, 473.11 grams of crystal methamphetamine, just over a kilo of marijuana, 79.4 kilos of kratom leaves, 13 bottles of 4×100 cocktail (a mixture containing kratom and cough syrup) and 53 packages of the restricted sedative Diazepam.
Among other items seized were 86 packages of fireworks, 638 sky lanterns and 229 pirated copies of branded goods.
Asked to estimate how many illegal firearms there are in Phuket, he answered that it was impossible to even know whether the number was in the hundreds or the thousands.
“More and more are being brought in – we don’t know how many. There are many ways that illegal firearms an be brought into Phuket and they are very cheap – about B2,000 per gun. Most are imported from Pattalung Province,” Gen Patchara told The Phuket News.
“Although we have finished this crackdown period, police will continue to keep an eye out and suppress criminality, especially during the tourist high season and the Asian Beach Games,” he added.