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PM Prayut Pushes Police To Go After Big Fish ‘Heavy-Hitters’

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PM Prayut Pushes Police To Go After Big Fish ‘Heavy-Hitters’ | Samui Times
(Photo:Bangkok Post)
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Prime Minister Prayut Chan o-cha on Friday urged anti-narcotics authorities to focus more on ‘big fish’ and on money laundering.

Speaking during a visit to the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB), Gen Prayut said that drug suppression operations appeared only to snag peddlers due to lack of international cooperation to track down drug producers and suppliers.

“The drug syndicates also change the way they deal with drugs, so we have to go after their assets and how they launder the money. If we can do this, the networks will start to disintegrate, and even then, the authorities will have to come up with new approaches to catch them,” he said.

Yet Gen Prayut requested the authorities to be vigilant and to ensure that they work within the rules when it comes to asset seizures and investigations.

He also cautioned against bribery, stating that the government does not tolerate corruption.

He also said that the government’s efforts to restore peace and order in the deep south would get a big boost if drug problems were addressed.

Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin said anti-drug agencies spend around 5.2 billion baht per year cracking down on drug networks, with an average of 3.6 billion baht confiscated. While there are as many as 80,000 cases of drugs every year, less than 2,000 cases go to court.

He said it was time to organize efforts to seize the properties of the drug networks and that the ONCB should set up sub-committees in each area to investigate and confiscate drug-related properties.

Mr Somsak said that the amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering Act, which will take effect on 31 May, will also strengthen efforts to track money. The reforms include an increase in incentives for opioid arrests.

Uthai Sinman, Deputy Chief of the Drugs Litigation Department, said the investigation found that small drug manufacturers in border provinces were laundering money by selling consumer products such as gas and petrol.

He said the authorities had found 20,000 suspicious bank accounts with a cash flow of more than 35 billion baht in the Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai, but only 247 of those accounts had been frozen.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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