Pubdate: Thu, 27 Feb 2003
Source: Straits Times (Singapore)
Copyright: 2003 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd.


50 Thais 'Wrongly Targeted' In Anti-Drug Blitz

They Claim That Interior Ministry Has Blacklisted Them By Mistake And Are 
Resisting Orders To Report To The Police

BANGKOK - Some 50 people say they have been mistakenly included in a feared 
official blacklist being used in a tough drug crackdown.

Those on the lists are worried as they are being asked to report to the 
police, Thailand's National Human Rights Commission said. Advertisement

Rightly, it is names of those 'involved in one way or another in drugs' 
that appear on the blacklists, said Mr Thirapat Assawasangsit, secretary to 
the commissioner who oversees drug issues.

The lists are compiled separately by the Interior Ministry and the police. 
Nearly 1,000 drug traffickers and producers have been killed in its first 
24 days of the crackdown that started on Feb 1.

The police say 977 of the killings were by drug gang members, the 
remainder, by police in 'self-defence'.

Provincial officials and police commanders have been ordered to slash the 
number of names on the lists by 25 per cent by the end of the month.

Those on the lists are being asked to report to police and undergo 
anti-drug 'training', Mr Thirapat said, despite an absence of legislation 
requiring them to do so.

'So far there is no law which supports this kind of action... They cannot 
just simply summon someone to report to them, take some kind of training 
course and swear that they will no longer be in drugs,' he said.

Mr Thirapat said these people are resisting reporting.

'They are reluctant to go because they think it would seem like they are 
admitting that they are involved.

'They feel very insecure now and they don't know which way to go, what to 
do next.'

The ministry said yesterday that its overall blacklist of 46,177 people has 
already been reduced - through deaths and arrests - by 21.09 per cent.

Police have reportedly distanced themselves from the Interior Ministry's 
list and questioned its accuracy.

'Our blacklist doesn't match that of the Interior Ministry because ours was 
compiled very carefully,' General Sant Saratunond was quoted as saying by 
the Nation newspaper.

But Lt-General Chidchai Vanasathidya, secretary-general of the Office of 
Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) which worked with the Interior Ministry to 
create its blacklist, insisted that the ministry's blacklist was accurate.

'Many concerned agencies have already carried out in-depth and long-running 
investigations and have clear evidence against those on the list,' Lt-Gen 
Chidchai told reporters. --AFP
- ---
MAP posted-by: Larry Stevens