HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Thaksin Orders New Round Of Suppression
Pubdate: Sun, 29 Feb 2004
Source: Bangkok Post (Thailand)
Copyright: The Post Publishing Public Co., Ltd. 2004
Authors: Yuwadee Tunyasiri, and Wassayos Ngamkham


Irked By Report From 'Annoying Friend' US

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has ordered another round of drug
suppression despite a row with the United States, following the US
State Department's criticism of human rights abuse in the government's
anti-drug campaign.

''I've ordered authorities to devise an anti-drug plan for the
upcoming school holidays in Bangkok and neighbouring provinces. We'll
step up the social order campaign along with the drug crackdown. We
won't let our children fall victim to drugs again,'' he said during
his weekly radio programme.

The government's fresh anti-drug campaign came after the prime
minister on Friday called the US an ''annoying friend'' following
Washington's human rights report released Thursday.

In its annual report for 2003, the US said Thailand's human rights
record worsened last year with extra-judicial killings and arbitrary
arrests during the war on drug. Mr Thaksin declared a victory in early
December after the intensive crackdown.

Pol Lt Gen Thanee Somboonsap, commissioner of Metropolitan Police
Bureau, said yesterday the crackdown would start in mid March and last
until May.

He said Mr Thaksin had recently called a meeting with drugs
authorities led by Pol Lt Gen Chidchai Wannasathit, secretary-general
to Office of Narcotics Control Board.

Also present were the interior permanent secretary and the city clerk,
he said.

According to Pol Lt-Gen Thanee, the city police's operations would
start in Tha Rua area which covers drug-rampant Klong Toey community.

''We'll start right away next month in Klong Toey. However, we've
examined the area recently and found it's no longer a transit point,''
he said.

He said the prime minister wants the fresh campaign to focus on the
capital and neighbouring provinces while allowing the Interior
Ministry to decide if any provinces should be included.

Pol Lt Gen Thanee said since the drug crackdown is to coincide with
the social order campaign, all kinds of drugs would be targeted.

Meanwhile, a source that Tai Market in Pathum Thani has become a
transit point for drug smugglers from the northern region.

The 191 Patrol and Special Operations is preparing a team to work with
the Police Region 1 in suppressing drugs in the market when the
crackdown starts.

Meanwhile, three people were arrested on Friday night on charges of
drug trafficking, police said.

The suspects _Ek Sanehwong, 30, Orn-anong Ladamaneewong, 29, and
Somchai sae Tang, 45, were nabbed with some marijuana, heroin and
methamphetamine pills in their possession.

The three suspects allegedly peddled drugs at Faichai junction in Thon
Buri and in the Sanam Luang area.

On Friday, 839 people were rounded up in a crackdown on

Police seized five pistols, two knives, 102 pieces of ammunition, 10
items of pornographic material, 34 vehicles, and confiscated drugs.

The operation involved 3,100 police in Bangkok at 254 spots.
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