The Nation


Illegal business 'being run by a gang'

The discovery of sizeable quantities of rotten chicken being treated with formalin in Nakhon Ratchasima looks set to expose a large network involved in the illegal business.

Nakhon Ratchasima Police deputy commander Colonel Wachirawit Krisrittisak said the quantity of chicken found was so huge it must have come from very big farms.

"When chickens fall down dead, farm owners have to destroy the carcasses, not dissect them for sale," he said.

He said 11 illegal slaughterhouses in Nakhon Ratchasima's Pak Chong district were insisting they did not know where the offending carcasses came from.

"They said they received them from a middleman," Wachirawit said. "They also said they sold chicken to fish and crocodile farms. Very many people have already lost confidence in chicken meat."

In Chaiyaphum, chicken sales yesterday fell 30 per cent.

The discovery of rotten chicken being treated with formalin has raised serious public alarm, with many people worrying that it could be sold to ignorant consumers. Wachirawit vowed to get to the bottom of the matter.

"We will nail down the middleman and check where the chicken carcasses have come from," he said.

Police have already pressed more than 10 charges against four illegal slaughterhouses. Seven others will likely face the same charges soon.

Presently, police are also manning checkpoints across Nakhon Ratchasima to check for vehicles carrying chicken carcasses.

In response to an order from Nakhon Ratchasima public health chief Dr Wichai Kattiayawittayakul, officials are also checking fresh chicken at stalls in the Northeastern province for formalin contamination.

In a related development, Nakhon Ratchasima Governor Rapi Pongbuppakit yesterday said he expected a negligence probe against livestock development chief Suksawas Thongnoi, the district chief and the superintendent of Pak Chong Police Station to conclude within three days.

Nakhon Ratchasima deputy governor Pititham Thitimontri heads the investigation. Suksawas has been transferred out of the area pending the probe's conclusions.

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