Thai soldiers and hill tribes people destroy an opium poppies field near an ethnic hill tribe valley on a mountain in Mae Taeng district, Chiang Mai province, northern Thailand, 06 December 2017./EPA-EFE/SONGMONG
Thai soldiers and hill tribes people destroy an opium poppies field near an ethnic hill tribe valley on a mountain in Mae Taeng district, Chiang Mai province, northern Thailand, 06 December 2017./EPA-EFE/SONGMONG

Thai crackdown leads to creation of ‘new’ meth in Golden Triangle

national January 20, 2018 16:35

By The Nation

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Thailand’s suppression of precursor chemicals has prompted Taiwanese drug bosses to produce a new formula for methamphetamine in the Golden Triangle, a senior official said on Saturday.



Sirinya Sitthichai, secretary-general of the Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCD), said Taiwanese drug bosses had moved into the drug-production businesses in the Golden Triangle with new formula of meth created by their chemists after Thailand strictly banned the shipment of 20 precursor chemicals across borders.

Sirinya was speaking during a briefing for reporters on the drug situation in 2018.

The Golden Triangle straddling Thailand, Laos and Myanmar’s borders is notorious as the main production base of illegal drugs that are sold in Thailand. These nations have joined forces to set up the “Safe Mekong Coordination Centre” to jointly fight illegal drug smuggling along the Mekong River and the Golden Triangle.

Sirinya said he was told at a recent Safe Mekong meeting that some Taiwanese people had invested in drug making in the Golden Triangle.

“So the drug-making capacity from the area is still high. When we seized 10 million meth pills, they increased the production capacity to 20 million or 30 million,” Sirinya said.

He said that during the first three months of the 2018 fiscal year that started in October, Thai authorities seized 50 million meth pills. Ten of the seizures were in big shipments of more than a million pills, the ONCB chief added.

Another worrying trend is that the smuggling of heroin from the north of Thailand has been increasing, he added, saying that more heroin abuse has been detected in Bangkok and Chiang Mai.

He said the heroin is believed to come from the Golden Triangle because there are fewer than 2,000 rai (320 hectares) of poppies in Thailand while there are still more than 20,000 rai of poppies on the Myanmar side.

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