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Junta presses jail officials to stop drug trade behind bars

Top Corrections Department officials should not continue in their posts if they failed to stop the drug trade in prisons, assistant Army chief General Paiboon Koomchaya said Wednesday.

Paiboon, who is in charge of legal and judicial affairs of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), said he had received a list of 200-300 prisoners suspected of being involved in the drug trade. He said these prisoners faced punishment and might be relocated from the prisons.

Paiboon said he would tackle the drug problem in jails and restructure the food procurement system in the Corrections Department to prevent drugs and mobile phones and other banned items from being smuggled in by those who supplied food to prisons.

He was responding to reports that National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) officials and Nonthaburi police had arrested Pongwit Luachauychok, deputy director of the Marketing Organization for Farmers (MOF), on charges of taking bribes from a food company for a contract to supply food to prisons in Chumphon province.

Paiboon said the military had dispatched people to carry out intelligence work in the prison and provide information about illegal activities in jails. Since taking control, he said the NCPO has ordered prison raids across the country to crack down on vice.

He will also call a meeting of the Special Investigation Committee to decide whether to remove some committee members who might be suspected of obstructing case investigations. He added the change of committee members would be made only if there were grounds for such allegations because the NCPO did not want to be seen as removing officials siding with the previous government.


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