Thai PM launches war on drugs

Thailand's Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has launched his country's latest war on drugs.

    Thaksin (R) plans to destroy drug networks in Thailand

    Undaunted by criticism after more than 2500 people were killed in his last attempt, the PM vowed to plough on in his efforts to destroy drug bosses.

     

    "We have to take serious actions against them because these wicked diseases never die," Thaksin said on Monday.

     

    "We will continue our drastic actions against those I see as destroyers of everything from the future of our nation, our economy and our society. Many families have fallen apart because of them," he told hundreds of law enforcers and volunteers.

     

    Thaksin ordered school principals to keep a close eye on their students, and village chiefs to monitor unemployed or uneducated youths, the main targets of drug dealers.

     

    "When we've found out these people have become drug addicts, they need to be treated right away otherwise they would become peddlers, using the money they make to fund their drugs," he said.

     

    Killings

     

    Thai and foreign rights groups accuse Thai police of killing drug suspects during a 10-month war on drugs last year. The government says most of those killed were victims of warfare between drug gangs or killed in self-defence.

     

    The government's own Human Rights Commission said in its annual report in August the anti-drugs war had "destroyed the rights to live of more than 2500 people without fair trials under the principles of democracy and rule of law".

     

    Krisana Polanan, head of the Narcotics Control Board, implied on Monday that some of that was true.

     

    He was asked by journalists if there would be extra-judicial killings this time.

     

    "It depends on the circumstances," he replied. "There won't be many this time because we have done that in the first war and we don't think there will be many left."

     

    The main "weapons" in the current drive would be to employ legal processes, including anti-money laundering and tax evasion laws, Krisana said.

     

    The target was to destroy the networks and seize the assets of 1100 large drug dealers and 28,000 peddlers.

     

    He said the war on drugs was the most popular of his campaigns because people feared drug abuse could hit their families at any time.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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