Thursday, September 16, 2021

Thailand in 2021: New Drug War Strategy

Thanks for the pointing. We knew you had it in you.

It’s simple: just make more busts, bub!

When: November 27th, 2020

Where: National Defense Studies Institute (สถาบันวิชาการป้องกันประเทศ); Thailand

Perpetrators: n/a

Victims: Drug smugglers, addicts, and profiteers

What: Mr. Somsak Thepsutin, Justice Minister, spoke at length today about Thailand’s strategy in its war on drugs for 2021. He detailed two key points.

First, seize more drugs. A total of 700 million baht worth of illegal drugs have been seized by Thai law enforcement since October 1st, 2020. The Justice Minister advised that a clear scorecard must be tallied to account for property seizures in conjuction with drug busts in accordance with the Suppresion of Narcotics Act (Thai Year 2534).

Second, the Anti-Money Laundering Act must be executed if other avenues in the law fail at making inroads to destroy a drug syndicate. The Justice Minister advised that the Ministry of Finance and Revenue will need to act together for this to work.

More than 20 agencies were referenced that are involved in fighting the illicit drug trade.

The event showcased 39 vehicles that were seized from drug syndicates, with an approximate value of 26 million baht.

My take: The Justice Minister, from my vantage point, can’t see the forest for the trees. Coordinating 20 agencies, all with their own internal politics, and bringing in more Ministers, won’t stop the problem. The mind-blowing flow of illicit narcotics from Myanmar into Thailand and off to greener pastures is ruled by simple economics. Supply and demand. The demand outweighs a legal supply, therefore the incentive to be in the business will always be there.
Take down one syndicate with money laundering statutes, another will pop up in its place that’s smarter and more efficient.

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