Fri, October 15, 2021

in-focus

Ministry seeks to amend narcotics law so it can ‘plug’ drug rings’ financial pipeline


More than Bt135 million has been seized from a drug network after an anti-narcotics team tracked suspicious financial transactions worth up to Bt6 billion.

Justice Minister Somsak Thepsuthin told the press that the “Phali Prab Ya” anti-narcotics team was created to track down suspicious financial transactions that may possibly be linked to drug agents.

Over the past two months, the team tracked down Kamchan Khawthung, who is suspected of having a hand in drug operations in nearly every part of the country.

Her financial history from 2017 to 2019 shows up to Bt1.39 billion circulated between 1,623 accounts. These transactions raised a red flag and the team seized Bt135 million from her so far.

Somsak said the law presents obstacles in hunting down drug agents, and his suggested changes to the Narcotics Act and the Money Laundering Act will be considered in Parliament on Thursday.

Over the past decade, the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) has given the Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) cases worth Bt129 million, but only Bt56 million has been seized so far.

Somsak said the only way to choke drug dealing networks is to plug the Bt6 billion that is being circulated, and this can only be done if the law is amended.

“The first operation resulted in the seizure of Bt135 million. We have another 15 teams working on the issue. If the law is updated and enforced, then getting our hands on the Bt6 billion will not be a problem,” he said.

ONCB has seized Bt2.5 billion from drug agents since the government issued a new policy to snip the financial pipeline in 2019.

Published : March 17, 2021

By : The Nation