Deputy Police Commissioner-General Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittipraphat said police would make random checks of stocks after Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha and Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan expressed concern over rising palm oil prices.
Damrongsak said relentless rains in the South had led to a reduction in palm fruit harvesting, leading to a supply shortage. The PM and Prawit, who is the chairperson of the National Palm Oil Committee, wanted to ensure there was no hoarding and had asked police to assist the Internal Trade Department.
Damrongsak said Police Commissioner-General Pol General Suwat Chaengyodsuk has instructed the Consumer Protection Police Division and the Central Investigation Bureau to dispatch special units to work with provincial internal trade officials and local police to check palm oil refineries in 25 provinces.
Most of the refineries are in the southern provinces of Krabi, Chumphon, Trang, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Pattani, Phang Nga, Ranong and Surat Thani.
Police also will randomly check palm oil warehouses, Damrong added.
Owners found hoarding palm oil without informing the provincial internal trade officials of their stocks or guilty of under-reporting stocks face a fine up to Bt20,000 and/or a maximum jail term of one year.
Owners of the hoarding refineries or warehouses face a daily fine of Bt2,000, Damrongsak added.
He said police would provide full support to internal trade officials to ensure consumers are not exploited. He urged people to call the Consumer Protection Police Hotline of 1135 or call the Commerce Department Hotline 1569 if they suspect hoarding activities.
Published : January 26, 2022
By : THE NATION