FRIDAY, March 01, 2024
nationthailand

‘Influential local figures likely involved in illegal meat imports’

‘Influential local figures likely involved in illegal meat imports’

The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives suspects that the illegal import of meat into Thailand were national-level operations with connections to local influential figures, deputy minister Chaiya Promma said on Thursday.

The ministry would continue investigating these illegal activities by scanning cold storages nationwide to stop their operations, which had reportedly cost the country many hundreds of billion baht in economic damage, he said.

Chaiya was speaking at a press conference on Thursday at Government House in Bangkok together with government spokesperson Chai Wacharonke on this pressing issue.

‘Influential local figures likely involved in illegal meat imports’

On Wednesday, Sarawut Prachuang, head of the Phetchabun animal quarantine station, Department of Livestock Development, was shot and killed while his group was inspecting a cold storage facility in Phetchabun province suspected of storing and distributing illegal meat.

The group of veterinarians and animal health officers entered a cold storage facility in Lom Sak district when they were allegedly fired on by the owner of the establishment, killing Sarawut and injuring another veterinarian. The gunman was arrested and taken into custody by the police.

Chaiya said the ministry was taking this issue seriously and would continue the crackdown on illegally imported meat in line with the government’s policy of waging war against all kinds of illegal agricultural products. The policy aims to ensure people’s health and safety as well as support local farmers and economy, he added.

Chaiya said the fact that these gangs were using lethal force against officials indicated that they may be backed by local influential figures, who could also be benefiting from illegally importing pork, beef and buffalo meat from neighbouring countries.

The latest reports from the Department of Livestock Development revealed that illicit meat was suspected to be stored in 60 containers at Laem Chabang Port in Chonburi province, which the ministry would investigate as soon as possible, added Chaiya.

Meanwhile, Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Captain Thammanat Prompao on Thursday ordered the Department of Livestock Development to provide compensation to the family of the deceased official, including 100,000 baht in cash and funeral allowance.

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