FRIDAY, March 01, 2024

Crackdown on cold storage facilities announced following shooting

Crackdown on cold storage facilities announced following shooting

Agriculture and Cooperatives minister Captain Thammanat Prompao, has expressed deep concern regarding a tragic incident that cost a veterinary officer his life while inspecting a cold storage facility in Phetchabun province suspected of being involved in the distribution of illegal meat.

He reiterated his unwavering commitment to ensuring that this incident does not go unpunished and stressed that those responsible will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.

The incident occurred on Wednesday (October 11) when the head of the animal quarantine station accompanied by 9 animal health officers entered a cold storage facility in the Lom Sak district. This was in response to a report of the importation and concealment of illegal meat products for unlawful distribution.

During the inspection, the illicit cold storage facility's owner fired at the group, killing the head of the animal quarantine station and injuring another veterinary officer. The gunman was arrested and taken into custody by the police.

Thammanat has taken a series of decisive actions in response to this incident. He requested the deployment of military and police and issued orders to provincial governors nationwide to establish specialized task forces for special operations in the field.

These task forces, in collaboration with relevant departments under the Department of Livestock Development will be responsible for tracking and inspecting cold storage facilities across the country suspected of engaging in illegal activities. Immediate legal action will be taken against any violators.

This is in response to reports that officers stationed at various border checkpoints have been threatened and their lives endangered, particularly at the checkpoints in Mae Sot District, Tak Province.

“This incident will not deter me or lead to any hesitation in ensuring that those who have broken the law are brought to justice. We will intensify nationwide X-ray inspections without exception, regardless of anyone's status as an owner or involvement in any illicit cold storage operations," the minister said.

He believes that this incident may be a consequence of his direct order to vigorously eradicate and destroy trafficking in illegal agricultural products. The initial phase of this operation involved the incineration and destruction of illegal pork products, which occurred on September 29. This has caused wrongdoers to attempt to disrupt connections that would lead to major financiers.

This event is considered a historic seizure and destruction operation, as it involved the elimination of illegal goods, totalling 4.5 million kilograms or 4,000 metric tons, with a combined value exceeding 450 million baht.