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Mekong countries and U.N. agree to jointly fight drug scourge

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Mekong countries and U.N. agree to jointly fight drug scourge



Ministers from countries of the Mekong Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Drug Control, and a UNODC representative, pose for a photograph after a morning meeting, in Bangkok, Thailand November 15, 2019. REUTERS/Panu Wong Cha-um


BANGKOK (Reuters) - Five Southeast Asian countries, China, and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) agreed on Friday to improve intelligence sharing and law enforcement operations to fight drug trafficking in the region by transnational crime groups.


Southeast Asia’s Golden Triangle - northern Myanmar and parts of Thailand and Laos - has long been a hub of illicit drug production and trafficking.


While opium cultivation and heroin refining has fallen in the past decade, the area is now at the heart of the Asia-Pacific methamphetamine trade, which the UNODC estimates to be worth as much as $61.4 billion in 2018, up from an estimated $15 billion just five years earlier.


The trafficking operations are also being driven by increasingly sophisticated criminal groups, like the Sam Gor syndicate, that can funnel tonnes of drugs from the Golden Triangle to countries stretching from Japan to New Zealand with the ability to adapt to law enforcement methods and able to shift trafficking routes to evade authorities.


“The challenge posed by Sam Gor is massive...they traffick drugs out using multiple borders at any one time. They are laundering money through various businesses across the Mekong,” said Jeremy Douglas, the UNODC’s chief in Southeast Asia.


Ministers from Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam agreed at the meeting in Bangkok on Friday to regular intelligence sharing and conducting more integrated cross-border investigations and anti-trafficking operations together.


“Before, cooperation at the operation level has been pretty ad hoc but now we hope it will be more organised, systematic, and efficient,” Douglas told Reuters, adding that these cross border operations will also be better monitored with regular reports every year.


“We have to be on top of the situation. That means good intelligence and good information are necessary,” said Deputy Commissioner of China’s National Narcotics Control Commission Andy Tsang Wai-hung.


The governments also agreed to work on improving health services, preventive education and to intercept and keep up with the chemicals that are being used as precursors for the production of methamphetamine and other synthetic drugs.



-- © Copyright Reuters 2019-11-15
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Six Mekong countries join mission to fight narcotics trade

By The Nation




Six countries from the Mekong region have signed an agreement to jointly crack down on drugs, Justice Minister Somsak Thepsuthin said on Saturday.


Thailand hosted a ministry-level meeting from November 13-15, which resulted in a memorandum of understanding on narcotics control.

Besides Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia and China have joined the “1511 operation” against drugs.


The operation would monitor and elevate narcotics prevention activities, especially in the Golden Triangle area where the borders of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar meet at the confluence of the Ruak and Mekong rivers.


Twenty-four substances declared by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) as narcotics would be monitored while 12 other substances would be banned as dangerous chemicals in Thailand, Somsak said.


“Thailand’s narcotic control measures are now accepted more by Asean countries, as we are serious about the matter," said Somsak. "We want the UNODC to be the pillar of narcotics prevention operations while armies from the concerned countries will guard the borders.


We have to accept that drugs are now more easy to make since the initial substance doesn’t need to be a plant anymore. The global narcotics trade recently reached US$60 billion [Bt1.8 trillion]. A global coordination against drugs is needed,” he added.


Source: https://www.nationthailand.com/news/30378423



-- © Copyright The Nation Thailand 2019-11-18
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am I the first to point out this is happening with the military in power again.


The golden triangle has always been a nice little earner for the military, escorting drugs and money through the golden triangle


Laos and Myanmar always happy to get their hands on this sort of money, interesting the Chinese now getting in on the game


Thailand's narcotic controls are the same as ever who ever pays the most

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Wait a moment - wasn't someone in Australian jail for drug trafficking? The someone who was high ranking military person? The someone who gave close information on how the trade operates to get lesser sentence?


The largest drug dealers are the police, military, and possibly someone above them all.

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