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Omkoi To Be Focus Of Special Task Force

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Omkoi to be focus of special task force Plan for opium poppy eradication

Khajohn Boonpath & Staff reporters

An integrated task force has been formed to patrol Omkoi district in Chiang Mai Province. Due to the poverty of its residents and its isolated location, it has seen an increase of illegal activities ranging from opium poppy production, illegal immigration, and has become a center for the transportation of stolen vehicles across the border. Illegal immigrants and the illegal harvesting in the National Forests remains a problem, according to the report released by the Office of Narcotics Control Board this November.

The task force created to monitor the area will consist of members of the Border Patrol Police, local administrative officials, Royal Thai Rangers, and the Omkoi police to be led by Pol, Col, Satit Katetanon, Deputy Commander of the Border Patrol Police Division, Region 3. The Omkoi Special Command, led by Lt. Col. Adul Jampatong, Deputy Commander of Rangers Force Division 36, has already found and destroyed 4 rai of opium poppy plantations.

Meanwhile, the 2010 plan for the eradication of opium poppy planting was announced November 24 at the Pha Muang Task force Center by Lt. General Wantip Wongwai, Deputy Commander of the Army Area 3. The plan will cover 76 separate areas in the north, of which the army will be responsible for 65 areas in Mae Chaem and Omkoi. They will be supported by the Office of Narcotics Control Board, Provincial and Border Patrol Police.

Lt. General Wantip traveled to the Omkoi district to observe the destruction of opium plants and to distribute sporting equipment and other goods to Rang Bee village members of which have cooperated with officials in their goal to eradicate opium poppy planting.

To date, 46 rai of opium poppy fields have been destroyed with a further 94 rai awaiting destruction.


-- Chiang Mai Mail 2009/12/01


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