Thai Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin (R) and Singaporean Ambassador to Thailand Kevin Cheok witness the handover of three patrol boats to Laos and Myanmar (Photo: www.bangkokpost.com)
Speaking at the handover ceremony at a pier in Thailand’s central province of Samut Prakan, Thai Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin said the patrol boats were delivered under ASEAN’s cooperation plan to combat trade in illicit drugs in the so-called Golden Triangle, which stretches across rugged borderlands shared by Thailand, Laos and Myanmar.
He said Thailand, as initiator of ASEAN cooperation in suppressing the drugs trade, had joined hands with Singapore to beef up Mekong security with the addition of the three patrol boats.
Thailand also supports Laos and Myanmar in academic exchanges, capacity building for anti-drugs officials, and blocking shipments of chemical precursors required to produce the narcotics.
Local media quoted the Thai official as saying that the vessels will take part in missions to prevent drug traffickers from using the river to smuggle chemical precursors to drugs factories in the Golden Triangle and smuggling illicit drugs to other countries.
They will also join efforts to plug holes in a border drug-smuggling operation worth hundreds of millions of dollar per year.
Thailand was the first country to encourage every member in ASEAN to reinforce security in the Golden Triangle, whose drug factories pump out a constant flow of methamphetamine and opium flooding through the rest of Southeast Asia.
Thailand initiated the Golden Triangle 1511 Operation in December last year in collaboration with five countries in the Mekong region, in a bid to decimate the drug syndicates./.