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Thailand’s Northern 3rd Army Destroys Thousands of Opium Poppy Fields



ATTENTION EDITORS THIS IS 7 OF 35 PICTURES FROM MYANMAR'S OPIUM WAR BY REUTERS PHOTOGRAPHER DAMIR SAGOLJ  A policeman holds poppy plants after a field was destroyed above the village of Tar-Pu, in the mountains of Shan State January 27, 2012. Myanmar has dramatically escalated its poppy eradication efforts since September 2011, threatening the livelihoods of impoverished farmers who depend upon opium as a cash crop to buy food. With new ceasefires ending years of conflict between the government and ethnic insurgents, Myanmar police and United Nations officials are travelling through opium-rich Shan State to ask farmers what assistance they need. Picture taken January 27, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj (MYANMAR - Tags: DRUGS SOCIETY)



CHIANG RAI – Thailand’s Northern 3rd Army’s Drug Prevention and Suppression Center has destroyed opium poppy fields covering 1,871.5 rai in five northern provinces so far this year, its commander said Thursday.

Soldiers wiped out fields on 2,168 parcels in Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Mae Hong Son, Tak and Kamphaeng Phet provinces, Lt Gen Sathit Pitharat.

Speaking at the 3rd Army headquarters in Phitsanulok, Lt Gen Sathit told the Bangkok Post the destruction of poppy fields was carried out by units of the 3rd Army Corp under the supervision of the Drug Prevention and Suppression Centre, which is based at the 7th Artillery Battalion at Phra Pinklao camp in Chiang Mai’s Mae Rim district.

The center’s mission is to reduce areas for poppy cultivation and prevent the spread of heroin and other drugs made from them, he said.

The 3rd Army chief expected this year’s poppy cultivation to reduce considerably due to the strong suppression and lengthy drought.

By Chinnawat Singha

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