CHIANGRAI TIMES – An Australian tourist Daniel Paul Beilken 22 has been arrested by Phuket police at Tachatchai checkpoint last night as he arrived on Phuket after catching a taxi with a friend from Bangkok.
Checkpoint police opted to search the Bangkok taxi when it arrived on Phuket about 7pm last night. Tachatchai lies at the northern approach by road to Phuket.
One gram of marijuana – enough for what marijuana smokers call a ”joint” – was found in the shoulder bag of a man police named as Daniel Paul Beilken, 22.
It is believed Mr Beilken and his friend, also Australian, were planning to catch a flight from Thailand within days.
Police say Mr Beilken is likely to be granted bail when he appears in court on Monday, but he is not likely to be permitted to leave Thailand until his case has been resolved.
The latest arrest comes as police and local authorities this week announced a campaign to make people aware of the extent of drug addiction on Phuket in advance of a visit by Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung on February 17
|Marijuana Laws and Arrests in Thailand|
Arrests for marijuana possession are very common in Thailand. Arrests of foreigners and tourists normally occur in tourist areas. Although drug offenses are treated seriously in Thailand, cases of possession of small amounts of marijuana (“cannabis” or “ganja” as it is referred to in Thailand), are treated less seriously than many other forms of illegal drugs.
Frequently a marijuana arrest will occur after a person is apprehended smoking in public. Persons arrested often suspect that they have been informed on by someone that they met earlier. In other cases, persons believe that they have been informed on by a guest house or hotel proprietors.
For simple use of marijuana in small amounts, the offense is punishable by a fine of no more than 50,000 Baht and/or imprisonment of not more than 5 years. For possession of larger amounts of marijuana, or trafficking of marijuana, penalties are substantially more serious.
There are also serious immigration consequences for a marijuana arrest. In addition to being deported by immigration, there is also the possibility of being “blacklisted” from returning to the Kingdom.
The law governing drug crimes in Thailand is the Narcotic Regulation B.E. 2522 Act. This law covers substances such as heroin, cocaine, amphetamines and methamphetamines, crack and ecstasy, in addition to marijuana.
Charges for Possession of marijuana in Thailand can entail the following punishments:
- For possession of up to 10kg, the maximum sentence is 5 years in prison and/or a fine of 50,000 baht
- For possession of 10kg or more, this is considered as possession with intent to sell. The sentence can range from 2 – 15 years in prison, and/or include a fine of 20,000 to 150,000 baht. Charges can also be levied for amounts of 10kg or more for the intent to produce, import or export cannabis. The sentence is the same.