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Crackdown on Drug Trafficking Chiangrai



A Thai policeman stands in front of a pile of seized drugs


Deputy national police chief General Prewpan Damapong on Thursday pledged to show the results of his crackdown on drug trafficking following his appointment as the new national police chief.

“I am confident the drugs suppression campaign will work within three months,” he said.

Prewpan said he did not want to comment on his pending replacement of incumbent police chief Generak Wichean Potephosree for fear of fuelling divisiveness within the police service.

“I would like, however, to thank past police chiefs and well wishers for supporting my promotion,” he said.

He outlined his plans to crackdown on illicit drugs, saying his priority was to close off the trafficking routes along the bortders in order to stop illicit drugs from entering the country in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Mae Hong Son.

His other priorities were to intensify police checks at communities known for peddling drugs, round up drug abusers for rehabilitation and invoking money laundering measures against traffickers, he said.

He warned rogue policemen to stop getting involved in trafficking. He also ruled out a repeat of silence killings which were rampant in the war on drugs under the Thaksin Shinawatra government.

Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung on Thursday said he will submit the name of the new national police chief for the prime minister’s consideration within a few days.

Chalerm’s statement came following reports of the likely transfer of Police Chief Pol Gen Wichean Potephosree after an Opposition MP showed video footage in the Parliament of a casino business in the heart of the capital.

“The appointment of a new national police chief should be completed by the middle of this month. The nomination will then be submitted to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra for consideration,” he said.

The three police generals are Pol Gen Priewpan Damapong, Pol Gen Panupong Singhara Na Ayutthaya and Pol Gen Pansiri Prapawat.

Chalerm insisted that there’s no friction within the National Police Bureau regarding the top post and that the transfer is meant to put the right man in the right job.

Citing the latest survey of police officials, which indicated that deputy police chief Pol Gen Priewpan is most qualified for the position, the deputy premier said the opinion poll result would also be considered in deciding who will be selected as new police chief.

Priewpan is an elder brother of Khunying Pojaman na Pombejra, ex-wife of ex-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Thaksin is the eldest brother of the prime minister.

Chalerm suggested the outgoing police chief would be better taking the post of secretary-general to the National Security Council (NSC) than the permanent-secretary of the Tourism and Sports Ministry.

“Pol Gen Wichean is a good planner, but not keen on suppression operations,” he said.

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