A joint patrol between Thai and foreign forces has taken place along the Mekong River to mark the 10th anniversary of the task force with China, Myanmar, and Laos, which began in 2011.
The joint operation was launched following the gruesome murders of 13 crew members aboard two Chinese cargo ships held by drug lord “Naw Kham” near the Chiang Saen district of Chiang Rai in October 2011. Naw Kham was executed in China in 2013.
As a result, the Mekong Operation Centre (MOC) has been participating in the operation with officers from three nations once a month since then.
The forces of China, Myanmar, and Laos are patrolling the Golden Triangle, along the border between Myanmar and Laos, and along the upper reaches of the Mekong River all the way to China.
Thailand’s military patrols the Golden Triangle, the Thailand-Lao border in Wiang Kaen, Chiang Rai, as part of the MOC.
In addition to the joint patrol operation on the Mekong, six Mekong nations, including Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, China, and Vietnam, also established the Safe Mekong Coordination Centre (SMCC) this year to intercept transborder drug trafficking activities, including transportation of precursor chemicals that can be used for the production of narcotics.
The Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) secretary-general said that under the SMCC’s operations this year, the agency had managed to confiscate 552 million meth pills, 29.8 tonnes of crystal meth, 21 tonnes of marijuana, 5.9 tonnes of heroin, 3.5 tonnes of opium, 2.7 tonnes of ketamine, 2.92 million ecstasy pills, 154.50 kilogrammes of kratom leaves, and a total of 257.3 tonnes of precursor
As part of its drug suppression efforts, the ONCB has established the Airport Interdiction Task Force and the Seaport Interdiction Task Force with the Narcotics Suppression Bureau and international airport authorities.
Mr Wichai said Thailand also collaborated with other agencies to combat drug trafficking, adding that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha would launch an aggressive campaign next year to combat the practice.