CHIANG RAI – The newly formed Safe Mekong Coordination Centre (SMCC) authorities from Thailand, Laos, Myanmar and China, carried out inspections to observe anti-drug trafficking efforts in action along the Mekong River where millions of methamphetamine pills are transported yearly.
The Governments from the four countries recently set up the Safe Mekong Coordination Centre (SMCC) to crack down on the traffickers on the Mekong River.
The anti-drugs officials observed the Thai navy’s Mekong Riverine Unit in action, patrolling the river and carrying out searches on boats.
Secretary-General, Permpong Chaovalit of the Narcotics Control Board’s (ONCB) said all representing authorities from the four countries agree that the drug problem on the Mekong River affects their national security and stability.
Chief of the Mekong Riverine Unit in Chiang Rai, Capt Phanu Rattanananthawathi stated that the number of arrests in the area was quite low as authorities in each country patrolled their own territorial waters.
Capt Phanu said drugs are mainly smuggled in from these countries on cargo ships, couriers smuggle between 200 and 300 million speed pills and 3,500 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine just last year.
According to Capt Phanu the Safe Mekong Coordination Centre (SMCC) will start their patrols at the same time in each section of the Mekong, along an 85 kilometre-section of the river there are 10 spots which need special attention.
The main focus areas include Chiang Rai’s Golden Triangle, an area near the borders of Myanmar, Laos and Thailand, the fourth Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge, which connects Chiang Rai’s Chiang Khong district and the Laos city of Houayxay, as well as ports along the river such as Chiang Saen, Hiran Nakhon and Lan Chang.