Bangkok, the 4th of February 2010 [PDN]: Following the recent seizure of approximately 3.6 million amphetamine (Ya-Ba) tablets in Bangkok, the ONCB released a statement to draw attention to the inaction over illegal cultivation, distribution and subsequent trafficking of drugs from border countries, namely Burma and Laos.
Director of the ONCB department in the Northern Thai City of Chiang Mai Mr. Pornthep Eamprapai stated: “We are worried. We think there will be more and more drugs coming into Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and the northern parts of the country.” In conjunction with the increase in trafficking of illegal drugs across the border from Burma and Laos it has been reported that numerous Northern Thai hill-tribes are involved in the drug trade.
At present it has been reported that the Thai ONCB are attempting to increase cooperation and collaboration between themselves and the Burmese, Laotian and Chinese authorities in an attempt to stifle the drug traffickers efforts. Mr. Eamprapai explained: “We hope that by the middle of this year, the trafficking situation along the border areas will be improved due to a concerted effort to control drug trafficking in this country.”
The ONCB also reported their figures for last year, which showed that although methamphetamine seizures were down to 14.3 million pills seized from 22.1 million in 2008, opium trafficking had increased eightfold from 5,708kg in 2008 to over 40,000kg in 2009. “The situation is getting worse. Now we are on the defensive,” stated the Bangkok Deputy Director of ONCB’s head office.
A report title ‘Poisoned Hills’ devised by the Palaung Women’s Organisation in Burma reported last month that they had been monitoring the drug problem in the Northern Shan State, specifically in the Palaung region and had observed that cultivation had increased fivefold between 2007-2009.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reported that the total area under opium poppy cultivation in Burma in 2008 was estimated at 28,500 hectares, representing an increase of 3 percent from the 27,700 hectares under cultivation in 2007. Significantly, the Northern Shan State contributes over 89% of Burma’s total opium cultivation.