Massive dawn raid finds Phuket Prison is ‘clean’
PHUKET: Two hundred officials poured into Phuket Provincial Prison at dawn this morning to conduct a thorough search of the facility as part of a national drive against drugs.
Monday 6 February 2012, 01:59PM
Their priority was to find drugs and mobile phones.
With the 1,615 convicts all herded into the prison’s assembly yards, the officials rummaged through the dormitories and the skills-training buildings.
The result: no drugs, no mobile phones.
A hundred and four inmates, chosen at random, were required to give urine samples for drug testing. The results: all negative.
The satisfied Director of Phuket Provincial Prison, Rapin Nichanon, said this morning’s raid and others across the country were ordered by the government following the arrest of major drug dealer Nipon Kanchat, 54, in Pathum Thani Province.
In Nipon’s house police found more than 3.8 million pills of ya ba (methamphetamine) and 71 kilograms of ya ice (crystal methamphetamine) with an estimated street value of more than B1 billion.
Under questioning Nipon gave up the names of three confederates: Pol Capt Piyanut Katejamras and Pol Sgt Maj Venus Srijai, and Peerayuth Patsakol, an inmate in Bang Kwang Prison in Nonthaburi Province.
Interrogated, the two policemen admitted that they had been involved in transporting the drugs from the north of Thailand, delivering them to Nipon.
Peerayuth, however, denied any involvement in the narcotics trade and a search of Bang Kwang turned up nothing to connect him to drug dealing or to Nipon.
Mr Rapin told The Phuket News that the rate of drug smuggling into Phuket Prison has been falling. In the past few months, no mobile phones have been detected inside the prison, though officials sometimes still find drugs in food and clothing brought by visitors for friends or relatives held inside.
He added that searches are conducted every day in an effort to create a “White Prison” – a drug-free prison.
In addition, CCTV cameras and guard patrols around the outside wall help to reduce the opportunity for anyone to throw drugs or phones over the wall.