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Phuket Governor heads prison drug search

PHUKET: More than 122 police and other officials conducted a drug search and random testing at Phuket Provincial prison yesterday (April 21) in a bid to prevent and suppress illegal drug use and distribution, with Phuket Governor Norraphat Plodthong and other senior island officials in attendance.

The Phuket News

Saturday 22 April 2017, 12:52PM

The raid, at 5:30pm, was conducted in accordance with a policy by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) and Ministry of Justice to suppress and stop the epidemic of narcotics.

Governor Norraphat attended the search along with Vice Governor Snith Sriwihok, Phuket Provincial Chief Administrative Officer (Palad) Thawornwat Kongkaew and Phuket City Police Deputy Superintendent Lt Col Nat Promthep.

Searches were carried out in the men’s main dormitory, the women’s main dormitory and even the office building in the hunt for mobile phones, drugs and other contraband.

However, no drugs or phones were reported to be found among the 2,446 inmates, 2,069 of which are male, and 377 female.

Random urine analysis for substance abuse was conducted on 250 male inmates and 50 female inmates, with results reporting no drug abuse in all 300 tested inmates.

After the searches, Gov Norraphat praised Phuket Prison as “a true ‘white prison’”, a term denoted by the Department of Corrections for outstandingly positive examples of prisons throughout the country.

“From the results we can see that Phuket Prison controls prisoners in accordance with the court order. Phuket Prison is a true white prison,” Gov Norraphat stated.

Regardless, Gov Norraphat also stressed that Phuket is an important tourist area and that the government and its officials must be strict on combating drugs in the province.

“All units must be actively engaged in this mission. Of note, most inmates here have been incarcerated on drug-related offences,” he noted.

However, Gov Norraphat made no mention of the conditions inmates lived in at Phuket Prison. The facility has long been recognised even by officials as hugely overcrowded. (See story here.)

The Department of Corrections in 2012 pushed forward a billion-baht project to build a state-of-the-art prison in Srisoonthorn, in central Phuket, on the same site as the inmate outplacement facility at Baan Bangjo in Cherng Talay.

At the time, the planned new prison was touted to cover 108 rai of land and be able to hold up to 7,000 criminals. (See story here.)



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