Authorities – led by Mr Siripong Lipprasit, Thalang District Palad (admin clerk) and chief of Thalang’s security division, along with Pol Col Pricha Rakchan of Thalang Police – presented their latest kratom bust to Phuket Governor at 10am on Saturday (April 2).
Acting on a tip-off, officers on Friday (April 1) followed the coach as it arrived in Phuket, from Chumphon, and as it parked in front of Tesco Thalang to drop off passengers, officers stopped the coach and proceeded to board and search it.
The search unveiled 19 kilogrammes of the kratom plant packed into the frame and concealed by a rubber mat.
Police said that the driver, named as Mr Seri Meesaeng, confessed to buying the illegal plant – which is mild stimulant consumed by Thais of various ages and native to Southeast Asia – in Chumphon at the rate of B1,000 per kg, and planned to sell it in Phuket for B1,300 to B1,500 per kg.
Police said that they had busted Mr Seri once already around the New Year holiday, at Thachadichai checkpoint, and that he confessed to having smuggled the plant to Phuket regularly for at least a year.
Both men were charged with possession of a Category 5 addictive drug (Kratom)and booked at Thalong Police Station even though the attendant, named as Mr Apichai Wongkaeo, refutes the charges.