The Phuket News Premier League predictions The Phuket News Kata Rocks The Phuket News
The Phuket News Thailand News
The Phuket News Phuket | Thailand | World | Business | Q&A | Weird World XML, RSS, Feed
The Phuket News The Phuket News
The Phuket News

Thailand’s drug warehouse

AYUTTHAYA: Stuck on a merry-go-round of drug taking, dealing and jail, Somphal Boonsanoon’s journey through addiction ended in a shallow grave in Ayutthaya, Thailand’s historic heart and Southeast Asia’s meth warehouse.

crime, drugs, Myanmar, transport, police,


AFP

Sunday 21 January 2018, 02:00PM


Members of UWSA (United Wa State Army) empties a packet of ‘WY’ also know as ya bah before they are set on fire during a drug burning ceremony to mark the UN’s world anti-drugs day in Poung Par Khem, near the Thai and Myanmar border on June 26, 2017. Photo: Ye Aung Thu / AFP
Members of UWSA (United Wa State Army) empties a packet of ‘WY’ also know as ya bah before they are set on fire during a drug burning ceremony to mark the UN’s world anti-drugs day in Poung Par Khem, near the Thai and Myanmar border on June 26, 2017. Photo: Ye Aung Thu / AFP

His curse from his teens was ya bah, small methamphetamine pills cut with caffeine that Thais call crazy medicine.

The tablets are flooding the kingdom at record rates, along with a high purity and more addictive crystal version called ya ice, as drug lords in neighbouring Myanmar churn out huge amounts into the region.

But while the producers and pushers get rich, Thai communities are withering under an addiction crisis.

Somphal was just 39 when he was shot dead alongside two other addicts after stealing 2,000 pills from a pair of local dealers.

Their bodies were dumped on a muddy canal bank, left to bloat in the August sun – a putrid feast for the monitor lizards that patrol the paddy fields of central Thailand.

All five men involved used ya bah or ya ice. All came from in and around Maha Rat, a farming district in Ayutthaya province.

“He was a decent person, he wasn’t brutal,” one of Somphal’s relatives said, requesting anonymity fearing reprisals from the drug gangs that riddle the area.

“But he had a weak point...drugs. He just couldn’t stop.”

An hour outside Bangkok’s sprawl, Ayutthaya is the “crossroads” of the regional drug trade that cascades Myanmar-made narcotics across Southeast Asia and beyond, according to Maj Gen Wuttipong Petchgumneard of Thailand’s Narcotics Suppression Bureau.

The central province connects the northern and southern drug routes by road, while its warren of factories – and workers – provide ready stash houses and couriers for the drug gangs.

“Most drugs going to Bangkok or overseas are stored there for pick up by the dealers,” he said.

Nearly every night vehicles packed tight with parcels of gear hustle from the north through Ayutthaya hoping to avoid police roadblocks.

Sometimes the law gets lucky.

More often the drug convoys slip through.

“These are international crime organisations, they have money, they have manpower, weapons and technology... so we have to constantly evolve to catch them,” added Maj Gen Wuttipong.

In the year to September 18, Thai drug cops seized 199 million ya bah pills, worth around $1.2 billion (B3.8 trillion) on the local market, double the 2016 figure.

Operations also swept up nearly five tons of ya ice – a fourfold increase on 2013.

Recently officers seized a record $30 million (B958.5mn) worth of ya ice from a courier trying to move the drugs from the northeast to central Thailand – the south-bound pipeline that pivots through Ayutthaya.

QSI International School Phuket

But a glut of precursor chemicals is driving a supply surge from the drug labs of the ‘Golden Triangle’ – a lawless border zone shared by Myanmar, Laos and Thailand.

Thai police estimate between 500 million and one billion ya bah pills and up to 50 tons of ya ice will be produced this year, most of it in Myanmar’s Shan State.

Stamped with the ‘WY’ hallmark of the Wa drug lords of Myanmar, ya bah goes for between $4-$8 (B127-B255) a pill in Thailand.

Ya ice, a cash cow at around $60-80 a gram (B1,917-B2,556), is destined for Thai users but also smuggled onto Malaysia and other overseas markets where its price rises.

This month Australian authorities seized nearly four tons of liquid ephedrine – enough precursor chemicals to make $2.8bn (B8.2trn) of pure ice – hidden in a shipment of green tea bottles from Thailand.

Around 350 kilograms of ya ice from Thailand was also recently uncovered in Australia, which has the world’s highest per capita consumption of crystal meth.

With more people getting high, Myanmar’s border drug labs are working overtime to meet demand.

The country’s border zones are “a playground of drug production,” Myanmar Police Col Zaw Lin Tun, told reporters recently.

Critics warn the war on drugs has long been lost in Thailand, leaving jails stuffed with small-time addicts as the men at the apex of the trade get away.

Addiction and crime are gnawing away at once tight, kin-based communities in Maha Rat.

“Local people know who is taking drugs and who is selling them, but it’s dangerous to talk about it,” Somphal’s relative added.

A health official, also too afraid to be named, said that 40-50% of Maha Rat’s small population are addicted to drugs.

Successive Thai governments have opted for the “get tough” approach to consumption in a bid to choke off supply.

That has resulted in the tenth highest incarceration rate in the world, according to International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH).

But it has failed to stem addiction rates or dent production.

Proposals for community-based rehab programs instead of jail for minor drug offenders have evaporated, leaving the kingdom confronting an old scourge with the same weapons.

“Demand (for drugs) is through the roof, but there’s no real rehabilitation provision,” says Jeremy Douglas of the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

“Drug policy is stuck on repeat.”

 

 

The Phuket News
The Phuket News
Comment on this story
* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.
Comments Here:

Comments Left: Characters
Username:
Password:
E-mail: (No Hotmail, Live, MSN and Outlook accepted at this time)
Security:
   => Forget password?

Be the first to comment.

The Phuket News
The Phuket News The Phuket News The Phuket News
The Phuket News
Share this
The Phuket News
Have a news tip-off? Click here
The Phuket News
Related stories
The Phuket News
Phuket community

Recent Comments


Premchai again ‘too busy’ to see police

Why not just issue an arrest warrant like they do for others like our previous PM for skipping court attendance. On the other hand Boss got away with ...(Read More)


Phuket wastewater-treatment plant to empty into Nai Harn Lake

All pigs revved up on the tarmac ready to fly. The trouble with domestic wastewater is its heavy metal content. Wastewater treatment plants do not ge...(Read More)


Phuket wastewater-treatment plant to empty into Nai Harn Lake

Nothing to worry about, waste water treatment plants “never” discharge dirty water :-) ...(Read More)



Phuket wastewater-treatment plant to empty into Nai Harn Lake

Do the 3 large hotels and The Sands apts located along Naiharn Lake and beach Naiharn and big restaurants having their own waste water treatment syste...(Read More)


Premchai again ‘too busy’ to see police

This class society is lost with this "Hi-So untouchable criminals" Not the country, but they themselves rule matters their way. Super uppe...(Read More)


As watch saga drags on, all eyes on NACC

All eyes on NACC...who doesn't give a lick about guilt or innocence...but it's all about face. This line "He has since claimed they belon...(Read More)


Pickleball comes to Phuket

If you are traveling to Phuket with or without your pickleball paddles and balls, you can still play with our equipment at the Phuket Sports and Tenni...(Read More)


Phuket man, 19, injured in high speed collision with power pole

Those pesky power poles keep jumping out in front of people something should be done about them immediately ...(Read More)


First day of traffic lights sees slew of accidents

I read the report and just shake my head what was the driver of the 4x4 thinking ...(Read More)

The Phuket News
PHUKET NEWS
Phuket
Thailand
World
Business
Q A
Weird World
ARCHIVE
POLL
CURRENCY
WEATHER
PHUKET TIDE TABLE
The Phuket News PHUKET LIFE
Phuket Arts
Phuket Community
Phuket Culture
Phuket Dining
Phuket Education
Phuket Entertainment
Phuket Environment
Phuket Health
Phuket People
Phuket Technology
Phuket Travel
World Entertainment
Photo Galleries
The Phuket News PHUKET SPORT
Phuket
Thailand
World
SURF REPORT
PREDICTIONS
The Phuket News PHUKET CLASSIFIEDS
Phuket Buy and Sell
Phuket Jobs
Phuket Property
Phuket Cars and Boats
Phuket Community
Phuket Services
SEARCH CLASSIFIEDS
POST CLASSIFIED
The Phuket News The Phuket News PHUKET EVENTS
Phuket Event listings
Phuket Event calendar
Buy Tickets
POST EVENT
The Phuket News PHUKET DIRECTORY
Phuket Bars, pubs and clubs
Phuket Hotels and villas
Phuket Restaurants
Phuket Yellow Pages
POST LISTING
The Phuket News BARGAINS
The Phuket News ABOUT US
The Company
Distribution points
Subscribe
Advertise with us
Pay for advert
Contact us
CONTESTS
Content Google Map
Site map
Australian Visa Services
 
Currency - The Phuket News   Weather Report - The Phuket News   Surf Report - The Phuket News
LinkedIn - The Phuket News   Twitter - The Phuket News   YouTube - The Phuket News   Facebook - The Phuket News
Copyright © 2018 Class Act Media. All rights reserved. | Website usage terms and conditions | Privacy and Confidentiality Statement.