BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Asia-Pacific
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-------------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 

Friday, 13 April, 2001, 12:12 GMT 13:12 UK
Thailand's tough drugs message
Drugs being burnt
Burning drugs is an annual event
By Jonathan Head in Bangkok

The authorities in Thailand have held a ceremony to burn more than three tons of narcotics outside the capital, Bangkok, just two days after executing a convicted drug smuggler by firing squad.

Thai PM
Thaksin Shinawatra: Wants to send deterrent message
The new Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, is trying to send a deterrent message to the country's growing number of drug users.

Every year, the Thai authorities bring out large amounts of the narcotics they have confiscated and set them ablaze in a well-publicised ceremony.

However, this year the government is trying to send a tougher message.

One convicted drug smuggler was executed right at the beginning of the Thai New Year holiday.

Losing battle

The government plans several other initiatives, like giving schoolchildren tours of prisons to show them how unpleasant life is there.

The reason is that Thailand is losing the battle against drugs.

Methamphetamines
Methamphetamines: Made over the border in Burma
The latest scourge is methamphetamines, which are made in laboratories just over the border in Burma and smuggled into Thailand in huge quantities.

The police predict that 800 million of the highly-addictive tablets will enter Thailand this year - enough to give 12 of them to every person in the country.

Hundreds of thousands of Thais are already dependent on the drug.

US help

The government has also invited the United States to help train its troops along the Burmese border.

Details of the operation are sketchy, but it is reported that US special forces will soon be brought in to help the Thais to curb the flow of narcotics.

Most of the methamphetamines are produced by the ethnic Wa Army, which is closely allied to the Burmese military.

After he took office early this year, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra declared drugs to be the country's number one enemy.

The range of anti-drug measures now being considered by the government is clear evidence of its alarm over the serious impact of narcotics on Thai society.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

13 Jul 00 | Asia-Pacific
Thailand battles drug factories menace
24 Jun 00 | Asia-Pacific
Thailand blames Burma for drugs rise
21 Mar 00 | Asia-Pacific
Thais shut down online pharmacies
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Asia-Pacific stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Asia-Pacific stories