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Last Updated:  Thursday, 27 February, 2003, 14:16 GMT
Thailand to review drugs war
A Thai drug addict sleeps while attending a drug detoxification program at Thanyarak hospital in Bangkok
Bangkok wants to get rid of its methamphetamine scourge
Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has said his government is to review its controversial crackdown on drugs that has left almost 1000 people dead.

He is to convene a meeting of advisers next week to discuss the impact on the anti-drugs war, which was launched at the start of February.

The campaign has been criticised by human rights groups as a "gruesome quick fix" to the country's rampant drugs problem.

Drug war figures
993 dead
16 shot in self-defence by police (police say 22)
46,177 on blacklist
8,745 arrests
928 government officials implicated
Source: Thai interior ministry
The government has blamed most of the killings on criminal gangs who are trying to eliminate potential informants.

But human rights groups in Thailand have accused the authorities of encouraging extra-judicial killings to help the government achieve its targets, allegations which have been strenuously denied.

The crackdown is based on a register of some 50,000 people suspected of drug trafficking or production.

Provincial governors were ordered to reduce the numbers on their individual lists by a quarter by the end of February.

The accuracy of this index of suspects has been called into question, even by some senior police officers.

Thailand's interior ministry said on Wednesday that the high death toll meant that a blacklist of 46,177 people had already been reduced by 20%.

But the BBC's Phil Mercer, in Bangkok, says Mr Thaksin has hinted the campaign's success could soon be judged by how much drug use has been reduced in each area, rather than by how many people had been arrested or killed.

Assets of suspected dealers are also being seized. Along with money, property and expensive cars, more unusual items have been confiscated.

Ten thousand crocodiles at farms in northern Thailand have been impounded. along with a herd of bulls and 37 ostriches.

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21 Feb 03 |  Asia-Pacific
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18 Feb 03 |  Asia-Pacific
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04 Feb 03 |  Asia-Pacific
Methamphetamine scourge
25 Jun 02 |  Asia-Pacific

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