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Thailand, Burma tackle drug problem


      Thailand, Burma tackle
      drug problem 

      THAILAND and Burma have agreed to
      increase the exchange of relevant
      information and evidence as part of their
      cooperation in tackling the increasing trend
      of cross-border drug trafficking, a senior
      government official said Sunday. 

      Payon Pansri, secretary-general of the
      Narcotics Control Board, said that Burma
      was very concerned about the spread of
      drugs as it feared it would likely face the
      same serious drug problems as those
      experienced in Thailand. 

      Payon said the agreement on greater
      cooperation in the exchange of information
      had been agreed upon during a
      Thai-Burma ministerial meeting on drug
      suppression last month in Chiang Rai
      province. The Thai side was led by PM's
      Office Minister Jurin Laksanavisit. 

      ''This is clear evidence that Burma is
      serious in tackling the drug problem so that
      it can arrest more and more suspects on
      drug-related charges,'' he said. 

      ''Burma has been serious in handling the
      drug situation because it is afraid that it will
      not be able to deal with it effectively. The
      main reason is that it already has its own
      political problems concerning ethnic
      minorities. These could complicate the
      situation,'' he said. 

      The agreement will in the meantime help
      track down drug offenders who have used
      Thai territory as a transit route for drug

      ''We have legislation stemming from 1991
      which stipulates that if an offence is
      conducted outside Thailand the offender
      can be tried in a Thai court if there is
      evidence that the offence has had negative
      effects on Thailand. 

      With this legislation and a greater
      exchange of information between the
      countries, Thai authorities have high hopes
      that they can take legal action against those
      using Thailand as a transit route. 

      The drug problem, according to Payon,
      cannot be tackled unilaterally but requires
      cooperation among neighbouring countries.
      On May 14-15 representatives of Thailand,
      Burma, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and
      China will meet in Vietnam to discuss and
      exchange views on drug suppression. 

      He added that the most popular transit
      route for drugs had shifted from Thailand's
      northern region to Thailand's eastern
      provinces such as Trat and Chanthaburi in
      transit to Cambodia's Koh Kong province. 

      The drug also arrives in Thailand through
      western provinces, including Kanchanaburi,
      Payon added. 


      The Nation