Yaba Tablet (Pill) | In this is photo there are 2 yaba table… | Flickr

The Thai police are taking aim at drug traffickers laundering millions in illicit profits through gold shops, cryptocurrencies, oil, steel, construction, and other fronts.

Recently, authorities successfully busted an international methamphetamine ring that laundered millions of dollars through a wide range of business fronts.

Thailand is part of the notorious Golden Triangle, a production hotbed in the global drug trade.

In recent years, the country has acted as one of the main transit and selling points in the Asian methamphetamine trade, as meth production in the region has soared.

The vast majority of Asia’s meth is produced in the lawless regions of Myanmar just across the Thai border.

Once the cheap meth is produced, it is then usually shipped into Thailand for sale or to be further transported to markets in East Asia or Australia and New Zealand.

In Thailand, meth mostly comes in the form of Yaba, which is a crude mixture of meth, caffeine, and other stimulants. The more concentrated and expensive form of the drug “ice” is also popular in the country.

In the early 2000s, Thailand ramped up its drug war in an attempt to punish dealers and users and disincentivize use.

But according to Bangkok criminal lawyer Jiraporn Thongphong, the plan didn’t go well. Now, after years of tough drug policing, Thailand still has millions of addicts on the street and tens of thousands more serving sentences in overcrowded prisons.

Thai authorities are switching strategies now to go after the country’s drug problem, targeting the methods with how traffickers hide their illicit profits.

“We have found an irregular flow in the banks of 170 billion baht (US$5.4 billion)–it may not all be drugs,” Justice Minister Somsak Thepsuthin said.

“But we are confident there is at least 12 billion baht ($388 million) in drug-related assets–drug money is being turned into gold, zinc (panels), steel rods and oil.”

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File:Beautiful people at 808 Nightclub, Bangkok, Thailand.jpg ...

Bars and nightclubs are set to re-open in Thailand very soon but proposed regulations by the government might hinder any fun that might be had by partygoers.

Among the strict proposals meant to stop a resurgence of Covid-19 are bans on glass bottles, bar games such as billiards and darts, and dancing and singing.

There is also a prohibition placed on groups of more than five people from entering a nightlife establishment.

These steep regulations are in addition to the obvious measures that most re-opened businesses have had to abide by, such as requiring staff to wear masks and temperatures to be taken upon entry.

Many bar and club owners are upset with the new regulations stating that the proposals are likely to keep people who want to go out and enjoy their night with friends at home.

Nightlife owners are also confused with the vagueness of some of the proposals such as one that bans “wandering around” and the fact that establishments that hold a “restaurant” license are held to much lower standards.

According to lawyers in Bangkok, this has led many bar owners racing to secure a last-minute restaurant license in order to bypass the long list of Covid-19 regulations.

Thailand has gone weeks without a localized coronavirus case.


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