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Thailand’s crack down on crime

BANGKOK (ANN/THE NATION) – In a decisive move to enhance public safety and transparency within local administration, Thailand’s Deputy Minister Chada Thaiseth announced on Tuesday that the Thai Interior Ministry will take the lead in a comprehensive campaign.

Since September, the ministry has diligently compiled a list of influential figures, serving as a euphemism for individuals involved in illicit activities. This compilation, sourced from public input through the ministry’s hotline, categorises suspects into red and yellow classifications.

The red category pertains to individuals directly accused of wrongdoing in cases where evidence for arrest may be insufficient, while those in the yellow category are considered lower-priority suspects necessitating additional monitoring.

This strategic initiative aims to root out corruption and criminal activities, underscoring the government’s commitment to a more secure and transparent local governance.

File photo of Thailand’s Deputy Minister Chada Thaiseth. PHOTO: ANN/THE NATION

On Wednesday, Chada told the House committee on administration that there were 180 “influential people” operating in all but 10 provinces of Thailand.

Investigators will follow their financial trails, taxation histories and business associations, he said.

“We aim to use strongest measures against influential figures in the red group as well as their associates to set an example for others,” he said. “Within three months of the campaign’s launch, individuals in this group will be no more. Provincial authorities must report results from the operation every month.”

Chada said that influential figures involved in drugs and illegal loans will be top targets as their operations affect local communities the most.

For yellow-category suspects, the ministry will task agencies to verify facts and gather evidence and witnesses to build cases against them. Chada said he aimed to get rid of this group in six months, with provincial authorities reporting the investigation progress to the ministry every two months.

Chada said help in gathering intelligence on influential figures will be provided by local officials including deputy governors, district chiefs, sub-district chiefs, village headsmen, district doctors, village committees, and volunteer defence corps.