December 9, 2022
BANGKOK – Somsak, a senior member of the ruling Palang Pracharath Party, said on Thursday that 6.87 billion baht in assets had been confiscated from narcotics rings in the first two months of this fiscal year.
“If I [can] return to the Justice Ministry next year, the target will not be only 100 billion baht. It will be an amount multiplied to several hundreds of billions [per year],” he said.
The next general election is tentatively scheduled for May 7 but could take place earlier if the House of Representatives is dissolved before its four-year term ends on March 23.
More assets have been confiscated from large drug rings under the new anti-narcotics law, which came into force on December 9 last year, Somsak said, describing the legislation as an “important tool” for Thailand’s battle against the narcotics trade.
The justice minister said that before he took office, no more than 900 million baht in assets were seized from the drug trade. Citing data from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, he said that amount was only a fraction of the estimated 2 trillion baht per year of illicit drugs produced in the Golden Triangle.
Somsak made the comments while chairing a meeting of senior officials from 11 state agencies involved in the fight against the drug trade, including his ministry, the Office of the Attorney General, the Narcotics Control Board, and the Narcotics Suppression Bureau of the Royal Thai Police.
The justice minister also thanked Chuwit Kamolvisit for information he provided that led authorities to investigate a Chinese gang allegedly involved in the narcotics trade. “He is an exemplary and courageous citizen,” Somsak said of the former massage-parlour tycoon.
Chuwit is eligible for a reward equivalent to 5% of any assets seized based on the information he provided, the minister said, adding that if the total value was 2 billion baht, Chuwit would receive 100 million baht.