December 26, 2023
BANGKOK – Thailand will mark the end of this year’s “war on drugs” by incinerating a record 340 tonnes of seized narcotics starting on December 26, according to the government.
The convoy of seized drugs was transported from the Public Health Ministry in Nonthaburi to the Bang Pu Industrial Estate in Samut Prakan after a ceremonial send-off by the ministers of public health and justice on December 25.
The 340 tonnes of narcotics will be destroyed in two stages, with 110 tonnes incinerated over eight days from tomorrow and 230 tonnes burnt between January 19 and February.
Part of the government’s “Set Zero” campaign, the incineration will mark the largest-ever cache of narcotics destroyed in Thailand.
Among the drugs going up in flames will be over 156 tonnes of methamphetamine pills, crystal meth (ice), heroin, and various other illicit drugs. The incinerator will reach temperatures of 1,800 degrees Celsius to ensure the complete destruction of the narcotics while minimising environmental pollution. Authorities say 9 million baht has been budgeted for the operation.
Drug-burning ceremonies will then be conducted every month throughout 2024 to ensure seized narcotics do not re-enter the market or end up in other’s possession. Substances seized in police operations and proven to be narcotics can then be promptly destroyed without having to wait for the cases to conclude.
Authorities expect to destroy about 100-150 tons of confiscated narcotics per month.
Criminal gangs in the lawless borderlands of the Golden Triangle in Myanmar and Laos are flooding Thailand with narcotics bound for both the domestic and international market. Experts say the narcotics seized by authorities represent just a small fraction of the illicit trade.