BANGKOK – Intensifying efforts to combat drug smuggling will be high on the agenda when high-ranking drug enforcement officials from Thailand and Malaysia meet in an annual bilateral meeting next week.
The city of Chiangrai, northern Thailand, has been purposely selected to host the meeting from July 11 to 14, as it sits at the edge of the “Golden Triangle”.
“We hold the meeting in Chiangrai because we want to show our Malaysian counterpart the drug trafficking landscape in the ‘Golden Triangle’ and its (trafficking) routes, so that they can see for themselves what the ‘Golden Triangle’ really looks like,” Thailand’s Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) head, Sirinya Sitdichai, told Bernama recently.
The “Golden Triangle” encompassing northern Myanmar and Laos has been known to be among the world’s foremost drug producing region for decades.
The United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has estimated that opium continues to be produced at high levels in the “Golden Triangle” in Laos and northern Myanmar with 60,000 hectares under cultivation, producing 20 per cent of the global supply.
The “Golden Triangle” has also increasingly becoming the world’s largest factory for synthetic drugs.
According to Sirinya who will lead his country’s delegation to the meeting, Malaysia would be led by Bukit Aman’s Narcotics Department director Datuk Mokhtar Mohd Sharif to the meeting along with his officers.
Malaysia hosted the bilateral meeting last year.
“We will discuss (in Chiangrai) the drug smuggling problems as well as cooperation in intelligence sharing,” he said, adding that the meeting would also be attended by Thailand’s Narcotics Suppression Board (NSB) and southern border police.
Both sides would aggressively pursue all avenues of cooperation to suppress the drug problems between the two countries, he said. – BERNAMA