SATUN – The authorities have stumbled on a 32-hectare land planted with ketum trees at the Manang district in Satun, southern Thailand while investigating a fatal shooting incident at the home of a village chief.
A team of policemen, soldiers and forest officers found the land in Bukit Bantat on Feb 3, which hidden in a wildlife forest reserve bordering the provinces of Trang and Phattalung.
Provincial Police Region 9 chief, Gen (Pol) Wirapong Chuenpakdee said the police discovered the large swathe of ketum trees while investigating the shooting incident at the village chief’s house in Manang district.
“In that incident, several gunmen shot and killed the village chief’s nine-year-old grandson,” Wirapong told reporters Tuesday.
A team comprising 150 members of the police, military and forest personnel walked for two hours to get to the 32-hectare land which was well-maintained to produce Grade A ketum leaves, which is used as a substitute for opium.
According to Wirapong, the shooting was believed to be an act of revenge against the village chief’s revelation of the existence of the ketum trees.