The Thai military had a busy 2010, not all of it very satisfying. Certainly the GT200 controversy had to be one of its low points.
A television news reporter uses a GT200 bomb detector to locate a bomb hidden in a football field at the Army Ordnance Department in Ratchaburi. Tawatchai Kemgumnerd
This story was published in February, 2010.
Abhisit scraps GT200 orders
The government will not buy any more GT200 substance detectors after test results showed the device performs worse than a roll of the dice.
The decision came after Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva was briefed yesterday on the test findings by Science and Technology Minister Khunying Kalaya Sophonpanich.
Tests were conducted on Sunday after the effectiveness of a similar British-made bomb detector, the ADE651, was criticised and it was banned by the British government.
The tests consisted of 20 trials in which explosives were placed in one of four boxes. The device succeeded in recording just four correct readings.
The cabinet has issued an order to all state agencies to abandon any plans to buy any more of the device, the prime minister said.
Mr Abhisit said using the device over the long run would place authorities in the field at risk. He called for a review of the use of the detectors by all agencies.
The Science and Technology Ministry was instructed to send the tests results to all agencies that use the device so they had a better understanding of why they should no longer use the equipment.
Mr Abhisit said he was surprised that authorities in the field still believed the detectors were effective at detecting bombs.
He said there was no recommendation as to what equipment or alternative methods should be used if the use of GT200 was discontinued.
The government would investigate whether there were irregularities in the purchases of 818 GT200 detectors, he said. The device is used by the army, the air force, police force, the Customs Department and the Central Institute of Forensic Science.
Khunying Porntip Rojanasunan, of the Central Institute of Forensic Science, and the army yesterday opted to continue using the device.
Khunying Porntip said her institute had found the device effective.
"I've said GT200 is not a scientific device." she said.
"Its efficiency also relies on human interactions. The institute has found it effective as a supplementary device."
An army source said army commander Anupong Paojinda had instructed army personnel in the three southernmost provinces to continue using the GT200.
"There is no order prohibiting its use," the source said. "But the purchase plan is put on hold."
The units handling the device have been instructed to submit reports on its operations, the source said.
Local residents in the South yesterday called for the scrapping of the use of the device in public places following the test results.
Nimu Makaje, chairman of the advisory council for peace-building in Yala, said if agencies insisted on using the equipment, the operations must be limited to their units only.
"It must not be used to search or do anything with the people because problems will follow," he said.
"The test results clearly show they are not effective."
Human rights activist Angkhana Neelaphaijit urged the government to find ways to compensate the "victims" of the GT200 device.
She said many innocent people had been wrongfully identified as suspects by the device since it was introduced in the three southernmost provinces.
The use of sniffer dogs is being urged as an alternative, but Poj Paiboonkasemsut, president of the chambers of commerce in five southern provinces, issued a word of caution due to differences in religious faiths and cultures.
"The use of sniffer dogs to search for illegal substances is good but authorities should be sensitive to people's cultural and religious backgrounds," Mr Poj said.
Democrat MP for Narathiwat Jehaming Toktayong said yesterday another test of the GT200 might be conducted following a complaint about possible contamination of the test venue.
Mr Jehaming said one of the test committee members suspected explosive contamination which could have skewed the test results.
He said that once a formal complaint was lodged he would proceed with it and press for a fresh test.
wand - a straight thin stick that is held by somebody when performing magic or magic tricks ไม้กายสิทธิ์
scrap – to get rid of; to stop using or accepting เลิก, ทิ้ง
substance detector – a device used to find particular substances or things, or measure their level เครื่องตรวจจับ
dice – a small block of wood or plastic with six sides marked with spots, that you roll or throw to play a game ลูกเต๋า
brief – to give someone information or instructions สรุป
ban – an official statement ordering people not to do something ห้าม
cabinet – the group of government ministers who make and approve government policy คณะรัฐมนตรี
abandon – to stop doing an activity before you have finished it เลิก
authorities – people who have the power to make decisions or enforce the law เจ้าหน้าที่ผู้มีอำนาจ
recommendation – a suggestion for how to solve a problem, deal with a situation ข้อเสนอแนะ
alternative – another choice ตัวเลือก / ทางเลือก
investigate – to try to find out the facts about something in order to learn the truth about it ตรวจสอบหาความจริง
irregularities – a situation in which the rules, laws or usual ways of doing something have not been followed ความไม่สงบ
opt – to make a choice or a decision from a range of possibilities เลือก
efficiency – the ability to work well and produce good results by using the available time, money, supplies etc in the most effective way ความมีประสิทธิภาพ
interaction – the process by which different things affect each other or change each other การสื่อสารระหว่างกัน, ปฏิกิริยา
supplementary – additional ซึ่งช่วยเสริม
source – someone who gives information แหล่งข่าว
prohibit – to not allow; to ban ห้าม
submit – to formally give something to someone so that can make a decision about it ยื่น (เอกสาร) เพื่อการพิจารณา
operation – an activity which is planned to achieve something การดำเนินการ
resident – a person who lives in a particular area ผู้พักอาศัย, ผู้อยู่อาศัยในบริเวณ ประชาชนที่อาศัยในท้องที่
compensate – to pay money to someone because something bad has happened to them ชดเชย
innocent – not having done anything wrong บริสุทธิ์
sniffer dog – a dog that has been trained to detect the smell of illegal weapons, explosive or substances like drugs
urge – to advise someone very strongly about what action or attitude they should take ผลักดัน, กระตุ้น
caution – careful thought and lack of hurry in order to try to avoid risks or danger ความระมัดระวัง
sensitive – easily upset by the things people say or do รับความรู้สึกได้ง่าย
contamination – the process of making something dirty, polluted, or poisonous by adding a chemical, waste, or infection การปนเปื้อน
skew – to affect facts or information so that they are not accurate บิดเบือน
lodge – to formally make something such as a complaint or a claim ยื่นคำร้อง ยื่นฟ้องต่อ