Opium hidden as vegetable gardens difficult to see from air & new drug bases near Mae Sai & Mae Hong Son on Myanmar border.
A team of police destroy a poppy field in Ta Song Yang district of Tak province in a file photo taken in Febuary. (Wassaayos Ngamkham)
Army boasts major crackdown on opium farms
Anti-narcotics authorities have eradicated more than 1,600 rai of opium poppy farmlands in the North over the past year, but recently discovered three major drug manufacturing hubs just a stone's throw away from the Thai border, posing major challenges in the ongoing fight against the illicit substance trade.
The findings were revealed in a press conference held by the 3rd Army Region on Tuesday to summarise progress in official operations to crackdown on opium cultivation and the wider drug trade in northern provinces over a one year period.
Lt Gen Preecha Chan-ocha, the 3rd Army Region commander, said army officers had raided and eradicated 21 opium farms covering a total of 1,613 rai of land in Chiang Rai, Mae Hong Son, Tak, Kamphaeng Phet, Lampang and Nan provinces, as a result of tip-offs from the Narcotic Crops Survey and Monitoring Institute.
A further 46 rai of opium farmlands were also discovered and destroyed in the same period - 19 rai by the Border Patrol Police Bureau Region 3 and 27 rai by the Narcotics Suppression Bureau (NSB).
But despite progress made over the past year, attempts to cultivate opium are likely to increase, Lt Gen Preecha said, because raw opium prices are still relatively high and the use of illicit drugs remains rampant.
He said criminals in the opium production trade were also developing new ways of cultivating crops to escape detection. For example, they are opting to grow opium poppies in harder-to-access locations along the country's borders, using farm sprinkler irrigation systems and pesticides, and cultivating multiple types of opium in one plot.
“They plant them in furrows, the same way as vegetable gardens. This makes it difficult for authorities [to identify] when conducting aerial inspections,” Lt Gen Preecha said.
Whether opium yields are high or low depends on two main factors - humidity levels, which determine how well the crops do, and the intensity of eradication operations carried out by state agencies, he added.
Lt Gen Preecha meanwhile said the supply of illicit drugs, particularly methamphetamine pills, continues to be a critical problem for the country.
He said intelligence reports indicate that there are as many as 11 drug production bases just across the Thai border in neighbouring countries that have a large capacity and are manufacturing drugs on a daily basis.
The drugs produced by these factories are contributing to a continued influx of speed pills into Thailand, he said.
Among the 11 drug bases, authorities found three in Myanmar - all located within a 30-kilometer radius of the Thai border. The nearest one, thought to be a large meth and heroin production hub, is about 13 kilometres from Mae Hong Son's Pang Ma Pha district. The place is allegedly controlled by Wa tribespeople.
The other two drug hubs include one allegedly operated by Muser tribespeople 20 kilometres from Chiang Rai’s Mae Fa Luang district, and another said to be controlled by Wa tribespeople, 30 kilometres from Mai Sai district in the same province.
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access: having the opportunity to have or use something - มีโอกาสในการใช้
aerial: (of a photograph) from a plane or helicopter - ภาพถ่ายทางอากาศ
agency: a government department that provides a particular service - หน่วยงานราชการ
an authority: a government official, police, military, etc with legal power to make people obey laws and rules - ผู้มีอำนาจ, เจ้าหน้าที่ผู้มีอำนาจ, เจ้าหน้าที่บริหาร
anti: against - ตรงกันข้าม, ต้าน
attempt: when a person tries to do something or achieve some goal, makes an effort to do it - ความพยายาม
authority: a person or government agency who has the power to make decisions or enforce the law - เจ้าหน้าที่ผู้มีอำนาจ
base: a place from where an activity can be planned or controlled - ฐาน, ฐานที่มั่น
boast: to proudly tell other people what you can do or have done - คุยโว, โว, โม้, โอ้อวด
border: the official line separating two areas, regions or countries - เขตแดน อาณาเขต
bureau: a government organisation - สำนักงาน
capacity: the amount of something that can be produced or done - ความสามารถในการ (ระบาย, ผลิต etc.)
challenge: something that needs a lot of skill, energy, and determination to deal with or achieve - สิ่งที่ท้าทาย, การท้าทาย
conduct: to do something in an organised way; to carry out — - ลงมือทำ, ดำเนิน, ปฏิบัติ
continued: happening or existing for a period of time without interruption - ซึ่งติดต่อกัน, ซึ่งต่อเนื่องกัน
contribute to: to help to cause an event or situation - ช่วยก่อให้เกิด
crackdown: strong action that someone in authority takes to stop a particular activity - การใช้กำลังเข้าปราบปรามของเจ้าหน้าที่
criminal: someone who has committed a crime, i.e., someone who has carried out an illegal activity or action - ผู้ที่ทำผิดกฎหมาย
critical: extremely important because a future situation will be affected by it - สำคัญยิ่ง
crop: a plant grown for food, usually on a farm - พืชผล
cultivate: to prepare land and grow crops on it - เตรียมเพื่อเพาะปลูก, เพาะปลูก
cultivation: the preparation and use of land for growing plants or crops - การเตรียมดินสำหรับเพาะปลูก
depend on: according to; affected by things that happen - ขึ้นอยู่กับ
detection: the process of proving that something is present or how something has happened using scientific methods - การพบ,การสืบหา,การตรวจพบ
discover: to find somebody/something, or learning about something that was not known about before - ค้นพบ
eradicate: to get rid of completely or destroy something bad - กำจัดจนหมดสิ้น
eradication: getting rid of something completely, especially something bad - การทำลาย,การถอนรากถอนโคน,การกำจัด
escape: to get away from a place where you are in danger - หนี
factor: a fact or situation which influences the result of something - ปัจจัย
finding: results, what people "find" or discover by doing some research or activity - ผลของการสืบค้น, ผลของการค้นหา
furrow: a line that a farmer digs in the soil with a plow to plant crops in; a groove, a rut - ร่องดิน (ทางเกษตรกรรม)
hub: the central and most important part of a particular place or activity - จุดศูนย์กลาง, จุดรวม
humidity: the amount of water that is present in the air - ความชุ่มชื้น
identify: to recognise something and understand what it is - ชี้ ระบตัวุ
illicit: against the law - ผิดกฎหมาย
indicate: to show that something is true, exists or will happen - แสดง, ทำให้รู้
influx: a large number of people or things coming in to a place - การหลั่งไหล การไหลบ่า (เข้าไปยังที่ใดที่หนึ่ง)
inspection: an official process of checking that things are in the correct condition or that people are doing what they should - การตรวจสอบตรวจตรา
intelligence: information collected about the secret plans of an enemy, criminal organisations, competitors, etc. - ข่าวกรอง ข้อมูลลับ
intensity: strength - ความเข้มข้น
irrigation: the process of supplying water to an area of land through pipes or channels so that crops will grow - การชลประทาน
location: where someone or something is - ที่ตั้ง,ทำเล
major: very large or important - สำคัญมาก
manufacture: to make and produce a product - ผลิต
meanwhile: at the same time - ในเวลาเดียวกัน
methamphetamine: a stimulant drug that increases alertness and energy, but which is dangerous when taken in large amounts or over a long period of time - ยาบ้า
monitor: to regularly check something or watch someone in order to find out what is happening - ตรวจสอบ ตรวจตรา
multiple: many - มากมาย
narcotics: illegal drugs such as heroin, cocaine or crystal methamphetamine - ยาเสพย์ติด
neighbour: someone (or towns, cities, countries) who lives or is located near you - เพื่อนบ้าน
official: connected with the job of somebody who is in a position of authority - ที่เป็นทางการ
on a daily basis: happening every day -
ongoing: happening at the present moment; continuing - ไม่หยุดยั้ง, ต่อเนื่อง
operation: a planned activity involving a lot of people, especially soldiers or police officers - การปฏิบัติการ
operation: an activity which is planned to achieve something - การดำเนินการ
opium: a powerful illegal drug made from poppy flowers and used in the past to reduce pain - ฝิ่น
opt: to make a choice or a decision from a range of possibilities - เลือก
particularly: especially, or more than usual - โดยเฉพาะ
pesticide: a chemical used for killing insects, especially those that damage crops - ยาฆ่าแมลง
pill: a small flat round piece of medicine that you swallow without chewing it - ยาเม็ด
plot: a piece of land used for a particular purpose - ที่ดินแปลงเล็ก
pose: cause something, especially a problem or difficulty - เป็นเหตุให้
press conference: an official meeting where someone makes a formal statement about a particular issue or event to journalists and answers their questions about it - การแถลงข่าว
production: the process of growing or making food, goods or materials, especially large quantities - การผลิต
progress: the process of improving or developing, or of getting nearer to achieving or completing something - ความก้าวหน้า
radius: a particular distance in all directions from a central point - รัศมี
raid: to use force to enter a place suddenly in order to arrest people or search for something such as illegal weapons or drugs - บุกเข้าจับ, เข้าตรวจค้น
rampant: existing, happening or spreading in an uncontrolled way - รุกลาม อาละวาด กำเริบ รุนแรงจนควบคุมไว้ไม่ได้
raw: in its natural state; not yet changed, used or made into something else - ดิบ
recently: not long ago - เมื่อไม่นานมานี้, เมื่อเร็วๆ นี้
relatively: somewhat; in comparison with someone or something similar - ค่อนข้าง
result from: caused by -
reveal: to let something become known - เปิดเผย
sprinkler: a device inside or outside a building which often automatically sprays out water if there is a rise in temperature because of a fire - สปริงเกลอร์, เครื่องฉีดน้ำ
stone's throw away: nearby; a short distance away -
substance: a particular type of liquid, solid, or gas - สาร
summarise: to give a statement of the main points - สรุป
supply: an amount or quantity of something that is available to buy or use; use the amount of a good available in a market to buy - อุปทาน
suppression: stopping an activity from happening, in this case, criminal activity - การปราบปราม
survey: the act of examining and recording the measurements, features, etc. of an area of land - การสำรวจ, การหาข้อมูล
tip-off: secret information or a warning given by someone - ข่าวเตือน จากวงใน
trade: the buying and selling of goods and services - การค้าขาย
yield: an amount of something produced - ผลผลิต
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