Re: "Send the triads packing", (Editorial, Nov 29).
Thailand has long been recognised as the most hospitable place in the world for overseas Chinese. In recent weeks, however, startling revelations must now lead us to ask if our country is also the most hospitable place in the world for Chinese triads.
Long-established and clearly deeply entrenched throughout our bureaucracy, including the police and military, the triads appear to have operated unhindered for more than a decade, on a scale that only now is revealed as appallingly brazen. We've heard of triad bosses escaping the unexpected purge in private jets, of a 200-million-baht mansion masquerading as a trade association with bemedalled military uniforms, BMW police motorcycles, weapons in display cases with a mini-armoured car and diplomatic limo, corridors lined with photos of world leaders, all under the banner of the QY Group and KTG Global Defense System Co Ltd.
Finally moving into top gear, Big Joke most recently revealed a luxury housing estate where most of the 50 30-50 million baht houses had been purchased by Thai nominees on behalf of one of the triad bosses to be used as party houses and let's not forget the schools and associations purchased by these gangs to provide long-stay student visas for their compatriots, foot soldiers and customers. Strangely silent amidst this invasion by Chinese criminal elements is the Embassy of the People's Republic of China, supposedly the guardian of China's image abroad. Have their unsanctioned and illegal "police service stations", currently the subject of much international furore, fallen down on the job here?
According to the Madrid-based NGO Safeguard Defenders, currently 14 countries have launched investigations into 110 Chinese overseas police service stations, which, among other things, are tasked with "resolutely cracking down on all kinds of overseas Chinese-related illegal and criminal activities". And while Thailand is not included in the 14, it would be quite surprising, given the number of Chinese visitors, if we are not unwitting hosts to similar facilities.
Although China resolutely rejects charges that it is overstepping diplomatic and legal norms to persecute its citizens far beyond its borders, since 2014 China's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and Operation Fox Hunt are a matter of fact, mounting a sprawling campaign against members of the Chinese diaspora to target corruption and dissent.
While we look forward to welcoming the return of many millions of happy Chinese tourists, let's hope the Chinese embassy will urgently deploy legitimate resources, in partnership with our police, to rein in and eradicate this current triad scourge.