Complaint filed against justice minister, ONCB chief over 'ketamine' bust

Complaint filed against justice minister, ONCB chief over 'ketamine' bust

View of the product after officials seized 11.5 tonnes of what they said ketamine worth nearly 30 billion baht at a warehouse in Chachoengsao on Nov 12. (Office of the Narcotics Control Board photo)
View of the product after officials seized 11.5 tonnes of what they said ketamine worth nearly 30 billion baht at a warehouse in Chachoengsao on Nov 12. (Office of the Narcotics Control Board photo)

Atchariya Ruangrattanapong, chairman of the Crime Victims Assistance Club, on Monday filed a complaint with Anti-Corruption Division (ACD) police against Justice Minister Somsak Thepsuthin and Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) secretary-general Wichai Chaimongkol, accusing them of giving false information to the public over the seizure of 11.5 tonnes of ketamine from a warehouse in Chachoengsao province on Nov 12.

The complaint was accepted by Pol Capt Ratchapol Tiamsakhu, an investigator from the 2nd Sub-Division of the ACD.

Mr Atchariya alleged that Mr Somsak and Mr Wichai had committed malfeasance in violation of Section 157 of the Criminal Code. He attached to the complaint video clips and news reports of a press conference on the seizure of ketamine.

After the seizure, sacks of what was said to be ketamine were transported from the warehouse in Chachoengsao to be stored at the ONCB Region 1 in Pathum Thani's Lat Lumkaew district.

However, after testing of samples from the sacks at a laboratory, the substance turned out to be trisodium phosphate, not ketamine.

The episode caused damage to the Justice Ministry and the ONCB, which was supposed to be a credible agency in testing for illegal drugs, Mr Atchariya said.

Mr Atchariya said that while researching the incident he learned that in August a man called Apichart, of ethnic Hmong origin, brought sacks of an unspecified substance to be stored at the warehouse in Chachoengsao. On Sept 3, some of the sacks were shipped to Taiwan via Khlong Toey and Laem Chabang ports.

On Sept 26, Taiwanese officials seized the sacks and asked Thai authorities to investigate. Officers searched the warehouse, seized the sacks and went ahead with a press conference on the seizure, leading to the damage, he said.

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