PM battles odds in gambling fight

PM battles odds in gambling fight

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Wednesday pleaded for cooperation in tackling the country's gambling issue, a key contributor to the current spread of Covid-19, saying the government alone could never succeed in getting rid of the illegal activity.

"No one succeeds alone. And even if Thailand has a hundred prime ministers at the same time, they would never succeed in this (tackling gambling and illegal migrant smuggling) without everyone joining hands," he said.

"I may not be the best leader but I'm determined to succeed in the work that I do, which of course requires cooperation from all sides," he said.

His plea for public cooperation was made as the government works on forming two committees, one to curb illegal gambling and the other to deal with the smuggling of migrants, both seen as key contributing factors to the current outbreak of Covid-19.

There are still people finding ways to organise illegal gambling services in hotels or resorts, he said.

The committees will work together with agencies such as the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) and the Department of Special Investigation (DSI), and will report their findings back to the government, said Gen Prayut.

Some prospective members of the committees had turned down the invitation to join as they wouldn't be able to travel as part of their new jobs, said Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam. The members may not be well-known figures but ones with a proven track record and good experience, he said.

The chairmen, however, will have to be either police or from the military, given the responsibility of the position, he added.

The committee for resolving illegal gambling, for instance, won't be responsible for cracking down on illegal gambling dens but will be asked to find out which police failed to do their jobs in suppressing illegal houses and why, he said.

This area of work will also involve other organisations including the PACC and the Anti-Money Laundering Office as tracking the money trail would be part of the job, he said. Tackling gambling dens is meant to curb the spread of Covid-19 in particular.

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