The Department of Provincial Administration (DoPA) is ramping up efforts to identify "influential figures" whom authorities suspect are tied to various criminal activities across the country, according to Deputy Interior Minister Chada Thaiset.
DoPA defines "influential figures" as individuals who are closely tied to 16 criminal offences, namely predatory lending, bid collusion, taking of bribes from public transport vehicles, smuggling untaxed goods, gambling both in casinos and online, prostitution and human trafficking, illegal entry, illegal overseas job placement, tourist scams, gunmen, illegal debt collection, illegal arms trade, public land encroachment, extortion and possession and smuggling of drugs.
The move followed the highly publicised shooting death of Pol Maj Sivakorn Saibua, a highway police officer, at a dinner party held at the home of Praween Chanklai, aka "Kamnan Nok", a local leader and construction business operator, on Sept 6, in Nakhon Pathom.
Mr Chada, who was assigned by Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Anutin Charnvirakul to lead the operation, said on Monday that DoPA director-general, Manrat Rattanasukhon, had assigned the deputy governors in each province last week to list the names of influential figures in their provinces.
The DoPA had also sought cooperation from relevant agencies to help build a database of "mafia-like politicians", he said.
Once the list is completed, Mr Chada said the department will create a map which shows which area each figure is based in and what offence or offences they are linked to.
He said officials would dig deep into the figures' businesses. He added the ministry will work to dismantle businesses which generate wealth and power for the influential figures.
Many such businesses have remained active despite their masterminds being dead or sent to prison.