List of 'influential figures' completed
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List of 'influential figures' completed

Deputy Interior Minister Chada Thaiset.
Deputy Interior Minister Chada Thaiset.

A list of "influential figures", people wielding dark influence across the country, has been completed and will be tabled at a meeting of the committee handling the matter on Tuesday, Deputy Interior Minister Chada Thaiset said.

Mr Chada said there were 600-700 names on the list. Fewer than 100 were considered hard-core and included in the Red group.

The rest were in the Yellow group and were people on a watch list and they included gunmen for hire, who were a small group and most of them were freelancers, he said.

He declined to go into further detail, saying the list would have to be checked against the data bases of police and security agencies. He had not seen the list, which was still deemed secret, he said.

Mr Chada said the list would first screened by the committee set up by the Interior Ministry. The names would be examined to see whether they were on record as having been involved in any of the 16 types of crime which were the criteria for being classified as an influential figure, or someone wielding dark influence.

The 16 types of crime are - illegal money lending, collusion in bidding for work contracts with government agencies, illegally colllecting brokerage fees from bus operators, extortion of businesses, smuggling, running gambling dens, the illegal sex trade, human smuggling, cheating workers looking for overseas jobs, cheating tourists, being a gunman for hire, collecting debt with use of force, dealing in war weapons and other illegal guns, encroaching on state land/destroying natural resources, demanding bribes on public highways and being involved in illicit drugs.

Mr Chada said he would also go on tour to meet with village chiefs (phuyaiban) and tambon chiefs (kamnan) throughout the country, to adjust their attitudes.Local leaders would be told to refrain from any illegal activity.

People who take on the posts of village and tambon chiefs would also be required to undergo urine tests.

Mr Chada was formerly highly influential in his home province of Uthai Thani and admitted he was once listed as an "influential person".

"But I have proved that I have not done anything illegal. I am no longer an influential person. I am now a cabinet minister working for the country," he declared.

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