Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Anutin Charnvirakul on Monday expressed confidence in the ability of his deputy, Chada Thaiset, to succeed in a new attempt to tackle mafia-style gangs and curb their influence on local administrative organisations nationwide.
The minister last week assigned Mr Chada to lead a nationwide screening of all influential local leaders suspected of involvement with mafia-like gangs and have them blacklisted if links are uncovered.
The assignment was made in response to a violent incident in which one highway patrol officer was gunned down and another injured during an incident at a dinner party at the home of an influential local leader in Nakhon Pathom's Muang district late on Wednesday night.
The shooting drew huge national interest and sparked new debate over graft in the public service.
When asked if he had also imposed a timeframe for Mr Chada to wrap up this assignment, Mr Anutin said that wouldn't be necessary because such corruption is an ongoing problem that requires constant vigilance from all parties involved.
At Monday's parliamentary debate on the government's policy statement, Senator Prasit Pathummarak expressed his gratitude to the new government for its commitment to stamping out mafia-style criminal gangs and the influential figures that enable their illicit drug trade.
Chada: Chief of mafia sweep
In another development, the Anti-Corruption Organisation of Thailand (ACT) called on the government to take its vow to suppress corruption and bribery in the promotion of state officials more seriously than it has been in the past.
Writing on the organisation's Facebook page, the ACT cited the Nakhon Pathom incident as evidence of rampant interference with public agencies' reshuffles of officials and the connection between shady businesses and the unlawful benefits offered to state officials responsible for suppressing the activities of these businesses.
The Nakhon Pathom case is a perfect example of the public administration system being full of corruption and lacking good governance, the ACT said.
All those with links to illicit activity must be driven out of the system in order to better protect good state officials and ensure fairness for them when it comes to career advancement, it added.
The ACT also urged Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin to honour the commitment he made on Sept 6 to mark Thailand's Anti-Corruption Day that the buying and selling of important positions in state organisations, along with unfair reshuffles, would be brought to an end under his government.
Mr Srettha also vowed to pursue sweeping curbs on corruption under his administration.
Anutin: Crackdown will be ongoing