Thai officials revealed on Sunday (20) that a Canadian man and his Thai accomplices were arrested in an operation against transnational drug trafficking gangs and confirmed that all members of the gangs were Canadians. Thailand also plans to arrest more suspects.
According to the Thai newspaper The Nation on January 20, Niyom Termsrisuk, Secretary-General of the Thai Ministry of Justices Anti-Drug Committee (ONCB), told a news conference the same day that the suspects were 38-year-old Canadian man Stephens Blair and 27-year-old Thai man Pahol Siiriwaskarun. There are 3,740 grams of heroin, 1 kilogram of cannabis, 2 ecstasy pills and 1 gram of cocaine in eight shock absorbers.
The pictures in this article are from the Thai National Daily.
In addition, Thai authorities seized 7.5 million baht (about 1.6 million yuan) worth of assets from suspects, including 2.5 million baht (about 530,000 yuan) in cash, Mercedes-Benz, Rolex watches and so on.
Niyom said the two men were arrested in a joint operation between Thailand and Australia. The Storm Task Force consists of ONCB, the Anti-Money Laundering Office, the Royal Police and the Australian Police.
When arrested, the suspect tried to smuggle heroin hidden in shock absorbers to Australia.
The Joint Action Team found that a suspicious package had been rejected and returned to Thailand on 17 January. Thai officials inspected the package and found eight shock absorbers containing 3,740 grams of heroin. They then tracked the recipients Blair and Pahal after the package was sent back to Thailand.
Niyom also revealed that the Thai side has confirmed the membership of the gang, they are Canadians, police found traces of suspects in neighbouring countries in the Golden Triangle, where the heroin reportedly originated.
Investigators are gathering more evidence and working with officials to plan to arrest more drug traffickers.
Thai law retains the death penalty. According to Thai law, criminals who trafficked more than 100 grams of drugs could be sentenced to death, according to a report by China New Network in 2012.
According to the Australian newspaper in November last year, a 35-year-old Australian man and his Thai wife were sentenced to death in Thailand for trying to smuggle nearly half a ton of methamphetamine into Australia through Thailand.
Later, a spokesman for the Australian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade declined to comment, citing privacy, saying only that the Australian government was providing consular assistance to an Australian citizen in Thailand.
In recent years, however, the rate of execution in Thailand has slowed down significantly. A 26-year-old murderer convicted for six years was executed by injecting drugs in June last year, the first execution in Thailand since 2009, according to Singapores Lianhe Zaobao newspaper.
Since 1935, Thailand has executed more than 300 criminals, most of whom were shot. Thailand stopped shooting in December 2003, and six people were executed by injecting drugs between then and 2009. By the end of 2017, there were 510 death penalty inmates in Thailand.