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Historic threat assessment of one of Southeast Asia's busiest trafficking corridors

Tachileik (Myanmar), 10 April 2015
- Chiefs of drug control authorities from China, Myanmar and Thailand, together with representatives from UNODC, completed a week-long threat assessment of the Asian Highway connecting the three countries through the Golden Triangle. In-depth inspections were conducted of roads, bridges, check-points and border crossings in the first-ever multi-lateral review of one of the busiest trafficking corridors in Southeast Asia.

The Mae Sai Thailand - Tachileik Myanmar border is the busiest crossing point between the two countries and is increasingly used by transnational crime groups to traffic heroin, methamphetamine, precursor chemicals and people. Irregular migration is also rising at regular border crossings like Mai Sai - Tachileik, and it is estimated that one-third of irregular migrants are smuggled through official land check points.

Informal crossings are also taking place at many points along borders. Tachileik is a striking example where traffickers and migrants can simply wade across the Mai Sae River between Thailand and Myanmar during the dry season, or cross by small boat in the rainy season. UNODC estimates that over 450,000 migrants are smuggled from Myanmar into Thailand annually, and according to Thai authorities well over one billion methamphetamine pills are trafficked aross the border from Myanmar into their country every year.

Jeremy Douglas United Nations UN UNODC Mekong ASEAN border security

The dangers posed by these threats were highlighted by UNODC Representative Jeremy Douglas, who noted that, "the geography is a obvious challenge, and the technical capabilities of organized crime groups operating in the Golden Triangle have significantly outpaced the technical capacity of front-line officers and agencies to counter them."

Jeremy Douglas United Nations UN UNODC Mekong ASEAN border security

The UNODC Regional Programme for Southeast Asia includes Sub-Programme 1 on Transnational Organised Crime and Illicit Trafficking, with an outcome area focused on strengthening cross-border law enforcement cooperation. The field review undertaken by heads of drug control authorities and UNODC representatives supports efforts under the Regional Programme, and is supportive of countries commitments to the Mekong MOU on Drug Control, ASEAN drug and transnational organised crime control frameworks, and international agreements.

Tun Nay Soe United Nations UN UNODC Mekong China trafficking