See also:

Thai authorities and UNODC meet about precursor chemical trafficking in the Golden Triangle

Chiang Saen, Chiang Rai (Thailand), 24 November 2020
- UNODC has brought Thai law enforcement and regulatory authorities together on the border with Myanmar and Lao PDR to share information and discuss methods to disrupt the trafficking of precursor chemicals used for the illicit manufacture of synthetic drugs in the Golden Triangle. Organized jointly with the Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) of Thailand, the meeting is the first in a series of in-depth exchanges and training workshops to be delivered across the country.

“We are pleased to have authorities with precursor chemical responsibilities in northern Thailand here with us and our long-standing partner UNODC”, observed ONCB Deputy Secretary-General, Suriya Singhakamol. He continued, “precursor chemical diversion and trafficking is a top priority for Thailand and the Mekong region, and it is important to be here on the border where the challenges are greatest – the location is symbolically important, and the training being delivered is practically necessary.”

The organization of national exchanges and workshops was agreed between UNODC and ONCB following discussions about increasing flows of a variety of chemicals, including some on the International Special Surveillance List (ISSL), transiting through Thailand and the Mekong towards drug production areas in the Golden Triangle. The ISSL contains chemicals not listed in Tables I and II of the 1988 UN Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, and substantial information points to their increasing use in illicit drug manufacture in the region.

“Organized crime operating in and around the Golden Triangle are using an increasingly wide variety of chemicals for the production of synthetic drugs”, remarked Jeremy Douglas, UNODC Regional Representative for Southeast Asia and the Pacific. “Recent cases shared with us by counterparts confirm that there are significant quantities of ISSL chemicals being diverted and trafficked through the Mekong region – including through Thailand and neighbouring Lao PDR – into militia controlled areas in northern Myanmar for drug production.”

With the participation of relevant Thai agencies operating in the north of the country – ONCB, Customs, the Royal Thai Police Narcotics Suppression Bureau, Army Pamuang Force, Navy Mekong Riverine Unit and the Department of Industrial Works – the workshop is increasing awareness and understanding of the ISSL, and providing necessary training on chemical identification, field sampling and testing. In addition, facilitated discussions are helping to improve inter-agency dialogue as a foundation for effective regional cooperation. “Coordination among relevant national authorities is fundamental, and cooperation at both the national and regional levels needs to extend beyond traditionally controlled substances”, commented Reiner Pungs, UNODC Drugs and Precursor Programme Manager for Southeast Asia and the Pacific. “UNODC’s regional precursor programme is supporting Thailand and neighbouring countries to understand and prioritize precursor chemical challenges, and to take necessary steps to address diversion and trafficking into drug production.”

Training being delivered in the workshop is the first of its kind for Southeast Asia, and it will be implemented in key locations across the region by UNODC over the coming year to address precursor chemical challenges.

Click here to learn more about UNODC's Regional Programme for Southeast Asia

Click here to learn more about UNODC’s work to address drug and precursor in the region

Click here to learn more about the Mekong MOU on Drug Control