Editor CityNews Announces his ‘Most Outlandish Pledge of the Year 2013’ Award

 | Fri 23 Aug 2013 13:29 ICT

Bangkok will be drug Free within 15 Months

Says BMA (Bangkok Metropolitan Administration) blue-blood Oxford educated Governor M.R. Sukhumbhand Paribatra.

A Bangkok resident’s reaction to the pledge

This outrageous pledge was made when Sukhumbhand talked at a seminar August 22nd and discussed his transparent campaign ‘Bangkok Clear’.

Sukhumbhand was reported as saying on the Nation News Bureau of Thailand that he plans to totally eradicate drugs from the capital. 

I guess he must mean all the baggies of heavily cut coke that soap stars keep hidden in their knickers drawer, right down to the kilos of pot moving through Bangkok that the cops seem to overlook that end up on islands all over the country. He might also have added ‘illegal’, not ‘pharmaceutical’ highs made in Bangkok factories, which are widely available on my soi.

In spite of the failures of wars on drugs worldwide the governor is confident Bangkok will be a drug-free city within 15 months.

Firstly there will be a crackdown in residential and business areas of the city he said, but the campaign also wants to raise awareness about the dangers of drugs, and help the community to join in the fight against illegal substances. This would a be novel idea, if it wasn’t the failed idea of Richard Nixon, et al.

This comes as many foreign governments, mainly UK and US, are having to begrudgingly accept that wars on drugs don’t work, never worked, won’t work,  and another approach, such as that of Portugal, is needed to fix this seemingly intractable problem of drug taking. They’ve admitted this now because wars on drugs no longer work for the vote either, not because politics has suddenly decided to do the ethical thing. 

It’s well known that much of the world’s opium, and more currently amphetamines, are produced in Burma but trafficked into Thailand, and Bangkok (roll underground marketing slogan:  Bangkok – Meth Hub of South East Asia and Drug Gateway to the World), and onto other countries.

Recreational drugs, such as ecstasy, ‘ice’ and cocaine, are available in many of the city’s more upmarket nightspots (if you don’t believe me, just go there), while Thailand was said to be a country with increasing drug problems in the UN’s World Drug Report 2012.

Many of the drugs flow through northern Thailand, including Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, as is reported by CityNews week in week out. So far the drug mules that transport the drugs make up the vast majority of arrests (around 98.888%). One of the criticisms in the west is that as long as there is widespread poverty there will be no shortage of mules. A criticism so far not voiced in Thailand. We must wonder why…

As Simon David, creator of The Wire, so often points out: you are asking these people in low income neighborhoods to survive and be working capitalists, and then you leave them few options except dealing drugs. There is no shortage of people wanting to make money from drugs. Then you jail them. In effect this is a war against people.

I am not sure about the output of these factories but one factory in Burma in this article claims its minimum order for yaba is 500,000 pills. We might wonder how many pills, and ice, are getting through the road blocks each day. It’s thought a small factory can make 25kgs of meth a day.

It was reported by the UN that much of the yaba that comes through Thailand supplies countries all over the world. This is possible as Bangkok is not only a tourist centre and air travel gateway to the world, but also the place all these drugs are heading to for that reason.

There are rumours that much of Chiang Mai’s progress is built on drug money. But that’s hearsay, just the stuff important people whisper at banquets and press conferences. Nonetheless, one might wonder if it is only the mules who get busted. Who is making all the money, because surely all this amphetamine, ice, and heroin is making some people extremely rich? If the governor wants to make Bangkok drug free, he might have some explaining to do to nouveau riche gangsters, and not least to certain authorities who it is widely rumored also make a tidy buck from special payments.

This certainly wins my ‘Outlandish Pledge of the Year Award’, and yes, I double checked that it wasn’t provided by Not the Nation or the The Onion.

While fantastic ‘pledges’ seem to be mandated by politicians in Thailand – and Chiang Mai – it seems that once they have inevitably failed due to any lack of concerted effort or semblance of sincerity in the first place, the media suffers from short-term memory loss. Let’s hope in 15 months, after scores of people have been predictably jailed and ruined, others have been thoroughly taxed, after budgets have been squandered on new European cars and highfaluting marketing slogans, that the media remembers this devious piece of political dark comedy.