Thaksin’s 3-Month War on Drugs Leaves 2,819 bodies, mostly without trial
“You’ll be either heading for the cremators or the jails” was the famous quote by the former Prime Minister of Thailand Thaksin Shinawatra which sparked a nationwide drug trafficking crackdown. Continuous raids over a three-month period, predominantly in the southern region of Thailand, resulted in a staggering 2,819 deaths.
“We must strictly enact this crackdown for 3 months and then evaluate the outcomes. If the province governors do not know where the syndicates are in their areas, they are incompetent. For those who deal, they will be dealt harshly with iron fist treatments and there will be no mercy” – Thaksin Shinawatra 14 January 2003
From February to April 2003, there were 2,561 cases of homicide, 2,819 deaths. Of all the homicidal cases, 1,189 cases were related to drugs with 1,370 deaths, 834 cases had no relation to drugs nor substance with 878 deaths, and investigators were unable to determine the cause of 538 cases which resulted in 571 recorded deaths.
The Thai DEA indicated that the homicidal rate in the country had surged by 88% as a result of the stiff war on drugs policy, but there were also reports that suggested the killings were not only by law enforcers as drug syndicates also attempted to cut down ties among themselves or those who were suspicious for giving information to authorities.
A lot of innocent people were slain by this hard-core policy. The Amnesty International Organization has reported that most of the killings happened after the black-listed suspects had surrendered to the police.
“Everyone can be rest assured that if my party becomes the government again, there will be a second war on drugs. I am certain that this problem will be solved within 12 months at the latest. I dare say that the dealers will be too scared to deal as soon as I touch down at the airport.”
Despite the fact that the ex-prime minister is not in the country anymore, people believe that he continues to be behind the Peur Thai Party and there are chances that the same methods would be applied given that the drug trade continues to prosper.
Extrajudicial killing poses a great threat to national security, and most importantly to innocent lives who live in areas that Thaksin claims are infested by drug-trafficking. Ironically, it is household knowledge that the drug route begins up north from the infamous Golden Triangle, but nothing was done there nor were there extrajudicial killings.