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    Jail chief transferred as officials raid prison

    Jail chief transferred as officials raid prison
    Krissana Thiwatsirikul
    The Nation
    Nakhon Si Thammarat April 23, 2012 1:00 am

    More than 600 officials yesterday made a predawn surprise search at the Nakhon Si Thammarat Central Prison in their bid to stop this correctional facility from being a base for drug-trafficking gangs.

    Some inmates have reportedly paid over Bt350,000 to have an iPhone for use while behind bars there.

    The prison's chief Narong Yongnarongdejkul was immediately transferred out of his post yesterday. He appeared under stress throughout the search operation, which started at 3am and ended at around 9am. The search uncovered about 300 cell phones, including iPhones and tablets, 1,700 meth-amphetamine tablets, and one kilo of crystal meth-amphetamine or ice plus many gambling tools and weapons.

    "I have tried (to enforce the ban on such stuff) but money power has prevailed," Narong was heard telling Nakhon Si Thammarat police chief Maj General Ronnapong Saikaeo.

    Provincial Police Region 8 commander Lt General Santi Pensutra disclosed that the surprise search was arranged after most drug suspects confessed they had ordered illicit drugs from inmates at the Nakhon Si Thammarat Central Prison.

    "We are going to determine how the cell phones and illicit drugs got into the prison," he said.

    According to an informed source, a cell phone costs between Bt200,000 and Bt250,000 for an inmate at the Nakhon Si Thammarat Prison. A smart phone is more expensive, costing between Bt300,000 and Bt350,000. Inmates who do not own cell phones can rent the devices at between Bt10,000 and Bt18,000 each time.

    Ronnapong said he could tell that some officials had brought cell phones into the prison for inmates for a delivery fee of Bt30,000.

    "We are preparing to seek arrest warrants for them," he said.

    Ronnapong said yesterday's search was a result of months'-long preparations. Police, soldiers and administrative officials joined in the search operation yesterday. Ongoing investigations has shown that two inmates at the Nakhon Si Thammarat Central Prison were responsible for the delivery of a huge amount of illicit drugs, each time worth several million baht.

    "Many other inmates are medium and small-scale drug traffickers," Ronnapong said.

    Nakhon Si Thammarat Governor Wiroj Jiwarangsan said officials at the Nakhon Si Thammarat Central Prison should be transferred to root out the problem.

    Ronnapong said it was clear someone alerted some inmates about yesterday's search in advance.

    "We found a short message in a seized cell phone telling the recipient the search would take place in two hours. That meant many banned items might have already been disposed of before the officials arrived," he said. He believed some illicit drugs might have thrown into toilets.

    Corrections Department deputy director general Sopon Thitithammapreuk said Surapon Kaewparadai had been appointed chief of the Nakhon si Thammarat Central Prison in place of Narong.

    "We will conduct similar surprise searches at other prisons too to check if inmates there have also have banned items in their hands," Sopon said.

    Meanwhile, police found 280,000 meth-amphetamine tablets and six kilos of crystal meth-amphetamine in three bags on a public-transport bus that was intercepted at a checkpoint in Phayao.

    The bus was targeted in response to tip-offs that illicit drugs were loaded into it.

    A five-hour-long investigation showed the illicit-drug-stuffed bags belonged to no passengers and Weerapong sae Wang, a young man hired to label and arrange luggage in the bus, was the most likely suspect.

    Police said the investigation was ongoing to determine whether he had any other accomplices.

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    Re: Jail chief transferred as officials raid prison

    Inmates create 'biggest drug network'
    Nakhon Si Thammarat cons link with city gangs

    Published: 24/04/2012 at 09:56 AMNewspaper section: News


    A convict drug gang in Nakhon Si Thammarat prison has linked up with another gang operating inside a major Bangkok prison to create the country's biggest drug network, the provincial police chief said.

    Nakhon Si Thammarat police chief Pol Maj Gen Ronapong Saikaew said inmates at his jail are working with gangs in Bang Khwang Central Prison in Bangkok.

    He said a move to clamp down on the gang was compromised when details of a raid at Nakhon Si Thammarat prison were leaked a few hours before the operation began on Sunday.

    Officers still found 284 mobile phones, 1,700 methamphetamine pills, or ya ba, and 50g of crystal meth, or ya ice, in prison cells. In a second raid yesterday more than 10 phones were seized and at least 100 inmates tested positive for drugs. Pol Maj Gen Ronapong said information gathered from the mobiles clearly pointed to links between drug networks in Nakhon Si Thammarat prison and Bang Khwang.

    "Together they have formed Thailand's biggest drug network, which is linked to traffickers and producers in Laos and Myanmar," he said.

    "They are not afraid of arrest, they work from prison."

    Pol Maj Gen Ronapong said he was frustrated that some inmates had been told in advance of the planned raid.

    Authorities would otherwise have seized much more, he said, because they had received a tip-off that 1kg of ya ice was delivered to the prison three days before the raid.

    Pol Maj Gen Ronapong said officers were tracing drug traffickers from information found on the seized mobile phones. He added that at least 10 officials at Nakhon Si Thammarat prison were thought to be involved in the drug business and police are hunting down the official who leaked the raid.

    Justice Minister Pracha Promnok said yesterday that Sunday's raid was the beginning of efforts to suppress the drug trade in prisons.

    He said the campaign would expand to jails nationwide and corrupt prison staff would face harsh penalties. The Office of Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) will investigate prison staff involved in illicit businesses at prisons, including the drug trade. PACC secretary-general Pol Col Dusadee Arayawuth added that the agency is investigating three officials in Rattanaburi prison in Surin province for allegedly selling narcotics to inmates.

    BANGKOK POST

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    Re: Jail chief transferred as officials raid prison

    Well nothing should really surprise one about what goes on in LOS-this story and the one about the ya ba Monks make one reconsider the depths of moral and criminal corruption that exist there.

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    Re: Jail chief transferred as officials raid prison

    Contraband found in third raid on prison
    3 staff fired, sneaked in phones and drugs

    Published: 25/04/2012 at 03:51 AMNewspaper section: News


    Police combed through Areas 5 and 6 of Nakhon Si Thammarat prison yesterday in what was the third raid there this week, following a first raid on Sunday and a second on Monday.

    Authorities seized a large number of mobile phones, while half of the inmates tested for drugs produced positive results.

    Three officers of the prison were fired after being implicated in smuggling drugs and mobile phones into the facility.

    The Anti-Money Laundering Office (Amlo) will look into their assets and transactions, said Sophon Thitithamaphruek, deputy director-general of the Department of Corrections. The officers' names were not disclosed.

    Anti-drug agencies are keeping a close watch on 15 other prisons.

    Fifty-two mobile phones, 31 SIM cards, methamphetamine, or ya ba, and 100g of crystal methamphetamine, or ya ice, were impounded yesterday, said Pol Maj Gen Ronapong Saikaew, the Nakhon Si Thammarat police chief.

    Out of 1,282 inmates, 655 tested positive for drugs in urine tests. All confessed to buying drugs from an agent in the prison, said Pol Maj Gen Ronapong.

    The police were investigating the drug trade in the prison and the people behind it further, he said.

    The three raids were aimed at suppressing problems linked with inmates who still were active in the drug trade outside of prison, he said.

    Police believe drug gangs in the jail will now face difficulties as all their communication tools have been seized, meaning they can no longer handle orders and transactions for their customers via mobile phones.

    More than 10 phones were seized and at least 100 inmates tested positive for drugs during Monday's raid.

    On Sunday, 280 phones _ including dozens of smartphones _ about 1,700 ya ba pills, 50g of ya ice, several sharpened objects and 47,000 baht in cash were confiscated.

    A source at the Department of Corrections said legal loopholes made it hard for the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) to expand its investigation.

    The law prohibits the ONCB from seizing assets of convicts for one year after the Criminal Court rules on their case. This means authorities cannot take any action against inmates who continue the drug trade in prison until a year after being sentenced to jail.

    In related news, three people were arrested for possession of ya ba and ya ice worth more than 29 million baht in Bangkok's Samre area.

    The suspects were identified as Noi Wimolsri, 56, Pannipat Thirakhotai, 33, and Wiwat Klongpakornkul, 28.

    Police seized 86,740 ya ba pills, 941g of ya ice, a digital scale, 220 plastic bags of various sizes, a gun and 21 rounds of ammunition.

    Ms Noi was arrested in Samre district on Monday after police seized 81 speed pills from her. Officers said she told them she had bought the drugs from Mr Pannipat and Mr Wiwat.

    Police then raided a house on Soi Taksin 19 in Samre area of Thon Buri district yesterday and arrested Mr Pannipat and Mr Wiwat. Officers found the drugs following a search of the premises, which had been made to look like a sewing factory.

    BANGKOK POST

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    Re: Jail chief transferred as officials raid prison

    Gang paying locals to help out with phone, drug smuggling
    Published: 27/04/2012 at 01:51 AMNewspaper section: News


    NAKHON SI THAMMARAT : Residents near Nakhon Si Thammarat prison have been paid to help smuggle drugs and mobile phones into the complex, a village headman in the neighbourhood says.

    Panthep Rusmano, a kamnan at tambon Nasan of Phra Phom district, said members of a drug gang often lurk at the back of the prison and throw or catapult mobile phones and narcotics over the prison walls.

    Gang members work with corrupt prison staff who collect and bring the items to inmates, Mr Panthep said.

    However, in most cases the mobile phones and drugs are believed to be smuggled into the jail via the front gate by corrupt prison staff, he alleged.

    Mr Panthep said some residents living in the vicinity of the prison had conspired with the drug gang.

    They were paid between 7,000 baht and 8,000 baht a month by the gang to turn a blind eye when members were throwing phones or drugs into the prison, and also to alert the gang when police were spotted travelling to the scene, he claimed.

    Mr Panthep said he owns a plot of land at the back of the prison and he had led a group of other residents to capture gang members and take them to police.

    He said the prison is surrounded by only a shallow moat and rubber plantations, making it very easy for the drug gang to hide and throw items into the jail.

    Despite seizures of mobile phones and drugs during recent raids at the prison, the gang continued to supply mobile phones which allowed inmates to keep in touch with gang members outside, Mr Panthep said.

    He said farmers were afraid of going out to tap the rubber as they were threatened by gang members hiding in the plantations.

    In three raids at the prison, carried out from Sunday to Tuesday, 342 mobile phones, 1,700 methamphetamine pills, or ya ba, and 250g of crystal methamphetamine, or ya ice, were seized. The phones had been used by inmates to remotely manage their drug dealings outside the jail. Three prison officers were fired after being implicated in smuggling drugs and phones into the facility.

    BANGKOK POST

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    Re: Jail chief transferred as officials raid prison

    So many corruption in the world even in the development country and democracy such as Thailand,incredable! Money is very important more and more I could see the top official are the drug dealer,even the anti drug officers. A lot of drug cartels will burgeoning thru out SE Asia, I thought not just the ya-ba transfered into proson but maybe others entertainment such as...!!!

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    Re: Jail chief transferred as officials raid prison

    Prison officials sacked after contraband blitz
    Thousands of mobile phones, drugs seized

    Published: 28/04/2012 at 03:30 AMNewspaper section: News


    A total of 28 prison wardens and officials found involved in bringing in illicit drugs, mobile phones and other prohibited items into prisons have been dismissed over the past six months.

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    Corrections Department chief SuchartWonganantchai watches a prison official demonstratethe firing ofahomemaderocket launcher,madeof plastic drink bottles and a tube, found outside the walls of Khlong Pai prison in Nakhon Ratchasima. The rocket launcher wasused to shoot mobile phones into the prison. TAWATCHAI KEMGUMNERD

    The Corrections Department has seized 9,513 mobile phones and smartphones, 5,834 Sim cards, 58,991 methamphetamine pills, and about 6,577 grammes of crystal meth, or ya ice, in prison cells across the country during the six-month crackdown, said department chief Suchart Wong-anantchai.

    The department has so far fired 28 prison officials and wardens found to have colluded with inmates to smuggle in illicit drugs, communication devices and other banned items, he said.

    He threatened to take drastic action against rogue prison officials who refused to turn over a new leaf. They would face both criminal and disciplinary action as well as have their assets seized, he said. He admitted there was a shortage of devices to detect banned items sent by relatives of inmates or visitors in the form of gifts.

    Only nine maximum security prisons equipped with high-tech security equipment have not allowed relatives to bring in any items for inmates, he said during a press conference yesterday.

    A source said some inmates had used bottles of oyster oil, bars of soap and canes to hide smuggled mobile phones.

    Some seized mobile phones were found to be satellite phones that made it hard for cell phone jammers to block communication. Mobile phones fitted with solar cells were also smuggled into the prisons, the source said.

    Montri Bunnag, an official at the Central Correctional Institution for Drug Addicts, yesterday said many mobile phones and smartphones had been smuggled into the facility, which was hit by last year's flooding.

    The 60 smuggled communication devices, which could fetch up to 10 million baht, had been hidden in cement bags and other construction materials.

    An initial investigation found an engineer hired to repair the flood-hit facility had allegedly smuggled in those smartphones with internet access, said Mr Montri, adding the engineer was found to have close ties with a convicted drug trafficker.

    A probe into the smuggling of mobile phones into Nakhon Si Thammarat prison found that a major drug inmate had asked members of his drug network outside the prison to establish close ties with owners of land plots near the prison, a source at the Corrections Department said.

    If any land owner had a daughter, a drug member would get married to the woman by offering a dowry of 100,000-300,000 baht.

    After the marriage, the gang would use the land plot as a site to throw mobile phones over the prison wall, the source said.

    A Corrections Department official said hitman inmate Chusak Numluemkhid, alias "Sua Muek" had been hired by a major drug gang to collect debts from drug dealers outside prison.

    Chusak, recently transferred from Chumphon jail to the Nakhon Si Thammarat prison, reportedly used members of his network outside the prison to collect debts.

    He reportedly has about 10 million baht kept outside the jail.

    BANGKOK POST

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    Re: Jail chief transferred as officials raid prison

    Nakhon Si Thammarat chief vows prison clean-up

    The Nation on Sunday April 29, 2012 1:00 am

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    The new warden of Nakhon Si Thammarat Prison has vowed to restore morale among law-abiding prison officials so they can work as a team to clean up the prison.

    The announcement by Surapol Kaewparadai followed the discovery of messages in cellphones seized from inmates that contained evidence of their involvement in criminal activity conducted outside the prison, including Bt100 million worth of crystal meth deals, as well as trading in war weapons.

    Following the recent seizure of 350 cellphones, police and related officials yesterday continued to gather evidence against inmates who deal drugs from behind bars, along with rogue prison officials. So far they have found information in SMS messages in the cellphones referring to money transactions, drug orders and drug-money transfer confirmations.

    One message inquired about the possibility of paying a prison official Bt100,000 to smuggle 100 grams of crystal meth into the prison. MMS messages contained pictures taken by drug-dealing network members and sent to the inmates' cellphones about the sale outside the prison of Bt100 million worth of crystal meth and trafficking in war weapons including rifles, machine guns and pistols.

    Nakhon Si Thammarat police chief Maj-General Ronnapong Saikaew said the Corrections Department should urgently act on the information obtained by police, and added that the information revealed that drug trades made as recently as Friday were ordered by someone inside Nakhon Si Thammarat Prison.

    New warden Surapol, who officially starts working tomorrow, said he would first boost upstanding prison officials' morale to encourage them to join problem-solving efforts aimed at cleansing the prison of illicit activities and corruption. He said officials suspected of involvement would be moved outside the prison while police investigations and evidence-gathering was taking place, and would be dismissed from the civil service if found guilty.

    Meanwhile, Deputy PM Chalerm Yoobamrung yesterday presided over a gathering of 20,000 people in Kalasin, who vowed not to get involved in drug activities. He said he would continue to crack down on narcotics-making gangs and set up special taskforce units at border provinces to stop drug smuggling into Thailand.

    Meanwhile, Karreni rebel commander General Nakhaomuay (Zawlapoy), whose military base in Myanmar is opposite Tak's Pho Phra district, yesterday issued a statement saying he objected to the Thai authorities' blacklisting of drug dealers, saying it lacked evidence and tarnished his name, as well as that of the Myanmar government. He called on Thai authorities to remove his name from the list.

    In related news, the director of Lamphun's Sirivej Hospital, Dr Chote Nisung, yesterday affirmed his hospital had ordered 350,000 pseudoephedrine tablets in January and February 2011 for use for the whole year, and didn't buy any more afterwards.

    He said a criminal gang had used his and the hospital's names to buy some 900,000 tablets on nine occasions from May to August 2011.

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    Re: Jail chief transferred as officials raid prison

    Corrupt guards helped inmates get drugs for parties : DG
    The Nation May 1, 2012 1:00 am

    Parties were held by inmates of the central Nakhon Si Thammarat prison in violation of prison regulations, made possible by corrupt guards allowing in narcotics and contraband items, deputy Corrections Department director general Kobkiat Kasiwiwat admitted yesterday.

    Use of drugs is believed to have been free and rampant - information supported by video clips extracted from seized mobile handsets.

    When a third round of prison searches turned up another 39 mobile phones - after more than 400 handsets had been found in two earlier searches - Kobkiat admitted to the drug parties after video clips shot by inmates had been extracted.

    "There will likely be more handsets found hidden in the prison while the searches continue," he added.

    Allegedly corrupt guards would be disciplined, pending an internal investigation, he added.

    The new prison commander, Suraphol Kaewparadai, took over yesterday and inspected safety procedures. New measures would require all guards and even the commander to undergo mandatory processes, including a daily body search, when they entered detention areas in the prison.

    He said the latest 39 phones to be discovered were hidden in concrete walls. Five handsets were retrieved from an inmate who was openly using one, apparently unaware that recently installed security cameras had become operational.

    Citing records from October last year to March 31, Suraphol said 1,004 mobile phones and 723 SIM cards had been found in 192 prison searches. Forty-three attempts to hurl units over the wall had been detected. A total of 554 amphetamine tablets, 152 grams of "ice" crystals and 1.062 kg of marijuana were found.

    Eleven drug dealers involved in the in-prison dealings had been identified, and six other cases were being probed, said deputy provincial police chief Pol Colonel Phoodis Norrasing. Four cases were being processed criminally and three others had so far failed to identify wrongdoers. Local police had received 220 complaints for further prosecution.

    The officer said many of the recently found 39 units were smuggled into the prison by an inmate convicted of murder, who later resold them for a large profit.

    The Interior Ministry said the number of jailed drug users seeking rehabilitation had increased by 30 per cent, after an agreement was signed between provincial and local authorities, compared to only 2 per cent earlier.

    Deputy permanent secretary Pracha Terat said the ongoing crackdown on prison drug dealing depended on action by provincial authorities who initiate searches.

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    Re: Jail chief transferred as officials raid prison

    Inmates bury phones, drugs to avoid inspections
    Published: 19/05/2012 at 03:24 AMNewspaper section: News


    Inmates at Nakhon Si Thammarat Central Prison have been found burying mobile phones and a large amount of drugs to beat inspections.

    In the latest raid under the state crackdown on the drug trade behind bars, officials dug into the ground and found prohibited items ranging from 8,600 speed pills and 1.8kg of ya ice to four mobile phones and accessories.

    Corrections Department chief Suchart Wong-anantchai, who inspected the prison yesterday, vowed to continue the crackdown to "make all prisons white", or free from drugs.

    Earlier, hundreds of mobile phones and drugs were seized from inmates during raids on the prison late last month.

    Meanwhile, probe panels have been set up to conduct investigations into prohibited items hidden in Bang Kwang Central Prison in Nonthaburi after officials found TV sets, DVD players, MP3 and MP4 players and materials used in gambling in a recent raid.

    In another related development, police have arrested two women who hid mobile phones in their vaginas in a bid to secretly smuggle them to an inmate at Khao Bin Prison in Ratchaburi.

    A scanner at the prison detected two mobile phones, covered with condoms, in Narueson Kaewchai, 24, and one in Boonchuay Atthatham, 48.

    Police also arrested another two suspects - Chadanit Somsri, 41, and Chali Sanochamnong, 30, Ms Boonchuay's son, who appeared at the prison along with the first two suspects. Ms Chadanit told police she was contacted by an inmate identified as Nueng to tell his former wife, Narueson, and Ms Boonchuay, the mother of inmate Chaliew Sanochamnong, to bring him the mobile phones. He was to sell them for 400,000 baht each and give her 70,000 baht.

    Police also found the four suspects possessed 1.1g of ya ice.

    BANGKOK POST

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