Mass arrests in Thailand’s capital came as the kingdom prepares to host the APEC summit this month
Ahead of the 29th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Bangkok, scheduled for November 18-19, more than 60,000 violent crime suspects were arrested across Thailand, the Bangkok Post reported.
Police raids across the country from Oct. 10 to Nov. 8 placed tens of thousands of suspects in custody in criminal cases, mostly related to arms and drug trafficking. The largest security police operation, aimed at building confidence among international delegates attending the summit, National Police Chief Gen. Damrongsak Kittiprapas said at a news conference.
10,450 suspects in 11,811 criminal cases involving firearms, explosives, and ammunition were arrested. Thirty-six live weapons, 5,345 unregistered firearms, 936 registered firearms, 4,342 explosive devices, and 37,045 bullets were confiscated, General Damrongsak said.
General Damrongsak said provincial police in Region Five, which controls the kingdom’s northern provinces, arrested a man named Weerayut, suspected of selling homemade firearms over the Internet. Weerayut was detained in a covert special operation that was later expanded to include the arrest of 54 more suspects and the seizure of 110 illegal firearms, 13,320 bullets, and 11 explosive devices, General Damrongsak said. Virautu is charged with manufacturing and distributing weapons without a permit, the general added.
In addition, 43,027 drug suspects were arrested in 41,803 criminal cases and 49,582 million methamphetamine pills were seized, Damrongsak said.
The special operation also detained about 4,000 of the 10,000 crime suspects and wanted suspects, said Deputy National Police Chief Gen. Surachat Hakparn. DNA samples were taken from all those arrested for possible use as forensic evidence, he added.
Thai police, military, and other security and intelligence agencies cooperated with the CIA and FBI in the special operation, police said.
Large-scale patrols began Monday across the country to increase security ahead of the summit, and an anti-terrorism drill is scheduled for Friday at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center.
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