UTTARADIT — A top official at Lam Nam Nan National Park has urged Thai authorities to drive away the heavily-armed henchmen and drug dealers who are camping in the park.
Nawakrit Hengkratok, the head of the park's rangers, said today that the criminals were recently seen camping in a dense part of the park's forest.
"They are people who are wanted by the authorities on serious charges. Some of them are fleeing from their arrest warrants," Nawakrit said. "They include hitmen and group of drug dealers."
Hitmen are relatively easy to find in Thailand, thanks to the large number of firearms circulating in the black market and poor law enforcement generally. These 'hired guns' operate in different organisations that offer assassination services to clients with enough money and influence.
The park official explained that his rangers were no match against these fugitives.
"They are well-armed and combat-efficient. They are willing to use force against law enforcement," he said.
Nawakrit then called on Thai authorities to make good use of martial law and dispatch soldiers, police officers, and other relevant officials to arrest the criminals.
Since the military declared martial law and seized power from the elected government in May, soldiers have regularly assumed the roles of law enforcement officers alongside police.
As part of the junta's campaign against organised crime, soldiers have arrested suspected drug dealers, illegal forest loggers, and cracked down on taxi "mafia" networks in popular tourist destinations.
Park official Nawakrit also urged the government to take action against business owners, loggers, and local fishermen who have been encroaching on the protected forest.
"We have also seen a rise in illegal poaching and illegal logging in the forest," Nawakrit said.