08/01/2016, 09.50
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Bangkok arrests 3,600 people ahead of referendum on the Constitution

Crackdown in eight provinces in the northeast. Punished owners of illegal firearms, gamblers and drug dealers. The junta wants to increase security ahead of August 7, when the date of the next general election will be decided.


Bangkok (AsiaNews/Agencies) – More than 3,600 suspects were arrested in a police crackdown on crime in eight lower northeastern provinces from July 11-30. The operation was due to strengthen security ahead of the 7 August charter referendum, in which thai people will approve or not the new Constitution draft.

The Provincial Police Region 3 blitz arrested 250 people on illegal firearms possession charges and seized 234 guns; 1,488 people with 881 sets of gambling equipment and 100,278 baht cash; and, 1,908 on drug charges with a total 216,246 methamphetamine pills, 341 kilogrammes of dried marijuana and 95.37 grammes of crystal methamphetamine found in their possession.

The results of the operation were announced on Monday at a press conference at the Provincial Police Region 3 training centre in tambon Chor Hor in Muang district in the presence of Pol Gen Srivara Rangsibrahmanakul, a deputy police chief, and Surapan Dissaman, the deputy provincial governor.

Thai military junta wants to avoid tensions prior to the political test, the result of which will set the agenda for the country’s political system in the short-term, especially up to and including the next general election, which the country’s ruling junta has stated will take place in mid-2017 – an election which is expected to be held regardless of whether the draft charter is approved or not.

However, the junta-sponsored draft charter has been facing a number of doubts from both public and political groups, especially the provision in the draft that opens a channel for the military government to continue holding power, regardless of the referendum result or outcome of the general election.

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