Thai PM launches new 'war on drugs'

April 12, 2005 at 5:16 AM
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BANGKOK, April 12 (UPI) -- Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has launched a new "war on drugs," despite lingering criticism of the 2003 crackdown that left up to 3,000 dead.

"We will pay extra attention to former convicts and drug suspects who have had arrest warrants issued against them," Thaksin said Monday, as representatives from relevant agencies gathered to hear his anti-drugs policy.

Thaksin said Thailand's first war on drugs was the government policy that was most popular with the public during the last administration. The new crackdown will last from this month until June.

Human right activists expressed concern over the new "war,'' saying the government had not yet answered questions over extrajudicial killings stemming from the last crackdown, The Nation reported Tuesday.

Up to 3,000 people died in the first round of the war on drugs, from February to April 2003.

Many countries, including the United States, strongly criticized the campaign and called on the government to explain the high death toll.

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