Thailand to reinforce patrol on Mekong

Updated: 2012-02-09 13:25


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BANGKOK - The Thai navy intends to strengthen its patrol force on Mekong River, as more drugs are being traded across its northern border, according to navy chief Surasak Roomruangwong.

"The Mekong Riverine Operation Unit (MROU) will be beefed up with more personnel and boats, pending approval of a request. While waiting, we have to rotate our manpower between boat stations in the area," the Bangkok Post online quoted him as saying on Wednesday.

Sorracha Sornprathum, the MROU commander, said the unit needs more personnel and facilities for both suppression and intelligence operations because more drugs are smuggled across the Thai-Lao border in addition to the traditional routes, indicating the remote region covering the Thai-Myanmar border which is notorious for illicit activities such as drug smuggling and human trafficking.

The MROU is responsible for patrolling on the 917 km section of Mekong River in Thailand and has four main bases in Chiang Rai, Nong Khai, Nakhon Phanom and Ubon Ratchathani. Its branch in Chiang Rai includes three patrol boats, eight assault boats and 200 soldiers.