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Cabinet to suspend exports of sodium cyanide

Cabinet to suspend exports of sodium cyanide

Thailand has exported enough to Myanmar to make 16 billion pills

The cabinet will be asked to suspend exports of sodium cyanide for several months after large quantities of the precursor for methamphetamine pills were found to have been shipped to Myanmar, a major meth producer, authorities say.

The request follows a meeting to discuss narcotics control measures in the wake of the Nong Bua Lam Phu massacre by an ex-cop who had abused the drug for a long time.

Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin,  who chaired the meeting at the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) on Monday, said the cabinet would be asked to suspend sodium cynanide exports until it could be established what they were being used for.

Thailand recently imported 1,150 tonnes of sodium cyanide but exported as much as 810 tonnes of the substance to Myanmar alone, the minister said.

“If the exported amount was abused, it could feed the production of 16.06 billion methamphetamine pills,” Mr Somsak said.

The rest of the sodium cyanide was used inside Thailand for metal coating, he said.

ONCB secretary-general Wichai Chaimongkhon said the agency inspected and seized quantities of  sodium cyanide it deemed suspicious at several factories, but affected operators later filed complaints.

He said that some of the substance had been supplied to narcotics producers.

Jullapong Thaveesri, director-general of the Department of Industrial Works, said the country could not produce sodium cyanide and thus had to import it.

He said authorities would work out export quotas for exporters, and the quotas would be based on actual, legitimate demand for sodium cyanide.

It would take 3-6 months to draw up the quotas and pending the conclusion, sodium cyanide exports should be suspended, Mr Jullapong said.

There would not be any negative impact on industry in Myanmar, he said, because it could import sodium cyanide directly from China.

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