A focus on big smugglers, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has directed competent agencies to stop the illicit importation of frozen pork, pointing out that targeting small-scale operators will never address the issue.
The departments of Fisheries, Livestock Development, and Agriculture, which are all under the Ministry of Agriculture, have been criticised for not being strict enough, which has led to widespread smuggling of pork, particularly earlier this year when the price of local pork sharply increased.
The prime minister has voiced worries that if authorities do not act swiftly enough to prosecute the major illicit importers, they will hide their assets to avoid being seized.
The prime minister added that he will confer with Julapun Amornvivat, the deputy minister of finance, about creating policies to support small and medium-sized pig producers, many of whom have shut down due to growing production costs. The Agricultural Cooperatives and Bank of Agriculture will provide financial support for the measures.
At the Laem Chabang deep-sea port in Chon Buri, customs officials recently seized 161 cargo containers that contained illegally imported pork. The Department of the Special Investigation reports that charges have been filed against six executives of five companies that were allegedly involved in the smuggling.
The DSI is currently bringing charges against three additional shipping companies for allegedly working with a group of financiers to illegally import frozen pork.