Mr. Patchara Anuntasilpa as Director General of Thai Customs Department, Mr. Pongthep Buasap acting as Principal Advisor on Customs Control Development, Mrs. Nantita Sirikup as Deputy Director General of Thai Customs Department, Mr. Tawal Rodjit as Director of Enforcement Division, Mr. Suradej Trongsirivibool as Director of Laemchabang Port Customs Office, Mr. Varis Visantanon as Expert on Cargo Inspection Techniques, Mr. Prasit Deejongcharoen as Director of Customs Control Section, Mr. Thitiphong khumphuy as Director of Customs Service Section 1 and Mr. Setthawut Chantrawattana as Director of X-Ray and Technology Center, together with officers of Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) from Ministry of Justice, and the Narcotics Suppression Bureau from the Royal Thai Police held a press conference to reveal the seizure of 5,600 kg of dried Khat leaves, a psychoactive plant, valued at 60 million Thai Baht.
According to Mr. Pachara Anantasin, Director General of the Customs Department, the Laem Chabang Port Customs Office launched the PCU Project: Anti-Narcotics War on December 21, 2022, with the goal of searching packages and vehicles in the vicinity of Laem Chabang Port in order to prevent and suppress drug smuggling networks. The Customs Office of Laem Chabang Port officials who scrutinized questionable imports initiated the PCU Project’s Anti-Narcotics War EP.1: It Calls “Khat” operation. As a consequence, the officers confiscated the products today and informed the appropriate authorities to conduct a joint inspection at the Customs Control Section of the Laem Chabang Port Customs Office.
The import declaration indicated “moringa leaves powder” with a weight of 5,670 kilos and “Kenya” as the location of origin, according to an inspection of the imported container. The dried plant leaves were wrapped separately in silver and clear plastic bags. These bags were put inside 5,600-pound brown paper cartons. The label on the packaging incorrectly said, “Products of Thailand,” indicating that the product was made in Thailand. The officers examined the Phytosanitary Certificate and discovered that the importer had provided “CATHA EDULIS” as the botanical name of the plant they were importing; thus, they took samples of the products and sent them to the Narcotics Analysis and Technical Services Institute to verify the type of goods. According to the Office of Narcotics Control Board’s (ONCB) testing report, the product was “Khat leaves” containing Cathinone and Catenin chemicals, which were classified as controlled psychotropic drugs, categories 1 and 2, under the Narcotics Act B.E. 2564.
This seizure of 5,600 kg of dried khat leaves worth at 60 million Thai Baht was the greatest in the previous five years. Khat and Qat are native to Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. It is classified as a narcotic plant by the World Health Organization, with mild to moderate psychotropic characteristics. Khat leaf ingestion can be addictive or cause immediate health concerns such as acute coronary heart disease or even death.
As a result, the officers seized the exhibit for further investigation and filed a charge that such conduct constitutes an offense for attempting to import psychotropic substances in violation of Section 149 (1) (2) of the Narcotics Act B.E. 2564, the Notification of the Ministry of Public Health Re: specifying the names of controlled psychotropic substances in category 1 B.E. 2564, and the Notification of the Ministry of Public Health Re: specifying the names of controlled psychotropic substances in category 2 B.E. For example, importing handicrafts with fake origins into the Kingdom of Thailand is a violation of Sections 5 and 6 of the Prohibition on Importing Goods with False Marking of Origin Act B.E.2481. Sections 202 and 244 are in accordance with Sections 252, 166, and 167 of the Customs Act, B.E.2560, in the event that forbidden products are imported into Thailand.