Once again there’s a glut of drugs in Thailand. Only this time, men in uniform who aren’t just the usual lowly hired mules (usually tribesmen) are getting caught. Whether any of them actually serve much in the way of time, or catch much else in the way of punishment, is hardly of importance. That once again, there are significantly armed competitors is (back in the 50s to early 60s, Thai military and police were that). Now, who is directing what is hardly clear.
A main reason for the new situation is the “opening up” of Myanmar (an euphemism, to be sure). In the northern areas, especially, is much untapped mineral wealth. But locals, with a long history of brutal, ruthless and completely conscience-free exploitation of jade, are wary (to put it mildly). The Kachin (not a tribe, but an amalgamation of peoples) know that they are hardly likely to benefit from mining. Others know that mining there could elevate them onto the map of real global wealth.
So, Chinese triads (from China, Thailand and perhaps elsewhere), corrupt governments of the region, corrupt men in uniform of high rank, secret agents for global mega-corps and a few significant others hardly wise to mention are vying for position, and position means control of private armies. Which demands lots of ready cash, arms and experienced men, in place to protect mining operations when they at last can begin. And active drug marketing as the best route to efficiently and effectively accomplish that.
Conspiracy theory? Sure. So what. To deny conspiracy is about as wise as to deny science. It is happening, with results of jails full of inexplicable varieties of folk: pretty young girls, middle-aged peasants with mysterious but ample financial backing, foreigners, and occasionally even the type of person hardly ever imprisoned around here before (except for reasons of political activism): the educated, connected and financially competent. Illegal casinos are booming, as is export of stolen vehicles from Thailand to Myanmar. Fifteen years ago, college girls here in ChiangRai often lived 7 or 8 to a room; now they rent small houses (and certainly not in groups half that large), while their parents vociferously complain of economic oppression. The Burmese regime continues to kill in Kachin State, while meanwhile adverts for novice business correspondents to write articles in English for Burmese periodicals appear on Facebook (wanna buy a bridge?).
Oh my but it is scary. The lust for wealth, power and serious involvement in international business eclipses all sense, while in Laos, there is no animal life to be seen, all killed by a very hungry populace. In two more months the air here will be almost unbreathable due to burning for increased corn crops, and the Thai government will be going broke from its populist rice pledging scheme (the warehouses are full of rotting rice, while businessmen buy rice from neighboring countries for export). Oh my but it is sad.