RealNews

Thai drug war yields killing spree

When Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra declared a three-month, all-out war against drug traffickers starting Feb. 1, few blinked. Thai politicians are fond of warlike rhetoric, and similar pledges had been heard before, including from Mr. Thaksin, a former policeman. That was before the campaign began. Now Thaksin has a slew of statistics to back up his tough talk, including several thousand arrests and substantial drug seizures. But the figure that alarms observers is the number of killings linked to the campaign. More than 500 drug-related deaths were counted in the first three weeks, according to the government – including the death of a 9-year-old boy caught in the middle of a sting operation here last weekend. Most of the dead have been on a police blacklist of suspected dealers, raising fears among human-rights groups and opposition politicians that Mr. Thaksin is encouraging police to use lethal tactics to hit back at traffickers. Full Story

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