Pork kingpins in firing line

The mastermind and financiers behind illegal pork imports also need to be arrested, not just those hired to do the job, or else the illegal pork problem won’t go away, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said yesterday.

The PM was speaking after meeting with national police chief Pol Gen Torsak Sukvimol and other agencies involved in the ongoing investigation into the latest illegal pork import case, in which meat in 161 refrigerated shipping containers was seized at Laem Chabang Port in Chon Buri and eight suspects arrested.

“It’s necessary to find the mastermind behind this crime and bring them to justice so that the case can be closed. Don’t only detain the unimportant suspects,” he said. “Otherwise, the same problem will return in six months or a year.”

Though he didn’t impose a deadline for the completion of the investigation into this case, the PM said he expects it to be wrapped up as soon as possible.

All eight suspects are from a group of shipping companies handling the illegal pork containers, said Pol Maj Gen Yutthana Phrae-dam, deputy director-general of the Department of Special Investigation (DSI).

The DSI has found that from 2001 until last year, pork had been unlawfully imported into Thailand in more than 2,385 refrigerated shipping containers, he said. At this point, three suspects believed to be financiers of the illegal pork importing ring have been named, a father and son identified only as Wirat and Thanakrit and another man named Somnuek, said Pol Maj Gen Yutthana.