Laos Security Minister Defends Handling of Drug Case

Gen. Vilay Lakhamfong, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Security.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Security, Gen. Vilay Lakhamfong, said during the ongoing National Assembly session that it is better for police to spend time solving crimes than to publish information about their progress on social media.

The Minister of Public Security spoke out during the National Assembly meeting, saying that an investigation into millions of amphetamine tablets discovered in a fuel tanker entering Thailand from Laos has been concluded and that no further information would be forthcoming.

Thai customs officials arrested the driver of the petrol tanker in November after discovering over three million amphetamine tablets as the truck returned to Thailand from delivery to Laos.

The discovery was made during a routine inspection of the petrol tanker via the Laos-Thai Friendship Bridge.

In a video clip released by Lao Patthana News, Gen. Vilay speaks out against social media users who are concerned about a lack of follow-up regarding high-profile criminal cases in Laos.

“Social media users have been commenting and asking why others [Thai police] are making arrests but we haven’t been. Well, we are. In fact, we have been monitoring these drug networks. We have established our target groups,” said Gen. Vilay.

He then spoke out about the arrest of the truck driver in Nong Khai.

“For example, the arrests made in Nong Khai; we also made multiple arrests but we simply didn’t announce it. It might tarnish someone’s image, or it might cause a backlash… So we just do our duty and don’t need to talk about it. Actions speak louder than words,” he added.

But many social media users commented that arrests made in connection to high-profile cases should be made public, with some even asking to see the faces or read the names of the perpetrators.

Court judgments in Laos are not publicly published, and gaining access to past judgments can be difficult, with many cases unreported by the media.