Officials from the Office of the Supreme People’s Prosecutor convened on 5 January on the establishment of the People’s Prosecutor’s Office within the Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Bokeo Province. They agreed to report the decision to the government authorities for further consideration and action.
The discussion took place in a meeting held to commemorate the 34th anniversary of the establishment of the Office of the Supreme People’s Prosecutor in Vientiane Capital.
If established, the office would handle legal matters, investigate violations, maintain law and order within the special economic zone, prosecute criminal cases, address legal disputes, and ensure a secure environment for businesses and residents.
The Golden Triangle SEZ has long faced sustained scrutiny from Asian and Western nations, such as the UK, US, and Canada, resulting in the imposition of sanctions on individuals and entities involved in human trafficking and fraudulent activities in Laos, where promised high-paying jobs often lead to instances of torture or other forms of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment.
Addressing these grave concerns, another recent meeting was convened to align the SEZ’s operations with the Prime Minister’s Decree on the organization and activities of the management-administrative organization of the Golden Triangle Economy. The primary objective of the meeting was to ensure strict adherence to legal frameworks and prescribed roles within the Golden Triangle SEZ.
Taking a broader perspective, Khamjane Vongphosy, the Minister of Planning and Investment, highlighted the inadequacies in the current management of SEZs in Laos. Vongphosy emphasized that the reliance solely on the Decree on SEZs and related legislation is considered inconsistent and unsuitable for fostering economic and societal growth.
Furthermore, during the 6th Ordinary Session of the National Assembly Legislation in November 2023, Minister Vongphosy proposed a new draft law on SEZs. The aim is to establish a more robust legal framework that addresses the challenges faced by SEZs while promoting sustainable economic development and safeguarding the well-being of individuals. Laos witnessed increased foreign investment in 2023, with around 178 companies channeling funds into these zones.
While many members of the National Assembly believed that the new law would enhance the management of SEZs in the country, it was ultimately rejected due to a perceived lack of specificity.