Thailand's location a boon for international criminals

Thailand's location a boon for international criminals

News reports of two passengers on the missing MH370 flight allegedly travelling on passports that were stolen in Phuket seems to have exposed Thailand as a regional hub of nefarious goings on. Yet, nobody is surprised.

An Italian and an Austrian lost their passports in Phuket last year. They lodged complaints with the Thai police and were issued new passports by their respective missions.

Earlier this week, their names popped up in the passenger list of the missing Malaysian Airlines flight, which was en route to Beijing. But, these two gentlemen were never on the flight.

However, this is not the first time that something like this has been reported in Thailand. In fact, criminal activities recorded in the Kingdom have gone far beyond something as simple as this.

International criminal syndicates of all kinds such as arms and narcotics traders, human traffickers, sex businesses, money-laundering operations and even terrorists have used Thailand as a hub to facilitate their tasks.

It is easy to find products, materials and facilities for grey, if not totally black, businesses.

Those who are in trouble at home can easily seek shelter, lead easy lives and even run businesses here. Gangsters of all sorts, be they from Asia, Russia or anywhere in the West, always feel at home in Thailand.

So-called freedom fighters, also referred to as insurgents and terrorists in some circles, can find a good supply of equipment in the logistically friendly Thailand. Fighters of different ideologies pass through, take vacations or even go underground in Thailand. They can meld into the rest of the population in places like Phuket, Pattaya, Sukhumvit Road, Nana or Khao San Road.So, why Thailand?

Geographically, the Kingdom is located in the centre of Southeast Asia and its transportation infrastructure makes it easy to link up with other regions.

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