East and SE Asia meth seizures hit record in 2023: UN

May 29, 2024
A policeman with confiscated drugs in Myanmar.— AFP/file

BANGKOK: A record quantity of methamphetamine was seized in East and Southeast Asia in 2023 as organised crime groups boosted production, the United Nations said on Tuesday.


Drug trafficking has affected Southeast Asia for decades, with the Shan state in Myanmar the leading source of synthetic drugs in the region.

Much of it is produced in illegal labs in areas controlled by ethnic minority armed groups near the Thai border.

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said a record 190 tonnes of methamphetamine were seized in East and Southeast Asia last year.

After dropping slightly in 2022, seizures of methamphetamine rebounded in 2023 to the highest ever recorded, UNODC said in its annual report on synthetic drugs in the region. Thailand is a major transit route for illicit drugs from the so-called “Golden Triangle” region where the north of the kingdom, Laos and Myanmar meet.

The UN office said that large shipments of over a tonne of methamphetamine were seized en route to or on maritime routes throughout 2023 and into early 2024.

Earlier this month, Thai authorities intercepted a tonne of crystal methamphetamine in one of the kingdom´s biggest ever single seizures of the illegal drug.