6 June 2024

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has ordered relevant agencies to end illegal imports of frozen pork, with an emphasis on major smugglers, noting that crackdowns on small-scale operators will never solve the problem.

Under the Ministry of Agriculture, the Fisheries, Livestock Development and Agriculture departments are directly responsible for the suppression of illegal importation of pork and they have been criticised for not being tough enough, resulting in rampant smuggling of pork, especially earlier this year, when the price of local pork spiked sharply.

The prime minister has expressed concern that the major illegal importers may conceal their assets to escape seizure, if authorities do not take legal action against them fast enough.

The prime minister also said that he will consult Deputy Finance Minister Julapun Amornvivat about developing measures to help small and medium-sized pig farmers, currently facing rising production costs to the extent that a number of them have closed their businesses. The measures will provide financial support from the Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives.

Customs officials have recently seized 161 cargo containers, containing illegally imported pork, at Laem Chabang deep-sea port in Chon Buri and charges have been filed against six executives of five companies allegedly involved in the smuggling, according to the Department of the Special Investigation.

The DSI is now in the process of charging three other shipping companies, allegedly hired by a group of financiers to import frozen pork illegally.