Criminal Law

Xaysana to face Thai Court, No Extradition sought: Govt Spokesman

Date: 27 February 2017; Type: Legal News; Source: Vientiane Times

Suspected Lao drug lord Xaysana Keophimpha, who was arrested in Thailand last month, will be subject to Thai law and the Lao government is unlikely to ask for his extradition, the government spokesman has said.

"Xaysana was arrested in Thailand and that has to be handled in line with Thai laws," Prof. Dr Chaleun Yiapaoher told a press conference on Friday. "The government has not raised the issue of requesting extradition."

He made the comments in response to media questions shortly after the two-day monthly government meeting that ended on the day.

The Minister of Public Security informed the meeting about antisocial issues including the illegal drug trade following the arrest of several suspected drug lords linked to different gangs.

Laos and Thailand have signed an extradition treaty, but the Lao government is unlikely to request Xaysana's extradition, a senior official from the Department of Treaty and Law of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted.

Citing Thai media reports, he explained that Xaysana was alleged to have based his drug trading network in Thailand, which meant the alleged crimes were in violation of Thai laws, so the Thai authorities had a legitimate right to detain, investigate and punish him if he is found guilty.

"The Lao government can request his extradition, but it [his return or not] depends on the consideration of the Thai side," he told Vientiane Times .

"I think the Lao government is unlikely to request extradition."

This was different from a hypothetical case in which a Lao criminal fled to Thailand but committed no offence there. In that case the Thai authorities were obliged to return the suspect following a request made by Laos in accordance with the treaty, he added.

Xaysana, also known as Vanlob, 41, was arrested at Thailand's Suvarnabhumi Airport on January 19.

Th ai media reported that Thai police had arrested a number of alleged drug dealers in the kingdom reportedly having links to Xaysana and had seized several million US dollars worth of assets linked to the drug trade.

Director General of the General Police Department of the Ministry of Public Security, Brigadier General Dr Thonglek Mangnormek , told local media recently that Xaysana was originally targeted by Lao police but escaped to Thailand. Lao police contacted their Thai counterparts who then managed to arrest him.

Following Xaysana's arrest, Lao police officers arrested his gang members in Vientiane and Khammuan province. Five people were detained including one woman, according to the Brigadier General.

He added that 33 suspected drug lords and dealers from five gangs had been arrested following the nationwide crackdown, including Xaysana and his associates.

Earlier last month police officers arrested another drug kingpin, Khonpasong Soukkaseum, also known as Xiengther, 47, who is alleged to be a bigger drug dealer than Xaysana.

Officers are continuing to search for the remaining gang members and to finalise cases against them in preparation for their trial in court.

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