Strengthening relations with Thailand

A visit by officials from the Thai Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) is being welcomed as an opportunity to strengthen a key bilateral relationship and support ongoing work to combat the illicit transnational narcotics trade in the Asia-Pacific region.

From 6 to 9 June 2023, ONCB officials will be visiting New Zealand. Co-hosted by the New Zealand Customs Service and New Zealand Police, the visit will focus on illicit drug smuggling, including prevention, intelligence and detection.

The delegation will visit Customs sites in Auckland and Wellington including Auckland International Airport, the Integrated Targeting and Operations Centre, as well as meet with Customs’ Detector Dog Unit.

Jamie Bamford, Customs Deputy Chief Executive – International and Governance, said this visit is an important opportunity to continue the growing momentum in New Zealand’s close relationship with Thailand.

“Our liaison officer based in Bangkok provides a strategic and crucial link to maintaining and enhancing this important relationship. Visits like this cement that bilateral relationship, providing a face-to-face opportunity to share expertise with like-minded agencies who are combatting the illicit narcotics trade, which is a major security risk across Asia-Pacific.

“There are significant opportunities in our region to share capabilities and learn from each other. Just last week, we formalised a new Customs Mutual Recognition Arrangement with our Thai counterparts, which will further strengthen a well-established trading relationship by fast-tracking high-security exporters between our countries.

“Customs and Police also recently completed a training programme with Thailand and countries in Southeast Asia’s ‘Golden Triangle’, where methamphetamine smuggling has spiked in recent years,” Mr Bamford said.

Two kiwi intelligence experts from Customs and Police ran a week-long training session (21-27 May) at the Narcotic Control College in Chiang Rai, Northern Thailand, a facility operated by ONCB. It covered the collection and use of intelligence, and was attended by 25 officials from law enforcement agencies across Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Viet Nam

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