In March 2018, H.E. General Chatchai Sarikulya, Deputy Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand, appointed five special arrest teams to inspect and arrest offenders of fishery-related crimes and human trafficking within the fisheries sector in 22 coastal provinces as one of the measures set up to strengthen law enforcement in the fisheries sector.
The special arrest teams comprise officials from the Royal Thai Police, the Department of Fisheries, and the Ministry of Labour to speed up the arrests of offenders at sea by utilising in-depth information and intelligence. From 11 to 22 March 2018, the five teams arrested both Thai and non-Thai vessels conducting illegal activities in violation of the fisheries laws and the labour laws, resulting in 50 cases that were prosecuted in both criminal courts and via administrative sanctions. The 50 cases included 19 Thai vessels and 7 foreign vessels on charges of labour and fisheries misconduct, and 24 vessels on labour-related charges.
The special arrest teams have successfully achieved their mandate of arresting a number of offenders within a short timeframe. They will continue on this mission and will provide further training to inspectors of the Port-in Port-out Control Centers (PIPO) to strengthen their monitoring, control and surveillance capacities at port. This is to ensure that the inspections both at port and at sea will apply the same standard, and to deter any potential misconduct by enforcing strict inspections.