'Dirty' killings in drug war denied

BANGKOK: Thailand's prime minister denied yesterday that any extra-judicial killings took place during the country's recent war on drugs, and said the world should be grateful that Thailand is helping to curb the drug menace. 

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's comments came as the United States expressed “serious concern'' about the killings, and urged the Thai government to investigate hundreds of unexplained deaths. 

“Everything that has been done is according to our modern constitution ... everything is according to law,'' Thaksin told a select group of reporters at his office. 

A total of 2,274 people were killed nationwide during the three-month anti-drug campaign that ended on April 30, according to official figures. 

The Thai government has also come under intense criticism from international human rights groups and the United Nations, who say the high death toll suggests extra-judicial killings by security forces. 

Thaksin last week declared the anti-drug campaign a huge success. 

He said police shot about 35 people in self-defence, which he said was permissible by law. 

He attributed most of the killings to gang wars and “big bosses'' who shot to death suspected informers out of fear that “fingers would be pointed at them.'' 

“The success of this campaign has helped the whole world, especially the Western countries. Otherwise the drugs, the heroin, will spread all over the world if we don't do our work,'' he added. – AP  

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