There are good reasons why S'pore is tough on drugs, says Shanmugam in comments on Thai shooting

At least 38 people, including 22 children, were killed by former police officer Panya Kamrab. PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam has commented on the mass shooting at a childcare centre in Thailand, noting that there is now a clampdown on drugs there three months after the kingdom decriminalised cannabis.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, he cited the incident as an example of why Singapore maintains a tough stance on drug consumption and trafficking.

At least 38 people, including 22 children, were killed by former police officer Panya Kamrab, 34.

He had armed himself with a knife and gun before attacking a childcare centre on Oct 6.

He later shot his wife and child at home before turning the gun on himself.

Panya had been facing a drug charge over the use of methamphetamine when he carried out the attack.

Mr Shanmugam said activists who have been critical of Singapore's stance on drugs have been silent following the incident.

"The silence, of narco liberals and apologists for drug traffickers, is deafening. Some are probably hoping that the link between drugs and the violence will be overlooked," he said.

"And as far as I know, these activists have not held any candlelight vigil for the children who have been massacred."

He also noted that Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered a clampdown on drugs in the wake of the mass shooting, and that this comes three months after Thailand decriminalised cannabis.

"I wonder how these measures will work, given the wide availability of drugs," said Mr Shanmugam.

"At least one death penalty activist was celebrating Thailand's move (to decriminalise cannabis), with the implied suggestion that we were wrong in our policies. At that time, we were asked if we would follow Thailand's example. I said 'no'."

The minister also cited a series of stabbings that happened in Canada in September, in which 10 people died and 18 were injured.

He said one of the perpetrators had a history of drug and alcohol abuse, and associations with gang members and drug dealers.

Mr Shanmugam said: "I cannot emphasise this enough - there are good reasons why Singapore maintains a tough stance towards drug consumption and trafficking."

SPH Brightcove Video
Mourners gathered at temples in northeast Thailand on Oct 11 for the cremation of the children and teachers killed in the attack on a daycare centre.

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