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Small Arms Survey. 2002 ‘Black Market Transfers.’ Small Arms Survey 2002: Counting the Human Cost, pp. 142-3. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 14 July

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Black Market Transfers

It is here [in Thailand] that Southeast Asia's principal black market in arms is found. Illicit arms are trafficked through the country to be redistributed around the region… [This] began when it was used as a preferred transit route for covert arms shipments from China and the US to Cambodia's anti-Vietnamese factions… in the late 1970s…

When the Cambodian war ended in the early 1990s, arms began flowing back into Thailand… primarily to Burmese insurgents… [Over time,] the trade was motivated less by politics and more by economics. Thus, Thailand became the primary source of arms for insurgents operating in north-east India, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka…

Today it is estimated that 80 percent of all illegal weapon consignments from Cambodia pass through Thailand…

There are several reasons why arms trafficking continues in Thailand. There is a well-established network of brokers and transport agents… The residual Thai socio-political structure of patronage and the ease with which traffickers can buy cooperation and silence have allowed the trafficking to continue.

ID: Q1264

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