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An investigative plunge into Southeast Asian organized crime

Bangkok-based correspondent Patrick Winn has intimately profiled men and women inside this booming underworld: the dealers, traffickers, vigilantes, motorbike bandits, and others caught up in a mad scramble for cash

Boris Sullivan

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Organized crime in Southeast Asia is entering a golden age. Now valued at $100 billion, this dark economy is expected within the next decade to hit $375 billion — more than the legit output of many Asian nations.

Bangkok-based correspondent Patrick Winn has intimately profiled men and women inside this booming underworld: the dealers, traffickers, vigilantes, motorbike bandits, and others caught up in a mad scramble for cash. He has emerged with a work of narrative non-fiction titled Hello, Shadowlands: Inside the Meth Fiefdoms, Rebel Hideouts and Bomb-Scarred Party Towns of Southeast Asia.

This is a journey from Myanmar’s anarchic hills to the swamplands of Vietnam, from the Thai-Malaysia borderlands to the back alleys of Manila, and to other landscapes where crime syndicates are thriving.

Among them: a methamphetamine empire churning out more speed pills each year than Starbucks sells coffees worldwide.

Ya Ba pills

In four countries of the Greater Mekong sub‐region – Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and China – there was four‐fold increase in meth pills seized from 32 million to 133 million in just three years between 2008‐2010

But Winn’s approach to reporting on this underworld subverts the true crime genre, which fixates on deranged criminal minds. Winn instead argues that most people in this illicit sector are rational actors operating in extreme circumstances.

A former FCCT board member, Winn will be in the club to discuss organized crime in Southeast Asia and the people and forces that keep it humming, and also to sign copies of his book.

Patrick Winn is the Asia correspondent for Public Radio International, which airs reporting on National Public Radio (NPR) in the US. He has worked as a Bangkok-based foreign correspondent for more than 10 years. His work has appeared on the BBC, NBC News and in The Times of London. He is the recipient of the Robert F. Kennedy Award — also known as the “poor man’s Pulitzer” — and three Human Rights Press Awards. Hello, Shadowlands is his first book.
When ?
7pm, Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Where  ?
Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand
Penthouse, Maneeya Center Building
518/5 Ploenchit Road (connected to the BTS Skytrain Chitlom station)
Patumwan, Bangkok 10330
Tel.: 02-652-0580
E-mail: info@fccthai.com
Web Site: http://www.fccthai.com

How much ?
Members: free, Non-members 450 Baht, Thai journalists and Students with valid ID: 150 Baht

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