A former drug dealer sits outside his one-room shack in Chiang Mai as Thai country music blares from a broken stereo speaker. Som Pinta lives in an area commonly referred to by local narcotics police as a wai dang, or drug village. It is a known entry point for amphetamine dealers from neighbouring Myanmar. 'Before the drug war we would buy pills for 40 baht [HK$8.80] and sell them for 60,' he said. When the police began the crackdown, prices doubled and tripled in price. Mr Som made good money, selling 2,000 pills a month, with a net profit of 40,000 baht. He was arrested before the drug war started and jailed for three years, but Mr Som says he was lucky. 'I'm happy that they are trying to prosecute the Thaksin government. They killed many innocent people. They even shot a woman with a child inside her.' Police veteran Meun Jankong, who has served on the force for 20 years, has a different view. 'When the government gave the green light against drug dealers it was a very difficult time. We had to conduct all-night stakeouts and we weren't getting any sleep,' recalled the 44-year-old sergeant, who patrols the area. But there is no remorse for the huge death toll. 'After the drug war ended, we had cleaned up the problem 99 per cent,' he said. 'I am afraid the current government won't take the drug problem seriously enough and not have a big enough budget.'