The country’s Justice Minister, Somsak Thepsuthin, blamed the mistake on a “testing error”, saying the seized white powder was in fact trisodium phosphate – a compound commonly used in cleaning products.
Initial field analysis turned the ONCB’s testing fluid purple, prompting them to declare the substance ketamine and triumphantly claim it was Thailand’s largest ever.
But subsequent testing of 66 of the 475 sacks revealed they in fact contained trisodium phosphate – a legal substance commonly used as a cleaning agent, lubricant, stain remover, degreaser and even a food additive.
Testing of the remaining sacks is continuing.
The ONCB was unaware that trisodium phosphate would also turn the testing fluid purple, not only a drug like ketamine, according to the justice minister.
“But in this case, the ONCB had been informed of the seizure of ketamine in Taiwan, investigated and found an undeniable link to it. It would have been a mistake if I did not make it public.”
Investigations into where the substance found in the Chachoengsao warehouse came from and what it was to be used for are continuing.
It is believed it may have been used to conceal illicit drugs.
The man who rented the warehouse is wanted over the seizure of ketamine in Taiwan.