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Thai Cabinet minister denies drug conviction report

BANGKOK — A Thai Cabinet deputy minister says an Australian newspaper report that he was imprisoned there for four years on a drug smuggling conviction was concocted by his political enemies, and he has no plans to resign.

Deputy Agriculture Minister Thammanat Prompao was responding Tuesday to a report by the Sydney Morning Herald that he was arrested in 1993 and convicted of conspiracy to import heroin, based on court records and interviews.

Rumors of Thammanat’s arrest circulated in July before he was sworn into his post in Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha’s government. He said then that he had been innocently caught up in a police raid, was held in jail for eight months on a minor charge, and then spent four years as a free man in Australia.

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