Amid the deadly fires that hit Thailand’s gold mining sector in December last year, an investigation by Al Jazeera and the BBC found that some of the most powerful companies in the industry have been involved in serious corruption and bribery scandals, while some of its workers have been exposed to toxic waste and exposure to the elements.
The BBC has reported on at least 12 cases of corruption in gold mining in Thailand.
In some cases, the companies involved have already been shut down by the authorities.
The investigation revealed that one company had even offered to help the Thai government extract the gold from its deposits to pay off debt.
In another case, a company that had been responsible for transporting the gold out of the country had offered to let its employees go without paying them.
The other cases involved companies that have already closed down.
Gold mining has been a hot topic in Thailand, where gold prices have been on the rise over the past two years and demand for the metal has increased significantly.
Many Thais are concerned about the impact the country’s gold reserves could have on the economy, and some have even called for the country to be declared a gold-rich country.
Many gold miners are also worried about the possibility of gold being smuggled into Thailand from the Chinese territory of Xinjiang.
Some have even resorted to smuggling gold in vehicles.
The mining industry in Thailand is dominated by one company, the Gold Fields and Minerals, or GDFM.
Gold Fields is owned by the former president, Prayuth Chan-ocha, and its mines are the largest in the country.
Prayut Chan-oe, the current president, has repeatedly said he will not allow the gold mining companies to be bought out.
He has also promised to put an end to corruption in the mining sector.
However, there are a number of companies in Thailand that have been found to be involved in corruption and have been implicated in other serious scandals.
A mining company in the province of Phuket, for example, has been found guilty of taking bribes to allow its employees to work in mines.
The company was fined a total of NT$6.5m for the crimes of bribery and embezzlement.
A company in Phuktay district of the central province of Pattani, for instance, was also found to have been paying bribes to officials in the Ministry of Interior to get their approval for the construction of a new dam.
Another mining company has also been found responsible for paying bribes for approvals for mining rights in a mine in the neighbouring province of Thani.
In addition to the company that has been fined, at least three other companies have been investigated by the local police.
In one case, two employees of the mine were caught with illegal gold.
The local police have also launched an investigation into the involvement of a company in which a former employee allegedly took bribes to get a contract.
These cases have caused considerable anger in the local population.
In December last last year the police arrested six people, including the current chairman of the mining company, in connection with the corruption investigation.
They have since been released on bail.
According to the BBC, the government has taken several measures to curb the corruption, including restricting the freedom of the media and banning companies from operating without permits.
But some Thais still have concerns about the government’s approach.
“Thailand is not a perfect country,” said Chua Sua, the director of the Thai Institute for Governance and Democracy (Thibon), a research institute.
“It’s not perfect.
But if you look at the positives, it is not perfect either.
And when you look for the negatives, you will see it is very corrupt.”
Corruption and bribery are not the only problems that are plaguing the mining industry.
In 2016, the Thai police recorded a number the highest number of violent deaths in the entire country, which is almost double the national average.
The Thais themselves have not been immune to this.
On January 3, 2018, the police in Thammasat province reported that six people had died after an accident involving a police vehicle and a car belonging to a mining company.
In October last year a mining worker died after a car collided with his truck in Klong Phu district, a mining district in the northeast of the kingdom.
The death came amid a crackdown by the government on corruption in mining companies.
The government has also come under fire for the lack of a crackdown on companies that are engaged in corruption, and in particular those involved in gold extraction.
In July last year an audit by the Public Accounts Committee of the Prime Minister’s Office found that the Ministry for Finance had failed to do its job when it came to auditing mining companies involved in extracting gold from gold mines.
“We have not done a proper audit of the activities of mining companies,” a ministry official told Al Jazeera.
“I am sure there is a lot of things that are missing in that report.”
According to another audit, the ministry had failed in its duty to investigate “financial irregularities” with mining