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Appeals court upholds Lao drug kingpin’s life sentence

Jack Burton



PHOTO: Thai PBS World

The Appeals Court today upheld the lower court’s sentence of life imprisonment for Lao drug kingpin Xaysana “Mr. X” Keopimpha for colluding to possess large quantities of methamphetamine pills in 2015 and 2016. The ruling was handed down at the Criminal Court today. Xaysana and 2 accomplices, Chumphon Phanompai and Ratchapon Ratsaponpakorn, were arrested and charged with collusion in the possession of methamphetamine with intent to sell.

The court heard that Xaysana and Chumphon had colluded with several others to have 2,381,400 meth pills smuggled from Laos and for a vehicle to take the drugs to clients in the South and in Malaysia between July and September 2015. From August 17-22, 2016, the 3 defendants colluded in smuggling another million meth pills into the country and delivering them to a network in the South through a contact in Malaysia named Sainudeng Ma.

Ratchapon, the third defendant, had allegedly received money transfers from Sainudeng on several occasions, totaling 144 million baht. The money was then transferred to Xaysana’s friend in Laos.

The 3 were arrested in possession of the drugs and material evidence of drug smuggling.

In September 2018, the Criminal Court sentenced Xaysana and Chumphon to death. The sentences were reduced to life in prison after the court found their testimony useful. Ratchapon was acquitted.

In December 2019, the Appeals Court upheld a separate sentence of life imprisonment for the Lao drug kingpin for smuggling 1.2 million speed pills in to the country in 2016.

Xaysana and Chumphon appealed the lower court’s ruling. They were taken from the Central Correctional Institution for Drug Addicts to the court to hear the ruling.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post



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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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