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Dozens arrested in money laundering and drugs case

Jack Burton

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61 people have been arrested in one of Thailand’s biggest money laundering cases of the year, said to be worth more than 10 billion baht. The suspects are believed to be part of a drug syndicate and money laundering network, allegedly run by a 45 year old Chinese man identified as “Chien Ma,” who was caught earlier in Bangkok.

Provincial police say the arrest of the 61, some of whom were flown from the southern province of Trang to Chiang Mai yesterday, is the culmination of an investigation that’s lasted more than a year. At a media briefing by the Provincial Police Region 5, which covers northern Thailand, officers reported seizing more than 700 passbooks with 10.1 billion baht in assets.

The PPR5 commissioner says the investigation was launched on March 28 last year when police seized millions of meth pills from suspects in Chiang Rai’s Ban Du village. The money trail linked the suspects to another drug ring based in the Central region.

Evidence proved the ring transferred large sums to buy drugs from the suspects, and the transfers implicated a number of import/export firms. Police believe they were created as fronts to launder drug money. 49 bank accounts held by the firms were all traced back to Chien.

The implicated businesses imported foreign goods and exported commodities including farm products, seafood and meat. The police commissioner says the businesses were set up to launder money generated by the drug syndicate. After the firms exported goods to China, they were later re-exported to companies which belonged to drug syndicate in Myanmar. It’s not known whether the probe will extend to that country.

Chien’s alleged network collaborated with at least 3 smaller drug gangs run by a female former model, a temple abbot in Myanmar and an influential businesswoman in Trang. The commisioner says police arrested the 61 in a series of raids over 6 days starting June 16 in Trang. In addition to the 61 suspects, police also identified 13 prison inmates belonging to Chien’s alleged network.

Police in northern Thailand say they’re still tracking 35 others in the gang, and that Chien confessed to managing the transfers of the money, both before and after it was laundered. They say many people were paid 1,000 baht by Chien’s network to open bank accounts to facilitate the transfers.

They will also face charges as accessories to money laundering money and possibly be investigated by the Revenue Department.

Dozens arrested in money laundering and drugs case | News by The ThaigerDozens arrested in money laundering and drugs case | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

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1 Comment

1 Comment

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    Toby Andrews

    Friday, June 26, 2020 at 2:00 pm

    I wonder how much money will be lost in the wash before the case goes to court.

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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.

Crime

Bangkok police raid house where model died after playing hostess

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Bangkok police raid house where model died after playing hostess | The Thaiger

Bangkok police are investigating a model’s death after raiding a Chatuchak district house where the model died after being hired as a hostess. The model, Whitchayaporn ‘Wa’ Visessombut, was hired along with other women to serve drinks and entertain guests at a private residence last Monday. Then, the next day, she died of respiratory failure after being brought unconscious to Paolo Hospital Kaset.

Investigators say they obtained a text chat history between the 33 year old model and her agent the day she was hired for the job. The chats revealed a receipt for a 30,000 baht money transfer to 4 hostesses, including Whitchayaporn, for their work. 6 other hostesses from a different agency were also hired to work the party.

Police say between 5 and 7 men were at the party along with 10 women with the use of drugs allegedly being involved.

Upon raiding the 4 storey‐high home, investigators say it featured an “unusually high wall” which stood about 2.5 metres tall. The house had security cameras but no one was home at the time of the raid. Officers say a luxury car was parked at the residence along with a BMW motorcycle.

Police say they are still are waiting for the autopsy results of the dead woman. Her relatives have already begun seeking assistance as they are afraid her case could turn out to be as complicated as that of model Thitima ‘Lunlabelle’ Noraphanpiphat, who was found dead in a similar situation back in 2019.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

PM to receive AstraZeneca vaccine on Sunday

Maya Taylor

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PM to receive AstraZeneca vaccine on Sunday | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai PBS World

The Thai PM, Prayut Chan-o-cha will receive the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine on Sunday, while Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul will receive the Chinese jab. According to a Bangkok Post report, Sopon Mekthon from the sub-committee on vaccine management says both politicians will receive their vaccines at the Bamrasnaradura Infectious Disease Institute. On Monday, the vaccination of priority groups in specific provinces will get underway.

Speaking about the arrival of the long-awaited vaccines yesterday, Anutin said the first batch would be distributed free of charge, with costs covered by the government.

“The vaccines are for Thais and those living in the country. Anyone who charges for the vaccine will face legal action.”

Thailand has taken delivery of 200,000 doses of the Chinese Sinovac jab and 117,600 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. The arrival of the AstraZeneca jab took many by surprise, with no mention of its imminent arrival, unlike the PR hoopla surrounding the arrival of its Chinese counterpart. Another 800,000 doses of the Sinovac vaccine are expected next month, followed by a further 1 million in April. After that, the rest of Thailand’s vaccines will be from AstraZeneca, with 26 million locally-manufactured doses expected to be available from May to June and another 35 million after that.

Nakorn Premsri from the National Vaccine Institute says the AstraZeneca vaccines arrived this week as a result of a commitment by the pharmaceutical giant to ensure equal access to Covid-19 vaccines.

“The AstraZeneca vaccines that arrived in Thailand must receive a lot release certificate from the Department of Medical Sciences before distribution to priority groups designated by the Department of Disease Control.”

Meanwhile, Thares Karasnairaviwong from the Department of Health Service Support says over 1.5 million village health volunteers are educating local residents about the importance of vaccination and establishing how many people fall into the priority groups who will be first to be inoculated.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Tourism

Day trip to Bangkok’s closest island – Koh Si Chang | VIDEO

The Thaiger

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Day trip to Bangkok’s closest island – Koh Si Chang | VIDEO | The Thaiger

Ko Si Chang (or Koh Sichang) is a district of Chon Buri Province, Thailand. It consists of the island of Ko Si Chang and its adjoining islands. Ko Si Chang is in the Gulf of Thailand, 12 kilometres off the shore of the Si Racha District coastline. It’s the closest island to Bangkok and a popular weekend away for Bangkokians. Pangrum takes us on a quick visit to the island with today’s latest Thaiger Vlog.

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