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Gold shop owner arrested for money laundering 30 million baht

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: A gold shop similar to this is suspected of laundering 30 million baht for drug smugglers. (via Facebook/ปชส. จังหวัดภูเก็ต)

In a simultaneous raid of multiple locations around the Kanchanaburi province, police arrested a gold shop owner suspected of laundering money for drug smugglers. The Phet Thong Sap Thawee Lae Nalika Thong Thae Yaowarat gold shop in Muang district was raided by police and military and assets totalling about 30 million baht were impounded.

The 32 year old shop owner was taken into custody yesterday, accused of laundering money for smugglers moving drugs in from across the Burmese border according to the Anti-Money Laundering Office and the Narcotics Suppression Bureau. They believe that around 30 million baht passed through the shop from drug runners who frequently cross the border from Myanmar into the Kanchanaburi province.

While the shop owner denied any wrongdoing, saying he had no involvement with any money laundering, authorities believe cash from drug dealing was traded for gold bars that were then exported to other nearby countries, though officials did not specify which countries.

The previous day, police also picked up a 64 year old man in the Sangkhlaburi district of Kanchanaburi they believe was the other half of the laundering operation. The shop owner said that this second man acted as a regular customer, and would make purchases each month of about 200 to 300 baht-weight (about 2.9 to 4.4 kilogrammes) of gold bullion. He had been doing this for a few months according to the gold shop owner and would make a money transfer to the shop and after would come into the store to collect the gold bars.

The shop owner said he was not aware if that man was using the gold to launder money, and that he had reported any unusually large gold purchases to the Anti-Money Laundering Office. The police might not be buying that story though, as they impounded 5 million baht in cash, 13 million baht of gold jewelry, and a house valued at about 7 million baht.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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