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Thai drug lord ‘becomes Korean’ with plastic surgery to evade the law

Thai police arrested a “handsome Korean man” in Bangkok today who is in fact a wanted Thai drug lord who underwent loads of plastic surgery and changed his name to present as a Korean man to avoid prosecution.

Police arrested 25 year old “Jimin Cheong,” formerly Sarahat Sawangjaeng, at a condominium in the Bang Na district of Bangkok under an arrest warrant issued by the Criminal Court on December 2.

Sarahat admitted to importing copious amounts of MDMA from European countries into Thailand by ordering the drugs via the dark web and paying with Bitcoin before selling it to customers in Bangkok and surrounding areas.

The drug trafficker continually underwent plastic surgery over the years to keep under the radar.

On November 11 last year, Thai customs officials found 2,575 grams of MDMA and 290 ecstasy pills inside a jigsaw puzzle box inside an incoming package. Police were able to track the parcel to the accused, Sarahat.

Police gathered evidence and the Criminal Court issued a warrant for Sarahat’s arrest on December 2, 2022. However, police just couldn’t track him down.

In the end, police opted for an old-school tactic. An undercover police officer pretended to be interested in working as a drug mule for Sarahat in Bangkok and managed to get in contact with him.

Sarahat agreed to order drugs via the dark web and send them to the “drug mule” for him to sell in Bangkok. The drug dealer told the “drug mule” that he was still in Bangkok but wanted to move to South Korea.

The undercover officer managed to find out that Sarahat was staying at a luxury condominium in Bang Na, leading to his arrest today.

When police officers entered the condo room to arrest Sarahat, they were gobsmacked to find that Sarahat had turned into a “handsome Korean man.”

Sarahat underwent so much plastic surgery that police said “none of his original face was left.” He had also changed his name to Jimin Cheong.

“Jimin” was arrested under suspicion of importing a Category 1 narcotic (MDMA) into Thailand for distribution, risking the security of the nation and the safety of the population.

Police seized two mobile phones used by Sarahat to import drugs and 22 more assets.

Sarahat revealed that you can order MDMA from many countries but the best place, in his opinion, is the Netherlands.

Pol. Maj. Gen. Thammasutee said…

“This villain is one of the main causes of Bangkok’s MDMA epidemic. We have been looking for him for almost three months. He had surgery to disguise himself.

“He is drug lord importing MDMA from Europe at just 25 years old. We believe there are more suspects in foreign countries. We will continue our investigation.”

Sarahat’s photo timeline reveals he was arrested on at least three occasions over the years. Police did not comment on these arrests.


Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.