‘Travellers’ caught smuggling cocaine worth millions of baht to Phuket and Bangkok

Suvarnabhumi airport, where 3 suspects were caught.

The big bad international criminals Thai police warned of earlier this month have made their way to Bangkok and Phuket. Four ‘travellers’ have been caught smuggling cocaine valued at millions of baht into Phuket and Bangkok in the past 2 weeks.

A South African man allegedly smuggled in 1.5 kilograms of cocaine, valued at 4.5 million baht, to Phuket International Airport. Meanwhile, 3 suspects arriving at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport from Brazil were found with 15.7 kilograms of Cocaine, 47 million baht. There are no reports of the suspects in each incident being connected.

Customs Department director Chaiyut Kumkun said yesterday that the 29 year old South African man was behaving suspiciously after he arrived in Phuket from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on June 9. While no illegal goodies were found in his luggage, the man was detained and sent to Phuket’s Thalang Hospital. There, an X-ray showed 115 pellets of cocaine in his body.

A few days later on June 13, 3 suspects arriving from Brazil were caught at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport with 15.7 kilograms of cocaine, spread out in 5 pieces of luggage. The cocaine was wrapped in black carbon paper and plastic.

All 4 suspects from the 2 incidents have been detained, pending further investigations and prosecution. This news comes after a senior Thai police inspector announced earlier this month that Royal Thai Police planned to redouble its efforts to fight international crime as the country opens up more and more.

The inspector, General Wisanu Prasatthongosot, said such “tourists” coming to Thailand include fugitives from Europe, the US, and Australia who are involved in mafia activities, drugs, human trafficking, money laundering, and fraud. Wisanu added that many gangs from Africa and East Asia also come to cause trouble in Thailand.

Perhaps Brazil is a new spot for Wisanu to add to his list which seems to cover every region on earth besides Latin America.

Last month, Phuket officials held a meeting to discuss an expected increase in drug issues in the island province, in light of Thailand’s eased entry restrictions. The officials said airlines need tighter surveillance to prevent drug smuggling to Phuket.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

Crime News

Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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