Tuhao, wife reunited for Christmas in prison

Police have arrested Pol Col Wanthanaree Kornchayanan, niece of Pol Gen Pracha Promnok, the former national police chief who acted as Yingluck Shinawatra’s deputy prime minister, and wife of alleged Chinese gangster Chaiyanat “Tuhao” Kornchayanant.

Officers from the Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB) arrived at a luxury condominium in Bangkok on Saturday afternoon to arrest Wanthanaree and six others. As is standard police procedure in Bangkok, Tuhao’s wife Wanthanaree and all the other suspects had been given weeks of advanced notice of their arrests.

Luxury Mansions for Sale in Bangkok, Thailand
Pracha’s niece, Tuhao’s wife Pol Col Wanthanaree Kornchayanan, was arrested at a mansion on Rama V Rd.

Tuhao’s wife Wanthanaree is a member the foreign affairs sub-division of the Royal Thai Police. She and six other suspects are being questioned and – for reasons that are all too clear – no reporters were invited to the bust, nor allowed anywhere near the session. After questioning, the suspects remained at Yannawa police station.

Tuhao himself has been in custody since November 23 when he gave himself up to deputy national police chief Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn, but not until “Big Joke” had arrived with platoons of officers and warrants. Tuhao claims he is completely innocent on all counts and turned himself in merely to make life easier for overworked senior police officers.

Tuhao, wife reunited for Christmas in prison | News by Thaiger
Tuhao’s uncle, Pracha Promnok, former national police chief and deputy prime minister, is not involved in the case.

His is allegedly the leading act in a veritable carnival of criminality. He is accused of massive involvement in the Bangkok drug trade, all along the supply chain from Myanmar and China’s industrial meth production facilities, to the pills scoffed down by super rich Chinese partygoers and homeless meth heads raging at the moon.

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Before his surrender, police searched his 200-million-baht (US$6.3 million) mansion on Rama V Road and a luxury hotel. Subsequently, police raided many locations across Bangkok, including a housing project in Samut Prakan where most of the units were purchased in cash through Thai nominees with links to Tuhao.

Assets worth about 3 billion baht (US$90 million) have been snaffled by the cops at the behest of massage-parlour-owner-turned-supergrass Chuwit Kamolvisit, who appears to have great influence at the MPB.

Chuwit all but names Bangkok 'drug pub' and illegal soapy massage joint | Thaiger
Former sleaze king Chuwit appears to have morphed into the country’s top law enforcer.

For weeks, Chuwit has been drip-feeding police titbits of information, while hoping to substantially (further) enrich himself through the massive rewards offered for information (5% of assets seized).

This week Chuwit’s tap has continued to leak juicy snippets of information to his buddies in law enforcement. This farcical shadow-play should cease immediately. Is it not time for the police to demand to know exactly what Chuwit knows, and to lock him up until he spills all the beans? Far from facilitating the investigation, Chuwit appears to be doing all he can to delay and distract the investigation, milking it for every available baht. Presumably if and when Tuhao is found innocent and released the tub king will face a heavy sentence for obstruction of justice? Perhaps not.

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Jon Whitman

Jon Whitman is a seasoned journalist and author who has been living and working in Asia for more than two decades. Born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland, Jon has been at the forefront of some of the most important stories coming out of China in the past decade. After a long and successful career in East sia, Jon is now semi-retired and living in the Outer Hebrides. He continues to write and is an avid traveller and photographer, documenting his experiences across the world.

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