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Pheu Thai Party under fire as Tuhao-Shinawatra connection exposed

Opposition Pheu Thai Party is under fire after police found that many houses connected to suspected Chinese gangster Chaiyanat “Tuhao” Kornchayanant were built by a company owned by the Shinawatra family.

The Pheu Thai Party is the third incarnation of the party founded by former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra in 2007.

On Wednesday, the Royal Thai Police raided 11 locations in Bangkok, including a luxury housing project in the La Salle area of Samut Prakan. The raids are part of an operation to smash a Chinese criminal network in Thailand led by Tuhao and his associates. Tuhao turned himself in to police on November 23 and has been denied bail.

Police searched three houses in La Salle owned by a suspected nominee of Tuhao’s gang. Among the items taken away by police were three safes.

The housing project consists of 66 units costing up to 60 million baht (US$1.7 million). Chinese tourists were often seen at noisy parties in the house that disturbed neighbours.

The houses were built by SC Asset Corporation, with its HQ in Shinawatra Tower 3, in Bangkok’s Lat Yao neighbourhood. Paetongtarn Shinawatra, the youngest daughter of former PM Thaksin, is the largest shareholder in SC Asset Corporation with 29%, followed by elder daughter Pintongta Shinawatra Kunakornwong with 28%. Khunying Potjaman Damapong, Thaksin’s ex-wife, is the fourth-largest shareholder with 3%.

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The Shinawatra family celebrate the graduation of youngest daughter Paetongtarn.

Police also raided a condominium worth over 100 million baht (US$2.9 million) in the Charoen Nakhon area of Bangkok, where they seized a Porsche 911, two G-Class Mercedes Benz off-roaders, and one Toyota Alphard, according to Bangkok Post. Police believe Tuhao’s syndicate used a Thai nominee to purchase the homes in Samut Prakan, as well as a number of luxury apartments in Bangkok.

According to Isara News Agency, Nudeeporn Phetphanomporn, daughter of former deputy prime minister Pol Gen Pracha Promnok, is the second-largest shareholder in a property rental company in Phuket of which Tuhao is the largest shareholder. Tuhao is married to Pracha’s niece.

Nudeeporn is wife of Sarawuth Phetphanomporn, Pheu Thai MP for Udon Thani and deputy party secretary-general.

Police have issued arrest warrants for three other suspects, including a former police inspector, believed to be executives of a company with Tuhao as chairman.

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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.