Senate to investigate AMLO-Tuhao links

The Senate committee on good governance is to investigate links between two executives of the Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) and alleged crime boss Chaiyanat “Tuhao” Kornchayanant.

The investigation follows a letter submitted to the Senate speaker on December 19 by former Democrat MP Watchara Phetthong.

The letter named Pol Maj Gen Piyapan Pingmuang, former head of AMLO and Theppasu Bavornchotidara, acting secretary-general, suggesting that they had breached ethical standards.

Piyapan to head up Amlo AMLO Tuhao links
Piyapan resigned as head of the anti-money laundering office when he was accused of links with Chinese crime syndicates.

Piyapan Pingmuang resigned earlier this month, following an allegation he was involved with Chinese gangs. News of his resignation was made public by former politician Chuwit Kamolvisit in a Facebook post on Monday. Chuwit also attached a photo of Piyapan’s resignation letter to the post. The letter cited Piyapan’s reason for quitting as a “health problem.”

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Chuwit said the resignation came after Watchara urged the Senate to investigate Piyapan and deputy Theppasu. Chuwit said he admired Piyapan for his swift decision to resign to ensure a transparent investigation.

Tosaporn Yamwong, acting secretary-general of the Senate, on Friday, said the committee would carry out background checks on the two officials. The letter included allegations that members of a Chinese “business group” had met Piyapan after work, at a party.

Watchara AMLO Tuhao links
Former Democrat MP Watchara Phetthong has demanded that the Senate open an investigation into Piyapan’s conduct as head of AMLO.

Watchara wants to know when and if the third floor of the AMLO building became Piyapan’s office, and who authorised the change. Watchara asked whether AMLO had approved the return of assets to the “business group,” or any online gambling groups in the past five years.

Further investigations will look deeper into the Chinese business group, a member of the Thai Merchants’ Association, to try to establish the source of money that was reportedly spent on luxury houses, bought from SC Asset Corporation PLC at an average price of 60 million baht (US$2 million).

Meanwhile, former politician Chuvit on Thursday shared a video clip with Wichai Chaimongkhon, secretary-general of the Office of Narcotics Control Board. The clip allegedly shows Tuhao threatening contractors.

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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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