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Party town kingpin Pian slapped with mafia charges



PHUKET: Military personnel and Region 8 Police raided the home of former Patong Mayor Pian Keesin this morning as they pursue mafia charges against the Phuket kingpin.

“Mr Pian and his son Prab Keesin are both facing charges of extortion and criminal activity carried out by a criminal association,” Region 8 Commander Panya Mamen told the Phuket Gazette today.

Region 8 Police, military personnel and officers from the Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) began their mission to take down suspected Patong taxi mafia members – warrant by warrant – starting with Mr Pian and Mr Prab.

Neither Mr Prab nor Mr Pian were home when the officers arrived this morning, said Lt Gen Panya.

A total of 82 arrest warrants have been secured for Patong taxi drivers and their associates, confirmed Gen Panya.

“We will hit every address on every single warrant,” said Gen Panya.

“We have spent the past three months collecting the information we needed to secure the 82 warrants that have now been issued for the suspects being searched.”

The suspects have been divided into four groups: drivers involved in blockades; drivers who monopolized customers and set up illegal stands outside of hotels; drivers who collected “membership” money from new taxi drivers; and others involved in illegal mafia activity.

“We are targeting everyone that has been involved, including politicians. However, we think that some of them may have fled Phuket,” Gen Panya said.

Police and AMLO officials have been paying close attention to any unexplained or unusual income, as well as tax payments.

“We are searching the homes for bankbooks, receipts, transfer documents and any hard copies of bank accounts and assets,” AMLO Secretary-General Seehanat Prayoonrat told the Gazette.

“We believe that much of the assets tied to mafia activity could have been moved around in cash, rather than via wire transfers, so we are looking for evidence of that.”

Col Seehanat explained that officers had already seized the assets of three mafia suspects in Karon.

“In terms of hard cash, it wasn’t much, only 200,000 to 300,000 baht from each of the three suspects,” he said.

Sittichai Tiaamnuaychai, director of the Revenue Department’s Bureau of Central Audit Operations, said that his officers have been issued warrants to review the suspects’ taxes.

— Kritsada Mueanhawong


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