KANCHANABURI: Police say they have broken up a major online electronic cigarette sales ring following a raid on a warehouse where about 3 million baht worth of smoking kits and accessories were seized.
A combined team of police, customs and excise officials raided the warehouse in tambon Ban Nua in Muang district on Friday and found 57 e-cigarettes, 2,849 bottles of e-liquid and 555 other smoking kits stored there.
The banned items, 3,461 in total, were seized and owner Trisak Sirichumsaeng, 45, apprehended, Pol Maj Gen Khamron Boonlert, chief of Kanchanaburi police, said during a media briefing on Saturday.
Mr Trisak was a major online seller of e-cigarettes and smoking kits, according to authorities, having jointly invested in the sale of the banned products with a Malaysian partner. The seized items had a face value of 3 million baht, said police.
Earlier, authorities arrested two other men, Theerawat Rukapiban and Thitiwat Sirichoksuriyasuk, in Bang Khun Thian district of Bangkok last month after an investigation found they had been involved in selling e-cigarettes online. The arrests led police to search Mr Trisak’s warehouse.
During the interrogation, police said, Mr Trisak confessed that he had sold the banned smoking devices via a Line chat group called “TK Gadget’’ and a website. He said Mr Theerawat was the administrator of the website, which also sells legal products such as car air purifiers and drinking cups.
He also implicated another man and a woman in the sales operation, and police are now looking for them.
Police have repeated their warning to people against possessing electronic cigarettes. Under the existing tobacco law, only products made of tobacco leaves can be imported legally. The Commerce Ministry has banned the import of e-cigarettes and baraku or hookah and related products.
Police inspect e-cigarettes and related materials seized from a warehouse in Kanchanaburi. (Photo by Piyarach Chongchaoren)