Cops nab Korean 'drug lord'

Cops nab Korean 'drug lord'

Suspect traced after embassy tip-off

Immigration Bureau chief Pol Lt Gen Sompong Chingduang describes the case at his bureau in Bangkok on Wednesday. (Photo supplied)
Immigration Bureau chief Pol Lt Gen Sompong Chingduang describes the case at his bureau in Bangkok on Wednesday. (Photo supplied)

A South Korean national has been arrested in Pathum Thani for alleged links to the international drug trade.

Immigration Bureau chief Pol Lt Gen Sompong Chingduang said immigration officers arrested the 48-year-old, only identified as Sangjae, following a tip-off from the South Korean embassy.

Embassy officials said the suspect was thought to be involved in smuggling drugs from Thailand to South Korea and had fled to Thailand before the Covid-19 pandemic hit.

Immigration records showed he had entered Thailand and the given address was in Khon Kaen.

Officers travelled to Khon Kaen to arrest Mr Sangjae after learning that he was staying in a house on the outskirts of the city, but failed to find him.

Police then followed a woman thought to be his girlfriend and eventually located and arrested him at a high-end condominium in Pathum Thani.

The suspect faces a charge of overstaying his visa for 294 days as of Wednesday.

Meanwhile, deputy national police chief Pol Lt Gen Preecha Charoensahayanon and a team of officers raided the operations centre of an online gambling network at a house in Soi Punnawithi in Bangkok.

The raid came after police learned that a group of Chinese nationals was running online gambling on several websites. The group operated under the registered name of NUTS GAME-TH an online gaming company to receive transfers from punters.

The network had over 30 million baht in circulation each month.

Twelve people were arrested -- five of them were Chinese and the rest Thais hired as call centre operators.

The alleged head of the network was a Chinese man whose Thai girlfriend took care of the company's finances and worked as the website's administrator.

Computers, 22 bank books, 100,000 baht in cash, five cars and two motorcycles were also seized. The combined value of the seized assets was more than 15 million baht.

Officers said the Chinese suspects had entered the kingdom legally and had operated the online gaming business for over three years. In 2020, the suspects rented four houses located in the same area and set up gambling websites.

One of the houses was used as an office for call centre operators who contacted customers on Facebook: DDPoker. The Facebook page has over 170,000 followers.

Transaction tracing found the network had transferred millions of baht to bank accounts in Hong Kong, according to police.

The suspects face charges of encouraging and organising online gambling. The anti-money laundering law will be enforced to seize the network's assets, police said.

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