3 China gang heads flee as cops catch 2

3 China gang heads flee as cops catch 2

Lifetime blacklisting for den ringleaders

The heads of the five major Chinese mafia gangs based in Thailand have officially been declared persona non grata, according to deputy national police chief Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn.

Two have been arrested while the other three fled the country on private jets.

Pol Gen Surachate said national police chief Damrongsak Kittiprapas has effectively made them persona non grata.

Pol Gen Damrongsak said yesterday that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered a crackdown on illegal entertainment establishments, as well as mafia figures and illegal firearms, regardless of the nationality of the offenders.

The police have conducted sweeping sting operations which led to the arrest of many suspects including the aforementioned Chinese nationals for operating illegal entertainment venues and their alleged involvement in illicit drug networks.

Pol Gen Surachate said the Chinese mafia suspects are connected to five groups, one of whom is the owner of Club One in Pattaya. The Chinese club owner, who is implicated in drugs and money laundering, has been arrested.

A popular nightspot, Club One Pattaya, was raided in the early hours of Oct 22. A number of drugs were confiscated, while roughly 200 Thai and foreign customers escaped.

Yesterday, Pol Gen Surachate said investigators were working to seize cash as well as high-end and luxury apartments as they continue to track the suspects' money trails.

The police will ask Interpol to issue a Red Notice to help capture the three suspects who fled.

Pol Gen Surachate admitted police information about the suspects mirrored former massage parlour tycoon Chuwit Kamolvisit's Nov 2 warning about five Chinese mafia groups.

The first group is run by a Chinese national who took out Thai citizenship and claims to be acquainted with senior police officers.

The second group is headed by a Chinese national who goes by the name "Tony". He allegedly tried to build connections with Thai politicians and land a deal in state procurement projects during the Covid-19 pandemic. He reportedly owns a pub with a secret entrance reserved for Chinese customers.

The third group is controlled by a man, identified only as "David", who operates a pub that doubles as a joint for drug abuse. The man has spent many years in Thailand and speaks fluent Thai.

The fourth group is headed by Yu Chang Fei, who opened a large pub in Pattaya. He was nabbed by police as he tried to flee the country at a border checkpoint in the Northeast.

The fifth group is run by a pub owner by the name of Ming, who broke away from the Yu Chang Fei network and owns a pub in the Ratchadaphisek area of Bangkok, according to Mr Chuwit.

Pol Gen Surachate said investigators were still connecting all the dots as they are looking into Thai citizens who aided the gangs, adding that the national police chief has received a pledge of full cooperation from the Chinese ambassador to Thailand.

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