Chinese businessman 'Tuhao' reports to police, denies charges
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Chinese businessman 'Tuhao' reports to police, denies charges

Businessman Chaiyanat
Businessman Chaiyanat "Tuhao" Kornchayanant, left, wearing a black face mask, arrives at the Royal Thai Police Sports Club on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road in Bangkok on Wednesday afternoon. (Capture from Workpoint TV)

A Chinese businessman dubbed "Tuhao" turned himself in to Bangkok police on Wednesday to answer allegations of involvement in the illicit drug trade.

Chaiyanat Kornchayanant was accompanied by a team of lawyers when he reported to deputy national police chief Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn at the Royal Thai Police Sports Club on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road in Bangkok around 1pm on Wednesday.

Mr Chaiyanat, alias Tuhao, was wanted on an arrest warrant issued by the Bangkok South Criminal Court for collusion in the illicit drug trade and illegal possession of a psychotropic substance with intent to sell.

His surrender came after Pol Lt Gen Surachate ordered searches at two locations in Bangkok on Wednesday morning - a luxury house on Rama V Road and at a luxury hotel in downtown Bangkok - believed to be hideouts used by Mr Chaiyanat.

At the house, police found only Mr Chaiyanat's wife, who is a Thai police colonel. She told the officers that her husband did not stay in the house. She cooperated by trying to contact her husband to arrange his surrender. There were no illegal items found in the house.

He was also not at the hotel.

Gen Surachate confirmed that Mr Chaiyanat's wife was a police colonel attached to the foreign affairs sub-division and a niece of a former national police chief and deputy prime minister. He did not give her name.

An initial investigation did not find she had links to alleged wrongdoings, he said. However, she occupied a house worth more than 200 million baht.

Police would extend the investigation and check the money trail of all involved with the businessman.

Gen Surachate said Mr Chaiyanat denied all charges and reserved his defence for the court.

However, police had evidence that he often visited Jinling nightclub in Yannawa and rented the building, which housed the nightclub complex where illicit drugs were found during a police raid last month.

Police investigators believed Mr Chaiyanat was behind the operation of Jinling nightclub.

He would be taken to the Bangkok South Criminal Court where police would seek to detain him further and oppose bail, Gen Surachate said. He was first taken to Yannawa police station for further questioning, according to media reports.

Pol Gen Surachate said five Chinese triads had been running “grey businesses’’ in the country. Police had  so far arrested leading members of three of them  - Mr Tuhao, Mr David and Mr Yu Fang Fei.  The fourth gang, led by Mr Tony and Mr Johny, was being investigated while Mr Ming, leader of the fifth gang, had reportedly fled the country.

The raids follow former politician and massage parlour tycoon Chuwit Kamolvisit's actions in calling on the Justice Ministry to investigate Chinese triads he said were laundering drug money through "grey businesses" in Thailand.

On Thursday he alleged that a triad boss named Mr Tuhao had fled the country on a private plane with the assistance of certain state officials just hours after police raided a pub linked to him in Bangkok's Yannawa district late last month.

Mr Chuwit on Monday went to the ministry, where he submitted documents and other information relating to the alleged financial activities of triads in Thailand.

Last month, a highly placed source at the Election Commission said an investigation may be launched into a 3-million-baht donation to the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) by Mr Chaiyanat. That followed the disclosure by party chief strategist Somsak Thepsuthin that the PPRP accepted the money from the businessman last year.

Businessman Chaiyanat Kornchayanant, alias Tuhao, right, is taken to the Criminal Court after questioning on Wednesday. (Photo:Pornprom Satrabhaya)

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