Police arrested another alleged triad boss during raids in Bangkok and eight provinces on Wednesday, as the purge of Chinese gangs operating “grey businesses" in Thailand continued.
Teams of police raided 34 locations in eight provinces – executing 12 search warrants in Bangkok, 8 in Phuket, 6 in Samut Prakan, 4 in Chon Buri and one each in Prachuap Khiri Khan, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Pathum Thani and Ayutthaya.
The raids came after deputy national police chief Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn said evidence showed Chnese triads were linked to criminal activities in Thailand. Major operations were in Samut Prakan, where a company was the registered owner of the private jet of Chinese businessman Chaiyanat “Mr Tuhao"’ Kornchayanant, and tour companies with more than 80 buses and a hotel worth several hundred million baht were located.
Mr Chaiyanat turned himself in last week after the Bangkok South Criminal Court issued a warrant for his arrest over his alleged involvement in the drug trade.
During Wednesday's operation, police raided three companies in Huai Kwang district of Bangkok and detained a Chinese national known as "Mr Tony'' or Chen Zhaohui at Belle Condominium on Rama 9 road on charges of supporting or colluding in running a business operated by foreign nationals, when foreigners are not allowed to operate such business.
The arrest of Mr Tony followed a raid on a pub operated by Space Plus Club Management (Thailand) Co early this month. Natson Hutasewi, a Thai national and executive of the firm, was arrested and charged with being a nominee for Chinese investors running the business.
Mr Tony was found to be a business partner who brought more than a hundred million baht from Chinese investors to invest in the pub.
He is accused of heading one of five Chinese triad gangs under investigation for running grey busiensses in Thailand, as earlier mentioned by Pol Gen Surachate.
Police had earlier arrested alleged bosses of three triad gangs -Tuhao, Shui Tai Wei alias David, and Yu Chang Fei.
The fourth gang was led by Mr Tony and Mr Johnny, who has reportedly fled. The other gang leader, Mr Ming, had reportedly also fled the country, said a police source.
Police were preparing applications for court warrants for the arrest of more people involved in criminal activities.
This luxury mansion is one of 34 locations raided by police on Wednesday. (Photo supplied/Wassayos Ngamkham)
Pol Gen Torsak Sukvimol, deputy national police chief, said on Wednesday that police raided 11 locations in Bangkok and Samut Prakan on Tuesday. The places were found to belong to Chinese investors with suspected links to Mr Tuhao.
Tuesday’s operation followed the seizure of luxury cars during a raid on Jinling pub in Yannawa on Oct 26. Many Chinese patrons there tested positive for drug use.
Police extended the investigation and found that one of the seized cars was frequently driven into a luxury housing project in the Lasalle area of Samut Prakan and parked there, said Pol Gen Torsak.
The officers then raided the housing estate and seized a number of assets for examination. The owners of those assets must present necessary documents showing how they were acquired to authorities, the deputy national police chief said.
The investigation would be extended to pursue those who acted as nominees for foreign nationals, Pol Gen Torsak said.
Pol Gen Surachate and Pol Gen Torsak took officials to examine a private jet seized from Mr Chaiyanat "Tuhao" at Bo Fai airfield in Prachuap Khiri Khan.
Pol Gen Surchate said further investigation found that the jet was owned by Modern Latex Co with links to Mr Chaiyanat, who served as an executive and major shareholder of the firm.
The Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) earlier issued a letter to seize the private jet, said Pol Gen Surachate.
Police and officials from the ONCB and the Anti-Money Laundering Office (Amlo) were inspecting the private jet, conducting DNA testing, using sniffer dogs to detect illicit drugs and determine those who had been on board. Test results would be submitted as forensic evidence and included in the police investigation to ensure the accuracy and concision of the case, the deputy national police chief said.
“Today we have seized more than 4 billion baht of assets. Now, accumulated assets seized are worth more than 5 billion baht. We will report the assets to the ONCB and Amlo for further action,’’ said Pol Gen Surachate.
Pol Gen Torsak said he and Pol Gen Surachate would handle the case based on evidence, not on social media sentiments. Those who were found involved in criminal activities would face legal action.
Deputy national police chief Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn, right, and deputy national police chief Pol Gen Torsak Sukvimol, left, lead officials to inspect a private jet that was earlier seized from Chaiyanat "Tuhao'' Kornchayanant, an alleged leader of a Chinese crime syndicate. (Photo supplied/Wassayos Ngamkham)