Police have summoned a former police officer and two women for questioning about the hidden assets of alleged Chinese triad leader “Tuhao", who is accused of involvement in the drug trade.
Deputy national police chief Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn said on Friday that police were extending the investigation to include people with links to Chinese businessman Chaiyanat Kornchayanant.
Summonses were being sent to three people to report for questioning — Ms Patcharin, who was believed in hiding in Thailand, Ms Suchada, and a former police inspector, Pol Gen Surachate said. He did not give their full names.
Mr Chaiyanat, also known as Tuhao, 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.
He is accused of heading one of five Chinese triad gangs under investigation for running “grey businesses’’ in Thailand.
According to Pol Gen Surachate, police have information that the two women and the former police inspector were board members of a company of which Mr Chaiyanat served as chairman.
He believed the three could provide information on the whereabouts of Mr Chaiyanat's cash assets. It was not credible that a businessman at Mr Chaiyanat's level would have only 100,000 baht in his bank accounts.
He said fingerprints and samples collected from a private jet seized from Mr Chaiyanat at Bo Fai airfield in Prachuap Khiri Khan province had been sent for forensic examination, including testing for traces of illicit drugs. A drug-sniffing dog had reacted very clearly during the search of the plane, Pol Gen Surachate said.
During questioning, the plane's captain had cooperated fully with police. He gave the names of people who used the jet, but could not confirm whether there had been any use of drugs on board the plane, he said.
The deputy national police chief on Friday met with officials from the Office of the Narcotics Control Board and the Anti-Money Laundering Office and police handling the raid on the Jinling pub in Yannawa district of Bangkok on Oct 26, when many Chinese customers tested positive for drug use.
Police seized several luxury cars during the raid on the pub, which was linked to Mr Chaiyanat.
On Wednesday, police arrested another alleged triad boss during raids in Bangkok and eight provinces as part of the crackdown on Chinese gangs operating grey businesses in Thailand.
Chinese national Chen Zhouhui, known as “Mr Tony’’, was arrested at Bell Condominium on Rama IX Road in Bangkok’s Huai Khwang district on charges of supporting or colluding in running a business operated by foreign nationals, when foreigners were 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.
On Tuesday, police raided 11 locations in Bangkok and Samut Prakan. The places were found to belong to Chinese investors with suspected liked to Mr Chaiyanat. Many assets and luxury cars were seized for examination during the raids on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Pol Gen Surachate said police have so far arrested a total of 102 people during operations against these illegal activities. The suspects faced charges based on their respective activities — including colluding in illicit drugs, being nominees for other people and using ID cards of other people.
Former politician and massage parlour tycoon Chuwit Kamolvisit, who exposed grey businesses involving Chinese triad gangs, alleged at a press conference at The Davis Hotel in Bangkok on Thursday that Ms Patcharin was a major nominee for Mr Chaiyanat.
According to Mr Chuwit, Ms Patcharin had held blocks of land for Mr Chaiyanat. In March 2020, she had issued a cheque to buy land worth over 400 million baht for the Chinese businessman, he said.
Mr Chuwit alleged Mr Chaiyanat and his accomplices had a law firm run by Chinese nationals to facilitate their activities and those of others wanting to run grey businesses and property projects in Thailand.
Mr Chuwit alleged that Chinese nationals had bought most of the houses at a luxury housing estate at 50-60 million baht per house, with Thais as their nominees.
Mr Chaiyanat's wife is a Thai police colonel. According to Mr Chuwit, Ms Patcharin is also his wife, and she sells kitchenware on Rama IV Road in Bangkok.