OAG to oversee triad case

OAG to oversee triad case

Surachate doubts any overseas links

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

The Attorney-General on Wednesday signed an order for a prosecution team to take charge of the police's investigation into a Chinese criminal syndicate linked to Chinese businessman and suspected crime boss Chaiyanat "Tuhao" Kornchayanant.

Kosonlawat Inthuchanyong, deputy spokesman for the Office of the Attorney-General (OAG), said a team of nine officials headed by Somkiat Khunnawatthananon, a deputy attorney-general, has been formed with national police chief Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas appointed as an adviser.

The team will follow up on the police's investigation into the Tuhao-linked Chinese gang, which has been recognised as a transnational criminal gang by the OAG, he said. It enlarges the scale of an inquiry which was previously confined to police.

The gang is alleged to be involved with the narcotic drug trade and influential figures and is being treated as a threat to national security, he said.

The team is required to report back to the OAG regularly while ensuring both the speed and completeness of the investigation.

In a day of rapidly unfolding developments, Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn, the deputy national police chief, insisted earlier on Wednesday that there was no evidence pointing to the need to reclassify the investigation as a case occurring outside the kingdom.

His assertion came despite remarks the previous day by Pol Gen Damrongsak that evidence has emerged suggesting the gang is part of a transnational crime syndicate, which reclassifies the case as "occurring outside the kingdom".

As such, public prosecutors would have to be involved in the investigation process. The so-called Happy Water drug seized in Jin Ling pub in Yannawa area of Bangkok was found to have been made in Thailand.

Meanwhile, there had not been any evidence concerning possible money transfers between the gang and any other parties abroad, said Pol Gen Surachate.

The transnational crime charge requires clear proof of the existence of a plan to smuggle this drug into the country; otherwise, the prosecution won't agree to have these suspects arraigned, he said.

This conclusion by a sub-inquiry team under his supervision has been forwarded to Pol Lt Gen Thiti Saengsawang, commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB), who is the head of the main investigation team, said Pol Gen Surachate.

Asked why his statement contradicts Pol Gen Damrongsak who is now in charge of the entire investigation, Pol Gen Surachate said Pol Gen Damrongsak may have received different information about the investigation provided by the MPB.

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