DSI enters fray in 'Tuhao' triad case

DSI enters fray in 'Tuhao' triad case

The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) will take up the triad case involving Chinese businessman Chaiyanat "Tuhao" Kornchayanant, Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin said yesterday.

The minister said it would be treated as a special case, deserving of being handled by the DSI because it was complicated, affected national security, and involved many assets.

Mr Somsak said authorities had impounded assets worth about 3.21 billion baht linked to Mr Chaiyanat, who had 4-5 groups of people behind him. These people had foreign passports and were suspected of moving funds into Thailand. The DSI had their passport numbers and was tracking them down.

The minister said that the Office of the Narcotics Control Board was about to impound another 1.22 billion baht of assets for examination in relation to Mr Chaiyanat.

Sub Lt Thanakrit Jit-areerat, secretary to the justice minister, said the impounded assets were in the possession of both individuals and companies.

The DSI would call the individuals and directors of the companies in for questioning within two weeks and would press charges within a month, he said. The secretary said it would also ask the Bank of Thailand to support its investigation into their financial transactions.

Mr Chaiyanat turned himself over to Bangkok police on Nov 23 to answer allegations of involvement in the illicit drug trade.

He was wanted on an arrest warrant issued by the Bangkok South Criminal Court for collusion in the drug trade and for illegally possessing a psychotropic substance with the intent to sell. He denied the charges.

His surrender followed searches at two locations in Bangkok -- a luxury house on Rama V Road and a luxury hotel in downtown Bangkok -- believed to be his hideouts.

On Oct 26, police raided the Jin Ling pub, which operated illegally in three adjacent buildings on Charoen Rat Road in Yannawa district, and 104 customers, 99 of them Chinese nationals, tested positive for drug use.

Mr Chaiyanat was reported to be the owner of the businesses in the complex.

He was also suspected of involvement with a scheme organising Chinese people to travel to Thailand for illegal purposes.

Mr Chaiyanatis is known to have made a three-million-baht donation to the ruling Palang Pracharath Party.

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