CHON BURI: Authorities have seized two luxury houses, cash and other assets in Pattaya worth about 50 million baht from a Chinese national accused of involvement in the illicit drug trade.
Officers from Provincial Police Region 2, immigration and the Office of the Narcotics Control Board on Friday posted forfeiture notices outside the two buildings, in Sirisa 16 housing estate in Bang Lamung district.
One house, worth about 20 million, served as an office of C&F 112 Property Co. The other house, worth about 10 million baht, was an office of Lucky Yang 2021 Co.
The houses belong to Chinese national Yang Zhiguo, according to the police team led by Pol Maj Gen Theerachai Chamnanmor, investigation chief of Provincial Police Region 2.
Mr Yang was wanted on an arrest warrant issued by the Pattaya Provinciali Court on Nov 30 for alleged collusion in possession of illicit drugs with intent to sell, and related offences.
Investigators allege that Mr Yang used money acquired from the drug trade to buy the two houses and registered them as offices of real estate companies. However, he did not operate a real estate business.
He instead allegedly used drug profits to invest with colleagues in Bone pub and Club One pub in Pattaya. The two pubs served mainly Chinese tourists.
Police had raided Bone pub in 2020 and found “happy water’’, a new illicit drug cocktail, was being served to customers. Some arrests were made at the time. Investigators learned that Mr Yang was an investor in the pub.
Police put together a case and obtained approval from Pattaya Provincial Court to arrest him and seize his assets.
During Friday's operation, officials impounded the two houses, two bank accounts holding more than 14 million baht, five mobile phones, one computer and untaxed foreign liquor. The total value was estimated at 50 million baht.
Investigators said Mr Yang also bought four condominium rooms for about 25 million baht, and two pricey cars.
The wanted man was not found at the scene on Friday. His whereabouts were unknown. A woman who said she was a caretaker, Chartiros Hasanai, 47, was detained for questioning.
Caretaker Chartiros Hasanai, 47, is held for questioning at one of the two houses seized at a housing estate in Bang Lamung distrtict of Chon Buri on Friday. The Chinese owner, wanted on an arrest warrant for involvement in the drug trade, was not there. (Photo: Chaiyot Pupattanapong)