Police have arrested 19 suspects allegedly involved in an illicit business syndicate linked to Chinese businessman Chaiyanant "Tuhao" Kornchayanant.
The Office of the Attorney-General (OAG) said on Wednesday that the 19 people detained were among suspects listed in 37 arrest warrants issued by the Bangkok South Criminal Court.
Twelve of the warrants were issued on Dec 31, 2022, and a Thai and a Chinese man named in those documents were arrested. The others were arrested earlier. Eighteen suspects remained at large.
The suspects were charged with possession and sale of illicit drugs, unauthorised operation of entertainment places, participation in transnational crime and money laundering.
At a press conference at the OAG on Wednesday, deputy spokesman Kosonlawat Inthuchanyong said the joint investigation and interrogation by police and public prosecutors in the case were complete.
National police chief Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas told reporters all the suspects were members of the same syndicate led by Tuhao and police and public prosecutors had confidence in their evidence and witnesses.
Tuhao came under investigation after he was alleged to be a key figure in a Chinese triad running a string of illegal businesses in Thailand.
Police believe the criminal syndicate was involved in the illicit drug trade, after drugs were found at an illegally operated entertainment complex linked to Mr Chaiyanat and catering mostly to Chinese nationals.
He has been held in Bangkok Remand Prison since he surrendered to authorities on Nov 23, 2022, and was denied bail.