Six officers sacked over 'Tuhao' links
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Six officers sacked over 'Tuhao' links

Chinese businessman Chaiyanat
Chinese businessman Chaiyanat "Tuhao" Kornchayanant, 40, in police custody on Nov 23, 2022. (Photo: Pornprom Satrabhaya)

Six police, including the wife of businessman and suspected crime boss Chaiyanat "Tuhao" Kornchayanant, have been dismissed amid an investigation into their alleged involvement in Chinese gangs and the illicit drugs trade.

They were formally expelled from the force on Monday, while Mr Chaiyanat already faces an additional charge of money laundering, national police chief Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas said on Thursday. The police and public prosecution team jointly investigating the case expect to forward their report to prosecutors in the next one or two days, he said.

He expressed confidence the team has secured enough evidence, including statements from more than 400 witnesses, to prove the suspects guilty of various charges, including taking bribes. There are 37 suspects in the case, 19 of whom have been arrested, he said, adding another 70 are either wanted or have been charged in a related drug case.

Among the six fired police are Mr Tuhao's wife, Pol Col Wanthanaree Kornchayanant, who is attached to the foreign affairs sub-division of the Royal Thai Police and was found to have been involved in Mr Chaiyanat's money laundering case, he said. The other five allegedly demanded bribes.

They are a deputy commissioner of Provincial Police Region 6, a police driver, a deputy chief of Lat Phrao station's traffic police section, and two police investigators at Yannawa station, said Pol Gen Damrongsak. All are subject to a probe into serious disciplinary misconduct.

Meanwhile, Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn, the deputy national police chief, said part of the investigation focusing on potential corruption among Immigration Bureau police is now complete.

"All these suspects, including high-ranking commanding officers and immigration station chiefs, will be summoned to answer charges next week," he said.

Mr Chaiyanat's businesses relied on the use of hundreds of coaches, 33 of which are reportedly owned by a cousin of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

Referring to these, Pol Gen Damrongsak said the PM's relative operated a coach rental business and owned the coaches in 2019 before Mr Chaiyanat was found to be involved in the drugs trade.

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