Police have arrested a suspected drug dealer who underwent extensive plastic surgery to make himself look Korean and evaded capture for three months.
Saharat Sawangjaeng, 25, who these days styles himself as a South Korean national named Jimin Seong, was arrested on Thursday at a condominium in Bang Na district of Bangkok, said Pol Maj Gen Teeradej Thumsutee, commander of the investigation division of the Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB).
Police were able to track Mr Saharat down despite his evasion of arrest in 2022 by analysing the distribution of methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), known on the street as ecstasy, to other sellers as well as buyers in Bangkok. The narcotics were traced back to an individual characterised by witnesses as an “attractive South Korean man”.
Mr Saharat confessed to ordering MDMA over the dark web and using cryptocurrency for payment, police said on Friday.
When the suspect was first detained on an assault charge, officers found 2 kilogrammes of narcotics in liquid form and 290 MDMA pills in his possession. But he was able to escape detention at the time and underwent an extensive surgical procedure dubbed “face off” to significantly alter this appearance.
While the work allowed him to stay ahead of police for three months, his whereabouts were revealed after one of his drug runners failed to conceal his movements, investigators explained.
The suspect told police that he intended to restart his life in South Korea but admitted to not being able to speak the language.
Police have charged him with the illegal import of narcotics.
Mugshots of drug suspect Saharat Sawangjaeng before and after his transformation into “Jimin Seong”.