Police have arrested a suspected drug dealer who underwent extensive plastic surgery to make himself look Korean, after which he 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, said Pol Maj Gen Theeradej Thamsuthee, commander of the investigation division of the Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB).
Police seized two mobile phones, and 22 other valuable items were found in his condominium unit, Pol Maj Gen Theeradej said.
Mr Saharat was arrested under a court warrant that charged him with the import, possession and disposal of a Category 1 narcotic -- in this case, MDMA or ecstasy -- and for conspiring in relation to narcotics.
Mugshots of drug suspect Saharat Sawangjaeng before and after he transformed into 'Jimin Seong'. (Police photos)
Even though he managed to avoid being arrested in 2022, Mr Saharat was tracked down by police after they analysed where the MDMA, known on the street as ecstasy, was being distributed to other sellers and buyers in Bangkok.
This led the police to an individual described by witnesses as an "attractive South Korean man".
Mr Saharat confessed to order- ing MDMA on the dark web and using cryptocurrency to pay for it, police said.
When he 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 and underwent an extensive surgical procedure dubbed a "face off" in homage to the eponymous 1997 Hollywood blockbuster to alter this appearance hugely.
He stayed on the lam for three months before his whereabouts were revealed when one of his drug runners failed to conceal his movements, investigators said.
The suspect told police he intended to restart his life in South Korea despite not speaking the language to any degree.
Police have charged him with illegally importing narcotics.