Police arrest Korean drug ringleader

Police arrest Korean drug ringleader

Police display seized ketamine at the Narcotics Suppression Bureau, Bangkok. (File photo: Bangkok Post)
Police display seized ketamine at the Narcotics Suppression Bureau, Bangkok. (File photo: Bangkok Post)

A 29-year-old South Korean citizen who is believed to be the ringleader of a major drug trafficking network based in Thailand has been arrested in Bangkok's Ekkamai neighbourhood, according to the police on Thursday.

The man, identified only as Lee, was arrested at a condominium unit, where he was found to be in possession of 3.67 grammes of ketamine.

The suspect also tested positive for drugs, a police source said, adding he has been charged with possession of illegal drugs, as well as overstaying his visa.

Deputy commissioner of the Immigration Bureau, Pol Lt Gen Panthana Nutchanart, said Lee's arrest followed the arrest of another South Korean national at Suvarnabhumi airport, who was found with 0.5 kilogrammes of ketamine.

During questioning, he told police that he was hired by Lee to transport the drugs to South Korea, where they would be distributed to youngsters.

Pol Lt Gen Panthana said Lee is believed to be the ringleader of a drug trafficking network known as the "Ekkamai Gang". Twenty-seven of its members have been arrested by South Korean authorities.

Interpol also issued a red notice for Lee, he added.

Citing information from South Korean authorities, Pol Lt Gen Panthana said Lee's drug network is believed to have caused more than 1.5 billion baht in damages and that Lee was one of the most-wanted criminals in South Korea.

He said the police are expanding their investigation into Lee's drug suppliers, some of whom are believed to have smuggled the drug from neighbouring countries.

According to the police, Lee has been charged with possession of a narcotic drug and overstaying his visa.

He first entered Thailand on May 6, 2022, as a tourist and never extended his visa when it lapsed or left the country, according to Immigration Bureau records.

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