OAG wins partial share of assets of drug kingpin held in Switzerland

OAG wins partial share of assets of drug kingpin held in Switzerland

Notorius drug kingpin Wei Hsueh-Kang is one of the most wanted traffickers. (File photo: Theerawat Khamthita)
Notorius drug kingpin Wei Hsueh-Kang is one of the most wanted traffickers. (File photo: Theerawat Khamthita)

The Office of the Attorney-General (OAG) has successfully negotiated with Switzerland to share assets found to have been associated with the network of drug kingpin Wei Hsueh Kang in the infamous Golden Triangle region.

An OAG source said the asset sharing agreement was signed by Deputy Attorney-General Jumpon Phansumrit as instructed by the attorney-general on Saturday.

Under the agreement, Thailand will receive the network's assets worth 1.88 million Swiss francs or about 76.8 million baht with profit in the future.

The negotiations began after the Anti-Money Laundering Office (Amlo) inspected assets of a suspect found to have been associated with the Wei's network in the Golden Triangle region.

One finding also showed the suspect brought some assets to deposit at a bank in Switzerland. Amlo then urged the attorney-general, who acts as a coordinator under the Mutual Assistance In Criminal Matters Act, to seize the drug assets deposited in Switzerland.

In 2016, the Supreme Court handed down a punishment against the suspect for breaching Sections 3, 60 and 61 of the Anti-Money Laundering Act.

Prosecutors from the Special Litigation Office subsequently sought approval of the Civil Court to seize the suspect's assets related to drug dealing. The court ruled to seize the rest of the assets that were deposited in Switzerland, with the profits, in 2017.

In 2018, the OAG submitted a request to Switzerland for the seizure of the drug assets. Switzerland reviewed the matter on the basis of international asset sharing.

The cabinet later resolved to assign the OAG to lead Thai delegations to negotiate with Switzerland in 2021. The team comprised representatives from the foreign affairs and finance ministries, and Amlo.

The case reflected the success of the OAG in retrieving drug assets kept in foreign countries. It was also the result of integration between the OAG, Amlo, Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Finance, as well as Swiss prosecutors and justice officials, Amlo said. It conveyed its thanks to all agencies involved and said it will continue to negotiate more seizures.

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