Smuggling tycoon's adopted son collared at airport

Smuggling tycoon's adopted son collared at airport

Karin: Admits to being a proxy
Karin: Admits to being a proxy

An adopted son of a Chinese pork-smuggling mafia kingpin was arrested by the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) at Don Mueang airport on Tuesday.

According to Pol Maj Nathapol Ditsayatham, head investigator of the smuggling case, the team received a report on the departure from China of Karin Piyapornpaiboon, an adopted son of Li Sheng Jiao, alias "Hia Kao" (Brother Kao), from the DSI's intelligence unit.

Mr Karin was arrested at the airport after the plane arrived at 7.40am and was taken to the DSI headquarters at 9am. His detention complied with the Prevention and Suppression of Torture and Enforced Disappearance Act, Pol Maj Nathapol said.

His adopted father, Mr Li, is a prime suspect in a case involving almost 60,000 tonnes of smuggled pork that were seized in January, having caused more than a billion baht in damages. He surrendered to police upon returning from China on Jan 22.

Pol Maj Nathapol said the team was able to track down the financial transactions between Mr Li and Mr Karin.

According to the investigation, Mr Karin transferred at least 2.6 million baht of money to his father in 2022, while Mr Li sent at least 10.8 million baht to his adopted son during 2021–2023.

Mr Li was also charged by the DSI with possible involvement in smuggling over 10,000 containers of chicken feet, with a total market value of 5 billion baht.

Mr Karin admitted he ran various businesses on behalf of his father including smuggling chicken feet into Thailand. Further DSI investigations revealed that the chicken feet were sent to a cold storage warehouse in Nakhon Pathom before being exported to China.

Democrat leader and former agriculture minister Chalermchai Sri-on meanwhile affirmed he was not related to the two suspects.

Mr Chalermchai came under fire because his elder brother, Wirat Piyapornpaiboon, and his politician nephew, Jukkaphan Piyapornpaiboon, shared the same surname as Mr Karin.

Mr Chalermchai said he had neither blood ties nor a close connection with either suspect, adding he met Mr Li just once as they were invited to the same event attended by businessmen and politicians. Mr Chalermchai said he did not know how Mr Karin obtained his brother's Thai surname.

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