Cadmium waste buyer postpones meeting with police
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Cadmium waste buyer postpones meeting with police

More tailings found at premises of Bangkok company owned by buyer's wife

A forklift operator handles one of the bags containing cadmium tailings that were found at LLT Metal Co in Bang Sue district of Bangkok on Wednesday. (Photo: Police)
A forklift operator handles one of the bags containing cadmium tailings that were found at LLT Metal Co in Bang Sue district of Bangkok on Wednesday. (Photo: Police)

The owner of mishandled cadmium waste has postponed his meeting with police, while his wife also faces charges after more of the hazardous substance was found at a company she owns in Bangkok.

Jetsada Kengroongruangchai, the director of J&B Metal Co, asked to postpone a meeting scheduled for Thursday to April 18 as he was upcountry, said Pol Col Apisant Chaiyarat, chief of Sub-Division 5 of the Natural Resources and Environment Crime Suppression.

Mr Jetsada promised to show up on April 18 and disclose the sourcing of cadmium tailings in his possession, Pol Col Apisant said.

The waste originated in Tak province and was not supposed to have left there. But some of it has since been found in Samut Sakhon and Chon Buri, with another discovery made on Wednesday in Bangkok.

Pol Col Apisant quoted Mr Jetsada, 64, as saying that it is possible that authorities have now discovered all the waste they were seeking.

Pol Maj Gen Watcharin Phusit, commander of the division, said that police had initially been unable to contact Mr Jetsada after cadmium waste was found at his foundries in Samut Sakhon last week.

Police planned to press several charges relating to building control violations, public health and hazardous substances, the commander said.

On Wednesday police charged Mr Jetsada’s wife, Wanna, with possessing hazardous substances without permission. The 65-year-old woman owns LLT Metal Co on Pracharat Road in Bang Sue district of Bangkok, where found 150 tonnes of cadmium waste while delivering a summons to her husband there. The property was cordoned off and declared a dangerous area.

According to Pol Maj Gen Watcharin, the tailings had been kept in Bang Sue since December last year and are believed to be among the initial lot of about 15,000 tonnes acquired from a specially equipped landfill operated by Bound and Beyond Plc in Tak province.

Mr Jetsada has houses in Bangkok, Chon Buri and Samut Sakhon. Officials have found about 12,500 tonnes of cadmium waste at various locations in the three provinces.

Police say they have found documents indicating that Chinese-owned companies were buying the cadmium waste. Transactions was made in Chinese currency and it was likely that the tailings were destined for China.

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin on Wednesday ordered authorities to ensure the cadmium tailings are transported back to Tak by the end of the month.

He also reportedly said that the licence held by Bound and Beyond to transport the material would be revoked.

Bound and Beyond is a SET-listed hospitality and hotel company that began life as Padaeng Industry in 1981 and became Southeast Asia’s largest zinc miner before making a radical change in 2021 and renaming the business.

The Ministry of Finance was an original investor in Padaeng and is still the third-largest shareholder in Bound and Beyond (BEYOND) with 10.76%, SET records show.

Hazardous mining waste and residues have been deposited in seven pits on the Tak site operated by Bound and Beyond in accordance with environmental impact assessment (EIA) regulations. One pit was successfully closed in 2018.

In a statement to the SET on Wednesday, the company said it entered into a cadmium waste sale and purchase agreement with J&B Metal on May 30, 2023, and that the two companies are not related in any way.

”The company is aware of the public’s concerns regarding the incident,” it said, referring to the recent discoveries. “For this reason, the company is pleased to cooperate with relevant government agencies in order to terminate or mitigate the incident to alleviate the public’s concerns.”

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