A former senior policeman working as an advisor to the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) tenders his resignation. The move is thought to be linked to reports of an indirect association with the Chinese kingpin accused of being a large illegal drug distributor at the centre of a growing scandal linked with fake visas, property and extensive business holdings held by nominees.
The police task force probing the sprawling empire of accused drug dealing kingdom Du Hao or Mr Chaiyanat Kornchayanant questioned two women believed to have played a role in companies linked with him on Tuesday for eight hours which focused on a hotel in Samut Prakan which was developed with a ฿500 million bank loan. At the same time, a former deputy national police chief acting as an adviser to the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB), the drug suppression agency, tendered his resignation because of an alleged indirect association with Mr Du Hao which has generated media attention. The move was welcomed by former crime boss turned political and social activist Chuvit Kamolvisit who praised the former policeman for acting in a dignified and responsible manner. Mr Chuvit promised further revelations to come relating to a scheme to supply Chinese nationals associated with the gang, visas and visa extensions, an issue currently being probed by the Bangkok-based police task force working on this case.
On Tuesday, there were further twists and revelations in the ongoing story of wealthy Chinese kingpin Mr Chaiyanat Kornchayanant currently before the Bangkok South Municipal Court on drug distribution charges.
First came the resignation of a former deputy national police chief as an advisor from the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) because of an indirect association with Mr Du Hao or Mr Chaiyanat Kornchayanant through a third party.
Top policeman spearheaded the war against drug cartels and illicit narcotics and other crackdowns
The former high-profile police general was a highly respected police officer with a long history of fighting against the proliferation of illicit narcotics in Thailand and spearheaded many of the biggest breakthroughs in the war on drugs over the last ten years including the arrest, five years ago, of Lao national Xaysana Keopimpha who was then described as Asean’s drug lord leading to the smashing of his empire worth an estimated ฿10 billion.
The Supreme Court, two years ago, confirmed a life sentence for Mr Xaysana who was first of all sentenced to death.
As well as being involved in a successful campaign to clamp down on wildlife trafficking, the senior officer, seen as a fixer with the national police, was in charge of many campaigns and crackdowns.
He led an operation in July 2019 which saw a local politician in Narathiwat province, 58-year-old Mr Gariya Chemama, arrested for drug dealing and distribution operations, leading to the seizure of assets worth ฿50 million.
Chuvit praised the former police chief for resigning
On Tuesday, Mr Chuvit Kamolvisit the former underworld figure turned politician and social activist, who has led the way in exposing what is a growing scandal concerning the corruption caused by Chinese drug gangs in Thailand, paid tribute to the former police chief for resigning with his good name intact, in the interest of public confidence and the important work of the drug suppression agency.
Mr Chuvit who has repeatedly supplied confidential information to the police task force, the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) and the Ministry of Justice concerning the affair, emphasised that the former police officer was in no way implicated except for this third party association.
Chuvit urged the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) to carry on with its work at progressing the work of the police investigation currently underway by moving to further seize assets of the Chinese drug cartel that has been exposed as operating extensively in Thailand.
Mr Chuvit acknowledged that, at this point, Mr Du Hao has not yet been convicted on the drug distribution charges before the court.
Probe into 10 licenced schools with information requested from 27 Immigration Bureau offices
General Surachate also expanded on a police investigation into 10 establishments in Thailand licenced by the Ministry of the Interior as schools which appeared to have facilitated extensions of student visas to Chinese nationals in the kingdom from 2020 onwards.
These revelations came after police checked the status of 237 Chinese nationals arrested at an illegal nightclub in Yannawa on October 26th last which has sparked the wider probe into ‘grey’ Chinese money or triad activities across Thailand.
Just under half the Chinese arrested in that raid were later charged with the possession of illegal drugs.
However, police subsequently found that they appeared to have been living in Thailand and availing of visa extensions to do so facilitated by a visa extension agency work with police Immigration Bureau offices.
This has resulted in information and representations being demanded from the heads of no less than 27 Immigration Bureau offices throughout Thailand with police investigators indicating they are probing 3 critical issues in relation to the visas granted.
Senior officer underlines that no wrongdoing is established by Immigration Police linked to the case
If found to be improper, the visas will be revoked and the schools may face closure by the Ministry of the Interior which will receive a report on the findings of the police task force.
Officers working on the case have underlined that there is no evidence of wrongdoing by any Immigration Bureau officers at this stage.
Still, if this is found to be the case, then disciplinary proceedings and criminal prosecution will follow.
This aspect of the investigation is being led by Police Colonel Phakphum Pissamai of Provincial Police Region 4 who emphasised that no prosecution will be initiated against anyone without strong factual evidence being available as a basis to do so.
Police probe ownership of up to 50 luxury homes in Bangkok’s Bang Na area owned by Chinese nationals
Police General Surachate Hakparn, also on Tuesday, gave an update on the growing controversy over an exclusive housing development in the Bang Na area of Bangkok where police last Thursday raided and seized four homes valued at ฿50 million each and owned by Mr Du Hao.
High-end, exclusive and expensive property schemes in Bangkok bought up entirely by the Chinese gang
Police also have concerns about the ownership of other luxury homes within the development as nearly all the expensive properties appear to be owned by Chinese nationals.
Last week, it was reported that police have asked all owners to supply their title documents while they are also working closely with the Department of Land on the matter.
Police quiz women linked with Du Hao’s business empire for 8 hours after being summoned on Tuesday
On Tuesday also, two women closely linked to Mr Du Hao’s legitimate operations in Thailand which are being closely scrutinised by the police task force led by Police General Surachate Hakparn or Big Joke, met with police investigators at the Royal Thai Police Club in central Bangkok in a meeting that was attended by Police General Surachate.
Police are understood to be convinced, at this point, that they have not found all the financial assets of the Chinese kingpin who only maintained ฿100,000 in his personal bank accounts.
It is understood that police tracked down the women at a spa on December 3rd to set up an appointment with task force officers on Tuesday.
The two women named Ms Lin and Ms Patcharin were questioned by police in particular about a hotel in Samut Prakan which was developed by a company in which Mr Du Hao or Mr Chaiyanat Kornchayanant was listed as Chairman and a director.
On Tuesday, Ms Patcharin was accompanied by her lawyer, Mr Taweesak Buntham, who told the media that Tuesday’s meeting was his client’s third time consulting with police on the matter offering cooperation and information as required.
Samut Prakan hotel is legitimate says Ms Patcharin pointing to ฿500 million bank loan and family land
It was explained that the basis of the hotel was entirely legitimate and that a loan of ฿500 million had been taken out to develop it on land that was supplied by Ms Patcharin’s mother.
Mr Taweesak also made it clear that his client, Ms Patcharin, had no personal or romantic relationship with Mr Du Hao or Mr Chaiyanat.
He said that Ms Patcharin had known the Chinese businessman for over 10 years as he was involved in the travel and tourism business.
He emphasised that Ms Patcharin was continuing to live a normal life despite speculation and rumour surrounding the case and the ongoing police investigation.
Speaking to reporters after both women linked with the case, looking stony-faced, had left the building with their lawyer, Police General Surachate gave a summary to reporters on what had transpired.
He confirmed that Mr Du Hao was the chairman of the board of directors of the firm that owned the hotel and a director. He was also either a director or shareholder of three to four other firms linked with either of the two women.
He revealed that money had flowed both in and out of the firms related to the women and that the financial affairs of the concerns were being thoroughly examined.
No abnormalities found at this point
He said that, at this point, no abnormalities have been found but if they are found, then this could lead to the inspection of all financial links and the flows of money which could lead to the assets of the firms being seized.
Police interviewed the two women on Tuesday for 8 hours.
On Thursday, a former senior police officer and a Ms Suchida will face a similar interrogation as police investigators progress their enquiries into the business dealings of Mr Chaiyanat Kornchayanant known as Du Hao.
Big Joke also revealed that police had found illicit narcotic stains on the Cessna executive jet seized last week by the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) in Prachuap Khiri Khan which is linked to Mr Du Hao and another company he is involved in.