Source: Bangkok Post
The Office of Narcotics Control Board on Monday announced the arrest of a Malaysian drug dealer, and a major member of a transnational drug syndicate, who had been wanted on an arrest warrant by the Criminal Court since August.
The suspect, identified as Ong Gim Wah, 39, was captured in Laos on December 29 during a joint operation between Thailand and Laos.
With 1 million baht in the country, the suspect is said to have played a key role in procuring drugs and coordinating with drug syndicates in the Golden Triangle Region since 2006.
Authorities believe he worked with drug networks from Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and Laos, and used Thailand for money laundering and as a transit point for smuggling drugs to countries such as Malaysia, Taiwan, and Australia.
According to Justice Minister Pol Col Tawee Sodong and Pol Lt Geb Panurat Lakboon, assistant national police chief and ONCB acting secretary-general, the arrest came after a seizure of seven suspects and 998 kilograms of crystal meth in Ratchaburi in June.
The ONCB led the seizure with cooperation from the Narcotics Suppression Bureau (NSB), Navy Seals, the Armed Forces Security Center, and the Royal Thai Navy’s special forces unit. Authorities later found a link to Mr.Ong who had remained in hiding in Laos.
The information led to a confiscation of his assets including a plot of land, two condominium units, three yachts, two cars, three motorbikes, three guns, 275,000baht in cash, 10 bank accounts, and other assets across Bangkok, Trat, Chiang Mai and Chon Buri, worth an estimated 85 million baht.
Since 2018, authorities have arrested 35 drug suspects and recovered 4.4 tonnes of crystal methamphetamine, 493 grams of heroin, and 12 tonnes of cocaine. Most cases occurred in Malaysia.
Malaysian authorities have confiscated assets worth 418 million ringgit or around 3.1 billion baht, and are preparing to seize eight businesses owned by network members.
Pol Lt Gen Panurat Lakboon said that the crackdown is part of the Srettha Thavisin government’s proactive operation to tackle drug-related crime.
In a separate development, the army last year arrested 1955 drug suspects. It seized 351 million meth pills, 12.6 tonnes of crystal meth, 44kgs of heroin, and 2.09 tonnes of ketamine, according to assistant army spokeswoman Lt Col Paweena Sribuacchum, said that most drugs were discovered in the northern and northeastern regions.