Police arrested 61 people in connection with a 10-billion-baht money laundering operation called one of Thailand’s biggest drug-trafficking operations in years.
Allegedly headed by Chinese national Chien Ma, caught earlier in Bangkok, the ring allegedly gleaned the revenue from a massive drug-trafficking network spanning the entire country.
Top officials from Provincial Police Region 5, Anti-Money Laundering Office and tax departments said at a June 25 news conference that they had seized more than 700 bank books showing 10.1 billion baht in cash flow.
The investigation began in March 2019 when police confiscated 9.4 million methamphetamine tablets from suspects in Ban Du village in Chiang Rai. Investigators traced the money to a Central drug ring.
That network transferred huge amounts of cash to buy drugs from Myanmar through several import-export firms set up as fronts for money laundering, officials said. The firms’ 49 bank accounts were tracked back to Chien.
Chien’s alleged network, investigators said, worked with three smaller gangs run by a former fashion model, the abbot of a temple in Myanmar, and a well-connected businessman in Trang Province.
Police finally swooped in, making 61 arrests from June 16-23. In addition, another 13 incarcerated drug convicts were implicated in the scheme.