SUNDAY, March 03, 2024
nationthailand

Alleged Golden Triangle drug kingpin Zhao Wei denies ‘Tuhao’ links

Alleged Golden Triangle drug kingpin Zhao Wei denies ‘Tuhao’ links

Zhao Wei, an alleged Chinese crime boss based in the Golden Triangle, has rejected accusations he is involved with Chainat “Tuhao” Kornchayanan, who police suspect of running criminal enterprises in Thailand.

Chainat – a Chinese national who acquired Thai citizenship after marrying a Thai police colonel – denied the charges against him after surrendering to police on November 23.

The charges stem from information provided by former massage tycoon and politician Chuwit Kamolvisit, who claims Chainat runs criminal networks in Thailand and has connections with several foreign gangs, including Zhao's.

Zhao, 71, has been sanctioned by the United States for “drug trafficking, human trafficking, money laundering, bribery, and wildlife trafficking” through the Kings Romans Casino", a vast gambling complex on the Laos border with Thailand’s Chiang Rai.

Zhao dismissed the allegations of links with Chainat and said he had never met Chuwit.

“I don’t know why he tried to frame me. I suspect there could be someone else behind this allegation,” he said, as quoted by Thai media.

He added that US sanctions against him were “groundless” and “a ploy used by a superpower to bully other nations”.

In 2018, the US Treasury sanctioned “the Zhao Wei network” as a transnational criminal organisation that facilitates storage and distribution of heroin, methamphetamine and other narcotics for illicit networks including Myanmar’s United Wa State Army.

Zhao, who chairs the Laos government’s Golden Triangle special economic zone, said his main concern was aiding develop and poverty elimination in Laos.

“I have received warm support from the Laotian government and its people over the years. They understand what we are trying to do. Most people already know that Chinese people have unbound love for everyone in the world,” he said.

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