FRIDAY, March 01, 2024

Fourth ‘lieutenant’ arrested as noose tightens on triad, police say

Fourth ‘lieutenant’ arrested as noose tightens on triad, police say

Police on Wednesday arrested another high-level suspect in their crackdown on what they describe as a Chinese gang that trafficks narcotics in the Kingdom – one that is led by the husband of a police colonel.

Chen Zhaohui, also known as “Tony”, was arrested at an entertainment venue in Bangkok’s Huai Khwang district on Wednesday as part of a crackdown on what police describe as a Chinese gang that began last week and swiftly expanded to 34 locations in eight provinces.

Police say Chen is a lieutenant of alleged narcotics kingpin Chainat Kornchayanan (also known as “Tuhao”) who turned himself in to police last week after an arrest warrant was issued for him. Chainat is a Chinese national who became a naturalised Thai after marrying a police colonel.

Chainat is under investigation for involvement in criminal activity in several provinces. On 23 November he surrendered to the police team overseeing a crackdown on Chinese mafia, but has denied the charges against him.

Police suspect that Chen is one of Chainat’s five lieutenants.

Deputy National Police chief Gen Surachet Hakparn said Chen was initially charged with helping foreign nationals conduct businesses in Thailand without legal permission.

Chen’s operations are based in Samut Prakan, where he owns a hotel worth 50 million baht, as well as several private airplanes and tour buses.

Information regarding Chinese criminals in Thailand was provided to police by former massage parlour tycoon Chuwit Kamolvisit. Chuwit claimed that Chainat has five crime networks in Thailand, and that each one is run by a lieutenant. Three “lieutenants” were arrested before Chen, while the fifth (known as “Ming”) is believed to have fled Thailand.

Police on Wednesday also charged the Thai manager of Space Plus Club, an entertainment venue in Huai Kwang district. They said they have evidence that Chen had invested over 100 million baht in the establishment through its manager Natthason Hutasewi, who illegally acted as a nominee for foreign investment.