Three generals among 80 immigration police charged in triad visa scam
Investigators believe at least 80 immigration police officers, three of whom are generals, have been aiding about 5,000 members of Chinese triad criminal gangs to stay illegally in Thailand.
Deputy National Police chief General Surachet Hakparn told reporters on Monday that the suspects have been summoned to hear charges filed against them, which include malfeasance and demanding bribes.
The police launched a nationwide investigation in November after former massage parlour tycoon and politician Chuwit Kamolvisit provided information on alleged Chinese triads operating in Thailand.
The tip-off quickly led to an arrest warrant being issued for alleged triad kingpin Chaiyanat “Tuhao” Kornchayanant, a Chinese national who gained Thai citizenship by marrying a senior Thai police officer.
Surachet, who led the investigation, said officials were found to have issued student and other visas to some 3,000 Chinese nationals in the Northeast and more than 1,000 in the North from 2020-2021, allowing them to stay in Thailand and engage in illegal operations.
Among the 5,000 recipients is the owner of Club One, a famous entertainment venue in Pattaya, which police suspect is a triad base of operations.
“We need to weed out bad officials from the force of over 20,000 immigration police,” said Surachet.
“Investigators are also coordinating with the National Anti-Corruption Commission in tracing the finances of these suspected officials.”
Authorities have so far confiscated assets worth 5.3 billion baht from Chaiyanat, including real estate, buses, bank deposits, businesses and an aircraft. The Justice Ministry announced last week that it is seizing another 3 billion baht in assets owned by Chaiyanat and people in his network.