December 14, 2022
BANGKOK – Investigators believe at least 27 immigration police officers have made it possible for members of Chinese triads to stay illegally in Thailand.
Deputy National Police chief General Surachet Hakparn told the press on Sunday that investigators came to this conclusion after interrogating 27 suspects over the past two weeks.
He said some of the suspects broke down and admitted to their crimes due to overwhelming evidence.
“I believe more immigration police officers are involved,” he said, vowing to take strong action against these officers with no exceptions.
Police launched a nationwide investigation last month 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.
Chaiyanat is married to a senior Thai police officer and has gained Thai citizenship through this marriage.
He surrendered to police on November 23 and has been denying all charges.
Police believe Chinese triads are operating in at least 18 provinces, including Bangkok, Chonburi, Chiang Mai, Chaiyaphum, Nakhon Ratchasima and Udon Thani.
Surachet added that the case against Chaiyanat has made considerable progress and there is plenty of evidence to support money laundering charges. He said available evidence should help uproot Chaiyanat’s financial network that has been funding criminal operations in Thailand.
When asked about Chuwit’s concerns about the transparency of the investigation, Surachet said police are open to advise and will look into all evidence that turns up, including tips on social media.
“Investigation will be based on evidence and the witnesses we find, not on instincts alone,” he said.
He added that so far, more than 100 Chinese nationals have been arrested and are being questioned, while Chaiyanat has been denied bail and will remain behind bars until the investigation is over.