19 arrested after Bangkok online drugs operation targeted

An operation saw gang members’ assets worth about Bt100 million seized, Patrol and Special Operation Division chief Pol MajGeneral Surachet Hakpan told a press conference on Monday.

In a recent crackdown on a Bangkok-based gang that brazenly sold marijuana online, police searched 19 locations and arrested 19 suspects, as well as seizing evidence including drugs and weapons.

The haul included eight guns and more than 60 rounds of ammunition, 35 kilograms of dried marijuana, 1,000 Yaba pills and 60 grams of crystal methamphetamine, or ice.

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A subsequent operation saw gang members’ assets worth about Bt100 million seized, Patrol and Special Operation Division chief Pol MajGeneral Surachet Hakpan told a press conference on Monday.

The case stemmed from a police investigation into a Thai Facebook user who allegedly posted information about illicit drugs for sale, along with prices and customers’ postal tracking numbers, Surachet said.

Last Wednesday, police identified a suspect by postal slips but found that she was innocent, as the slips were actually for selling cosmetics and were reposted by others who sold drugs, he said.

The Facebook page in question also carried a profile picture of innocent Thai model Chorkan “Puinoon” Wongkandee, 25, without her permission, he said.

Police later identified the alleged culprits as Kanchai Reuksaensuk, 31, and Sakao Yanprai, 30, and arrested them at a house in Min Buri district. At the house, they also seized 28 kilograms of marijuana, three property deeds worth Bt35 million, a bank account with a balance of Bt2.1 million, and three cars.

As the pair allegedly confessed to sending marijuana via post to 19 customers in Bangkok’s Sathorn area, Pathum Thani, Yala, Nakon Pathom and Phuket, police extended their operation, he added.

Surachet said this was a major drugdealing network earning Bt200,000 a month from selling marijuana. Kanchai’s bank account reportedly showed a sum of Bt16 million for this year.

Chorkan said she learned from friends that her photo had been used as a profile picture on the drugselling Facebook page and filed a police complaint against those who ruined her reputation.

Apologising for smearing someone’s good name, Kanchai said he used Chorkan’s picture to attract customers’ attention and used another person’s postal tracking number slips to boost his customers’ confidence in the delivery method.

Kanchai said he posted clear price tags in response to the government’s earlier announcement that all online shops must show product prices.

As police later tried to arrest Kanchai’s supplier, nicknamed Jack, in Soi Ekkamai 23, they found that he had already escaped from the house, leaving behind 16.5 kilograms of marijuana, 1,000 Yaba pills and 60 grams of ‘ice’, as well as a pistol with some ammunition, said Surachet’s deputy, Pol Colonel Samran Nuanma.

-The Nation

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