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Drug Kingpin on Thailand’s Top 10 Wanted List Arrested in Chiang Rai

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Drug Kingpin on Thailand's Most Wanted List Arrested in Chiang Rai

Narcotics Suppression Police have arrested one of Thailand’s most wanted drug kingpins in the Chang Saen district of Chiang Rai Province.

Thawatchai Aomchompoo, alias Bang Lai was handed over by Myanmar police after he was apprehended in the border town of Tachileik this week. He was on Thailand’s top ten most wanted lists.

Bang Lai had been hiding and operating his drug smuggling network in Tachileik, the Myanmar border town opposite the Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai, according to the Narcotics Suppression police.

Bang Lai is wanted in at least two major cases and is facing charges of colluding to possess narcotic drugs and money laundering, said Pol Lt Gen Sarayut Sanguanphokhai.

He was taken by Myanmar police to the border checkpoint in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai on Friday.

Escaped Jail, Fled to Myanmar Via Chiang Rai

Bang Lai is a key player in several drug gangs operating in Phatthalung and other southern provinces. He has also been involved in the smuggling of drugs from Myanmar into Thailand before they were transported to a third country, according to Pol Lt Gen Sarayut.

An anonymous police source claims that he was first arrested in Myanmar in 2020 and handed over to Thai authorities.

He was in jail for only 14 days before escaping and fleeing over the border to Myanmar.

Bang Lai is thought to have been one of the drug dealers who helped three female suspects wanted for the killing and dismemberment of a karaoke bar worker in Khon Kaen before fleeing to Myanmar in 2017, said Pol Lt Gen Sarayut.

They were Preeyanuch “Preaw” Nonwangchai, 24; Kawita “Earn” Ratchada, 25; and Apiwan “Jae” Sattayabundit, 28.

In May 2017, they murdered Warisara Klinjui, 22, and were later caught in Myanmar and handed over to police in Chiang Rai.

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