Police in Thailand have intercepted 200 kilograms of crystal meth hidden in six replicas of ancient “Moai” statue heads headed for Taiwan.
A joint force of the Narcotics Suppression Bureau (NSB), Immigration Bureau, and Taiwanese police seized six replica Moai heads from a shipping company at the Laem Chabang deep-sea port in Sri Racha district of Chonburi province on Wednesday.
Replicas were waiting to be shipped to Taiwan in a warehouse.
According to deputy national police chief Roy Inkhapairoj, about 200 kg of crystal meth was discovered inside six of the heads after they were cut open.
Police collaborated with the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Thailand after receiving information that a drug trafficking gang – led by a Taiwanese man identified only as Pan and his Thai girlfriend known only as Ju – were planning to smuggle drugs out of Thailand.
Police tracked the two’s movements and discovered they had taken several trips between Thailand and Taiwan, Pol Gen Roy said. The replicas of the Moai heads were also stored in a depot in Samut Sakhon province.
The replicas were transported from Taiwan to Samut Sakhon early last year as a result of a declaration to customs officials at Laem Chabang that they would be used for exhibitions in Thailand; an unnamed Thai woman was responsible for all transportation and rental expenses, he said.
Pol Gen Roy said police had also monitored the two Thai women to find that more than 10 million baht had passed through their bank accounts, although neither of them had any specific profession, and the sources of the money were unknown.
Gen. Sarayut Sanguanphokhai, chief of the NSB, said several gang members were arrested and the rest were being pursued. He did not disclose any details about the suspects arrested.
Moai statues are the mysterious, giant human statues found on Easter Island in eastern Polynesia.