Police in central Thailand have seized two luxury houses, cash, and other assets worth approximately US$1.4million from a Chinese national suspected of involvement in the illegal drug trade.
On Friday, police officers from the Narcotics Control Board posted forfeiture notices outside the two buildings in the Sirisa 16 housing estate in the Bang Lamung district in central Thailand’s Chonburi province.
C&F 112 Property Co. had an office in one of the houses, which was worth about US$560,000. The other house, worth about US$280,000, was Lucky Yang 2021 Co.’s office. According to the police the houses belong to Chinese national Yang Zhiguo.
Mr Yang was wanted on an arrest warrant issued by the provincial Court on November 30 for alleged collusion in the possession of illicit drugs with the intent to sell, as well as other related offenses. Investigators believe Mr Yang purchased the two houses with drug money and registered them as real estate company offices. He did not, however, own a real estate company.
Instead, he allegedly used drug profits to invest with colleagues in Pattaya’s Bone Pub and Club One Pub. The two pubs catered primarily to Chinese tourists.
In 2020, police raided the Bone pub and discovered “happy water,” a new illicit drug cocktail, being served to customers. Some arrests were made at the time. Investigators discovered that Mr Yang was a pub investor.
Police assembled evidence and obtained permission from Pattaya Provincial Court to arrest him and seize his assets.
During the operation on Friday, officials seized two houses, two bank accounts containing more than 14 million baht, five mobile phones, one computer, and untaxed foreign liquor. The total estimated value was 50 million baht.
According to investigators, Mr Yang also purchased four condominium rooms and two expensive cars for approximately 25 million baht.
On Friday, the wanted man was not found at the scene. His current location was unknown. Chartiros Hasanai, 47, a woman who claimed to be a caregiver, was detained for questioning.
Former TV actress and husband arrested Cyber Police
Meanwhile, Cyber police officers arrested a wealthy computer programmer, his TV actress wife, and another man for allegedly running a major gambling and pornographic website.
They also seized assets worth over 700 million baht, including many luxury cars, houses, and high-end watches.
Phumphat Prasertwit, 42, Chetchai Hongkham, 38, and Mr Phumphat’s wife Thamolphan Phanuchitputthiwong, 40, were arrested on December 13 under arrest warrants issued by the Criminal Court for allegedly conspiring to disseminate pornographic material, organizing or enticing people to gamble online, conspiring to commit money laundering, and colluding in money laundering.
Police seized 14 vehicles from them, including six supercars from Lamborghini, Ferrari, and McLaren, six luxury cars from Porsche, Benz, and BMW, and two motorcycles, as well as cash in Thai and foreign currencies worth approximately 42 million baht, eight luxury watches from Richard Mille, Patek Philippe, Rolex, and Omega, 50 designer bags, five computers, 18 mobile phones, 44 bank accounts, four luxury houses, and other assets.
When announcing the arrests Cyber police told reporters that the total value of the seized assets was more than 700 million baht.
Police had spent over two years investigating a major gambling network, www.ufa24h.net, and a pornographic website, hd.star4k.com, as well as following the money trail of the two websites, both of which were linked to Mr Phumphat and his wife Thamolphan.
The couple benefited directly from collecting membership fees and organizing gambling through the websites. Mr Chetchai was tasked with collecting money from bettors and delivering it to Mr Phumphat.
Mr Chetchai, according to police, made more than 38 cash withdrawals totaling 400 million baht on Mr Phumphat’s orders between April and September of this year. On December 15, crime suppression police searched a house in Nonthaburi’s Bang Krui district and arrested three suspects, according to Cyber police.
Police investigators discovered that the gambling website had approximately 40,000 customers and a monthly circulation of approximately 7 billion baht, police said.
Thamolphan, known as “Yam”, was a former TV actress. She and her family made headlines in March after fleeing a fire at the Soneva Kiri luxury resort on Koh Kut in Trat.