BANGKOK– Cops in Thailand say they have separated a money-laundering ring that transferred an overall of 10 billion baht ($323 million), much of it connected to drug trafficking.
A Chinese business owner detained in Bangkok, Qaing Ma, is thought to be a key figure in the operation, police Maj. Gen. Veerachon Boontawee stated Thursday.
The suspect was flown by police to Chiang Mai in northern Thailand and was unavailable for remark.
Veerachon, head of the investigation department in the police region incorporating Chiang Mai, stated Ma owns companies in Thailand that import Chinese agricultural tools and machines and return Thai farming products such as frozen chicken. Business were used to perform unlawful money transfers, he said by telephone.
Ma “created a very intricate network of cash transfers to cover the origin of the money,” Veerachon stated.
Arrest warrants were released for 109 thinks in the June 16-22 cops operation to close down the network, he stated. Police captured 74 presumes, including 13 already in prison, while 35 stay at big.
Veerachon said the network laundered more than 10 billion baht ($$323 million) in 2018–2020, many of it linked to drug traffickers in Thailand and neighboring Myanmar. Myanmar is a major source of controlled substances, most especially methamphetamine, for which Thailand is a significant market and transit point.
Authorities started the money-laundering examination after a seizure in January last year of 9 million methamphetamine tablets. They found bank books in the vehicle from which they took the drugs, and traced the accounts. They discovered Ma’s accounts acted as both a source and location for the cash flows.
Ma’s companies likewise functioned as an “underground bank” for more traditional Chinese businesspeople seeking to prevent charges by concealing cash transfers, Veerachon said.
The suspects in the event include small participants who each supposedly gotten 2,000 -3,000 baht ($65-97) for permitting the ring to utilize their checking account.
All those included face 2 charges so far: participation with a global crime company and cash laundering. Each carries a penalty of 5-15 years in jail term and a 200,000 baht ($ 6,465) fine.
Veerachon stated even more arrests are anticipated.
Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights booked. This material might not be published, broadcast, reworded or redistributed without approval.
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