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Cops find link to transnational ring

Cops find link to transnational ring

Chinese businessman and suspected crime boss Chaiyanat “Tuhao” Kornchayanant will likely face more charges as police secure evidence of his alleged role in a scheme organising Chinese people to travel to Thailand for illegal purposes, said national police chief Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas on Tuesday.

“The police have found evidence that this criminal syndicate is connected with a number of people outside of Thailand and had a plan to invite more Chinese nationals to travel to Thailand and operate a [illegal] business here,” he said.

Pol Gen Damrongsak previously insisted police found no evidence the gang was linked with criminal activities overseas, which explained why the case was classified as a local case, not one occurring outside of the kingdom as suggested by former politician and massage parlour tycoon Chuvit Kamolvisit.

Mr Chuvit, who has released information about the Chinese gang and the people behind it, previously raised several questions over the police handling of the probe, which prompted Pol Gen Damrongsak to take charge of the case.

Recently uncovered evidence has suggested the gang is part of a transnational crime syndicate, which means the case will be reclassified as one occurring outside the kingdom, and public prosecutors will have to be involved in the investigation process, he said.

The police will ask the Office of the Attorney-General (OAG) to decide who will lead its investigation into the case or whether the OAG will join the police investigation team working on it, said Pol Gen Damrongsak.

Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn, the deputy national police chief, on Monday said the investigation into the Chinese gang would soon be wrapped up.

He said the police were waiting for information about the gang’s money trail, which will support a money-laundering charge the police have also considered pressing against Mr Chaiyanat.

As for the more than 27 heads of immigration offices who were allegedly bribed to facilitate the approval of non-immigrant visa applications for more than 3,325 Chinese nationals who entered Thailand on a tourist visa, all of them will soon be charged, he said.

The police have continued to trace and seize for inspection Mr Chaiyanat’s assets while more than 100 Chinese nationals detained previously in connection with the investigation remain detained in the Immigration Bureau’s facilities, he said.

He was responding to Mr Chuvit’s claim that only six suspects were included in the investigation and that they appeared to be scapegoats for the scheme.

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