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Gangster re-arrested for medical glove fraud

Police arrested a Japanese man, allegedly a former Yakuza gangster, twice over the past week for rubber glove fraud that reportedly caused damage worth nearly 300 million baht.

Pol Lt Gen Jirabhop Bhuridej, commissioner of the Central Investigation Bureau, said on Monday that Shuichi Ozawa, 42, was arrested at a hotel in Ploenchit area of Bangkok last Thursday for unauthorised production of medical equipment.

The commissioner said the suspect was a former member of the Yakuza gang named Sumiyoshi in Japan.

Pol Col Neti Wongkularb, superintendent of the Consumer Protection Police Division, said that the arrest resulted from a raid on a warehouse in Moo 11 village of tambon Huai Yai in Chon Buri’s Bang Lamung district on June 8. 

Police found substandard medical gloves worth about 100 million baht, together with more than 10,000 boxes prepared for the gloves. The warehouse belonged to Mr Ozawa, he said.

The Pattaya Court issued a warrant for his arrest on Nov 6.

Last Thursday police also arrested the suspect’s Thai wife — identified only as Supanida, 24 — for allegedly selling substandard medical gloves and failing to deliver all ordered gloves. The woman allegedly tricked victims out of nearly 4 million baht, Pol Col Neti said.

Last Friday police found over 10 million substandard medical gloves in six cargo containers at a container yard in tambon Nong Kham of Sri Racha district, Chon Buri. Those gloves also belonged to Mr. Ozawa, Pol Col Neti said.ad

Pol Maj Gen Phuthidej Boonkraphue, commander of the Economic Crime Suppression Division, said Mr Ozawa was released on bail but arrested again on Soi Jomtien 5 Road in tambon Nong Prue of Bang Lamung district last Saturday.

He was wanted under two more arrest warrants issued last Friday by the Bangkok South Criminal Court and the Criminal Court.

The warrants responded to complaints from two companies in Switzerland and the United States. They claimed they lost 180 million baht and 88 million baht respectively when they ordered medical gloves from Mr Ozawa.

Police found that the Japanese suspect had lured many Thai and foreign buyers into paying a total of 286 million baht for substandard medical gloves.

He possessed many luxury cars and transferred assets to close aides, Pol Maj Gen Phuthidej said.

After arriving in Thailand from Japan, Mr Ozawa had taught English and Japanese in the Northeast. His school shut down during the Covid-19 pandemic and he turned to the illicit medical glove business, the commander said.

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