Up to 20 Supercars about to be seized by police in ongoing drugs investigation
Police are preparing to seize more than 20 supercars for examination on suspicion that they might be related to ill-gotten gains from drug trafficking.
“We are in the process of gathering evidence,” Narcotics Suppression Bureau (NSB) chief Pol Lt-General Sommai Kongwisaisuk said yesterday. “Each of these vehicles is worth more than Bt20 million.”
Police have already taken custody of a Lamborghini Gallardo SuperLeggera, which the famous motorcycle racer Akarakit “Benz Racing” Worarojcharoendet claimed belonged to him.
Pol Maj-General Chatree Paisansilp, a deputy chief of the NSB, said Akarakit’s information contradicted the statement of Nattapon Nakkam, who was arrested earlier this month for allegedly facilitating a drug-trafficking ring connected to high-profile Lao man Xaysana Keopimpha.
“Nattapon has told police that the car belongs to him. He has just used Akarakit’s name to buy it,” Chatree said.
Police suspect that Xaysana, a Lao man who reportedly owns many luxury vehicles, ran a large-scale drugs trafficking network but sought to portray himself as a rich and well-connected man.
Akarakit has so far claimed he borrowed Bt6 million from Nattapon to pay for the vehicle.
The motorcycle racer is not the only prominent figure that has been pulled into the Xaysana scandal after Pai Leeke – the high-profile son of a former politician – also had to report to the NSB yesterday in connection with the same Lamborghini.
Pai, who is also known as “Pai One Point”, told police that he did not know Nattapon or Akarakit personally.
“It’s just that a friend asked me to help to find the type of car they were looking for. I am an expert in the supercar field,” Pai said.
He said he met Nattapon on the day the car was purchased for Bt14 million through a payment plan, with the down payment being between Bt5 million and Bt6 million.
“I didn’t see Akarakit,” Pai said.
Chatree said police would probably summon Akarakit for questioning again this month because he had not yet provided clear evidence regarding his finances.
As the investigation expanded, Sommai said yesterday that Xaysana’s network could also have exported illicit drugs to various countries including Malaysia, Australia, Britain and the United States.
However, Sommai declined to comment on whether the network had played a role in the violence in Thailand’s deep South.
“Security agencies will take care of that matter,” he said.
Police have said Xaysana has extensive connections in Thailand and at least two immigration policemen are facing investigations for allegedly having links to him.
One of the officers, Pol Captain Pattarapon Thuaythong, a deputy inspector at Suvarnabhumi Airport, has been accused of treating |Xaysana as a VIP whenever he |had arrived at the airport.
“He kept car keys for Xaysana and allowed his cars to park at the airport,” a source said.
Pattarapon told his supervisor that he had provided services to Xaysana at the airport because his friend had described the Lao man as a VIP, according to the source.
“He claims he didn’t know Xaysana was an alleged drug kingpin,” he said.
The other immigration police officer in trouble is Pol Lieutenant Walaisak Intarak, based in Loei province, who has appeared in a photo alongside Xaysana.
A source said Xaysana’s passport showed he had travelled in and out of Thailand more than 70 times during the past four years.
“Most of the time, he left Thailand via a checkpoint in Loei,” the source said.
Both Walaisak and Pattarapon have been transferred out of their posts pending the results of the investigations.
Who really owns the Lamborghini Gallardo SuperLeggera?
Alleged Lao drug lord Xaysana Keopimpha.
Drug suspect Nattapon Nakkam, who claimed to be the real owner but said he used another person’s name on the supercar registration.
Motorcycle racer Akarakit “Benz Racing” Worarojcharoendet, who claimed to be the owner but said he borrowed Bt6 million from Nattapon for the downpayment.
Pai “Pai One Point” Leeke, the son of a former politician, who claimed he did not know Nattapon and Akarakit personally, but said he took Nattapon to buy the supercar from Buono Auto Clinic in Bangkok’s Rama III area.
The owner of the Buono Auto Clinic has not yet testified to police.
Lamphun resident Thanyarat Weeradech, who owns a Volkswagen with the licence plate “Kor Jor 51 Bangkok”, according to the Land Transport Department. The same licence plate number is on the Lamborghini Gallardo.
Source: The Nation