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At least 27 Thai immigration officers accused of helping Chinese ‘triad’ members

PHOTO: Stickboy BKK

Thailand’s deputy national police chief says at least 27 immigration officers have helped Chinese triad members to remain in the kingdom illegally. Surachet Hakparn says 27 immigration officials have now been interviewed in the last 2 weeks, with some “breaking down” under interrogation and confessing of their illegal assistance to “tourists” seeking easy Non-B visas, without the qualifying paperwork, usually paying between 100,000 – 300,000 baht per person.

Surachet says the crackdown on immigration officers is only just beginning and he expects to find others in the course of the investigation.

“I believe more immigration police officers are involved.”

The nationwide investigation into Chinese triads operating in Thailand has been running since last month, following a complaint from massage parlour tycoon and politician, Chuvit Kamolvisit. As part of the investigation, a number of people have been arrested, including alleged Chinese triad boss, Chaiyanat Kornchayanant, aka “Tuhao”.

Chaiyanat is a Chinese national who obtained Thai citizenship through marriage to a senior Thai police officer. Surachet says the evidence against Chaiyanat, including that of money laundering, is mounting. He has been denied bail and remains in custody but denies all charges against him.

So far, the investigation has thrown up evidence of Chinese triads operating in at least 18 provinces, including Bangkok, Chonburi, Chiang Mai, Chaiyaphum, Nakhon Ratchasima, and Udon Thani, according to a Nation Thailand report.

Meanwhile, Chuvit has previously voiced concerns about how long the investigation is taking and made allegations of immigration officers accepting bribes from Chinese triad members. Surachet has responded by saying police are considering all complaints and will respond based on evidence.

“Investigation will be based on evidence and the witnesses we find, not on instincts alone.”

To date, over 100 Chinese nationals have been arrested and are currently being interrogated.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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