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Final suspect in Phuket snake show fire arrested, links to Chinese triads


Police in Bangkok have arrested the final suspect wanted in connection with a fire at a Phuket snake show venue last year. According to a Nation Thailand report, the fire was allegedly ordered by a Chinese triad operating under Chaiyanat Kornchayanant.

Chinese national Chaiyanat (and also a Thai citizen), aka “Tuhao”, has been in custody since his arrest in November 2022 on charges including running a triad gang in Thailand, drug trafficking and money laundering. His Thai wife, Wattanaree Kornchayanant, a former police colonel, was arrested last month on charges of money laundering.

According to the report, neither Chaiyanat nor his wife have been charged in relation to the snake show arson case in Phuket. The final suspect in that case has been arrested in Bangkok.

Last October, a Phuket court issued an arrest warrant for 42 year old Surachai Thongkhlip on charges of attempted murder and arson. He was apprehended at a shopping centre in Bangkok’s Dusit district on Wednesday. He denies the charges against him.

On the night of April 23, 2022, 3 men entered a snake show attraction in the Muang district of Phuket and set fire to the building. In the process, they tied up the security guard and are accused of beating him so severely he was left permanently disabled, according to Nation Thailand.

The first 2 suspects arrested claimed they had received orders from Chaiyanat to burn down the Phuket snake show venue as it was being run by the Chinese man’s business rival.

To date, the Thai authorities have seized assets valued at more than 5.3 billion baht from Chaiyanat and others accused of working with him. The Justice Ministry also has its eyes on another 3 billion in assets owned by the alleged triad boss and his accomplices.

Chaiyanat and another 40 suspects have been charged with drug trafficking, transnational crime, and money laundering, among other charges.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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