6 June 2024

Thai anti-narcotics officers have taken a Malaysian, alleged to be a major drug trafficker with connections in Thailand, Laos, China, Myanmar and Malaysia, into custody.

The suspect, Ong Gim Wah, was handed over to Thai anti-narcotic officials yesterday, after being arrested in Laos and deported to Thailand, with the help of the Lao and Australian police forces and the US Drug Enforcement Administration.

Justice Minister Tawee Sodsong attributed the arrest and deportation to the Australian, US and Lao governments, Laos in particular, for responding to the Thai request for the extradition of the suspect to stand trial in Thailand. One million baht in reward money was offered for information leading to the suspect’s arrest and this was handed over to a representative of the Lao government yesterday.

Pol Lt-Gen Phanurat Lukboon, secretary-general of the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB), said that Thai anti-narcotics officials had been tracking Ong since 2006 for his alleged involvement the smuggling of illegal narcotics from the Golden Triangle, via Thailand, to his networks in Malaysia, Taiwan and Australia.

He said that there are 11 cases pending against Ong in Thailand, dating back as far as 2018, involving 4.6 tonnes of crystal methamphetamine, 496kg of heroin and 12 tonnes of cocaine seized in Thailand. The latest seizure took place in June last year in Ratchaburi province, where 998kg of crystal meth were confiscated by the Thai military.

The ONCB and relevant agencies have seized assets worth about 85 million baht belonging to the suspect. These include six condominium units, a house, five yachts, three cars and a restaurant. In Malaysia, authorities have seized assets worth about 4 billion baht.