11 July 2024

A Chinese businessman linked to a pub in Yannawa district of Bangkok raided by police on Tuesday night is listed as a donor of the ruling Palang Pracharath Party, Justice Minister Somsak Thepsuthin admitted on Thursday.

Somsak, the chief strategist of Palang Pracharath, said the businessman, Chaiyanat Kornchayanant, donated as much as three million baht to the party last year.

“His donation was made in accordance with the law,” he said but admitted that the party did not do background checks of its donors.

“But I can assure you that there is no political favour in return,” he said of the donation by Chaiyanat.

Police on Tuesday night raided an unlicensed pub in Yannawa and found more than 200 clients who were mostly Chinese. As many as 48 of them tested positive for drug and were on Wednesday formally charged for drug abuse.

Police said the pub had no license and catered mainly to Chinese clients. A variety of party drugs and gambling facilities were found in the pub.  

They said they are investigating a possible connection between the pub and Chaiyanat, a controversial Chinese businessman who was once a suspect in a murder case.

Chaiyanat, who is married to a Thai after arriving in Thailand more than 20 years ago, is a major tour operator catering mainly to Chinese tourists.  

Justice Minister Somsak insisted that none of his party’s members had any business dealing with Chaiyanat.

A former senior metropolitan police officer, Pol Maj Gen Vichai Sangprapai, told Thai PBS that Bangkok has become a haven for Chinese businessmen with dubious backgrounds.

“They engage in many illegal businesses. And that’s possible because of collusion by corrupt authorities,” he said.