Three agencies probe drug link to former Thai politician’s son

Three agencies probe drug link to former Thai politician’s son
Alleged Lao drug lord Xaysana Keopimpha’s network has cultivated unprecedented connections, with celebrities both in Thailand and Laos believed to have assisted him with money laundering and asset concealment.
PHOTO: The Nation/Asia News Network

THREE KEY agencies will discuss today possible links between an alleged Lao drug lord and Thai celebrities, including the son of a former famous politician.

"If the ongoing investigation delivers sufficient evidence, we will immediately take action. We will consider what we have now in our hands at our upcoming meeting," Narcotics Suppression Bureau (NBS) deputy chief Pol Maj-General Pornchai Charoenwong said yesterday.

He was referring to the meeting of the NBS, the Office of Narcotics Control Board and the Anti-Money Laundering Office that will start at 10am today.

The meeting will focus on the alleged drugs-trafficking network of Xaysana Keopimpha, a high-profile Lao man who was arrested at Suvarnabhumi Airport last month.

Police believe Xaysana must have had an extensive network involving many members of Thailand's so-called "high society" assisting him with money laundering and asset concealment.

Portraying himself as a rich and well-connected man from Laos, Xaysana cultivated relations with many prominent Thai figures at parties he hosted in the Kingdom.

Last Thursday, police searched the home and car-accessory shop of famous motorcycle racer Akarakit Worarojcharoendet, better known "Benz Racing", on suspicion that he might have been affiliated with the alleged drugs network.

Akarakit, who is married to actress Napapa "Patt" Tantrakul, was not present during the search.

Motorbike racing star Akarakit "Benz Racing" Worarojcharoendet has denied any involvement with alleged Laotian drug kingpin Xaysana Keopimpa. - Photo: The Nation/Asia News Network

He turned himself in to the NSB last Friday claiming that he did not personally know Xaysana. He told police that he had borrowed Bt6 million (S$242,000) from Nattapon Nakkam, who is now in police detention for allegedly facilitating Xaysana's drug deals.

"We have still had some doubts as to whether the loan really took place," Pornchai said, adding that Akarakit did not have sufficient evidence to back his claim.

Pornchai said police would probably summon Akarakit for questioning again.

Akarakit's car-accessory shop was closed yesterday while residents in the area said they had not seen the bike-racing star since the scandal broke.

Pornchai said assets of drug traffickers would be confiscated, and available records showed Xaysana's alleged network had huge assets.

Police suspect that Akarakit's Lamborghini Gallardo SuperLeggera, which is worth more than Bt20 million (S$806,620), might actually belong to Xaysana.

Akarakit had said he bought the sports car using his own money and the Bt6 million that he had borrowed from Nattapon.

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