Thailand Arrests Lao Money Launderer linked to Drug Ring

Thailand Arrests Lao Money Launderer linked to Drug Ring

Thailand has arrested an alleged money-launderer in Mukdahan Province, bordering Savannakhet. The arrest was the result of an ongoing investigation into the money trail generated by a drug ring based in Laos, which smuggles drugs into Thailand’s northeastern provinces.

41-year Watchaphum Sudlar was charged with money laundering, with the Thai police claiming he laundered more than THB 200 million (USD 6.5 million) over a four-month period, according to the Lao Post.

The laundered money had been transferred to the bank account held by a man only identified as Mr. A Money, and the cash was later sent to other accounts.

Thai investigators tracked down the money trail, which led to the arrest of Mr. Watchaphum, according to an article in the Bangkok Post.

Police found THB 1.5 million in cash and LAK 55 million (USD 6,240) in his possession, along with four bank account books and five ATM cards. Other items seized included a pickup truck, five mobile phones, a gold necklace, a 1.8-carat diamond ring and other items.

Mr. Watchaphum denied all of the charges, however. He told police he ran a currency exchange business in Outhoumphone, in Savannakhet Province in Laos, and he would often withdraw THB 500,000 to 5 million at a time upon customers’ requests.

He insisted he had no knowledge about the source of the money that his clients acquired, adding his only took fees from them.

Mr. Watchaphum is well known in certain Lao circles as the husband of a Savannakhet-based net idol named “Jae Nang,” famous for her rants and critiques released on  Facebook.

(Photo: Bangkok Post)