Malaysian Drug Lord Apprehended in Laos Faces Prosecution in Thailand

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Lao and Thailand police apprehending the Malaysian drug lord (photo: Matichon)
Lao and Thailand police apprehending the Malaysian drug lord (photo: Matichon)

Malaysian drug lord Ong Gim Wah, previously apprehended in Laos, now faces impending legal action in Thailand for his criminal activities in the country. Recent interrogations with Malaysian authorities in Bangkok have jeopardized his assets in Malaysia, potentially leading to their confiscation.

Ong gained notoriety in June 2023 in Ratchaburi Province, Thailand, when he emerged as the mastermind behind a major drug operation. This operation resulted in a drug bust, with authorities seizing 998 kg of crystal methamphetamine and arresting seven individuals.

Despite the absence of an arrest warrant in Malaysia, Ong will not be allowed to return to his home country. Lt-Gen Phanurat Lukboon, the secretary-general of the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB), announced that Ong is susceptible to prosecution in Thailand. 

Complicating matters for Ong is the looming threat of asset confiscation in Malaysia. Valued at approximately THB 4 billion (equivalent to approximately USD 114 million), his assets came under scrutiny following a rigorous interrogation by the Malaysian Police in Bangkok.

Thai authorities had previously seized Ong’s properties in the country, including a land plot with a building in Bangkok, two condominiums in Trat Province, three yachts in Chiang Rai Province, and two cars, three motorbikes, firearms, cash, savings in 10 banks, and other valuables in Chon Buri. The total worth of these confiscated assets exceeds THB 85 million (around USD 2.4 million).

Ong has been implicated in 11 drug-related cases spanning Thailand, Taiwan, and Malaysia since 2018. However, his involvement in drug trafficking traces back to 2006 in the Golden Triangle, where he orchestrated his illicit activities across Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, China, and Singapore, collaborating with various drug networks. Thailand served as both a money laundering hub and a transit point for smuggling drugs, earning him the moniker “the mastermind of the drug syndicate.”