Police revealed on Wednesday that they have seized up to ฿9 million in cash and discovered a range of firearms from pistols to rifles as well as drugs after they arrested a police chief imposter at Don Muang Airport on Monday night. The suspect also tested positive for drugs. Officers are also investigating a comprehensive list of underground lottery agents held by the man who held himself out as the boss of CSD. It is reported that a tip-off to police from Don Muang Airport may have been behind the scoop as this individual was demanding deferential treatment from staff in his assumed role.
A 37-year-old businessman has been charged by Thai police with possession of illegal drugs as well as firearms and caused a major investigation and possible further charges against him after he was arrested on Monday night while posing as the Chief of Thailand’s elite Royal Thai Police Crime Suppression Division. The real occupant of that office, Police Major General Jiraphob Puridet, briefed the media on Wednesday on the bizarre story.
Thai police in Bangkok have arrested a 37-year-old businessman at Don Muang Airport after stopping his black luxury Mercedes car in addition to ฿4 million in cash and five illegal pistols. They also found the man had a small amount of the crystal meth drug (0.52 grammes). The arrest occurred at the car park terminal at Thailand’s domestic airport hub.
Details of the incident were released on Wednesday by the Crime Suppression Division of the Royal Thai police or what has come to be known in Thailand as CSD. The circumstances of the arrest, however, are bizarre and unusual. The man arrested had drawn the attention of authorities on himself when he posed to staff at the car park as the Head of CSD, Thailand’s elite police division and demanded deferential treatment.
Man arrested named as Mercedes driving businessman 37-year-old Natthapong Thammathong
The man arrested has been named today as Natthapong Thammathong who told police that his family was involved in the legal government lottery business in Loei province as well as running public van transports between Bangkok’s Victory Monument and Samut Sakhon province.
Man claimed to be the Chief of the Royal Thai Police Crime Suppression Division
Police were alerted to the man’s activities when an informant reported to them of demands by the businessman to personnel at Don Muang that he should have 24 access to the airport parking terminal as he was a police officer and the chief of the CSD. The information police received from the confidential source is that the car may also have been holding items of interest.
The current occupant of the position as CSD chief, Police Major General Jiraphob Puridet, briefed the media on Wednesday on the arrest and follow up police actions as part of the operation to investigate the man.
Businessman tested positive for drugs
Mr Natthapon, it was revealed, tested positive for drug use after his arrest. A follow-up search of his office and condominium was ordered. It was revealed that a further stash of cash and firearms were unearthed. Police also discovered an extensive list of lottery customers and agents.
Police later found marijuana and rifles in searches conducted of his home and office
The haul at the secondary locations included another ฿4.8 million in cash bringing the total to nearly ฿9 million. Police also came upon a number of rifles as well as over 2,700 rounds of ammunition. They found 23.6 grams of processed marijuana.
Natthapong claimed to be a government lottery wholesaler, needed the guns for public taxi runs
The businessman explained that the cash was the proceeds of his work as an organiser of the legal government lottery that his family acted as a wholesaler for in the province of Loei. He justified the firearms on the basis that he needed to protect himself in activities to do with the operation of the van taxi transports running from Victory Monument and Mo Chit bus station to Samut Sakhon province.
Thai police have already charged the imposter with a number of offences relating to the possession of illegal firearms and the possession of drugs. The 37-year-old man is contesting the charges against him.
CSD police chief has one of the highest-profile jobs in the force targeting serious crime
Police Major General Jiraphob Puridet is one of Thailand’s most senior police officers and heads up one of the largest divisions of the Royal Thai Police Force, itself a huge network of police agencies with between 200,000 to 230,000 members in total. It is often referred to as an elite division which is at the forefront of combating serious crime in the kingdom.
Position of responsibility and power
The scope of the division’s activities ranges from the trafficking of drugs to human trafficking and murder to fraud. The agency also targets clandestine groups and is responsible for the handling of sensitive political matters. Its officers can also be found targeting the business of counterfeiting and forgery as well as gambling which is illegal in Thailand. As the head of this bureau, the CSD chief’s role is one of huge responsibility and therefore power.
Latest high profile arrest was in June when two Italian fraudsters were taken into custody
Police Major General Jiraphob Puridet is often involved in high profile arrests and police raids. His latest moment of publicity was last June when he briefed the media on an elaborate operation undertaken by the Criminal Suppression Police to arrest the Italian fraudsters Francesco Galdelli and his partner Vanya Goffi who had evaded both international and Thai police for years after the Italian had escaped from custody in Pattaya in 2014. The couple had swindled millions from investors in Italy playing on a purported association with American film star George Clooney.
‘Bonnie and Clyde’ of Italy walked away in handcuffs
Thai police found them in the last place anyone would have thought of looking. It was just outside the resort city of Pattaya in Banglamung. The pair were living in style and splendour at a luxurious villa residence. That is until the 16th June when CSD police, using drones and advanced communications, swooped and took away the ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ of Italy in handcuffs.
+ The Chief of Thailand's Crime Supression Division of the Royal Thai Police, Major General Jiraphob Puridet, on Wednesday briefed the media on an imposter businessman posing as him who had been arrested at Don Muang on Airport on Monday night with ฿4 million in cash, drugs and guns. The man tested positive for drugs and sparked further searches.
Posted by ThaiExaminer.com on Wednesday, July 24, 2019