The Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) raided seven locations yesterday linked to Thai senator Upakit Pachirirangkun and seized assets worth 409 million baht on charges of involvement in a transitional crime organisation.
Move Forward Party MP Rungsiman Rome revealed the alleged close relationship between Senator Upakit and Myanmar’s leading drug trafficker, Tun Min Latt, during a 2022 Parliament debate.
Upakit reportedly admitted to knowing Tun Min Latt personally, and there was apparent evidence of his involvement in the transitional crime organisation, but the case went nowhere until this year.
Upakit was charged with money laundering and involvement in a transitional drug trafficking organisation because of his relationship with Tun Min Latt. He was also charged with aiding or abetting the sale of drugs for having a financial relationship with a drug suspect.
The ONCB seized Upakit’s assets on October 25 and November 15, including 200,000 baht in cash and 3 million baht from 28 bank accounts. Officers also discovered that his assets of over 600 million baht had been transferred out of the country.
ONCB officers raided seven locations linked to Upakit yesterday, November 30, including five in Bangkok, one in Rayong and another in Nakhon Pathom. They also seized other assets, bringing the total seizure to 409 million baht.
The assistant to the commissioner of the Royal Thai Police, Phanurat Lakboon, reported that Upakit had to explain to the authorities how he obtained each asset in his possession after 2018. The assets in question were mainly luxury cars and firearms.
The cars seized by the ONCB were a Bentley Bentayga (costing at least 1.2 million baht), a Bentley Flying Spur (14.4 million baht), a Ferrari (26.6 million baht), a Mercedes Benz van (3 million baht) and a Mercedes Benz Classic. The rest of the vehicles had previously been resold but Upakit had yet to explain how he came into possession of them.
ThaiRath reported that Upakit was due to appear in court for the hearing on November 3 but the senator requested that the hearing be postponed until December 26, claiming that he had to attend a parliamentary session. The hearing is expected to be delayed until April next year.