Seven Suspects Arrested in Operation
In a major crackdown, Thai police arrested seven suspects, comprising six Taiwanese men and a Thai woman, for allegedly smuggling cannabis and crystal methamphetamine concealed within truck drive shafts. The successful operation took place in Bangkok and Samut Prakan, following a three-month-long investigation into the “Khai Huang” drug trafficking network.
Arrests and Confiscations
The authorities apprehended two Taiwanese suspects, Chen You Ning, 34, and Lee Min Chang, 26, at a rented luxury house in Lat Krabang district, Bangkok. Both have been charged with possession of narcotic drugs with the intent to distribute. The police discovered 17 heavy truck drive shafts at the house, which were intended for export to Taiwan. Hidden inside the shafts were 1.06 kilograms of crystal meth or “ice” and 10 kilograms of cannabis. Additionally, equipment believed to be used for packing the drugs inside the shafts was found at the location.
The Ringleader’s Background
Chen You Ning, the head of a drug gang in Taiwan, was previously arrested on narcotics charges seven months ago in Taiwan and released on bail. He managed to escape by hiding aboard a cargo vessel for 15 days before arriving in Thailand to continue his illegal activities. Chen disclosed that he had learned about the drive shaft smuggling method from news reports and decided to replicate the technique. According to the police, he procured the necessary equipment in Chon Buri and bought a kilogram of crystal meth from a Taiwanese friend in Bangkok for 230,000 baht. Chen also sourced 40 kilograms of cannabis from shops in Bangkok for about 70,000 baht, making the payments using cryptocurrency.
Lee Min Chang, the other suspect arrested alongside Chen, was wanted in Taiwan on fraud charges.
More Arrests and Discoveries
Chen’s confession led the police to another rented house located in Bang Phli district of Samut Prakan. Here, four more Taiwanese men and a Thai woman were detained and charged with possession of illegal drugs. The Taiwanese suspects, Tseng Yen-Ming, 31, Lin Che-Cheng, 24, Chen Yi-Wen, 23, and Chu Chun-Yen, 22, were wanted in Taiwan for a range of offenses, including fraud, narcotics, money laundering, and gambling.
The Thai woman, Apinya Udom, a 24-year-old native of Ubon Ratchathani, was identified as Tseng Yen-Ming’s girlfriend.
Production of “Happy Water”
Police suspect the five individuals arrested in Samut Prakan were involved in producing a drug cocktail known as “Happy Water”. This concoction is created by dissolving various drugs, including ecstasy, methamphetamine, diazepam, caffeine, and tramadol, in hot water or mixing them with sweetened beverages. The police found unspecified amounts of crystal meth and ketamine at the house. Moreover, the Samut Prakan house was allegedly used as a venue for drug parties.