MALAYSIA: A Malaysian fugitive, sought by Thai authorities for drug smuggling, was apprehended during a collaborative operation between Thailand and Laos last week.
Thai police disclosed that the 41-year-old Malaysian, identified as Ong Gim Wah, an alleged drug dealer and pivotal member of a drug syndicate, had been hiding in Laos.
The joint Thai-Lao operation on 29 Dec led to Ong’s arrest in Laos, as reported by the Bangkok Post.
With a 1-million-baht (approximately US$28,922) bounty on his head, Wah was believed to have orchestrated drug procurements and maintained connections with drug syndicates in the Golden Triangle Region since 2006.
According to investigators, Ong was the primary suspect in a significant drug seizure in June of the preceding year.
This operation resulted in the confiscation of 998kg of crystal methamphetamine and the arrest of seven individuals in Ratchaburi province.
Subsequently, an arrest warrant was issued against him in August of the same year.
Thai authorities revealed that Wah had collaborated with drug networks spanning Thailand, Malaysia, China, Singapore, and Laos.
He allegedly used Thailand as a hub for money laundering and as a transit point for smuggling drugs to various countries, including Malaysia, Taiwan, and Australia.
The Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB), in conjunction with the Narcotics Suppression Bureau (NSB), Navy Seals, Armed Forces Security Center, and the Royal Thai Navy’s special forces, spearheaded the investigation.
Eventually, a connection was established to Mr Ong, who had been evading authorities in Laos.
Authorities seized his assets, including properties in Bangkok, Trat, Chiang Rai, and Chon Buri, comprising land, condominium units, yachts, vehicles, firearms, cash, bank accounts, and other assets valued at an estimated 85 million baht (approximately US$2.5 million).
On Wednesday (3 Jan), the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) in a statement confirmed the arrest of a Malaysian citizen in Vientiane, Laos.
Director of the Federal Narcotics Crime Investigation Department (NCID), Datuk Mohd Kamarudin Md Din, stated that the individual was apprehended due to lacking valid travel documents under Laos Immigration Act.
The ONCB has recommended to Laos authorities the deportation of the suspect to Thailand, citing their blacklisting under Thailand’s drug laws.
The 41-year-old suspect, a married Malaysian from Parit Buntar, Perak, is believed to have ties with a Malaysian drug syndicate.
Although not wanted in Malaysia, the suspect has a criminal record involving three drug-related offences under the Dangerous Drugs Act 1985 and Section 15(1)(a) of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, committed between 2002 and 2006.
Datuk Mohd Kamarudin disclosed that the NCID is collaborating with Thai ONCB and Laos police for further investigations into the case.
“All necessary actions will be taken to ensure that drug trafficking and smuggling activities, which pose a threat to the nation, are eradicated without compromise,” he added.
The Dangerous Drugs Act 1985 (Special Preventive Measures) is a Malaysian law which was enacted to provide for the preventive detention of persons associated with any activity relating to or involving the trafficking in dangerous drugs.
The Dangerous Drugs Act 1985 (Special Preventive Measures) is a Malaysian law designed for the preventive detention of individuals associated with drug trafficking.
Section 15 of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 outlines penalties for drug consumption and administration.
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