Final Thursday, Thai investigative police raided a rental within the suburbs of Bangkok – the hideout of an alleged drug smuggler who had been on the run for months.
The person, who glided by the identify Jimin Seong, was described to police as a “good wanting Korean man,” with wavy hair and clean pores and skin.
However appearances could be deceiving.
The suspect’s actual identify is Saharat Sawanjaeng, police stated in a information launch on Friday. The 25-year-old, a Thai nationwide and Bangkok resident, had tried to reinvent himself as a “Korean man” by altering his identify, his haircut and present process a number of cosmetic surgery procedures “till his face had utterly modified,” stated the discharge.
Earlier than and after images supplied by the police present a dramatically completely different look, with earlier images bearing little fast resemblance to the person pictured afterward.
Saharat has been needed since final yr for allegedly importing greater than 2,500 grams and 290 tablets of MDMA, generally often called ecstasy or molly, into Thailand. He’s allegedly a significant supply of the drug spreading in Bangkok and the capital metropolis’s surrounding space, stated the discharge.
Nevertheless, he had seemingly vanished – till police obtained rumors of the medication being traced again to a Korean seller, prompting their investigation.
After his arrest, Saharat allegedly confessed to having “worldwide connections,” sourcing medication from the darkish internet and making transactions by way of Bitcoin, stated the discharge.
He spoke “little or no Korean,” however needed to stay in South Korea as a result of he was “bored” of life in Thailand, he reportedly advised police.
Images of the raid present Saharat surrounded by police within the condo earlier than being led away along with his fingers restrained. He’s being charged with importing and illegally distributing a class 1 drug into Thailand – each offenses carrying a most sentence of life imprisonment.
His actions “impacted nationwide safety and most people’s security” by inflicting the drug to grow to be “widespread in public,” the discharge added.
Like most of Southeast Asia, Thailand has historically had strict legal guidelines towards drug use and trafficking – but it surely has taken a number of steps in stress-free guidelines in recent times.
One main authorized modification in 2017 modified the utmost punishment for promoting medication from the demise penalty to life imprisonment. A extra sweeping set of amendments got here in 2021 to emphasise prevention and remedy over punishment for small-scale drug customers.
Most notably, Thailand turned the primary nation in Asia to decriminalize hashish final yr, with hashish cafes and smoke retailers rapidly popping up throughout the nation.