There has been fresh arrests of global level criminals in Thailand, most local press report. This one, a wanted drug kingpin, many reports. It is an aged old problem of Thailand, in being a favorite home of global criminals. But why do they love to make Thailand their home?
About 10 years ago, I met an American couple, and I became good friends with them. We went to restaurants and clubs together, several times a week and I often frequented their apartment. That lasted for years. He was a man of man type of a guy and his girlfriend was as beautiful and interesting, on the same level of many celebrity.
The first time I met him was at a restaurant, at a table next to mine, and as I looked at him, he pulled out a switch blade knife and waved it at me. I am sort of a national security inclined person, and as I saw him giving me the knife, I thought it was humorous and just laughed. I guess he took it as a sign of friendship or was just impressed that I was not scared, but he put his knife back in his pocket and smiled, and after that, we became close friend and hanged out together, all the time.
I did not know his source of income, but he seemed to always have money to spend and he lived an open and full life, like traveling all over and going to restaurants and clubs all the time. Apart from pulling a knife on me, I did not suspect there was anything odd going on. He had other friends in Thailand, but when I meet them with my friend, the relationship was more like business, as I did not get a feeling that they were close, personally, but that it was some other unknown matters that kept them hanging together. I figured, it was some dirty business, but that is common in Thailand and nothing to be offended about.
One day, I woke up, and as my habits, one of the first thing I do is to go to the news-stand and buy the newspaper. That morning, I was a bit shocked, as this friend of mine picture, was on the first page of every newspaper, arrested by the Thai police. As I read the paper, it says he is a criminal wanted by the USA FBI, for a variety of crimes, including murder of people, most of the time, he kills with his knife.
That day, his girlfriend called me up, knowing I was even back then, a connected guy politically in Thailand, and asked for help. She tells me, a high-ranking Thai police has offered to help, but that he wanted money and to have her as a mistress. The demand for money is acceptable, but the demand on her, personally was out of the question. She said for a very long time, they were under the protection, in Thailand, by someone powerful, greasing the system, with the wealth her boyfriend has stolen in crime activity in the USA.
Their mistake, to have ended up being caught and broke the arrangement for their safe stay in Thailand, she tells me, is that the new apartment they moved to had an agreement with the Thai police department, that the apartment gives the names of the residence, to that police department. This police department, was not in the network of their Thai protector.
As it turned out, her boyfriend’s name, all of them he used, was on the International Police wanted list, gave to that unit, by the USA FBI. And when that Thai police department, ran the apartment residence list, crossing it with the InterPol wanted list, my friend’s name came up, and he was arrested.
As a connected guy politically in Thailand, I wanted to help my friend, even knowing, it is a crime to help. I did not fault him much, as his girlfriend told me, the world he lives in, in the USA, is the under-world of the USA, filled with bad and nasty guys, fighting other bad and nasty guys to get ahead. It is just part of the Mafia world in the USA, that did not much involved innocent people. But I knew, from the start, when I picked up the newspaper that day and saw my friend’s picture in them, that my friend, is going to have a hard time getting away, and that is because, it had become news.
The Thai newspaper, even back then, about 10 years ago when my friend was arrested, were wring reports, asking, why has Thailand became a favorite hiding place globally, for global level criminals. And they were demanding action from the Thai police and the government, to crack down on global criminals in Thailand. With the Thai press doing that, my friend had about 0 percent chance of greasing the system and disappear.
I made a decision, I was going to call a Thai politician and talked to him about the case, not helping my friend as it would hurt my credibility with him, but just to talk about the case. Even with strong doubts that anyone can help him, I felt sorry for my friend. Many years earlier, another close friend of mine, killed a debt collector, where the debt collector broke the rules, and went to my friends house and insulted everyone and went violent. It was a very high profile case, but I saw how that friend of mine, got off clean. In Thailand, it seems that there is always way around things.
But the USA embassy in Thailand, started the extradition process to take him back to the USA right away, and within days, my friend was on a plane, in custody of the USA FBI, back to the USA for his trial. His girlfriend, did not even have enough time, to cut a deal, with money and becoming a sex slave, if that was what she was going to do, to get her boyfriend out of trouble. I did not even have time to call my politician friend.
That friend of mine, is now serving life in jail and his girlfriend, has moved on with her life. In a way, I am glad, however, for the quick reaction from the USA Embassy. If I went too far and helped my friend, I think my life today, would be different, meaning, I would have lost my commitment to a moral high-ground and become just like most Thais of the elite establishment.
- Thai Police Arrest Alleged Drug Smuggler, Will Extradite to US (voanews.com)
- Suspected US Drug Smuggler Deported From Thailand (abcnews.go.com)
- Thai police arrest American man for allegedly running a drug trafficking network that spanned Asia and the US – @AP (abcnews.go.com)
- Justin Beiber, in Thailand for concert, splurges, takes several floors of Sukhothai Hotel (thaishortnews.wordpress.com)
- Suspected US drug smuggler arrested in Thailand (sfgate.com)