Sunday, September 12, 2021

Triads at work in Thailand

It pays to keep tabs on the tabloid Thai press.

Take this little ditty I stumbled on today from the Daily News — where Thai police suggest that Lee Chung Chak is tied to the 316 kilo shipment of crystal meth picked up at the Port Botany harbor in Australia.

Lee Chung Chak was detained by police in Bangkok in October 2020. He operated mainly out of Hong Kong and Bangkok, and was the right-hand man of Tse Chi Lop, a billionaire who’s been dubbed the El Chapo of Asia.

Grainy photo of Mr. Lee, one of the only ones known to exist.

Mr. Lee’s a senior, high-ranking member of the 14K triad, and part of the Sam Gor crime syndicate, also known simply as “The Company.”

Sam Gor dominates the drug trade in Asia, so it wouldn’t shock me if Mr. Lee’s hand was somehow involved with the 316 kilos of Aussie ice — even as he’s locked up in some cage as we speak, waiting to be extradited by request of the Australian courts.

But the connection between Mr. Lee and the Aussie ice hasn’t been made in the English press just yet — at least, my sleuthing hasn’t picked up even a whisper of it.

The Daily News is one of the most prolific publishers of crime news in Thailand, and they do have a knack for picking up juicy rumors on the ground. The other Thai rags cover crime too, but they color in the lines, so to speak — where the Daily News will float off-the-record tips that often pan out.

I’ll keep tabs on the story, and it’s going into a pile I keep with dozens of other stories that tie the whole Sam Gor drug syndicate operation into a digestible narrative. I’m fairly meticulous when it comes to collecting this sort of data, which helps piece together the picture when I sit down to write.

More than likely, I’ll be putting out a full book on Sam Gor, but like all of my writing endeavors, it takes a great deal of time — so I don’t want to stamp a deadline on it just yet. But the grunt work of going out to collect the raw materials that will go into that project is well underway.

I do have my reservations, though.

It’s a dicey subject to explore, to be perfectly honest. These guys don’t mess around, and they are most definitely in Thailand.

And I have a good hunch that some of them follow True Crime Thailand, as I’ve received emails from people with knowledge of their operation — information that I’d rather not have.

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