DSI, CIB join probe of 'businessman'

The Department of Special Investigation and the Central Investigation Bureau will help local military and police officers in the probe into an influential Pattani business figure who was arrested for alleged involvement in several underground businesses in the deep South.

The two agencies were ordered to take part in the investigation to ensure the case was watertight and there was justice for all involved, authorities in charge said on Thursday. 

The Anti-Money Laundering Office (Amlo) was also gathering evidence to decide whether to confiscate the suspect’s assets.

Sahachai Jiarasermsin, 44, alias Sia Jo, was arrested on security charges last Tuesday after soldiers from the Pattani Task Force 23 and the Paramilitary Forces of the Southern Border Provinces raided his house on Na Kluea Road in Muang district, which also doubles as a wood trading company.

They seized a number of fake immigration stamps, cash in baht and other currencies worth more than 10 million baht, as well as imported logs. The task force also found accounts containing information about bribes paid to state officials.

His arrest came after the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) pledged to crack down on influential people and corrupt officials running illegal businesses.

Mr Sahachai was initially detained and questioned at Ingkhayuthaborihan military camp in Nong Chik district under martial law for seven days.

Police on Wednesday took him to the provincial court and asked permission to detain him for 12 days at Pattani Central Prison for further questioning. The court denied Mr Sahachai’s request to be released on bail, saying he was an influential figure and had a record of jumping bail. 

The Pattani Task Force 23 has summoned the suspect’s brother, Warakorn, to report to it by Saturday or face an arrest warrant. 

Mr Warakorn, 42, fled the house when security officials closed in, which led them to believe he may have been involved in Mr Sahachai’s alleged illegal businesses.

A security source said Mr Sahachai has close connections with several former cabinet ministers which previously made it difficult for local security officials to pursue legal action against him.

Mr Sahachai was suspected of being involved in a robbery at an illegal casino in the Gulf of Thailand last October in which three people were killed and millions of baht stolen, said the source. 

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