Yacht seized from Dutch drug suspect

Police have seized a luxury boat in Pattaya connected to a Dutch drug suspect, a Department of Special Investigation (DSI) official said on Thursday.

Somboon Sarasith, the DSI's Special Criminal Case division chief, said authorities decided to seize the yacht in the resort city after evidence showed it was owned by Johannes Petrus Maria van Vanarhoven before he sold the three-bedroom vessel to a Chinese businessman.

Officials are looking for his other assets in Thailand, including a Mercedes Benz, the official added.

The Dutch suspect and his Thai wife, Mingkwan Kaen-in, or Mingkwan Vanarhoven, were arrested in Bang Lamung district of Chon Buri on Wednesday in a joint operation involving several agencies.

Mr van Vanarhoven is wanted by the Netherlands as a member of a drug ring which sold marijuana over the limit through coffee shops and smuggled it into the European country from Asia.

Dutch authorities had been chasing him for six years and alerted Thai officials after tracking him to his current location.

The suspect is accused of laundering dirty money by buying assets in other countries, including Thailand. Authorities have so far seized property in Bang Lamung, Sattahip and Pattaya in Chon Buri province, and in Samut Prakan.

The couple face criminal charges of drug trafficking and money laundering in Thailand.

Thai authorities said on Wednesday they will be extradited to the Netherlands after serving jail terms in the kingdom.

They were escorted on Thursday from the DSI to the Criminal Court for their first 12-day detention for interrogation.

Pol Lt Col Somboon said the case is being handled by the Office of the Attorney-General as the DSI had not taken it up as a special case.

The Netherlands has no desire to control the seized assets and says it only wants Thailand to send the suspect back home to serve jail terms, he added.

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