Thai cops lock up 13 rooms owned by Malaysian UFun suspect


BANGKOK: Thai police have raided and blocked access to 13 rooms at a condominium on Ratchadaphisek Road here owned by a Malaysian suspect involved in the controversial UFun investment scheme.

The Wednesday raid followed a recent discovery by police of UFun Store Co Ltd, an affiliate of UFun, having deposited US$10mil (RM36mil) with UDBP Management (Thailand), assistant national police chief Pol Lt-General Suwira Songmetta said.

Suwira is leading the investigation into UFun, which faces allegations of running a pyramid scheme.

He said Kevin Lai, who owns the rooms and is under police custody, was the manager of UDBP Management (Thailand), which was promoted openly as a commercial bank but not registered as one with the Bank of Thailand.

UDBP’s deputy manager, Chinese national Yang Yuan Zhao, 48, has also been arrested over allegations of wrongfully raising funds from 8,000 people in China and four in Thailand, Suwrira said.

The rooms had allegedly been used to host members of the UFun management and diplomats from Vanuatu, of which Lai is reportedly an honourable envoy since April 2014.

Suwira said Lai paid a salary to Vanuatu diplomats for conditions he did not specify.

Lai, who also held diplomatic status for the Micronesian country of Nauru in 2005 but was discharged from the post in 2011, continued misusing his diplomatic immunity for things such as importing luxury cars without paying taxes.

After receiving a notice from police about Lai’s fraudulent activities, the Foreign Ministry refused to accept Vanuatu government’s request to recognise him as a special envoy, Suwria said.

Meanwhile, three Thais and a Malaysian were arrested in Songkhla’s Padang Besar area for allegedly trying to smuggle Bt22.7mil (RM2.45mil) in cash withdrawn from the accounts of four UFun members into Malaysia. The four suspects were then flown back to Bangkok for a police press conference.

The suspects have been identified as Niphaphorn Lamee, Theerawaj Phatcharasuyayai, Natthawatra Uttamakaew and Boon Kiat Choo. – The Nation/Asian News Network

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