Mae Sot ‘hundi’ operator arrested for links to drug trade



Thailand’s narcotics police arrested the owner of a “hundi” or money transfer operation in the border town of Mae Sot on Sunday and seized over US$6.1 million worth of assets believed to have come from drug trafficking in Burma.

Manee Khampeera, 52, was arrested after more than 100 drug suppression and security police raided her house in Mae Sot. Gen. Pongsapt Pongcharoen, secretary-general of the Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) – which led the raid – said that the police have been investigating Manee Khampeera’s business, Nakhan Manee 786 Co, since March, after allegations that it was providing money transfer services to drug dealers in Burma, via branches in Rangoon, Moulmein and Myawaddy.

Along with her house, land and vehicles, police also froze 70 bank accounts. According to bank records, Manee Khampeera, as well as six other associates, transferred 2.4 billion baht, or about US$73.9 million annually.

“The dealers sold drugs on the streets, then they saved the money into their accounts which were then wired into your bank accounts as well as the accounts of the people who are connected to you,” the general told Manee. “If you’re found guilty, you will be punished.”

Manee Khampeera has denied any link to the drug traffickers.

The ONCB has also issued arrest warrants for six Burmese nationals – Htee Da Soe, Nay Linn, Min Ko Naing, Moe Moe, Shapi Yarpi and Jangta Jaktaphan. They are suspected of running a drug network together with Manee Khampeera, who has been accused of providing Burmese drug traffickers with accommodation and transportation, as well as migrant ID cards in Thailand. The ONCB has reached out to the Burmese police for help to find the six suspects.

By NANG MYA NADI (DVB)

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