Chemsex party ends in steamy bust: meth and COVID-19 found.
Saunas, meth, and covid — oh my! 60 party-goers were arrested in the raid, most have pleaded guilty to a variety of crimes. But there’s more to the story, as always. Crime Pill #17.
Dear expats and readers,
Picking up the thread from yesterday’s Crime Pill, I wanted to share an article I stumbled across while doing research on Tse Chi Lop, head of Sam Gor — “The Company” — one of the biggest international crime syndicates, and the group that dominates drug trafficking in Asia.
The article details the fall of a Canadian intelligence analyst, Cam Ortis, who worked with the RCMP and the Five Eyes nations — US, UK, Canada, Aussie, and NZ — in tracking a massive money laundering operation.
Ortis sat on the tippy-top of the intel pyramid. He decided to profit from his access to this intel — selling it off to the ringleader of the money laundering operation, Mr. Altaf Khanani.
His motive? Personal money problems.
A helluva tale on how the foible of man can have dire consequences.
But I can hear you thinking now — what’s this got to do with crime in Thailand?
One of the organizations that Mr. Khanani laundered money for included Sam Gor. And according to Sam Cooper’s new book on CCP, triad, and Chinese criminal infiltration of Canadian institutions: the case is tied to an “aborted probe of Tse Chi Lop.”
Mind you, Mr. Tse’s right-hand man was busted in Bangkok in October 2020 — and he sits in a Bangkok cage now as he waits to be extradited to Australia.
Sam Gor is also connected to a separate investigation I’m doing on money laundering in Hong Kong — but that’s a tale for another day.
For now, I’ve got my sights set on Sam Gor and its syndicate of crooks.
One of my readers sent me info about a Sam Gor member in Bangkok, including photos of him and his family, and the info has been shared with the Narcotics Suppression Bureau.
Piece by piece I’m stitching together info on the syndicate that will lay out their influence in Thailand, greater Southeast Asia, and global crime: everything from drug production and trafficking, money laundering, political corruption, murder, and more.
I’m doing FOIA requests, scanning court records, emailing journalists, and plugging away through archival reports — there’s plenty there to write a book on it — and that’s what I intend. The volume should be a treat for readers, if that’s your thing.
Moving on to another story from this week, which I wrote for my main website:
Bangkok chemsex party ends in steamy bust: meth and COVID-19 found.
Saunas, meth, and covid -- oh my! 60 party-goers were arrested in the raid, most have pleaded guilty to a variety of crimes. But there's more to the story, as always.
Reuters put out a prescient report on May 17th about a growing concern around chemsex parties as Thailand shut down bars nationwide in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The report revealed the problem with the strategy: chemsex parties, which gay men attend for sex and drugs including meth and ecstasy and GHB, moved from clubs to homes. The parties are organized on Twitter and gay dating apps like Grindr, according to the report.
A non-profit in Bangkok said that the number of people inquiring about the pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) anti-HIV drug at his organization had tripled since COVID-19 arrived. They said that the pills are taken before going to chemsex parties to protect from contracting the virus.
But there's no such drug for COVID-19 -- well, at least, not widely available in Thailand as the vaccine rollout has seen a slow start.
Chemsex parties seem extremely popular. The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration said that up to 90% of gay and bisexual men who have used their healthcare services experimented with chemsex.
The parties have been associated with assaults and fatal overdoses in the past.
Raids on the party at Faros Spa (link to their Facebook page) found meth and syringes. All 60 men in attendance were arrested, and most have pleaded guilty to charges of violating the Emergency Decree and Narcotics Acts.
They face one month in prison and 20,000 baht fines for the former charge, and six months in prison and 10,000 baht fines for the latter. But their sentences were reduced these penalties in half, a standard practice for pleading guilty in Thai courts. Seven of the defendants denied the charges.
The Faros Spa owner, Mr. Chinna Kitjinda, is charged for violation of the Emergency Decree and the Liquor Act, for serving during a restricted time.
The spa bills itself as the biggest gay sauna in Asia -- a claim that I can't confirm, but maybe one of our readers can.
The detained chemsex party goers have been given COVID tests, and two have come back positive.
One of the most interesting aspects of this case is that less than one week before the bust, the Thai Reuters correspondent had put out an article about the topic.
Either that's a hell of a coincidence, or there was talk on the street in Bangkok of a new law enforcement focus on the chemsex community.
That could have taken the shape of officers keeping tabs on digital communication -- on Twitter or dating apps -- or tips they received from the public.
True Crime Thailand is keeping our own tabs on the chemsex story, but this is one party you won't find us at.
Other things I’m reading…
A follower on Twitter asked about the situation in Narathiwat, where 30 AK-102’s went missing. One of the automatic rifles was found with an insurgent after a fire fight with Thai army — and this is what tipped them off to search the armory, as the rifle was one of theirs, and they discovered the missing firearms. Here’s an article in Thai on the story, which I will be covering in full tomorrow to sort out all of the facts.
Also, I finished reading Jake Needham’s latest novel Mongkok Station — and you can expect a full review of the novel in tomorrow’s Crime Pill. I’m excited to do more book and film reviews in the future, so if there’s anything that you’ve been reading of interest, reply to this email and let me know.
In that same vein, here’s a review of a 2012 Chinese film, Operation Mekong, which I reviewed about 6 months ago. The film is a fictional depiction of the Mekong River Massacre, where crew from Chinese shipping vessels were murdered on the Mekong river near Chiang Saen, Thailand. It’s a hell of a story and still has ramifications until today.
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Until tomorrow’s Crime Pill, stay safe out there everybody.
- True Crime Thailand