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Money exchange operator arrested for laundering money for drug cartels

Metropolitan police yesterday arrested a money exchange operator in Pratunam commercial area after gaining evidence that the exchange business was used for money laundering for drug cartels.

The suspected operator is identified as Ms Sirikarn Kulawat, or known as Jeh Ming.

Police raided her Power Exchange office located at Pratunam and arrested Jeh Ming after month long investigation following the arrest of her husband Yossawat Weerachaiphaksiri or Hia Non earlier this month.

Police said they have evidences showing the couple laundered money for five major drug cartels which included the network of Puxana Singnawong, a Laotian drug baron who supplied illicit drugs to southern Thailand and abroad.

Police said Power Exchange had operated a currency-exchange business as a front to

facilitate overseas financial transfers for drug cartels.

It would get 0.8 per cent of the transferred amount as commission fee.

In the search of her office, the police have found two big and one small safety boxes.

Seven million baht cash in Thai and foreign currencies, various types of jewelry including jade and rare amulets were inside.

According to the investigation, police also found that she also has safety box deposit at a bank believed to have many gold bars.

They were seeking permission from the court for a warrant to search the safety box in the bank.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)