Hong Kong police pressed to track mastermind in drug case that led to Bangkok arrest of trio

Fate of three arrested for cocaine rests on whether Thai authorities will initiate joint efforts amid red tape

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 June, 2017, 5:52pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 June, 2017, 10:31pm

Police are under pressure to track down a woman known as “Ming”, believed to be the mastermind in a drug-trafficking case that has led to the arrest of three Hongkongers in Thailand.

The trio, who were found with 12.3kg of cocaine in their luggage at Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok, on June 5, now face life ­imprisonment.

“If we just catch these small potatoes without capturing the masterminds, similar cases will happen again and again,” said ­Sirichai Piyaphichetkul, the lawyer for Yau Kit-long, 24.

The other two, Fong Yee-ting, 19, and Tung Wing-yan, 22, were still looking for lawyers to represent them, according to legislator James To Kun-sun, who said he had appealed to Hong Kong ­police and the Chinese embassy in ­Thailand for help.

They were said to have been given HK$8,000 each by Ming to carry suitcases containing wood carvings, which had drugs hidden in secret compartments, from Brazil to her in a Bangkok hotel.

To said Thai authorities told him they did not manage to ­detain Ming before she fled to Hong Kong on the same day the three were caught.

The elder sister of Yau said her brother had not expected to land in jail after replying to a Facebook post about a flight to Brazil.

“Every time I visit him in Thailand, he cries badly,” she said on Thursday.

Thai police have 84 days, starting from the day of the arrests, to ­decide on the prosecution, said Carol Zhang, assistant to Sirichai, who over the past two decades, has seen defendants in more than 10 similar cases jailed while the masterminds remained at large.

To said Hong Kong police had to determine whether Ming had broken any city law, and they may not be able to proceed unless the Thai side made a request.

A police spokesman later said the force did not comment on ­individual cases.

Sirichai, who agreed joint ­efforts should be initiated by Thai authorities, blamed red tape and said he would submit an official letter to the Thai government, urging pressure also be put on Bangkok police.

To, Sirichai and the family of Yau will express their concerns by submitting a letter to the Royal Thai Consulate-General in Hong Kong on Monday.