Latest Newsletter🍵 New alcohol/cancer study in AsiansRead


Fugitive Thai drug lord arrested despite multiple surgeries to become ‘handsome Korean man’

Saharat Sawangjaeng
via Thailand National Police

    Asian America Daily - in under 5 minutes

    Get our collection of Asian America's most essential stories, to your inbox daily, for free!

    Unsure? Check out our Newsletter Archive

    A fugitive drug lord in Thailand who evaded authorities for months by transforming himself to pass as a Korean man was finally arrested by the local police in Bangkok on Thursday.

    The 25-year-old suspect, identified as Saharat Sawangjaeng, underwent multiple plastic surgeries and adopted the alias “Jimin Cheong” to successfully elude arrest after being on the run since Dec. 2022.   

    Sawangjaeng is accused of importing the psychoactive drug methyl​enedioxy​methamphetamine (MDMA), commonly seen in tablet form (ecstasy) and crystal form (molly), from the Netherlands and other parts of Europe to Thailand. The Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB) considers him “one of the main causes of Bangkok’s MDMA epidemic.”

    Investigators monitoring the movement of ecstasy to local distributors across Bangkok traced the drugs to what witnesses described as a “handsome Korean man.“

    An undercover officer posing as a prospective drug mule eventually led to his arrest at a condominium in Bangkok’s Bang Na district. The officers were shocked to discover that the “Korean man” they arrested was the same man they arrested three times before as “none of his original face was left.”

    In his previous arrest over an assault charge, police recovered 290 ecstasy pills and 4.4 pounds of narcotics in liquid form in his possession. He managed to escape detention and began altering his appearance to avoid arrest.

    After being apprehended last week, Sawangjaeng told authorities that he was bored with his life in Thailand and wanted to start a new life by moving to South Korea. 

    Upon questioning, the suspect admitted to using Bitcoin to purchase drugs on the Dark Web and selling them to local buyers in Bangkok. He has since been charged with the illegal importation of narcotics.

    According to Thai police, Sawangjaeng’s arrest opens up the local investigation into more suspects from foreign countries involved in the illegal drug trade.

    Support our Journalism with a Contribution

    Many people might not know this, but despite our large and loyal following which we are immensely grateful for, NextShark is still a small bootstrapped startup that runs on no outside funding or loans.

    Everything you see today is built on the backs of warriors who have sacrificed opportunities to help give Asians all over the world a bigger voice.

    However, we still face many trials and tribulations in our industry, from figuring out the most sustainable business model for independent media companies to facing the current COVID-19 pandemic decimating advertising revenues across the board.

    We hope you consider making a contribution so we can continue to provide you with quality content that informs, educates and inspires the Asian community. Even a $1 contribution goes a long way.  Thank you for everyone's support. We love you all and can't appreciate you guys enough.

    Support NextShark

    Mastercard, Visa, Amex, Discover, Paypal