In the early hours of February 4, 2023, police raided popular club, Onyx, in Bangkok’s popular Royal City Avenue (RCA) nightlife district, in relation to the online gambling money laundering ring named Macau888.
The large-scale raid was held in an attempt to link the venue to Macau888, which is known to be operated by The Four Brothers — a Chinese criminal syndicate.
Around 30 locations across Bangkok believed to be run and operated by gamblers were also subject to investigation. In the same area on the previous night, cyber police and the commando unit were able to seize computers, mobile phones and two guns from a beverage company owned by one of the chief suspects, initials NS.
Led by Pol. Gen Torsak Sukwimol, the raids employed a number of police from different divisions, including cybercrime, emergency, immigration and narcotics officers.
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Impacted by the operation was the club V12 on RCA, which was holding its Retox Sessions club night — headlining the event was Cocoon Recordings label head, Sven Väth. According to sources, the venue (though not raided) was requested to “turn off the music”, cutting the German DJ’s set short at around 1am.
Sukwimol mentions that the “Macau888 operation” was based on evidence that Onyx was connected to the illegal online gambling network. Armed with 13 arrest warrants, the police were able to apprehend one person from the raid.
According to a reporter from Coconuts Bangkok, as club-goers exited Onyx, police conducted further searches — tourists were asked to provide ID as proof they were not overstaying their visas. K9 units also swept the club and found packets of drugs inside the club.
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Police at the time were saying that the raid was actually a routine search for drugs and declined to comment further on the Macau888 operation.
The Macau888 case has been getting widespread attention since a Thai actress went exposed about her ex-boyfriend being a part of the syndicate and its operations. She was deemed “an example of a good citizen” by Chaiwut Thanakmanusorn, Thailand’s Minister of Digital Economy and Society.
Another celebrity figure named exemplary in regards to the case was former politician and massage parlour tycoon, Chuwit Kamolvisit. He was said to have provided evidence of alleged financial activities of Chinese triads and their “grey businesses” relating to drug networks in the country to the Justice Ministry.
[Via: Coconuts, Bright Today & Bangkok Post]
[Image: UCI Media]
Amira Waworuntu is Mixmag Asia’s Managing Editor, follow her on Instagram.