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New Zealand bar owner probed for working illegally, arrested for drugs

New Zealand bar owner probed for working illegally, arrested for drugs

BANGKOK: A 55-year-old New Zealand man staying in Thailand on a retirement visa has been arrested for a haul of drugs after officers initially investigated him for working illegally by serving his own customers at his bistro and bar in Chiang Mai.

By The Phuket News

Wednesday 23 October 2019, 06:50PM

Although the arrest was made in August, the Immigration Bureau announced the arrest yesterday (Oct 22) during a press conference held in front of Immigration Chief Lt Gen Sompong Chingduang.

Chiang Mai Immigration arrived at the Spades Bistro & Bar on Sam Lan Rd, Tambon Phra Sing, Chiang Mai, at about 10pm Aug 13, a Tuesday night, to find a foreign man serving customers in the bar.

The raid was the result of officers following up a complaint that a foreign man was looking after foreign customers at the bar, including receiving payment from customers, Col Sompong was told yesterday.

The New Zealand man was named at the press conference only as “Mr Michael”, or just “Mike”.

The officers checked Mr Michael’s passport, which showed he last entered the country on July 11 on a long-stay retirement visa allowed to stay until March 26, 2020.

Officers also checked the company documents for Rimi Holding Co Ltd, which is legally registered as the company operating the bar and bistro.

Mr Michael was confirmed to be a listed shareholder and director of the company, despite his visa not permitting him to work in the country.

Officers noticed CCTV cameras fitted in the restaurant and asked to see the footage, to which Mr Michael told the officers that the only the cameras had been installed and that there was no equipment to record any footage.

Not convinced with his explanation, officers asked to inspect the floors above the restaurant.

Although they found no CCTV recording equipment, officers found a stash of drugs hidden in a locked drawer in a desk on the third floor.

QSI International School Phuket

In total, the officers found 64 tablets of Ecstasy, 9.92 grams of cocaine and 9.68 grams of ketamine in zip-lock bags in the drawer.

Mr Michael confessed to officers that he had bought the drugs from a foreign male friend, who he did not name, for about B45,000.

A urine test saw Mr Michael test positive for cocaine use, Col Sompong was told yesterday.

Mr Michael now faces two separate charges for working illegally and three charges for drugs possession.

However, he may face more charges.

Armed with a search warrant issued by Chiang Mai Provincial Court, Chiang Mai Immigration officers searched Mr Michael’s rented house in Tambon San Sai Noi at about 2pm on Aug 23.

There they found 14 devices presumed to be for drug use, including scorched brass pipes and a volume of condensed black liquid believed to be a narcotic.

The devices and the liquid were sent for testing, the results of which were not yet available, Gen Sompong was told.

Hence, depending on the test results, Mr Michael may face further charges, the press conference was told.

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Fascinated | 23 October 2019 - 22:48:57

Bad Guys Out'. 

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