Thai police find dismembered body in freezer

A foreign member of a suspected passport forgery gang is escorted by police officers after a raid in Bangkok, Thailand, on Sept 23, 2016.
A foreign member of a suspected passport forgery gang is escorted by police officers after a raid in Bangkok, Thailand, on Sept 23, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

BANGKOK • Three foreign men said to be part of a suspected passport forgery ring have been charged after police found them with drugs, guns and a dismembered body stashed in a freezer in a Bangkok building.

The police yesterday said they were working to confirm the nationalities of the English speakers, who were found with multiple passports, but suspect they are American or British.

A US Embassy spokesman said he was following the case but could not comment.

One of the men grabbed a gun and opened fire during Friday's raid on the alleged crime den, injuring an officer who has been hospitalised.

Police then rounded up a cache of drugs and guns and found the bagged body parts of a man, described as a blond foreigner, inside a padlocked freezer.

"They have been charged on five counts, including attempting to kill an official on duty, resisting arrest, illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, forging official documents and concealing a corpse," said Mr Chanin Vachirapraneekul, commander of the police station in Bangkok's Phra Khanong district where the men were taken.

The men, two of whom have grey hair according to photos published in local media, have denied all charges, the police said.

A Myanmar couple detained with the group told police they were hired to clean the building three times a week and ordered not to open or move the freezer where the body was found. The couple have not been charged with any crime and are being treated as witnesses, said Bangkok deputy police commander Suwat Jangyodsuk.

Forensic officers are working to identify the deceased and expect to have the autopsy results today.

"As of now we suspect they are a passport forgery gang," Mr Suwat said of the three men in custody.

"We seized more than 10 fake documents, including passports."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 25, 2016, with the headline 'Thai police find dismembered body in freezer'. Print Edition | Subscribe