Foreigners arrested as Thai police find guns, dead body in Bangkok building

BANGKOK (AFP) - Thai police raided a Bangkok building Friday (Sept 23) and arrested five foreigners after a shootout, discovering guns, crystal meth, fake passports and the dead body of a woman hidden in a freezer.

Four men and one woman were arrested, according to the commander of Thailand's tourist police Surachet Hakpan, who added that three of the men spoke English but police were still verifying their nationalities.

One of the men opened the door to the four-story building and then, realising it was a police raid, grabbed a gun and started shooting, injuring one officer, police said.

Photos in local media showed British and American passports alongside three handguns seized in the Friday afternoon raid.

"Tourism police investigated and found out that international criminals were staying at that place and using it to do wrong things," Surachet told reporters.

Police also discovered the bagged body of a woman, separated into pieces, inside a large freezer on the first floor, he said.

"We are checking if she is Thai or foreigner," he added.

With porous borders, visa-free travel for many countries and notoriously corrupt law enforcement, Thailand has long been a haven for foreign criminals and fugitives.

The kingdom draws transnational criminals involved in everything from human trafficking to gem thefts or the illegal wildlife trade.

The current junta government has vowed to crack down on foreign criminals in an operation immigration police have called "Good guys in, bad guys out".