A Johor-born man known as “Mr T” or the “Malaysian Iceman” faces the death penalty over his alleged role in attempting to smuggle 282kg of “ice” or crystal methamphetamine into Malaysia two years ago.
Tan Hun Seong and three of his accomplices have been formally charged in a Thai court under the country’s Measures for the Suppression of Offenders Relating to Narcotics 1991 Act and Narcotics Act 1979 which, aside from the death penalty, provides life imprisonment upon conviction.
According to court documents obtained by Bernama, “Mr T”, who is in his mid-60s, a 69-year-old Taiwanese man known as “Jimmy” and two Thai women will be tried at the Bangkok Criminal Court in May.
The arrest of Tan by a group of heavily armed police officers at the busy Hatyai Airport in April last year received wide media coverage in Thailand and Malaysia.
Thai authorities suspect Tan, who resided in Hatyai with his Thai wife, of being a senior member of an international drug syndicate which sourced drugs from the Golden Triangle through northern Thailand and smuggled it to Malaysia.
Tan, who was nabbed at the airport after returning from northern Thailand, allegedly after “another drug business”, also speaks fluent Thai and owns various businesses in the southern border town.
Investigators discovered his role in the syndicate following the arrest of two other Malaysian men at the Sadao immigration checkpoint near the Malaysian-Thai border in March 2016. They were attempting to smuggle 282kg of “ice” to the neighbouring country.
The two Malaysian men pleaded guilty to the charges and were sentenced to life imprisonment by Thailand’s Criminal Court.
A source told Bernama that Tan had maintained his innocence and denied his alleged role in the syndicate, as well as attempts to smuggle 282kg of “ice” into Malaysia.
He said Tan had also appointed a lawyer to defend him against the charges.
“All the (four) suspects denied the charges, but we have strong evidence against them,” he said adding that the three other suspects faced similar drug charges.
According to the source, Tan and the three suspects could be sent to the gallows if found guilty in court, but can also opt for life imprisonment should they plead guilty to the charges.