World News

Thai police raid on suspected foreign forgery gang uncovers body in freezer

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thai police on Saturday said they will charge three foreign members of a suspected passport forgery gang with concealing a dead body after a raid on a Bangkok compound discovered the dismembered remains of a man in a freezer.

Thai police raided the compound late on Friday and arrested three men. One police officer was shot during the raid but remains in a stable condition, Sathien Witanamala, police deputy commander of the Phrakanong precinct in central Bangkok, told Reuters.

“An investigation of the compound revealed a dismembered body of a foreign man hidden in plastic bags in a freezer,” he said.

Police also found hundreds of forged passports at the Phrakanong compound. Sathien described the three arrested men as English-speaking foreigners but said police did not know their nationalities as they had been traveling on forged U.S. and British passports.

Sathien also described the body found in the freezer as that of a foreign man with blonde hair but said his identity and nationality were not known.

Suwat Jangyodsuk, deputy commander of Metropolitan Police, said the men will be charged with attempted murder for shooting the police officer as well as forging illegal documents and hiding a dead body.

The men will be taken from Phrakanong police station in Bangkok on Saturday and moved to holding facilities at a local court where they will be officially charged.

With a high number of visitors every year, Thailand has a booming black market for fake identity documents with authorities struggling to track the thousands of lost or stolen passports each year.

Passports are known to be sold on to drug traffickers while others are suspected to have ended up in the hands of Islamist militants.

Reporting by Cod Satrusayang and Panarat Thepgumpanat; Editing by Sam Holmes