Thai investigators raided a condo in Bangkok’s outskirts last Thursday, searching for an alleged drug smuggler who had been on the run for months.
The suspect, identified by police as Jimin Seong, was described as a “good looking Korean man” with wavy hair and smooth skin.
However, appearances can be deceiving.
According to a police press release issued on Friday, the suspect’s real name is Saharat Sawanjaeng. The 25-year-old Thai national and Bangkok resident had tried to reinvent himself as a “Korean man” by changing his name, hairstyle, and undergoing multiple plastic surgery procedures “until his face had completely changed,” according to the release.
The police provided before and after photos, which show a dramatically different appearance, with earlier photos bearing little resemblance to the man pictured later.
Sawanjaeng has been wanted since last year for allegedly bringing into Thailand more than 2,500 grams and 290 tablets of MDMA, also known as ecstasy or molly. According to the release, he is a major source of the drug spreading in Bangkok and the surrounding area.
However, he appeared to have vanished – until police received rumors that the drugs had been traced back to a Korean dealer, prompting their investigation.
According to the release, after his arrest, Sawanjaeng allegedly confessed to having “global connections,” sourcing drugs from the dark web, and conducting transactions using Bitcoin.
He spoke “very little Korean,” but told police he wanted to live in South Korea because he was “bored” of life in Thailand.
Sawanjaeng was surrounded by police in the apartment before being led away with his hands restrained in photos from the raid. He is accused of illegally importing and distributing a category 1 drug into Thailand, both of which carry a maximum sentence of life in prison.