In an unsuccessful attempt to evade law enforcement, a Thai “drug lord” underwent extensive plastic surgery to alter his appearance and resemble a “handsome Korean man.” Saharat Sawangjaeng reportedly changed his name and face through multiple surgical procedures, hoping to start a new life in South Korea.
However, Saharat’s attempt at a fresh start was short-lived, as Thai police were able to track him down and charge him with illegal drug importation. According to reports, Saharat had been purchasing drugs with Bitcoin on the dark web before dealing them to customers in Bangkok, Thailand’s capital city.
Thai Police Major-General Theeradej Thammasutee described Saharat as “one of the main causes of Bangkok’s MDMA epidemic,” referring to the recreational drug often taken in the form of ecstasy pills that can act as both a stimulant and psychedelic.
Authorities had been attempting to track Saharat down since December of the previous year, and were ultimately able to do so by tracing the distribution of ecstasy in Bangkok. Despite his dramatic transformation, police confirmed that Saharat’s appearance had changed so drastically that “none of his original face was left.”
Saharat had been arrested by authorities three times prior to undergoing plastic surgery, and authorities were already familiar with his original appearance. In one of his earlier arrests, he was allegedly caught with 290 ecstasy pills and 2kg of liquid narcotics, while detained on an assault charge. Witnesses reportedly described Saharat as a “handsome Korean man” after he managed to escape detention and went under the knife to alter his appearance.
Last week, Saharat was apprehended by authorities at a condominium in Bangkok, under the name Seong Jimin. Investigations are ongoing into possible accomplices and co-conspirators, beyond those in Thailand. Saharat explained his decision to undergo the dramatic transformation to police, stating that he was “bored of Thailand” and wanted to start a new life. However, his attempt to evade justice was ultimately unsuccessful, and he now faces serious charges for his involvement in the illegal drug trade.