Lao drug kingpin with celebrity links gets 2nd life sentence

BANGKOK — A court in Thailand gave a second life sentence Wednesday to a drug kingpin from Laos whose social connections to various celebrities were exposed by his arrest.

Bangkok's Criminal Court initially handed Xaysana Keophimpha a death sentence for smuggling 1 million methamphetamine pills from Laos to southern Thailand and Malaysia, but reduced his punishment to life in prison because he cooperated during the police investigation.

The same court in March had handed Xaysana a life sentence over the smuggling of 1.2 million methamphetamine pills from Laos after a group of traffickers identified him as the leader of their network.

Xaysana's case drew great attention when he was arrested last year because of unproven suspicions that some Thai celebrities with whom he fraternized were implicated in his activities. After his arrest on Jan. 19, 2017, photographs of Xaysana with public figures, including police officers, circulated widely on social media.

Wednesday's court ruling was about a drug smuggling case in August 2016, for which an associate of Xaysana was also given a life sentence. The court acquitted Xaysana in another case involving the smuggling of 2.3 million methamphetamine tablets, citing doubts about the prosecution's arguments.

Thai and Malaysian officials have announced other arrests they say are connected to Xaysana's drug syndicate.

Related News

Unfettered online hate speech fuels Islamophobia...

Apr 10, 2017

Homeowners in a central Chinese city were so opposed to the planned construction of a mosque in...

China says navy rescues ship from pirates, omits...

Apr 10, 2017

China's navy says its forces rescued a freighter from attack by pirates in the Gulf of Aden

Climbing Mount Tai: 6,000 steps up China's sacred...

May 9, 2017

Taishan, or Mount Tai, is China's most sacred mountain

4 tons of garbage collected in China's Everest...

May 11, 2017

Chinese state media say volunteers have cleared four tons of garbage from the Chinese north side of...

China moves to expand DNA testing in Muslim region

May 16, 2017

A rights group and independent observers say China appears to be laying the groundwork for the mass...

China conducts demolitions at Tibetan Buddhist...

May 19, 2017

Chinese authorities in southwestern Sichuan province have evicted followers and razed scores of...

Search for something?

Sign up now!