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Unraveling the Mystery of Thailand’s Oil-Smuggling Ships and Joe Pattani’s Underworld Network

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In a dramatic twist worthy of a maritime melodrama, the saga of the missing oil-smuggling ships has gripped the nation. Picture this: a marine police boat valiantly escorting three elusive vessels back to the Port of Songkhla after they vanished into thin air earlier this week. Yes, according to Assawin Pakkawan, the ships, brimming with a whopping 330,000 liters of contraband oil, had briefly evaded capture.

The plot thickens with an ongoing investigation that reads like a crime thriller. A leaked chat has unveiled unsavory connections between some police officers and the sly mastermind of this oil-smuggling operation. The three errant ships, seized on March 19, had been idling at the marine police pier in Chon Buri’s Sattahip district with two other seized vessels, waiting for justice to catch up with them. On the day of the seizure, 28 crew members were apprehended, charged with smuggling, and then released on bail for a hefty sum of 3 million baht.

Fast forward to June 12, and the plot takes another twist—the three ships vanished with 15 crew members aboard. Despite their attempt to slip away, the noose tightened on Monday near Malaysia’s maritime border where they were recaptured, albeit with only eight crew members in tow. Almost all of the 330,000 liters of diesel oil had been siphoned off, leaving empty holds and more questions than answers.

Pol Maj Gen Jaroonkiat Pankaew, deputy commissioner of the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB), disclosed an initial finding that ties the vessels to a notorious network helmed by “Joe Namman Thue,” better known to his underworld peers as “Joe Pattani.” On March 19, a certain Mr. Lek had contacted the police, desperate for an assist that was resolutely denied. The CIB believes this Mr. Lek was the purse behind the bail money, acting upon Joe Pattani’s orders.

“This fiasco has tarnished the reputation of the Royal Thai Police (RTP). We must strike decisively against all wrongdoers, including our own men,” declared Pol Maj Gen Jaroonkiat. Further deliberations with public prosecutors will chart the course of action.

The plot gets juicier with a Line chat leaked to the media, exposing conversations between marine police and Joe Pattani. “Initial findings confirm the chat’s authenticity, but the Crime Suppression Division (CSD) and Anti-Corruption Division (ACD) need more time to wrap up the investigation,” Pol Maj Gen Jaroonkiat added.

The next act in this unfolding drama involves a police officer identified merely as “N,” who will be summoned for questioning. The deputy chief of the CSD, Pol Col Anek Taosuparb, revealed that the eight crew members from the recaptured ships were flown to Bangkok for interrogation at the CSD headquarters. The investigation aims to unearth any links to Joe Pattani, with more revelations expected next week.

The case might even take an international turn as police consider reaching out to Interpol for a Red Notice to track down the seven remaining crew members still at large. All eyes are on the next chapter of this maritime mystery, which promises more headlines in the coming days.


  1. Mike Turner June 19, 2024

    How on earth do ships vanish into thin air? This reeks of corruption at the highest levels!

    • chan_lover June 19, 2024

      Seriously, it’s like a bad action movie. Who’s running the show here?

      • Sarah June 19, 2024

        Right? Feels like they’re all in on it. The police are either incompetent or involved.

      • Mike Turner June 19, 2024

        @Sarah I bet they are involved. Too many coincidences.

    • Analyst486 June 19, 2024

      Not just corruption, but a systematic failure. This could have severe international repercussions.

      • Grower132 June 19, 2024

        Or it could just be regular people trying to make a quick buck and failing miserably.

      • Mike Turner June 19, 2024

        @Analyst486 True, but let’s not overdramatize it. It’s a serious crime, but manageable if handled correctly.

  2. Lara Doe June 19, 2024

    I wonder if Joe Pattani is just the scapegoat. There’s always someone higher pulling the strings.

    • Dylan101 June 19, 2024

      Exactly! These guys are always just pawns in a bigger game.

      • Jake Parris June 19, 2024

        Perhaps, but it’s still important to cut the head off the snake we know first.

      • Lara Doe June 19, 2024

        @Jake Parris True, but let’s not ignore the bigger picture.

  3. Kevin June 19, 2024

    How convenient for Joe Pattani to be implicated right when police corruption is questioned.

    • History Buff June 19, 2024

      Convenient, indeed. It stinks of a cover-up.

  4. Tommy L June 19, 2024

    Why even bother chasing these ships? There’s bigger fish to fry.

    • Josephine June 19, 2024

      Every smuggling ring counts. You can’t ignore them just because there are larger crimes.

      • Tommy L June 19, 2024

        @Josephine True, but resource allocation matters. Focus on what’s more impactful.

  5. geek_guy June 19, 2024

    Police getting cozy with criminals? Shocking… not.

    • Eduardo F June 19, 2024

      Isn’t this always the case? Power corrupts.

    • geek_guy June 19, 2024

      @Eduardo F Absolutely, but it needs to be called out every time.

  6. Kathy H June 19, 2024

    What puzzles me is how easily they could siphon off that much oil knowing the heat was on them.

    • Pablo M June 19, 2024

      Probably had insiders giving them a heads-up.

      • Liam June 19, 2024

        @Kathy H It’s not just Brussels sprouts, it’s also about having the right maritime infrastructure to pull this off!

  7. Emma June 19, 2024

    This sounds like a high-stakes crime novel. Too outlandish to be happening in real life.

    • Aiden June 19, 2024

      Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. These stories do happen.

      • Emma June 19, 2024

        @Aiden Clearly, Thailand could publish a bestseller with this material.

  8. Lucas M June 19, 2024

    What a colossal waste of resources. The entire system needs an overhaul.

  9. Bella June 19, 2024

    I’m more shocked by the bail amounts! 3 million baht is pocket change for these smugglers.

  10. Harry June 19, 2024

    Marine police and Joe Pattani, what a duo. So typical.

  11. Sam99 June 19, 2024

    Good luck getting Interpol involved. They have enough on their plate.

    • Jane D June 20, 2024

      You’d be surprised. They might take this up just to make an example.

      • Sam99 June 20, 2024

        @Jane D Maybe, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

  12. Olivia June 20, 2024

    Even if they capture the remaining crew, the real criminals are still free.

    • Ricardo June 20, 2024

      That’s always the challenge, isn’t it? The kingpins always seem to evade justice.

  13. Nathan B June 20, 2024

    I feel like we need more transparency on this investigation.

    • Luna June 20, 2024

      Agreed, Nathan. The public has a right to know.

    • Nathan B June 20, 2024

      @Luna Exactly. Secrecy breeds suspicion.

  14. Jackson June 20, 2024

    I wouldn’t be surprised if this goes unsolved. Just another news cycle.

  15. Williams June 20, 2024

    Honestly, are the police trying to catch these guys or just pretending?

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