A drug dealer known as "Mr T", or "Malaysian Iceman" among the Malaysian media, and his female Thai accomplice were found guilty of drug smuggling by a Thai court today and sentenced to death.
Tan Hun Seong, 64, from Johor, and Wilaipan Pettong, 66, were found guilty under Thailand's Measure for Suppression of Offenders in an Offence relating to Narcotics Act 1991 and the Narcotics Act 1979, for trying to smuggle 282kg of Crystal Methamphetamine into Malaysia two years ago.
The Criminal Court, which delivered its verdict today, also found two other accused – a Taiwanese man known as Cheng Mi Hsu, 69, or "Jimmy", and Thai woman Wipharat Kandee, 50, – guilty of the same offence and were also sentenced to death.
However, their death sentences were later reduced to life imprisonment as they had cooperated with the authorities during the investigation.
They were accused of being in the same cross-border drug syndicate which the Malaysian mastermind played a key role in its operations.
The grey-haired Tan, who was arrested by heavily armed Thai policemen in Hatyai airport in April last year, arrived in the court this morning with his legs shackled and handcuffed.
He looked nervous when the court delivered the verdict and was then seen to be in deep discussion with his lawyer.
The Malaysian, who spoke fluent Thai, resided in Hatyai and had a Thai wife.
His arrest which received wide media coverage in Thailand and Malaysia came about after the authorities nabbed two Malaysian men at the Sadao Immigration checkpoint in March 2016 with 282kg of "Ice" bound for Malaysia.
Following their arrest, the two men revealed to authorities about Tan's role in the drug trade which later led to his arrest in Hatyai airport last year.
Both of them, who had been sentenced to life in prison for the offence, had accused Tan of hiring them to smuggle the drugs into Malaysia.
During the trial, the court was told that the car used by both Malaysians in their failed attempt to smuggle the drug to Malaysia in 2016 belonged to Tan's son, which proved his role in the drug syndicate.
The court also heard that authorities found several vehicles with modified compartments when they raided Tan's house in Hatyai after his arrest.
The court was also told of the various communications between the accused and one of the two Malaysian men via messaging system and coded conversation about their drug smuggling activities which had proved beyond doubt of their involvement.
The prosecution also showed the many financial transactions between the accused.