THAILAND (TR) – Police in Bangkok on Wednesday announced the arrest of a 57-year-old male Japanese for allegedly attempting to smuggle stimulant drugs hidden in golf clubs into Japan. The suspect, who claims to be a former member of a criminal syndicate, denies the charges, local media reported.
According to the police’s Crime Suppression Division (CSD), Kazuhiko Ono asked a male acquaintance, also a Japanese national, to deliver seven golf clubs to another friend in Japan via a flight earlier this month, the Bangkok Post reported.
However, the acquaintance noticed that one of the clubs was heavier than normal. He also heard a suspicious sound coming from inside.
After he visited the Embassy of Japan, three of the clubs were found to weigh about 545 grams, more than twice the expected weight. It was later learned that the heads of the clubs — including a Titleist driver — contained about 700 grams of kakuseizai, or crystal methamphetamine. The contraband has an estimated street value of 45 million yen.
On March 5, the embassy contacted the CSD. After obtaining a search warrant, investigators entered Ono’s residence in the Bang Kapi area and discovered 4 grams of kakuseizai, a small quantity of marijuana and one Ecstasy tablet.
“I did not know what was inside”
Ono said that the drugs found in his residence were for his personal use. About the kakuseizai found in the golf clubs, he said, “Since I was looking after the bag for a friend, I did not know what was inside.”
Ono resides in Thailand on a retirement visa. After arriving in the country 20 years ago, he married a Thai woman and started a tour business.
The suspect told police that he lopped off his left middle finger — a process known as yubitsume — after committing a blunder while a member of the criminal syndicate. He then left the gang.