28 Thai workers arrested for holding weekend drug partiesIllegal Thai workers were arrested in South Gyeongsang after throwing drug parties on weekends.
The Busan Metropolitan Police Agency arrested 28 Thai laborers and detained 23 of them for either selling or taking drugs, the police said Wednesday.
It began with a 30-year-old Thai woman buying drugs — methamphetamine and yaba — from a Korean supplier and selling them to Thai laborers in South Gyeongsang, according to the police.
Other Thai laborers who lost their jobs due to Covid-19 saw the woman turning a profit and resorted to drug dealing for money as well.
The police caught six such drug dealers. They allegedly collected 43 million won ($37,000) collectively from December 2020 to May 2021.
The dealers functioned by posting covert messages on social media sites, like "We have ice for sale," to indicate their drug stock for sale to other Thai workers in Korea.
Then, when the dealers received their orders, they would distribute the drugs by traveling on stolen vehicles.
The Thai workers who just bought the drugs would then gather at a club in South Gyeongsang for drug parties.
"They took the drugs in the bathroom, drank alcohol under its influence and partied," said the Busan Metropolitan Police Agency. "We found that they have been having these drug parties almost every weekend."
The 28 arrested individuals were all illegal immigrants.
They entered the country under the visa waiver program which allowed them to stay in the country for 90 days. The police said that the arrested workers had overstayed their permitted period.
The police detained 23 arrested migrant workers who posed flight risk due to their illegal status. The other five were transferred to the Korea Immigration Service.
"The workers came to Korea to earn money, but when they became unemployed because of the Covid-19 pandemic, many started drug dealing until they became sort of an organization," a police officer said. "The dealers sold the drugs to fellow Thai laborers who were suffering from hard labor and invited them to their drug parties."
BY LEE JIAN, LEE EUN-JI [firstname.lastname@example.org]