British crime boss nabbed in Thailand after years on run

By AFP   February 12, 2023 | 12:51 am PT
British crime boss nabbed in Thailand after years on run
Richard Wakeling is arrested in Thailand. Photo by British National Crime Agency
A British crime boss has been arrested in Thailand after five years on the run, Thai police said Sunday.

Richard Wakeling fled Britain in 2018 after he attempted to smuggle £8 million ($9.6 million) of liquid amphetamine into the country in 2016.

The 55-year-old was sentenced in absentia to 11 years and placed on the British National Crime Agency's (NCA) "most wanted" watch list.

Originally from Essex county in southeast England, Wakeling was caught on Friday in the Thai capital Bangkok by the Central Investigation Bureau working with the NCA.

"Since 1993 he regularly traveled to Thailand but after being charged he changed his name and his passport's nationality to Irish, that's why it didn't show up on the system," a senior Thai police officer involved with the arrest told AFP.

"We arrested him and asked whether he was Richard as on the warrant, and he confirmed he was," the officer said.

Wakeling will be taken to court on Monday to begin the extradition process, he added.

He had been living in the seaside resort town of Hua Hin for several years, according to police.

The NCA had previously issued appeals for information on his whereabouts.

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