BANGKOK: A fugitive Malaysian businessman operating in Thailand has been arrested in southern Songkhla province for alleged money laundering.

Teow Wooi Huat (pic), the founder of MBI Group International, was arrested in the early hours yesterday by a team led by National Police assistant chief Pol Lt-General Surachate Hakparn.

Police also searched his MBI Group office in Sadao district on the Thai-Malaysian border.

His capture came after the recent arrests of local politicians in Songkhla and Nakhon Si Thammarat provinces.

An investigation led by Surachate discovered their links to Teow, police said on Friday.

The business tycoon was found to be the major financier of online gambling rings.

MBI Group’s office in Thailand is located on 16ha of land. It is involved in businesses ranging from hotels and entertainment outlets to amusement parks and real estate.

Teow had been arrested in 2017 on the charge of drug dealing. He fled to Songkhla and later managed to escape prosecution.

In 2018, Malaysian authorities charged Teow with financial crimes. His assets were seized for his connection with a pyramid scheme. He fled to Thailand last year.

His company MBI Group International made headlines in Malaysia in October 2019 when scores of Chinese nationals rallied outside the embassy in Kuala Lumpur, claiming they had lost their life savings to the firm.

The people said they had been “cheated” by an online pyramid scheme allegedly run by MBI Group International.

Teow was also wanted in Malaysia in connection with a RM336mil (US$83mil) money-laundering scam in Macau. — The Nation Thailand/ANN