OFAC targets Zhao Wei Transnational Criminal Organisation

OFAC3OFAC has designated the Zhao Wei Transnational Criminal Organisation pursuant to Executive Order 13581. Based in the Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone of Laos, the organisation is alleged to have exploited that region by “engaging in drug trafficking, human trafficking, money laundering, bribery, and wildlife trafficking”.

In conjunction, OFAC has also designated a network of 4 individuals and 3 entities across 3 jurisdictions (Laos, Thailand and China), for “materially assisting, sponsoring, or providing financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, the Zhao Wei TCO, or for being owned or controlled by persons designated as part of this action”. Furthermore, the Kings Romans Casino (Laos) is alleged to be the main facilitator of the illicit activity in question. Links here for OFAC Notice and US Treasury press release.


thailandInternational sanctions are among the responses being considered following the decision on 22 May 2014, by the Thai military, to impose martial law.

The Chief of the Royal Thai Army, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, announced that the military had taken control of government. He has ordered a curfew and the detention of civilian political leaders. In response, US Secretary of State John Kerry expressed that he was “concerned by reports that senior political leaders of Thailand’s major parties have been detained” and called for their release. UK Foreign Secretary, William Hague said “I am extremely concerned by today’s coup. The UK urges the restoration of a civilian government that has been democratically elected, serves the interests of its people and fulfils its human rights obligations” and the European Union released a statement saying that it is “following developments in Thailand with extreme concern” and stressing “the importance of holding credible and inclusive elections as soon as feasible.”

In 2006, the United States imposed sanctions in response to the military coup which ousted civilian Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. The US is a key ally of Thailand, carrying out multilateral military training exercises on Thai soil. Secretary of State, Kerry warned that the coup could have “negative implications…especially for our relationship with the Thai military”. He expressed disappointment at the decision of the Thai military to suspend the constitution and take control of the government, adding that “there is no justification for this military coup.”