CUSTOMS officials on Tuesday discovered more than Bt98 million in Thai banknotes in a car that was trying to cross the border into Laos.
Two Lao nationals in the car were arrested at the Nong Khai Customs checkpoint.
To explain the cash, siblings Suebanh Tiasili, 30, and Khumborn Tiasyly, 24, claimed that their family had a currency exchange business.
However, Thai authorities will investigate their claim further to determine if they are involved in illegal acts.
Thai law prohibits the transportation of amounts exceeding Bt450,000 across borders without notifying relevant officials.
“These two Laotians violated our laws. Now, their cash and vehicle have been seized pending further examination,” Nong Khai Customs checkpoint chief Nimit Saeng-ampai said on Tuesday.
He and his team intercepted the Toyota Land Cruiser after a tip-off that it might have linked to illegal activities.
The vehicle had previously transited the Nong Khai checkpoint several times.
Nimit said the Lao suspects claimed that they had exchanged US$2.5 million (Bt81.5 million) for Thai banknotes at various banks in Thailand’s Nong Khai province and planned to take the Thai currency back to Laos.
According to officials, the suspects had apparently tried to hide the cash in milk boxes and inside the engine compartment of their vehicle.
Nimit said Customs violations could be settled out of court. “But even if these suspects do so, they will be put on the blacklist. They will not be allowed to enter Thailand again,” he said.