BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) _ A large villa that serves as the Thai prime minister's official residence also served a less prestigious function as a major warehouse for pirated compact discs, police said Saturday.

The scandal surfaced after Liew Si Kong, 41-year-old Malaysian businessman, was arrested Thursday while bringing 1,310 discs to Ban Phitsanulok, the prime minister's official residence.

Liew said he was delivering the discs to Somphol Nakhon-iam, the driver for Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai, and Col. Kanchat Yaemphan, his security chief, police said.

The modest Chuan, who lives in a wooden, two-story rented house down a small Bangkok lane, uses the residence only for official and social functions.

Police suspect the people living in the villa turned it into a distribution center of pirated discs, Police Col. Chavalit Prasopsilp said.

Pirated items ranging from designer shirts to video tapes of Hollywood movies are widely available in Thailand, a fact which has drawn the ire of countries like the United States.

Liew was released on $250 bail. Kanchat was suspended and Somphol was fired, government spokesman Akapol Sorasuchart said.

Chuan ordered a thorough investigation and a search of the premises for any pirated compact discs, Akapol said.