CSD raids target online casino 'mafia'

Bangkok Post
 
Brango

Crime Suppression Division (CSD) police yesterday launched a large operation, codenamed "Hanuman vs online casino mafia", against gambling websites based in 14 provinces.

The operation, led by CSD commander Pol Maj Gen Montree Thetkhan, involved about 350 police and targets 63 premises in 14 provinces countrywide -- Khon Kaen, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phitsanulok, Maha Sarakham, Saraburi, Sa Kaeo, Sakon Nakhon, Phuket, Nonthaburi, Rayong, Samut Prakan, Ratchaburi, and Buri Ram. Khon Kaen was the network's command centre.

In Khon Kaen, there were three targets.

The first was a duplex on about 1 rai of land at Chonlada Housing Estate, Moo 4, in tambon Ban Pet, Muang district. Police armed with a warrant issued by the Criminal Court for the arrest of Suwat Thanasarnwiwat, alias Sia Ko, 41, searched the house. Mr Suwat was not there. His elder sister and brother-in-law were at the house when the police arrived.

The officers found and impounded many valuables, including about 100 Bearbrick figurines.

The second target was a house in Papirom Housing Estate, Moo 23, in tambon Ban Pet. Police had a Criminal Court warrant to arrest Sumalee Lertkijpaisal, 45, on charges of illegally operating online gambling websites and money laundering. Mrs Sumalee is Mr Suwat's mother-in-law. She was taken into custody.

Police found a safe containing valuable amulets, car registration books, a pistol and other valuables, which were impounded.

The third target was a house on 2-rai with a large swimming pool at Moo 16 in tambon Ban Pet, where police had a Criminal Court warrant to arrest Praput Latthisungnoen, 47, alias Sia Nook, also on charges of illegally operating online gambling websites and money laundering.

Mr Praput was not at the house. Police impounded many valuables, including about 100 Bearbricks, and also found extension rooms on the ground and upper floors used for bitcoin mining.

Pol Maj Gen Montree, the CSD commander, said the operation yesterday followed a crackdown on Sept 22 when the CSD smashed gambling websites of a network called Fat Fast in 10 provinces. In that operation, 30 suspects were arrested and about 400 assets worth about 460 million baht were seized.

It was later learned that Fat Fast was part of a larger gambling network operating throughout the country.

Fat Fast had been in operation for over 10 years, with Mr Praput and Mr Suwat allegedly being major investors. The network operated like a business and was divided into several departments such as marketing, administration, accounting, and finance.

It was run in the form of franchises. Fat Fast had 109 franchise holders with about 2,000 people employed.

Suspects in the Fat Fast network who were arrested said 7-10 million baht was transferred to the investors on a daily basis.

Pol Maj Gen Montree said the CSD had court warrants for the arrest of 23 key suspects and to search about 60 targets throughout the country.