Thai Police Arrest Online Gambling Mogul
February 4, 2009 (InfoPowa News) — The Bangkok Post reports that a police squad of 70 men were deployed this week to arrest an Indian businessman accused of involvement in an international online gambling organization with a turnover of billions of baht.
Crime Supression Division commander Pongpat Chayaphan led the raid at a luxury condominium of property developer Karan Singh Thakral on Soi Thong Lor 3 road in Watthana district.
The suspect was charged with hosting Internet football gambling.
Police Maj-Gen Pongpat said 39-year-old Thakral was part of the online gambling network of one Abubakar bin Sulaiman. The network's turnover to date is alleged to be more than 3.2 billion baht, with police suspecting that the enterprise was additionally involved in other [unspecified] illicit businesses.
Police seized computers, bank records and documentation from the suspect's office at President Park building on Sukhumvit soi 24 and from his room at Lumpini Place building in Yannawa district. The raiding party also found correspondence warning other partners that police had arrested members of their network in related actions.
Maj-Gen Pongpat said Thakral had pleaded not guilty to the charge, but he was confident that the police had enough evidence from previous and related arrests to prosecute him.
Police seized 865 bank accounts belonging to 432 people in the gambling network. They said 361 bank accounts belonging to 231 people, containing a total of 302 million baht, had been frozen.
Thus far, 47 suspected gamblers in the network have been brought before the courts, and summons have been issued for 37 other suspected gamblers and 127 witnesses for questioning.
The gambling network is allegedly headed by two Malaysians, Chin Pengwong and Martin Ialunglim, who are the subject of Thai arrest warrants.
Police revealed that the Abubakar network merged with Thai partners in February last year. The principals are believed to have left Thailand early last month to escape police attention, and are probably hiding in Malaysia, Maj-Gen Pongpat said.