Phuket Police have arrested eight Koreans accused of operating an online gambling business that it estimates would have had THB 100 million in annual turnover.
The men were arrested following raids on four condominium’s in Wichit, Phuket, however, the mastermind behind the operation is reportedly still on the run.
THB 60 000 in cash, mobile phones, desktop and notebook computers were confiscated in the raid along with 100 one-time-password devices and bank books containing the corresponding bank accounts.
Major General Pachara Boonyasit, commander of the Phuket Provincial Police, said in a press conference that the group had been operating for around three months and worked for a Korean online website that serviced Korean gamblers only. The men were paid THB 60 000 a month and serviced their own set of clients all of who reside in Korea.
“They confessed that they chose to operate the website from inside Thailand as the punishment in Korea is much tougher – up to five years in jail and a fine of up to hundreds of thousands of baht,” Pachara said.
Cash turnover from the operation’s inception to its demise averaged around THB 100 000 per day according to bank account records, Pachara said, however, he believes the amount to be much more.
The arrests follow two other separate raids on online gambling operations in Bangkok earlier this week, one of which had been operating for the past six months. Two South Korean’s were arrested in the raid on Wednesday as five desktop computers, six mobile phones and two passports were seized. Again this operation only serviced South Korean customers.
Authorities said they would investigate whether there is a connection between the different groups.
“We will also contact the South Korean embassy and provide them with details of the people who used the online gambling website, as the members all live over there,” Pachara said.
In related news, five senior officers at the Makkasan police station, Bangkok were transferred to inactive posts following Wednesday’s raids.
They have been assigned temporary duties there for 30 days, pending further orders.
Police have declined to divulge any further information, however, the action is said to be related to the online gambling ring busts.