Police arrest Australian fugitive

Police arrest Australian fugitive

Eglitis: Served term for extortion
Eglitis: Served term for extortion

A 69-year-old Australian man wanted by Interpol for alleged abduction and extortion was arrested by Thai police Thursday at a hotel on Sukhumvit Road.

Guido Eglitis was detained in the lobby of the Marvel Hotel on Sukhumvit Soi 22, Pol Lt Col Anak Prasongsuk, deputy superintendent of the Crime Suppression Division (CSD), said.

The arrest came after police received a tip-off from an intelligence source, saying a suspicious Australian man wanted by Interpol had entered into the country.

Following the tip-off, Pol Lt Col Anak said he contacted the Royal Thai Police's International Affairs Division for more information and learned Eglitis had entered Thailand after leaving Siem Reap in Cambodia.

He said he also discovered Eglitis was wanted by Australian police and Interpol for abducting a compatriot and extorting money from the victim.

Pol Lt Col Anak said police also found 50,000 baht had been transferred from France to the suspect's bank account. A police search of the suspect's hotel room found nothing illegal, he added.

Eglitis said he did not realise he was still wanted by Australian police, claiming he had already served a sentence for the offence.

Pol Lt Col Anak said the suspect also told police he had served a one-year jail term in Cambodia after being convicted of extorting local people and had come to Thailand as a tourist.

However, according to police, Eglitis abducted a 58-year-old Australian man and held him in a house in Queensland to extort money from him in May 2009. His victim later managed to escape from the house and lodged a police complaint against the suspect.

Eglitis and his accomplices were arrested by police and later released on bail. This prompted Eglitis to flee from his home country and hide in Cambodia, Pol Lt Col Anak said.

While in Cambodia, the suspect extorted money from residents and was caught by local police. When he was freed by Cambodian authorities, he flew to Thailand, he added.

Thai officials are working with Australian authorities to speed up the extradition process so the suspect can be repatriated back to his home country, Pol Lt Col Anak said. Police say Eglitis has a 30-year history of crime and featured in a 1998 Australian book Scams and Swindlers.

National police chief Chakthip Chaijinda has also ordered the Immigration Bureau to blacklist Eglitis because of his reported extensive criminal record, he said.

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