Late computer genius, AlphaBay creator loved Thailand
text size

Late computer genius, AlphaBay creator loved Thailand

The late internet darkweb webmaster Alexandre Cazes and his wife Sunisa Thepsuwan enjoy a beer at a pub earlier this year. (Facebook photo)
The late internet darkweb webmaster Alexandre Cazes and his wife Sunisa Thepsuwan enjoy a beer at a pub earlier this year. (Facebook photo)

Canadian Alexandre Cazes was a hacker at age 14 with an IQ of 142, the founder of the 200,000-member illicit trading site AlphaBay, and a longtime resident of Thailand, the country he loved, before his arrest and suicide, police said on Monday.

Senior police officers held a press conference at the Narcotics Suppression Bureau to elaborate on Cazes, who was found dead in a Bureau cell in Bangkok on July 12.

Pol Lt Gen Sommai Kongwisaisuk, the NSB commissioner, said that Cazes was born in Ottawa, Canada, on Oct 19, 1991, and was an only child. He finished high school in Canada as a computer science wizard recognised for his advanced programming skills, and had an intelligence quotient of 142.

According to the commissioner, Cazes became a hacker at the age of 14. Based on his love for computer games, he entered the field of e-commerce, and soon made a fortune.

But later, he turned from legitimate trading into transnational crime. He created the AlphaBay website in 2014 for trade in illicit goods including narcotics and firearms. The site used Bitcoin (one Bitcoin is about 90,000 baht) as its currency both for its members' convenience and its protection from official oversight. 

He first visited Thailand in 2010. He loved its beautiful traditions, culture and landscape. He married a Thai woman and had one child.

Last year he married another Thai woman, his last wife Sunisa Thepsuwan, whom he met on a matchmaking website. He learned Thai, and became proficient; his abilities were on a par with Grade 6 students, Pol Lt Gen Sommai said.

Deputy national police chief Pol Gen Chalermkiat Sriworakhan said the couple lived in the Private House housing estate on Phutthamonthon Sai 3 Road in Thawi Watthana district.

Neither had a legitimate job, he said, but enjoyed a luxury lifestyle and owned a wide range of properties worth hundreds of millions of baht.

Cazes frequently sent and received overseas parcels, and conducted numerous financial transactions. He transferred about 10 million baht to pay installment charges on his properties and computer servers, and also gave a large amount to his wife Sunisa to buy other assets.

Nine countries participated in an operation - called Bayonet - to arrest him. The United States asked Thai police to arrest and extradite him for 16 offences including conspiracy in trade in controlled substances.

Cazes and Ms Sunisa were arrested at the residence on Phutthamonthon Sai 3 Road on July 5. He was charged with transnational criminal activities, and his wife with money-laundering.

Police seized assets worth a total of 726.3 million baht, including a resort villa worth 200 million baht in Phuket province, a 100-million-baht house in the Granada housing estate on Kanchanaphisek Road in Bangkok, the 8-million-baht house where they were arrested, a 45-million-baht Lamborghini Aventador, a 10-million-baht Porsche Panamera, 313 million baht worth of digital currencies, and deposits of 46 million baht with local banks.

Pending his extradition, Cazes, 26, used a towel to hang himself in a cell of the Narcotics Suppression Bureau on July 12.

Pol Lt Gen Sommai said that an autopsy confirmed that the Canadian took his own life, and there was no evidence of physical assault. As a member of a global criminal network, he might have feared for his own safety if he was brought to the US, the commissioner said.

Cazes' illicit businesses were worth at least 10 billion baht, and authorities were expanding their investigation into the network.

Do you like the content of this article?