CSD nets Siapo, 26 others over online gambling

CSD nets Siapo, 26 others over online gambling

Siapo Po-arnon is escorted by armed police after being arrested at his house in Bangkok on Thursday.  Pattarapong Chatpattarasill
Siapo Po-arnon is escorted by armed police after being arrested at his house in Bangkok on Thursday.  Pattarapong Chatpattarasill

Police have arrested Siapo Po-arnon -- a popular internet figure who advised a House panel on gambling -- on charges of organising online gambling.

Crime Suppression Division (CSD) officers took the 29-year-old Siapo, whose former name was Apirak Chat-anont, into custody after apprehending him at his house on Phetkasem Road in Phasi Charoen district of Bangkok about 6am on Thursday.

His house was one of seven locations raided by police investigating his alleged online gambling network. At his house, police also detained his aide, Pacharapol Chansawang, and 25 Myanmar workers.

Siapo, with over 1.6 million followers on Facebook, has become well-known for often giving away money obtained from cross-border gambling to charitable causes.

In August last year, Siapo was invited to advise a House panel studying whether the country should legalise gambling.

Police on Thursday accused Siapo of encouraging people to gamble on websites that he either was connected to or owned. Police alleged he has been organising gambling activities since 2019. The gambling websites were shut down a few months ago.

One billion baht had circulated on the online gambling websites, according to police.

Among assets seized from Siapo and other suspects on Thursday were a gun, four luxury cars including a 20-million-baht Porsche, 2.76 million baht in cash and eight diamond rings.

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