Russian business couple say they were extorted by foreigners
published : 27 Sep 2022 at 14:14
writer: Supapong Chaolan
A Russian couple who deal in real estate have sought help from police, saying a gang of foreign men confronted them in a coffee bar on Koh Samui and threatened and extorted them out of 1.8 million baht in cryptocurrency.
Evgenii Abdullin, 31, and his wife Ekaterna Abdullin, 31, filed their complaint with Pol Lt Col Udomsak Thappa, investigation chief at Koh Samui station, on Monday.
They said they were seated in the Boy’s Organic Coffee shop in tambon Taling-ngam, Koh Samui district, on Sept 15. Six foreign men approached their table and threatened them, demanding money, Pol Col Phongsak Sukkasang, police chief of Koh Samui, said on Tuesday.
According to their complaint, four of the men arrived in a black van and the two others on a motorcycle. The men intimidated them and demanded they transfer US$3 million in cryptocurrency to them, about 113 million baht.
Mr Abdullin said he told them he had only $58,000, or about 2.28 million baht, at the time. Fearing for their lives he transferred $50,000 worth of cryptocurrency, equivalent to 1.8 million baht, to the six men. Before leaving, the gang gave him a phone number. (continues below)
Security camera footage shows a black van carrying four foreign men arriving at the coffee shop on Koh Samui in Surat Thani. (Photo supplied: Supapong Chaolan)
On Sept 16, he noticed that the same men were following him and his wife. On Sept 18, he received a message from the gang via the Telegram app asking whether he had the rest of the money. If so, he should send it, or the equivalent in crypto, to them via Bybit, Mr Abullin said. He decided to go to the police instead.
Provincial Police Region 8 has assigned Pol Lt Col Kittisak Daengchai, deputy investigation chief at region 8, and a team of investigators to work on the case with Samui police. They started by examining security camera recordings from the coffee shop and nearby.
They saw the black van and two other men on a red motorcycle, as told by the couple.
Police said the van with the four men might have come from the eastern province of Chon Buri. The red motorcycle had an “M’’ sticker on it and was rented on the island.
The van was believed to have since left the island, police said.
A source at an immigration checkpoint said the Russian couple had been staying on Koh Samui for five years and ran a real estate business. They had travelled in and out of Thailand many times. Their latest arrival was early this year.
The accused foreigners were identified as two Kazakhstani men, one German and one Russian, with the nationalities of the two others still being verified. They had stayed in Pattaya and later at a hotel on Koh Samui before the reported incident occurred.
Investigators said two of them had since departed the country, the German on Sept 17 and one of the Kazakhstan men on Sept 20. The four other men were being tracked down.
Police did not say why the Russian couple were approached so openly in a coffee bar, threatened and extorted.