Frenchman claiming police ties nabbed for extortion
Suspect accused of preying on expats in Pattaya had been on the run for two years after jumping bail
published : 2 Feb 2023 at 21:55
writer: Wassayos Ngamkham
A French fugitive has been arrested after allegedly claiming close connections with senior police officers to extort money from many expats in Pattaya.
Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn, deputy national police chief, said on Thursday that Herve Leonard, 58, was arrested at a condominium on Phahon Yothin Road in Chatuchak district of Bangkok on Wednesday.
Mr Leonard, 58, was wanted on several arrest warrants issued over the past two years for extortion, fraud and coercion in Pattaya.
Earlier the suspect had been a volunteer supporting police activities and thus had opportunities to pose for photos with many police officers.
He reportedly approached foreigners who lived in Pattaya, claimed to have close connections with senior police officers including Pol Gen Surachate and extorted money from them in exchange for his “protection”.
He was arrested earlier but jumped bail and remained at large. He has overstayed his visa since Sept 15, 2020.
To avoid arrest, the foreigner moved every few weeks between Hua Hin, Bangkok and Pattaya and rented rooms while claiming he had lost his passport, Pol Gen Surachate said.
Detectives tracked the man for about four months before learning his latest whereabouts and making the arrest at the condominium in Bangkok where he had stayed for two weeks, the deputy national police chief said.