Police have arrested a man said to be linked to the macau888 gambling website but raids at eight locations on Friday failed to turn up the “four brothers” accused by a TV actress of operating the illegal business.
Natthaphong “Zico” Shina, 28, was found hiding at a condominium in Udon Thani a few hours after officers searched a house he owned in Nonthaburi, only to find that he had left.
Mr Natthaphong was wanted on a warrant issued by the Criminal Court on Jan 31 for colluding in operating online gambling or persuading people either directly or indirectly to bet and colluding in money laundering.
The suspect’s house in a luxury housing estate in Pak Kret district was searched for evidence linked to the financial activities of macau888. Police officers and police commandos found football gambling slips, underground lottery bets and details of customers of the gambling website, said Pol Maj Gen Wiwat Khamchamnarn, deputy commissioner of the Cyber Crime Investigation Bureau (CCIB).
The raids were staged after TV actress Arisara “Due” Thongborisut exposed the network and those involved on her Facebook page on Jan 15.
In her posting, Ms Arisara said the website was run by “four brothers”, all with the initials “Bor”.
A source familiar with the operation said one of the four men was her ex-boyfriend, known as “Benz Daemon”. The actress and her family later flew to Taiwan after publicising their information.
Pol Lt-Gen Worawat Watnakhonbancha, the CCIB commissioner, sought further information from the actress before reporting it to national police chief Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas and deputy chief Pol Gen Torsak Sukvimol, said the source.
Also searched was a house in Chatuchak district belonging to Noppanat Sangkhasap, 39, who reportedly acted as a financial manager for the “brothers”.
Officers seized two guns with ammunition, three cars, many brand-name bags, about 10 Bearbrick dolls, bank passbooks and registration documents of a company linked to the group, said the source.
Mr Noppanat reportedly flew to Hong Kong with his family before the raid. He had bought air tickets in advance and it was believed that he might have been planning to meet his accomplices, who had left earlier.
After learning of the raid, Mr Noppanat contacted police and told them he would return to Thailand on Feb 10, said the source.
The police team also searched the offices of Beat The World Co on Rama IX Road in the Bang Kapi area of Huai Khwang after an investigation found it was allegedly linked to macau888.
The team found evidence that showed links between Mr Noppanat and Ekkachai “Boss” Khachornbunthavorn, 35, another one of the “brothers”.
Mr Ekkachai served as CEO of the firm, which made energy drinks, while Mr Noppanat was chief marketing officer.
Police study documents during a raid in search for evidence linked to the macau888 gambling site. (Photo supplied/Wassayos Ngamkham)
The office of the energy drink company Beat The World in Huai Khwang was one of the eight locations searched by police. (Photo supplied/Wassayos Ngamkham)