Police link husband of actress to gambling site
‘Mek Rama’ and eight others denied bail as investigation into B3-billion enterprise continues
published : 31 Mar 2023 at 20:38
writer: Wassayos Ngamkham
Police say they have found evidence showing the husband of a Thai actress has operated a gambling website with its server in Cambodia and more than 3 billion baht in circulation over the past year.
Pol Maj Gen Wiwat Khamchamna, deputy commissioner of the Cyber Crime Investigation Bureau (CCIB), said on Friday that investigators had examined the money trail of bank accounts of people hired to open them. The money, he said, had been transferred from those accounts to the bank accounts of businessman Rama “Mek Rama” Rassameerama, 36, who is married to actress Yardthip Rajpal.
Pol Maj Gen Wiwat elaborated at a briefing held to update details about Thursday’s raid on 17 locations with suspected links to online gambling. Mr Rama and eight accomplices were arrested during the raids in Bangkok and other provinces.
Seized from him were luxury cars, expensive watches, houses and more than 100 land title deeds in Phuket and Bangkok, Buddha amulets, some cash and other items worth over one billion baht in total, said Pol Lt Gen Worawat Watnakhornbancha, the CCIB commissioner.
All nine suspects were charged with colluding in operating gambling or persuading people either directly or indirectly to bet.
Pol Lt Gen Worawat hailed the operation as a success in that police were able to arrest everyone involved, including the people hired to open bank accounts, administrators of the website and the owner of the website www.1six8.com.
CCIB investigators will now work with the Anti-Money Laundering Office to examine the seized assets. Some might also be linked to the Forex-3D Ponzi scheme that the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) has been handling, said Pol Lt Gen Worawat.
Last month, the DSI confiscated a 220-million-baht penthouse belonging to Mr Rama for alleged involvement in Forex-3D.
A police investigation found that some of 72 land title deeds in Phuket had been acquired since 2020.
The CCIB chief denied reports that certain officers had been lobbying investigators not to move against Mr Rama and the other suspects.
During the search of the businessman’s home in Bangkok, police believed some valuables and other assets might have been moved to other places before the raid.
The initial examination of the money trail of the nine suspects has so far showed no links to other people, said the CCIB chief.
The investigation is continuing and he vowed to take action against all people involved. At this stage, Ms Yardthip has not been implicated.
There has been some speculation about the nationality of the accused, but Mr Rama is Thai, said Pol Lt Gen Worawat. During the raid, his Thai mother confirmed that her son had been born at Ramathibodi Hospital, hence the name. His father was Chinese.
The eight other suspects — all men — are Navaprin Thongnoi, 31; Naruephong Luenam, 29; Ratthasart Wongcheewasut, 32; Chukiart Uangram, 28; Chakhorn Supamaneewitsiri 33; Phapakorn Ruengpakdee, 38; Sanaret Manomai-ngamlert, 31; and Kittithat Uppaphong, 30.
During questioning, only Mr Nareuphong confessed to the charges.
Police on Friday took the suspects to the Criminal Court and opposed bail, saying they posed a flight risk. The court agreed and all nine were taken to the Bangkok Remand Prison.
Hot wheels: Cars seized from businessman “Mek Rama”. (Photo: CCIB Facebook)
Police display valuables and land title deeds seized from businessman Rama Rassameerama, the husband of actress Yardthip Rajpal, at a briefing on Friday. (Photo supplied/Wassayos Ngamkham)
- Mek Rama
- Yardthip Rajpal