Police have so for impounded about 2 billion baht worth of assets from 31 suspects in an online gambling network said to be run by a police lieutenant colonel, but detectives believe they have only exposed the tip of the iceberg.
The network, they now believe, has been operating since 2016, with the still-at-large kingpin playing a hands-on role in awarding “franchises” and setting up bank accounts to take in the illegal proceeds.
Pol Maj Gen Montree Theskhan, the commander of the Crime Suppression Division (CSD), said on Tuesday that efforts to crush the network allegedly run by Pol Lt Col Wasawat Makurasakul — also known as “Inspector Sua” — were continuing.
On Tuesday morning, police apprehended three more suspects and seized 480 million baht worth of assets, Pol Maj Gen Montree said.
The haul came from raids on 16 places in Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Lampang, Ang Thong, Maha Sarakham and Mukdahan.
Two men and one woman — Theeraphat Thambundit, 28, Thananat Morakot, 32, and Theeraphan Rankha, 33 — have been charged with colluding in operating gambling and money laundering.
Police arrested Mr Theeraphat in Ang Thong, Mr Thananat at a condominium in the Srinakarin area of Bangkok and Ms Theeraphan in Maha Sarakham.
Seized from them were 12 luxury cars, two other cars, land title deeds covering 56 rai, 1,052,000 baht in cash and three bank passbooks, three Bearbrick dolls, 100 cartoon figurines, six mobile phones, three laptop computers and two CPUs, worth about 480 million baht in total.
Police have examined the money trail and found that the three suspects had about 125 million baht transferred into their bank accounts.
The CSD commander that Pol Lt Col Wasawat oversaw all the procedures linked to the operation of the gambling network, including the opening of bank accounts.
According to the investigation, money transfers from gambling sites were moved to bank accounts of employees working in companies run by the police suspect. There were four key men in the network who held shares in the companies under the Pentor Group.
Pol Maj Gen Montree said Pol Lt Col Wasawat sold online gambling “franchises” to customers who set up companies to run them.
Arrest warrants are still out for five remaining suspects including Pol Lt Col Wasawat, who is believed to be in hiding abroad.
The CSD chief said the gambling network was the “master franchise” level in a case involving many pieces of evidence and witnesses, which investigators needed time to examine.
Crime Suppression Division commander Pol Maj Gen Montree Theskhan (centre) and investigators update details of Tuesday’s raids on 16 places linked to the gambling network of “Inspector Sua”. (Photo supplied/Wassayos Ngamkham)