DSI seizes resorts linked to Ufa Bet

DSI seizes resorts linked to Ufa Bet

Phuket: Department of Special Investigation (DSI) officials have seized two luxurious resorts in the island province worth one billion baht from an online gambling network.

Two villas on Nai Han Beach in tambon Rawai of Muang district reportedly belong to a man called Pakphum, whose last name was withheld, who serves as an executive of Ufa Bet, an online gambling website known to be one of Thailand's three biggest gambling networks.

Ufa Bet's online sites have been suspended due to illegal activities.

The DSI said that Ufa Bet has a large network of affiliates supervised by high-ranking police officers, including "Inspector Sua", a former policeman accused of involvement in a multi-billion-baht gambling operation.

The DSI said Ufa Bet has run a chain of online gambling activities connected to another online betting network called Pannarong that has expanded into neighbouring countries.

Reports said that Mr Pakphum, 29, oversees about 80 mule accounts used to receive money from gamblers. About 50 of the accounts are registered by migrant workers who were hired to open the accounts or sold existing ones. The remaining 30 mule accounts are under Thai names. Some accounts reportedly had over one billion baht in circulation.

Mr Pakphum was arrested at Suvarnabhumi airport on Nov 4. He had initially denied the allegations only to reverse his statement later to admit to his involvement in the gambling website operation due to strong evidence.

DSI director-general Pol Maj Suriya Singhakamol said that Mr Pakphum's associates had told police the owner of Ufa Bet is Mr Pakphum's older brother, Phuchit, who had fled the country over a year ago.

Also, Mr Pakphum has his younger sister, identified only as Pornpatsa, serving as an executive of the gambling network.

It was reported Mr Pakphum had acquired a licence to operate gambling websites from a world-class casino network.

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