Assets seized and suspects arrested after large-scale online gambling chain uncovered
Last Friday, 63 locations were raided by the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) to investigate relevant evidence suggesting they were connected to “Inspector Sua.” Ordered by CIB commissioner Pol Lt Gen Jirabhop Bhuridej, the raids took place in Chon Buri, Nonthaburi, Bangkok, Pathum Thani, and Chanthaburi.
6 suspects were arrested for their alleged links to Pentor Group, a prominent online gambling network as well as 1.4 billion baht worth of assets including three cars, a Mercedes Benz, Audi, and Lexus, 100 electronic devices, and 71 hectares of land were seized. Additionally, around 700 million baht in 184 bank accounts were also discovered and taken.
The identities of the 6 suspects were confirmed by police to be “Thirapong”, 34, “Anuwat”, 23, “Ampa”, 54, “Ketkanok”, 29, “Narinthorn”, 32 and “Chatri”, 38. While all were charged with money laundering, fraud, and organising illegal online gambling activities, Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittipraphat took a special interest in “Thirapong”, who was closely linked to “Inspector Sua”, as he holds positions on the board of numerous Pentor Group companies.
This is not “Thirapong’s” first incident with the law, the 34-year-old suspect was also charged 5 years prior for allegedly cheating a cabin crew member, however, he did deny all charges against him.
However, the alleged leader of the online gambling network Pol Lt-Col Wasawat, more commonly known as “Inspector Sua” remains at large and a warrant has been issued for his arrest. He is alleged to hold stakes or management positions in about 55 companies under the Pentor Group, which are linked to more than 400 online gambling websites.
In keeping with CIB Commissioner Pol Lt-Gen Jirabhop Bhuridej, the majority of these companies were created to maintain criminal gambling enterprises. Most of which involved the development of online games with no deposit casino codes, computer programs, bookkeeping, fiscal administration, Forex and retail services.
Who is Inspector Sua?
Nicknamed “Inspector Sua”, Lt-colonel Wasawat Mookarasakul is a former high-ranking police officer who worked for the Logistics Office of the Royal Thai Police, in the public works division. Throughout his career as a gambling kingpin, he earned the respect of fellow officers and members of the criminal world.
In recent months, however, his name has garnered a different kind of attention as he was exposed by Chuwit Kamolvisit, a former politician and massage parlour tycoon, for being involved in online gambling operations as well as other lucrative businesses. Kamolvisit also exposed Wasawat’s salary as a police officer in an attempt to shame the Royal Thai Police force for allowing the crimes to take place under their noses.
The whistleblower’s revelation has caused a seed of doubt in the public’s confidence in the Royal Thai Police, due to the sheer magnitude of the investigation which involves around 150 people and 60 organisations all connected to an illegal online gambling platform. More and more individuals have come forth with stories about Wasawat painting him in a different light, involving high-speed car chases and shootings.
The severity of Wasawat’s crimes has not gone unnoticed and the damage he has caused to police agencies and the trustworthiness of local authorities will be hard to rectify. As such police are cracking down on the case and are determined to capture him as well as those involved to ensure they are held accountable. They will also need to continue to work hard to regain the public’s trust by introducing new legislation to increase transparency and accountability.
Kamolvisit revealed that more than a total of 10 billion baht were circulating across the illegal gambling platform, with Wasawat having stakes in at least 10 companies including; the Pentor Exchange (FX), Pentor Entertainment, and AMB Games.
Although it is not uncommon for police officers to seek out other streams of income, Wasawat and his accomplices’ case is quite different as it allegedly involves gambling activities. This is particularly problematic as many forms of gambling are illegal in Thailand and the country has been working hard to introduce legislation to prevent such activities from happening. As such public interest, it does not come as such a surprise, that the case has garnered so much public attention, with many demanding actions.
Unfortunately, while this is the most recent scandal involving Thailand’s police officers it is not the first. Last January, a police officer was accused of charging a tourist 60,000 baht just because he had an e-cigarette. Additionally in Huai Khawang, 6 officers were suspected of extorting a Taiwanese actress and accepting bribes.
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