Connect with us

Phuket

Extortion racket taken down in “sting’

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published

 on 

PATONG: Kathu Police on Wednesday night arrested four men for allegedly attempting to extort 100,000 baht from the Thai-Nepalese owner of a tailor shop.

The four suspects were presented to the media at a press conference at Kathu Police Station at 3 pm yesterday.

They were identified as 40-year-old Burmese national Chom “Johnnie Lek” Bunyawej, the ringleader, and his three accomplices: Pansak “Bow” Poon-Noo, 24; Jareon “Chang” Pedthong, 29; and Udon “Don” Jaiwang, 36.

All were listed as residents of Nakhon Sri Thammarat Province except Udon, who is a resident of Phuket’s Wichit District.

According to a press release and statements by the intended victim, the extortion began when Pansak called Jiwan “Jim” Raithai last Saturday night and threatened to kill him if he did not pay 100,000 baht – or if he talked to police.

It was the first in a series of threatening phone calls made over four days to K. Jiwan, Managing Director of the “G Armani” tailor shop on Soi Kebsup.

Rather than give in to the extortionist, K. Jiwan notified Kathu Police after the first phone call and a plan was laid to snare them.

Police Region 8 Deputy Commissioner Maj Gen Santhan Chayanon and Kathu Police Superintendent Col Grissak Songmoonnark told the press that in the first telephone call Pansak told K. Jiwan that he had been hired by a third party to shoot and kill him for a contract price of 200,000 baht, half of which he had already collected as a down payment.

Saying that the intended victim had a “cute family” and that he didn’t really want to shoot K. Jiwan, Pansak offered to spare his life for a payment of 100,000 baht – and a promise not to contact police.

The threats continued the following night, with Pansak saying, “I am the guy who shot someone on Soi Kebsup seven years ago”.

On Monday night Pansak called again, this time saying that his employer was starting to rush him to complete the job because he had already two more targets lined up for him to kill and the delay was causing a backlog.

On Tuesday, the extortionist instructed K. Jiwan to provide him with a new debit card that he could use to withdraw 100,000 baht. K. Jiwan, trying to negotiate the amount down to 50,000 baht, was told he should pay a minimum of 80,000 baht and the balance “could be discussed at a later date”. He threatened to kill K. Jiwan “immediately” if he talked to police.

At 1 pm on Wednesday, K. Jiwan and his wife deposited 3,000 baht in the Siam Commercial Bank branch at Jungceylon, where the new debit card was issued.

About 5 pm, he was instructed to drop the card with a security guard near the entrance to the parking lot at Supercheap and to tell the guard that someone would be by soon to pick it up.

Johnnie Lek waited at a distance under a tree in front of the nearby Godzilla restaurant while Pansak and Udon went to pick up the debit card. After Pansak put the card in his pocket, police moved in and arrested all four men without incident.

After the press conference, attended by some 50 members of the ethnic Nepalese community in Phuket, K. Jiwan told the Gazette he was certain that all the threats were issued by the same man, K. Pansak.

“Pansak is an underling of Johnnie Lek, who is a Thai-Nepalese who has bullied many members of the ethnic Nepalese community here before. I was called from different numbers each time. I don’t know how many times he has used similar tactics to extort other members of Phuket’s Nepalese community,” he said.

The police press statement notes that the Phuket Nepalese Club on July 7 held a meeting in Patong during which Mr Jiwan was elected Vice-President. During that meeting Johnnie Lek, who was present, argued that the vote results be annulled.

Pol Lt Col Boonlert Onklang today told the Gazette that all four suspects were charged with extortion and are being held at Kathu Police Station.

Johnnie Lek and Udon have denied all charges. Pansak admitted making threatening phone calls to K. Jiwan, while Jareon admitted only that he had earlier traveled with the other three from Khao Lak to Phuket, but denied knowledge of any extortion racket.

Col Boonlert said no person had come to post bail.

It was too early to say how alleged extortion was related to the results of the July 7 meeting, he added.

Many ethnic Nepalese work in the Phuket tourism industry. Many are Burmese nationals who speak Burmese, Nepalese, Thai and English and use their language skills to run tailor shops or work as touts for tourism-related businesses.

Col Boonlert denied that Johnnie Lek or any other members of the gang were involved in a shooting on Soi Kebsup seven years ago.

“He only made that up to pressure K. Jiwan to pay up quickly,” he said.

 

Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forums
🔔 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join YouTube for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram

image

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand28 mins ago

Thailand News Today | ‘Crowding’ due to camera angles, train hospitals | July 29

Thailand52 mins ago

Spray guns ineffective and dangerous, says TFDA

Drugs1 hour ago

Methamphetamine pills hidden in instant noodle packets delivered for Covid patient

Sponsored2 hours ago

Experience Phuket’s Islands with 5 Star Marine

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Coronavirus (Covid-19)2 hours ago

Anonymous “Dr Sandy” says pray the Covid situation gets better

Coronavirus (Covid-19)2 hours ago

Thursday Covid Update: Record high of 17,669 new cases; provincial totals

Phuket3 hours ago

Phuket governor eyes construction camps for stricter Covid measures

image
Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Best of4 hours ago

Top 5 spas in Chiang Mai

Coronavirus (Covid-19)4 hours ago

Health Minister says Bang Sue not crowded, blames “camera angles”

Cambodia5 hours ago

Cambodia plans lockdown with 8 provinces that border Thailand

Bangkok6 hours ago

Sleeper trains in Bangkok to become isolation facilities for Covid-19 patients

Thailand6 hours ago

GMT | New record infections, Pattaya ‘Move On’, drones or fireworks? | July 29

Coronavirus Vaccines6 hours ago

US government to donate 2.5 million vaccine doses to Thailand

Best of6 hours ago

Top 5 cafes in Pattaya

Media7 hours ago

Media outlets call on Thai government to lift restrictions on freedom of expression

Koh Samui7 hours ago

Surge in new Covid infections on Koh Samui

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism5 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

Trending