“Peanut gambling’ gang caught

KAMALA: Four men, including a retired police officer, have been arrested for their participation in a “peanut gambling” swindle after a woman, whose name is being withheld at her request, was conned out of 1 million baht before reporting the racket to the police.

The woman reported the con to police on November 8 and cooperated in a sting operation, luring the gamblers with 6 million baht she said she was ready to bet.

Pol Maj Serm Kwanimit at the Kathu Police Station led the sting at the Montra Hotel, Kamala. The men arrested are Jarurun Pluempreecha, Ekkapon Yothinniyom and Montree Buakrod from Bangkok, and retired Pol Sen Sgt Maj Sutham Tongprajong, formerly of the Koh Yao Police Station.

Warrants have been issued for the arrest of two other suspects: Somchai Intawong and Sukunya Koypud.

“The men lure their victims into the game, then coordinate their betting with secret signals in a simple game,” Maj Serm said. The game involves players guessing the remainder in the division of the number of peanuts placed under a cup divided by the number of players.

“Thousands of con men in Thailand use this game. Many victims have reported it to the police, and con men can make more than 100 million baht a year with this scam,” Maj Serm said.

“These men [the arrested] said they especially like Phuket because there are a lot of rich people here to take advantage of,” he added.

Pol Lt Col Boonlert Onklang, of the Kathu Police Station, told the Gazette that two more victims of the swindle have come forward to Chalong Police and identified Jarurun, Ekkapon and Montree.

Each of the four men were charged with criminal association, punishable by up to five years in prison, or a fine of up to 10,000 baht, or both; and defrauding the public, punishable by up to three years in jail, or a fine of up to 6,000 baht, or both.

They were released from custody on bail.

Police urge other victims of the scam to come forward and identify the men so that additional charges can be laid against them.

Phuket News

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