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Police hunt alleged leader of Russian ATM skimming gang

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: Police are hunting a Russian national allegedly behind an ATM-skimming operation in Phuket, following the arrest of three suspected skimmers yesterday.

Russian nationals Stanislav Komarob, 34; Vitalii Korobkov, 39; and Panteley Akbash, 36, who also holds a Moldovan passport under the name Panteli Acbas, were arrested at a shop in Kata in possession of 33 counterfeit ATM cards, a laptop, an electric card reader and a pile of ATM receipts.

Police were tipped off by Kasikornbank staff, who reported that there had been suspicious activity and frequent transactions occurring at the Maringa shop, which had an electronic card reader registered to its address.

On March 4 and March 5, about 300,000 baht was charged to the accounts of several Kasikornbank customers.

“We went to the shop and waited until we saw Mr Komarob and Mr Korobkov walk out from the shop to Mr Akbash’s car. At that point, we presented ourselves and searched the premises,” said Phuket Provincial Police Deputy Superintendent Prawit Engchua.

“We found the counterfeit ATM cards in Mr Komarob’s backpack, and the electronic card reader inside the shop.”

Lt Col Prawit added that Kasikornbank staff had confirmed that the cards were fake.

“During questioning, they told us that the shop owner, Vladimir Orlov, was the one to blame for the skimming operation, as he owned the electronic card reader and was having the money transferred to his account,” Col Prawit explained.

“The suspects were charged with electronic card fraud, but they all denied the charges.”

Police are now searching for Mr Orlov, Col Prawit said.

“The other suspects are being detained without bail at Phuket Provincial Prison while we continue our investigation,” he said.

— Kritsada Mueanhawong

 

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

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