Underground lottery kingpins busted

PHUKET TOWN: On his first day on the job, newly-installed Phuket Provincial Police Commander Maj Gen Veerayuth Sittimalic held a press conference to announce the arrest of two women who were allegedly running an underground lottery operation. The statement was made jointly with Pol Col Paween Pongsirin, Superintendent of the Phuket Town Police. The first suspect was identified as Bunruen Witayavanichchai, 44, who was arrested yesterday at 6:30 am at her home on Amphur Rd, just behind Phuket Provincial Hall. Under questioning, Bunruen revealed the name of an associate, 30-year-old Sumalee Samaitip, who was arrested hours later at her home in Pa Khlok, Thalang District. Both suspects confessed to charges of running an illegal gambling operation and face three years in jail and 60,000-baht fines. Seized as evidence in the case were a computer and telecommunications equipment, a shredder, record books and other accounting materials, and 513,675 baht in cash. Gen Veerayuth said, “We will continue to investigate and arrest those who sell illegal lottery tickets. My [other] priorities will be the suppression of illegal drugs and of ‘influential’ people.” The Thai Government has cracked down hard on illegal lottery vendors since it began operating its own rival, legitimate scheme on August 1.

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