Koreans held in online gambling bust

Pol Lt Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas, assistant national police chief, front, and Pol Lt Gen Chettha Komolwattana, commissioner of the Tourist Police Bureau, discuss the arrest of four South Koreans in connection with an online gambling website during a media briefing on Saturday. (Photo by Apichit Jinakul)

Four South Korean men have been arrested in a raid on a Bangkok condominium that police say was a base for an online gambling operation with 900 million baht in monthly turnover.

A team of tourist police, armed with a search warrant issued by the Bangkok South Criminal Court, searched a condominium unit on Sukhumvit Soi 77 in the Phra Khanong Nua area of Watthana district on Friday, said Pol Lt Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas, assistant national police chief.

The four suspects arrested there were identified as Kim Dongsun, 31; Bae Haeseong, 25; Lee Donggeun, 27; and Shim Woochang, 31.

Seized from them were records of six bank accounts at Seoul-based Shinhan Bank, nine mobile phones, three laptop computers and five monitors, Thai media reported.

Pol Lt Gen Damrongsak said the raid came after tourist police received information that a group of South Koreans had been illegally running a gambling website called Star Casino, with over 10,000 members.

Police who questioned the suspects said they confessed they had entered Thailand on 90-day tourist visas. After the visas expired, they would leave and another team would arrive. Their boss was in South Korea.

The suspects were tasked with overseeing the website and receiving money transfers from customers wanting to bet. The website, which had been operating for about six months, had about 900 million in turnover each month, investigators said. The four were paid 100,000 baht a month each, said Pol Lt Gen Damrongsak.

The website served customers in South Korea, but the gang used Thailand as a base to run it, he added.

The four were charged with illegally colluding in online gambling. They were handed over to Khlong Ton police for further legal action.

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