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Four South Koreans Busted for Running Online Gambling Website in Pattaya, Thailand

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PATTAYA – Police in the resort town of Pattaya in Central Thailand have arrested 4 South Korean men and a Thai woman for allegedly hosting online gambling.

A combined team of Pattaya police, immigration officers and tourist police raided a rented room at the Phingpa Condominium in tambon Na Klua of Bang Lamung district at around 4.30pm, after an investigation revealed that South Korean nationals had rented it for suspicious purposes.

Police found four South Koreans and one Thai woman in the room. Seized were computers, mobile phones, devices recording money transfers, South Korean bank accounts, lists of gamblers’ information and other items.

The suspects are Song Kwanghyun, 34; Yoon Dongseong, 26; Choi Jihoon, 28; Park Byunguk, 19; and Apiwan Wongkhamsing, 28.

Police who interrogated the Koreans said they confirmed they had rented the room since Aug 27, with Ms Apiwan signing the contract. They had hired a South Korean programmer living in China to create a sports gambling website.

The site received bets from about 1,000 customers a day in South Korea, they said. They paid the programmer 90,000 baht a month to take care of the server and promote the website.

Police said the website caused about 10 million baht in damage.

Authorities said Mr Park was wanted on an arrest warrant issued by South Korean police for falsifying documents, causing damage worth about 340 million won (about 10 million baht).

Pol Col Songprod Sirisukha, chief of the Chon Buri immigration office, said the suspects had entered Thailand more than six months ago. They operated online gambling in Bangkok before moving to Pattaya three months ago, he said.

The four men were handed over to Pattaya police to face charges for illegally hosting gambling, and will be deported.

The Thai woman will be charged with failing to notify immigration officers of foreign tenants, said Pol Col Songprod.

By Chaiyot Pupattanapong