KANACHANBURI – A South Korean couple who convinced their countrymen to invest about 200 million baht in a bogus casino complex in Kanachanburi have been arrested, 13 years after they fled to Thailand with the money.
Byung Tae Jeon, 54, and Kyung Sook Sin, 54, were detained on Sunday morning at the Cowboy hotel in Tha Muang district, Pol Maj Gen Surachet Hakphal, deputy chief of the Tourist Police Bureau (TPB), told a press conference on Monday evening.
They were wanted under an Interpol red notice for crimes in South Korea. They were charged with being illegally in Thailand. A Thai national was also detained for helping them stay here.
Mr Byung and Ms Kyung allegedly conned 15 people in South Korea out of the equivalent of 200 million baht for a supposed investment in a casino and entertainment complex, to be called Korean Town, in Kanchanaburi, Pol Maj Gen Surachet said.
They fled to Thailand with the money on July 15, 2005 and had been hiding out here ever since, he said.
Four of the 15 victims had recently come to Thailand and on Sunday filed a complaint with Tha Muang police seeking the arrest of the wanted couple, said Pol Maj Gen Surachet.
The four victims said they had lost about 100 million baht in total to the scammers, he said.
The suspects gave their victims brochures depicting the so-called Korean Town project, showing the planned casinos, entertainment venues, shops and more, encouraging them to invest in it.
The four complainants told police they were convinced by the suspects and handed over the equivalent of about 100 million baht to them. The total investment by the 15 victims was estimated at 200 million baht, .
In February last year, the four were approached by the suspects to invest another 20 million baht to buy more land next to the claimed Korean Town project. They were suspicious and demanded documents pertaining to their rights over the project, the land and business, Pol Maj Gen Surachet said.
The two suspects cancelled three appointments made with them – last June, September and December -and warned them not to visit Thailand because they were wanted by police here, Pol Maj Gen Surachet said.
After enquiries confirmed there were no arrest warrants for them in Thailand, they decided to come here and personally file a complaint.
The Thai suspect charged with assisting the two Koreans stay illegally is Anekthat Kaeo-sirang, 43, resident of Muang district in Kanchanaburi.
The two Korean suspects were on Tuesday taken to Bangkok, where it is expected deportation proceedings will begin.