CHIANGRAI TIMES – Ridden, 58, from Eastbourne, was arrested earlier this year for 10 counts of fraud after illegally subletting 40 properties in Eastbourne and obtaining thousands of pounds by deception over a two-year period.
He was due to answer police bail in April but skipped the country and was put on a list of fugitives wanted by the international division of the UK’s Serious Organised Crime Agency.
Detective Inspector Paul Phelps of Sussex Police said: “Mr Ridden is wanted by Sussex Police for offences of fraud.
Fugitive British fraud suspect Paul Ridden has been charged with three-month immigration overstay and faces additional charges for working without a work permit By Phuket Police
Mr Ridden, 58, was arrested without incident in front of Chalong Police Station yesterday.
Chalong Police duty officer Boonlert Onklang said a check of the Briton’s travel papers revealed his permit-to-stay expired on May 16.
Thus far, 10 people have filed complaints at the station against Mr Ridden, Lt Col Boonlert said.
Some victims lost 10,000 baht, while others lost 15,000 baht. It varies case-by-case.
As complaints against him continue to mount, Mr Ridden will remain in the Chalong Police Station lock-up tonight and be taken to Phuket Provincial Court.
A Finnish couple, who asked that their names not be revealed, were among the alleged victims who filed complaints at the station yesterday.
The couple said they arrived in Phuket last week on business and decided to rent a car from Mr Ridden on Sunday to do some sightseeing. They paid a 5,000-baht deposit on the car, which they rented at 1,100 baht per day for two days, they said.
Mr Ridden told the couple he would arrange for someone to return their deposit money this morning, but when they arrived at his jail cell at the police station today Ridden allegedly told them that, “No one wants to help me.”
“I don’t believe him now,” one of the Finns said.
“It’s not our first trip to Phuket, but it was our first time renting a car here. We have heard about the bad reputation of the jet-ski rental industry, but we never thought it would happen in the case of car rental,” he added.
Mr Ridden’s operations were reportedly not limited to car and motorbike rentals. He is also said to have collected property rental deposits.