CHON BURI – Ari Veinko Juhani Hallikainen from Sweden has been arrested in connection with a job scam that left more than 100 Thai laborers stranded in Sweden.
Pol Maj Gen Roy Ingpairoj, the Tourist Police Division chief, said on Friday that Ari Veinko Juhani Hallikainen, 52, opened an overseas employment business in 2010. He falsely promised 164 people, mostly from northeastern Thailand, that they would get agricultural jobs abroad.
Police said the man borrowed 13 million baht from an external source to pay for the workers’ travel expenses. When the workers reached Sweden, he abandoned them without paying their wages, Pol Maj Gen Roy said.
The stranded workers were able to coordinate with Swedish authorities who helped them to return to Thailand, he added.
The Swedish government later issued an arrest warrant for Mr Hallikainen and cancelled his passport at the same time.
Pol Maj Gen Roy said the Swede used the money from the fraud to escape to Thailand in 2011. He added that the man was constantly changing his hideout, making him difficult to track down.
Police said they recently received information from a local resident that the wanted man was living at a house in Muang district of Chon Buri, which led to the arrest. He will be sent to the Immigration Bureau for further legal proceedings.
Mr Hallikainen confessed and said some Thais also were involved in the scam, according to the tourist police chief, who now plans to track down other gang members.