A Belgium man who police say is part of a foreign mafia gang in Pattaya has been arrested on charges of extortion, fraud and overstaying his visa.
Tourist Police chief Surachet Hakpan on Thursday announced the arrested man as Gaetan Sergel Rsdoutey at a property in Bang Lamung district belonging to his associate Mr. Thongsai Hensail, who was also arrested.
The arrests were made after another Belgian man, whose name has been withheld, made a complaint to police that the pair had tried to extort 1.5 million baht from him. When the victim refused to hand over the money, he was beaten, Pol Maj-Gen Surachet said.
The suspects, along with two other foreigners who are still on the run and believed to be attempting to flee the country, claimed to be property agents working in Pattaya. However, an investigation determined they are not and were selling and extorting fake property for money and if the victims attempted to complain or inform the law they would beat the extorted and defrauded victims and threaten them and their families.
Police say they know of at least three or four other victims of the gang and are asking for anyone else defrauded to come forward.
Pol Maj-Gen Surachet said that Gaetan came to Thailand as a tourist and got married to a Thai woman but had overstayed his permission to stay by almost one year.
Police said that Gaetan’s marriage, or at least the documentation for, was arranged by an agent who is suspected of helping to register more than 300 similar ‘marriages’ between Thai women and foreigners. It is believed they were never actually married nor even met and the original intention was to obtain a marriage visa. It is unclear why Gaetan was unable to obtain the marriage visa and overstayed by a year.
Pol Maj-Gen Surachet said they are closing in on the agent, who is it suspected has helped foreign criminals remain in Thailand. They are hoping by identifying this agent they can identify up to 300 other foreigners living on marriage visa’s but not actually married.
Pol Maj-Gen Surachet added that the arrests are part of the continued efforts by law enforcement to eradicate foreign mafia style gangs from Thailand.