A group of men described as a gang of “fake police” by Pattaya Police has been arrested after allegedly detaining a young Thai woman in a dog kennel and extorting from her 50,000 baht in Pattaya.
Today (September 2nd), a team from the Pattaya City Police led by Police Deputy Chief Colonel Tanawut Kongjira, has arrested Mr. Pakorn Sangpreawpraw, 28, Mr. Santi Janthong, 37, and Mr. Sukjai Horthongkam, 34, and charged them initially with impersonating a police officer.
A video version of this news can be found below:
The arrest followed the victim’s mother filing an official report regarding her missing daughter on Monday, (August 30th).
The victim, whose name was withheld at the family’s request, told Pattaya police, “The suspects, who claimed they were police, caught me and brought me to their place full of chickens and dogs. They put a black bag over my head when they transported me so that I had no idea where I was taken. They put me in a dog kennel and would not bring me to the actual police station, claiming that if they did it would be much more expensive for me. They wanted 50,000 baht from me in order to release me from custody.”
Neither the victim nor Colonel Tanawut revealed what the victim had allegedly done wrong in order for the men to target her and extort money or where they took her into “custody.” Her mother stated to the associated Thai press that her daughter had gone out shopping and had not returned after an extended period of time, which is when she filed the missing person’s report.
On Tuesday (August 31st) the victim stated that she contacted her foreign boyfriend. She told the suspects that her boyfriend could only transfer 16,000 baht. The suspects agreed and let her go. The woman also stated that there were other people being detained for various alleged crimes by the group of suspects as well while she was there.
Once being released, the victim told her mother about the situation, who encouraged her to file a proper police report, bringing it to the attention of Colonel Tanawut at the Pattaya Police Station. This prompted a much larger investigation.
This afternoon, September 2nd, 2021, Pattaya and Chonburi police went to a location in Banglamung following their investigation located in Soi Thong Klom Tanman, Nongprue. The place had previously operated as a chicken fighting court. Three pitbull dogs were also found inside a kennel cage at the location, where the victim stated she had been held with several other people.
Police arrested a fourth suspect at the former chicken fighting field, Mr. Santi Oiljula, age not given. According to Pattaya police, Mr. Santi was an additional member of the organized group of fake police and had been identified by two additional victims of the gang located during the ongoing investigation.
The Thai Forensic Police are working with local police and continuing their investigation. An early investigation has revealed, according to the forensic police, that at least one of the suspects is a former Thai navy officer. Police are also searching for additional suspects alleged to be members of the organized gang.
According to Colonel Tanawut, Pattaya police believe there are multiple other victims targeted by this group, including foreigners. The group focused on people breaking minor laws or rules, such as violating a current Covid-19 curfew or drinking in groups in public, and then “arrested” them, extorting them for large amounts of money.
Pattaya police are asking anyone that has been targeted by this gang or believes they have to come forward and speak with them at the Pattaya Police station and file an official report to assist in the ongoing investigation. This is a developing story and we will provide further updates as they are given.