The Royal Thai Police (RTP) are on the hunt for five major foreign motorcycle clubs operating on Thai soil following a crackdown on the notorious Outlaws Motorcycle Club in Pattaya last month.
The RTP on July 21st launched a crackdown on the Outlaws group and arrested the alleged Austrian gang leader Thomas Ginner just as he was preparing to flee the country.
According to the RTP, Ginner’s motorbike club was notorious for engaging in transnational crimes and was implicated in an incident in which a German gang member named Olaf Thorsten Brinkmann was accused of murdering Hans Peter Walter Mack, a 62-year-old German property broker, in Pattaya last June. Brinkmann was arrested while hiding in a type of cubby hole at an Outlaws clubhouse in Bangkok.
Following Brinkmann and his three accomplices’ arrest and a crackdown on the Outlaws Motorcycle Club, the RTP are now targeting five major motorcycle clubs operating in the country. These clubs include Outlaws Motorcycle Club or Outlaws MC, Hells Angels Motorcycle Club or Hells Angels, the Bandidos Motorcycle Club, which is also known as the Bandido Nation, the Mongols Motorcycle Club or the Mongol Brotherhood, and the Vagos Motorcycle Club, which is also known as the Green Nation, the Bangkok Post reported.
Most of the clubs are managed by Australian nationals and operate mainly in tourist destinations across Thailand such as Phuket, Koh Samui in Surat Thani, and Pattaya, allegedly targeting foreigners for protection fees in exchange for them to run businesses in the area. They occasionally even abduct or commit murders against foreigners for money, the RTP said.
Typically, the gangs do not meddle with Thai people as they know it will land them in trouble more easily than when they do with foreigners.
Apart from Thailand, these gangs have members around the world, allegedly committing various kinds of illegal activities such as narcotic drug distribution, assault, theft, loan-sharking, fraud, money laundering, or murder, the Bangkok Post reported.
Deputy National Police Chief Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn stated that the gang members tend to favor Thailand due to the lack of strict law enforcement and corrupt officials.
He cited the outdated 1979 Immigration Act, which allows foreigners aged above 50 to easily live in Thailand only if they have 800,000 baht in their bank account or an income certificate with a monthly salary not less than 65,000 baht.
This also tended to be the case of the suspects in Mack’s murder.
Due to the existence of these dangerous gangs, aware foreign tourists feel discouraged to visit Pattaya or invest in the Eastern Seaboard, causing huge damage to the country, Pol Gen Surachate said.
Thus, the RTP needs to regain trust from tourists by not only eradicating these gangs but also some Thai officials who clandestinely aid them.
As part of the efforts, Pol Gen Surachate promised that he would propose an amendment to the immigration law, especially concerning retirement visa extensions, through the police chief once a new government takes office. This aims to filter out bad people and make the law truly helpful for investors or someone who innocently want to live in Thailand.
For biker gangs, he ensured that at least one of them, the Outlaws, has been completely weeded out from Pattaya. The police are now extending their investigation to Phuket and Koh Samui.
Original Source: Bangkok Post