11 July 2024

Crime Suppression Division (CSD) police announced the arrest today (Thursday) of eight people, including Somchai Chutikitdecha, alias Longchu Somchai, the alleged operator of a network of illegal gambling dens in Thailand’s eastern region, and the seizure of about 880 million baht in assets, during coordinated raids in Bangkok, Rayong, Chanthaburi and Chon Buri.

CSD Deputy Commander Pol Maj-Gen Jirabhop Bhuridej told a news conference that Somchai and his son, Thana, who was also arrested, are wanted by police on charges of allegedly masterminding the murder of a motorcycle taxi driver, who had secretly taken pictures inside one of his gambling dens and published them on social media.  

The father and son also face money laundering charges, he said.

The seized items include four cars, yachts and other property.

The CSD deputy commander also said that police searched the offices of The Capital Company, a real estate firm, and found that Somchai and his son are directors of the company and that they suspect that revenues from illegal gambling dens were being laundered through the business.

Longchu Somchai came to public attention last December, when an illegal gambling den in Rayong province, allegedly owned by him, was blamed as the source of a COVID-19 cluster in Rayong and other eastern provinces, resulting in lockdowns in those provinces.

Dozens of police in the eastern provinces, including several senior officers, have been under investigation for allegedly being on the payroll of the gambling network.