PHUKET: The arrest of the Myanmar man who robbed a gold shop in Phuket Town last year led to the arrest of two men wanted for operating an illegal online gambling site and the seizure of 3.7 million baht in cash, police announced today (April 6).

Region 8 Police Commander Pol Lt Gen Amphol Buarabporn broke the news at Tha Chatchai Police Station in the northern end of Phuket this morning.

Lt. Gen. Amphol said the two arrests followed an investigation that began with the arrest of Myanmar national Chai Aung, 26, for the robbery of the Thong Thaweechai Gold Shop on Ranong Rd in Phuket Town in October. from last year.

Police were particularly motivated to track down and apprehend Chai Aung last October when he got away with more than 10 million baht in gold jewelry during the robbery.

He had also violently assaulted an elderly couple – Wangdee Inthawong, 71, and Puangpen Sakkasemkrit, 65 – who lived upstairs in the gold store as store guards.

Chai Aung had hit both Mr. Wangdee and Ms. Puangpen in the head with a piece of wood he had taken from the upstairs kitchen, where he had also taken a large knife he had on him during the the attack.

He bound the couple’s hands and feet with wire and threatened to beat Ms. Puangpen if they did not open the safe.

Officers searched the room rented by Chai Aung and recovered the stolen jewelry, weighing 363 baht in gold, valued at more than 10.6 million baht. Officers also recovered 33,600 B from the room.

Chai Aung blamed online gambling debts as his motivation for committing the robbery, leading officers to arrest the two men who operated the website, Lt Gen Amphol said today.

The investigation also ended up linked to a complaint lodged with Udon Thani police about “a group of able-bodied men pretending to be police officers”. [sic] extort property from the victim in the amount of B400,000 and an amulet” after playing on the online gambling site incurred a debt of almost B2 million.

The Udon Thani case saw a man’s bank account, used to place bets with the website, run out, Lt. Gen. Amphol said.

The investigation saw the Phuket Provincial Court issue arrest warrants for the two men determined to be the main operators of the website, https://789xber.com, which has now been taken offline.

Nirawit Chanthaphun was arrested at a hotel in Mae Sai district, Chiang Rai province.

Somsak Cherntong was arrested at a house on Naeb Kehat Rd in Hua Hin, Prachuap Khiri Khan province.

A total of 58 pieces of evidence were seized, including B3,713,400 in cash, three land title deeds and four land sale contracts, Lt. Gen. Amphol said.

Eight mobile phones, two computers, a car, 14 bank books and 10 payment cards as well as clothes, bags and electronic devices were also seized, Lt. Gen. Amphol added.

“Based on the outcome of this case, I would like anyone who sees or knows criminals trying to persuade them to gamble online on various social media, which intoxicates our youth and destroys the country’s economy, to inform the hotline from the Information Technology Crime Suppression Center on 1599 and through their hotline 081-8663000, or people can report it to the Region 8 Police Computer Crime Suppression Center,” Lt. Gen. Amphol said.