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The villa on Phuket where the Reyes brothers were detected after three years

How Police Closed the Phuket Net

Friday, September 25, 2015
PHUKET: Questions still remain to be answered about how the Reyes brothers, wanted for masterminding a brutal murder in the Philippines, managed to hide out on Phuket for three years without being discovered.

Commandos flew especially from Bangkok to arrest them on Phuket at the weekend, which may explain why Immigration officials on Phuket have had nothing to say.

One of Phuketwan's staff needed his visa renewed late last week and found Phuket Immigration staff all neatly dressed in formal uniforms because Bangkok officers were in the building, conducting an investigation into all of Thailand's Immigration offices.

The investigation was ordered after police discovered that at least one suspect in the Bangkok bombing that killed 20 people bribed his way in and out of Thailand through Immigration to Cambodia, and was only caught when Cambodian officials on the other side of the border realised he was possibly a bomber.

More will probably be revealed in the Philippines, where the Reyes brothers were flown early today from Bangkok.

According to, one of the most popular news sites in the Philippines, Palawan governor Joel Reyes, 63, and ex-Coron mayor Mario Reyes, 54, managed to evade arrest for so long on Phuket with the help of a ''drug lord.''

How or why a ''drug lord'' came to be involved has yet to be disclosed. The brothers were presented at two media conferences in their home country earlier today.

''They were believed to be coddled by a certain Mr Lim, an alleged drug lord in Phuket, Thailand,'' according to a police report.

Immigration records in Thailand showed that the brothers entered Thailand on April 16, 2012, almost a month after the arrest warrants for murder were issued against them for allegedly masterminding the killing of broadcaster and environmentalist Gerry Ortega in January 2011.

The pair lived a lavish lifestyle when in hiding for more than three years in Thailand. They used a white sports utility vehicle, a Ford Eco Sport brand.

Criminal Investigation and Detection Group head Police Director Victor Deona revealed the Reyes brothers lived in a villa in Rawai in southern Phuket, the province where the two were arrested last Sunday for overstaying.

The Reyeses had an ''overstaying'' status as the effectivity of their visa was only until May 15, 2012.

Philippine National Police chief Director General Ricado Marquez said that on February 4 this year, the Thailand Embassy sent a letter to the Philippine Embassy confirming the presence of Mario and Joel in Thailand.

The breakthrough only came though on September 8, when an anonymous informant sent an electronic mail to the CIDG that the Reyes brothers were staying on Phuket.

Weeks later, the Thai police conducted surveillance in the area where the villa of the Reyeses was located.

On September 20, members of Interpol Thailand and Royal Thai Police came back to Phuket to arrest Mario and Joel.

At around 2:05pm, Thai authorities sent a text message to the CIDG ''We got them.''

According to, after several months of surveillance, the Thai Interpol had created the title ''Operation Jeepney'' for the manhunt.

The technical team of Thai Interpol tried to locate the source of a certain cellphone number that could have been used by the Reyeses. It was traced to Soi Hinkaaw, Karon, where there is a small Filipino community.

''The phone number location was fixed in one place and the phone activities were unusual from time to time. It appears that the user opens the phone only to check incoming messages,'' a police report said.

''After months of stake out and surveillance operations, the Royal Thai Interpol were able to pinpoint the house wherein one of the occupants who looked like Joel Reyes was sighted,'' it added.

Acting on the new lead, the local Thai police raided the house but they were able to escape the arrest. After the operatives' continuous monitoring, the Interpol monitored a Thai number linked to the Reyeses and found that it was located in Rawai.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


Excellent team work. Gives one a sense of hope for the future.
But just to add, it was the chaps from BKK that did the arresting, why?

Posted by Duncan B on September 25, 2015 18:12


Maybe some wanted posters around they knew they were in Thailand, seen ones of those guys in the shops around Rawai.

The amount of times we hear of Kingpins and wanted felons from other countries in Thailand how would anyone know

Posted by Michael on September 25, 2015 20:01


On the subject of Immigration does anyone know why the 90 report has been done for months now it used to be great -

Posted by I am pretty far from ok on September 25, 2015 21:03


House Owner shall send in TM 30 to Immigration whit Name, Passport Nr, etc.

Posted by Bjorn Ronningen on September 26, 2015 14:42

Sunday November 28, 2021
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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