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Immigration chief Colonel Chanatpol explains his concern to Phuketwan

'Pattaya Mafia' Alarm over Russian Suspect

Wednesday, April 16, 2008
IMMIGRATION officials are alarmed at the presence of a Russian on Phuket who has connections with the Pattaya ''mafia.''

The Russian was discovered on the island by the Superintendent of Phuket Immigration, Police Colonel Chanatpol Yongbunjerd, who arrived to take up his post late in 2007 after serving in Pattaya.

''I am worried about the activities of this man on Phuket,'' Colonel Chanatpol told Phuketwan. ''We do not want the kind of problems on the island that they have in Pattaya.''

The Russian lives on the island but travels often between Phuket and Pattaya.

The Russian's business in Pattaya was running many bars where women worked as prostitutes, Colonel Chanatpol said.

''We are keeping a close watch on his activities here,'' the colonel added.

Immigration Headquarters in Bangkok has been alerted.

Colonel Chanatpol said that while the increasing number of Russian tourists was good for Phuket, it was important for the island not to attract the wrong kind of Russians.

Colonel Chanatpol said Immigration was also watching the Pakistan and Philippines communities on Phuket more closely.

There had been some evidence in both of an increase in people entering Thailand and staying illegally.

As the colonel told Phuketwan on April 10, the large number of illegal Burmese being arrested and deported from Phuket remains a concern.

The deputy chief of the Department of Special Investigation, Pinyo Thongchai, told the Bangkok Post recently that trans-national criminal groups were rampant on Koh Samui.

As well as the Bandidos motorcycle gang, which has faced a crackdown by authorities, there were also international mafia gangs doing illegal businesses in drugs, land and property deals and extorting money from foreign businessmen, the newspaper says.

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