Criminal gangs on Samui

Source: Bangkokpost - 07 August 2006

WASSAYOS NGAMKHAM Special Branch police are gathering evidence against an Indian-born British property developer they believe launders drug money and pulls the strings behind the Bandidos motorcycle gang on Koh Samui, said a police source. However, the suspect's name has been withheld as police seek more evidence before asking a court to issue an arrest warrant.

The highly placed National Police Office source said the man is married to a Thai and runs at least 10 land development firms on the resort island.

One of the firms is believed to have been registered with the Department of Business Development on Nov 8, 2001 , with four million baht in capital. The firm is located in Bo Phut on Samui. Its board of directors include the British man, his wife and another foreign man and Thai woman.

The source said the man is an avid gambler often seen in illegal gambling dens on Samui. He is also wanted by Macau police as he is alleged to have recently stole money from a gambling den in Macau , the police source added.

"The British man is regarded as the top mafioso on Koh Samui, ranking above the Bandidos gangsters. He has links with transnational cartels dealing in cocaine and heroine. The man launders drug money by investing it in property businesses on Samui.

"The Bandidos are only small-time drug pushers who give the money to the suspected kingpin for laundering, " the source said.

The British man also has links to Scandinavian bikers belonging to the Hell's Angels and Outlaws gangs, the source said. These bikers are involved in drug-peddling, women trafficking and collecting protection money from their compatriot businessmen on Samui.

"The Scandinavian businessmen have to pay protection money, otherwise they will face the same misfortune that befell a beer bar in Pattaya which was burned down by these gangsters last year," the source said.

Police are also keeping a close watch on "the Gangaru", a new criminal gang now trying to expand its influence from Patong beach in Phuket to Samui.

With a Thai man known as "Nick Handle" as its leader, the gang is involved in women trafficking, peddling drugs on international cruise liners and yachts, and collecting protection money.

The source said the Briton also set up a law firm hiring foreign and local lawyers to find legal loopholes and gain an upper hand over companies contracted to work on his housing estate projects.

Sarayuth Hongkumnerd, 43, a building contractor, said a property development company affiliated with the British man awarded him a contract to build five houses on Samui.

He said the company paid him the first-instalment for the construction as agreed. However, it refused to pay the second instalment and postponed the payment for several months.

Mr Sarayuth decided to withdraw his construction workers from the project only to find that the company sued him for breaching the contract by failing to complete the work.

The company then hired a new contractor to finish off the project, he said.

"It was one of their ploys intended to reduce costs. They dared us to sue them for damages because they knew most Thai people don't want to get entangled in drawn-out lawsuits," Mr Sarayuth said.