Cops smash 9 gambling websites

Owner ran online empire worth B15bn

Police have pulled the plug on nine well-known illegal gambling websites that turned over a staggering 15 billion baht in only six years.

A number of luxury cars and other expensive items were also seized from the man who ran the sites.

National police chief, Pol Gen Suwat Jangyodsuk, yesterday announced the arrest of Thaenthai Narongkul, the owner of the illegal sites, and four accomplices. They were arrested in Rayong while on holiday.

Among the sites shut down were UFA191, SSGAME66 and SEXYGAME1688.

Mr Thaenthai’s offices and house were searched, during which 11 luxury cars, 21 high-end watches, 180 mobile phones, 26 computers, bank books, one million baht in cash and a gun were seized.

The total value of the seized items was 75 million baht, according to the police chief.

Pol Gen Suwat said Mr Thaenthai used overseas servers for his nine gambling sites and advertised them on more than 20 illegal online movie and pornographic sites.

The suspect was accused of openly encouraging people, including minors, to gamble through the advertisements that portrayed a luxury lifestyle made possible by online gambling.

According to Pol Gen Suwat, Mr Thaenthai operated the websites for more than six years and had more than 200 employees working for him at offices in Pathum Thani.

Checks on his many bank accounts revealed transactions amounting to 15 billion baht over the years. Apart from buying luxury cars and other expensive items, he also invested money in a movie production. All the other arrested people were relatives and close friends.

Police worked with various agencies in closing down the illegal sites since most of their servers were located in other countries, Pol Gen Suwat said. Police had to revise strategies to tackle these websites as they often change names and reopen after being shut, he said.

The suspect was arrested for operating an online gambling website in Mae Sot district, Tak province, in 2018. Mr Thaenthai’s network was the largest one shut down, he said.

Police will work with the Digital Economy and Society Ministry to shut down any other sites Mr Thaenthai may operate. Mr Thaenthai and the others were charged with arranging gambling games, advertising gambling in a direct and indirect manner and money laundering.

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