Thursday, 15 June 2017

6/15/2017 06:30:00 pm


Criminals have fled jail sentences in Europe, murder charges in England, pedophile charges in USA and police investigations for every kind of crime imaginable in countries around the world, then settled in Pattaya.  

They hope to build a new, undercover life safe from the grip of law in their own lands. Is it the free-flowing sex with young girls, the wild nightlife, drugs, weak money laundering regulations or lax policing that attracts so many foreign criminals to Thailand, and Pattaya in particular?

It's all of the above, and more. Many foreign criminals bring ill-gotten millions into Thailand to invest in business in an attempt to disguise their past. With money, it's relatively easy for a foreign fugitive to open a Thai company, get a work permit and gain yearly residence – all the necessities for a new life behind a new facade.

The (sometimes) booming property business appears to be the industry of first choice for criminals in-hiding, with bars and restaurants the runners-up. But one such British-European gang that invested a lot of loot in Koh Samui couldn't resist their criminal tendencies and bribed local officials to obtain especially valuable, but not-quite-legal, land titles on which to base their developments. Following tip-offs from foreign police, they came under surveillance, and were eventually busted and deported, while the title deeds were seized.

The arrest in Thailand of another British man by the local police was reported by the BBC in January 2011; Man accused of murdering London landlord; A British man arrested in Thailand has been charged with murdering his landlord in south London in 2008. Stuart Crawford, 44, of no fixed address, is due before Sutton magistrates on Wednesday accused of killing Michael Ryan.

With so many foreigners involved in the property, condominium and other businesses in Pattaya – who can distinguish a legitimate business person from a fraudster or murderer-on-the-run?

Does the influx of foreign criminals make Pattaya more dangerous for foreign visitors? Just how safe is Pattaya?

Exotic lifestyle with bars, girls & drugs attracts foreigners to Pattaya

Pattaya Beach, Thailand. Pattaya's image as a men's club is reinforced with a walk along the beach in the late morning.

Pattaya has much to offer those fleeing foreign justice – just as it does to the overwhelming, honest majority of the estimated 70,000 foreign residents in the Pattaya region. The good life includes the obvious supply of pretty young girls, drugs and kinky sex for those who want it. But cheap living costs make both honest and ill-gotten money stretch further – a major attraction for all. And of course Thai food is cheap and excellent, while the relaxed Thai attitude to life makes day-to-day living especially comfortable.

Germany's Deutsche Presse Agentur reported on two fugitives who enjoyed the good life in Pattaya, for a while: Rene Larsen, a convicted Danish drug trafficker, was a resident of Pattaya and proud owner of a palatial residence in the 1990s before he was extradited to Copenhagen.

Another criminal fingered by this newspaper was German: There was Wolfgang Uelrich, a German national who defrauded tens of thousands of dollars from his countrymen through a bogus animal-welfare charity. He used the charity to invest in bars, restaurants and various businesses in Pattaya, and was eventually extradited to Germany where he was found guilty of fraud.

One foreign resident of Pattaya posted the following on a forum of the popular website Teak Door in April 2012. While trying to explain the suicide of a Pattaya-based, Australian expatriate he revealed much about the lifestyle of the deceased, and other foreign residents; His hobbies, interests were cycling, buying and selling condominiums and chatting up boys from the age of 17-20 and sleeping with them. He told me he had slept with 500 boys over a 5 year period .... a feat in any ones estimation ... he was a bit of sex maniac.

Some perspective is needed however, for there are tens of thousands of other foreigners retired or living and working in the Pattaya area who lead quite normal lives. Many have families here, and there are several international schools here for their children, including solid names like St Andrews School Pattaya and The Regents School Pattaya.

Paedophiles love the children of Pattaya too

Paedophiles too, have descended upon Pattaya in numbers. And while we can never know just how many there really are, the police records tell us a lot, and suggest that this is a global hotspot for their lurid activities. Abject poverty and lots of unsupervised children creates an ideal stalking ground for these sexual predators. Despite the relative prosperity of Pattaya, the promise of good jobs and opportunities attracts even more people than the economy can readily absorb. The social left-overs remain marginalized in slum-like conditions while their children wander and scavenge. Those unlucky enough to be spotted by the wrong foreign man, or a Thai finder, become prey as they are coerced with money, comforts and friendship.

Boosting the supply of young victims in Pattaya, Cambodian and Burmese children have been turning up among the pedophile victims in recent years. Children of desperate migrant workers – often in Thailand illegally – these are the easiest prey of all for the little body hunters.

Police records show that most pedophiles here rely on local Thai suppliers, equally heartless individuals willing to supply vulnerable children to twisted foreigners for as little a few hundred Baht each. Several Thai suppliers were also arrested in the cases against the foreigners listed here.

Back in December 2008 the Bangkok Rough Guide headlined Pattaya is Pedophile Paradise: A foreign mastermind and at least 20 more foreign pedophiles are being sought under Operation Naga, a joint investigation between the UK's Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) and the Royal Thai Police.

The police records tell us that paedophilia infects all nationalities.

Swiss: a headline from Pattaya People, 27 June 2013; Swiss pedophile arrested in South Pattaya –

Norwegian: In Jan 2010 the Pattaya Mail reported: Police arrested 49-year-old Norwegian Alf Oddvar Bjørndal for molesting a 13-year-old boy at the Manipha Guesthouse on January 11, 1998, after receiving a complaint from an 11-year-old boy’s mother.

Finnish: The Pattaya Daily News reported: a Finnish national. Mr. Venaeinen was apprehended after an arrest warrant was granted by the Criminal Court on the 15th March 2010 over his alleged involvement with a 14-year-old girl.

French: Teak Door website reported in Jan 2010; French Pedophile Arrested In Pattaya Selling Child Sex; A combined force from Thailand's Department of Special Investigation (DSI) and local police in this coastal province late Tuesday night arrested a French businessman who runs many entertainment venues in the seaside resort of Pattaya on charge of sexually abusing child and providing child sex for his customers.

USA: Pattaya Daily News, 24 Jun3 2010; Canadian-born US citizen Glen Richard Allen, already imprisoned in Thailand, has now been indicted by a US District Court in his hometown of Seattle. Allen was arrested along with several other men after evidence of his sexual interference with girls as young as 11-years-old came to light in 2007. Allen was eventually sentenced to 16-years in prison by a Thai court.

British: The Pattaya Daily News reported on 24th June 2010; Thailand’s Crimes Against Women & Children Suppression Division arrested Allen, along with two Brits, Maurice John Praill and Stephen James Ellison and a Finn Ilkka Ylikolola in March of 2007. The four were all charged with several counts of sexually interfering with underage girls.

Petty foreign criminals creating a new crime wave in Pattaya

Pattaya is not only the comforter of criminals and a breeding place for crime, sometimes it is victim too. Crime against Pattaya has become common in recent years as ever more foreign criminals come to Thailand, not to spend their wealth, but to seek and steal it.

The Pattaya People newspaper quoted an officer of the Pattaya Tourist Police; 'Foreign criminal gangs have intensified their activities in Pattaya recently, (said) Police Major Aroon Prompong of the Pattaya Tourist Police ... warning visitors to be on the lookout for foreign criminals operating in the city. He spoke about robbery incidents with gangs from the Middle East and South America and Russian and European drug rings operating here.'

A Pattaya Mail report in 2010 said; Iranian nationals caught stealing from tourists Lengthy surveillance pays off; After two months of surveillance, police managed to .... arrest an Iranian national wanted for committing over 20 robberies against tourists. Bahman Sharif was arrested for attempted robbery. On February 20th, police were watching the soi when a Swedish couple, walking back to their hotel, were accosted by the two Iranians. Bahman Sharif and his accomplice drove up on a motorcycle and attempted to grab the tourist’s bags.'

This crime reported by the Bangkok Post, credit card fraud, has become a favourite of foreign criminals, who seem more tech savvy than their Thai underworld counterparts; 'French nationals Nagim Hassainia, 33, and Samir Raihane, 41, who are suspects in a credit card fraud case, were arrested on Feb 2.

This case could cause serious damage to Thailand's reputation, said Pol Lt Gen Panya Mamen, chief of the Provincial Police Region 2. I have to admit there are a lot of foreign criminals who are tourists in disguise. Some are here to work with their Thai counterparts, while others act on their own, Pol Lt Gen Panya said.

What about the Burmese and Cambodian migrant workers?

Another national group widely blamed by Thais for pushing crime stats higher and making their country less safe are the one to two million Burmese migrant workers in Thailand, legally and illegally. Migrant workers the world over have a bad reputation for theft from their host countries, and it is true that many Burmese are also guilty – though probably not nearly as many as the Thais suggest. The fact that Burmese and Thais have been historical enemies for centuries might influence this situation, in both directions, allowing Burmese to feel little guilt when stealing in Thailand, and causing Thais to heap more blame on the immigrants than they deserve.

Cambodians have no particular notoriety among Thais for everyday crime, but their begging rings do. A large percentage of beggars on the streets of Bangkok, Pattaya and other Thai cities are Cambodian, and they generally don't work alone. Organized gangs drop them off at prime locations, and again pick them up – taking a large portion of their earnings, of course. The beggars are usually well controlled and at the gang's mercy, often having been trafficked into the country illegally and dependent on them to remain out of jail.

Transnational Crime Suppression Center makes it tougher for foreign criminals

Foreign fugitives – particularly those from the developed Western countries – have seen the advantages of fleeing to Thailand whittled down little-by-little over the years. Things are getting tougher, especially for those for whom an outstanding arrest warrant waits in their home country.

The Thai police now co-operate regularly with their overseas counterparts, sometimes leapfrogging the slow bureaucracy of Thai courts. Some foreign criminals with an outstanding arrest warrant in their own countries have been arrested here by Thai police on petty charges, often related to visa or work violations. The foreigner is then expelled from Thailand a on simple, speedy order from the Immigration Department. Thai police ensure that the expulsion is carried out via a non-stop flight to the arrested person's country – where the police wait at the airport.

Further enhancing cooperation with foreign police, Thailand has set up a special office to deal with international criminals called the Transnational Crime Suppression Center. This tightens the noose on foreign criminals a little more.

However, if a fraudster with stolen money in his pocket can get to Thailand before investigations in his home country are complete, he may avoid prosecution and live out the good life surrounded by pretty girls in comfortable restaurants and sexy bars.

Thailand's problems with foreign crime are becoming ever more complex, as new waves of little-understood criminals arrive from Russia, Central Asia, Africa and China – many of whom work in hard-to-penetrate gangs and speak languages that Thai police don't understand. The Thai police will have plenty to keep them busy for years to come, chasing both local and foreign criminals. Crime involving regular tourists is a minor part of their worries.

Source: True

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