Police Continue To Clean Up Pattaya's Image With Further Arrests
The police crackdown in Pattaya continues this week with a number of press conferences announcing further major arrests as police continue to ‘clean up’ the popular Thai holiday resort.
This comes following the recent announcement of the launch of the new so called ‘Happy Zones’ in Pattaya but is more like being driven by the recent international bad press that the city has received from various foreign newspapers.
Khaosodenglish reported yesterday that, at a press conference on Monday, police announced that they have arrested a major Russian mafia figure and 13 other foreign criminals, including a heroin smuggler.
The biggest victory, police said, was Aleksandr Danilov, 43, who is accused of being a top figure in Russian organised crime in Pattaya. Danilov is wanted in Russia and fled prosecution for drug trafficking in Phuket in 2012. He was arrested March 11 in Pattaya. “Pattaya is in chaos because of his arrest” police Lt. Col. Raleuk Intawatsami said.
Danilov was arrested along with 13 other suspects police said included his underlings and a repeat drug trafficking offender. At least three were identified as fugitives by the Russian Embassy, which sought their arrest.
All 14 suspects were wanted in Thailand and abroad for a variety of criminal activities associated with organised crime, from drug trafficking to extortion and racketeering. Raleuk said the suspects – six Russians, four Uzbeks, a Ukrainian, a Belarussian, a Moroccan and an Iranian – were all connected. “They’re all Facebook friends” he said.
Police said Danilov runs a criminal enterprise operating Pattaya tourism venues such as restaurants, strip clubs and car rental businesses. They said he also brings drugs into Thailand, along with Eastern European women for prostitution.
Pattaya is a seaside resort town known for its high concentration of commercial sex workers and sex tourists. It has a high population of Russians and a number of international criminal syndicates – Chinese Triads, Japanese Yakuza, Filipino mafia and more – are believed to operate there.
Raleuk said that while Pattaya’s organised crime does make for the occasional stabbing, the Russians are not the widespread menace some imagine – just very visible. “It’s just that they’re loud and raucous, but not to the level of scaring people” Raleuk said. “I get it, you know. I talked to some Russians myself. It’s part of their culture. You need to be a big man with muscles, or else they’d get bullied in their country.”
Police also said the arrest of 37-year-old suspected drug trafficker Sergei Mareev was another win for Thai, Russian and international police. Police Lt. Gen. Nattatorn Phrosoontorn said Mareev lived a “playboy life” having sex with scores of Thai women despite being infected with HIV. Police set up a sting for Mareev using a female agent, who contacted him through Whatsapp to arrange a date.
Mareev took a bus from Bangkok’s Ekkamai Bus Station to Pattaya on the February 19, where he was greeted by police and arrested. Officers said a search of his Pattaya property turned up a large amount of drugs. He’s already been deported home to Russia, Lt. Col. Raleuk said, because he was wanted there and his passport had already been canceled.
Another of the Russian suspects, 45-year-old Mikhail Kriventcov, was wanted under international law for trafficking heroin. Nattatorn said the Russian embassy notified them Kriventcov had escaped into the country but he was later captured on March 2nd in Loei province where he was about to cross into Laos.
Apart from Anton Filippov, who was wanted in Russia for disobeying a court order and fleeing from justice, the other suspects were “wanted for various crimes such as working illegally, overstaying their visas and acting as a menace to society” according to Nattatorn.
In a related but separate article published by the local PattayaOne news site, police have also announced the arrest of gun hoodlums, a drug dealer and a lady boy thief as part of the ongoing crackdown to make Pattaya a safe place for tourists.
The press conference comes just a few days before the official opening of Walking Street, South Pattaya as a “Happy Zone”. Apichai Kroppetch was in attendance yesterday announcing seven arrests and the seizure of nine guns and 29 bullets.
Also arrested was 36 year old Suchart Ninsakun who was caught with 585 Ya Ba tablets and 80 grams of “ice” methamphetamine, a lady boy who stole from a Belarus tourist was also paraded.
Police arrested 35 year old Wilat Wongsuwan from Buriram at his room in Soi Rungland, South Pattaya. He was caught in possession of a 20,000 baht gold necklace that he had stolen earlier from Mr Andrei Trayanouski in Soi 7, Sai 2, Central Pattaya.
Chief Apichai said that the arrests were part of the ongoing crackdown in Pattaya to clean up the resort and make it a place of happiness for the whole world to enjoy.
An inauguration party making Walking Street the resort’s first “Happy Zone” is set to take place this Saturday.