Pol Maj Gen Nakanwut Liamsa-gnuan, chief of investigation at Provincial Police Region 8, holds a meeting with investigators handling the extortion case. (Photo: Supapong Chaolan)
Five senior police on Koh Samui have been transferred over two criminal cases under investigation on the island – the extortion of a Russian couple and misconduct by an officer who allegdly demanded sex with a woman in return for the release of her arrested husband.
Pol Maj Gen Sathit Phonphinit, chief of Surat Thani police, signed the order transferring the five senior police officers pending fact-finding probes into the two cases. The order was signed on Tuesday and took effect on Wednesday.
The officers are: Pol Col Phongkhachorn Sukkasang, chief of Koh Samui police; Pol Lt Col Chatcheewin Nakmusik, deputy chief responsible for crime suppression; Pol Lt Col Vorapong Chumvorathayee, deputy chief responsible for investigation; Pol Lt Col Sumet Sawasdee, chief inspector for crime suppression; and Pol Lt col Boonrit Sudthongkhong, chief inspector for investigation.
Their transfer involves two cases under investigation on Koh Samui.
A Russian couple, Evgenii Abdullin, 31, and his wife Ekaterna Abdullin, 31, filed their complaint with Pol Lt Col Udomsak Thappa, investigation chief at Koh Samui station, on Monday, saying a gang of foreign men had extorted them out of 1.8 million baht in cryptocurrency.
The Russian couple said they were seated in Boy’s Organic Coffee shop in tambon Taling-ngam, Koh Samui district, on Sept 15. Six foreign men approached their table and threatened them, demanding money.
The men intimidated them and demanded they transfer US$3 million in cryptocurrency to them, about 113 million baht.
Mr Abdullin said he told them he had only $58,000, or about 2.28 million baht, at the time. Fearing for their lives he transferred $50,000 worth of cryptocurrency, equivalent to 1.8 million baht, to the six men.
On Wednesday, one of the six suspects was arrested in Chon Buri
Andrey Nizhegorodtsev, 37, a Kazakhstani national, was apprehended by a team of Chon Buri police at a house in tambon Huai Yai of Bang Lamung district on Wednesday afternoon. He was later taken to Koh Samui police station.
Mr Nizhegorodtsev was wanted under an arrest warrant issued by the Koh Samui Provincial Court for collusion in theft, physical assault without causing bodily or mental harm, and coercing people through implied threats.
On Tuesday, a couple named only as Mr Chaiwat and Ms Suwanan submitted a letter seeking justice and witness protection to the Justice Ministry after they accused a police officer on Koh Samui of demanding sex with the woman in in return for the release of her husband on what he said was a trumped-up drug charge.
Ms Suwanan said police on Koh Samui had arrested her husband on Aug 11 for possession of one methamphetamine pill. A member of the arresting team had demanded 50,000 baht from her in exchange for the release of her husband, but she had no money.
The same officer later called her into a darkened room and tried to persuade her to have sex with him in exchange for the release of her husband. She refused.
Reports said the woman had a recording of the accused officer asking her for sex in return for freeing her husband.
Thai media also reported that Mr Chaiwat had later paid 2,000 baht to the officer and was released.