Speaking during a police press briefing at the Immigration Police Bureau (IPB) yesterday (Aug 28), Nathathorn Prousoontorn, the bureau commissioner, said the seven suspects, wanted in five separate transnational criminal cases, were caught last week.
Of the suspects, three were Chinese women: Wang Jianlan, 31; Zhang Jingjing, 30; and Jiang Yuemei, 32. The four others were identified as Vasily Smolnikov, a 42-year-old Russian man; Markus Andre, a 56-year-old German man; Patrice Giuliana, a 58-year-old French national; and Paul Strubin, 67, from Switzerland.
According to Lt Gen Nathathorn, Ms Jianlan, Ms Jingjing and Ms Jiang were apprehended in Phuket last Monday (Aug 22) after they entered Thailand on tourist visas.
They are wanted by Chinese authorities for their alleged involvement in a major tax fraud case. An investigation also found the trio were alleged members of a transnational crime gang that smuggled hazardous substances into several countries.
Mr Smolnikov was also nabbed last Monday in Songkhla’s Sadao district where he had gone into hiding since January 2013.
Mr Smolnikov, the former owner of a Russian construction firm, is wanted by Interpol for allegedly forging documents linked to Russian construction projects and bribing a state official.
He fled to Thailand on a tourist visa during the investigation by Russian authorities. The IPB investigation found he entered the country many times.
On Aug 23, immigration police apprehended Mr Andre at his house in Chonburi’s Bang Lamung district. He came to Thailand in December, 2014, to avoid arrest over an unpaid debt in Germany. Police did not provide further details of the debt.
Police said Mr Giuliana was caught in Bangkok’s Phra Nakhon district on Saturday (Aug 27).
Mr Giuliana has been in the country since 2012. He fled to Thailand after being sentenced by the French court to 15 years in prison for sexually abusing his daughter.
Also on Saturday, Mr Strubin, who is wanted on embezzlement charges, was detained in Pattaya.
A police investigation found Mr Strubin arrived in the country in October, 2013, and had overstayed his visa by more than two years.
Lt Gen Nathathorn said all suspects’ visas have been revoked, and they have been declared persona non grata under Section 12 of the Immigration Act.
Between Aug 19-25, a total of 11,275 foreigners were arrested for overstaying their visas. Some of them are suspected of being linked to transnational crimes.
Lt Gen Nathathorn said last week’s raid was in response to a nationwide crackdown by authorities on criminals who flee their home countries and use Thailand as a hideout.
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