The three were wanted on an arrest warrant issued by the Pattaya Court in Chonburi, Maj Gen Phanthana Nuchnarot, head of the Immigration Bureau’s national Investigation Division, announced at the Phuket Immigration office in Phuket Town this afternoon.
The arrests were the result of a joint investigation by national immigration investigation officers and Phuket Immigration, Maj Gen Phanthana said.
Joining Maj Gen Phanthana in making the announcement was Phuket Immigration deputy chief Lt Col Naruewat Puttawiro.
Officers arrested Olek Tarakhnov, 51, and Alena Zakharova, 33, at a house in Grace Gardens housing estate in Soi Koh Kaew 13, and Maxim Sukharev, 33, at a house in Habitown housing estate in Koh Kaew, Maj Gen Phanthana explained.
Officers checked “the biometrics system” and found that the fourth suspect, named as Alexei Kusikin, 19, (named in the arrest report as “Alek Sie”), had already fled the country, he added.
Maj Gen Phanthana explained that the four suspects together in November last year assaulted a Swiss national and stole paintings valued at about B50mn.
“They were arrested in Chonburi and released on bail. Then they moved to stay in Phuket before they were arrested again today,” said.
However, Maj Gen Phanthana did not explain when the warrant was issued for the four fugitives for jumping bail.
He also did not explain when the three fugitives arrested in Phuket today had moved to Phuket, and did not explain when Alexei Kusikin left the country through formal channels.
“After spending about three weeks of investigation, we filed a request to the Phuket Provincial Court to issue a search warrant yesterday (Sept 7). We received the warrant today and went to the house where the suspects were staying,” Maj Gen Phanthana said.
“We will take them back to Chonburi so they can face further charges,” he added.
Asked who had painted the works of art that were deemed so valuable, Maj Gen Phanthana said, “I don’t know.”