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Two crypto-related robberies in Phuket

PHOTO: Phuket Immigration police

Phuket Immigration officials have arrested a suspect identified as 25 year old Mr. Oleksandr, who holds both Swedish and Russian nationality. He was arrested at the international departure terminal of Phuket International Airport and taken to the Chalong Police Station on charges related to an alleged extortion and theft.

An accomplice to the crime remains on the run, assumed to have left the country.

The victim, 23 year old Russian national Ms. Diera, reported that she’d arranged to meet Mr. Oleksandr on May 8 around 11 PM at a villa in Chalong. The meeting, organised through an online messaging service, was for the exchange of 25,000 baht in cash for cryptocurrency valued at USD 700.

But according to Ms. Diera, an accomplice of Mr. Oleksandr came to her house, restrained and assaulted her, covered her head with a bag, and bound her hands and feet. She told police that she was forced to transfer additional funds and was physically assaulted.

After revealing her mobile phone password, she showed the suspects that she had no remaining funds in her online bank account. However, the suspects said they wanted more money.

Ms. Diera eventually contacted a friend who transferred an additional 104,500 baht to Mr. Oleksandr. She was then released and immediately went to the police for help, despite being warned not to.

The police successfully tracked down Mr. Oleksandr at Phuket Airport, on his way to KL. He informed police that his accomplice had already fled Thailand. An arrest warrant has been issued for the second man, who remains at large. Authorities are now working with international agencies to locate and return him to Thailand to face charges.

Mr. Oleksandr is currently in custody but has not entered a plea.

In a separate case, a group of Russian men allegedly threatened a Russian couple and forced them into a van in an attempt to extort 30 million baht in Bitcoins from them. Five foreign suspects are now in custody for their involvement in this cryptocurrency extortion attempt.

SOURCE: The Phuket News | Immigration police

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