A Russian gang is running an illegal casino on the island of Phuket with assistance from local police and officials, according to a controversial Thai politician. Chuwit Kamolvisit, the opposition Rak Thailand Party MP who in February accused Bangkok police of receiving improper gifts from gambling den operators, told Thai media earlier this week that a Russian gang named Spachiba operates a casino called ‘Tiger’ in the popular tourist area of Patong. Chuwit claimed Tiger was the largest casino in the region with a daily turnover of over 100m baht ($3.25m). Chuwit claimed Spachiba also operated another casino in Phuket called Thung Thong. Chuwit said both casinos made daily payments to local police and immigration authorities and laundered their ill-gotten gains by investing in five-star hotels and luxury housing estates.
In response to Chuwit’s allegations, some 30 members of the Kathu District Police led a series of surprise raids on companies run by the Tiger Group, which operates entertainment and nightlife venues in Patong. After a thorough search of the premises, they found… a snooker table. The embarrassed police later held a press conference to report their inability to locate these phantom casinos and to reject Chuwit’s claim of police collusion with the phantom Russian mobsters. Deputy Region 8 Police Chief Major General Pisan Juldilok theorized Chuwit was “trying to discredit police.”
Tiger Group legal counsel Thamrongsak Boonrak went further, calling Chuwit’s allegations “rubbish” and said the company was considering legal action against the MP. Thamrongsak reminded the media that before Chuwit became a politician, he ran massage parlors in which Chuwit himself admitted prostitution took place. “He thinks people will do the identical forms of bad things that he used to do … Is this the type of person people should believe?” Phuket-based media figure Evgeny Parfenov certainly doesn’t think so. “Sorry, but this is BS. Mr. Chuwit is just trying to get publicity.” Again.