Four Korean nationals are in the hands of Thai law enforcement after being caught running an illegal online gambling operation in rented accommodation out of Pattaya.
I kept looking at this guy. I couldn’t keep my eyes off him. I knew if I lost him, I would never get back to my hotel. And then, for a moment I couldn’t see.
It was blood.
That was my first experience of a night of bonafide Thai Boxing somewhere in the middle of nowhere. It wasn’t my blood. I just happened to be ringside when some kids teeth came flying over like hail.
I didn’t have a clue where I was.
I just knew I couldn’t find my taxi driver.
He was going crazy.
They were all going crazy, waving their money in the air, in a melee of action that just seemed too random and chaotic to make sense to anyone. On the ride home, with teeth in my hair, the taxi driver told me that he was also the local bookmaker.
Some of the people waving baht in the air like Wall Street Traders were policeman, which is funny because gambling is illegal in Thailand.
Four individuals who have just found out that silly little rule exists are Jeong Kyu-jin, 35, Han Kyo-reh, 26, Choi Sung-min, 35, and Bae Jeong-hwan, 26. Law enforcement officials arrested the four South Korean nationals in the wee hours of Saturday in connection with operating an illegal online gambling operation.
The Difference in Laws
The four men were picked up in Nong Prue, Bang Lamung district of Chon Buri, Pattaya. They were in rented accommodation along with four computers, eight monitors, a couple of routers, ten password generators, six hard drives, and a written record of the names of gamblers and processed bets.
The four men told officials that they were each paid 60,000 baht ($1.7k) per month to run the operation. They received the money via wire transfer. They never met the ringleader.
The Koreans Love Thailand
In 2015, police arrested over 40 different South Korean nationals in Thailand for running illegal websites in the country. It’s believed they are hired to service the South Korean market. Online gambling is also illegal in South Korea, as is most other forms of gambling, including land-based casino gambling which is only available to tourists.
It’s believed the reason the Korean nationals come to Thailand to get involved in illegal gambling enterprises is that the penalties are a lot stiffer back home. The four lads arrested in Pattaya could face three months to three years in jail and a 5,000 baht fine ($150), a lot less lenient than the life imprisonment they could have faced if trying the same trick in Korea.
And the Thai police don’t mess about when it comes to Korean nationals. Last year, Thai officials arrested 32 foreigners, aged 60+, including one 84-year old woman, for daring to play Bridge.