"Many foreign victims expected" as two beefy extortionists arrested in Chiang Mai set-up
CHIANG MAI: -- Police said that many foreign victims are expected to come forward after the arrest of two alleged extortionists.
The burly men - from Australia and Holland - have been preying on foreigners in the area, said police.
They had threatened to kill one Aussie man's entire family if he did not pay up reported Thai Rath.
They deny charges of extortion with menaces (threatening to kill). They claim they were just the debt collectors.
Arrested yesterday in the parking lot of Makro, Mae Rim were 45 year old Australian Paul Gibson and Adrianus Van Gool, 50, a Dutch national.
The arrests came after an Australian called Leonard Senler (name transliterated from Thai), 53, went to police on March 9th.
Leonard, who lives in Muang district of Chiang Mai, told police that he was terrified after two men threatened to kill his entire family if he did not pay them 1.7 million baht.
It has not been reported why the demand was made.
Leonard coughed up 300,000 baht to the two men and said he would pay the rest at 2pm at Makro on Thursday. After that he went to the cops.
Police were waiting in the wings when the handover took place and Region 5 deputy chief Tawatchai Phongwiwatnachai stepped forward to make the arrest.
Both suspects deny extortion with menaces saying they were just collecting a debt for a foreign friend. Both men have been in Thailand at least 10 years and have Thai wives, said police.
The police allege that the pair have been involved in many similar cases of extortion with menaces against the foreign community. They are confident that there are other "foreign mafia figures" behind these two arrests.
They said that many foreign victims of the gang were scared to come forward but with the arrest of the two suspects yesterday they are confident that those victims will now come forward.
Source: Thai Rath
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