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Korean man arrested on fraud charges amid temple bell-ringing probe

Oct 06. 2018
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By The Nation

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Immigration police have arrested a South Korean man in Bangkok who is suspected of being involved in seven fraud cases.

Lee Seungkun, 42, was arrested after immigration officers checked foreign residents at the Star View Condominium at Wat Sai in Bangkok's Rama III area following a controversy over the 4am bell ringing at a nearby temple.

Bangkok district office was prompted to order the temple to lower the sound of its pre-dawn ritual following complaints from residents at the condominium.

Pol Maj Gen Surachet Hakpal, acting chief of the Immigration Bureau, said Seungkun was arrested after officers checked foreign residents at the condo and found he was wanted in seven cases involving frauds worth 190 million won (Bt5.5 million).

The controversy began after the temple informed the public that it had been served an order by the the Bang Kho Laem district to lower the sounds of its pre-dawn bell tolling, or change the time of the ritual. Social media erupted in uproar and online attacks were made against the district office and the condo residents.

Following the uproar, several celebrities living at the condo said that most residents had no problem with the sound of the bell tolling, except a young Thai woman and a Thai man who allowed a western man to rent their room.

After the report that the room was rented to a foreigner, Surachet dispatched officers to check all foreign tenants at the condo.

He said they checked whether the foreign tenants had properly registered their residence in Thailand with the Immigration Bureau and whether the Thai owners had informed the bureau about renting their rooms to foreigners.

Surachet said police found most of the foreign tenants had properly registered their locations with the bureau but most Thai owners had failed to inform police about the room rentals. He said the Thai owners would be summoned to face fines.

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