THE SWEDISH co-founder of the Pirate Bay website was to be brought to Bangkok yesterday after his arrest in Nong Khai province, with police from Stockholm waiting to press for his deportation to serve a jail term for copyright infringement.
Thai police said Fredrik Neij, 36, was stopped late on Monday at the border with Laos wearing the same short-sleeved shirt as in a wanted poster issued to immigration officials by the Swedish Embassy in Bangkok.
Neij was due to arrive in Don Mueang airport later yesterday, where Swedish cops were waiting to greet him.
“Three Thai policemen will escort him on the flight to Bangkok and Swedish police will help us whisk him to the Immigration Bureau before he is handed over to Swedish authorities,” Pol Colonel Panlop Suriyakul na Ayutthaya said.
Neij will be detained for an unknown period in Bangkok pending deportation proceedings, he added.
Founded in 2003, Pirate Bay allows users to dodge copyright fees and share music, film and other files using bit-torrent technology, or peer-to-peer links offered on the site.
Neij was the last of the original founders of Pirate Bay, still used by millions across the globe, to remain at large after a 2009 conviction.
His arrest is a symbolic blow to a global community of online sharers of films and music, which the movie and music industry decries as systemic theft that costs billions in lost revenue each year.
The site’s founders Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg and Peter Sunde were convicted in 2009 and sentenced to a year in jail for promoting copyright infringement with the website. Site financier Carl Lundstroem was also handed a year in prison.
All of them apart from Warg had their sentences reduced on appeal.
But they were also ordered to pay a total of 46 million kronor (Bt205 million) in damages for copyright infringement to the music and movie industry.
‘Easy to spot him’
Neij reportedly fled to Southeast Asia after being released on bail.
Officials in Sweden said on Tuesday that they would work with Thailand to bring Neij back to serve to his sentence, despite the lack of an extradition deal between the two countries.
Neij had settled in Laos with his Laotian wife, living by all accounts a relatively low-key life in Vientiane.
“It was easy to spot him,” Panlop said, adding that Neij had lived in Laos for at least three years but had entered Thailand 27 times.
He is believed to own a property in Phuket.