FRIDAY, April 19, 2024

French residents of Thailand cheer latest arrest of alleged scammer

French residents of Thailand cheer latest arrest of alleged scammer

A group of French residents of Thailand thanked deputy national police chief General Surachet Hakparn on Thursday after police arrested a fellow countryman they had accused of cheating them out of 100 million baht.

Herve Christian Robert Leonard, 60, was arrested earlier this week. He had been arrested a year ago but police were unable to locate him after he jumped bail.

Leonard had five arrest warrants issued by Thai courts on charges that included extortion, public cheating, and fraud.

Surachet said Leonard had been living intermittently in Thailand for the past 20 years and could speak Thai fluently.

He briefly served as a volunteer for the police in Pattaya in 2019.

Leonard allegedly swindled other French nationals in Thailand while claiming he was helping them transfer property, police said.

He used photos that he had taken with Thai police officers to convince other foreign nationals that had close connections to police that would allow him to solve their problems, police said, adding that he charged a fee of 7 million to 8 million baht per case.

Investigators found that he was still using the expired visa he had when he was let out on bail last year. His visa expired on September 15, 2020.

Surachet said he had asked current and former chiefs of Pattaya’s immigration police to explain why it took so long to arrest the suspect.

Surachet added that next week investigators in charge of Chinese triad cases would question another 110 immigration police officers suspected of helping foreign criminals stay in Thailand.