Pattaya Police detains high-stake gamblers, bank chairman


While hundreds and thousands of Indian nationals are involved in multiple forms of crimes including scamming in Thailand, now Pattaya police has arrested 80 Indians, including a famed high-stake gambler under criminal investigation and a bank chairman following raid at an illegal gambling center.

According to Pattaya Mail, officers stormed the Asia Pattaya Hotel around 12:15 a.m. Monday, arresting 93 people, including 80 Indians after police received information that a group of Indian nationals had booked rooms and a meeting center since April 27 in order play baccarat and blackjack.

Upon seeing the police, the gamblers attempted to flee, but were apprehended. Also arrested were six Thai nationals and four Burmese. The remaining individuals reportedly were game organizers and staff.

Among those arrested were Chikoti “PC” Praveen Kumar, who has seen his Telangana properties raided and seized over the past year for his alleged organization of high-stakes gambling trips for Indian celebrities and millionaires in Thailand, Nepal and Indonesia. He currently is the prime suspect in an investigation by India’s Enforcement Directorate. Also arrested was one of his aides who is also under ED investigation and a bank chairman.

During the raid, police seized a significant amount of gambling equipment, including four baccarat tables, three blackjack tables, 25 sets of cards, 209,215,000 chips, and three card-dealer machines.

In addition, police found 160,000 Indian rupees, eight closed-circuit television cameras, 92 mobile phones, three notebook computers, one iPad, and a logbook in which gambling credits were recorded. The logbook indicated that approximately 1 billion rupees worth of credits were in circulation. Police also found four spots for serving baraku, an illegal tobacco.

Indian high-stake gamblers in Pattaya

Sitranan Kaewlor, 32, who claimed to be in charge of the accommodation and gambling venue, told police that the Indian tourists were charged 50,000 baht each, and that the room for gambling was rented for 120,000 baht. She said a Thai man was hired to supply food and also cleaning services. Gambling equipment including the card dealers came from India.

The gambling room was reportedly open from 1 p.m. to 6 a.m., and hotel staff were not allowed to enter.

Charges against the individuals arrested have not yet been announced.

The open-season police raid on a conference-turned-casino room at the Asia Pattaya hotel netted around 80 gamblers from India and an assortment of Thai and Myanmar card dealers, tour organizers and money counters. It is difficult to envisage a more bungled and chaotic gambling holiday which was bound to result in tears and worse. Hotel management was suspiciously told none of their staff could enter the large room because it was a private meeting. But eagle-eyed hotel staff had already noticed that some of the larger suitcases did not appear to contain clothes and personal effects.

Astonishingly, the arrested gamblers included several Indian businessmen with high profiles. One of them, according to Indian media reports, was Chikoti Praveen who had previously organized similar VIP gambling parties in Indonesia, Nepal and Bangladesh. But he had separately appeared before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in his own country for alleged violations of the foreign exchange rules, money laundering and tax evasion. Other prominent men at the blackjack tables were an Indian bank manager and a director of a travel company.

Also read Immigrant runs scamming activities in Thailand

Miscellaneous extras included several illegal hookahs seized in the raid – used for heating or vaporizing and then smoking tobacco, flavored tobacco or hashish. Most remembers of the group had arrived on April 27 and the raid occurred just after midnight on May 1, the final day of the group booking. The group spent all their waking hours gambling which was an obvious giveaway. No wonder a concerned member of the public became suspicious. At the police station, some of the arrested even tried to argue that gambling in Thailand was now legal as there was a state lottery with betting also allowed on horse racing.

Lawyers in Pattaya said that the most likely penalty for the Indian gamblers would be a stiff fine, deportation and blacklisting. The Thai organizers could face other charges. But the saga pinpoints the reality that Pattaya 30 years ago may have been a “wild west” town with an anything-goes reputation. It isn’t now.

The Thai Ministry of Tourism and Sports recently evaluated the nation’s tourism situation from April 17-23, forecasting that more visitors from ASEAN and East Asian nations would make their way to the kingdom this week.

Over the evaluated period, Thailand welcomed over 500,000 international tourists at an average of nearly 72,000 daily visitors. Since the beginning of the year, Thailand has welcomed about 8 million foreign tourists, which has generated substantial revenue amounting to 328 billion baht through tourist spending.

Number of international tourists to rise in Thailand

In the upcoming week, the number of international tourists is projected to total around 460,000. This estimate is based on several factors, including Chinese tourists taking time off during the Labor Day holiday, the end of this year’s Ramadan holy month, and the introduction of new tourism campaigns and promotions.

The majority of tourists during this period are expected to be from the ASEAN and East Asian regions.

Despite these positive trends, several factors continue to hinder the complete recovery of international tourism. One significant concern is the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, which still has the potential to spread into a wider conflict. Additionally, concerns about persistent inflation continue to affect the global economy and consequently impact tourism across various regions.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here