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Fiona Simmons November 24, 2023 3 min read
Thai Authorities Seize Villas Related to an Illegal iGaming Operation
According to the DSI, the two villas are owned by a syndicate that has connections to UFA
The Thai Department of Special Investigation (DSI) has confiscated two luxurious villas from operators of UFA, an illegal online gambling network for high rollers. As reported by The Thaiger, a Thai news outlet, the two properties are worth over 2 billion baht in total (roughly $56.5 million).
For reference, the villas are located in Phuket’s coastal area, overlooking Nai Harn Bay. Their combined area is around 3.75 acres. Both properties were called Thousand Hills Phuket.
The confiscation of the two properties was led by Director General Police Major Suriya Singhakamol. When the DSI officers arrived, the only people at the villas were housekeepers and ground staff. Suriya’s people notified the staff of the seizure and proceeded to place notices around the two properties.
According to the DSI, the two villas are owned by a syndicate that has connections to UFA, the aforementioned illegal gambling network. While all forms of online gambling are strictly prohibited in the country, illegal operators have been filling the niche.
The Villas Are Related to Phakphum
Suriya learned that the properties are learned to a man who was identified as Phakphum, also known as Didi. He was arrested earlier this month and is believed to have been a revenue manager for the UFA network.
At first, Phakphum denied having been involved in the operation of UFA. However, he eventually admitted to his ties to the gambling operation and, as a result, was charged with violations of Thailand’s AML Act.
In addition to serving as the revenue manager of UFA, Phakphum was also related to the operation of factories that operated “mule accounts.” Phakpfum’s facilities were predominantly operated by migrants who used over 80 mule accounts for gambling websites.
According to The Thaiger’s report, 30 of these accounts were registered under the names of Thai players. Each of these accounts handled billions of baht in turnover and processed 3% of the income from the 83 gambling sites Phakphum managed.
The Crackdown Continues
The UFA network is believed to encompass dozens of websites. Its founder, Phuchit, is yet to be arrested as of the time of this writing. Suriya and the DSI are actively pursuing the mastermind, his sister, Phonpansa, as well as 13 other people with ties to UFA and its operations.
Suriya asked people connected to the illegal gambling operation to surrender themselves, lest they risk additional money laundering charges. The major believes that the seizure of the two villas is an important first step in the crackdown on UFA.