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Casino kingpin charged with murder

Police have re-arrested and accused casino operator for allegedly ordering the murder of a man who snitched on an illegal gambling den in Pattaya.

Somchai Jutikitdecha, aka Longjoo Somchai, 56, was detained at his two-rai residence on Rat Bamrung Road in tambon Noen Phra of Muang district about 6am on Thursday.

When no-one answered the door bell at the gate to the property, police used a ladder to climb over the wall and enter the grounds.

Mr Somchai was charged with ordering the death of taxi motorcyclist Prathum Sa-adnak, 47.

Prathum was shot dead behind Muang Pattaya 8 School in Pattaya on July 28, 2020.

Police arrested Manas Imnam, 39, and Niphon Panthong, 47 for the murder. Initially, the suspects said they had a personal conflict with the victim.

The victim’s relatives did not believe it and complained to national police chief Pol Gen Suwat Jangyodsuk.

A police source said Prathum had taken photos of a place in Pattaya used for illegal gambling, and which was subsequently raided by police.

The angry owner had ordered gambling den supervisers Suphan Mai-ngam, 53, and Thaworn Sarakul, 53, to hire someone to kill the informant, the source said.

Mr Suphan and Mr Thaworn were arrested on Dec 9 and detectives soon linked them to Mr Somchai.

Mr Somchai was arrested in mid-February for allegedly operating a netwok of gambling dens in the East.

The crowded casinos were blamed for the spread of Covid-19 to many provinces. Mr Somchai was released on bail shortly after his arrest. He is now back in custody.

In the same raid on Thursday, Mr Somchai’s 26-year-old son, Thana, was also arrested. He is accused of hosting gambling, and money laundering.

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Somchai Jutikitdecha, right, is arrested at his two-rai residence on Rat Bamrung Road in tambon Noen Phra of Muang district, Rayong, about 6am on Friday. His 26-year-old son Thana, centre, was also arrested. (Police photo)

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