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A joint operation by police Phuket Provincial Police and officers from Patong and Karon resulted in the arrests early this morning (September 27) of three ATM skimmer suspects after police received more than 100 complaints from people whose bank accounts had been plundered.
“Footage from cameras on ATM machines and from security cameras nearby was examined to get images of the suspects in every area from which we received complaints,” said Phuket Provincial Police investigator, Pol Lt Col Prawit Engchuan.
“About 1am we sent plainclothes police to keep an eye on a number of ATMs and saw the three suspects withdrawing money many times from the same machines.”
“Police then tracked them to the Narry Patong hotel in Soi Dr Wattana in Patong. When we searched their rooms we found 37 cloned cards, a machine for skimming, three computer notebooks and four mobile phones, which we seized,” Col Prawit said.
All three men are Bulgarian. Tsvetozar Georgiev, 44, was found to have withdrawn B10,000 on seven occasions from the Bangkok Bank ATM at Super Cheap minimart in Karon.
Valentin Guenadiev, 42, had withdrawn similar amounts from the Ayudhaya Bank ATM near the Baan Thai Resort in Patong, while Tsvetan Nestorov, 42, had taken money from an ATM at a 7-Eleven in the Kata-Karon area. He also confessed to having installed the skimmers used.
At a press conference this morning Pol Maj Gen Krajang Suwannarat, currently commanding Phuket Provincial Police, said, “We received cooperation from the banks, who provided money transfer information and camera footage of suspects, including the vehicles they used. This enabled us to make the arrests.
“They told the police that they flew into Thailand on August 23 and used the skimmed cash for spending money while they were here,” he explained.
Police did not entirely believe this. “They are now being questioned to discover more information about where they sent money, and about other members of their network,” Gen Krajang said.
The three were charged with electronic card fraud, which they accepted.