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Two Belarussians were arrested in Rawai area the day before yesterday (December 25) after allegedly stealing B100,000 from local ATM machines.
Yesterday (December 26) Phuket Police Chief Maj Gen Pachara Boonyasit announced the arrest of the two men, Mikalai Romankou and Siarhei Bandarkou, both 35, who, he said, used phony ATM cards to make illegal cash withdrawals from many different ATM machines in Rawai.
The arrests came after Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) reported that it suspected the two men of using cloned cards to raid other people’s bank accounts.
An SCB representative said that bank records showed the suspects making a cash withdrawal from one ATM machine. They then took the cash to a Western Union desk where they had it cabled to an account in Belarus.
Police arrested the suspects yesterday at 5:30pm in the parking lot of the Rawai Beach Hotel. They seized eight fake ATM cards giving access to private bank accounts in Belarus.
Gen Pachara said that both suspects are already wanted in Bangkok for stealing B1 million in the same fashion.
The two men said they found the eight ATM cards in the toilets at Phuket International Airport, each with the PIN number written on the back. They decided to try them see if they worked.
The duo now face charges of fraud and possession of fake cards for criminal purposes.
If found guilty they face jail sentences of one to 10 years, and possibly also fines of up to B200,000.
An SCB spokesperson told The Phuket News that, as a precaution, all ATM cards for accounts in its branches in Rawai have been suspended. Account holders should take their cards, along with ID cards or passports, to any SCB branch to receive replacement cards.
She noted that the Rawai branches have now run out of replacement cards, but new ones can be obtained from any branch of the bank. The nearest to Rawai is at Chalong Circle.