Alleged Rayong gambling boss arrested and charged with ordering the murder of a Pattaya motorbike taxi driver shot in broad daylight last year

Pattaya-

A prominent Rayong figure, sometimes referred to as the gambling godfather of the East in Thai media, who allegedly is deeply involved in illegal gambling, was arrested this morning on charges of being behind an ordered hit on a Pattaya taxi motorbike driver last year.

A team of the Crime Suppression Division Police (CSD Police) raided a luxury house on Ratch Bamrung Road, in the Nern Phra sub-district in Mueng Rayong at 6:00 A.M. this morning, March 25th, where they arrested the wanted suspect Somchai Jutikidaecha, 56. Mr. Somchai reportedly did not answer the door buzzer and officers forced entry to the gated estate by setting up a ladder and climbing into the property where he and his family were found at home.

Somchai is a well-known person in Rayong for his alleged role in running illegal Eastern gambling dens and is known locally by his nickname of ‘Long Joo’. Thailand has some of the strictest anti-gambling laws in the world. An outbreak of Covid-19 in the Eastern provinces in December, especially Rayong and Chonburi, was largely blamed on illegal gambling establishments not following Covid-19 precautions. This outbreak caused a five-week shutdown of many businesses and canceled last year’s planned New Year’s celebrations in Pattaya, devastating the local economy.

As a result, both the Chonburi and Rayong top brass saw a shuffle of positions due to the operation of the gambling dens and there was a major crackdown on illegal gambling establishments in both provinces that eventually led authorities to Somchai.

Somchai was arrested in February for allegedly being behind the gambling operations but was later released on bail for 200,000 baht. That story can be found below. He denied all allegations and was awaiting his court appearance when arrested this morning.

Alleged local gambling king “Long Joo” arrested in Rayong following major seizure of hundreds of slot machines from Chonburi last month

Police served an arrest warrant this morning to Somchai stating allegations of ‘ordering to kill’ a Pattaya taxi motorbike driver and ‘money laundering’ from gambling dens. Somchai has denied all allegations of these crimes at this time.

His son, Thana Jutikidaecha, 26, had also been arrested at the home under charges of being involved in illegal gambling and money laundering. His son has also reportedly denied all charges and allegations.

On July 28th last year, a Pattaya motorbike taxi driver, Mr. Prathum Saartnak, 47, was shot dead after dropping a passenger off behind a primary school in South Pattaya.

Read more about our previous story in the link below.

Pattaya motorbike taxi driver shot dead in broad daylight behind Pattaya school

Posttoday, a Thai media source, reported that ‘Long Joo’ had allegedly ordered two other Thai men, who worked for him as “supervisors” at illegal gambling dens, to murder Prathum. The murder reportedly took place as Prathum had been seen taking incriminating photos of the local gambling dens and was reportedly planning to come forward to law enforcement authorities about their operation during last year’s first-round of Covid-19 measures and shutdowns.

The two men who were allegedly hired as the hitmen in the murder, 39-year-old Manas Imnam, and 45-year-old Niphon Panthong, were arrested last summer in Bangsaen. It was information provided by these two men that reportedly led authorities to Long Joo.

Read more about our previous story in the link below.

Two prime suspects in daytime murder of motorbike taxi driver arrested

Crime Suppression Police also reportedly seized property estimated at over a billion baht from Long Joo’s home this morning as evidence in his alleged illegal gambling operations. CSD police have also been arresting multiple other suspects and people who are believed to be involved in the alleged illegal gambling network with Long Joo.

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