Local news

Foreign gang extorts cryptocurrencies from Russian couple


A RUSSIAN couple filed a complaint at Koh Samui police station that a gang of six foreign men threatened them at a coffee shop on the island and forced them to transfer cryptocurrencies totalling US$50,000 (1.878 million baht) in the middle of this month, Matichon newspaper said this morning (Sept. 27).

The couple, Mr. Evgenll Abdullin, 31, and Mrs. Ekaterna Abdullin, told police on Sunday Sept. 25 that on Sept. 15 as they were drinking coffee at a coffee shop in Taling Ngam subdistrict suddenly six men from Russia, Germany and Kazakhstan surrounded them.

One of the six men, identified as Mr. Salman Almaty, a German national, then told them that he had met them in Russia and threatened to harm them unless they transferred US$3 million in cryptocurrencies (112 million baht) to them.

However the couple told them that they only had US$58,000 in cryptocurrencies (2.180 million baht) and upon being afraid of being physically harmed transferred US$50,000 (1.878 million baht) of the digital currencies to them.

Almaty left his phone number and told them he would be back to get more money from them before all six left the coffee shop. Five of them then got on to a black van and rode away while the sixth rode off on a red motorcycle.

The next day as the couple was driving home after eating at a restaurant they noticed that they were being followed so hurried back. On Sept. 18, they got a voice call via Telegram messaging app asking whether they had found more cybercash and to transfer it and if not to exchange hard cash into digital currencies and transfer it to an account at Bybit trading platform.

However the couple did not have any more money to give and upon becoming very scared filed a complaint with Koh Samui police.

Pol. Col. Pongkajorn Suksang, superintendent of Koh Samui police station, launched an investigation together with Region 8 and Immigration police. They checked the registration of the van and motorcycle the gang had used and found out that the former had been rented in Pattaya.

It is now believed that the gang had already left Koh Samui.

Pol. Col. Supharek Pankosol, head of Surat Thani Immigration police, said this gang comprised two Karzakhs, two Germans, one Russian with the identity of the sixth man still being traced.

Salman Almaty is a German national and had already left Thailand on Sept. 18 via Suvarnabhumi Airport while one of the two Karzakh men likewise left the country via Suvarnabhumi Airport on Sept. 20 days before the victims filed a complaint.


Top and Front Page: The van and motorcycle used by the foreign gang to extort cryptocurrencies from the Russian couple. Photos: Matichon

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