Five Russian nationals are now subjects of arrest warrants in connection with the purported abduction of a Belarusian couple in the scenic resort province of Phuket. The couple was allegedly coerced into transferring cryptocurrency valued at 31 million baht before being released.
The incident unfolded when Albert Viviankou, 23, and his unnamed wife reported being abducted by a group of men near the Lor Rong intersection in Phuket Muang district at approximately 10 p.m. on Monday. They claimed to have been forcibly taken in a black mini van and compelled to transfer approximately $901,200 worth of Bitcoins. Following the transfers, the couple lodged a formal complaint with the authorities.
Initially, four of the five Russian suspects were detained for questioning by the police. Two were discovered in a room within the southern province, while the other two were intercepted at Phuket airport attempting to depart the country. All suspects were transported to Muang Phuket Police Station where they denied any involvement in the alleged crime, local media reported.
— xavikota (@xavikota) February 1, 2024
A fifth individual, believed to be the mastermind, was apprehended separately at a massage parlor on Patong beach and underwent interrogation. Despite the mounting accusations, all five Russians consistently denied their participation in the abduction scheme.
Following due process, arrest warrants were secured for the initial four suspects who were detained. The Phuket Provincial Court issued warrants for the arrest of the entire group, who, notably, refused to sign the police records documenting their apprehension. They were subsequently held at the Muang Police station pending further legal proceedings.
The suspects named in the case are Zalim Nalchikov (37), Oleg Bogdanov (30), Azamat Nagofv (36), Islam Abdokov (29), and Aslan Abazov (36). Authorities have levied charges of robbery, coercion, illegal detention, and associated offenses against them.
-Thailand News (TN)