Thailand & Pattaya LATEST NEWS from Fabulous 103fm (3 February 2023)
National police are asking all expats to report any past incident of fraud or scamming by a Frenchman, recently caught hiding out in a Bangkok condo. 100 million baht is the estimated take that was enjoyed by 58 year old Mr.Herve Christian Robert Leonard, who had recently died his hair black and moved from address to address in an attempt to evade justice. He had paid bail to avoid detention before court cases, but then simply never turned up on the court dates. Reportedly here on a massive overstay, and now shipped to Nong Prue police station Pattaya, the area where his crimes are alleged to have been committed. This, then is the largest of expat scams for years according to Pol Lt-General Surachate Hakparn who held a press conference yesterday to outline the crimes the Frenchman faces and to vehemently deny any social relationship between he himself or other high ranking police with whom Leonard had taken selfies, only to persuade his marks that he was well connected and a FIXER. In several instances, he had used photos of himself and Pol Lt-General Surachate Hakparn and others to dissuade disgruntled clients from attempting to file complaints regarding fraud and extortion that is said to have been based around promising to fix legal matters for some people. French, Belgian, Australian and other nationalities AND in some cases to have faked claims that people he met were either living or working illegally. The fixer without any real fix never passed the cash he received on to his non-existent hiso contact but instead pocketed the cash, leading he and his family to the high life and leaving many broke. To the extent that in some cases he is alleged to have defrauded people out of motor vehicles and even property.
Fabulous 103FM reported on this man’s activities months ago and the investigation has been ongoing for at least 4 months as police discovered that Herve Leonard had, at one time, been a volunteer tourist policeman here in the city, garnering a reputation as a trustworthy GO TO man. He has also originally offered what appears to have been a legitimate visa service BUT even that service turned sour as many paid and handed over their passports only to find themselves on illegal overstays as he simply didn’t do the job.
J Pol Lt-General Surachate Hakparn went on to clarify that a full investigation into any officers who may have colluded with him, together with any immigration officials WILL be carried out in the near future. The victims, mainly French, finally came forward with complaints and were represented at yesterday’s conference, seeing a police attaché at the French Embassy applaud the work of the Thai police with whom the French had been working.
Proof was presented to show that Mr.Herve Christian Robert Leonard had a history of being arrested for fraud numerous times AND that his lawyer had arranged bail on each occasion, only for him to finally go into hiding, as he became more concerned about his 2.5 year overstay and knowing that attempting to register would set off red flags in the police system. In fact, he is said to have moved from home to home every 3-4 weeks as authorities began to close in. A French embassy official, flown in from France after following the case with former clients there, told the media that he was more than satisfied with the investigation here and that Leonard had been caught. Initially, the French believed the lies that Leonard was involved with high ranking police who were offering him protection, they are not satisfied that this was all part of the con. HAKPARN told the press he fully expects Leonard to get a life sentence if found guilty.
Now, the search is on for any other expats who were taken in by Mr.Herve Christian Robert Leonard and reports can be made at Nong prue police station. As we reported months ago, Leonard was coy enough to arrange payments to him through bank accounts held by family members, including his children but daft enough not to realise that bank transfers are recorded.
In Pattaya there are two types of so called tourist police and it’s important to outline that Leonard was for a while a member of the tourist police volunteers who, at the time, had very little in the way of checks done, something we are told is now amended and was NOT a member of the foreign police volunteers who are screened, vetted and trained.
Outstanding warrants from as far back as 2021 remain open and all refer to fraud, extortion, with menaces, theft through fraud of property, working with others to commit fraud and making threats of death, beatings, kidnap and more.
A separate new bulletin with more details WILL be on our website later today.
In other news, a Russian has been arrested for robbing fellow countrymen of cash and cryptocurrency, possession of firearms and robbery. The cases are not connected.
Six Thai checkpoint policemen accused of extorting 27,000 baht from Taiwanese tourists in the capital HAVE now been charged with accepting bribes. Ranking from captain to sergeant, the officers have already been removed from their normal duties as investigation progressed. All six deny the accusations but it’s now been revealed that CCTV has been found that DOES corroborate the woman’s tale if found guilty the cops face up to 20 yrs in prison, however 5 is more likely.
Thailand’s Fuel Fund Executive Committee has CUT the retail price of commercial diesel at the pumps, used by trucks by half a baht a litre, furthering the plan to keep retail prices down around the country which relies on transportation, the existing subsidies via cuts in taxes will remain in place too, at least until end of May.
Meanwhile at home and from Monday, the new passport office in Central Pattaya mall opens on the 4th floor for Thai’s. The Monday to Friday operation runs from 9 through to 5 and promises a speedy turnaround. The office will also provide legalisation of documents, which may or may not extend to documents needed to be approved after translation for weddings and similar official business THAT information has yet to be confirmed by the Department of Consular Affairs.
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