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Fugitive Russian mafia boss nabbed in Chon Buri to be extradited

Alexander Matusov, the leader of mafia-style Chelkovo (Desert Bandit) gang, is present at a press conference yesterday in Bangkok where Thai police announce his arrest. Wanted in his homeland for murders, the Russian has been living in Thailand during the

Alexander Matusov, the leader of mafia-style Chelkovo (Desert Bandit) gang, is present at a press conference yesterday in Bangkok where Thai police announce his arrest. Wanted in his homeland for murders, the Russian has been living in Thailand during the

THAI AUTHORITIES are preparing to deport a Russian mafia boss whose name has been linked to more than 60 kidnapping and murder victims.

Alexander Matusov, 52, was arrested in front of a superstore in Thailand's Chon Buri province on Monday.

He has been charged with involvement in four murders.

Pol General Wuthi Liptapallop, a chief adviser to the Royal Thai Police, yesterday told a press conference that Matusov was the leader of the Chelkovo (Desert Bandit) gang.

"The gang has more than 100 members," he said.

According to Wuthi, the gang had committed crimes ranging from extortion to contract killings, torture and kidnappings. Many businessmen, state officials, and criminal gangs in Russia dreaded the gang.

Chelkovo was reportedly active from 1995 to 2009 in Moscow, Tula, Saint Petersburg, and Leningrad. In 1996, it killed four members of a rival gang. The murders led to the issuance of an arrest warrant for Matusov. If convicted, the Russian gang leader will face up to 15 years in jail.

Wuthi said the Russian embassy here had asked Thailand to help arrest the former mafia boss.

Matusov flew into Bangkok first on September 5, 2009 and later left for Cambodia via the Klong Yai checkpoint.

An arrest warrant for him was issued in 2010.

On November 28 last year, Matusov entered Thailand via the Ban Klong Leuk immigration checkpoint with a fake Armenian passport. It showed him as Suren Avetisyan.

"We have already contacted the Russian embassy to prepare the deportation," Wuthi said.

At the same press conference, |Pol Maj-General Warawoot Thaveechaikarn of the Immigration Bureau announced the arrest of two Nigerians. Both were nabbed at a restaurant in Bangkok's Bang Na district on Monday on charges of using fake stamps on their passports in a bid to stay in Thailand longer than legally allowed.

"They are now charged with document forgery and overstaying," he said. He added that police would investigate this case further to determine if anyone else was involved.

Warawoot added that a Finnish fugitive, Mika Petri Parianen, was arrested in Chon Buri's Bang Lamung district on Tuesday. A court in Finland had convicted him in fraud cases totalling 151,877 Euro or about Bt6.68 million.

The Finnish court sentenced him to five years in jail. Parianen, however, fled Finland and came to live in Thailand.

"He is now charged with overstaying and we will prepare his deportation," Warawoot said.

In another case, Kouanoulack Vonglorkham was arrested on Tuesday during an undercover operation in Nong Khai.

The arrest took place as the 50-year-old Laotian was carrying 189 counterfeit bank notes each with a published value of US$100.

Kouanoulack now faces charges of using the fake US dollar bank notes.

The suspect told police the fake banknotes were manufactured in China. He had bought them in Laos and sold them at Bt700 each to various customers.


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