ADD NEWS COPY –
The British man arrested in Thailand after an alleged drug-fuelled gun rampage on a speedboat is a wealthy Bitcoin trader now facing life in prison, police said tonight (Feb 5).
Benjamin Robert Simpson, 33, had been staying at the five-star Four Seasons Hotel on Koh Samui island in the south of the county. Rooms cost up to 120,000 Baht (3,100 GBP) a night.
Lieutenant Colonel Chatchewin Nakmoosik, Deputy Director of the Koh Samui Police Station, said that the speedboat belonged to Simpson and the man arrested with his was his personal speedboat driver.
The police chief said that Simpson had arrived in Thailand as a tourist but had started working as a Bitcoin trader. He said: ‘The British man sold cryptocurrencies on the Internet. He owned the speedboat and is very wealthy.’
Simpson is facing a maximum punishment of life in prison or the death penalty, thought it is very rarely used. Meth possession carries a term up to ten years in prison and/or a fine of 20,000 Baht (485GBP) to 200,000 baht (4850 GBP) Illegal possession of guns is up to to ten years.
Using guns illegally has a maximum punishment of life in prison or the death penalty.
A British man has been arrested after an alleged drug-fuelled shooting spree on a Thai island.
Benjamin Robert Simpson, 33, reportedly took meth with a speedboat captain before cruising around Koh Samui together.
Terrified hotel staff cowered in fear as the Brit fired allegedly several rounds from a handgun near the shore on Wednesday (Feb 3).
Witnesses claimed that the Brit went on a shooting spree in the direction of the sea in front of the five-star hotel he was staying at before returning to his luxury room.
Hotel staff had contacted the police for help after the incident and officers rushed to the establishment to arrest the man.
Police said they found a 9mm Beretta pistol loaded with 31 bullets and a revolver handgun with 49 bullets inside his hotel room.
After further search, officers also reportedly found a plastic bag containing a white substance lying on the floor believed to be 6.85 grams of the illegal drug methamphetamine. Several meth pipes were also confiscated.
Speedboat caretaker Geerati Glinubol was also arrested in the hotel room together with Benjamin.
Geerati allegedly confessed to the police that he had been taking drugs with the Brit before they went speedboating together. The Brit then allegedly boasted about his collection of guns and blasted them into the ocean – sparking panic on nearby beaches.
Officers said they found the 9mm pistol in Benjamin’s bag after he was searched for evidence.
The two were taken to the police station where they were questioned on suspicion of the illegal possession of firearms, prohibited drug use, and firing guns in the community.
Lieutenant Colonel Chatchewin Nakmoosik, Deputy Director of the Koh Samui Police Station said he coordinated with Lieutenant Colonel Phingkharat Sai Khwan, Deputy Director General of the Immigration Bureau, to make the arrest of the British man.
Lieutenant Colonel Chatchewin Nakmoosik said: ‘Hotel staff heard guns being fired so they called the police. They said the gunshots were near the hotel and they were scared.
‘We arrested Benjamin Robert Simpson in the hotel room and found two guns and methamphetamine. We put him in handcuffs and kept him at the police station while we investigate and check CCTV.’