A Western Australian man, who is alleged to be a member of the Bandidos motorbike gang in Thailand, has been arrested on charges of extortion and threatening violence in the north of the country.
Derek Paul Gibson and Dutch man, Adrianus van Gool were arrested in Chiang Mai department store car park late last week, after police were told by another Australian man they were threatening to kill his family over unpaid debt-recovery fees.
The Australian informant, known only as Sandler in Thai media reports, said he met Gibson and van Gool at coffee shop late last year.
During the meeting he complained his business partner had defrauded him out of a substantial amount of money invested in a failed restaurant.
Sandler told police he didn’t order Gibson or van Gool to recover the debt but rather to warn the former business partner to repay the outstanding funds.
A month later, Gibson and van Gool allegedly called on Sandler to pay 1.7 million baht ($A63,000) for attempting to recover the lost funds.
It is alleged the two men threatened to kill Sandler and his family if he didn’t pay.
Sandler promised the bikies an initial payment of 300,000 baht before reporting the two men to Thai police.
Local Police Commander Lieutenant Pornsap Praserdsak said following a series of other complaints an investigation into extortion and threats against foreign tourists in northern Thailand is underway.
Both Gibson and van Gool deny the charges and links to local gangs, saying their main interest is their bikes.
Police sources link the men to the Bandidos motorbike gang as well as German outlaw motorcycle club, Gremium, which is reported to have a chapter in the Thai beach resort of Pattaya.
Police investigators said there are several Australian-based motorbike gangs in Thailand, with links to drug trafficking and other criminal operations.