Russian mafia boss arrested while living in Thailand on retirement visa

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BANGKOK — A Russian mafia gang leader wanted back home for his alleged involvement in scores of killings and other criminal activities since 1995 was arrested in Thailand while living on a retirement visa, police said Wednesday.

The mafia boss, Alexander Matusov, was arrested Monday in front of a supermarket in Thailand's eastern seaside town of Sattahip in Chonburi province, said Police Gen. Wut Liptapanlop.

Matusov's network "Chelkovo" was active from 1995 to 2009 and was notorious for killings, extortion and kidnappings in the Moscow and St. Petersburg areas, according to Alexey Falunin, a Russian diplomat in Bangkok. "They were responsible for a lot of killings and his detention is very important to us," he told The Associated Press.

The Russian authorities issued arrest warrants for Matusov and other gang members for allegedly murdering four members of a rival gang in 1996.

Wut said the 52-year-old first entered Thailand in 2009 and left before returning on a fake Armenian passport. He said Matusov had been living in Thailand on a retirement visa.

Thai immigration police had revoked his visa and were pushing for his deportation to Russia for prosecution.

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