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Feared Russian gang boss captured in Thailand

A Russian crime boss who led a gang blamed for the murder of around 60 people during the lawless period following the fall of the Soviet Union has been captured in Thailand, local authorities said on Wednesday.

BANGKOK: A Russian crime boss who led a gang blamed for the murder of around 60 people during the lawless period following the fall of the Soviet Union has been captured in Thailand, local authorities said on Wednesday.

Alexander Matusov, who arrived in Thailand in 2009, was paraded in front of the media, two days after he was detained by Thai police on Monday south of Bangkok.

At the time of his arrest the burly 52-year-old was in possession of a false passport and had acquired a retirement visa, according to immigration officials.

Russia slipped into chaos as its communist system collapsed at the start of the 1990s. Kidnappings and execution-style killings were rife as rival groups competed over business interests.

"The gang kidnapped businessmen and civil servants for ransom," according to a statement released by Thai immigration officials.

"The gang was involved in murdering more than 60 people in Moscow, Dagestan and Saint Petersburg," the statement said, adding that Matusov will sent back to Russia for trial.

The gang operated from the mid-1990s until 2008, becoming the "most dangerous gang in Russia", Russian embassy vice-consul Alexey Falunin told AFP.

"Matusov was the leader of this group," Falunin said, adding he was the only gang member to escape the country while the rest of his group had been rounded up.

Thailand's deputy national police chief, Wuthi Liptapallop, said the case had cast light on foreigners living in Thailand on retirement visas.

"We will probably have to check if they have committed any crimes in other countries," he added.

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