A BRIT businessman executed in broad daylight in Thailand was the kingpin of a sprawling ‘Wolf of Wall Street’-style call centre scam that tricked Brits and Australians out of millions of pounds, police said.
Tony Kenway, 39, was shot through the head as he climbed inside his top-of-the range Porsche Cayenne after leaving the gym on Tuesday morning.
Police are hunting two suspects – British born Miles Dicken Turner and South African Abel Bonito Caldeira – in connection with the gangland-style execution.
Court papers show Kenway was wanted over working illegally and Thai authorities had made attempts to deport him.
But friends paid his bail and he was due up in court again next month.
Dad-of-four Kenway was shot in the head seconds after getting into his car at Pattaya’s Sanit Sport Club by a gunman who fled the scene on the back of a waiting moped with another man.
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Police believe Kenway had a bust-up with an ex-employee and the dispute spiralled out of control after he started working for a rival firm.
A senior police officer involved with the investigation said: ”Tony Kenway had a call centre that employed foreign staff and made calls to Australia and Britain. He had two different companies that were involved in the scam.
“The aim was to get people abroad to give their life savings. It was not small amounts.
“He was strong and pushed them for big investments. He promised them a big win. Like winning the lottery.
“The people who paid the money lost out. It was big amounts, millions and millions of Thai baht that many different people paid to him.”
”We are looking at group A, B and C. Two other rival companies and business associates he had problems with,” the senior officer said.
“There are three companies at the centre of the investigation. It is a very complex investigation.”
He said Kenway’s staff offered stakes in different web ventures – including gambling sites – which would eventually collapse or be sold with a far lower return to the investors.
They added: ”He was due to appear in court next month. He was wanted for working illegally. He had many enemies. He had done a lot of bad things.”
Kenway posted a picture of Wolf of Wall Street character Jordan Belfort – played by Leonardo DiCaprio – on his Facebook page on New Year’s Eve – in an apparent reference to the same hard-selling tactics used in the hit movie.
Police believe married Kenway, from Southampton, had racked up millions since arriving in Thailand from the Costa Del Sol, another crime hot spot for boiler room gangs.
They said he owned at least five properties and a number of sports car as well as several different business ventures.
His wife Somporn – nicknamed Pans – is believed to have been oblivious to her husband’s activities.
The couple had two children together, including a four-month-old baby.
Court documents – dated September 27 2016 – say Kenway was caught working illegally and the government had tried to deport him but he had been bailed by a friend.
He had been ordered to stop working in Thailand and was due back in court next month to answer more charges of hiring foreigners and working illegally.
Turner, 27, originally from Oxford, and Caldeira, 24, are believed to have fled the country to Cambodia after Kenway was murdered.
Police are still investigating the motive behind the shooting, but a source claimed Mr Kenway had “made several enemies”.
A source on the team investigating the murder told the Bangkok Post that Mr Kenway had been involved in an illegal call centre that had preyed on foreign nationals in European countries.
The businessman had reportedly asked police to arrest a former business partner who owed him £200,000.
The source claimed the former partner had moved to Cambodia to set up a similar operation, but it failed.
Last night, officials released an image allegedly showing the suspects on a motorbike, with one appearing to hold a gun.
A police source in Pattaya said investigators were looking into a football gambling website set up by Mr Kenway – who owned five homes – which may have caused a rift with rival firms.
They said web designer Mr Kenway had twice met with the rival group but there had still been a conflict.
British businessman shot dead in Thailand moments after leaving the gym
The police source added: ”This is one motive we are looking at but there are others.
“The disagreement was not with Thais, it was with foreigners. He had made several enemies. He was quite wealthy.”
A police source, who released the passport photos, said both suspects arrived in Thailand together on Wednesday afternoon after crossing in from Cambodia at the southern Cham Yeam border checkpoint.
They added: “They’ve both left Thailand but we’re working with police in Cambodia to find them. They are the main suspects.”
Police trace the motorbike used to flee the scene back to a local bike rental company who had copies of the suspects’ passports on file.
They searched the accommodation where they had been staying but the men had already left.
The officer said that immigration records showed the suspects had left Thailand at 3pm on Wednesday.
A friend of suspect Miles Turner revealed the 27-year-old had moved to Thailand from Spain around three years ago.
The pal said he met Turner – who he said grew up in Oxford and is from a “well-stood family” – in Spain, where he said Turner worked in a call centre after dropping out of university.
“He was a bit different to everyone else there,” the friend told Sun Online.
“He was a little bit of a posh boy – I used to look out for him.
“He had morals. He wouldn’t go along with people to try and fit in.
“He was very well spoken, he’s from a well-stood family over here.
“He was like my little brother.
“He was a very clever guy, very switched on. He used to talk to his parents, he used to talk to his family all the time.”
He said that many of the ex-pats he knew in Marbella later moved out to Asia.
The friend said he had last spoken to Miles – who moved to Madrid before heading out to Thailand – when he asked to borrow £200 off him a couple of years ago.
“He said: ‘Had to leave Spain in a hurry but I’ll Western Union you the cash that I owe you. I’m in Asia now’,” revealed the friend.
He added that Miles had recently been made godfather of another friend’s child.
On Tuesday Mr Kenway’s family told how they have no idea why he was targeted.
Younger sister Kirsty, 31, told The Sun Online: “We have no idea what happened.”
Paying tribute to him, Kirsty, who lives in Southampton, said her brother married 32-year-old Somporn – nicknamed Pans – five years ago.
She said the pair had two children of their own – a daughter aged three and a baby born in September – and Mr Kenway also had a ten-year-old stepson in Spain and a son, nine.
The suspects did not ask the driver to take them anywhere in particular and told him to wait at a hotel, reports the Bangkok Post.
The duo asked the driver to take them back to Hat Lek on Tuesday at about 10.30am, about 10 minutes after Nong Prua police had been alerted to Mr Kenway’s murder.
The driver said Caldeira and Turner paid him 3,000 baht a day – around £67 – plus a 5,000-baht tip when they arrived at Hat Lek.
He said the men did not act suspiciously, but reportedly confirmed their identities to police when showed their pictures.
Peter Cole, manager of the Sanit Sport Club where Mr Kenway was killed, told Sun Online the two suspects were not members of the gym.
The Foreign Office confirmed a British person died in Pattaya and said it was providing consular support to his family.
A spokesperson said: “We are in contact with the family of a British man following his death in Pattaya, Thailand.
“Our sympathies are with them at this difficult time. We are in touch with the local police.”
-The Sun Online