Fugitive hacker-investor arrested in Thailand

A flamboyant former hacker and self-styled high-tech investment guru is under arrest in Thailand, after announcing with great fanfare that he would leave his native Germany for good.

Kim Schmitz was arrested Saturday, on the request of the German embassy in Bangkok, said spokeswoman Jira Porn of the Thai embassy in Berlin.

"They said he's going to kill himself, so the German embassy is afraid, so they asked the Thai police to detain him for a while," she said.

On his Web site http://www.kimble.org, Schmitz had announced several days ago that he would die on Monday, his 28th birthday.

"Enough is enough. Kim Schmitz will die next Monday. See it on this Web site, live and for free," read the statement, portrayed as an inscription on a tombstone.

Last week he announced on the same site that he was leaving Germany, accusing government officials and organized criminals of destroying his career.

German media, including the wire service Deutsche Presse-Agentur, reported that Schmitz is accused of insider trading in shares of group-buying Web site operator Letsbuyit.com NV, having bought shares for €375,000 ($A618,000) and shortly afterward resold them for €1.5 million. Letsbuyit.com has confirmed that Schmitz is a shareholder, but will not comment otherwise on the case.

A spokesman for the Munich prosecutor's office, which has jurisdiction in the matter, was not immediately available comment.

Schmitz, who started his career as a hacker, has a long history of publicity schemes, and has made claims of his hacking prowess and investment successes that are dismissed as fabrications by others in the hacking scene and by high-tech investment analysts.

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