Tue, July 05, 2022

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Alleged Chinese call-centre gang busted in Chiang Mai, 24 suspects nabbed


Police swooped down upon a call-centre gang at a Chiang Mai resort and nabbed 24 suspects, the majority Chinese, for allegedly preying mostly on Japanese investors.

Pol General Wisanu Prasartthong-osoth, chief of the Combating Transnational Criminals and Illegal Immigrants Centre (CTIC), held a press conference at Chiang Mai Police headquarters on Thursday morning to announce the arrests of the 24, including two women.

Wisanu said the gangsters used pictures of pretty women to allegedly create false profiles and chat with their targets – both Thais and foreigners – via dating apps.

Once the victims got hooked to the gangsters, they would be deceived into investing in forex trading and the gang would allegedly keep the transferred money for themselves without really investing in the forex trade, Wisanu said.

He said most of the victims were Japanese businessmen.

The CITC chief did not say when the arrests were made but he did mention that police received a tip-off that a large group of Chinese were staying at a resort in Chiang Mai’s Fang district.

Alleged Chinese call-centre gang busted in Chiang Mai, 24 suspects nabbed Police obtained a search warrant from the Chiang Mai court and searched BK Resort and BK Coffee in Moo 7, Tambon Mae Soon, and arrested 20 Chinese suspects, one Thai and three locals who have no nationality.

Police also seized ten notebook computers, 20 computer monitors, ten CPUs, 244 mobile phones with SIM cards, six extra SIM cards, and two flash drives.

Wisanu said the gang are a sort of “hybrid” one because they started with allegedly using false profiles of beautiful women to lure victims and make them fall in love before inviting them to invest money in a fake trading business that did not really exist.

Alleged Chinese call-centre gang busted in Chiang Mai, 24 suspects nabbed He said the gangsters used the Metratrader app to allegedly deceive their victims to invest money and even created a false trading platform to deceive the victims.

Once the victims transferred money to them, they would cut off all communication, Wisanu added.

He said the suspects admitted they were hired at THB25,000 to THB35,000 to contact and deceive the targets. They “worked” from 9am to 9pm on weekdays and 12pm to 5pm on weekends.

All were charged with gathering unlawfully with the intention to deceive the public by pretending to be someone else. They were also charged with uploading distorted or false information into the computer system with intention to deceive others and the public.

Alleged Chinese call-centre gang busted in Chiang Mai, 24 suspects nabbed Additionally, the Chinese suspects were charged with being illegal immigrants or immigrants whose visas had expired. They had been in Fang district for two or three months.

Wisanu said foreign criminals love to use Chiang Mai as their base because they can easily pass off as tourists.

He said he instructed Chiang Mai police to investigate whether there were any more members of the gang hiding in the province.

Wisanu said police would check all transactions of the gang and will coordinate with the Japanese Embassy to try to locate the victims so their testimonies would make the case more solid.

The CITC chief also sought cooperation from the public to alert police if they notice a gathering of an unusually high number of foreigners at a hotel or resort so that police could investigate.

Published : May 19, 2022

By : THE NATION