21 nabbed after allegedly romancing victims and defrauding them of millions
Romance scammers tricked victims into investing millions via two applications, causing several million baht in losses, the police reported after 21 suspects were arrested in Cambodia.
Police Cyber Taskforce (PCT) director Pol General Damrongsak Kittiprapas said on Wednesday that the PCT had teamed up with Cambodian police to swoop down on the call centres in Sihanoukville and arrest 21 suspects.
Damrongsak said he would travel to Sa Kaeo next week so he could interrogate them himself.
He said he was ordered by National Police chief Suwat Jangyodsuk to solve the call centre scams urgently as they were causing big problems and always evolving.
Most culprits set up an office in neighbouring countries. This presented an obstacle in investigation, tracing and arresting suspects.
Damrongsak talked about the case in Sihanoukville. He said the suspects used good-looking profile pictures and chatted with victims through Tinder or Line until the victims fell for them.
Once the victims were hooked, the suspects invited them to invest in MetaTrader 5 (forex) or the digital currency trade. The suspects “guided” their victims and even gave them trading “advice”.
The victims were convinced to invest their money with a broker. Once they fell for the scam and transferred money, the suspects cut off contact with them.
The PCT, armed with court arrest warrants, travelled to Cambodia.
On Monday afternoon, both PCT officers and Cambodian police searched two offices at a hotel and casino in Sihanoukville.
They promptly arrested 21 suspects on several charges, including alleged fraud by impersonating others, being members of a secret and unlawful society, being members of a criminal association, involved in a transnational criminal organisation, and money laundering.
The suspects confessed to the crime, he said.
After Cambodian police start legal proceedings against them, they will be sent to Thailand. Damrongsak expects this to be next week.
He asked people to report any clues or suspicions on such scams via hotline 1441, or call 081-8663000 or visit www.thaipoliceonline.com to lodge a complaint.