By SEKSANTI KALAYANAWISUT
POLICE arrested a woman over her alleged involvement in a “romance scam” that duped an Udon Thani woman out of Bt980,000.
Soithipwan Orimobi, 36, who was wanted on charges of fraud and entering false information into a computer, was presented to the press yesterday along with her mobile phone, passport and money-transaction documents.
Pol Colonel Chawit Srijan, deputy chief of Udon Thani police, said “romance scam” gangs duped women using Thai accomplices by promising them marriages to foreign men. The women would send money to the people they thought they were in a relationship with after being presented with various needs for the money.
The Udon Thani victim had been wooed since October last year via Facebook by a person claiming to be a wealthy foreigner until she fell in love and wired the Bt980,000 in eight instalments. The victim filed a complaint in April, resulting in a police probe that identified eight individuals who opened bank accounts in exchange for up to Bt10,000 each.
The eight people implicated Soithipwan, who has lived with her Nigerian husband in Malaysia for the past three years. Police arrested her when she recently visited home town, Sukhothai. She reportedly confessed to using other people’s photos from dating websites to open fake Facebook pages to dupe Thai women. She typed messages to them in Thai and a translating program turned them into English.
Soithipwan claimed she was not the mastermind behind the scam – someone living in Malaysia plotted it.
Tourist Police deputy commander 2 Lt-Colonel Yutthapong Mekyamnapa said many romance-scam gangs targeted Thai women, resulting in the loss of hundreds of million of baht.