Police raid 30 sites in Bangkok, provinces to seize assets of Chinese cryptocurrency scammers
More than 200 police officers and officials from the Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) and the Office of the Attorney-General (OAG) swooped in on some 30 sites in Bangkok and two provinces.
The raid on Wednesday morning resulted in a billion baht worth of houses and luxury cars owned by members of a Chinese romance scam gang being confiscated.
The operation was led by Technology Crime Suppression Division (TCSD) chief Pol Maj-General Atip Pongsiwaphai at the orders of Central Investigation Bureau commissioner Pol Lt-General Jirapop Phuridet.
The raids at 30 locations in Bangkok, Samut Prakan and Udon Thani were carried out after the TCSD obtained 14 arrest warrants against alleged Chinese con artists and their Thai collaborators. The con artists allegedly lured Thai women to fall in love with Chinese gangsters before they were deceived into investing in cryptocurrency and eventually losing their money.
Police sources said one of the alleged Thai collaborators was “sexy” Thai model Chakrina “Kiki Maxim” Chukhaosri.
Chakrina and some members of the gang were apprehended, and police seized many houses and luxury cars bought with ill-gotten gains in an apparent attempt to launder the money, police said.
Chakrina became popular as a model after joining the race for the Miss Maxim Sexy Icon crown in 2016. Though she won the title of Miss Sun Clara Plus, she was eliminated in the top 20 round.
One of the locations that was reportedly raided was a luxury housing estate on Krungthep Kreetha Road in Bangkok’s Bang Kapi district. Here, officials impounded 12 houses worth 50 million baht each. The team searched another four housing estates in the area and seized a few more houses.
Most of them were found to have been bought via a law firm owned by a Chinese national. Officials also raided the law firm for more evidence, as they believe it may have been used for laundering money for the gang.
The law firm is also suspected of helping Chinese gangsters open companies in Thailand through Thai nominees.
Police sources said TCSD has been tracking the gang for several months now after some Thai women filed police complaints saying they had lost a lot of money after being lured to fall for some Chinese men.
The case first came to light when one of the victims filed a complaint at the Samrong Nua Police Station in Samut Prakan.
Police called the practice a hybrid scam in which victims are lured to fall in love and then their boyfriends encourage them to invest in crypto trading.
Sources say police have traced the cryptocurrency bought by the victims and found that the money changed hands several times before being converted into baht. The baht was then used to buy assets, including property, in Bangkok and nearby provinces.