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Thai, Chinese police arrest Thais, Taiwanese in China-based call centre scam

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BANGKOK, May 17 - Thai and Chinese police jointly arrested 10 Thais and 2 Taiwanese in a China-based call centre scam to set up to lure Thai victims in Thailand to transfer money to them in China.

Thai and Chinese authorities in Thailand told a news conference that the syndicate, based in China's Guangdong province, scammed at least 150 persons, cases that added up to more than Bt100 million.

The suspects were arrested on May 9 and brought to Thailand for investigation.

A Thai female suspect named Fahmon Chomponma said a friend had asked her to work in China as shop assistant gaining Bt12,000-15,000/month. Once she arrived, a Taiwanese person taught her the call centre scam process without her knowing she was becoming one of the gang members.

Ms Fahmon said she had worked there for seven months. Her duties were to talk firsthand with victims in Thailand, claiming herself to be an official from the Bank of Thailand. She would tell a victim of his/her outstanding debt balance on his/her credit card account.

Once the victim believed what was being said, he/she would be transferred to a second line at which the person said he/she was from the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) to receive the victim's personal information including credit card numbers. The victim was here claimed by the scam he/she was involved with a drug cartel, and the DSI officer would be clearing out all the data as for his/her protection.

The last stage was where the victim was transferred to the third line at which the person on the phone said he/she was a DSI high-ranking official, who would help the victim off the drug list.

The victim here was told to make a financial transaction to a Thai bank account in the country. Gang members in Thailand would then immediately transfer the money to China.

Ms Fahmon said the syndicate could conduct deceptions to get the maximum amount of Bt400,000/day. Her gang was seperated from a bigger call centre syndicates in China. There are still many more scam groups in China, she said.

Meanwhile, in Thailand's eastern province of Chonburi, a group of 7 Chinese people, of which the gang leader was a 33-year-old male, were arrested for a call centre scam involvement at their residence in Bang Lamung district.

According to police, the apprehension was expanded from the previous call centre syndicate where 22 people were arrested in regard to losses worth over Bt200 million.

Police estimated the gang arrested on Thursday had more than 20 members, with the remainder escaping, and caused losses of more than Bt1 billion in Thailand, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Japan. (MCOT online news)


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