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Joint Thai-Malay Taskforce Takes Down Nigerian, Thai Romance Scam

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BANGKOK – Thai immigration police head Maj-Gen Surachate Hakparn, in his capacity as deputy director of the Thailand’s Action Taskforce for Information Technology Crime Suppression (TACTICS), on Wednesday led his team to join with Malaysian economic crime busters to search seven locations in Kuala Lumpur.

Fourteen people, Nigerians and Thais, wanted for swindling Thai women out of more than 100 million baht via online romance scams have been arrested during joint police raids in Malaysia.

Pol Lt Gen Surachate, (Centre) also deputy director of Thailand’s Action Taskforce for Information Technology Crime Suppression (Tactics), said the drastic crackdown on scam gangs operating in Thailand had led to the suspects fleeing to Malaysia

Seven Nigerians wanted on arrest warrants issued by Thai courts on charges of swindling were arrested. Seven Thai women wanted on the same charges were also caught, immigration chief Pol Lt Gen Surachate Hakparn told a media conference on Thursday.

Malaysian and Thai police searched seven residences in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday after investigators learned that members of a Nigerian romance scam gang preying on Thai women had fled to Malaysia.

Officers seized computers and cell phones showing chat messages with victims, many of whom were in process of being convinced to wire money, and some scripts to persuade victims.

Pol Lt Gen Surachate,  said the drastic crackdown on scam gangs operating in Thailand had led to the suspects fleeing to Malaysia, which they used as a base to prey on women online for over a year.

These Nigerians had created fake Facebook accounts using photos of other men for their profile shots. They then sweet-talked their victims. Women thinking they were in love sent money to them.

Over the past year alone, the gang had conned more than 100 million baht from their victims, with the latest being swindled out of 29 million baht, Pol Lt Gen Surachate said.

Source: Bangkok Post, The Nation, Tourist Police