The suspected leader of a Chinese scam call center gang has been apprehended, along with ten others wanted for duping individuals into investing in gold by claiming a connection with the Crown Property Bureau.
According to the police Technology Crime Suppression Division (TCSD), the scammers peddled their “Royal Gold” investments from the renowned Kings Romans casino in Laos’ Golden Triangle and bilked their victims out of almost 500 million baht (US$14.2million).
Teng June, 32, a Chinese national and accused gang boss, was apprehended in Bangkok’s Bang Khunthian area on Thursday, said Pol Maj Gen Athip Pongsiwapai, chief of the TCSD.
In recent days, nine Thai nationals and one stateless lady were captured in Chiang Rai and Chanthaburi provinces, he noted.
Three luxury cars, over 5 million baht in cash, 30 gold ornaments, luxury watches, brand-name bags, computers, mobile phones, SIM cards, bank account books, gold certificates, and other valuables were seized from the suspected gang boss and his associates.
All of the individuals were charged with fraud conspiracy, entering fraudulent information into a computer system, and money laundering. They are being held in police custody while legal action is taken.
Previously, the Crown Property Bureau filed a police complaint alleging that a group of criminals had exploited its name to construct a website called “Royal Gold” to encourage gold investments.
According to Pol Maj Gen Athip, many people were victims between January and May of this year, with damages totaling around 500 million baht. TCSD detectives discovered that Mr Teng was in charge of the enterprise, which was based in the compound of the Kings Romans casino.
Fake Royal Gold website
The Chinese national operated the operations centre and distributed responsibilities to other con artists, such as setting up bank accounts to receive money transfers from victims and employing others to register bank accounts. Some con artists were tasked with money laundering.
The scammers used photographs of attractive ladies as their profile photos, according to Pol Col Siriwat Deephor, the deputy TCSD commander.
They then sought potential victims and persuaded them to buy in gold using the Royal Gold website, which was designed to look like a stock trading site, complete with price and trading volume data. In order to gain credibility, the gang claimed its website invested in gold and included connections to the Crown Property Bureau.
During the early stages, investors received 10% returns. However, when the investors attempted to withdraw their funds, they were unable to do so. They were then asked to deposit additional cash to cover tax service fees. Members of the gang could no longer be contacted after receiving the money, according to Pol Col Siriwat.
Bank Accounts in Chiang Rai
Colonel of Police The gang utilised the money swindled from the victims to buy cryptocurrencies, according to Nethi Wongkularp, superintendent of TSCD Sub-division 2, who oversaw the arrest operation. They transferred the cryptocurrency to digital wallets that they had paid others to open in order to launder their illicit funds.
“According to the investigation, those hired to open bank accounts and digital wallets are mostly from Chiang Rai.” “They were hired for 3,000 to 4,000 baht per person,” he explained.
One of the scammers in charge of locating people to register bank accounts told police he was paid 10,000 baht per account. He claimed he had enormous gambling debts from Kings Romans and that the Chinese gang leader, who was among the 11 individuals arrested, pushed him to work for the fraud ring.
Despite the arrest of the suspected gang leader and his associates, police believe five other scammers are still at large. They include three Chinese males at the gang’s executive level — Qiu Dewu, 45, Qiu Decong, 36, and Zhang Zhihong, 22 — and two Thais whose names have not been released.