On Wednesday morning, police in Thailand raided the homes and businesses of people they thought were Thai and foreign scammers. They seized assets worth 1 billion baht (US$28.5 million), such as expensive homes and cars, in Bangkok and other provinces.
Around 6 a.m., about 200 officers from the Central Investigation Bureau, the Anti-Money Laundering Office, and public prosecutors went into 30 places in Bangkok, Samut Prakan, and Udon Thani provinces and checked them.
The head of the Technology Crime Suppression Division, Pol Maj Gen Athip Pongsiwapai, said that the targets were likely Thai and foreign suspects in romance scams, business scams, and money laundering.
There were 16 high-end homes on Krungthep Kreetha Road, and most of them cost about 50 million baht.
Officials also raided a law company that a Chinese suspect owned through a Thai proxy. People think that the company is helping illegal businesses hide their money.
Officials had arrest warrants for 14 suspects, including a Thai model who was among the nine people taken into custody on Wednesday. Some of the people who were taken were Chinese and some were from Myanmar.
Pol Maj Gen Athip said the raids happened because a Thai woman complained that a romance scam gang had tricked her into investing in a fake cryptocurrency. She went to the Sam Rong Nuea police station in Samut Prakan province to make a report.
Later, detectives found out that the scammers made a lot of deals where they changed digital cash into baht. The money was used to buy high-end homes and cars in Bangkok and the areas near it.
Pol Maj Gen Athip said that about one billion baht worth of cash and digital assets had moved through their accounts.
According to the Immigration Bureau, a Chinese couple has been arrested for having fake investment schemes in China that caused more than 1.5 billion baht in damage.
Crackdown on foreign criminals in Thailand
The Bureau commissioner, Pol Lt Gen Pakphumpipat Sajjapan, gave a meeting on Tuesday about a crackdown on foreign criminals who have fled to Thailand. The arrest was one of the things he talked about.
He said that the arrest was made at the request of Chinese officials, who thought that the two had gone to Thailand after scamming people out of 1.5 billion baht.
Lt. Gen. Pakphumpipat said that the cops found them at a hotel in Pattaya, took away their visas, and turned them over for more action.
He said that another Chinese person was nabbed for hiding assets worth 600 million baht that her husband got from running an illegal gambling site. The 29-year-old woman ran away to Thailand, while her husband may have gone to Singapore.
A 37-year-old South Korean man who was wanted in his home country for smuggling methamphetamine was also arrested, the commissioner said. The man had overstayed his visa, which had ended in September of last year.
Deputy National Police Chief Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn will go to Cambodia on Thursday to help Cambodian police find a Chinese-led scam gang in Poipet that is linked to a family tragedy in Samut Prakan.
Suicide Murder Over Scam
Wednesday, Pol Gen Surachate called a meeting with police officers at the Muang police station in Samut Prakan to check on how the family deaths case was going.
The deputy national police chief said that a warrant to arrest Sanit Dokmai, 41, who is accused of killing his wife, Wipaporn Racha, 44, and their two kids, ages 9 and 13, has already been approved.
Mr. Sanit tried to kill himself by cutting his throat and wrist, but he didn’t succeed. He is now getting care in a hospital.
After a long investigation, the police were able to get arrest warrants for phone scammers who were linked to the online fraud and big debt that seemed to have made the man do what he did.
The wife was trying to help her husband pay off a debt, but she fell for a scam and lost 1.7 million baht. This made the husband so upset that he killed his wife and their children and then tried to kill himself.
Pol Gen Surachate said that the court has given police permission to arrest 11 people who owned mule bank accounts linked to the scam gang. Two of the suspects were already in custody.
The deputy national police chief said that the two suspects lived in Sa Kaeo. They had to take money out of their bank accounts and cross the border to give it to the leader of the Chinese gang in Poipet.
Suchada Chabutsri, 19, who started a bank account for the scam gang, was caught Tuesday night when she came back from Poipet across the border. The head of the Sa Kaeo border police, Pol Col Rung Thongmon, said on Wednesday.
The Samut Prakan Provincial Court issued an arrest warrant for Ms. Suchada on August 28 for working with others to commit fraud, putting false information into a computer system that hurt people, starting a bank account and letting others use it or an electronic card for fraudulent purposes.
Pol Gen Surachate said that the police had taken the people involved’s bank accounts, cash, and ATM cards. On Thursday, he would go to Cambodia to work with the Cambodian cops to find the scammers.
“The murder case traumatised people and got a lot of attention from the media, especially because scammers are to blame for the debts that led to the tragedy,” the deputy national police chief said.