BANGKOK – The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) is probing a rising number of complaints filed by Thai women living abroad who say they were lured into love affair scams that cost them millions of baht.
The probe follows the recent arrest of two Nigerian men who are accused of conning a Thai woman out of about 20 million baht, a DSI source said.
The victim lived in Thailand and she lodged a complaint with the DSI in September. The source said the two suspects were arrested on Jan 11 when they travelled to Thailand.
The arrested suspects were identified as Olekunle Ben Oyewole, or Benjamin Olakunle, and Oladapo Oladepo Awoyele, the source said.
The first suspect held Irish and Nigerian passports, while the other man held a Nigerian passport.
The DSI is seeking the cooperation of law enforcement agencies in those two countries to find more members of the scam ring.
The gang targets Thai widows in their 40s, usually living in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Hungary or Australia, the source said.
The cons picked victims who lived alone as they would be more vulnerable to romantic overtures.
They would pose as American soldiers wanting to spend the rest of their lives with the women, using photos of good-looking US marines when communicating online with their targets, the DSI source said.
One of their tactics is to ask a female accomplice to call the victims and pretend to be the daughters of the “soldiers”. They claimed to be sick or needing cash after being abandoned by their mothers, the source said.
Another tactic would be to ask the Thai women to send money to help pay for the soldiers’ early retirement so they could leave the US and go to live with them.
If the victims believed them, the conmen would ask the women to transfer money to them.