BANGKOK – Royal Thai Police have arrested three Nigerian men and a Thai woman for allegedly operating an online relationships scam and swindling eight million baht from 18 women.
Police arrested the suspects on outstanding warrants issued by Chiang Mai Provincial Court at an apartment in Ramkhamhaeng Soi 8 in Bangkok’s Bang Kapi district on Monday.
They seized four ATM cards, a mobile phone and a notebook containing the names of more than 100 women.
Those arrested were identified as Shinonsu Esaeokae, Chidi Enva, Pios Ennajee, and 32-year-old Thai woman Aunchittha Prasertsri, Pol Lt Gen Panu Kerdlarppol, head of the Immigration Police Bureau, told a press briefing on Tuesday.
The Nigerians would pose as wealthy people, using photos of good-looking US and European men when communicating with their targets through chat programs and social networking websites including Facebook, Pol Lt Gen Panu said.
They web-chatted with the women for between one month and one year to convince them they loved them.
The conmen then told the victims that they had shipped valuables to them as gifts and showed them photos of the alleged expensive goods and fake invoices. In some cases, the gang claimed to have bought a house or a car for the woman.
When the shipment failed to arrive on time as promised, Mrs Aunchitta, who posed as an embassy official, would contact the victims and tell them they had to pay customs duty on the deliveries in order to receive them.
If the victims believed them, the con-men would ask the women to transfer money to them.
The internet fraud gang was believed to have 70 members and the gang’s leader was in Malaysia, Pol Lt Gen Panu said.Police investigations were continuing.