BANGKOK – Thailannd’s Immigration police are monitoring the movements of all Eastern European men entering and leaving Thailand during June and July as part of an extensive hunt for a gang that allegedly hacked Government Savings Bank ATMs and stole Bt12.29 million last month.
Early this month, it was discovered that criminals had infected 21 ATM computers with malware to dispense cash without authorisation.
Immigration police chief Pol Lt-General Natthorn Phrosunthorn yesterday said his office – which assisted the investigation led by national police senior adviser Pol General Panya Mamen – used security camera footage of suspects to compare with images of Eastern European visitors, mainly from Russia, Romania, Latvia and Estonia.
The aim was to narrow it down to men aged between 25 and 35.
Further detailed comparison with the database would take some time, Natthorn added.
In a separate case, Natthorn announced the arrest of two South Korean men wanted by Interpol for their alleged roles in a call-centre scam that duped around 500 victims to invest 1.7 million South Korean won (about Bt53 million) in bogus high-return investment schemes.
Sukwoo Yang, 31, and Sanggi Yoon, 29, were accused of conspiring with others to set up a call centre in Vietnamâ€™s Ho Chi Minh City and used the hacked information of bank customers in various countries, particularly South Korea, to make phone calls luring them into the bogus investment schemes. Last October, the pair closed the call centre and fled to Thailand where they reportedly were about to set up a similar base to commit a similar crime, Natthorn said.
Police investigations into their trips in and out of Thailand combined with other information received resulted in their arrests on Thursday in Bangkok’s Phaholyothin area, he added. They had their visas revoked by immigration police and were blacklisted from re-entering the country.
Natthorn also urged people to be wary of trans-national criminals using high technology to hack personal details and banking information who might contact them via phone, e-mail or social media.