IMMIGRATION Bureau police smashed a call center gang and arrested 44 Chinese and Taiwanese suspects who duped victims into transferring money to China with losses totaling over 100 million baht, Thai News Agency said today (July 23).
At 2 pm today Pol. Lt. Gen. Nathathorn Prousoontorn, Immigration Bureau chief, together with Chinese officials told a press conference that aside from the arrest of the 44 suspects they also seized over 100 mobile phones, 19 ATM cards, 10 SD card readers, 23 SIM cards, 3 modem routers and an amplifier.
The suspects used Voice Over Internet Protocol or VOIP to hoodwink overseas victims into believing that they were Chinese officials and once a link had been established they checked their banking records and got them to transfer money by ATM to their network in China.
Many people fell for this scam and losses totaled over 100 million baht, they said.
This gang had set up a base in Thailand by renting houses to use as call centers both in Bangkok and neighboring provinces plus Pattaya and at all of them there were a lot of security cameras installed and they were professional call center desks fitted in to prevent disturbance and record the conversation.
Pol. Lt. Gen. Nathathorn said this is a big international criminal network and information gathered showed that they were linked to six countries with most of the victims being ethnic Chinese residing there but some Thai too were similarly defrauded. The victims were mostly elderly folk or retirees living alone and the gang members got information about them through their networks in China.
Those pushing this criminal activity usually came here on correct tourist visas and after staying 90 days there was a rotation with a new set coming in.
Pol. Lt. Gen. Nathathorn added that Thais too were linked to this gang by renting out houses and cars to them and more information about local suspects is being gathered and arrests are likely soon. The foreign suspects will be deported to their own countries.
Top and inset: Immigration Bureau police and Chinese officials at an illegal call center they raided today. Photo: Thai News Agency