BANGKOK, THAILAND: Royal Thai Police disclosed on Tuesday (31 Oct) that they had disrupted an online gold investment scam valued at 1.2 billion baht (equivalent to US$33.1 million).
Orchestrated by six Chinese nationals and aided by 20 Thai individuals, the perpetrators utilized Facebook to promote a non-existent gold investment scheme, enticing unsuspecting victims with unrealistic promises of a 20 to 30% high return.
As reported by Thai media, Thai’s Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) investigators conducted raids across 21 locations in Bangkok and seven other provinces, resulting in the apprehension of 26 suspects and the seizure of assets worth 30.9 million baht.
During a press conference on Tuesday, Operation Chief Col Thirapas Yungyuen stated that searches were conducted at eight locations in Bangkok, six in Tak, two in Pathum Thani, and one each in Samut Prakan, Chon Buri, Surin, and Chaiyaphum.
During the raids, police confiscated digital currency accounts totalling 28 million baht on Biktub, Thai’s digital assets exchange platform; 23 bank books, 21 mobile phones, 19 SIM cards, 100,000 baht in cash, and eight notebook computers.
According to the police, the gang was led by four identified Chinese nationals, namely Aixia Liu, 48, Long Huabiao, 38, Yangfeng Xiao, 29, and Liang Wang, 28, alongside a Thai woman, Sakuna Chansuk, 44. However, the remaining two Chinese individuals involved have not yet been named.
Allegedly, the group utilized fake Facebook pages named “Aurora Gold Trading” to lure in unsuspecting investors.
The group operated in a systematic manner, with distinct responsibilities assigned for various tasks, including the creation of fake Facebook pages, engaging with and deceiving victims, managing transfers through mule accounts, and money laundering.
Promising high returns of 20 to 30%, they eventually blocked victims from the pages when they were unable to withdraw their investments. Numerous individuals fell victim to the deception, Col Thirapas revealed.
The police added that Thai accomplices were hired by the Chinese ringleaders to establish three nominee companies to aid in the laundering process.
The gang employed three layers of bank accounts owned by Thai nationals before ultimately transferring funds to accounts controlled by the Chinese leaders.
Initially, the gang would purchase various commodities, including items like fertilizer, air-conditioners, and auto parts. These products were then exported to Laos and Cambodia through a nominee company.
In addition, they utilized a separate firm to procure digital currencies via Bitkub, and another entity was involved in acquiring properties within Thailand.
Col Thirapas disclosed that approximately 1.2 billion baht circulated among the three companies.
While most suspects denied the charges, some admitted to their involvement in the crimes, according to the official.
CIB commissioner Pol Lt Gen Jiraphop Phuridej explained that while call-center gangs typically operate from neighboring countries to target Thai nationals, this particular gang conducted their operations within Thailand, primarily utilizing the internet for deception rather than traditional phone methods.
He added that the CIB had been monitoring the movements of the four Chinese leaders for some time and discovered that they had frequently entered and left the country.
Furthermore, the Thai accomplices were primarily engaged as secretaries, nominee company directors, and holders of mule accounts.
Authorities are currently investigating whether the legal advisors of the three nominee companies were aware of the criminal activities.
WP Pritam Singh refutes DPM Wong’s “raiding reserves” accusation
S’porean streamer Kiaraakitty banned from re-entering Taiwan after staging egg attack
Affordability of HDB flats have improved, says DPM Wong in Budget 2024
Singapore’s total fertility rate drops below 1, reaching historic low
Lawrence Wong: GST impact on inflation is not permanent
An urgent plea for review: Challenging police practices in child custody disputes
Tetra Pak to cut 300 jobs, close Jurong factory in consolidation move
Sylvia Lim refutes PAP MP’s claims over her speech on supporting young senior
Asia Centre hosts regional meeting on digital rights
Airbus issues apology after Chinese & Russian visitors allegedly denied entry from military plane at Singapore Airshow
Hamas extends condolences for tragic self-immolation of US Airman Aaron Bushnell
Dennis Tan: Advocating senior support, disabilities, and green transition in Budget 2024
Politics5 days ago
Leong Mun Wai steps down as PSP Secretary-General over POFMA directive received
Singapore4 days ago
Gilbert Goh challenges MOE on Israel-Hamas classroom narrative
Featured2 weeks ago
PA surveys community & govt confidence amid pending general election
Singapore1 week ago
Kenneth Jeyaretnam issued 6th POFMA direction over Ridout Road saga
Civil Society2 weeks ago
At least 9 individuals summoned by police over Palestine solidarity activities on 2 Feb
Politics1 week ago
Lim Tean mocks DPM Wong’s 2024 Budget as “band-aid”, hints election coming
Singapore5 days ago
MOE responds to critiques on Israel-Hamas conflict education
Featured2 weeks ago
Impact of CPF’s major reform on Singaporeans’ savings strategy