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Alleged Nigerian romance scam gang leader nabbed for duping Thai women to wire over Bt10m

Police have arrested a Nigerian man who allegedly lured a Thai woman looking for love from a handsome western man to wire him Bt130,000 in late 2013. All in all, police said the man, who is the alleged leader of the so-call romance scam ring, has deceived more than 30 Thai women who wired his gang over Bt10 million during the past five years.

Ifeanyi George Okoronkwo, alias OJ, was arrested at the Suvarnabhumi International Airport on Wednesday while he was trying to flee the kingdom. His arrest was announced by Technology Crime Suppression Division chief Pol Maj Gen Siripong Timula on Friday.

Siripong said OJ posted a handsome western man photo on a dating website and pretended to be a Belgium doctor, called Mark Hall. He chatted with the Thai woman, whose name was withheld, for a while and promised her that he would fly to Thailand to marry her. He claimed he had mailed valuable gifts to her but the package could not clear the customs office upon arrival in Thailand. He asked the victim to wire money to his Thai helper for expense for the customs clearing.

The Thai woman transferred money to an account several times, totaling Bt130,000, but she still did not receive the “valuable gifts”. She eventually filed a complaint with the Technology Crime Suppression Division.

The division investigated and arrested Chattraporn Juthaisong along with another Nigerian man. Chattraporn was the one who withdrew the money from the bank account. Chattraporn implicated OJ, saying he hired her to open the bank account and send him the money after the victims wired it in.

Siripong alleged OJ was the leader of the Nigeria 419 romance scam gang that has been preying on Thai women looking for love with western men. OJ’s gang has allegedly deceived more than 30 Thai women who lost over Bt10 million during the past five years, Siripong added.

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