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Immigration chief Lt-Gen Sompong Chingduang busted a digital currency boiler room in Bangkok yesterday in a raid more reminiscent of his fallen from grace predecessor Lt-Gen Surachate Hakpan.
The one time chief known as Big Joke, now shuffling paper at the PM’s office, was famous for lightning swoops and high profile busts and now his replacement called Big Oud is taking a leaf out of his book.
The TV cameras and microphones were on hand as Lt-Gen Sompong and his men raided an office of Huobi Global set up on the 9th floor of the Galaxy building on Nonsi Road in Yannawa, Bangkok.
They caught 24 Chinese red handed in front of more than 60 computers with 420 phones scattered all over the place.
The company trades in Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin – all digital currencies. It is 51% Thai owned in Thailand.
The Lt-Gen explained how the workers had come to Thailand and once a treat was over they were held virtually like prisoners.
Most arrived in October and were taken on a weeklong trip to Pattaya that was great fun. Then they had their passports taken away from them and they were made to work from 9 am to 10 pm every day buying and selling digital currencies.
All meals were prepared for them by Chinese maids.
The 24 employees were paid 20-30,000 baht a month plus bonuses for recruiting new customers.
Sompong said that the company’s offices were first set up in March and moved around every three months. They paid high rents – up to a million baht a month.
Daily News reported that now immigration plan to go after those behind the operation.
Thaivisa notes that the arrest of the masterminds are rarely as high profile as the minions, even if they occur.
Sompong warned the Thai public not to be fooled by businesses offering high returns for small investments.
Huobi Global are described online as the “largest Chinese exchange founded in 2013 in Beijing (that) offers better liquidity, more rewards…”.