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Police announced the arrest of two members of a large gang that has preyed on gullible shop owners throughout the north east of Thailand.
The gang delivered goods to small shops out in the villages tricking owners with special deals and offers. But many of the boxes were empty or just contained paper, Thairath reports.
Arrested were Santi Srikhan, 22, and Akradech Sarakarn, 19, both of Khamkheuankaew district of Yasothon province. They were apprehended in Sakon Nakorn making deliveries to several shops in their pick-up. The arrests followed complaints to Region 4 police earlier in the month.
There are at least six more members of the gang on the loose.
Santi, in admitting his crimes, said that the gang chose their victims carefully, selecting new shop keepers in outlying areas away from big towns. Through a combination of guile and trickery using fake order sheets the gang persuaded the shopkeepers to make advantageous orders. But much of their consignments were just empty boxes or boxes filled with paper.
The gang was making 100,000s of baht per month all over Isan. Cash was always demanded on delivery before the gang went on to the next victim.
Santi further admitted that he had wriggled out of a fraud charge laid some time before against him in Ubon.
Police spokesman Yanyong Wetosop of the Region 4 force said that many shops had fallen for the con and expects some did not report it. Cash was paid and the shop keepers had only realised they had been tricked when they opened the boxes later and by that time the gang were well gone, he said.
Santi was charged with fraud while the police try to track down other members of the gang.