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According to Pol Lt Gen Dechnargong Suthichanbancha, the Assistant National Police Chief, the police have given themselves three months to launch a major crackdown on foreign gangs operating in Thailand.
Leading toe operation to suppress foreign criminal outfits will be the CIB (Central Investigation Bureau) an organization that h as the authority to make arrests anywhere in the country. The police will be supported by a team of law-enforcement agencies under the new Transnational Crime Coordination Centre or TCCC.
Theft, internet fraud and forest land encroachment cases headed by foreigners will be at the forefront of the crackdown.
In a report in the Bangkok post Pol Lt Gen Dechnarong said that many foreigners have committed crimes in Thailand, mainly targeting Thais, and in some fraud cases foreign ganags took the money they stole from their victims to other countries. He believes that if the situation is left unchecked the crime rate will continue to rise and more Thai nationals will fall prey to foreign scams, “the country is now opening doors to more foreign visitors” he added.
Plans for investigations are now underway, with information from the police main database. Teams have analyized gangs methods and are now considering which laws they may invoke when pressing charges against them.
The Crime Suppression Division will focus on transnational gangs involved in illegal weapons trade, car and general theft and the Tourist police division will be investigating fraud rings and black money gangs who persuade the affluent nationals to part with money used to remove dye from cash.
The Technology Crime Suppression Division will be focusing their attention on internet crimes such as internet hacking and call centre scams.
The Economic Crime Suppression Division will be focusing on credit card skimming, money laundering and pyramid schemes.
The Anti-Human Trafficking division will be looking into human trafficking as well as missing person cases.
The Consumer Protection Police Division will handle the illegal trade of imported food suppliments and drugs.
The Natural Resources and Environmental Crime Suppression Division will tackle illicit natural resources and wildlife trading.
The Marine Division will be cracking down on any gang activity that pollutes the environment and the Highway Police and Railway Police will support other divisions by tracking and arresting suspects on the run.
Other activities to be stamped out include “romance scams”, where Thai and foreign criminals use social media to approach middle-aged, middle-class Thai women who are either single or divorced. They pretend to be romantically interested in the women, and sometimes trick them into believing in the prospect of marriage. Once they have their trust, the criminals ask for a money transfer.
In other scams, they use “skimmers”, information-theft devices to swipe electronic data from ATM and credit cards. They later transfer the stolen data to fake cards.
Police say other criminals rent houses in Bangkok and other major cities and then break into their neighbors’ homes.
Call center gangs, mostly operated by Chinese with help from Thai accomplices, call their potential victims pretending to be bank officers or state officials.
They say the victims’ bank account has problems that need to be addressed right away — and ask them for their personal banking data.
Some criminal organizations smuggle carcasses of protected species and ivory from Indonesia and Malaysia into Thailand through the southern borders.
The illicit products are then smuggled to China and to Cambodia and Vietnam.
Police say another gang, known as the “Bandidos”, has been operating on Koh Samui in Surat Thani and Phuket. The gang obtained land title deeds illegally with the help of corrupt officials and built resorts.