The deputy commissioner of the Thai Tourist Police has warned his compatriots about foreigners who flatter females and con them out of money in romance scams.
Maj-Gen Surachate Hakpan – famous for his high profile crime busting and known in the media as Big Joke – was thanked by a Thai pharmacist who had been ripped off by a Malaysian gang to the tune of more than 6 million baht.
The lady was at Huay Khwang police station in Bangkok yesterday to thank the Maj-Gen and his team for solving the case in just two days.
Starting in July she had been contacted through We Chat by a man who said that he was a stock investor in Hong Kong. Love appeared to develop and she was persuaded to transfer money for investment in the Hong Kong stock market.
She transferred between 100,000 and 200,000 a total of 56 times before the penny dropped.
By that time she had parted with a staggering 6,410,650 baht.
She went to Big Joke on Monday and by yesterday he had two Malaysians in custody after they were arrested outside the Tai Fa restaurant in Sadao near the border.
They were named as ringleader Lim Yae Hok, 60 and finance man Boon Cheng Nang, 45. A woman called Lee Fong Laen is being sought.
Evidence was presented in the form of electrical equipment, including 11 phones and 25 ATM cards.
Surachate said that Thais must be on the look out for flattering foreigners. Of course it is not illegal to strike up relationships with foreigners, he said, but he implored the Thai public – calling them “phee nong prachachon” rather in the manner of a veteran politician – to watch out.
These scams are all very similar, he said, and use such platforms as We Chat and Facebook. Once the victim’s confidence has been gained come the requests for money.
He said that Romance Scams were harder to bust than call center crime – many are not even reported.
He urged women who think they have been conned into love and parting with money by “paak waan” (sweet talking) foreigners to contact his Tourist Police Bureau hotline.
The pharmacist presented Surachate with flowers and praised the police for solving the case within two days.Facebook.
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