Former monk arrested for 10 million baht fraud through online religious artefact shop

Photo by KhaoSod.

Police arrested a former monk for defrauding people of over 10 million baht through his online religious artefact shop. His illicit proceeds were used for everyday needs, online gambling, and to rent accommodation for hiding. The arrest occurred near a bustling night market in the Phang Khon district of the northeast Sakon Nakhon province.

Warakorn Kongu-tit, a 46 year old resident of Kamphaeng Phet province, was the person apprehended. His arrest was carried out by several senior police officers and the PCT 5 team. They were acting on a warrant issued by Roi Et Provincial Court, dated July 5, for the charges of “deception by presenting false information to the public and dishonestly or deceptively inputting false computer data which could have caused damage to the public.”

Warakorn had deceptive postings of various religious artefacts for sale on Facebook accounts named Petch Charoen Sangkapan Wholesale/Retail, Petch Charoen Sangkaphan and Petch Charoen Sangkaphan Partners Limited. Once the customers, mainly monks and Buddhists from various temples across the country, transferred the funds, he would block them from contact. Consequently, this resulted in significant unrest among the monks and Buddhists. The estimated losses exceeded 10 million baht.

Warakorn’s data in the national police database revealed five outstanding warrants for his arrest in fraud and computer crime-related cases in various provinces including Phitsanulok, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Roi Et, Chumphon, and Bangkok.

Upon interrogation, Warakorn confessed that, during his childhood and adolescence, he had been ordained for 11 years. After earning his bachelor’s degree from a monastic university, he started a career in a publishing house, working on a monk-related publication for about a year. He then moved to a media house, where he served as assistant producer, scripting news, before finally becoming a news producer relating to society, economy, and politics for about three years.

Around 2018, he left this job to start an artefact shop named Petch Charoen Sangkapan Limited, located in Nong Khaem district, Bangkok. Initially, sales took place in the shop and via social media deliveries. However, around 2021, due to financial difficulties and the added pressure from the Covid-19 situation, he began defrauding his customers by not delivering products that they paid for. When he realised that many victims had filed charges, he fled to Sakon Nakhon Province, where he rented a house and started a second-hand car parts business with a friend. Nonetheless, he continuously deceived people by posting fake religious artefact sales via the Facebook page Petch Charoen Sangkapan.

His illicit activities, which had been in operation since 2019, caused losses ranging from hundreds to 30,000 baht per victim, with three to four victims per week, totalling over 10 million baht. The illicit gains were used for everyday needs, online gambling, and rent for hiding places late into the night.

In initial proceedings, officers sent the suspect to Tung Khao Luang Police Station, Roi Et province to continue the case. They also coordinated with other police stations throughout the country where victims had filed complaints and gathered evidence for an arrest warrant.

Senior police officer Theeradej Thammasuthee cautioned citizens, Buddhists, and monks in the Buddhist community about the prevalence of various forms of fraud in today’s society. He urged everyone to be vigilant and report any suspicious activities to the ‘Investigate IDMB Metropolitan‘ page available 24 hours a day.

Even if the damage is not significant, they act swiftly to address any public grievance, in line with the policies of Police Lieutenant General Damrongsak Kittiprapas, the National Police Commissioner, and Police Lieutenant Colonel Thiti Saengsawang, the Divisional Police Commander.

Crime NewsThailand News

Nattapong Westwood

Nattapong Westwood is a Bangkok-born writer who is half Thai and half Aussie. He studied in an international school in Bangkok and then pursued journalism studies in Melbourne. Nattapong began his career as a freelance writer before joining Thaiger. His passion for news writing fuels his dedication to the craft, as he consistently strives to deliver engaging content to his audience.

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