CrimeThailand

Former Thai lawyer allegedly involved in romance scam

Former Thai lawyer accused of romance scam, photo via Bangkok Post.

A former Thai lawyer was allegedly involved in a romance scam. Police in the central Samut Prakan province caught the suspect, 43 year old Pongsakorn Supakornmongkolchai, in front of a gold shop on Sukhumvit Road in the main city district on Friday. The arrest was made by a joint effort of the Police Cyber Taskforce unit 5 and the Metropolitan Police Bureau’s Investigation Division.

The investigation was sparked after a victim approached national police chief, Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas, claiming she had been defrauded of 1.51 million baht in a romance scam. The victim had met the suspect, who introduced himself as “Tom” or “Thanet” on the Bumble dating app, with a good-looking profile picture.

After chatting online, the suspect exploited the victim’s depression by demanding that she have sexual relations with his father, who is also a suspect under investigation, if she wanted to continue the relationship. The two then met at a hotel in tambon Sam Rong Nua between January 6-19. The victim was lured into investing in exchange scams and also instructed to sell her car to fund further investments, Bangkok Post reported.

Pol Gen Damrongsak has instructed Pol Maj Gen Theeradet Thammasuthee, the commander of the MPB’s Investigation Division and chief of PCT unit 5, to work with a crime analysis team. Pol Maj Gen Theeradet has noted that the victim has been assessed to be at risk of suicide. The arrest of Pongsakorn is a significant step in the efforts to combat romance scams in Thailand, and the police will continue their investigations to bring those responsible to justice.

Romance scams are a common crime in Thailand. One romance scam ended with a 50 year old Thai woman behind bars after she fell victim to what some called Thailand’s biggest romance scam. A man claiming to be a doctor in Afghanistan messaged her on LinkedIn in 2019, and sparks flew, at least for her. But the situation ended with the man convincing the woman to “borrow” huge amounts of money from her company, landing her in jail.

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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.