SmartLand app scam: Phuket arrest made, victims lose millions

Photo courtesy of PCT 5/Phuket News

On the popular tourist island of Phuket, a 25 year old man has been apprehended on charges of facilitating a mule account for a fraudulent application known as SmartLand. The application has reportedly swindled people out of millions of baht.

The individual, referenced by authorities solely as Winat or Oil, was arrested in a high-traffic lifestyle shopping mall located in the Thalang district. This information was reported yesterday by the Investigation Division Metropolitan Police Bureau (IDMB).

IDMB officials, who have their base of operations in Bangkok, were the ones to initiate the arrest of Winat. Assisting in this operation were officers hailing from Provincial Police’s Information Technology Crime Suppression Center, also known as PCT 5, a unit primarily tackling cyber-fraud and related issues, with jurisdiction over the Chiang Mai region to the north.

It was unveiled by authorities that Winat was apprehended based on an official arrest warrant for an alleged fraud crime. The corresponding arrest warrant, numbered 461/2566, had been issued by the Nonthaburi Provincial Court back on July 19.

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The cunningly deceptive SmartLand application had tricked a large number of individuals. A renowned female news anchor was amongst the victims who lost millions in the process. The most recent victim was swindled out of 1 million baht, as reported by IDMB officers.

The irresistible allure of the ‘SmartLand’ app was its promise of acting as a broker for land transfers and title upgrades, while falsely claiming to be operated by a Department of Lands officer based in Phuket. Local police confirmed the arrested man’s involvement.

“During the investigation, Winat admitted his active role in lobbying for the fraudulent application.”

Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn, the Thai Minister of Digital Economy and Society, earlier this year issued a stern warning cautioning individuals against participation in online scams, including the provision of mule accounts. He stressed that such actions would be met with severe consequences such as imprisonment not exceeding three years, a fine of up to 300,000 baht or both reported Phuket News.

Crime NewsPhuket News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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