A Taiwanese man wanted for allegedly scamming Thai victims from a call centre operation in Dubai arrived at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport yesterday afternoon to face Thailand’s justice system after being arrested in Albania in September.
Tzu Yuan Kuo – or “Ayen” – was the “deputy leader” of a call centre gang scamming victims in Thailand, Japan and Malaysia from Dubai in the UAE. The scammers posed as officials to convince victims that their bank details were being used in drug deals and that they needed to quickly transfer money to a different account to get out of trouble.
The gang posed as court officials, postal workers, police and officials from Thailand’s Department of Special Investigation, Bank of Thailand, Anti-Money Laundering Office, National Credit Bureau and Drug Enforcement Administration.
Most victims did not second guess that the “officials” were who they said they were since the scammers provided personal details of the victim which they gathered before calling. Many victims quickly transferred money out of fear of what would happen if they did not comply with the instructions of “officials.”
Ayen went on the run in 2018 when Phra Khanong Provincial Court and Interpol put out an international warrant for his arrest on suspicion of “involvement in transnational organised crime, theft, jointly defrauding people by pretending to be someone else, money laundering, fraudulently entering forged data into a computer system in a manner likely to cause damage to the public.”
Interpol found and arrested Ayen in Albania in September last year and finally decided to extradite him to Thailand to be prosecuted yesterday. Being an international criminal, it took Interpol almost ten months to decide where Ayen should face justice. Ayen – a Taiwanese national – committed crimes from Dubai with victims in Japan, Malaysia and Thailand – but Interpol finally decided Ayen should face trial in Thailand because the majority of his victims were Thais.
At present, most people in Thailand are getting multiple “scam” phone calls every week. However, fewer people are falling victim to the scammers since Thailand’s National Broadcasting Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) added the prefix +697 to anonymous calls to warn the public against picking up the phone from probable scammers.
If you get a call from a +697 number, don’t trust what they say and do not transfer money to them. Better yet, just don’t answer at all, advises the NBTC.
In Thailand’s war against call centre scams, the Department of Special Investigations released a state-sponsored country song called “Ya Own” or “Don’t Transfer” in March in an attempt to urge Thais to stop and think before transferring money to anyone, especially people they have only ever spoken to over the phone.
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