Cyber police dismantle global call centre scam network in Bangkok

Photo courtesy of KhaoSod

Thai cyber police dismantled a global call centre scam network, arresting a key member in Bangkok. The investigation revealed that the network had defrauded victims of over 200 million baht, claiming they were coerced into working in Poipet, Cambodia.

Police Lieutenant General Worawat Watnakornbancha, Head of the Cyber Crime Investigation Bureau (CCIB), directed the operation led by Police Major General Chatchaphand Klanlaeng, commander of the CCIB Division 1, along with Police Colonel Pichet Aroonphankul and Police Lieutenant Colonel Panawat Kalasri. Armed with an arrest warrant from the Nonthaburi Provincial Court dated March 29, they apprehended 31 year old Sombat for charges including public fraud, impersonation, and computer-related crime.

According to Lt. Gen. Worawat, the case began when an elderly woman from Kanchanaburi province, a former management expert at a prominent university in the US, was deceived by scammers posing as government officials. The perpetrators falsely accused her of money laundering, coercing her to transfer funds for verification. The victim transferred money 115 times, totalling over 200 million baht.

Investigators from the CCIB Division 2 identified 76 individuals involved in the scam, responsible for opening mule accounts across the country. Evidence led to 69 arrest warrants, with seven individuals turning themselves in. Sombat was among those who managed mule accounts for the network, facilitating money transfers.

The cyber police launched Operation SAVIN GOOD MAN to dismantle the call centre network, successfully apprehending 40 suspects while pursuing the remaining 29. Sombat was captured in the Khlong 12 area of Nong Chok, Bangkok.

During interrogation, Sombat admitted that late last year, he applied for a job online through Facebook. He was offered a position with a salary of 8,000 to 12,000 baht. Subsequently, he was picked up from Khlong 8 in Lamlukka, Pathum Thani, and smuggled across the border to Poipet, Cambodia via a natural crossing in Aranyaprathet, Sa Kaeo.

Cambodian border

Sombat described being taken to a warehouse near the border, crossing a river on a makeshift foam raft to reach a 25-storey building in Poipet. He worked at the call centre for about six months, confined to the premises and forced to live in the provided accommodation.

Sombat’s role involved opening bank accounts and scanning his face for transactions over 50,000 baht, transferring the money to other accounts. He received 4,000 baht for each account opened and 1,000 baht daily for facial scans, with additional earnings based on the transaction amounts. Eventually, he decided to escape and return to Thailand, where he was apprehended by police, reported KhaoSod.

Bangkok NewsCrime NewsThailand News

Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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