Nigerian drug dealer and romance scammer arrested in Phuket

Photo via Facebook/ สำนักงาน ประชาสัมพันธ์จังหวัดภูเก็ต

A Nigerian man, previously arrested for drug-related offences and deported from Thailand, was arrested yesterday by officers from the Phuket Provincial Immigration Office and Chalong Police Station for his drug dealing and romance scam activities in Phuket.

According to the police report, the 40 year old Nigerian, Harrison Shinonzo Onyema, was deported in 2018 for overstaying his visa and selling cocaine. However, he re-entered the country illegally by crossing the border from Cambodia and hiding in a house in the Rawai sub-district of Phuket.

Onyema committed the same crime again by selling cocaine to people in the province and running a romance scam. He created a fake profile on Facebook, pretending to be a beautiful and wealthy woman, and deceived Thai men by promising to share his riches if they married him. Once the victims were convinced, he would tell them that he had sent them gifts or money, but they needed to pay taxes. Those who paid the taxes found out too late that the money went into Onyema’s pocket and never received any parcels.

Furthermore, Onyema also lured Thai women to work for him. He used their identities to rent a house, or car, register Thai mobile SIM cards, and open bank accounts. However, he did not use any of the services and merely hid in the house.

The Thai police received a tip-off and raided his house yesterday. They knocked on the door, but Onyema did not answer. When he finally opened the door for the officers, he could not present his entry document and visa. The officers searched the house, but they found no illegal substances. According to the report, Onyema had flushed the toilet several times before opening the door to the police. The officers believed that he had destroyed all the drugs by throwing them into the toilet.

As a result, the officers could not seize any evidence, and charges against Onyema were not yet issued. The officers would conduct more investigations into his criminal actions and gather evidence before proceeding with charges.

Two weeks ago, Thai and German drug dealers were arrested for smuggling drugs into Koh Phra Ngan, an island in the southern province of Surat Thani. They were arrested when they went to pick up the parcel from Germany which was a scented candle stuffed with 1,370 ecstasy tablets.

A week before that incident, the officers from the Airport Interdiction Task Force (AITF) arrested a Kenyan woman at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok after discovering 2,353 grammes of cocaine was hidden in her luggage.

Nigerian drug dealer and romance scammer arrested in Phuket
Photo via Facebook/ สำนักงาน ประชาสัมพันธ์จังหวัดภูเก็ต

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Petch Petpailin

Petpailin, or Petch, is a Thai translator and writer for The Thaiger who focuses on translating breakingThai news stories into English. With a background in field journalism, Petch brings several years of experience to the English News desk at The Thaiger. Before joining The Thaiger, Petch worked as a content writer for several known blogging sites in Bangkok, including Happio and The Smart Local. Her articles have been syndicated by many big publishers in Thailand and internationally, including the Daily Mail, The Sun and the Bangkok Post. She is a news writer who stops reading news on the weekends to spend more time cafe hopping and petting dwarf shrimp! But during office hours, you can find Petch on LinkedIn and you can reach her by email at

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