Seven arrested for smuggling Chinese nationals into Thailand for potential call centre scams

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Seven Thai individuals have been detained for their alleged involvement in smuggling Chinese nationals from Laos into Thailand. Authorities are investigating whether these cases have any connection to call centre gangs. The series of arrests were disclosed in a press briefing held yesterday by Provincial Police Region 3 Commissioner Pol. Lt. Gen. Somprasong Yenthuan, which involved Highway Police, Immigration Police, and Phibun Mangsahan Police in Ubon Ratchathani province.

The investigation began on March 31 when officers discovered a Thai man smuggling three Chinese nationals into Thailand through the border. Subsequently, on Wednesday, May 17, police apprehended two more Thai men involved in the smuggling operation. Pol. Lt. Gen. Somprasong stated that the three Chinese nationals might have been involved in transnational crimes, such as call-centre scams and cybercrimes.

He explained that the Thai accomplices would collaborate with Lao middlemen who procured Chinese individuals to be transported across the Thai-Lao border. Once in Thailand, the Thai drivers would take the Chinese nationals to border towns like Mae Sot district in Tak province, where they would be escorted across the border into Myanmar. Several cars would accompany the smuggled Chinese nationals to protect them from the police. Many of the drivers were reportedly related or lived in the same village.

Pol. Lt. Gen. Somprasong revealed that the drivers were paid tens of thousands of baht to transport the Chinese nationals to the Myanmar border. According to the investigation, the Thai gang usually picked up Chinese individuals from the Thai-Cambodian border in the Khemmarat district of Ubon Ratchathani, reported Bangkok Post.

Pol. Lt. Gen. Somprasong said officers tracked one suspected smuggling operation from Ubon Ratchathani to Phitsanulok. Highway Police eventually apprehended them in Wang Thong district in Phitsanulok on May 17. Three Chinese nationals—Zhang Jian Qiu, Li Hai Ping, and Yang Jin Yi—and one Kazakh—Aigerim Kalzhanova—were found in the cars.

Four Thai individuals, three men and one woman, had accompanied the foreign nationals on the run and have now been charged. The investigation revealed that border towns in neighbouring countries had been used as offices for call-centre gangs and transnational criminal rings operated by Chinese nationals. The investigation is still ongoing.

Thailand 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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