BANGKOK: Utter the phrases “West African” and “black money” in the same breath, and, surely, most people will sniff one of the oldest con-tricks in the book. Yet it seems that there are still some people out there whose greed makes them blind to their own gullibility. Granted, in the latest case to come to light, the con men carefully sucked in their victim, a woman from Phuket, making sure that she earned a nice fat profit at first. Pol Col Paween Pongsirin, Superintendent of Phuket Town Police Station, explained yesterday that the woman, whom he declined to name, called police to explain that two men, Emmanuel Ankomah, 31, from Ghana, and Abdul Rapo Quantus, had approached her with a sure-fire way to make money fast. The duo had explained to her that they had “acquired” a large amount of Thai baht that had been earmarked by the Thai government for destruction. The government, they explained, had dyed the money black to render it valueless. But, they said, they knew of a special chemical that could be used to clean the money. All that they lacked was the funds to buy the chemical. Which is where she came in; if she would put up 50,000 baht, they would give her 100,000 baht in black money and enough chemical to clean it. She agreed, handed over the cash and, within hours, was the happy possessor of 100,000 baht. She wanted more. The con artists doubled the stakes; this time she handed over 100,000 baht. This time, however, the chemical did not seem to work, so she contacted the two men and asked for their help. She must have been doing something wrong, the men said. They agreed to meet her at the S.C. Park Hotel on Ramintra Rd, Bangkok, to show her the proper technique. One other thing, they added: she should bring another 145,000 baht with her. Finally smelling a rat, the woman called the Phuket Town police, who put together a joint task force with colleagues in Bangkok. Before the pair arrived at the hotel, the police set up a hidden video camera in the room to record the meeting. In the event, only Ankomah turned up, and was recorded showing his intended victim the “cleaning” procedure. The officers then moved in and arrested the Ghanaian and brought him to Phuket, where he was locked up on a charge of fraud. Quantus remains at large.
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