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Chinese duo caught in Phuket skim scam



PHUKET: Police arrested two Chinese men and a Thai employee at a Phuket tour office for processing an estimated 700,00 baht in fake transactions charged to accounts of people whose ATM cards had been skimmed.

Officers arrested Thongtam Bamrajken, 23, and Chinese nationals Tang Yongjie, 39, and He Haibin, 24, at the Ping Boom tour office in Wichit on Tuesday.

Seized as evidence were nine electronic cards, Chinese passports, two laptops and an electronic card reader.

Police were alerted to the scam after staff at Kasikornbank reported an unusual volume of transactions at the tour office, explained Phuket Provincial Police Deputy Superintendent Prawit Engchua.

“When we arrived at the office, we found the three suspects using cards and a card reader. Some of the cards were plain white, with no images indicating that they were issued by a bank,” he said.

KBank staff confirmed that the cards were fake, and the three suspects all confessed to processing fake transactions, Lt Col Prawit added.

“Mr Tang and Mr He pretended to be customers at the tour office, and presented the fake cards to pay for tours,” he said.

“The three agreed to share the money after the banks had completed transferring the amounts to Mr Thongtam’s account, with Mr Thongtam to receive five per cent.”

Between December 26 and 30, the suspects charged about 700,000 baht to accounts of people whose cards had been skimmed.

“By the time we had arrested them, the bank had already transferred 150,000 baht to Mr Thongtam’s account,” Col Prawit said.

— Kritsada Mueanhawong


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