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Chinese skimmers arrested in Phuket

PHUKET: Police arrested two Chinese nationals caught in the act of fitting a card-skimmer to an ATM in Thalang, in central Phuket, yesterday afternoon (June 27).

Chinese, crime, technology, police,

Eakkapop Thongtub

Wednesday 28 June 2017, 12:52PM

The suspects, named by police as Chinese nationals Zhou Chaopeng, 30, and Zhou Qihong, 24, were caught in the act of fitting the card-skimming devices to the ATM. Photo: Thalang Police
The suspects, named by police as Chinese nationals Zhou Chaopeng, 30, and Zhou Qihong, 24, were caught in the act of fitting the card-skimming devices to the ATM. Photo: Thalang Police

The men were apprehended while fitting the devices to an ATM in front of a 7-Eleven store on Thepkrasattri Rd in Baan Liporn, reported Lt Col Phongphan Siriphattharanukul, Chief Inspector of the Thalang Police.

Police named the suspects as Zhou Chaopeng, 30, and Zhou Qihong, 24, but did not confirm whether the men were brothers.

The men were found in possession of card-skimming devices, adhesive tape, several small video recorders and cameras, four mobile phones, a black laptop, two portable hard drives, four thin batteries to power the skimming devices, a soldering iron, a hot glue machine and nine hot glue sticks.

They were also found carrying two electronic card-copying machines for encoding data onto blank ATM cards and a key to a guestroom at a hotel at Nai Yang Beach.

“The arrests came after police received a tip-off that suspects were fitting machines to the ATM in front of the 7-Eleven. We have not received any reports from victims yet,” Col Phongphan said.

Thalang Police Deputy Superintendent Lt Col Amnuay Kraiwutthi-anan noted the Chinese men were using a “classic” form of card-skimming.

“These two suspects committed the crime like normal skimmers. They installed a small video recording machine and a card-skimming reader on the ATM. These machines record data from the magnetic strips of cards as they are entered in the ATM.

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“If ATM users did not cover the keypad while they entered their PIN codes, the small video recorder will record what PIN code they entered,” he explained.

“Usually, such suspects would make new electronic cards by using data that was swiped from people who used the ATM and use those cards to make withdrawals from victims’ accounts.

“They need to get both electronic data from the card and the PIN code. If they get only one of those they will not able to get the money from the ATM,” he added.

Both suspects were taken to Thalang Police Station and charged with possession of equipment for producing counterfeit data.

“Now we are investigating to see whether more people were involved in this crime. They must face legal action,” Col Amnuay said.

“I also want to warn people to cover the ATM keypad while entering their PIN codes,” he added.

“If anyone see any other unfamiliar devices on the ATM, please tell police or bank officers.”



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Kurt | 29 June 2017 - 18:46:15

No swerv!  The RTP did NOT follow orders!
The prime Minister ordered not to parade suspects at all!
You interpretation of the PM's order is wrong.
Don't 'derail', just to react negative on other's comment.

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swerv | 29 June 2017 - 12:24:05

Kurt: The faces of the criminals have been blanked out, so the RTP are following orders.

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swerv | 29 June 2017 - 12:21:44

There is no need to restrict yourselves to using an ATM in the bank as Kurt suggested.
I have a much easier solution, which i have been using for years now. My main account has no ATM card, i tore it up years ago. I have another account which is the ATM card i use. When i am going to buy something, or just need cash i transfer required amount ( internet banking) to the smaller account and draw that money within 30 minutes to 1 hour. I draw the cash usually leaving a balance of 5-600thb. If i was skimmed that would be the maximum i would lose. Simple really.

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Kurt | 28 June 2017 - 19:57:43

A few days ago the General-Prime Minister ordered the RTP Force not to parade suspects anymore. Totally not!
What we see here?
Still 8 eager RTP officers who like to have their moment of fame with this photo safari.
It must disturb the General-Prime Minister very much to see this.
RTP is not following his orders!

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Kurt | 28 June 2017 - 17:19:14

All just the usual old skimming tricks. This happens worldwide.
Avoid it! Easy and simple!
Do Pin your money only from ATM's inside a bank, hospital, or  shopping complex.
Do not pin your money somewhere outside banks, or in the streets!

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BenPendejo | 28 June 2017 - 16:00:57

Good catch!  I wish PN would follow up and let us know what happens to these miserable thieves.  They deserve extremely harsh sentences, and the information should be spread far and wide that this is NOT the place to get caught skimming.

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