“Ms Nicha and her family have done nothing wrong,” national police chief Chakthip Chaijinda said yesterday (Jan 17) after the 24-year-old woman underwent intensive interrogation and supplied evidence.
Gen Chakthip said Tak police officers who had charged her previously with cheating must not further indict Ms Nicha for any alleged wrongdoings.
Ms Nicha was earlier jailed for three days after being charged with fraud, following a complaint with Tak police by one female victim.
Ms Nicha subsequently claimed she herself fell prey to a gang after her ID card was used to open bank accounts to receive money wired from the victims.
Police initially suspected Ms Nicha may have cried wolf after they found substantial transactions in her genuine bank accounts, including one she received from a gangster suspect. Police also questioned why Ms Nicha applied for ID cards frequently in the past.
The investigation found Pawina Singwibun, one of four suspects held in the case, did transfer money to Ms Nicha’s bank account, but this was Pawina’s mistake which had nothing to do with Ms Nicha, the national police chief said.
Pawina was allegedly hired by Cameroon national Simon Eko Ayuk to use stolen identity cards to open five bank accounts including those under Ms Nicha’s name. The gang made money from women tricked by its members exploiting love ties to gain their trust.
In one case, a victim named Kansini Yamao, 51, was fooled by the gang into transferring B1.3 million to Ayuk’s gang.
“It’s Pawina who wanted to snatch part of the victims’ money, so she transferred it to a bank account held by her under Ms Nicha’s name,” Pol Gen Chakthip said.
A glitch happened when Pawina carried out a transaction via internet banking.
The system transferred the money to a genuine bank account of Ms Nicha.
This led to Pawina using Ms Nicha’s ID card to make an immediate withdrawal.
Ms Nicha had dropped her card at a convenience store late last year. A staff member kept it for its owner, but it turned out Pawina claimed the card, according to the investigation.
The officers found no irregularities in the six million baht in Ms Nicha’s real bank accounts. The money had been in her accounts since 2011, with no connection to fraudulent activity.
A phone number believed to be used by Ms Nicha’s younger brother to allegedly contact the gangsters was also a misunderstanding, he said.
It was a number Ms Nicha once used when she was in high school and its SIM was later used again by her younger brother to log into Facebook.
Two other female suspects in the widely publicised case are Cherati Saisin and Prompon Pongcharoenkunakorn who were hired to open three and two bank accounts respectively.
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