The police campaign, called “Operation to break the horse’s legs”, has so far resulted in 51 arrests in Region 8 Police jurisdiction, explained Region 8 Police Commander Lt Gen Amphol Buarabporn.
Region 8 Police, although based in Phuket, oversees police operations in the seven Southern Thailand provinces of Ranong, Chumphon, Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Krabi, Phang Nga and Phuket.
The campaign was ordered by Royal Thai Police headquarters in Bangkok, and extended nationwide, Lt Gen Amphol said.
The Anti-Money Laundering Office (Amlo) was called in to assist in the operation, he added.
Highlighting several key cases, Lt Gen Amphol noted that Phra Phrom Police Station in Nakhon Si Thammarat had received a complaint on May 6 about people being deceived out of B1,419,479 in an investment scam. Twenty arrest warrants were issued, and so far four arrest warrants had been served, he said.
At Pak Chan Police Station in Ranong another complaint about an investment scam received on March 6 saw people deceived out of B625,028. In that case two arrest warrants were issued, with both suspects arrested.
In Chumphon, officers at Lang Suan Police Station received a complaint about a person being duped into believing that their phone had been used for illegal purposes, resulting in the phone owner transfering B3,053,527 to the scammer. The incident happened on June 9. Two arrest warrants were issued, with one arrest made so far, Lt Gen Amphol said.
In Krabi Town, a scam operation over sending parcels had duped people out of B15,472,231. The incident was reported on May 4. Three arrest warrants were issued, with two arrests made, he said.
The only scam operation arrests in Phuket reported by Lt Gen Amphol yesterday involved a case received by Wichit Police.
The scam was for people to invest in a cryptocurrency trading scheme, which operated from July 10 last year through to Feb 28 this year, duping people out of B1,258,630, Lt Gen Amphol said.
So far eight arrest warrants have been issued related to the scam, with four arrests already made, he said.
Lt Gen Amphol explained that one case, involving a 62-year-old woman being duped out of B2 million saw the money transferred to eight accounts for consecutive periods of up to 20 minutes.
The eight holders of the bank accounts identified were all charged with "jointly defrauding people by identifying yourself as another person and supporting money laundering”, Lt Gen Amphol noted.
One person was charged with money laundering by having funds converted to a cryptocurrency and then using the cryptocurrency to make real-world purchases, he added.
The suspect was found to be involved in the operation of 26 bank accounts and two registered companies, he said.
The operation “to break the horse’s legs” is continuing, with the assistance of Amlo, he added.
Lt Gen Amphol urged people to be aware of scammers using deceitful or even threatening means to lure or force people to transfer funds to unsubstantiated accounts.
People can submit complaints at their nearest police station or to the Police Cyber Taskforce (PCT) via the website www.thaipoliceonline.com. Alternatively people can call the PCT hotline number 1441 or call the PCT call centre at 081-8663000 during office hours, he said.
While police yesterday staged a press conference to announce the results of the ongoing campaign, police have yet to reveal any progress in the case involving a man wearing a Royal Thai Police uniform claiming to be from Phuket Town Police Station defrauding a Phuket expat out of B57,000.
The man, while in police uniform, threatened to have the expat jailed by falsely claiming that the foreigner had received funds from criminal activities.
By information provided by the expat, including bank account details and screenshots showing the scammer, Phuket Town Police quickly identified the bank account holder as Pongdanai Chaiya, resident in Chiang Mai.
That was in February.
Police have never confirmed whether Mr Pongdanai is, or ever was, an officer with the Royal Thai Police.
Additional reporting by Eakkapop Thongtub