Cherng Talay Police moved in and arrested Hunsaa Punjoo, 46, from Singhanakhon District, Songkhla, at a house in Srisoonthorn, central Phuket, at about 9:30am on Sunday, police noted in their report.
Hunsaa was taken into custody under arrest warrant no. 940/2019 issued on July 2, police said.
Five officers from Cherng Talay Police and eight officers from Phuket Provincial Police were involved in making the arrest.
Another 12 officers from Crime Suppression Division (CSD) Subdivision 1, nine officers from CSD Subdivision 6 and a further nine CSD subdivision deputy commanders were also all named in the report, giving a total of 43 officers named as involved in the investigation and placing Hunsaa under arrest.
The case dates back two years ago, when Hunsaa solicited donations to help a farmer in financial distress in her home district Singhanakhon in Songkhla province, explained Col Thongchai Yooket, Chief of Crime Suppression Division’s Subdivision 1.
The investigation began after three victims filed police complaints against Hunsaa in November-December 2018, he said.
The victims said that Hunsaa had told them that the money would be used to pay back a loan the farmer had with the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC).
After the loan had been fully repaid, the BAAC would allow the farmer to take out a new loan of a larger amount, from which the farmer would be able to pay back the donations with interest, he said.
All three victims were elderly, Col Thongchai noted.
“They thought giving the money was a good way to help a struggling farmer, so they gave nearly B10 million to Hunsaa,” he said.
“Some of them also gave their own assets to the suspect to exchange for cash,” he added.
Col Thongchai also explained that Hunsaa had paid some money back to the victims so they would continue to believe they would eventually be repaid, and to encourage them to make further donations.
The three victims became suspicious after the interest payments” stopped.
“After investigating, the victims learned that the story was fake and decided to inform police at the Crime Suppression Division,” he said.
Investigation by police had now confirmed that Hunsaa’s claims about the money were false, he said.
Hunsaa now faces charges of fraud and money laundering, Col Thongchai confirmed.
Hunsaa has accepted the charges, police noted in their report.
“The suspect will be taken to Crime Suppression Division’s Subdivision 1 headquarters for further investigation,” Col Thongchai said.