One member of the gang managed to escape arrest.
In addition, one of the men arrested yesterday was also arrested in May of this year for an identical scam.
The arrests came after a Thai woman, named by police only as “Ms A”, filed a report to the CSD stating that four people had tricked her out of B3.1mn after loaning it to them in a gambling game.
A team from the CSD Sub Division 6 led by Col Sompong Suwannawong and Lt Col Pattrawut Onchuay – notably from Songkhla, not Phuket – together with Thalang Police arrested three suspects at 11:40am yesterday at a resort on the Phuket Airport old road (4031) in Thepkrasattri.
Those arrested were named as Sujira Yodying, 55, from Pitsanulok, Saeree Sangputtong, 49, from Chumphon, and Yongyut “Chai” Tongkam, age not specified.
All three were taken to Thalang Police Station.
One other member of the four-strong gang named as Somchai ‘Champ/Kwang’ Inthawong, 49, escaped arrest. However, Thalang Police are now in the process of obtaining an arrest warrant from the Phuket Provincial Court.
Ms A told police that last Thursday (Dec 7), Somchai invited her to do business. He introduced her to Sujira who claimed to be the secretary of a powerful business man known as “Sear” (Saeree).
“We talked about product designs and they said they were interested in ordering a lot of products from my business.
“They said they would take me to meet Sear (Saeree) at a resort,” Ms A said.
“I went in a car with Somchai, and when we arrived at the resort I was introduced to Yongyut. While I was waiting for Sear the three were playing the gambling game fantan.
“Sear then arrived at the room and Somchai, Sujira and Yongyut said that they often gambled with Sear in order to win money from him. They claimed that they were gathering B8mn to gamble with Sear. However, they said that they needed more money so they invited me to play with them. I refused but agreed to lend them B3.1mn,” she added.
“The four then started gambling. To begin with Sear was losing his money, but soon Somchai, Sujira and Yongyut started to lose their money. After 10 games Sear had won all the money and I had lost the B3.1mn I had loaned to the three,” she added.
Col Sompong explained, “After receiving the report from the victim we asked her to set up a sting operation where she would meet the gang again in the hope she would get her money back.
“The gang agreed to meet her at the same resort again yesterday (Dec 12), which is when the arrests were made.
“There are about 100 gangs like this in operation across Thailand, with most having an average of four members. However, they all use different methods to obtain the money from their victims such as playing fantan or tricking someone into believing they had won the lottery,” Col Sompong said.
“This time the gang choose a wealthy victim. I want to warn people not to easily believe others as there are many ways to be defrauded.
“Victims will not easily win money as they believe, but they will certainly lose money easily instead,” Col Sompong added.
“In May, Thalang Police arrested Somchai who was part of a four-man gang who conned a woman out of just under B1 million in a gambling trick after pretending to be interested in buying her house. But at that time Sujira and Saeree managed to escape,” Col Sompong noted. (See story here.)