Nigerian suspect nabbed as police unravel Phuket ‘romance scam’

July 25, 2019
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A 38-year-old Nigerian man has been arrested in Bangkok for allegedly operating bank accounts and arranging money transactions as part of a so-called “romance scam”.

The suspect is being returned to Phuket, where the arrest warrant was issued on July 9 on a charge of conspiracy to commit fraud.

Immigration Police Bureau chief Pol Lt-General Sompong Chingdoung told a press conference on Thursday that police made the arrest on July 19 at a condominium in Bang Na district. During the raid they also seized 14 items of evidence, including several bankbooks, ATM cards and money transaction slips, as well as the suspect’s cellphone.

The romance scam was perpetrated by a gang claiming to be white businessman, who feigned romantic intentions towards their victims via social media. After gaining their trust and affection, the gang coaxed the duped women into transferring money to bank accounts they controlled.

One victim in Phuket allegedly lost Bt897,400 to the scam. Police are now hunting for the accomplices of the 38-year-old suspect.

Sompong said that investigators found that the suspect was using bank accounts that had been opened by Thai nationals in exchange for payment. The gang had opened a front company to transfer the ill-gotten money to accomplices overseas.

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