15 Japanese held for B25m 'scam'

15 Japanese held for B25m 'scam'

CHON BURI: Fifteen Japanese nationals have been arrested for allegedly swindling people in their home country out of more than 25 million baht in a call-centre scam based at a luxury home in a Pattaya housing estate.

A combined team of police from several units searched the house at Siam Royal View Village in tambon Nong Prue, Bang Lamung district, at about 1am yesterday.

The officers found 15 Japanese men inside the house.

A Japanese man identified as Tomoki Chimura has been renting the house from Ms Weena Supawarankul for 65,000 baht a month.

Communication devices were seized, including 52 IP phones, which place and transmit internet call, 19 notebook computers and 37 routers.

The 15 suspects were charged with running a business on temporary stay visas without permission.

Pol Lt Gen Surachate Hakparn, commissioner of the Immigration Bureau who led the search, said the suspects were members of a scam gang using Thailand as an operation base to swindle people in Japan.

The gang members lured their victims by pretending to be debt collectors of a well-known firm in Japan.

They sent falsified bills and court warrants to the victims and then called them to ask for the payment of non-existent debts.

More than 500 Japanese people had fallen victim to the gang over many months, with damages of about 89 million yen (about 25 million baht), Pol Lt Gen Surachate said.

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