Fifteen Japanese nationals accused of swindling more than 200 people in their home country out of more than 70 million baht in a call-centre scam will be extradited back to Japan on Thursday, the Immigration Bureau says.
All were arrested at a house in Siam Royal View housing estate in Chon Buri’s Bang Lamung district on March 29.
Their imminent extradition was announced at a bureau news conference on Wednesday where representatives from the Japanese embassy were also in attendance.
Acting bureau chief Pol Lt Gen Sompong Chingduang said the arrests were part of the bureau's crackdown on foreigners working in the country illegally.
In this case he said the owner of the house notified provincial immigration authorities about his tenants' "suspicious behaviour".
An investigation later revealed that they were members of a call-centre gang, Pol Lt Gen Sompong said.
Among the items seized at the property were IP phones, which place and transmit internet calls, notebook computers, mobile signal boosters as well personal information about their Japanese victims and scripts to use to deceive them, he said.
Following the arrests, Japanese police provided details about the offences allegedly committed by the gang in Japan.
It was found the syndicate had conned more than 200 people in Japan and all 15 members were wanted under arrest warrants issued by a Tokyo court for conspiracy to commit fraud.
Pol Maj Gen Archayon Kraithong, commander of Immigration Division 3, which led the arrest team, said the gang extorted money from people who bought information on the dark web.
The victims were forced to buy e-money cards and reveal their serial numbers to the gang, he said.
Some victims who lived alone were burgled by gang members, and in a few cases murdered, he added.
The 15 suspects arrived in Thailand separately during February and March on tourist visas and carried on extorting victims while staying at the Chonburi address
All were charged with working without permits in Thailand, Pol Maj Gen Archayon said.
“They would be blacklisted from entering Thailand and on May 24, they would be extradited to face fraud charges in Japan,” he said.