Husband, wife arrested in B1.5bn land scam case

Husband, wife arrested in B1.5bn land scam case

A couple has been arrested in Tao Ngoi district of Sakon Nakhon province for allegedly laundering money for a gang that swindled business people out of 1.5 billion baht in rubber and land investment fraud.

Crime Suppression Division (CSD) police arrested Buarian Maneerat, 57, and his wife Saisawang, 51, at their house in Tao Ngoi district, Pol Col Bunlue Phadungthin, chief of the CSD's sub-division 3, who led the operation, said yesterday.

CSD police and officials from the Anti-Money Laundering Office had previously caught two men and two women in June 2017.

The four -- Mr Phornphan Srisuk, 52, and Mr Songchan Srisuk, 57, both from Sakon Nakhon; Mr Theerayut Srisuk, 33, and Ms Chotiros Saengmanee, 32, both from Roi Et -- had been charged with colluding in fraud over the investment of land plots in Sakon Nakhon.

They had duped many victims into investing in the purchase of land plots to supposedly be turned into rubber plantations. The suspects had also lured victims into investing in buying scrap rubber for making car tyres. The gang gave handsome profits in the initial stage of investments. However, after a huge sum of money had been transferred to them for further investment, the gang fled, said Pol Col Bunlue.

Authorities arrested the four and confiscated 10 cars and more than 100 documents related to the scam.

The CSD extended the investigation and found the gang had transferred money to the bank accounts of Mr Buarian and his wife Saisawang.

Seized from the couple were more than 100 items, including loan contracts, title deeds, bank accounts and land purchase documents, with a combined worth of over 200 million baht.

The CSD team also searched another residence of the couple and found a 21-year-old man was living there.

The man, identified as Jiraphan Phaengsee, claimed he had rented land in front of the couple's home to build a house. The officers searched the house and found three unregistered guns with 51 rounds of bullets and 25 speed pills.

According to the police investigation, Mr Jiraphan was the leader of a gang called Pa Phai (bamboo forest gangsters). They say he had been caught previously on charges of attempted murder and illegal possession of firearms.

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