Two held over B200m mobile prepaid card thefts

Two held over B200m mobile prepaid card thefts

Naret Chamnong, 43, a former employee of a major mobile phone operator, is caught during a raid on his house in Saraburi by Crime Suppression Division police on Thursday morning. (Crime Suppression Division photo)
Naret Chamnong, 43, a former employee of a major mobile phone operator, is caught during a raid on his house in Saraburi by Crime Suppression Division police on Thursday morning. (Crime Suppression Division photo)

Two former employees of a major mobile phone operator have been arrested separately in Bangkok and Saraburi for allegedly stealing mobile-phone prepaid cards from the firm’s warehouse for sale, causing damage worth over 200 million baht.

Crime Suppression Division police searched two locations in Bangkok and Saraburi on Thursday. They arrested two former employees of a mobile phone giant — Naret Chamnong, 43, and Ms Phatcharalak Waenwong, 46.

The duo were wanted on arrest warrants issued by the Criminal Court on charges of thefts and money laundering. They were accused of colluding in stealing prepaid cards from the firm’s warehouse and selling them.

In the first operation, CSD police searched a two-storey house at the Hill Hut housing estate in Muang district of Saraburi at around 6am.

The officers seized from them a Mercedes Benz GLC 250 and a Mercedes Benz C200, both with Bangkok licence plates. They also took a motorcycle, gold ornaments, luxury watches, brand-name bags and passbooks worth 10 million baht in total. 

Another CSD team arrested Ms Phatcharalak at a condominium in Bang Na district, Bangkok. Seized from him were a Mazda CX-5, 500,000 baht in cash and other valuable items.

Pol Maj Gen Suwat Saengnum, CSD chief, said the arrests came after the mobile operator had filed  a complaint with CSD investigators in mid-2020 for missing 3.12 million prepaid cards with combined value of over 240 million baht from its warehouse.

The investigation found Mr Naret, who worked as a supervisor of the company’s supply chain production, and Ms Phatcharalak, a senior officer of the e-refill operation, might have been involved.

The two employees, who had worked at the mobile phone giant for over 20 years, had allegedly stolen those cards and sold them to retail shops at below-market prices. They had reportedly stolen the cards since 2018 and earned more than 146 million baht. They resigned last year before the company started the probe.

Pol Maj Gen Suwat said the suspects had split the money, with Mr Naret getting about 100 million baht and Ms Patcharalak receiving 46 million baht.

The duo had later used the money to buy investment units in mutual funds, savings life insurance plans, houses, land plots, gold, as well as luxury cars, watches and handbags, said the CSD chief.

During questioning, the suspects confessed to the charges. They said they had invested most of the money in mutual funds and insurance plans and kept some to finance their luxury lifestyles.

The suspects were held in CSD police custody for legal action. Authorities would extend the investigation and trace the money trail of the suspects and those close to them.


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