CHIANG MAI: Police on Thursday arrested 20 Chinese and four Thais for operating a romance and investment scam from a hotel in Fang district.
Police inspector-general Pol Gen Visanu Prasarttong-Osoth said the four Thais were local people.
The 24 suspects were all arrested at BK Resort in tambon Mae Soon in the morning. There were 22 men and two women.
He said the suspects were found busy working, with 10 notebook computers, 10 monitors, 10 desktop computers and 224 mobile phones.
Pol Gen Visanu said the gang created fake profiles on dating and LINE chat apps, using profile photos of beautiful women copied from the Internet.
The fraudsters then developed relationships with Thai and foreign men, many of them Japanese, and later lured them into investing in a bogus foreign exchange app named "metatrader".
The app showed fake forex data. After victims transferred their money to the gang, they were disconnected, Pol Gen Visanu said.
According to the police inspector-general, the suspects confessed that they received 25,000 to 35,000 baht a month for their illicit work seven days a week, and their workstation was an office building behind the hotel. They worked from 9am to 9pm on weekdays and from noon to 5pm on weekends.
They were charged with public fraud and computer crime. The Chinese suspects were also found to be in the country illegally.
Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai were used as bases by many foreign criminal gangs because the northern provinces were tourist destinations, Pol Gen Visanu said.