Police nab state officials selling user information to scammers

Police nab state officials selling user information to scammers

A police lieutenant colonel and a married couple who are both officials from the Commerce Ministry were arrested yesterday for selling the personal information of more than 1,000 people to Chinese call centre scammers, with 20,000 baht being transferred a day to the bank accounts of the accused.

Deputy national police chief Pol Gen Torsak Sukvimol and Cybercrime Investigation Bureau commissioner Pol Lt Gen Worawat Watnakhonbancha yesterday exposed the involvement of the three state officials in the scams.

He said 16 members from call centre scam gangs were arrested during a police operation early this month. The suspects were either hired to open bank accounts or compile the accounts for Chinese gang leaders. The three officials were tasked with supplying the information of potential victims to dupe them into transferring money, he said.

Police examined the money trails of the call centre scam gangs and found that money was constantly being transferred into the bank accounts of the two accused officials. The personal information of more than 1,000 Thai people had been stolen and sold to those scammers, said the deputy national police chief. The three accused officials worked at agencies that could access databases providing potential victims. One of them was the police lieutenant colonel, he said.

A police source said the officer was a crime suppression chief attached to Ao Noi police station in Prachuap Khiri Khan province.

According to Pol Gen Torsak, the police lieutenant colonel had a password to check the personal information of victims using the civil registration database. The investigation showed the officer had entered the database system a number of times.

Police also arrested a married couple who are Commerce Ministry officials for selling people's personal information to Chinese phone scammers. The couple had stolen information about trade registration or the business details of victims to sell to scam gangs. They selected only wealthy victims with a huge amount of registered capital.

The three state officials each earned 20,000 baht a day, or 600,000 baht a month, from the Chinese call centre scam gangs, said Pol Gen Torsak.

A bank had detected a number of unusual money transactions in the accounts of the police officer and the couple and had alerted police. This led to the arrest of the trio.

The latest victim was a doctor in Chiang Mai province who had been duped into transferring 6.9 million baht to phone scammers, said Pol Gen Torsak.

The scam gang had falsified a website of the Department of Special Investigation and phoned the doctor telling her that she had committed a criminal offence and that her bank accounts must be examined.

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