Police say some “influential” Thais could face arrest in connection with attempts by suspected Chinese scammers to get access to 176 million baht in a local bank account.
Investigators expect to issue arrest warrants for five or six Thai nationals next week, deputy national police chief Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn said on Tuesday.
The case, he said, was a transnational crime involving Chinese nationals running an investment scam, working with influential Thais. He did not elaborate on how many such people might have been involved.
Thai authorities have been working with China to examine the money trail of the Chinese suspects, he said at a press conference at the Royal Thai Police Sports Club on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road in Bangkok.
On March 24, staff of the Kasikornbank (KBank) branch at the EmQuartier shopping mall in Bangkok alerted Thong Lor police that a foreign national had used a fake passort to obtain a passbook for an account containing 176 million baht.
On Sunday, Pol Gen Surachate said four Thais and a Cambodian who claimed to be the holder of the KBank account had shown up together at the bank to request a new passbook.
Staff found the ID details of the Cambodian man did not match those of the registered account owner and police were called to arrest him. The Cambodian was charged with entering Thailand without permission. The group had reportedly made several attempts to withdraw sums without the correct documents.
The initial investigation uncovered money transfers into the account dating back to 2018. Police believed they might be linked to a phone scam gang and they expanded their investigation.
Pol Gen Surachate said the money was believed to have been transferred into the account by Chinese scammers. Later they tried in vain to withdraw the money by using false documents.
The extended investigation implicated certain Thai people in the scam. He vowed to take drastic against anyone found to have been involved.