Six Chinese men accused of duping wealthy Thai-Chinese in Chinatown into buying fake gold worth about 10 million baht have been arrested with almost 200 fake ingots.
Investigators from the Metropolitan Police Bureau apprehended the six suspects in front of Hua Lamphong railway station in Rong Muang area, Pathumwan district, on Monday on charges of colluding in theft and criminal association, Pol Maj Gen Teeradej Thumsutee, chief of investigation at the MPB said on Tuesday.
They were identified as Zhong Xiaocong, 44, Li Xiaoyuan, 45, Zeng NanJing, 54, Yang Cuiyuan, 51, Zhu Zhihua, 48, and Guo Xianyu 49.
Officer also seized 179 fake gold bars, 10 fake gold statues, 8 thin sheets of real gold, 46 books of a Chinese association in Thailand, 24 ATM cards, 12 mobile phones and goldsmithing tools, Pol Maj Gen Teeradej said.
The suspects were members of the “Mangkorn Jiangxi” (Jiangxi Dragon) gang and allegedly swindled Thais of Chinese descent in Chinatown out of about10 million baht.
The suspects had found their victims in a book detailing names of Thai-Chinese descendants. They selected wealthy people and then phoned them, using the same methods as call scam gangs. The gang had previously worked as phone scammers in Indonesia, Pol Maj Gen Teeradej said.
The gang had included real gold among the fake gold. and selected those items to demonstrate it was genuine. The suspects lied to their victims, claiming to have a gold mining concession in Ayutthaya province. (continues below)
The six Chinese suspects, their faces blurred by police, with fake gold and other items seized from them. (Photo supplied/ Wassayos Ngamkham)
The arrests followed a complaint by a Chinese man with Thai nationality that he had been swindled by a Chinese gang into buying gold that later turned out to be fake. The gang had claimed to a lot of gold from a mine in Ayutthaya province, and offered it to him at a discounted rate. He said he had been swindled out of 500,000 baht from the gang. After sending them the money for the gold, none of the gang could be contacted, he said.
Police investigators found that the gang had used a similar ploy to swindle other victims. To entice them into the trap, the gang showed many gold bars and cut one into small pieces that the victims could test to verify.
Gold shops had confirmed the samples were real. Once the money was paid to them, the gang vanished. The victims only then found out that the gold they received was fake.
During questioning, all suspects denied the charges. They told police that they had travelled from Jiangxi in China, but admitted they worked for a phone scam gang in Indonesia before moving to Thailand.
The suspects were handed over to police at adjacent Noppawong railway station for legal action.