OAG chases B600m from China gang

OAG chases B600m from China gang

Wants seized assets confiscated for good

Police in May 2023 announce the arrest of a Chinese couple on a charge of running an international fraud gang. They seized assets worth more than 650 million baht, including houses in five locations and high-end condos in Bangkok as well as 14 Bearbrick collectable figures worth at least 1.5 million baht. (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)
Police in May 2023 announce the arrest of a Chinese couple on a charge of running an international fraud gang. They seized assets worth more than 650 million baht, including houses in five locations and high-end condos in Bangkok as well as 14 Bearbrick collectable figures worth at least 1.5 million baht. (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) looks set to confiscate assets worth around 596.58 million baht, which were seized on Dec 7 from a major Chinese gang, Wirun Chanthananan, director-general of the OAG's Department of Special Litigation (DoSL), said on Tuesday.

The Anti-Money Laundering Office (Amlo) has up to 90 days from when its secretary-general ordered the freezing of the assets pending further investigation to officially confiscate them, meaning there is a March 5 deadline.

Mr Wirun on Tuesday exercised his authority under the OAG's regulation on prosecuting civil cases to appoint a team tasked with executing their confiscation, he said.

The team is headed by Nirad Nantalit, chief of the DoSL's Division 3, and includes two other senior OAG prosecutors, Phanthip Khunthong and Chantha Damrongrat, he said.

This team will prepare an asset confiscation petition and submit it to the court requesting that all the temporarily seized assets be permanently confiscated, Mr Wirun said.

The move was recommended by the Amlo after its investigation into the gang's finances showed it had not only engaged in many cryptocurrency scams worth 129 million baht but also laundered this money in Thailand and other countries, he said.

The Amlo has, in its investigation, traced 3,390 assets worth around 8.7 billion baht, which were found to be held by the gang and a number of other people connected with it, Mr Wirun said.

The investigation came after the Technology Crime Suppression Division (TCSD) took legal action against 13 suspects linked to the Chinese gang whose leader was identified as Xu Qi.

The Thai and Chinese suspects named in the TCSD's probe are Chakrina "Kiki Maxim" Chukhaosi, Li Lo, Atchara Lao-ketkam, Suphawini Phet-iam, Natthinan Phao-chit, Sawitri Angkhabut, Phatsara Lao-ketkam, Lawan Thawi-aphiradipun, Sumali Sae-phung, Xu Qi, Cai Pengfei, Zhang Jie and Bian Qi.

The suspects allegedly duped people into investing in a fake cryptocurrency investment operated via an online application called Cboe Global Markets, according to the TCSD.

The gang's activities came to light after a number of scam victims in Thailand had lodged complaints with the TCSD.

The TCSD also found the gang was associated with Chinese call centre gangs operating in Thailand and other countries.

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