Bulgarian card skimmer caught

Bulgarian card skimmer caught

Fake electronic cards were used by a foreign criminal gang to withdraw cash from ATMs in Thailand. (Bangkok Post file photo)
Fake electronic cards were used by a foreign criminal gang to withdraw cash from ATMs in Thailand. (Bangkok Post file photo)

A Bulgarian man has been arrested in Bangkok’s Ratchathewi district on charges of ATM skimming, accused of stealing up to 40 million baht.

Dawod Hamid Aljenabi, 47, a Bulgarian national, was caught in front of the KR Pharmacy shop on Phetchaburi 10 on Monday, said police.

He  was found to have 32 fake electronic cards, 5,500-baht cash and 4,000 euros in his possession. Also seized were a black handbag, a mobile phone, his Bulgarian passport and his ID card.

Pol Col Akaradech Pimolsri, the acting commander of the Crime Suppression Division, said at a press conference on Tuesday that CSD investigators had received a tip-off from Siam Commercial Bank about unusual withdrawals from ATMs at several areas in Bangkok since Feb 4.

Officers had been sent to keep a close watch on suspected cash withdrawals at areas at risk of ATM skimming. 

On Feb 9, CSD officers rushed to Soi Phetchaburi 10 after being alerted by SCB staff, and found the Bulgarian suspect was using a fake electronic card to withdraw money from an ATM. They asked to search him and found 32 fake electronic cards hidden in his handbag. The suspect was taken to his room at Citrus Hotel on Soi Sukhumvit 13 in Watthana district where other items were seized, said the acting CSD chief. 

During questioning, the man denied all charges. He said he had used the seized cards to withdraw money, but refused to reveal his associates or where he had obtained the cards, said Pol Col Akaradech.

Checks showed the suspect had entered the country on a 90-day tourist visa. He had earlier visited Thailand.

The CSD acting chief said the suspect’s use of fake cards involved about 40 million baht. Police would work with the banks concerned to further investigate and arrest others involved. Most of the accounts were linked to banks in France.

Pol Col Jeerapob Puridet, superintendent of the CSD’s sub-division 1, said  investigators believed the suspect had colluded with other gang members to steal credit card information by using skimming devices. This was used to make fake cards which were later used to withdraw cash in Thailand, that the gang later changed into euros.

Police have pressed charges of having fake electronic cards with intent to use against the suspect. This crime carries a jail term from one to seven years and/or a fine of 20,000 to 140,000 baht.

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