Thai, Nigerian held in online-scam probe

Thai, Nigerian held in online-scam probe

A Nigerian man and his Thai girlfriend are caught for swindling over 5 million baht from people via online. (Photo by Sutthiwit Chayutworakan)
A Nigerian man and his Thai girlfriend are caught for swindling over 5 million baht from people via online. (Photo by Sutthiwit Chayutworakan)

Two alleged members of an online-fraud gang — a Thai woman and her Nigerian boyfriend — have been arrested in Samut Prakan, have been accused of swindling more than 5 million baht from victims via Facebook, police said.

Supaporn Iemwijit, 30, of Ayutthaya, and Chidiebere Cajetan Awugosi, 35, a Nigerian national, were caught late Tuesday when police raided their apartment on Theparak Road in Muang district. Seized were seven mobile phones, four bank books and some telephone SIM cards.

Pol Col Supaset Chokchai, deputy chief of the Tourist Police Division, said during a police press conference at Suvarnabhumi airport that the arrest followed complaints that a gang of scammers had swindled several victims out of more than five million baht via Facebook. That prompted police to investigate and later found Ms Supaporn. A warrant was sought for her arrest.

During the raid, police found her Nigerian boyfriend. Some pieces of evidence linked to the scam, including mobile phones with SMS messages about money transferred from victims, were also recovered. Police said the Nigerian resisted arrest and physically assaulted them. He was later apprehended and an immigration check found there were no entry stamps in his passport.

Investigators alleged that the Nigerian and his girlfriend had been hired to open several bank accounts under their names to receive money transfers from victims. They had been paid 5,000 baht per account, said Pol Col Supaset.

Police handed over Ms Supaporn to Phaholyothin police for legal action. The officers pressed charges of illegal entry and obstructing officers from performing their duties against the Nigerian suspect before handing him over to Samrong Nua police station for further legal proceedings. The investigation would be extended to arrest alleged accomplices.

The deputy tourist police chief warned people not to be duped by money scam gangs. Gang members often used photos of good-looking foreign men in their profile pictures to lure potential victims via social network sites, particularly Facebook, said Pol Col Supaset.

The gang had duped people into believing that their valuables had been seized at Suvarnabhumi Airport.  They claimed they needed money to pay to police or customs officials in order to get their seized valuables. Victims had been lured to transfer money into the gang's accounts.


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