A Dubai-based scam call centre which swindled victims in Thailand out of at least 50 million baht has been busted and 23 Thais and their Taiwanese boss caught in a joint operation involving Thai and United Arab Emirates police.
The Bangkok Post reported that the gang worked out of a luxury house and fooled their victims into sending them money, deputy Tourist Police Bureau chief Pol Maj Gen Surachet Hakphal said on Wednesday after returning from the UAE.
The call centre had been operating for about six months, with at least 50 million baht moving through their accounts.
In early March alone, seven Thais lost up to one million baht to the gangsters, Pol Maj Gen Surachet said. The victims are residents of Bangkok, Samut Prakan, Prachuap Khiri Khan and Khon Kaen.
According to investigators, the 23 Thai workers were recruited and sent to the UAE by another Taiwanese man who was caught last year in Thailand after fleeing arrest in Taiwan 20 years ago.
They were also given lists of potential victims and names of high-ranking state officials.
Investigators are examining whether these officials’ names were used when extracting money from their victims.
The scammers usually passed themselves off as officials of state agencies or banks, then deceived the victims into sending them money with fabricated and often alarming or threatening stories.
According to investigators, the gang also had the means to bypass money transfer scrutiny procedures after tricking victims into giving them their one-time password, which is delivered to a customer’s phone by a bank during an online transaction.