Thailand’s Cyber Crime Investigation Bureau (CCIB) has apprehended four internationals from China and Laos for links to a 2.7 billion baht (around $75 million) worth crypto fraud.
As reported by Bangkok Post, the miscreants pulled off the scam through a fraudulent crypto investment platform called bchgloballtd.com. According to CCIB spokesman Kissana Phathanacharoen, at least 3,280 people have fallen victim to this.
The first few complaints of this malicious activity were reported to the police in November last year. Victims claimed that they had been duped into investing in gold and crypto such as $USDT.
The CCIB then initiated an investigation into the matter, following which it was found that many of the people involved in running the website were also associated with other fraudulent platforms.
The latest arrest of the four Chinese nationals and one Lao suspect was approved by the court after the bureau worked it out with the Homeland Security Investigation and other international law enforcement agencies.
Back in August, the Office of the Attorney General had moved to prosecute the five suspects. On 5 September, the officers from the Anti-Money Laundering Office confiscated their properties worth 585 million baht.
The five foreigners have now been charged for colluding to commit transnational crime, public fraud, as well as putting false information into computer systems and money laundering.
As stated by the CCIB spokesman, investment scams stand at the top for causing the most financial damage out of all the scams reported to the police. Many of its victims have invested their life savings into fraudulent schemes, or took a second mortgage on their land or house, said Phathanacharoen.
There have also been instances where victims were approached by strangers or foreigners, inviting them to invest using online platforms or foreign mobile apps that promised high and guaranteed returns in a short period of time.
As assured by Phathanacharoen, the CCIB will continue to reach out to these victims to inform them of their legal rights. People affected by such frauds can also lodge complaints at thaipoliceonline.com or via the CCIB’s 1441 hotline.
In an attempt to make the public wary of such things, the CCIB has urged people to always keep an eye out for the registration number of investment firms. They can also check the authenticity of investment websites via checkdomain.thaiware.com.
Thailand has been seen making an effort to increase consumer protection lately. In July, the country released a new set of rules for the digital asset space where the its Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) put a cap on crypto custodial and lending services. It also tied a noose around advertisement where persuasion of the general public or any act in the manner of supporting the deposit taking & lending service was banned.
Last month, Thailand’s Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (DES) called attention to the social media behemoth Meta for advertising numerous fraudulent crypto investment schemes on its site. It warned that a failure to do the same would put a risk on Facebook, where it would be shut down in the country.
According to the DES, there have been more than 200,000 victims of fraudulent ads, which have caused a damage of more than 10,000 million baht. The various tactics used by cyber thieves range from things like digital coin trading through applications or websites, investing in crypto coins and high-yield lending companies to gold stocks and shares in famous companies and so on.