Five accused of illicit $76M cryptocurrency scam captured in Thailand
Sweeping operation apprehending alleged 2.7 billion Baht crypto fraud suspect
In a massive cross-border operation, four Chinese nationals and a Lao citizen were apprehended over their alleged involvement in a multimillion cryptocurrency scam that left a trail of devastation and losses amounting to over 2.7 billion baht ($76 million), according to the Cyber Crime Investigation Bureau (CCIB).
As the Bangkok Post reported, the fraudulent scheme trapped at least 3,280 victims through a deceptive cryptocurrency investment platform called BCH Global Ltd.
The victims, who began reporting the fraud to police in November last year, were deceived into investing their money in gold and the cryptocurrency USDT. Further investigation by the CCIB revealed many of the individuals running this fraudulent platform were linked to other similar scams. Their arrest was made possible through a global collaboration involving Homeland Security Investigation and other international law enforcement agencies.
Marking a significant step forward in this transnational crime case, the five suspects were charged with public fraud, conspiracy to commit transnational crime, money laundering, and inputting false information into computer systems.
The Bangkok Post reported that the Office of the Attorney General moved to prosecute the suspects on August 10, with officers from the Anti-Money Laundering Office confiscating properties worth 585 million baht belonging to the suspects on September 4.
CCIB spokesman Kissana Phathanacharoen emphasized to the Bangkok Post that the bureau would continue contacting victims to ensure they know their rights under the law. Victims can lodge complaints through the CCIB’s hotline or at www.thaipoliceonline.com.
In a broader context, Phathanacharoen cited investment scams as the most damaging scams reported to the police. Too often, victims, many of whom had invested their life savings or taken second mortgages on their properties, were lured into these schemes by strangers promising high, guaranteed returns in short periods.
In response to this growing threat, the CCIB is advising the public to remain vigilant, mainly when dealing with online platforms and foreign mobile apps that solicit investments. They further recommend checking the registration numbers of investment firms and verifying the authenticity of investment websites through www.checkdomain.thaiware.com.