11 July 2024

A group of 58 Chinese ‘tourists’ were arrested by Thai immigration officials for allegedly operating an illegal stock trading and foreign exchange scam at a Bangkok hotel, targeting mainly Chinese people living in China.

Immigration Bureau commissioner Pol Lt-Gen Sompong Chingduang told a news conference that the Chinese fraud gang rented a hotel in the Lat Phrao area and used it for foreign exchange and Chinese stock trades.

Initially, he said the gang used notebook computers to set up a webchat network of more than 100 groups, to lure overseas Chinese to engage until they were familiar with one another. After that, members of the gang would persuade their chat pals to invest in company stocks and foreign exchange speculation.

Immigration officials found 200 smart phones, 30 laptops, many SIM cards and notebooks showing the names of the investors and the amounts of their investments.

Pol Lt-Gen Sompong said that the mastermind of the alleged fraud, identified as Lan Sir, is in China and the operation in Bangkok was under the supervision of 30-year old Gua-tao Chang, who was among those rounded up by immigration police at the unnamed hotel.

Each of the gang members was paid about 6,000 yuan, or 30,000 baht a month.

All 58 suspects held tourist visas and do not have work permits. They were initially charged with working illegally in the kingdom.

Pol Lt-Gen Sompong said that the suspects have had their visas revoked because their activities were regarded as a social threat, adding that they will face deportation back to China.

He said Chinese embassy officials have been informed of the arrests and asked to take delivery of the seized laptops and documents so they can continue the investigation back in China.