6 June 2024

Police from Thailand’s Cyber Crime Investigation Bureau (CCIB) have arrested seven people and have seized a large quantity of assets from two companies, which allegedly operated a Ponzi scheme luring people to invest in mushroom, bee and kratom (an addictive plant) farming, with promises of unrealistically high returns.

CCIB spokesman Pol Col Krisana Pattanacharoen said that, between November 2021 and July 2022, the two entities, Mining Mine X Company and Lak Si Station Limited Partnership, set up several mushroom farms in the north-eastern province of Sakhon Nakhon and invited, through advertising, members of the public to invest in their mushroom, bee and kratom farming businesses with the promise of quick and high returns.

He added that the two companies had recruited well-known personalities to participate in their promotional campaign, which stated that, if they invest 264,360 baht in mushroom farming, they would receive a dividend, amounting to 108,640 baht, in the third month. Alternatively, if they invest 275,000 baht in kratom farming, they would receive a dividend of 150,000 baht in the eighth month.

Pol Col Krisana said that more than 1,000 people invested over 1 billion baht in the businesses, which were actually a Ponzi scheme.

Eventually, he said, that the companies began to default on paying the promised dividends, leading a number of investors to file complaints with the police.

Responding to the complaints, the CCIB launched an investigation and managed to collect sufficient evidence to file charges of fraud, illegal lending and violations of the computer crime law against nine executives and to seek warrants for their arrest.

Two suspects remain at large.

Krisana said he expects the CCIB to forward the cases to the public prosecutors in April.