In a striking turn of events that hits close to home for Hua Hin residents, Thai authorities recently apprehended three individuals involved in a transnational criminal organization that lured fellow Thais into a deceptive employment scheme. This case has drawn significant attention, especially in the Prachuab Kiri Khan region, as one of the suspects hails from Kui Buri, a district not far from Hua Hin.
On January 19, 2024, the Crime Suppression Division, under the command of Police Major General Sararuthi Kaewsopa, orchestrated the arrests. Police Colonel Pattanapong Sripinprapa, the head of Sub-Division 2, along with his team, successfully detained the suspects: Ms. Panchita and Ms. Jenjira, both 20 years old, and Mr. Pongsakorn Kamta, 19. They were charged with participating in a criminal syndicate, fraudulently promising employment abroad, and coercing individuals into opening bank accounts.
The issue came to light in November 2023 when the Paveena Hongsakul Foundation for Women and Children assisted several Thai victims out of the 26 reported cases. These individuals were duped into opening bank accounts in Poipet, Cambodia, under the guise of high-paying jobs. The scam promised salaries between 35,000 to 40,000 baht, with an additional 5,000 baht per account as a special bonus.
However, upon arrival in Poipet, these accounts were used by call center gangs for fraudulent activities. When these accounts were seized or became inactive, the victims were promptly deported without compensation and faced legal charges for opening these fraudulent accounts.
Further investigation led to the discovery that the three apprehended individuals, responsible for recruiting people to open these accounts, had returned to Thailand. Some visited their homes in Klong Had District, Sa Kaeo Province, while one returned to Kui Buri District in Prachuab Kiri Khan, bringing the issue into the Hua Hin area's immediate vicinity.
During interrogation, the suspects confessed to their roles as HR representatives or account recruiters for a Chinese group in Cambodia. They admitted to deceiving Thai nationals with job offers in exchange for commission and additional payment for each bank account opened. The suspects have since been handed over to the Crime Suppression Division's Sub-Division 2 for further legal proceedings.
This case underscores the ever-present threat of transnational crime and its ability to reach even the quieter regions like Hua Hin, reminding locals of the importance of vigilance against such deceptive practices.
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