Africans, Malaysians scooped up in pre-New Year’s sweep

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Police arrested Malaysian ATM skimmers, Nigerians running a Facebook romance scam, and 30 Ugandan prostitutes in a pre-New Year’s crime sweep targeting foreigners.

Deputy Tourist Police Commissioner Pol. Maj. Gen. Surachet Hakpal chaired a Dec. 27 news conference with Pattaya Tourist Police commander Pol. Lt. Col. Piyapong Ensarn and officers from the narcotics, human trafficking, forensics and immigration police divisions on the Pattaya-area arrests.

Malaysians Leong Soon Weng and Choong De Horng were captured with 19 Thai bankbooks, 19 stolen electronic cards, eight cards from foreign banks, 110,000 in baht and 1,400 baht worth of foreign currency, 38 wire transfer receipts and five telephone SIM cards.

Police claimed the pair are front men for a group skimming ATM machines and defrauding others via a telephone call center.

The Nigerians arrested, Johnson Chu Ka Ani and Luke Madukwe, are accused of swindling Thitikan Rattanakittipong and ten other women out of 10 million baht. The pair allegedly set up fake Facebook pages and formed online relationships with women whom they tricked into transferring them cash.

The Ugandan women arrested all are victims of human trafficking by compatriot Belinda Namulee, immigration police alleged. Authorities also arrested two unnamed Nigerians for overstaying their visas.

All the foreigners arrested will be deported, Surachet said.