3 Britons arrested in call centre scam


BANGKOK, June 20 – Three British nationals were arrested for alleged involvement in a transnational call centre scam, Thailand’s Immigration Bureau chief said on Tuesday.

Police Lt-Gen Wiboon Bangthamai, commissioner of the Immigration Bureau, said the three suspects were arrested with telephones, internet connection devices, computers and documents about the victims.

The detainees were identified as Richard Ian Cook, Stovell Matthew Niel and Carroll Matthew Peter.

Gen Wiboon said the arrest came as police searched a room in Sukhumvit Soi 26 in the Thai capital after finding that a broker company was set up to lure victims from abroad to transfer money for investment.

According to the commissioner, the calls were made via internet-based telephone from Thailand to European countries such as England, Switzerland, Germany, Sweden and Austria to convince the victims to transfer their money to a bank account opened in Switzerland.

Gen Wiboon revealed the investment fund started at two million baht or around 50,000 euros per person and the money was then transferred from Switzerland to the bank accounts in Malaysia and then finally forwarded to Thailand. One fourth of the money was disbursed to persons opening the accounts, another 25 per cent for call centre staff, and the rest for the head of the gang who lives in Malaysia.

The suspects however denied all charges.

They were initially charged with overstaying their visas and will be declared persona non grata.

Police are now conducting further investigations to find if there are more accomplices.