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Top cop, commerce officials arrested for selling victims’ data to scammers

Top cop, commerce officials arrested for selling victims' data to scammers

A police lieutenant colonel, said to work at Ao Noi in Prachuap Khiri Khan and whose face is blurred in this police photo, is one of three state officials arrested for selling people’s personal information to Chinese phone scammers.

A police lieutenant colonel and a married couple at the Commerce Ministry have been arrested for selling the personal information of more than 1,000 people to Chinese call centre scammers, with 20,000 baht a day being paid into their bank accounts.

Deputy national police chief, Pol Gen Torsak Sukvimol, and Cybercrime Investigation Bureau commissioner, Pol Lt Gen Worawat Watnakhonbancha, on Friday revealed the alleged involvement of the three state officials in the scams.

Pol Gen Torsak said 16 members of call centre gangs were arrested during a police operation early this month. The suspects were mostly people hired to open bank accounts and those who then forwarded the money to Chinese gang leaders.

Three of them were state officials who were paid to supply information about potential victims so they could be duped out of their money, Pol Gen Torsak said.

Police had followed the money trail of the call centre scam gangs and found money had been paid regularly into the bank accounts of the three officials. The personal information of more than 1,000 Thai people had been stolen and sold to those scammers, the deputy national police chief said.

The three accused officials worked at agencies that had access to databases. One was a police lieutenant colonel, he said.

A police source said the officer was a crime suppression chief at Ao Noi police station in Prachuap Khiri Khan province.

According to Pol Gen Torsak, the police lieutenant colonel had a password that allowed him to check personal information on the civil registration database. Investigators learned that the officer had entered the database innumerable times.

The two other officials were a married couple at the Commerce Ministry. They had stolen information about trade registrations and business details of victims for sale to the scam gangs, focusing on wealthy people with a lot of registered capital.

The three state officials earned 20,000 a day each, or 600,000 baht a month, from Chinese call centre scam gangs, Pol Gen Torsak said.

A bank detected unusual money transactions involving the police officer and the couple and alerted police. This led to the trio’s arrest.

The most recent victim was a doctor in Chiang Mai province who had been duped out of 6.9 million baht, Pol Gen Torsak said.

The gang had created a fake website for the Department of Special Investigation and phoned the doctor, saying she was being investigated for a criminal offence and her bank accounts must be examined.

A fake arrest warrant with a photo of the victim was sent to her. The victim later transferred 6,970,000 baht to the gang before learning that she had been duped. A complaint was later filed online with police on July 21, the deputy national police chief said.

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