Four "rich Malaysian investors" from a transnational scam syndicate were arrested for allegedly cheating a 56-year-old Thai woman of millions of Baht under the guise of wanting to purchase her resort in Chiang Mai.
Thai Tourist Police deputy chief, Maj Gen Surachet Hakpan (photo) said the Malaysian men, aged between 49 and 74 years, deceived the victim into losing a large sum of cash in a gamble and also into owing them 14 million Baht (about RM1.75 million).
The four men, he said, portrayed themselves as wealthy Malaysians who were interested in buying the victim's 12-million Baht (RM1.5 million) resort in Chiang Mai, where they held a meeting several times to negotiate the purchase and visited the property in early January, this year.
"On Jan 17, they met the woman in a VIP room of a hotel in Bangkok where she alleged the men spiked her drink before indulging in gambling where the Malaysian men deceived her into losing 3.8 million Baht in cash (RM475,000) while at the same time owing them another 14 million Baht," he told the media, here, today.
Surachet, who heads the Royal Thai Police's effort of combating scam syndicates in the country, said the four Malaysian men claimed to be successful businessmen in the oil palm industry and had about US$1 million in possession which they planned to invest in Thailand.
A day after the Jan 17 encounter in the Bangkok hotel, the woman made a police report about the scam after realizing she had been duped into parting with millions of Baht of her money by the four men.
Upon receiving a report, Thai police conducted an investigation before arresting all the four yesterday at a local hotel in Bangkok, where they also confiscated a sum of counterfeit and real money in Malaysian, Thai and US currencies.
According to Surachet, the Malaysian men were part of an international scam syndicate who had preyed on Thais.
"They cheated the Thai people and we believe that they have committed this crime several times. They acted like they wanted to buy a resort, but in the end, they deceived the victim into gambling," he said.
The Thai authorities, he said, would be revoking the suspects' visas and blacklisting them from entering Thailand in future.
Based on the initial investigation, the Malaysian men had been in the country several times before this.