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Bangkok’s Fortune-Teller Fraud: Suwatchai Chiangmai’s Arrest Unveils a Dark Tale of Deception

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In an astonishing turn of events that seems straight out of a crime thriller, the bustling streets of Bangkok became the backdrop for the dramatic apprehension of a modern-day charlatan who took fortune-telling from a benign pastime to an audacious scam. Suwatchai Chiangmai, 37, found himself in the grip of law enforcement this past Saturday, not for heralding fortunes but for swindling hopefuls through a deceptive online ruse that lasted two years and victimized over 100 people.

The scene at Golden Place convenience store on Ngamwongwan road in Bangkok’s Chatuchak district was strangely cinematic, as officers from the Metropolitan Police Bureau, led by the keen-eyed Pol Gen Theeradej Thamsuthee, commander of the MPB investigation division, closed in on Suwatchai. Wanted on a warrant issued by the Phra Nakhon Nua court for fraud and introducing falsehoods into a computer system, his game was up. But how did this Bangkok native, with nothing but guile and a Facebook page named “Jakree Chaengmai,” convince over a hundred individuals to part with their hard-earned money?

It was with the audacious claim of being a conduit to the divine, a fortune-teller with the rare ability to consult with deities from the heavens. Tales of misfortune were spun with the skilled craftsmanship of a seasoned storyteller, sowing seeds of fear among his clients. Yet, in the same breath, Suwatchai offered a glimmer of hope: a Brahmin ceremony, no less, performed multiple times to ward off bad luck, rectify karma, and summon good fortune from past deeds. The cost? It started at a seemingly nominal fee of 199 baht but spiraled into the realm of exorbitant sums, draining wallets and bank accounts alike, with losses ranging from mere hundreds to staggering six-digit figures.

Following his arrest, the veil was further lifted on Suwatchai’s nefarious activities, revealing not one, but four additional arrest warrants spanning fraud charges across Nakhon Ratchasima, Min Buri, Samut Prakan, and Chiang Mai, with dates stretching from Sep 5, 2022, to the futuristic marker of Jan 1, 2024. This revelation was not just a testament to his long-standing deceit but also underscored the relentless pursuit of justice by the police forces against cybercrimes that prey on the vulnerable and superstitious.

Pol Gen Theeradej’s statement post-arrest encapsulates the essence of this bizarre saga: a reaffirmation of the commitment to combat all shades of cybercrime that cast a shadow over the lives of ordinary people, seeking solace or answers in the digital realm. Suwatchai Chiangmai’s story, while unique in its blend of ancient ritualistic promises and modern-day fraud, is a cautionary tale about the dark alleys of the internet where fortunes are not made but taken.

As the dust settles on this peculiar case, one can’t help but marvel at the age-old saying that indeed, truth is stranger than fiction — especially when it involves the interwoven destinies of a fake fortune-teller, a police crackdown, and the curious lot of us, forever intrigued by the promise of knowing what the future holds, even if it’s from the least credible of sources.


  1. JaneDoe123 May 19, 2024

    Honestly, people falling for this kind of scam in the digital age is beyond me. How can you not do a basic background check on someone you’re about to give money to for ‘fortune-telling’?

    • MysticMike May 19, 2024

      It’s not always about not being smart enough to check. Sometimes, people are desperate for hope and easy fixes. It’s more about emotional vulnerability than intellect.

      • Skeptic21 May 19, 2024

        Still, leaving your common sense at the door because you’re ‘vulnerable’? I get the emotional aspect, but there’s a line where you gotta question things.

    • JaneDoe123 May 19, 2024

      Good point @MysticMike, didn’t see it that way. Desperation can cloud judgment. It’s just sad to see people exploited like that.

  2. TechWizard May 19, 2024

    The real crime here is the failure of social media platforms to catch and stop these scammers before they harm people. Platforms need better regulation and AI to filter out these frauds.

  3. BangkokN8tive May 19, 2024

    As a Bangkok resident, it pains me to see our city’s name dragged through the mud because of one scammer. We’re more than this; our culture and people have a lot to offer beyond these negative stories.

    • TravelBug May 19, 2024

      Totally agree! Every place has its bad apples, but you can’t judge the entire city or culture based on a few scammers. Can’t wait to visit Bangkok again!

  4. OldSchool May 19, 2024

    Bringing in the police for fortune-telling fraud? Back in my day, folks would’ve just laughed off a bad fortune teller. Now it’s all arrests and legal actions. Society has no tolerance for mistakes anymore.

    • LegalEagle May 19, 2024

      It’s not about society being intolerant to mistakes. When someone’s scamming people out of their money, especially in large amounts, it’s a crime. It’s about protecting people, not punishing mistakes.

      • OldSchool May 19, 2024

        Good point, but where do we draw the line? Today it’s fake fortune tellers, tomorrow who? Artists selling ‘questionable’ art? It’s a slippery slope.

      • JuryDuty May 19, 2024

        The line is drawn at deception for financial gain. Artists selling their art, even if ‘questionable’, aren’t deceiving buyers about what they’re purchasing. It’s very different scenarios.

  5. CuriousCat May 19, 2024

    Does anyone else think it’s odd how he could elude authorities with actual arrest warrants out there? Like, is this highlighting bigger issues within our cyber policing strategies?

    • Watcher May 19, 2024

      You’ve hit the nail on the head. If someone with multiple warrants can still operate, it shows a gap in our enforcement and possibly in cross-jurisdictional cooperation.

  6. BhaktiYogi May 19, 2024

    This story is a sad reflection of how genuine spiritual practices and rituals are being exploited for personal gain. It disrespects the traditions and the real practitioners.

    • RealistRaj May 19, 2024

      But how do you distinguish the ‘real’ practitioners from the fakes? Isn’t the whole business of predicting the future a bit dubious to start with?

      • BhaktiYogi May 19, 2024

        It’s about intention. Genuine practitioners offer spiritual guidance without guaranteeing fortune or exploiting fears. They don’t ask for large amounts of money for rituals.

  7. Seeker May 19, 2024

    Stories like this keep me cynical about anything that can’t be proven by science. How many more scams out there are preying on people’s hopes and fears?

    • FaithNHope May 19, 2024

      Not everything can be measured or proven by science, yet. There’s more to life than what we can see or understand right now. People’s beliefs give them comfort and strength.

      • Seeker May 19, 2024

        I respect that, but it’s exactly this thinking that scammers exploit. Where do we draw the line between belief and gullibility?

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