A high-end Mercedes-Benz, two additional luxury vehicles, 5 million baht in cash, and numerous high-value items were confiscated from the residence of a suspected Chinese scam ring leader during a police operation in Bang Khunthian district of Bangkok. The arrest involved the alleged ringleader of a Chinese call center scam and ten other suspects accused of conning individuals into investing in gold through misleading connections to the Crown Property Bureau.
The fraudsters operated under the name “Royal Gold” and operated out of the infamous Kings Romans casino in the Golden Triangle in Laos. Authorities estimate that the scam resulted in victims losing around 500 million baht. Teng June, a 32-year-old Chinese national, is believed to have been the gang’s leader. He was apprehended in the Bang Khunthian area of Bangkok, according to Pol Maj Gen Athip Pongsiwapai, commander of the Technology Crime Suppression Division (TCSD).
In addition to Teng June, nine Thai citizens and one stateless woman were arrested in Chiang Rai and Chanthaburi provinces. Among the items seized from the suspects were three luxury cars, over 5 million baht in cash, 30 gold ornaments, high-end watches, designer handbags, computers, mobile phones, SIM cards, bank account books, gold certificates, and other valuables. All suspects face charges of fraud, entering false information into a computer system, and money laundering and are currently in police custody.
The Crown Property Bureau previously filed a police report alleging that a criminal group had misrepresented it by creating a website under the name “Royal Gold” to promote gold investments. From January to May of this year, numerous individuals became victims, with total losses estimated at around 500 million baht, according to Pol Maj Gen Athip. Investigators determined that Teng June supervised the scam ring, which was based at the Kings Romans casino.
Teng June managed different aspects of the operation, including allocating tasks to others such as setting up bank accounts for receiving funds from victims and recruiting individuals to open accounts. Some members were responsible for laundering money. Pol Col Siriwat Deephor, deputy TCSD commander, revealed that the group used fake Facebook accounts featuring attractive women in profile photos to approach potential victims and entice them to invest in gold via the Royal Gold website. The site was designed to resemble a stock trading platform with graphs displaying prices and trading volumes, and the scammers claimed that their website invested in gold, leveraging links to the Crown Property Bureau to establish credibility.
Initially, investors received a 10% return on their investments, but when they attempted to withdraw their funds, they discovered they couldn’t. Subsequently, they were asked to transfer additional money to cover taxes and service fees. After securing the money, the scammers became unreachable. According to Pol Col Siriwat, the gang used the funds stolen from victims to purchase cryptocurrency, which was then transferred to digital wallets created under other people’s names to launder the illicit money.
Pol Col Nethi Wongkularp, superintendent of TSCD Sub-division 2, who led the arrest operation, said, “The investigation found that those who were hired to open bank accounts and digital wallets mostly live in Chiang Rai. They were hired for 3,000 to 4,000 baht each.” He also revealed that one of the gang members responsible for recruiting people to open bank accounts claimed to have been paid 10,000 baht per account. After accumulating substantial gambling debts at Kings Romans, he was allegedly coerced into working for the scam group by the Chinese gang leader arrested among the 11 suspects.
While the alleged ringleader and several accomplices are in custody, police are still searching for five other scammers: Qiu Dewu, 45, Qiu Decong, 36, and Zhang Zhihong, 22, who are all Chinese nationals and part of the gang’s executive level, as well as two other Thai individuals whose names have not been released.