In the bustling city of Nakhon Si Thammarat, a 19-year-old academic prodigy named Atiya met with an unexpected ending to her young life. After being duped into paying a hefty down payment of 20,000 baht for an iPhone that was never intended to materialize, Atiya was found lifeless, a tragic victim of her own desperation and online scam.
Identified as a Grade 12 student, Atiya was discovered at her family residence in the pastoral area of tambon Koh Thuad in Pak Phanang district, succumbing to the immense stress imparted by cyber criminals. Following the tragic discovery, law enforcement swung into action, scouring for clues related to the elusive culprits, including a woman linked to a mule account through which the gang members funneled their illicit earnings.
Probing Atiya’s close friends and a distressed aunt living in the same residence, police learned about Atiya’s connection with a purported cell phone shop in the far-off district of Mae Sai in Chiang Rai. The fraudulent entity lured her into the purchase of an iPhone 13, enticing her with affordable installment payments and a preliminary down payment scheme.
Blinded by her need for the gadget and deceived by the professional-looking scam, Atiya transferred four installments totaling 18,500 baht to a bank account under the name of Dokkaew Kaewjerm. The money transfer slips and chat exchanges that paved the way for Atiya’s doomed transaction were retrieved from her personal mobile device.
After the hefty deposit shockingly failed to result in the delivery of the iPhone, the perturbed student reached out to the seller numerous times, each time met with disheartening silence. Her pleas for a refund were met with a callous demand for an extra 2,000-baht guarantee fee for the iPhone, to which she reluctantly complied.
The scam’s unveiling only added gasoline to Atiya’s mounting fears as she grasped the reality of her predicament. With part of the stolen money loaned from her friends and an anticipated scolding from her mother, stress started to engulf her like an inescapable black hole.
On the fateful day of October 15, Atiya sent her final text to a friend. Full of fear and regret, she expressed her worry about her mother’s disappointment when she found out about the scam. Having lost contact with her, the troubled friend promptly alerted Atiya’s family, who had to force the bedroom door open to uncover the heart-wrenching scene of her demise.
Local law enforcement and cybercrime specialists are relentlessly pursuing the culprits behind the immoral plot, starting with the identified owner of the mule account for the online scam operation.
The grief-stricken mother, Ms. Boonyuen, shattered with the untimely loss of her beloved daughter, recollected the dreams that Atiya had for her near future. The longed-for iPhone 13 was merely to serve her at the university next year. She had suggested to Atiya to wait till month-end, but the latter’s impatience led her to the online scam.
Expressing her sorrows through an unceasing torrent of tears, she urged the police to speed up their hunt for the vile culprits. She stated, “I would have never berated her, for I loved her deeply. I wish the culprits pay for instigating this tragedy and are caught soon so they don’t inflict similar misery upon others.”