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Thai Man Arrested for Scamming Foreigners in Passport Fraud

A 48-year-old Thai man has been arrested for defrauding foreigners by promising to procure Thai passports. The suspect, identified as Thanitphong, allegedly used his father’s bank account to receive nearly 2 million baht from a single victim.

On June 8, Bangkok Metropolitan police arrested Thanitphong under an arrest warrant issued by the Southern Bangkok District Court on May 24, 2024. He faces charges of “jointly committing fraud.” The arrest took place in the parking lot of a luxury condominium in the Ramkhamhaeng area of Hua Mak Subdistrict, Bang Kapi District.

The investigation began when a foreign victim living in Bangkok filed a complaint. The victim reported that Thanitphong had promised to obtain a Thai passport for him for a processing fee of 600,000 baht. The victim transferred the money to a bank account under the name TENGYONG on October 6, 2023. Subsequently, Thanitphong requested an additional 1.3 million baht to expedite the process, which the victim transferred on October 19, 2023. After this, Thanitphong became unreachable, leading the victim to believe he had been scammed and prompting him to contact the authorities.

Thanitphong admitted to the charges, explaining that before the COVID-19 pandemic, he had facilitated the production of passports and nationality changes for foreigners seeking Thai citizenship. He charged up to 2.5 million baht per person for these services. However, a crackdown by the Thai government on foreigners illegally obtaining Thai nationality, particularly targeting the so-called “Grey Chinese” group involved in illicit businesses, halted his operations. Facing financial ruin, Thanitphong resorted to defrauding individuals by pretending he could still provide these services.

Upon his arrest, Thanitphong revealed that his father was also facing an arrest warrant. He confessed to using his father’s bank account without his father’s knowledge due to his own bankruptcy issues, fearing his fraudulent earnings would be confiscated if they were traced to him.

Police Major General Teeradej Thammasuthi, commander of the Metropolitan Police Bureau’s Investigation Division, emphasized the evolving nature of criminal tactics and urged the public, especially foreigners, to remain vigilant against such scams. He reiterated that the Department of Provincial Administration and the Ministry of Interior have established official procedures for applying for Thai nationality, and all applications must adhere to these guidelines.

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