BANGKOK: A joint Malaysian-Thai police operation in Penang Wednesday night delivered a ‘double whammy’ for the underworld when it not only crippled a Taiwanese-led ‘Macau Scam’ syndicate but also uncovered name lists of high-ranking Thai officials.
In the raid on a hillside bungalow in the island state, police officers from Malaysia’s Commercial Crime Department and Thailand’s Tourist Police nabbed two suspected Taiwanese masterminds and 10 Thais, comprising five men and five women.
“The raid uncovered name lists of high-ranking Thai officials from the Narcotics Suppression Bureau (NSB), Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) and the court,” Thailand’s Tourist Police deputy chief, Maj Gen Surachet Hakpal said yesterday, but stopped short of revealing more details.
According to him, the joint operation was launched following information that the bungalow had been used as a base for an international phone scamming syndicate, with the two Taiwanese men at the helm of the syndicate’s operations.
The Thai suspects who were arrested in the raid, he said, came from the Songkla and Sukhothai provinces.
“They claimed they were duped by the syndicate into working for its members and were forced to call their counterparts in Thailand to swindle their money,” said Surachet.
He said last month, the Thais managed to cheat their victims into transferring about 400,000 Baht (RM51,000) in favour of the syndicate.
This was the third joint operation launched by the two police forces in Malaysia to uproot the ‘Macau Scam’ or phone fraud activities involving Thai citizens, he said, adding that the Thai police received good cooperation from their Malaysian counterparts.
The latest joint raid also saw the seizure of communication equipment, including mobile phones, computers and bank account books.
Surachet suspected the latest syndicate was part of a larger operation involving Taiwanese fugitive, Chen Yuen Kai, who was detained in an earlier operation but managed to flee to an undisclosed country after jumping bail. – Bernama