PHUKET: A Nigerian man and a Thai woman have been arrested in Phuket for their involvement in online ‘romance scams’ that saw their victims swindled out of at least B11 million.
The Nigerian national, named by police “Mr Abuchi Johnkennedy Onyenecherem”, and Thai woman Ampha ‘Pink’ Phatthap, 26, were arrested at a rented room in Srisoonthorn, Thalang, on Tuesday (Sept 28), police reported today (Sept 30).
Present for the arrests were officers from the Immigration Bureau and Cherng Talay Police.
Of note, police gave an alternate name for “Mr Abuchi”, that of “Mr Ikvogolam Joseph Chimemerim”.
Ampha was wanted on an outstanding warrant issued by Chonburi Provincial Court on Monday (Sept 27), police explained today.
What was not explained was on which day ampha and Mr Abuchi had entered Phuket, which until midnight tonight remains under the tight entry provisions excluding entry to the province to all people except Sandbox tourists, emergency personnel, essential deliveries and people conducting urgent business on the island, such as attending court appointments or leaving the island via the airport.
Regardless, officers today explained that Ampha had created fake identities online, via Facebook. LINE and other online platforms, and deceived victims by enticing them into a romantic relationship, and then having them send money to pay for living expenses, gifts or to send items back to them by post.
Ampha confessed that over six months she had tricked her victims into sending more than B11mn to a specified account. She was then instructed by a network in Bangkok to transfer the funds to other bank accounts.
Ampha confessed she was paid for her role in the scams, police said.
As for ‘Mr Abuchi’, immigration officers said that he had been staying in the country illegally.
Police were now investigating him for his possible role in the romance scam, police said.
The pair were taken to Cherng Talay Police Station and charged for the crimes police already have evidence for, police noted in their report today.
More charges may be pending, they added.