Thai police bust ‘Tinder’ scam gang after trafficked call centre workers escape #nigeria | #nigeriascams | #lovescams

BANGKOK (The Nation/Asia News Network): Thai police said on Monday (Oct 31) they had arrested the Chinese leader of a transnational gang that trafficked people to work at scam call centres on the border.

Pol Lt Gen Jirabhop Bhuridej, commissioner of the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB), said the suspect founded the 19-member gang to staff call centres that scammed people with bogus cryptocurrency investments via dating apps.

Jiraphob said the suspect, named only as Huang or Yong, 32, first placed online job advertisements to trick people into working on the Thai-Myanmar border. The workers were met at the Mae Sot border in Tak before being made to cross to Myawaddy in Myanmar on foot.

Victims were then forced to trick Thai customers into fake investments in digital assets or bitcoin. Seven of the call centre workers were rescued after alerting authorities.

The workers said that the crime ring created fake accounts on apps including Tinder and Badoo. They contacted the target, tricked them into investing and then handed them on to Malay or Filipino call centre workers to close the deal.

Victims were forced to work 12 hours a day, seven days a week and pressured to meet targets.

Thai police bust ‘Tinder’ scam gang after trafficked call centre workers escape

Jirabhop said police were still probing how workers were punished for failing to meet their quotas – whether by solitary confinement, torture, head-shaving, or electric shocks.

Workers had also asked their relatives to mortgage their land or cars to obtain the 50,000 baht needed for release and travel back home, he added.

After the seven victims were rescued, police monitored the gang before securing arrest warrants for all 19 members – three Chinese, one Malay, one Filipino, three Myanmar, and 11 Thai nationals.

Police identified Yong as the gang’s leader and financier after discovering he had travelled to Thailand in May this year and opened a boxing camp and boxing promotion business to launder money.

He was detained in the parking lot of Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok on Saturday and charged with human trafficking and membership of an organised human trafficking gang benefitting from forced labour.

He denied all charges.

Police said they had so far caught eight of the 19 gang members. They added that call centre workers trafficked by the gang victims would be charged with illegal immigration.

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