Thai police have released a statement claiming to have arrested 24 Chinese nationals who were part of an alleged Bitcoin scam ring.
The group, who reportedly targeted Chinese investors via telephone and encouraged them to purchase Bitcoin at inflated rates, were arrested on December 2 at a rented premises called ‘Galaxy Place’.
More than 400 mobile phones and 61 laptops were seized during the raid, which was orchestrated by Thai immigration officials.
However, the legal status of the arrested individuals is now unclear, as many of them had their passports taken and held by the group’s ring leader, who it seems is still at large.
The individuals claim that the head of the scam lured employees from China with promises of a three-month fixed contract, paying around £540 a month including bed and board.
Despite these promises, when employees arrived in Thailand, they had to surrender their passports and would regularly work shifts in excess of 12 hours.
It is currently unclear how many fell victim to the scam, or how much the criminal ring made before they were shut down.
Thailand becoming a hotbed for crypto scams
While Thai authorities are making every effort to prevent scammers, Thailand has become a hotbed of crypto scams in recent years, perhaps due to the low cost of living in the Asian nation, which has attracted many tech-savvy foreign nationals.
Among these was OneCoin’s infamous co-founder Sebastian Greenwood, who fled to Thailand to escape arrest only to be extradited to the US by the FBI in November 2018.
Similarly, in November 2019, a Swedish national was apprehended and extradited from Thailand facing $11 million in crypto fraud charges. The 45-year-old had been living in the country and using fraudulent websites to swindle investors out of cash.
Last year, a Finnish man was scammed out of more than 5,500 Bitcoin by Thai scammers, worth over $24 million at the time, which he was lured into investing in a fraudulent company.
The details of when the Chinese suspects will go on trial has not been released.