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Thailand: Fraud suspects likely operated in Philippines

THAILAND (TR) – Some of the 15 Japanese nationals suspected in a large fraud carried out by telephone likely ran a similar operation from the Philippines, local police said Tuesday, reports TV Asahi (Apr. 17).

The suspects, aged between 22 to 54, had occupied a high-end residence in the city of Pattaya for the two months prior to a search conducted by law enforcement on March 29. During the raid, officers seized 52 telephones and 19 computers.

Officers also found records that showed the ring accumulated 137 million yen between February 1 and 24. The following month, the figure was 89 million yen.

Local police believe the suspects used the seized equipment to swindle primarily elderly persons in Japan in money-transfer scams in which the victims were told they were liable for unpaid fees. A manual that explained how to carry out the scam was also found inside the residence.

In the latest development, local police revealed that nine of the suspects made four trips to the Philippines from Japan between November, 2017 and last December. The revelations have led law enforcement to suspect that the ring also operated in the Philippines.

Fifteen Japanese nationals
Fifteen Japanese nationals are suspected of operating a fraud ring from Thailand (Twitter)

The existence of the ring emerged after the landlord of the building grew suspicious about the equipment being used by the suspects. Thus far, the suspects have been accused of working illegally in Thailand.

On April 16, Japanese arrived in Thailand to begin an investigation into the ring. Local police plan to extradite the 15 suspects to Japan.

Local police previously revealed that three other Japanese nationals are sought in the case. Two of them are believed to be in hiding in Thailand. The third has likely returned to Japan.