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Thailand: Six arrested for digital currency investment fraud

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A man and five women have been arrested on fraud charges for allegedly tricking people into investing in cryptocurrencies, promising high returns and then failing to make payments.

Pol Maj Gen Surachate Hakpan, deputy commissioner of the Tourist Police Bureau, identified the six as Payuhapol Supa, Kemrat Anannitayakij, Sulawan Pimpa, Panthira Sirimongkol, Pornthip Suebprasitsuk and Sasimon Wong.

He said the six were alleged to have lured people to invest in World Bit Trade, a company supposedly registered in the US and said to trade in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. The firm guaranteed a daily payback of 1% of the capital or a maximum of 300% for a period of 300 days, he said. Investors were told they could check their investments and the returns on website.

About a thousand people invested in the company, which did not actually exist, but only about 50 – from provinces including Bangkok, Chon Buri, Songkhla and Chiang Mai – filed complaints with the police. About 100 million baht was lost in the scheme.

The complaints led to the earlier arrests of Pasu Bangnong and Wanthanee Niamsuwan, who are now being detained in Chon Buri Prison. An expanded investigation led to the arrest of the other six.

One victim, Thanyarat Sithicharoenyos, 53, said she had been persuaded by members of the group who promised a high return. She transferred a total of 2.7 million baht in Sept 2017.

She checked her investment record on the website and saw that her funds had risen. About one month later, she asked to withdraw the money several times, but the group refused to pay, citing various reasons such as a computer system failure.

Sensing she had been cheated, she filed a police complaint in Chon Buri.

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