Tourist police raided the scam call centre office that was running over an internet shop by a European gang who used internet overseas calling to defraud the victims abroad. Approximately 10 million baht was discovered having been transferred to the gang’s accounts.
At 1.00 am police Major Arun Phromphan Pattaya Tourist Police Inspector, together with Major Atthaphon Saenjai, Tourist Police Officer, led a taskforce holding the Pattaya Provincial Court’s arrest warrant number 129/2554, signed on 22nd February, to raid “Viking Internet”, 358/22, Viking Hotel, Soi South Pattaya 14, South Pattaya Road, Nongprue, Banglamung. The investigation disclosed that the internet shop was the site from which its operators used telephones via internet in order to defraud victims abroad.
At the scene, they found 2 large adjoining rooms, which had been modified from the hotel’s meeting hall being used as the office. A lot of computers were found to be installed inside with seven Europeans sitting in front of them calling online. All European suspects were arrested and evidence was impounded including 18 computers with 17 LCD screens, 1 printer, some archives and notebooks as well as written lists of massive telephone numbers.
Under interrogation it was established that the suspects were four Norwegians, Mr.Espen Forberg (41), Mr.Sebastian Gjertsen (21), Mr.Martin Gisvold Garathun (21), Mrs.Ida Marie Juhl Falchenberg (20), the other 3 being Swedish, Mr.Ulf Carl Johan Hellbacken (36), Mr.Anders Erik Engzell (30) and Mr.Tommy Viktor Soderlund (26). They were charged with doing business in the kingdom without work permits, which all deny.
Police Major Phromphan revealed that the officer had noticed that there were 15 foreign members in the call centre gang who were living at various condominiums in Pattaya. Over last 6 months, Thai people were hired to set up a company called “Global Telemarketing Ltd.” as required to open an internet shop from Banglamung district. Its name was “Viking Internet”, situated in the Viking Hotel.
Then it opened the office from where it started calling overseas via internet VOIP (Voice over internet protocol) and using government telephone numbers to cheat victims in Norway and Sweden. Mostly, it would be pretended that the victims would get a job but needed firstly to pay an agent’s commission. Sometimes, the fraudsters would deceive victims into buying some products. After moneyhad been transferred in, the account would be closed immediately. It was expected that more than hundred people have been cheated out of about 10 million baht.
Subsequently the officer referred all suspects with evidence to Lt. Gen. Phonphan Chayaphong, Central Investigation Bureau Commissioner and Maj. Gen. Adit Ngamjitsuksri, Tourism Police Commissioner, for remand pending further enquiries.