Gang syndicate links seen in Myanmar plot

Additional charges of money laundering and operating a crime syndicate have been pressed against one of the two arrested Thai suspects in a Myanmar-based investment scam, estimated to have cost more than 300 million baht in losses.

Supattha Chantarangsi, 68, chairwoman of Hujjee Group Co, faced additional two charges yesterday, in addition to the one of fraud and publishing false information in the computer system, said Pol Maj Suriya Singhakamol, deputy director of the Department of Special Investigation (DSI).

Ms Supattha was handed over to the DSI for further questioning yesterday after she had been detained by the military officials at the 11th Military Circle, Pol Maj Suriya said. She was thought to have operated a transnational crime syndicate involving suspects in both Thailand and Myanmar who include high-level police, military officials, and the media, he said.

About four to five people who work for both the mainstream media and satellite-based TV channels are suspected to be involved and will be summoned for questioning, he said.

The Myanmar Mon state royal descendant named “Chao Thepyothin” in the investment scam is a fake, according to investigators.

She was identified as Kyaw Myint Oo, and is being hunted by Myanmar authorities, Pol Maj Suriya said.

Police have learned that Kyaw Myint Oo is a chairman of a Myanmar company, found to have worked together with Hujjee Group in luring more than 1,200 companies to invest in 78 projects that never existed,according to Pol Col Maitri Chimcherd, acting chief of the Crime Suppression Division (CSD).

The companies claimed concessions over the 78 projects were granted to them by the Myanmar government. The DSI is asking the Anti-Money Laundering Office to investigate the money trail in the scam, Pol Maj Suriya said.

He said the scam was operated by a “major criminal network” using fraudulent tactics complicated and sophisticated enough to con victims out of a substantial amount of money without anyone earning a single baht in returns.

Aside from Ms Supattha, another Thai national, identified as Kosin Jina-on, has been detained in connection with the investment scam, said Maen Menyaem, deputy chief of the CSD’s Sub-Division 4.

Kyaw Myint Oo, meanwhile, is believed to be hiding in Myanmar.

Police are gathering evidence to support their next request for the arrest of at least seven more suspects, Pol Lt Co Maen said.

He also said the investment fraud scam is linked to the operation of a charity foundation with claimed links to the Royal Thai Police that encouraged victims to make donations in exchange for police jobs or the accompanying titles.

Source: Bangkok Post

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