Lovelorn Women Victims of Scam, Says Phuket Customs Chief
By Chutima Sidasathian
Monday, June 13, 2011
PHUKET: Scamsters are trying to extort lovelorn Thai women through an unusual scheme that involves demands varying from 30,000 baht to 50,000 baht, says a Phuket airport official.
The Director of Customs at Phuket International Airport, Monthira Cherchoo, said two cases had surfaced in the past week with gullible Thai women as the target.
In the first case that became apparent last Tuesday, a woman transferred 30,000 baht to a bank account because her long-distance boyfriend told her that he was ''being held at Customs,'' Khun Monthira said.
The man, from an unspecified foreign country, explained to his Thai girlfriend: ''If you pay the 30,000 baht to Customs, I will be free and they will let me into the country.''
The pair first met on the internet, then chatted by telephone, Khun Monthira said.
The woman was downcast and realised she had been taken once Customs officials explained that Customs played no role in applying duty on arriving passengers, Khun Monthira said.
OnThursday, a woman flew from Bangkok to Phuket to surprise her online boyfriend.
He had told her that he was being held by Customs on Phuket and would be permitted to proceed to Bangkok once she had paid 50,000 baht into a bank account.
The woman was indeed surprised, but not by her newly-arrived boyfriend, Khun Monthira said.
She turned up at the airport with a lawyer to negotiate the release of her friend. Once she was given a tour of Customs, she understood that she'd been had.
Fortunately, the woman had not paid any money into the bank account.
Initial checks show that the bank account is in the name of a Thai woman, Khun Monthira said.