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  1. #1
    FarangRed
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    Special report: Phuket foreigners losing homes to con men

    Special report: Phuket foreigners losing homes to con men

    The lament is shared by a number of other wives in Phuket, most of them having foreign husbands.

    PHUKET: Phuket homeowners are a prime target for regional fraud gangs that leave their "marks" heartbroken and penniless, with wives of wealthy foreigners often falling victim.

    Reports of people being cheated out of tens of millions of baht in such scams are rife on the island, but the victims are often too ashamed to come forward to warn others.

    Under condition of anonymity, one victim has come forward to tell the tale of how in just a single day in June she was duped out of the 12 million baht house she owned with her foreign husband in Chalong. The woman hopes her story will serve as a cautionary tale to others who might likewise be taken advantage of.

    The story began when she was contacted by a man who claimed he wanted to rent a vacant home belonging to her sister, who was living abroad with her foreign husband.

    "He got my number from a sign advertising that my sister's home was for rent, even though a foreign tenant was staying there at the time. He also told me his boss was interested in renting a luxury home with a nice view and swimming pool," she said.

    “My home met his boss's requirements exactly, so I suggested I might be interested in renting it – for the right price. In retrospect I wonder if any of my friends informed him that I had a big house."

    “Even though I offered to rent my house at [at the very high rate of] 150,000 baht per month, he was still interested. The next day he came to inspect the home where my family and I had been living since 2005."

    “Then he drove me to a hotel in Kata to meet his boss, a wealthy Chinese man. He was with another man, his manager, in the room. The wealthy man said he was interested in renting my house and would pay me for the whole year in advance."

    “Later they had an argument, with the Chinese man blaming the manager for his loss of 3 million baht while gambling. He said he wanted a chance to win his money back and had 10 million baht ready to wager. He opened his bag to display large sums of cash before leaving the room."

    “After the wealthy Chinese man left, the manager said his boss was always losing large sums by gambling and that he was easily cheated, yet he insisted on continuing to play."

    “Later, the manager brought a man he said was a 'gambling expert' into the room. During our conversation, they gave me a glass of water. As I had never gambled before, they taught me some basic ways of cheating. At the time I thought 'this is so easy a child could do it…how could that man have lost 3 million baht at something so easy?'"

    “The wealthy Chinese man came back in the room with his bag, saying his wife was at the beauty salon but would arrive soon to discuss the rental of my home."

    “In the room were the driver who brought me to the hotel, the manager, the gambling expert, the wealthy man and myself. A discussion ensued during which all four of us tried to convince the wealthy man to stop gambling, as he would just be cheated and lose his money again. But the wealthy man said it was his money and what he did with it was none of our business. Whether he won or lost was a matter of chance,” she said.

    After a verbal argument over the matter, the wealthy man said that if the four could raise 10 million baht he would play with them instead of going to a gambling den, she added.

    "After the wealthy man went outside again, the manager suggested that the four of us come up with 10 million baht, cheat the man out of all his money, and divide up the winnings.

    Since he continued to ignore our advice and swore at us, it would be better than having the man lose all of his money at some gambling den. We could then donate all the winnings to a temple," she continued.

    “I seemed like everything was a blur as I withdrew my hand after shaking hands with them to seal the deal."

    “The gambling expert said he had 4.5 million baht in the bank. The manager had more than five million baht, but the driver had only ten thousand. Then they asked me how much I had. I said I didn't have any savings and wouldn't dare to try to borrow money from anyone. They asked whether I had gold. I did, so I sold it for them. Then I withdrew all the money in my bank account for them."

    “After we got the ten million, we gambled with the wealthy man, but because of my play we lost it all. They acted as if they were extremely stressed, especially the gambling expert who kept saying he would get in trouble with his wife,” she said.

    It took the group less than an hour to convince her to sign ownership of her house over to a loan company in order to raise money to pay back the money she had "lost" them, she said.

    “I can only blame myself for destroying everything my family had. I can only hope and pray the police catch the gang members as fast as possible. Meanwhile I have to find 12 million baht, plus 360,000 baht a month in interest to the loan company, in order to get my house back. I don't know what to do as I don't have any money. All I can do is hope the gang is arrested and some of the money is returned to me," she said with tears in her eyes.

    As she spoke to the Gazette she was still negotiating for time with the loan company so that she could find a new place for her and her family to live before the house would be seized.

    “We lived happily as a family until they got hold of our house and left us with nothing but huge debts. It is so cruel," she said.

    “For a month afterward, the manager and the driver kept calling me – morning, noon and night – to assure me that the manager would pay me back after completing a condominium deal in Australia. They tried to console me and I kept my faith in them," she said.

    “A month later, in July, I realized that I had been deceived when the police called me and told me that a gang had defrauded me. I found out later that the gang kept contact with their victims for 45 days after cheating them,” she said.

    The police notification was not the result of good detective work, however.

    “The police told me that one of the gang had contacted them and been asked to inform me that I had been duped. The police suspect that the three gang members had in turn been tricked by the 'wealthy man', who kept all the money for himself and disappeared."

    “After I realized what had happened I went into a mental collapse and cried for days and nights. My husband was also in shock," she said.

    “They did it together many times in Phuket. People lost 8 million baht in Rawai. Two victims in Kathu lost 15 million baht and 4 million baht, respectively. There are many more cases in which the amount was under one million. Many arreste warrants have been issued, but the polices still cannot catch them.”

    “I heard that people who got tricked by the same gang also drank water given to them."

    “When they finish defrauding people they always disappear, but there are still many other gangs. Each group comprises four people. They always work the same way, contacting people who have put up signs advertising homes for sale or rent."

    "Some people say that the victims like me are stupid, but they have not lived through my experience so they don’t know. I may be kind-hearted and gullible, but I believe I was drugged as well," she said.

    Provincial Police Region 8 investigating officer Lt Col Mechai Nokkaew said arrest warrants have been issued for three of four in the gang:

    "The driver": Prasert Rattanaruengmorn, 41, from Trang

    "The manager": Thira Thavorn, 50, from Phuket

    "The gambling expert": Preeda 'Ti Surat' Lorsuchart, 49, from Nakhon Sri Thammarat

    As for the "the wealthy man", police only know that his nickname is "Koh Kia" and that he is from Songkhla Province. As his real name is unknown, no warrant has yet been issued for his arrest.

    Lt Col Mechai confirmed that he is not the same person as another serial conman from Songkhla who was recently arrested in Haad Yai while impersonating a Department of Special Investigations (DSI) officer. That man, who also carried documents identifying himself as a Phuket police officer, was released on bail and remains at large. He has been identified as 57-year-old Witchayut Pansampao.

    Notes:

    – The Phuket Gazette contacted the victim in Rawai who lost 15 million baht to another gang, but she was not ready to provide any information to the media yet.

    – These are not isolated incidents. A similar incident occurred in Krabi Town last year when a Thai woman gambled away over 1 million baht and a gang physically threatened her foreign husband. He nearly lost his house too, but he found another way to secure the funds and paid off her debt. The two separated shortly thereafter.

    – The woman in the story above remains with her foreign husband, though the ordeal has put great strain on their relationship.

    – The original version of this story that appeared on the front page of the October 1 edition of the Phuket Gazette stated that the woman put no money into the original stake used in the card game with the "wealthy man". As stated above, she in fact sold her gold and withdrew money from her bank account to help complete the stake.


    Phuket NEWS: Special report: Phuket foreigners losing homes to con

  2. #2
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    Khun Custard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FarangRed
    Some people say that the victims like me are stupid
    Thais, gambling and the illusion of making a quick buck!!
    DONE!!!

  3. #3
    I am in Jail
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    Gambling, greed,easy-money.Why am i not surprised ?The hook is the victims greed ,To get the con started,the rest is history.....

  4. #4
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    Dumb as dog shit. Wifey needs a good slap.

  5. #5
    FarangRed
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    This is one post from a victim;

    Very interesting to read that my wife and I were not the only victims to this Thai Gang. I lost as well more then 25 million baht and as well we divorced and our kids are now with me back in Germany.

  6. #6
    FarangRed
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    I hear many times around where I live and the funny thing is I only ever hear about women losing money and trucks there's one well known card school in Nai Harn

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Khun Custard View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by FarangRed
    Some people say that the victims like me are stupid
    Thais, gambling and the illusion of making a quick buck!!
    DONE!!!
    It's not just Thais, there are enough people at home who fall for bunco scams through being both naive and greedy. I wonder how well hubby took the news?

  8. #8
    Member Albert Shagnasty's Avatar
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    is it just me that thinks the misses was in on it?

  9. #9
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    Put up another house rental sign with another name...Gun, bullets... no more lying scumbags...

  10. #10
    FarangRed
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    Quote Originally Posted by Albert Shagnasty View Post
    is it just me that thinks the misses was in on it?
    I was thinking the same, wouldn't put it past them

  11. #11
    I am in Jail

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurgen View Post
    Dumb as dog shit. Wifey needs a good slap.
    Yep, dumb and in full control of the house documents

    Yet another reason not to buy in Thailand

  12. #12
    euston has flown

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    This kind of fraud is never treated with the seriousness that it deserves, we generally these draconian laws to deal drugs because of the destruction it causes to the addicts and their families. These scams are every bit as destructive as drugs, except that in this case we blame the victims. Its not that much different to blaming rape victims for wearing the wrong cloths

  13. #13
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    robuzo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobR View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Khun Custard View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by FarangRed
    Some people say that the victims like me are stupid
    Thais, gambling and the illusion of making a quick buck!!
    DONE!!!
    It's not just Thais, there are enough people at home who fall for bunco scams through being both naive and greedy.
    It's almost always that. Interesting grift story.

  14. #14
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    It would be interesting to know if the loan company are in on it too !

  15. #15
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    This is News?

    Been a few round here (alledgely).One definate,and two in the making.

  16. #16
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    Got money Greed want more easily

  17. #17
    Tonguin for a beer
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    Quote Originally Posted by FarangRed
    Since he continued to ignore our advice and swore at us, it would be better than having the man lose all of his money at some gambling den. We could then donate all the winnings to a temple," she continued.
    Yeah right.

  18. #18
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    words fail me !

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by hazz
    These scams are every bit as destructive as drugs, except that in this case we blame the victims. Its not that much different to blaming rape victims for wearing the wrong cloths
    Poor analogy in this case. The wife's greed (if true) was prima facie in this matter, she could have walked out anytime - unlike a rape victim.

  20. #20
    Thailand Expat baby maker's Avatar
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    Isn't the heading misleading....should it not read...

    Retarded Thai Women Scam Farang Nest Eggs....



  21. #21
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    This story is bullshit. She blames it on being drugged and tricked by a bunch of 2nd rate con men actors. She's to blame and she knew exactly what she was going to get in return. She's got the cash stashed away somewhere. Farang need to stop marrying thick villagers who are aren't trustworthy to protect valuable assets.
    Eat more Cheezy Poofs!

  22. #22
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    The card scam has been around for donkeys years. One was attempted on me in 1982 in Penang, another identical one in Angeles in the early 90's. I can't believe people still fall for it with amounts in the millions, but they do. Then again there are still millions lost to these Nigerian letter cons too.

    Both scams pick on the same human weakness- Greed. Many go unreported, because of Shame.
    probes Aliens

  23. #23
    I am in Jail

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    Quote Originally Posted by BugginOut
    Farang need to stop marrying thick villagers who are aren't trustworthy to protect valuable assets.
    some other thai possibly?

  24. #24
    Member Mad Hatter's Avatar
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    There's a...

    "There's a sucker born every minute"
    P. T. Barnum (1810–1891), an American showman.

    It is generally taken to mean that there will always be many gullible people in the world.

    I'm none too sure who the mark is here - the wife or the husband. I am reminded about a quote from Mark twain when talking about gambling on the Mississippi river boats,

    "Someday a feller will bet you that he can make a one-eyed Jack jump out of a deck of cards and spit in your ear. Don't take that bet; unless..... you just happen to want a wet ear."

    Someone is this article is very wet behind the ears.
    Honi soit qui mal y pense

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang
    The card scam has been around for donkeys years. One was attempted on me in 1982 in Penang, another identical one in Angeles in the early 90's.
    Happened to me too in Angeles in 1991. Tried to cash a travelers check in town and ended up in someone's house (long story) with almost the exact same con being played out. After about ten minutes I got up and said I wasn't interested and then tried to leave - a big shout and two big dudes (for Filipinos) jumped out of nowhere to block my exit. Now I'm fucked, I thought. They told me to sign the t. check and hand it over. I complied by signing my brother's name on the check and they immediately noticed the different signature from the original. Now they were pissed and I'm thinking now I'm really really fucked! After a few hard stares and some nervous stammering on my part they let me leave, no harm. Got a refund for the check the next day at the American Express office there in Angeles. Grateful it didn't end up in a different way.
    "I can't be worried about that shit. Life goes on, man."
    ~The Dude

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