The fraud investigation has been pursued by the Economic Crime Suppression Division of the Royal Thai Police after credit cards issuers smelled a rat when a cluster of credit card payments all turned out to be fraudulent from the same hotel in December and January this year. Police pounced on the scam in June which saw the owner and key staff arrested.
Thai police from the Economic Crime Suppression division came for their man this Sunday at a temple in Nakhon Ratchasima province. A well-known singing star who had been ordained a monk there. On June 12th last, a Thai court had issued an arrest warrant for Sittichai Pabchompu in relation to a credit card fraud racket run at an Udon Thani hotel in December and January of this year.
A well known 33-year-old Thai singer and actor was defrocked from the monkhood in Pak Chong district of Nakhon Ratchasima on Sunday and taken into custody by Thai police for his part in a ฿13 million credit card fraud perpetrated at an Udon Thani hotel in December and January this year.
Thai police from the Economic Crime Suppression Division pounced on the network in June when the hotel owner of the Lotus Condotel in Udon Thani and various staff members were arrested as well as 48-year-old Chinese national Liu Chi Chung and a 38-year-old Thai man named as Thappapop Ruangpradit, both of whom were arrested by police in Bangkok in June.
Singing star arrested on foot of warrants issued in June for his role in the fraud
It is reported that a warrant was issued for the arrest of 33-year-old Sittichai Pabchompu whose stage name is Boy AF3 on June 12th last. The arrest warrant was issued against the star for being in possession of credit cards which caused financial harm to others.
Credit card scam centred on a hotel on the outskirts of Udon Thani and involved the owner
The credit card scam was run for a limited period at the Lotus Condotel in Udon Thani and the owner of the hotel deliberately mixed the illicit payments up with regular bookings at the hotel which were at a far lower volume. In all, 144 transactions were processed using illicitly held credit card details obtained by two Chinese players in the racket.
Bookings were made at the hotel for tours and holiday groups who did not in fact, stay there but the appropriate documentation, comprising of fabricated material, was kept by the owner of the hotel named as Thanawut Isarangkun na Ayutthaya.
Hotel paid ฿13 million in fraudulently generated payments mixed in with legitimate transactions
The credit card transactions were entered on a manual basis by keyboard on credit card machines and processed through the credit card system through the hotel’s credit card processing account with a bank. The hotel was subsequently paid over ฿13 million in illegal or fraudulent payments. The alarm was raised when the issuing banks associated with the fraudulent credit card payments queried the transactions. It was not long before the bank or credit card service handling the credit card payments for the hotel realised that something of a coordinated nature was happening.
Two Chinese men arrested were key to the racket
It is understood that as well as the owner of the hotel, it’s manager and the two Chinese men who supplied the credit card information, there were also additional hotel staff members responsible for processing paperwork for the fraudulent claims including ID information such as passports and identity cards.
Mr Sitchai or Boy AF3 was apid for fake charges processed on stolen credit card ids
Police suspect Mr Sittichai and 10 other individuals were using fake credit cards to perpetrate the fraud. Police Colonel Padol Chandon is the police officer with the Economic Crime Division who is leading the investigation.
Owner of the hotel and 2 key employees arrested so far as well as the Chinese men, 11 suspects in total
The senior policeman has revealed that so far the police have arrested the owner of the hotel and two key employees as well as the two Chinese nationals who supplied the fraudulent credit card details to allow the transactions to be processed.
It is understood that Mr Sittichai supplied the hotel with documentation in order to allow the hotel to process transactions using the illicit credit cards.
Mr Sittichai has been ordained as a monk before his arrest this Sunday in Nakhon Ratchasima
Mr Sittichai who before his arrest on Sunday, had previously been ordained a monk at Wat Tham Khao Wong in Pak Chong in Nakhon Ratchasima province has denied the charges against him. He said that as far as he was aware, the credit cards he was using were genuine and given to him by third parties to create bookings at the hotel.
Police Colonel Padol has explained that the members of the network were tasked with creating bookings at the hotel for tours groups and received remuneration from the hotel in return.