Girl power team operating a US dollar counterfeiting racket at a printing facility northwest of Bangkok, thwarted by a police raid that saw the arrest of the four-woman gang. They told officers it was their first foray into crime.
Police from Bangkok’s elite Technology Crime Suppression Division swooped on what appeared to be an advanced US dollar counterfeiting operation in Nakhon Pathom on Wednesday seizing $5 million worth of counterfeit currency and arresting four women who appeared to be the force behind the criminal racket.
Thai police have announced that they have smashed a US dollar counterfeiting operation in Nakhon Pathom province, northwest of the capital Bangkok, that appears to have been orchestrated by a gang of women.
Details were given at a press conference on Wednesday after a raid by police on a printing facility in the Bang Lek district of the province.
Technology Crime Suppression Division Chief said the probe began when adverts were placed on Facebook
The Head of the Technology Crime Suppression Division, Deputy National Police Commissioner, General Damrongsak Kittiprapat, was accompanied by senior officers as he announced the arrest of four women in connection with the racket and the seizure of 50,000 $100 US dollar banknotes found at the site.
Police General Damrongsak told the press that officers within his division began an investigation into this operation after an advertisement was placed on Facebook seeking buyers for the US counterfeit currency.
General Damrongsak said that criminal activities like this, which can disrupt normal life and trade, are being treated as a priority by police at this time as society grapples with the COVID-19 crisis after receiving orders from the Prime Minister’s Office.
Woman shows printing facility to police officers wearing a T-shirt saying: ‘Girls can do anything’
He said his officers working with investigators at the Metropolitan Police Bureau in Bangkok were quickly able to identify and target those involved in the counterfeit currency operation.
Police have not yet fully identified the four women in connection with the racket, including one woman who was pictured on Wednesday explaining the production process to officers while wearing a white T-Shirt which had the message ‘Girls can do anything’ emblazoned on the front.
One of the four women arrested by police is reported to be the boss of what the women are presenting to officers as a fledgling enterprise.
The printing facility raided by police was in a commercial building. It consisted of a printing press and a guillotine machine for cutting the finished product.
At the scene, police displayed printing blocks and other paraphernalia involved in the counterfeiting process.
Boss employed two women to distribute the fake banknotes while another told officers that she printed and perfected the product at the facility
Ms Sarinrat or Eed told officers that she employed the other three women including Ms Phachara or Petch and Ms Orathai or Hong to sell and distribute the counterfeit currency off the presses.
Ms Jirapat, also known as Fah, is reported to be the producer of the counterfeit notes. She was also the one responsible for advertising the fake US dollar bills online.
First foray into crime claim women
The face value of the consignment seized on Wednesday was $5 million or ฿166.45 million.
The women told officers that this was the first time they had attempted to carry out a crime such as this but officers are carrying out further inquiries and are also looking at the possibility that there may yet be accomplices.
Wednesday’s raid in Nakhon Pathom was executed on foot of a search warrant obtained by police after investigating Mr Jirapat’s online activities marketing the counterfeit notes.
Facing up to 15 years jail and the prospect of having assets frozen under tough money laundering laws
The women face prosecution under Sections 240 to 245 of the Criminal Code, and a range of offences which carry a potential jail term of up to 15 years if they are found guilty.
They will also now all be investigated by the country’s money laundering agencies and, as part of that process, their assets will become liable to seizure.
Police will also be looking for evidence that these forged dollar banknotes were passed on to third parties creating victims in the case.
Counterfeiting is considered a preliminary offence under Thailand’s strict and wide range of anti-money laundering laws.