A top Nigerian scammer known in the black community as “Starboy” was arrested yesterday along with five friends all from the west African country.
Antonio Joscarlos, along with a Thai woman called Sukanya, had used a fake Facebook profile to con middle aged Thai men looking for love.
They used a picture of a beautiful female US soldier and pretended to be her – they were chatting to 38 men at the time of their arrest at JP Smart Condominium in Pak Kret.
Victims were persuaded in the “romance scam” to send money to their accounts.
Taken into evidence were a computer notebook, ten phones, bankbooks, cash and other valuables.
Also arrested yesterday were five friends of “Starboy” – all Nigerians – running investment scams tricking Thai couples. Three million baht in funds was found as part of this subsequent investigation.
The crime led to connections in Senegal.
Leading the crackdown ordered by prime minister Prayut Chan-ocha and deputy Prawit Wongsuwan is acting tourism police chief Surachet Hakpan who said that romance scams and bogus investment schemes were causing a lot of trouble for the country.
The former relied on those looking for love while the latter relied on people’s greed.
All those arrested have been initially detained on fraud and false pretenses charges though Daily News reported that false imprisonment and assault may be added to the rap sheet for some of them.
The crackdown is targeting mostly those in the African community using tourism as a cover for illegal activities.