Cryptocurrencies are a worldwide phenomenon that is slowly, but surely cementing its place as a store of value and as a payment method for an increasing number of goods, items, and services. It isn’t a far-fetched scenario that they can effectively replace fiat currencies in a handful of years.
They are fairly valuable, and that is why malicious people often use them as a means to entice investors and then rip them off, or target crypto asset in scams and hacking attacks. The increase in cryptocurrency trading there has been a natural surge in crypto-related criminal activity.
A Call Center
In the latest case, Thai police corps proceeded to arrest two dozens Chinese nationals for an alleged Bitcoin scam, according to a report from the Immigration Bureau of the Royal Thai Police. The crypto scam functioned through a call center in Rama III neighborhood of Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand.
Immigration officials and police officers not only arrested the 24 individuals but also took 61 laptops, 424 mobile phones and a considerable number of routers, per the announcement made this week.
Additionally, the Immigration Bureau also said that the operation’s leaders used the following modus operandi: they hired workers on a three-month deal and all expenses were paid plus a monthly wage of 5,000 yuan, the equivalent of $710. Upon arriving at the headquarters, the employees had to give their passports to the leader. Also, they overworked, as well, with shifts that started at 9:00 am and finished at 10 pm.
The criminals lured Chinese investors and made them buy Bitcoin, fudging rates to make money out of the whole operation.
Another Recent Case
According to local news hub Chiang Rai Times, it is not the first time that the Immigration Bureau makes a raid and takes down clandestine call centers run by Chinese nationals. In fact, shortly before the events took place, the police raided a stock speculation setup that was being administrated by Chinese teenagers.
In that case, it was reported that 54 minors were taken into custody for their role in the operation. They were taken at a Thai resort hotel for tricking investors in China into making investments in bogus stocks.
The Immigration Police, clearly very busy according to recent events, announced that those scammers wanted to make 5 million Thai baht (or approximately $165,000 according to the latest exchange rate) from investors. They gathered in “online chat rooms” were they tried to lure them.
However, the leader of that scheme is still free according to the local news, as the police is said to be hunting the organizer. This person, just like it happened in the first case mentioned above, has all the people’s passports in possession.
Thailand allows cryptocurrency trading, but there are specific regulations in place to standardize the activity. Issuing tokens and trading crypto in secondary markets is allowed but regulated under several decrees. The accepted pairs for crypto assets are the baht or other cryptocurrencies that have been given the green light by the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission.
By Andres Chavez