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Thailand nabs Taiwanese fraud suspect at Bangkok Airport

Man was reportedly leading figure in Dubai-based fraud ring

Bangkok Airport (photo by Roger Price).

Bangkok Airport (photo by Roger Price). (Wikimedia Commons photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A Taiwanese citizen signaled internationally as a leading figure in telecom scams was picked up by Thai police at Bangkok Airport in transit during a journey from Dubai to Taiwan, reports said Saturday.

The man, named as Ko Chan Ku by the English-language Thai newspaper The Nation, had worked for a gang of telecom scammers for six years and bilked about NT$100 million (US$3 million) from victims across Asia.

Ko’s arrest had been made possible because the gang’s boss, also a Taiwanese man, named as Chi Khea, had given information about its operations after being arrested last December and sentenced to 10 years in prison, The Nation reported. Last month, 23 members of the same group had been arrested in Dubai.

Thai police charged Ko with conspiring with an international criminal organization, racketeering, public fraud, and money-laundering offenses.

The Taiwanese man was the first of eight suspects covered by a “red notice” or international wanted-person alert from Interpol to be arrested, Thai police said.

It was not immediately clear whether Ko would be deported in the near future. Over the past year, dozens of Taiwanese fraud suspects in several countries were handed over to China, despite the protestations of Taiwan’s government that it had jurisdiction over its citizens.

On Friday, a group of fraud suspects arrived back in Taiwan from Poland, but indignation arose over their reportedly arrogant behavior during the flight and the lenient treatment they received upon arrival. Detention was approved for 33 of the suspects on Saturday.