Thai woman falls for “Randy” the handsome US Army general in million baht “Romance scam”
BANGKOK: — A Thai businesswoman and hotel owner fell for a handsome black man who claimed to be a general in the US army called “Randy”.
In an elaborate scam involving others the African man extorted nearly a million baht after chatting with the woman on Facebook and proposing marriage before she smelt a rat and informed police.
Immigration police announced the arrest of two African men Sunday while warrants were issued for other members of the gang that police say includes Thai women reported Daily News. Tens of millions of baht are thought to have been extorted over several years.
Arrested were Allo Chukwudi Paul, 26 from Nigeria and Patrick Banda, 29, from Zambia. Police took into evidence computers, phones and bankbooks.
Authorities were acting on a complaint from a 47 year old businesswoman and hotel owner who said she had been chatting to a man on Facebook who said he was called ‘Randy Fredrickson’. After chatting for about three months the handsome Randy proposed marriage and said that he could help her expand her hotel business. She was then contacted by a person claiming to be a customs official who said that a bag containing a large amount of US dollars and other items had arrived. However, she would need to pay various fees for its release into her possession.
She fell for the scam and paid a total of 836,500 in three instalments before she was asked to pay 190,000 baht more. She started to have doubts as she had not seen any of the money or goods and didn’t send the fourth instalment. Contact then stopped with her Facebook friend and she went to the police.
Police rounded up the Nigerian who they say was Randy the general at his rented room in Suan Luang, Samut Sakorn. Expanding the enquiry they also arrested the Zambian at an apartment in Bang Khae, Bangkok. He was posing as Fabian a handsome airline pilot.
The bankbooks showed transactions dating back years showing tens of millions of baht. Many Laotian women in particular are believed to have fallen victim of the gang. Arrest warrants for others have been issued.
Nathathorn Phrosunthorn of the Immigration Bureau warned Thai women chatting to foreigners on social media, especially Facebook. “These scammers will be good looking, claim to be wealthy businessmen or soldiers of high rank, pilots and oil industry engineers and the like. If you have never met someone be careful or you could fall for the ‘Romance Scam'”, he said.
Potential victims of the gang are urged to contact the immigration authorities on 1178.