Police have arrested a Chinese boxing promoter on charges of entrapping Thais into working for a brutal gang of call scammers based in Myanmar’s Myawaddy border township.
Huang Tianyong, 33, was arrested at a car park on Ram Intra Road in Bang Khen district of Bangkok on Sunday, Pol Lt Gen Jirabhop Bhuridej, commissioner of the Central Investigation Bureau, said on Monday.
Mr Huang is the owner of Ayong boxing gymn in Pattaya, police said.
He was one of 19 Chinese, Thai, Malaysian, Philippine and Myanmar suspects who enticed Thais into applying for jobs that later turned out to be working as call scammers for a gang in Myawaddy, opposite Mae Sot district of Tak province, the commissioner said.
“They advertised on the Internet for people to work in a border area in Mae Sot district. Applicants were then forced to cross the border through natural border passages to JinXin Holdings Co in Myawaddy where they were put to work as scammers, persuading others via social media to invest in digital money,” Pol Lt Gen Jirabhop said.
Pol Maj Gen Saruti Khwaengsopha, commander of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division, said police earlier rescued seven victims who told them the gang created fake profiles to attract job applicants on Tinder, Badoo, Blumboo and Jaumo Dating, and later forced them to call potential victims. Once contacted, the victims’ account details would be sent to Malaysian and Philippine gangsters to follow up.
They were forced to work 12 hours a day without days off and had to meet the targets set for them, Pol Maj Gen Saruti said.
Workers who failed to meet their targets would be confined, or shaved, or given electric shocks. Those who wanted to leave were told they had to pay the gang 50,000 baht. Some victims had their relatives borrow money to buy their freedom, Pol Maj Gen Saruti said.
Police apprehended seven other members of the gang before arresting Mr Huang on Sunday.
In May, Mr Huang had returned to Thailand, where he was also known as Ayong and ran a boxing camp named Ayong Gym and organised bouts nationwide in boxing arenas. That was how police were able to finally arrest him, Pol Maj Gen Saruti said.
The suspect has been charged with human trafficking and forced labour.