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Lao couple, wanted by police

A Lao couple, wanted by police in the neighbouring country for their suspected involvement in fraudulent schemes, were arrested yesterday at a hotel in Pathum Thani and will be deported to face charges back home, police said.

The suspects, a 34-year-old man identified as Anusit and a 30-year-old woman identified as Pontip, reportedly fled to Thailand in late June and brought with them 400 million baht, or 20 billion kip.

The couple ran a number of investment schemes but are most notorious for selling “mystery boxes” online, apparently in emulation of Thai influencer and live online retailer “Pimrypie”.

They reportedly operated a saving scheme promising 30%-50% monthly returns for members.

However, a group of people filed a complaint with police in June accusing them of deception after they were unable to collect their money.

Following an investigation, police issued warrants for their arrest on charges of public fraud and collecting unusually high interest rates.

Before their arrest, police turned up at a house in tambon Khlong Si, Khlong Luang district looking for them, only to find they no longer stayed there.

The couple were apprehended at a hotel in Pathum Thani’s Klong 5 area yesterday morning and taken to immigration police to be processed for deportation.

Ms Pontip denied the accusations but admitted the saving scheme had collapsed.

She said they fled to Thailand because they had been threatened and needed time to think.

She insisted she did not have 400 million baht, as reported by some media outlets.

Mr Anusit denied swindling people and claimed the couple had been cheated by two of their staff. He said he was gathering evidence to file a complaint against them and had just 50,000-60,000 baht.

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