A man has been arrested in Nonthaburi for conducting online auctions for gold but delivering soap and other low-value products once he received winning bidders’ money.
Chayut, 56, whose surname was withheld, was wanted on six arrest warrants for public fraud. He was apprehended at a house in Pak Kret district of Nonthaburi on Friday by investigators from the Crime Suppression Division (CSD).
The CSD began the investigation after receiving a complaint from a woman, identified only as Chutima, that she had been duped into bidding for a gold item on Facebook on Dec 18 last year. A Facebook user under the name Vichaiyoot Tongngam had posted an invitation to people to take part in bidding for one-baht weight (15.2 grammes) of gold with a starting price of 5,000 baht. At the time, gold of the highest purity was trading at around 21,200 baht per baht-weight.
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Ms Chutima joined the bidding, offered a price of 10,000 baht and won. The person behind the Facebook page later contacted her and asked her to transfer money for the gold item. Unless she transferred the money the same day, she was told, the bidding result would be invalid. She transferred 10,000 baht to the seller’s bank account but was unable to contact him afterward.
CSD investigators found that Mr Chayut was the person behind the Facebook page, and the deception was not the first such case.
On May 25 of this year, investigators said, the suspect had offered to sell a one-baht weight gold necklace with an amulet for a combined price of 12,000 baht. The prospective purchaser transferred money to him and received a parcel containing a bottle of liquid soap.
On May 24, the suspect offered another one-baht gold necklace and amulet for 12,000 baht, but a buyer wanted to buy a lighter necklace for 6,500 baht. That buyer also received a parcel containing a bottle of liquid soap after paying for gold, said the CSD police. Complaints in both cases were filed at the Bang Mod police station in Bangkok.
The suspect also swindled four other people in Ubon Ratchathani, Rayong and other provinces who had been deceived into bidding for gold and mobile phones, police said. A bottle of milk and fake gold items were sent to those victims.