BANGKOK (THE NATION/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – Thailand’s Department of Special Investigation (DSI) is seeking to extradite four Singaporeans on the charge of deceiving around 250 victims to trade in a fake firm and lose some 235 million Thai baht (S$9.8 million), a deputy DSI chief said.
Police Colonel Songsak Raksaksakul, deputy DSI director-general, said the department is seeking co-operation from Singapore to extradite the four alleged masterminds of the Eagle Gates share-trading scam.
Mr Songsak said DSI officers on Wednesday (Aug 22) obtained the Criminal Court’s approval to extend the detention period of Derrick Mathew Keller, an American, who was an alleged accomplice.
Mr Songsak said Mr Keller has admitted during interrogation that he is an actor and he was hired to act as the CEO of Eagle Gates to deceive investors in China, Hong Kong, Macao, Malaysia and Thailand to trade in imaginary Eagle Gates shares.
Mr Songsak said the gang bought the name of a company that was registered in the United States. The group of conmen then created a website and a fake clip of broadcaster CNN interviewing Mr Keller about the trading firm.
Mr Keller was told to follow a prepared script, the officer said.
Later the group held a launch ceremony at the poolside of the Royal Cliff Beach Pattaya hotel during which Mr Keller was flown in by helicopter and famous singers performed.
Mr Songsak said the fake firm then sold four investment packages of US$1,000 (S$1,366), US$5,000, US$10,000 and US$50,000 each, carrying varying monthly yields of 3, 6 and 9 per cent.
Mr Songsak said the fake firm paid the yields in bitcoin but the investors could not withdraw money unless they could sell bitcoin.
The investors later found that they were defrauded and filed complaints with the police.
Police Lieutenant Colonel Phaisit Sangkhahapong, director of the Foreign Affairs and International Crime Division, said the transnational criminal gang had accomplices in several countries.
He added that there were 23 accomplices in Thailand and 12 Thais and a foreigner have been arrested in Thailand.
He said Singapore has issued arrest warrants for the alleged masterminds and accomplices in Singapore and Thailand is seeking their extradition.