A Nakhon Pathom restaurant owner told police on Monday he’d been duped out of Bt300,000 after being promised he’d get half of US$3.5 million being smuggled into Thailand.
Mana Samitsomboon of Don Tume district said he’d transferred the money to three different bank accounts, only to learn from bank officials that a Chon Buri woman had withdrawn all of it.
Mana had been contacted on Facebook by someone claiming to be Katherine Sophia, who was fighting in the Syrian conflict. “Sophia” claimed to have found a chest containing $3.5 million and wanted to smuggle the cash into Thailand to invest in a project.
Mana agreed to receive the chest “via a diplomatic channel” in return for getting half the money. It was to have been shipped to a consular office in a southern province and from there to his residence. All he needed to do was send her Bt39,170 to cover the shipping cost.
But then Mana got a phone call from someone claiming to work for a logistics firm hired to deliver the chest from the consular office to his house. Since the box was stuffed with cash, Mana was going to have to pay off the firm with Bt74,600.
Then the same “logistics firm” called again saying it would cost him another Bt310,800 to change the name of the recipient from Katherine Sophia to Mana Samitsomboon. He talked the price down to Bt200,000. The light bulb finally came on when “Sophia” asked him to send the firm yet another Bt59,000.
Mana checked at the bank and discovered that all the money he’d sent to different accounts had ended up with a single person in Chon Buri.
Republished with permission from The Nation