Bangkok, Thailand — Thai authorities have arrested a Thai tourist policeman and two Russians for allegedly using fake credit and debit cards to withdraw money from the bank accounts of people in over 50 countries, police said Monday.
The suspects are Pol Sen Sgt Maj Nonthapan Saengsuk, 37, 27, and Serge Peterneff, 38.
Police found 328 counterfeit ATM cards and over 2.9 million baht (US$92,000) in cash in their possession.
Police had been tipped off that a group of Russians involved in card fraud were hiding in Nakhon Ratchasima’s Muang district, and were staking out ATM machines in the area, according to reports.
They apprehended the two Russians when they spent an unusually long time at ATM machine near the provincial hall.
A car drew up to pick up the Russians, driven by the tourist policeman.
He confessed that he was paid 10% of the money withdrawn from ATMs to escort the Russians. He insisted he had no knowledge of how they obtained the cards.
The Russians claimed most of the bank accounts belonged to foreign nationals. They also said they had met Pol Sen Sgt Maj Nonthapan when he apprehended them. The bribed him and invited him to join their operation.
All three suspects have been charged with conspiracy to commit theft. Police are conducting further investigations.
A series of ATM skimming cases have occurred in Bangkok over the past two weeks, with losses of over 2 million baht (US$63,000).
Police believe those cases involve two gangs, one Malaysian and one operating in the Ukraine. Police say they are tracking both down.
The banks concerned have promised that all victims will be compensated in full.