BANGKOK — Thai police say they have arrested a Nigerian man who allegedly conned over one million baht from a Thai woman through an elaborate online scam.
Onyekachi Nathaniel Amadi, 37, has been charged with fraud, using a false identity, and disseminating false information that caused damage to others. He was arrested on 30 September at his residence in Samut Prakarn province.
Pol.Col. Chaitat Boonkham, commander of Crime Suppression Division, said in a press conference today that Amadi posed as a "British surgeon who worked for the United Nations" and contacted a Thai woman through a dating site to start an online relationship with her.
After securing her trust, Amadi made plans to meet the Thai woman in Pattaya on 16 September and sent her a fabricated airplane ticket as proof, Pol.Col. Chaitat said.
The suspect also reportedly informed the victim that he was sending medical equipment to Thailand and asked her to lend him money for non-existent "shipping fees."
According to Pol.Col. Chaitat, Amadi's accomplices then posed as customs officials from an airport in the Philippines and told the victim that her "British" boyfriend was being detained at the airport for illegally transporting a large amount of money in his baggage. The scammers then allegedly asked the woman to pay a hefty "fine" of 1.2 million baht.
When the woman hesitated, Amadi pleaded with her and promised to reimburse her when he arrived in Thailand, Pol.Col. Chaitat told reporters. The woman eventually conceded and transferred the money to a Thai bank account, he said.
She eventually sought help from police after Amadi continued to ask her for many other payments, the officer said.
"We have collected evidence based on a modern investigation technique," Pol.Col. Chaitat said, "We eventually secured an arrest warrant and arrested the suspect."
Pol.Col. Chaitat added that the police are working to identify other accomplices invovled in the scam.