From HR to Human Trafficking: Thai Police Arrest Scammer Gang

The three suspects are arrested and cherged with human trafficking by using threats, coercion, deception and abuse of power to exploit people for forced labor or services, which amounts to enslavement.

BANGKOK —  Police arrested a HR group for making false promises and enticing Thais to work as scammers

On July 9, Pol. Maj. Gen. Sarut Kwansopha, commander of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Department (ATPD), ordered the arrest of Mr. Theerapol, also known as Thanapol, 31, and Ms. Aranya, 21, in front of a house in Don Sila, Wiang Chai district, Chiang Rai. They are suspected of luring people with the promise of high salaries as call center agents and then forcing them into fraudulent transactions in Myanmar.

The two suspects are accused of human trafficking by using threats, coercion, deception and abuse of power to exploit people for forced labor or services, which amounts to enslavement. They were arrested outside a residence on Pracha Uthit Road in Bangkok’s Huai Khwang district.

The same charges were also brought against Ms. Natnicha, 31, who is currently detained at the Central Women’s Correctional Institution in Chatuchak district, Bangkok.


In October and November 2023, the Myanmar government, in cooperation with Chinese authorities, launched operations to dismantle Chinese call center fraud rings in Laukkaing, Myanmar. They repatriated 266 Thai victims who had been tricked into working for these scam rings. The victims were screened and segregated under the NRM process.

A view of Laukkaing city in Shan state, Myanmar, Nov. 20, 2023. (Kyaw Ko Lin via AP)

Pol. Col. Patthanapong Sripinprah, Commander of Sub-Division 2, ATPD, was assigned to investigate the call center group led by Fei Yang. The investigation revealed that 11 people were involved, including four Thai recruiters who enticed Thais to work as clerks and answer customer calls with the promise of high salaries of 25,000 to 50,000 baht per month.

Once the victims entered Myanmar, they were arrested and forced to work. They were forced to join the call center scams, which focused on mixed scams by luring victims into romantic relationships and then into investment schemes. Police issued warrants for all 11 suspects, which eventually led to their arrest.

Mr. Theerapol, an assistant to Fei Yang, denied the allegations and claimed that he was merely an employee at an entertainment center in Laukkaing. He claimed to have a romantic relationship with a Chinese man who invited him to live with him and help with translation, and claimed to have nothing to do with the call center scam.

Theerapol is suspected of being an assistant to the Fei Yang call center gang.

Ms. Aranya, who acted as a recruiter and posted fake job advertisements to lure Thais into the call center scam, also denied the allegations. She admitted to using a fake Facebook account to recruit Thais, but claimed not to have known about the scam.

Ms. Natnicha, who is still detained, admitted her role in recruiting Thais for the job but denied knowing about the forced labor aspect. After the investigation, all suspects were handed over to the ATPD’s Sub-Division 2 investigators for further legal action.