'Shogun' fraud: Police play down Hong Kong angle

'Shogun' fraud: Police play down Hong Kong angle

Police believe a Hong Kong businesswoman has nothing to do with the holiday sales fraud which was allegedly carried out by Pasist Arinchayalapis, alias Sin Sae Shogun, and her associates.

Crime Suppression Division (CSD) commander Suthin Sappuang said Sunday he personally does not believe that a Hong Kong businesswoman whose name has arisen in relation to the case is involved in the scam.

“I think it is just a claim by a suspect,” he said.

On Friday, actress Chutimon “Helen” Sithep met CSD investigators to give her account of the scam after she appeared in a photo advertising the company’s trip to Osaka in Japan.

She denied any involvement in wrongdoing.

However, she claimed to have met a Hong Kong businesswoman during her trip to Hong Kong who she thinks is Ms Pasist’s boss.

Investigators are looking into the claim, Pol Maj Gen Suthin said.

Ms Pasist and eight suspects including her mother and aunt who were nabbed in Ranong on April 12 are now facing fraud charges.

The eight suspects are being detained at the 11th Military Circle in Bangkok.

They are being held following complaints over a bogus trip to Japan arranged by Ms Pasist’s company as an incentive to lure people to join her business.

The company, of which Ms Pasist is also an executive, was registered as a wholesale distributor of non-alcoholic drinks with the Commerce Ministry.

It claims to sell food supplements, but an initial investigation found it used overseas trips to persuade people to join the company.

The saga came to light on April 11, when about 470 members who turned up at Suvarnabhumi airport for a charter flight to Japan, arranged by the company, found there were no flight bookings.

Meanwhile, a probe source said police found Ms Pasist had striven to build reliability with her associates and members through entertainment activities during a White Orchid River Cruise.

The cruise was held on March 18 along the Chao Phraya River.

Around 500 people were invited to join the tour but it was not clear how many attended.

A yacht left the River City Pier around 6pm and moored around 10pm, according to the source. Activities were held during the cruise and prizes given away to entertain guests.

Ms Pasist also discussed a trip to Japan with the guests, the source said.

Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) officials were due to meet investigators in response to Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) chief Thitirat Nongharnpitak’s order to discuss the money trail associated with the scam.

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