Shogun gang faces more charges, bail denied

Shogun gang faces more charges, bail denied

Police bring Monthakan Nirandorn, 55, the mother of Sin Sae Shogun who heads the alleged pyramid scheme Wealth Ever, and other suspects to the Criminal Court in Bangkok on Thursday for a detention. (Photo by Wassayos Nhamkham)

Police on Thursday charged nine pyramid-scheme suspects, including Sin Sae Shogun, with computer crime and illegal borrowing, in addition to public fraud and illegal assembly while the Criminal Court denied them bail.

The additional charges were for Pasist Arinchalapis, 31, also known as Sin Sae Shogun, and eight other suspects aged between 22 and 64, including her mother and other relatives. Police said they allegedly borrowed from others in a fraudulent manner and posted false information in computer systems.

The new charges came after the suspects allegedly received “membership fees” and investments from alleged victims. Their online advertisements of the Japan trip were also found to be in breach of the computer crime law. The new charges added to the previous charges of public fraud and illegal assembly.

Ms Pasist was detained at the Central Women Correctional Institution in Bangkok for the first round of detention from April 14-25.

The other eight suspects were brought to the Criminal Court in Bangkok on Thursday and the court approved their first 12-day detention. The court denied them bail because they were trying to flee the country when police arrested them in Ranong province on April 12.

Their Wealth Ever Co ran a direct-selling network of food supplements. It offered high returns and a free trip to Japan from April 11 to 16 to members who paid 9,730-20,000 baht for the membership and shares. About 1,000 members flocked to Suvarnabhumi airport on April 11 for the trip that never existed, causing confusion and congestion at the airport.

Police told the court on Thursday that the suspects had no businesses other than recruiting new members to pay old ones.

Police said as about 1,000 members were abandoned at the airport, the nine suspects left their residences in Nonthaburi province and drove to the border province of Ranong.

Ms Pasist, her mother and her partner had another suspect withdraw cash from their accounts at ATMs in Phangnga province in a bid to mislead authorities into believing that they were there. However, they were arrested in Ranong with passports and lots of valuables before exiting the country.

Police said about 400 members had filed complaints and said they lost about 15 million baht altogether. Police believed about 1,000 members had yet to file complaints and the network had swindled 40-50 million baht out of the people who paid the membership fees so they could go on a trip to Japan.

About 30 nurses from Hat Yai Hospital in Songkhla province filed their complaints with local police against the suspected pyramid scheme on Thursday. They admitted that they and their relatives joined the Wealth Ever network just for the Japan trip.

A nurse told reporters on the condition of anonymity that more than 100 people in Songkhla paid for the membership and most of them were retired nurses and teachers.

Police have impounded about 10 million baht worth of assets from the suspects and were looking for more.

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