Police are seeking the permission of public prosecutors to elevate the status of the allegedly fraudulent UFUN Thailand scheme to a transnational crime, Pol Lt-General Suwira Songmetta, assistant national police chief, said yesterday.
He said the police had sought answers from their counterparts in other countries who had experienced the same crime.
If the public prosecutors change the status to transnational crime, they could take over the case from the police and the suspects would face heavier penalties.
He said the police would present the request to the prosecutors within two weeks.
More than 576 people have filed complaints against the UFUN Thailand scheme with a total damage of Bt152 million (S$6 million), he said.
Police have seized Bt800 million from the suspects and sought co-operation from the Fiscal Policy Office to a file bankruptcy suit against them.
Police want to put their assets up for auction to return the money to the damaged parties so they do not have to wait for the criminal case to conclude.
Suwira said the police would take legal action, in accordance with anti-money laundering laws, against anyone who buys assets such as houses or cars from UFUN scheme suspects who want quick cash to flee the country and escape justice.