Dozens in Thailand complain over investing on false promises

Some 50 people yesterday filed a police complaint at the Economic Crime Suppression Division, accusing a private company of luring them to invest money in a business scheme that did not yield profits or returns as promised.

The division has set up a committee led by Pol Colonel Noppawat Arayangkoon to handle this case.

Lawyer Apinyo Pumnuan told reporters that he represented 2,000 damaged persons, the first batch of whom had filed a police complaint on Monday. He said the company, officially open since February, claimed to be backed by major banks and businesspeople and boasted that its mock-up currency could be used at convenience stores instead of cash, as well as for the purchase of houses and cars.

Chaikorn Sithachai or Thassapong Jittateeraroj, 63, father of actress Pimnipa "Gambum" Jittateeraroj, said he had invested Bt1 million in the company's scheme since February and wanted his money back. Another plaintiff, Jira Polwanna, 42, said he had invested Bt5 million since January but had not received any dividend yet. He said he was told the scheme would bring in foreign currencies and thus yield higher returns than depositing money in banks.

Separately, the police investigation into UFUN's alleged pyramid scheme saw UFUN executive and Web administrator Theerat Prateepritnopas, 38, and his employee Chawisa Jittopas, 28, who were the 44th and 46th wanted persons respectively, surrender at the Consumer Protection Police Division yesterday.

Theerat claimed he was invited by fugitive Arthit Pankaew to serve as a company executive early last year but later decided to help out by serving as an adviser at a salary of Bt150,000, as well as administrating two UFUN websites. He claimed that he did not know anything about the wrongdoings and said he was also being used by UFUN. Police later searched Theerat's office and home in Bangkok's On Nut area but did not find any documentary evidence linking him to UFUN.

Assistant national police chief Lt-General Suwira Songmetta said police investigators had decided to make a case for prosecution of the UFUN suspects and would submit the case report to public prosecutors next Monday.