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Woman arrested in connection with the death of an online scam victim

Written by World Events

Cybercrime investigators have arrested a woman who owned a mule bank account used by an online scam gang to receive payments from victims.

The suspect, identified as Dokkaew Kaewjerm, was arrested in connection with the death of Athiya Chuaykong, of Nakhon Si Thammarat province.

Athiya hanged herself in her bedroom on October 15, leaving a suicide note saying that she had been tricked by the gang into making a down payment of Bt18,500 to purchase an iPhone 13 from a mobile phone shop in Thailand’s northern border province of Chiang Rai.

After she had paid the required payment, she asked the shop to ship the mobile phone to her, but to no avail. The gang, on the contrary, asked for another Bt2,000 for insurance.

Athiya grudgingly sent the additional amount to the gang, in the hope of getting her new phone. On her mobile phone, police found chat messages between Athiya and the bogus shop.

Athiya is believed to have been ashamed of being cheated, because she had borrowed the money from two close friends and she took her own life fearing that her mother would reprimand her.

She apologised to her mother in her suicide note and asked for forgiveness for her decision to end her own life.

Police talked to her friends and relatives and found that she deposited money into Dok Kaew’s bank account four times. That led to the arrest of Dokkaew.

Athiya’s mother, Boonyuen Onkaew, 47, said she did not think that this kind of thing would happen in her family.

“I had told her that I would buy a mobile phone for her by the end of the month. I had no idea that she would order it from the online gang, which ultimately led to her death. I love her so much that I would never blame her,” she said.

Pol Lt Col Sawat Niyomdej, of Nakhon Si Thammarat province, said the investigation shows that the shop in question did not even exist.

Police charged Dokkaew with fraud and violations of the Computer Crime Act.

Today (Thursday), the suspect declined to answer reporters’ questions and appeared to be exhausted, reportedly after extended police interviews.

She claimed that she had nothing to do with the gang and that she was paid Bt300 to open the account in question.

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