Vietnamese officials and police have helped Thailand bust an illegal Thai-Viet call center gang, the Phuketwan Tourism News said Tuesday.
Members of the gang were arrested in Ho Chi Minh City and 11 Thai nationals, five men and six women, were flown back to Bangkok Monday night.
They will stand trial in Thailand, said a spokesperson for Thailand's Central Investigation Bureau.
Police said the gang had copied tricks used by call-centre extortionists caught operating in Phuket and other Thai holiday destinations. Those gangs were from Taiwan or China and they preyed on Taiwanese or Chinese, the Phuketwan reported.
The 11 gang members told the police that a woman named Nang had paid for their travel to HCMC.
A Vietnamese named Bung in HCMC then arranged for them to be trained by two other men, Ahmung and Ahpim.
The 11 were given a list of Thai names and numbers to call. The men would pretend to be police or members of the Department of Special Investigations, and the women would call and say they represented a government bank.
Working to a prepared script, the callers enticed victims to pay five baht for every 100 baht as part of a "special offer."
Police at Thailand's Central Investigation Bureau were eventually alerted and traced the calls to Vietnam.
The gang allegedly extorted 15 million baht (US$504,422) from Thai victims in one month of operation before getting busted, police said.
A similar call center operation involving Taiwanese nationals was busted in Phuket in 2009.