Woman Arrested Over 7 Million Baht Migrant Visa Con

Migrant Workers in Thailand

A 45-year-old woman has been arrested in Samut Prakan’s Bang Phli district and charged with cheating hundreds of Myanmar workers out of about 7 million baht by offering fraudulent passport and visa services.

Police and labour officials arrested Wassana Wongkhamjan at her home yesterday, which was also the registered office of her firm, KPS Management Co.

The officials had court warrants for her arrest and to search the premises. They found about 40 passports and receipts in the house.

Pol Lt Col Nopadol Changruean, deputy chief of Muang Samut Prakan station, said Ms Wongkhamjan denied the fraud charge. She told police that she had not received any money from migrant workers, but job brokers had.

Her arrest followed complaints filed by about 300 Myanmar worker at the police station on Thursday. They said the company claimed it could arrange the renewal of their passports and visas. They were charged 5,000-17,000 baht each, but never received the promised services.

Labour rights activist Achariya Ruangratanapong, who accompanied the migrants to the station, alleged yesterday that Ms Wongkhamjan tried to “get familiar” with senior police and reporters, posed for photos with them and then posted the pictures and the logo of a mainstream TV channel on social media.

She had offered passport and visa services to both legal and illegal migrant workers since March, he said.

The migrants took action because of the approaching 31st October deadline for their work permit renewal, he said.

About 500 migrant workers, who paid about 7 million baht to her company, were filing complaints, Mr Ruangratanapong said.