Victims say they lost ten million baht in amulet scam

Seven alleged victims of fraud filed complaints at Maejo Police station yesterday, claiming to have been conned into renting (in Thai the purchase of amulets is called renting) amulets which turned out to be fake.

Police arrested Somraks Parathai, 35, last night for falsifying cheques in relations to this case.

Weerachai Chaicharoen, the head of the amulets association, Chiang Mai today met with police bringing with him more evidence against Somraks to show police.

According to Weerachai, Somraks had allegedly been a member of the association and had made a name for himself for his fine collection of amulets. Weerachai said that he had wanted to help Somraks start his business, so he had previously rented a 600,000 baht amulet and a 180,000 baht amulet to Somraks. However, the money was never paid, after repeated requests.

Somraks then wrote him a cheque, which bounced. Other victims have also come forward, saying that Somraks owed them between 300,000 baht and three million baht for rental of various amulets.

Since then, Weerachai said, many smaller victims have come forward from across Thailand.

Weerachai estimates the total amount owed to be around 10 million baht. He went on to say that Somraks has done great damage to the industry.

He warns the public to not purchase amulets online, but to demand provenance and consult experts before rental.