Businesses conned by lure of Mon megaprojects

Victims of an investment scam linked to the Mon State of Myanmar wait at the Department of Special Investigation in Bangkok on Monday to give their statements. (Photo by Tawatchai Kemgumnerd)

About 10 business operators testified to the Department of Special Investigation in Bangkok on Monday that they were conned into investing about 300 million baht in several bogus projects in the Mon State of Myanmar.

Among the complainants was contractor Chanont, who withheld his family name. He said he and many others were persuaded to invest with Hujjee Group Co. His company was hired for 20 million baht to complete designs for 78 projects, but was never paid.

Mr Chanont said he invested in Hujjee Group because he was told an investment of 100,000-200,000 baht would yield a return of 200-300 million baht.   

Receiving their complaint, DSI deputy director-general Suriya Singhakamol said the case dated back two years. A Thai woman who said she had a doctoral degree claimed to have received concessions for 78 infrastructure projects in Mon State.

He referred to Supattha Chantararangsri, who claimed to chair Hujjee Group in Sri Racha district of Chon Buri, and Kyaw Myint Oo, who claimed to be a member of the Mon royal family who granted the concessions.

According to Pol Maj Suriya, Hujjee Group misled Thai business operators into believing Kyaw Myint Oo had awarded it 78 projects, including a government complex and an airport. Consequently about 100 Thai contractors invested with it. The victims were also persuaded to make donations to a bogus charity foundation in exchange for police-like uniforms supposedly displaying insignia of high rank.

Pol Maj Suriya said some local reporters had been hired to report the activities of Hujjee Group, and provincial officials had been invited to participate, to boost its credibility.

“All the stories were fake including the claimed registered capital of the company of 500 billion baht,” the DSI deputy director-general said.

Mrs Supattha and another Thai suspect, Kosin Jina-on, were arrested on Saturday and the DSI was seeking the arrest of the Myanmar man, who had already fled to his homeland, Pol Maj Suriya said.

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