Friday, May 6, 2011

Friday, May 06, 2011
7

From ANDREW DRUMMOND,
BANGKOK
MAY 6 2011


Britain's secretive Financial Services Authority have begun operations in Bangkok in a bid to rack up their operations against international boiler rooms a few notches.
A team has been in the capital for the last week engaged in discussions with officers at the Crime Suppression Division and counterparts in other Embassies including the Australian and Canadian Police.
Part of their enquiry is linked to the recent raids on boiler rooms in central Bangkok, other parts are historic and relating to past boiler rooms, but their main aim is to ensure people operating boiler rooms do some real jail time.
Historically in Bangkok operators of boiler rooms, 'illegal share trading houses' have escaped any serious justice. They have been fined for breaking SEC regulations and some of the traders have been deported, but the fines amount to a mere spit in the ocean, in terms of the profits they are making.


Boiler room boys in a raid on offices in Bangkok many years ago, Most were just deported, the bosses fined


FSA investigators, who comprise ex-police fraud squad officers,  are also racking up prevention measures. In some cases they have obtained the same 'lists' which the boiler rooms are working from and are able to warn callers in advance.
They have also noted the rise in 'techies' in the boiler room business who are becoming as important as the 'loaders'. The 'techies' go on internet fishing expeditions to find clients.
Boiler rooms operators have always considered themselves ahead of the game, and ahead of the FSA. They openly boast about operating with high ranking Thai police. In that knowledge the FSA are expected to go 'political'.  That may involve joint approaches from several governments at the same time.
They are also working alongside police who are not tainted.


A boiler room in Phnom Penh raided two years ago


The FSA are operating alongside another investigation, this one private, which is engaged in nailing boiler room assets in South East Asia.
'People who work for these operations cannot convince us, let alone themselves, that they are not committing fraud.  We do not support deportations, we want these people doing real time,' an FSA source said.
Thailand, he added, had become the new Spain for these dodgy operators many of whom had relocated from there because of official heat. The FSA are however working from several advantages. Many of the bosses have settled down with Thai families. They don't want to leave and charges are being prepared in their home countries if they run home.  There is no shortage of countries for them to run to but they have moved to Thailand for its 'life-style'


"The younger ones come to Bangkok and, even when they discover what they do is illegal they do not want to leave. They are offered unlimited girls, and parties, and throw ethics to the wind."


The FSA has similar powers to SOCA, the Serious Organised Crime Agency. But what they do not have is funds to counter funds used to pay police. Their enquiries will not be restricted to Bangkok but also Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Phnom Penh, Manila, and Hong Kong.
A lot therefore depends on the will of the current and any future governments in Thailand.

7 comments:

  1. even chiangmai?

    if it's the group i'm thinking of, they have no chance stopping them

    good article andrew but it won't happen and i think you know that

    good to chip away at these problems though

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  2. Going after the assets is key, without which any efforts to thwart these scamsters are bound to be eclipsed by local corruption.
    The worst thing you can do to these people is to take away their money, their businesses and their homes.Then they'll become nothing and their protection will evaporate.

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  3. FSA in CM?? perhaps they'd like to get a look at other 'investment providers' while they're up here???? Stories abound...

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  4. You are right, westerby. I had not thought of it that way.

    Take away their ill gotten gains and they have no money left. So those that are running the protection rackets have no incentive to ""protect""

    Key is asset seizure. Will that happen?

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  5. it's common knowledge who they are in chiangmai, as you say sophie. nothing will happen

    expat advisors are not regulated here and they would not even get a licence in the uk

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  6. I understand the raids that were published a few weeks ago came to nothing more than a slap on the wrist. I imagine a few of FSA are just looking for a couple of weeks holiday. I doubt much more will come of their trip apart from a few stories to Pattaya gogo bars and trecking in Chiang Mai. They may regret not including Samui on their itinerary as its lovely at this time of year.

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  7. Jk and Rm still operate most of Thailand's boiler rooms. As soon as they are caught and imprisoned, Thailand will be a much better place.

    (names removed. There is a time and place)

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