Police are still accounting for all of the victims and damages.
When: February 15th, 2021
What: On February 15th, 2021, Royal Thai Police announced that they made an arrest in the Shopping Mall app scam. The culprit, Mr. Wesley Halbach of the Netherlands, age 37, had a warrant out for his arrest issued by the Phuket provincial court on charges of defrauding the public after convincing them to invest in the Shopping Mall app and website.
Immigration worked with police to verify information about the administrator of a Facebook page where many victims signed up for the scam, which ended up being Mr. Halbach.
The victims were persuaded to participate in the scam by putting money into the system and invest in and sell products that didn’t exist.
Last week the Shopping Mall app essentially shut down and participants in the system were unable to withdraw any money from their accounts.
It’s estimated that there are more than 10,000 victims with a total damage of more than 100 million baht.
Mr. Halbach reportedly tried to flee the country on KLM airline back to the Netherlands but was arrested before he could do so.
According to Mr. Halbach’s LinkedIn profile, he was listed as a Sales Manager at Progressive Property Phuket for the past 1 year and 9 months.
A link to his LinkedIn profile can be found here.
In this image there’s another person associated with the scam: Aytekin Bilgin, who isn’t mentioned in the text of the report but is depicted in the chart that police drew up.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Mr. Bilgin is a tourism specialist in Phuket.
He was one of the coordinators of a Line group, according to the chart. He was paid 500 baht per day after investing into the scheme. For the sake of clarity, there are no specific charges brought against him — but we thought it was important to report on what was on the chart as he is seen there.
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My take: Let’s see how far this goes up the chain. My hunch? It’s just begun.
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