Thai authorities have uncovered massive credit card fraud leading to a record seizure of more than 5,000 fake cards and the arrest of three Sri Lankan men, police said on Sunday.
The men were arrested on January 2 in Phuket, after people informed police that they were acting suspiciously and repeatedly withdrawing small amounts of money at bank machines on several of Phuket's beaches.
Police Lieutenant Colonel Boonlert Ongklang said they seized 1,750 credit cards in the suspects' rental car, and later found thousands more at their hotel, leading to a record confiscation of 5,350 cards.
About 2,300 of the fake cards had been encoded with genuine credit card data from England, he said, adding that if all 5,350 cards were being used the men could have withdrawn up to 400 million baht (11 million dollars).
"They smuggled codes from credit cards which were issued in England, not cards issued in Thailand," he said.
Boonlert said he believed that a gang in England was stealing credit card information there and feeding it to Thailand to be encoded on the fake cards, which were manufactured outside the kingdom.
Two of the detained Sri Lankan men were regular visitors to Thailand, he said, while the third arrived from England on the day of his arrest.
The third man has Sri Lankan and English citizenship, police said.
All three were charged with making and using fake credit cards, and face a maximum of 15 years in jail. No trial date has been set.