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Japanese police send investigators to Thailand over phone scam

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japanese police dispatched investigators to Thailand on Tuesday over a phone scam in which more than 200 people in Japan are believed to have been swindled out of some 200 million yen ($1.8 million).

Fifteen Japanese men, arrested by Thai police for unauthorized labor, are suspected of targeting people in Japan, particularly those retired and living alone, from a rented luxury house in the beach resort of Pattaya.

Investigators said they will gather information on what the men have told Thai police, and from the contents of documents confiscated in a raid on March 29, which included what is believed to be a manual for how to carry out the scam.

Thai police also confiscated some 50 IP phones in the house search.

The suspects are believed to have called people saying they had failed to pay subscription fees for a website, and made them purchase electronic money to swindle them out of the cash.

Japanese police plan to arrest the 15 suspects after they are expelled from Thailand, the investigators said.

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