Laos Fraudster Phonethip Xaypanya Arrested in Thailand

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Phonethip Xaypanya Arrested in Thailand
Thai police apprehend Phonethip Xaypanya (Jie Thip) north of Bangkok.

Thai immigration police have confirmed the arrest of Phonethip Xaypanya, known as Jie Thip, who fled Laos after defrauding hundreds of people.

Phonethip and her husband were apprehended at a hotel in Rangsit, north of Bangkok.

Video footage released by Thai media shows police officers raiding the hotel, where a frazzled-looking Phonethip is told to gather her belongings and accompany officers.

While the official report has yet to be made, it is believed that Thai police may have located the wanted woman by tracking a Facebook login.

Working with her husband, Ms. Phonethip had convinced victims in Laos to invest in a money deposit scheme, promoting herself by posting lottery winnings on social media in order to persuade more victims to join her scheme.

She fled the country via the Friendship Bridge in early July after swindling over USD 1 million from her victims.

Speaking to Thai reporters, Ms. Phonethip denied all charges, stating that the funds she stole were fabricated. She says that she fled to Thailand to escape threats against her life.

“How could I have taken this amount of money out of the country?” she asked journalists, with a laugh.

“It is impossible that I could have transferred these funds out of the country. There would be a paper trail,” she stated.

While Ms. Phonethip admitted to running an investment program, she says the large amounts claimed by her victims were false.

When asked by a reporter if her business had gone bankrupt, Phonethip laughed and said, “I’m certainly bankrupt now!”