BANGKOK, Nov. 18 (UPI) -- Thai police in Nakhon Ratchasima arrested two Russians and a police officer for allegedly using fake credit and debut cards to obtain thousands of dollars from automated cash machines throughout the city.
The men allegedly used the cards to withdraw money from bank accounts belonging to people from more than 50 countries, the Bangkok Post reported.
Police said they arrested police Sgt. Maj. Nonthapan Saengsuk, 37, Vasily Ivanoff, 27 and Serge Peterneff, 38. The suspects allegedly had in their possession 328 counterfeit ATM cards and more than 2.9 million baht in cash -- nearly $92,000.
Provincial Police Regional Chief Theerasak Glingpongsa said units had staked out ATM's in a market area of Nakhon Ratchasima, a city of about 200,000 people 160 miles northeast of Bangkok, after being tipped off that a group of Russians were actively involved in card fraud.
Police arrested the two Russians after they had spent an unusual amount of time at one ATM. Officers discovered the men had 100 fake electronic cards and nearly $1,600 worth of baht in cash, the Post reported.
Police also gave chase to a vehicle that drew up to the ATM during the arrest, but sped off.
Officers later arrested Nonthapan, a tourist police officer who was driving the vehicle. Inside the car they found 200 counterfeit bank cards, three cellphones and more than 2.8 million baht in cash -- about $89,000.
Police said the Russians admitted bribing Nonthapan into working with them after the officer had arrested them on suspicion of operating an ATM racket.
The three suspects have been charged with conspiracy to commit theft and the police investigation into ATM fraud continues.
The arrests in Nakhon Ratchasima follow other recent ATM scams were uncovered.
Police said they suspect a Malaysian group of defrauding 12 people in Bangkok of about $22,200 worth of baht last week. The suspects allegedly withdrew the money at a Thai Military Bank ATM in the city.
Police also said they suspect a Ukrainian group recently scammed about $41,100 worth of baht from the accounts of 78 people. Details of ATM cards were on a skimming device found inside a Bangkok Bank ATM.
The banks concerned have promised that all victims will be compensated in full, the Post reported.
In July, police arrested a 51-year-old Russian man for allegedly using pirated ATM cards. Among the items police seized were 129 electronic data cards, a skimmer and a notebook computer.
One of the biggest ATM frauds uncovered was a 2011 arrest of four Romanians, including a woman, in the resort of Phuket.
Police arrested Gavrila Florin Eugen, 33, Ene Bogdan Constantin, 23, Vilvoi Claudiu Constantin, 36 and Gavrila Alexandra, 26 on suspicion of operating a fake debit and credit card ring that reportedly stole 100 million baht -- $3.18 million -- from ATM's.
All four suspects were arrested at their rented room, the Phuket Gazette reported.
Police said they found two laptop computers, a USB drive, 211 unformatted ATM cards and a "skimmer" that reads data from genuine ATM cards. Data captured by the skimmer can be printed onto blank ATM cards for insertion into ATM's.