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Shaun Maher was wearing a cast on a leg when arrested by Patong police

Phuket Police Travel North to Nab Aussie Accused of Being Patong Cassava Conman

Thursday, April 9, 2015
PHUKET: An Australian man has been arrested by police from Phuket pursing allegations of a substantial swindle involving investments in cassava plantations in northern Thailand.

Five officers from the holiday island travelled north to nab Shaun Michael Albert Maher, 41, and his girlfriend, Rossarin Phowichai, 25, near her home in Khon Kaen province, where the cassava was supposed to be grown, on Tuesday.

Today the pair were being questioned at Kathu Police Station in Patong about allegations that foreign investors as well as Thais had been ripped off in the ''pay now, profit later'' scheme.

At least 11 cases involving Thais and foreigners have been specified so far, Phuketwan has learned.

At least one Thai family in the Phuket west coast nightlife hub handed over five million baht in payments going back to 2010 but never received any return on their investment.

Allegations of other investors being swindled are being pursued, the Chief Inspector at Kathu Police Station, Colonel Sutthichai Thianpho, said today.

The officers from Patong returned to the island yesterday with Mr Maher and Khun Rossarin. According to police, Mr Maher, whose right leg was in a cast when he was arrested, blamed his girlfriend's aunt for the failure of the scheme.

''The victims have never received any returns,'' Crime Suppression Division's acting chief Colonel Akaradej Pimonsri was quoted as saying.

Cassava has become a popular crop across large tracts of Thailand's farming provinces but so much of it is now being grown that windfall profits are unlikely.

Comments

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I can't understand how he got the land - if indeed he did - but Thais should know that investing in cassava when it's price is on a downward spiral is foolish at best. Farmers here are lucky to break even on the crop and started to switch to more profitable crops more than 2 years ago. The Aussie is either a good liar or brilliant salesman to con a Thai or any other person into 'investing' in cassava, as they must be suckers believing him, or have parted with money without researching the subject. As they say 'there's one born every minute'.

Posted by Pete on April 9, 2015 11:04

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Just a few years ago rubber prices were high so a lot of people planted rubber which takes years to grow before profits are seen. The price has crashed and a lot of people are now struggling. Palm has also taken a dive. How the baht remains so strong when other currencies have crashed remains the great mystery.

Posted by Arun Muruga on April 9, 2015 13:17

Editor Comment:

There are some great jugglers in the showbiz world of currencies, AM.

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Australians are constantly fed the story a low Australian dollar is good for them. I ask good for who? Not good for online shoppers who must pay in USD, Not good for travellers, air ticket taxes are also charged in USD. Not good for buying anything as everything is imported now so costs more. We have no manufacturing anymore. Why is selling our exports cheaper good?

Or is it because so much of Australia is being flogged off, a cheap dollar makes it even easier for foreign companies to buy what is left of Australia. The housing market is also flooded with Chinese buyers paying over the odds for real estate. Nobody wants to know where that money comes from as long as it keeps coming......

Posted by Arun Muruga on April 9, 2015 13:44

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"As they say there's one (a sucker) born every minute."

Losing 1.2 million dollars in the stock market recently, I would consider myself Exhibit A.

The smart ones probably jump, but I ain't smart either - obviously. Duh..

Posted by farang888 on April 10, 2015 23:41


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