Filipino typhoon Yolanda relief ‘scammers’ in Thailand arrested

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Minerva_Macapili_Bedana_and_Juana_Espelita_HoyosTwo Filipino missionaries have been arrested by Thailand Udon Thani police for posing as fund raisers, representing JC Society Foundation, for the typhoon Yolanda victims.

Ms. Minerva Macapili Bedana and Ms.Juana Espelita Hoyos performed music in crowded placed like shopping malls to collect donation for the Typhoon Yolanda victims, and then pocket the donation money for themselves. They displayed fake documents of JC Society Foundation to generate credibility from potential donors.

The police was informed by charity group, JC Society Foundation, that two citizens of the Philippines have been claiming to work for the charity and raising donation under the name of the foundation in many provinces, such as Bangkok, Chonburi, Phuket, Ubon Ratchathani, and Udon Thani.

Detective police officers later located Bedana and Hoyos playing guitar and soliciting for donation opposite Napapai Hotel in Udon Thani province, Thailand. The police apprehended the suspects and sent their names as printed on passports to the JC Society Foundation for verification.

Their arrest was carried out after JC Society Foundation of Thailand confirmed that the two are not members of the charity group.

They were brought to the Udon Thani police station where they confessed that they were missionaries working in a church in Manila and later devised a plan to pose as fund raisers of JC Society Foundation in Thailand.

They admitted to have printed out official-looking documents from JS Society Foundation website, frame them in plastic cover to fool unsuspecting donors.

Bedana and Hoyos also reportedly told the police they would return to the Philippines every two months before coming back to Thailand again for further scamming, as their tourist visas would expire after two months.

The suspects also reportedly said the latest trip they made to Thailand was after Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines, causing devastating damages to the nation, and they claimed to their donors that the donation money would be sent to assist the victims in affected areas.

A senior police estimated that the two Filipinos had gathered “hundreds of thousands” baht throughout their alleged frauds.

Ms. Bedana and Ms. Hoyos were charged with soliciting for donations without permission. The police expect representatives from JC Society Foundation to file charges on using counterfeit documents soon.

The police also urged citizens allegedly scammed by the two suspects to file charges against the pair.

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