Police on Monday arrested three Chinese nationals in Thailand after being nabbed with 474 iPhones and nearly 350,000 SIM cards which they used to manipulate product information on WeChat.
Police officer Wassapan Sirikulkamonchat said in addition to the iPhones and SIM cards, police also found 21 SIM card readers and nine computers in the raid at their apartment.
He said the three reportedly confessed that they were hired to falsify the popularity of certain WeChat pages selling products in China by boosting social media “likes’’ and page views.
WeChat is a Chinese social media app with almost a billion users.
Wassapan said that Wang Dong, 33, Niu Bang, 25 and Ni Wenjin, 31, were arrested in Sa Kaeo province, 200 km east of Bangkok, following a tip-off by locals who suspected them of working illegally in Thailand.
The three were charged with working without a permit in Thailand and smuggling electronic gadgets from China.
He said they are scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday.
The officer said that although working without a permit in Thailand could lead to five years in prison, the three men are likely to only pay fines related to their charges and be deported back to China.