Thai Police Bust Major Click Farm, Arresting Three

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Thai police and soldiers have seized nearly half a million SIM cards, iPhones and other equipment and arrested three Chinese men on suspicion of operating a click farm in the country.

The arrests came on Sunday in the north-eastern province of Sa Kaeo, after law enforcers raided two rented houses, finding 474 iPhones, 347,200 Thai SIM cards and various computers and electronic devices.

The three men arrested are: Wang Dong, 33, Niu Bang, 25 and Ni Wenjin, according to the Bangkok Post.

A separate raid elsewhere in the region led to the discovery of a further 100,000 SIM cards, as well as more computers and equipment.

Locals apparently claimed the two Chinese people who rented the shophouse left on Sunday evening.

Acting police colonel and Sa Kaeo immigration chief, Benjaphol Rodsawasdi, claimed the three Chinese man had come to Thailand to operate their click farm after being paid 150,000 baht (£11,500, $14,700) per month by a Chinese company to generate fake page views, likes and shares via popular messaging network WeChat.

It’s thought Thailand may have been chosen due to its relatively low mobile phone fees, although it’s still unclear how so many SIM cards found their way into the hands of the trio, given that service providers are required by local law to keep user records once SIMs are activated.

The three have been charged with illegally importing the devices and working in Thailand.

Local police are said to be looking for other members of the group.

Click farms are an increasingly common way for some firms to game the system by building an over-inflated online following to promote their products and services.

A new Trend Micro report on fake news out this week revealed that Chinese underground online forums are full of shady companies offering click farm services, starting at 33,830 yuan ($4925).

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