New cyber crime law helps banks and victims

PHOTO: A new law will help banks and victims fight cyber crime. (via ISS Africa)

A new Royal Decree on Cyber Crime Prevention and Suppression is now in effect in Thailand. The new law has provisions to help victims, banks and authorities combat illegal online activities. The decree allows victims of online scams to use a hotline to report mule accounts set up using their stolen identity immediately to 15 banks. Victims can also file a complaint with police stations both online and physically.

The law, published in the Royal Gazette yesterday, additionally allows banks to temporarily suspend a suspected mule account and to utilise artificial intelligence (AI) technology to investigate fraudulent transactions. Harsh punishments and the use of modern technology should give this new decree more teeth than previous laws.

The use of AI technology to investigate fraudulent transactions is likely to help authorities in identifying and bringing cybercriminals to justice. IP addresses and mobile phone numbers will also be traced by banks, Internet service providers, and mobile phone operators in the event of a scam.

The penalties for cybercriminals outlined in the decree should act as a deterrent to anyone considering engaging in such activities, explains Deputy Government Spokesperson Traisuree Taisaranakul.

“The law sentences those who open an account, electronic card, or electronic wallet for illegal use and those who let others use their SIM card for any illegal purpose to 2–5 years imprisonment and/or a 200,000 to 500,000 baht fine. Those who advertise or pay other people to do so will face a jail term of two to five years and be fined between 200,000 and 500,000 baht.”

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha praised all the participating agencies, including the Anti-Money Laundering Office, the Bank of Thailand (BoT), the Department of Special Investigation (DSI), the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (DES), and the Thai Bankers’ Association.

The new law will preemptively enable banks to temporarily suspend illegal bank accounts before any fraudulent activities take place. This proactive measure is deemed one of the most powerful tools for preserving social security, according to the DSI chief.

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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