Potential Thai scammers race to close mule bank accounts as new cybercrime law enacted

Potential Thai scammers, particularly in Nakhon Phanom province, are racing to close suspected mule bank accounts after a new cybercrime law was enacted.

According to the Pattaya Mail, the new law took effect on March 17, deeming that those who open a bank account or register a SIM card for a third party for illegal use will face jail time and/or a fine.

The new law has some rushing to close their bank accounts so as not to be subjected to jail time of up to three years or to receive a fine of up to 300,000 baht.

The Royal Decree on Cyber Crime Prevention and Suppression now allows banks to suspend accounts that are suspected of being used for illegal transactions. Villagers, who may have opened such bank accounts, notified police about their suspected mule accounts and contacted their banks to close them to escape punishment under the new law.

Earlier, many villagers became victims of a scam which involved them giving their ID card copies to apply for membership in political parties. The bank account mule ring also told them if they gave their ID cards, they would receive welfare.

But, the scammers actually paid the villagers 400-500 baht to use their IDs to open a bank account without their permission. Now, the villagers are rushing to close such accounts that were opened illegally so they don’t take the fall for the scammers’ actions.

Scams are rampant in Thailand, with the most recent involving a Thai and Indian couple duping Americans out of over 3 billion baht. The couple fled to Pattaya but were reprimanded by police. Several bank account books, car keys, smartphones and weapons were seized from the scammers.

Another scammer was also caught recently as police arrested a former Thai model for creating an online investment scam that stole over 100 million baht from victims.

Wetika Jaija was arrested in the San Sai district of Chiang Mai at a residential address. The 30 year old Wetika was charged with obtaining loans amounting to public cheating, entering false computer system data into a computer system and fraud.

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Ann Carter

Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

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