Sergeant major-turned-cyberpunk surrenders after allegedly hacking 55 million Thais’ data

Alleged cyberpunk and hacker Sgt. Maj. Khemarat Boonchuay, centre, accompanied by a military officer at the Cyber Crime Investigation Bureau. PIcture courtesy of KhaoSod.

UPDATE: The sergeant major turned cyberpunk accused of hacking the personal data of 55 million Thais surrendered to police this morning. The alleged hacker, Sgt. Maj. Khemarat Boonchuay, arrived at the Cyber Crime Investigation Bureau (CCIB) this morning with his wife for questioning. Police said the suspect remained silent and did not respond to any questions.

Sgt. Maj. Khemarat was suspended by the Royal Thai Army (RTA) on Friday, April 7 for being absent without leave (AWOL) since April 3. The sergeant major was issued an arrest warrant for computer crime, leading to his suspension.

The suspect worked as a driver in the Army Transportation Department.

Police identified Khemarat as the cyberpunk hacker who operated behind the pseudonym 9Near and made threats to disclose the personal information of 55 million Thai citizens.

This data was believed to have been stolen from the government’s Mor Prom vaccination application. The methods used by the cyberpunk to breach the database and the motives behind the attack are still unclear.

The Minister of Digital Economy, Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn, dismissed speculations about the suspect’s political motivations and claimed that he was only seeking attention and notoriety. Chaiwut said…

“He is not involved with politics or the election, but some political groups use this incident to discredit him. We know that the suspect has not sold or used the data, but he just posted it on social media to create some buzz.”

An arrest warrant was issued for Khemarat on April 2 for charges related to the Computer Crime Act and Personal Data Protection Act after police identified him as the cyberpunk.

The commander of the CCIB, Pol. Lt. Gen. Worawat Watnakornbancha, revealed that they were unable to locate the suspect as his phone was turned off. Pol. Lt. Gen. Worawat said…

“We issued a letter summoning the suspect to the suspect’s agency, but they said the suspect could not be reached because his phone was switched off. His wife was nowhere to be found either.”

The punishment for hacking a Thai government department under the Computer Crime Act and Personal Data Protection Act is a prison sentence of up to five years and/or a fine of up to 200,000 baht (US$6,500).

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Bob Scott

Bob Scott is an experienced writer and editor with a passion for travel. Born and raised in Newcastle, England, he spent more than 10 years in Asia. He worked as a sports writer in the north of England and London before relocating to Asia. Now he resides in Bangkok, Thailand, where he is the Editor-in-Chief for The Thaiger English News. With a vast amount of experience from living and writing abroad, Bob Scott is an expert on all things related to Asian culture and lifestyle.