Woman arrested for selling ghost SIM cards to criminal gangs

Photo via Facebook/ Saichon Chounchou

Police in the northern province of Tak arrested a Thai woman for offering ghost SIM cards which were registered by using the identification cards of migrant workers. Police revealed they confiscated 4,397 of the registered ghost SIM cards.

The arrest was made today, May 19, by the Cyber Crime Investigation Bureau, following the recent arrest of a 59 year old Thai man named Somchai and his two migrant employees who were caught selling registered ghost SIM cards on Wednesday, May 17.

The arrest led to the Facebook account of a Thai woman, 38 year old Thanaporn, who sold the ghost SIM cards online and had over 3,500 followers. Officers raided her house in Tak today and confiscated 4,397 ready-to-use SIM cards, 20 mobile phones, a Smith & Wesson .22 calibre revolver, and 50 bullets.

Thanaporn admitted to her actions and confessed that she had been using the identification cards of migrant workers and foreigners who stayed in Thailand to register and activate the SIM cards. The SIM cards were mostly sold to call centres in neighbouring countries and to the criminal gangs that operate online gambling.

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Thanaporn revealed that she had been doing this for over six years and sold thousands of registered SIM cards before the arrest. After learning that the authorities were cracking down on illegal SIM cards, she intended to hide the remaining cards. However, she was arrested before she could proceed. Officers estimated that more than 10,000 SIM cards were used for these activities.

Thanaporn will face a penalty of imprisonment from two to five years, a fine from 200,000 to 500,000 baht or both for advertising and selling phone numbers which are registered with unidentified users. She was also charged with possessing a gun without permission which will lead to a penalty of imprisonment for up to 10 years, a fine of up to 20,000 baht, or both.

A new law launched in March states that anyone who opens a bank account or registers a SIM card for illegal use will face jail time of up to three years and a fine of up to 300,000 baht. As a result of the new law, many people rushed to the bank to close their accounts to escape the punishment.

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Petch Petpailin

Petpailin, or Petch, is a Thai translator and writer for The Thaiger who focuses on translating breakingThai news stories into English. With a background in field journalism, Petch brings several years of experience to the English News desk at The Thaiger. Before joining The Thaiger, Petch worked as a content writer for several known blogging sites in Bangkok, including Happio and The Smart Local. Her articles have been syndicated by many big publishers in Thailand and internationally, including the Daily Mail, The Sun and the Bangkok Post. She is a news writer who stops reading news on the weekends to spend more time cafe hopping and petting dwarf shrimp! But during office hours, you can find Petch on LinkedIn and you can reach her by email at petch@thethaiger.com.

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