New law to fight online criminals

A new Royal Decree on Cyber Crime Prevention and Suppression is now in effect, giving victims, banks, and the authorities more options in fighting online scams and other illegal online activities.

The royal decree was published in the Royal Gazette on Friday and immediately took effect after its publication, Deputy Government Spokesperson Traisuree Taisaranakul said.

The law allows victims of online scams to immediately file for the suspension of a mule account that has been set up using their stolen identity via 15 banks’ hotline numbers and to file a scam complaint with police stations, physically and online.

The law additionally allows banks the authority to temporarily suspend a suspected mule account and for the use of artificially intelligent (AI) technology to investigate illicit transactions.

The law also outlines the punishment for cybercriminals.

“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 200,000–500,000 baht fine,” she said. “Those who advertise or pay other people to do so will face a jail term of two to five years and be fined between 200,000–500,000 baht.”

She said that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has expressed gratitude to all concerned agencies participating in cybercrime protection.

The agencies, Miss Traisuree said, included the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (DES), the Bank of Thailand (BoT), the Department of Special Investigation (DSI), the Anti-Money Laundering Office, and the Thai Bankers’ Association.

Pol Maj Suriya Singhakamol, DSI chief, said the law will allow banks to temporarily suspend illicit bank accounts without waiting for fraud to occur.

This makes the law one of the most effective tools for social security preservation, Pol Maj Suriya said.