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Thailand’s News Cyber Cops Take Down their First Suspect

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Digital Economy and Society Minister Buddhipongse Punnakanta said the suspect and his accomplices used a computer program to illegally acquire Line group users’ information.

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Cyber cops at Thailand’s Anti-Fake News Centre have arrested their first suspect since it opened at the beginning of this month.

Digital Economy and Society Minister Buddhipongse Punnakanta said the suspect and his accomplices used a computer program to illegally acquire Line group users’ information.

The minister said the detained suspect was tracked down at a home in Bangkok’s Yannawa district.

“They asked anonymous users to join groups without an invitation. Then shared links to obscene websites that came with advertisements for diet supplement products.

A court issued a warrant for the arrest of the suspect, whose name was withheld. Cyber cops apprehended him in Bangkok’s Yannawa district. His computer and cellular devices were also confiscated for investigation. An accomplice later turned himself in according to the Bangkok Post.

Illegal access to a computer system is a violation of the Computer Crime Act. Offenders are subject to up to seven years in jail and/or a 140,000-baht fine, he said. Sharing obscene links can also result in a prison sentence of up to five years and/or a 100,000-baht fine.

Mr Buddhipongse said that over the past month, cyber cops have monitored and flagged 7,962 messages on social media as possible fake news, and 45 of them had been verified as such.

Most of the fake news items were related to bogus health products, he said, accounting for 21.2 percent.

About 15 percent of fake news had contents inciting social division and affecting security, he said.