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Victims in Thailand Duped Out of US$461Million By Online Scammers

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Victims in Thailand Duped Out of US$461Million By Online Scammers

Thailand’s Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) commissioner told Thai Media that online scammers will increase their assault this year as more and more people increasingly rely on online technology for daily activities ranging from purchasing necessities to accessing.

Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) commissioner Pol Lt Gen Jirabhop Bhuridej told a press briefing that according to Royal Thai Police (RTP) cybercrime statistics, over 400,000 incidents were registered between March 1 and November 30 last year.

Deceptive schemes involving fraudulent and subpar goods and services came first, accounting for 40.8% of all cases. However, fraudulent investment schemes caused the most financial harm, with losses totaling more than US$461 Million (16 billion baht).

Data from November 2022 and December 2023 revealed that about 21,000 incidents were recorded in both months, indicating that internet frauds continue to be prevalent. “These figures highlight the threat posed by online scams and the importance of taking preventative measures,” stated the CIB commissioner.

Combating cybercrime is challenging due to scammers’ use of technology to perpetrate crimes and hide their footprints, according to Pol Lt Gen Jirabhop.

Online Scammers Employing AI Technologies

He said that scammers employ new equipment and strategies for their criminal activities, such as SIM boxes and Voice over IP (VoIP), hampering law enforcement authorities’ efforts to combat cybercrime.

In addition, law enforcement organizations confront three additional problems when it comes to countering cybercrime.

First, he said, internet scammers typically operate within Myanmar’s border areas, where the fighting between ethnic rebels and government troops makes it difficult for Thai officials to examine them. He predicted that scammers would also seek refuge in places controlled by armed groups, such as Laukkaing in northern Myanmar.

Online scammers Myanmar

Second, he claims that behind online scams are complicated criminal networks. They are multinationals, making it harder for police to coordinate their operations and track them down, he said.

Finally, legal and jurisdiction considerations complicate matters, he claims. Due to the nature of online scams, worldwide cooperation is necessary to bring these offenders to justice.

To tackle internet scams, Pol Lt Gen Jirabhop announced the establishment of the Anti-internet Scam Operation Centre (AOC) 1441 hotline. It brings together banking, internet service providers, law enforcement, and telecom authorities in a proactive effort to address the threat to the public.

Improve information-sharing

According to him, the program is aimed to streamline coordination, enable database administration, and improve information-sharing, and the police are also using technology to expedite their job and improve their abilities to combat cybercrime. Technology plays a significant role in managing complaints, acquiring intelligence, analyzing criminal patterns, and connecting with other organizations, whether they are banks, internet service providers, or telecom operators.

To stay one step ahead of criminals, police are attempting to create networks and contacts with other law enforcement organizations to share knowledge, investigation tactics, and information regarding illegal activity.

He believes it is critical for law enforcement to “unlearn, relearn, and reskill” to address the increasing challenges provided by emerging threats such as Bitcoin, the dark web, and deep fakes.

Changing organizational structures is critical to increasing law enforcement organizations’ efficacy in countering cybercrime, according to Pol Lt Gen Jirabhop.

cyber criminals thailand

As the CIB commissioner, he has been tasked by the prime minister with serving as the secretary-general of the AOC and establishing a working group to collaborate with other agencies and devise effective ways to combat cybercrime.

“Because crime has become borderless, it is time to elevate partnership and collaboration at the regional and global levels.” Victims in Thailand may be targeted by criminals headquartered in other countries. Therefore, we need a strong ally to keep crime at bay,” he said.

He stated that the public may actively participate in the battle against cybercrime, saying that the CIB has used social media to warn them about online fraud spot scams and encourage them to report suspicious actions. He also stated that CIB mobile applications will be available soon.

Violent Crimes and Mass Shootings

As online scams continue to pose a huge threat this year, he added, violent crimes such as mass shootings are increasing around the world, raising considerable worries for authorities and the public.

Because such incidents are sometimes unanticipated and have a catastrophic impact on communities, the CIB has organized workshops at schools and private companies to assist people in understanding the risks and developing a plan to deal with such events and stay safe, he said.

He also stated that the agency has collaborated with the Police General Hospital to check the mental health of its personnel and provide them with early diagnosis and treatment, which is critical given the stressful nature of their work.

He also stated that the government has cracked down on illegal firearms, resulting in the confiscation of weapons and the arrest of several offenders.

Nearly 60,000 Chinese Tourists Cancel Thailand Visit After Siam Paragon Mall Shooting

The shooting at the Siam Paragon retail mall in October of last year was one of the bloodiest days in recent years. A 14-year-old child is accused of randomly shooting individuals, killing one Thai and two foreign nationals and injuring five others.

The shooting happened just a few days after the first anniversary of a shooting in Nong Bua Lam Phu, where a former police officer armed with a knife and a gun assaulted a nursery, killing 24 children and 12 adults.

The Siam Paragon incident prompted a strengthening of gun control laws, including a prohibition on the importation of guns and imitation firearms.

Concerning southern unrest and potential violence in the capital, Pol Lt Gen Jirabhop stated that the RTP’s forward command has surveillance systems in place and monitors the activities of questionable individuals.

The CIB has directed forces under its command, such as the Crime Suppression Division, the Marine Police, and the Highway Police, to work closely with local law enforcement.

New comprehensive crime database

According to Pol Lt Gen Jirabhop, who envisions the CIB as a data-driven organization, improving data collection is one of the primary areas the CIB is working on to combat crime better. The CIB can better analyze trends and patterns, plan, and devote resources to address them with extensive and reliable data.

Poor data collecting can lead to incomplete or inaccurate data, making it impossible for police to undertake effective data analytics, he explained, adding that the CIB has collaborated with the Thailand Institute of Justice to create a robust and comprehensive crime database.

According to him, the UNODC’s International Classification of Crime for Statistical Purposes provides a complete framework for creating statistics on criminal justice and will serve as a model.

According to him, the CIB can gain useful insights from crime data and improve its crime prevention, suppression, and investigation work.

“Technology allows criminals to target people from anywhere, and new technologies make it more difficult to find them.” The whole public should arm themselves with knowledge. “It is the most effective and first line of defense against crime,” he stated.

Myanmar's Military Junta Directly Linked to Online Scam Syndicates

Myanmar Genearls Protecting Online Scammers

The township of Laukkai had been a hub for numerous online scam centers operated by criminal syndicates, employing a significant workforce.

According to the leader of anti-Junta forces striving to gain authority over the area, the online scam syndicates near the Chinese border in northern Shan State generate an annual revenue of US$14 billion. These syndicates are managed by four families who receive protection from the Myanmar military junta generals.

The revelation was made by Peng Deren, the leader of the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), in a New Year’s message to supporters and reported by The Irrawaddy, an independent news service in Myanmar.

Following weeks of heavy combat with junta troops, the anti-junta forces known as the Three Brotherhood Alliance took control of Laukkai, the biggest town in the Kokang region and the core of the scam activities.

According to Peng, four “big families” perpetrated hundreds of online scams in Laukkai before it was raided by the Brotherhood Alliance, with as many as 100,000 people working for them.

Because the frauds were primarily aimed at Chinese consumers, the majority of the personnel at the centers were Chinese or spoke the language.

Under pressure from China, Myanmar police affiliated with the Three Brotherhood alliance have increased arrests and deportations in recent months. According to Chinese media, 41,000 alleged scammers were brought to China last year.

However, when the town was assaulted, the Myanmar military deployed helicopters to evacuate the leaders of the crime syndicates, according to Peng.

The MNDAA is one of the Brotherhood Alliance’s three ethnic armies. On October 27, last year, they started Operation 1027 to force junta troops out of northern Shan State. According to Peng, the junta protects the four families that manage the syndicates, referring to the Bai, Wei, and two Liu clans.

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