The Thailand cabinet has approved a draft emergency decree to combat online fraud, enabling financial institutions to halt suspicious transactions temporarily for scrutiny.
The country’s digital Economy and Society (DES) Minister Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn said the decree measures are prescribed to prevent and suppress deception in transferring money via electronic means.
According to a government release, the law allows authorities to supervise financial transactions and notify institutions and business operators to hold or postpone suspicious transactions for a certain period of time to prevent abnormal behaviour. If no violations are found, the transactions are allowed to proceed.
It also directs victims to file complaints within 48 hours and police investigators to probe suspicious accounts within seven days of notification. It also enables telecom operators to exchange customer information and transaction details with Thai police and other authorised agencies through a data exchange system.
The government has authorised the Office of National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission, an agency to develop a central database with user registration information, to sort messages for investigation and fraud prevention purposes.
Moreover, the act governs the usage of bank accounts, electronic cards, electronic wallets or SIM cards. It restricts consumers from creating a personal account for an electronic card or wallet without the purpose of using it. Consumers are also barred from sharing SIM cards, which may invite imprisonment up to three years or a fine of up to 300,000 baht (S$11,997) or both.
Thanakamanusorn said the decree is vital to deter online crime and eliminate legal complications in collaborating between various organisations. The draft emergency decree will be forwarded to the Council of State for review before it is enacted.