Cryptocurrency-related crimes in Thailand are likely to continue to rise due to a serious lack of professionals with in-depth knowledge on the sector and the technology needed to effectively tackle cybercrime.
This information was made public at a seminar recently organized by the Thailand Institute of Justice (TIJ) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The event was first reported on by the Bangkok Post.
Kittipong Kittayarak, the executive director of the TIJ, in revealing findings from a joint study conducted by the TIJ and the UN Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute, said cases of illegal activities related to cross-border organized crime are escalating.
Mr. Kittayarak cited money laundering, travel documents and ID card forgery, call center fraud, human trafficking, drug smuggling, and credit card fraud as examples of crimes the study found to be on the rise.
Crypto Crime on the Rise
Kittayarak learned from the UNODC that cryptocurrencies have been used to facilitate the funding of terrorists and of money laundering. He added that although there are only a few recorded cases in Thailand, cryptocurrencies have been used to pay criminals in kidnapping cases, to buy child pornography, illegal weapons, and malware over the internet.
The executive director of the TIJ noted the number of cryptocurrency-related crimes was expected to increase quickly within a short period of time. An example is a recent fraud and money laundering case involving a Thai actor who is alleged to have tricked a Finn into sending him about $25 million dollars worth of bitcoin. Thai police are still investigating the case.
Agencies Need Crypto-Savvy Personnel
The difficulties faced by Thai law enforcement agencies in carrying out their mandates were also pinpointed by the study. According to Mr. Kittayarak, “human resource constraints, a lack of effective inter-agency communication due to officials' lack of proficiency in foreign languages, and bureaucratic red tape," were the main issues the agencies had to deal with.
For instance, the executive director of the TIJ acknowledged the newly established National Commission for Cyber Security did not have the human resources with proper knowledge and experience in cybersecurity.