Foreign suspects in ATM malware heist 'fled the country'

Foreign suspects in ATM malware heist 'fled the country'

An employee posts out-of-service notices on Government Savings Bank ATMs shut down after criminals stole more than 12 million baht from the banks malware-infected automatic teller machines in six provinces. (Photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
An employee posts out-of-service notices on Government Savings Bank ATMs shut down after criminals stole more than 12 million baht from the banks malware-infected automatic teller machines in six provinces. (Photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

Five people from eastern Europe were involved in the theft of more than 12 million baht from Government Savings Bank (GSB) ATMs infected with malware, and some have already left the country, a senior police officer said on Wednesday.

Police investigating the attacks on GSB ATMs in six provinces now have evidence clearly implicating the five east Europeans, said Pol Gen Panya Mamen, a senior adviser to the Royal Thai Police Office (RTPO).

The gang stole over 12 million baht from ATMs operated by the state-run bank in six provinces - Phuket, Surat Thani, Chumphon, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Phetchaburi and Bangkok.

Police from the Central Investigation Bureau, the Immigration Police Bureau and the Police Forensic Science Office were inspecting the crime scenes in the six provinces, he said.  

The hunt had been intensified for the five suspects, even though some had reportedly already fled the country. Interpol had been alerted and given details.

Police investigators had witnesses and other evidence linking them to the heists. This included security camera footage that showed them inserting specially made electronic cards produced in Ukraine into GSB ATMs infected with the malware. The malware then triggered the ATMs to dispense what ultimately amounted to millions of baht in cash, Pol Gen Panya said. 

The suspects were believed linked to similar attacks on banks in Taiwan in July this year. The five had entered Thailand several times.

Investigators would also look into whether any Thais were involved in the extensive criminal operation.

Police will meet with representatives from other agencies on Thursday to discuss the crime and nature of the attack.

He maintained the GSB had not covered up the ATM thefts, which happened between July 7 and 30. After finding out millions of baht in cash had been stolen, the state-run bank immediately lodged complaints with police.

Police will soon apply for warrants for the arrest of those involved in the ATM thefts, Pol Gen Panya said.


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