Cops nab local body deputy in records bust
A deputy mayor of tambon Wiang Lo in Phayao's Chun district has been arrested for breaking into a police database to steal records of individuals for sale, police say.
The arrest of Somchai Kempeth, 37, also the former deputy leader of a party, was announced yesterday by Immigration Bureau (IB) commissioner Surachate Hakparn, who also serves as the deputy chief of the Thailand's Action Taskforce for Information Technology Crime (Tactic).
Pol Lt Gen Surachate said police were tipped off that someone had accessed the database, which is used to check the criminal records of individuals, and sold the information.
The hacked information also include criminal records, according to Tactic.
Officers tracked down and arrested Mr Somchai, who was logging into the system at a condominium in Bangkok's Bang Khen district, he said.
According to Pol Lt Gen Surachate, the suspect has five passwords which could be used to log into the database.
These passwords belong to police who earlier served as crime suppression officers attached to Thanyaburi station in Pathum Thani and Muang station in Nakhon Pathom, the commissioner said, adding these officers hold ranks ranging from deputy inspector to superintendent.
"The suspect had hacked the database for more than three months and took out records of 500 individuals to be sold at 1,000 baht each," said Pol Lt Gen Surachate.
The probe has not yet found links between the suspect and these police, though an instruction has been given to investigate why these passwords were leaked and whether these officers were involved, he said.
The probe will also be carried out to determine who bought this information and for what purposes, he noted.
"The information can be misused, especially during the present countdown to the election, " the commissioner said.
Police also suspect the information might have been used for political reasons.
"Those who purchased the records may have used this data for tracking the records of local politicians or those connected with political activities," he said.
It is unclear how many people bought the records or how the information was deployed.
Mr Somchai has been charged for violating the Computer Crime Act by unlawfully accessing a protected computer database, an offence which carries a jail term of up to two years or/and a fine of up to 40,000 baht, said Pol Lt Gen Surachate.