Call to focus on cyber crimes

Call to focus on cyber crimes

Asean officials called to unite in crackdown

Deputy permanent secretary for justice Wisit Wisitsora-at: Computer crimes require international cooperation. (File photo by Tawatchai Kemgumnerd)
Deputy permanent secretary for justice Wisit Wisitsora-at: Computer crimes require international cooperation. (File photo by Tawatchai Kemgumnerd)

Asean law enforcement officials must work together to create a channel where they can communicate and share information about cyber crimes as the offences are transnational, according to permanent secretary for justice Wisit Wisitsora-at.

Mr Wisit was speaking at a seminar to exchange law enforcement measures among Asean members to combat computer crimes in Bangkok Wednesday. The event was attended by representatives from 10 Asean nations as well as experts on cyber crime suppression.

All countries around the globe pay attention to computer crimes, which are spreading and causing widespread damage, Mr Wisit said.

Not all computer crimes can be thwarted by one country acting alone as it has no power to deal with offenders overseas, he said.

Although every country has its own measures to catch these offenders, there are still legal differences between the countries, which helps criminals get away with it.

Based on this, it is necessary to build a channel where law enforcement agencies in Asean can exchange information about cyber crimes, ranging from basic offences like call centre scams to complex transgressions, he said.

Cyber crimes are committed by those who have technical knowledge at various levels, Mr Wisit said, adding the communication channel would help plug loopholes exploited by those committing cyber crimes and assist countries in amending laws to stem the transgressions.

"The world has realised that cyber crimes are a new trend. Even the United Nations pays attention to the issue and considers that we should not wait until the situation becomes critical and then find ways to deal with the problem," Mr Wisit said.

He said although Thailand has severe punishments based on the Computer Crime Act, questions must be raised as to whether officials would be able to apprehend criminals to stop the crimes from spreading.

He said there is no need for criminals to travel to the target countries to commit offences.

"Regarding law enforcement officials, they must develop a surveillance system to detect the offences," Mr Wisit said.

According to the Department of Special Investigation, most cyber crimes committed in Thailand involve call centre scams, which have caused substantial damage to many customers over several years.

The criminals set up their bases for call centre operations in various nations.

From December last year, 452 cases pertaining to call centres have been recorded, according to the Royal Thai Police's unit tasked with preventing and thwarting public frauds through phones or electronic channels. About 245 million baht in damage was reported.

A total of 547 warrants have been issued to arrest offenders; 396 of them were apprehended.

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