Thailand expects cryptocurrency-related crimes to skyrocket and that government agencies face hurdles in combating such crimes.
Like many countries across the world, Thailand is working to come to grips with cryptocurrency. The creation and use of digital currencies continue to revolutionize the technological and business worlds, but there’s also no denying that the criminal world is benefiting as well. From ransomware to cryptojacking, cryptocurrency-related crimes have become part of the online ecosystem that permeates our lives. In a recent seminar, a Thai government agency says that they expect such cryptocurrency-related crimes to skyrocket and that the government is lagging behind in being able to handle this phenomenon.
Crypto Crime in Thailand
The Thailand Institute of Justice (TIJ) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) recently held a seminar titled “Advancing the Economy and Combating Crime in the Digital Age: Cryptocurrency and Crime.” At the seminar, it was noted that an increasing number of criminal elements are using cryptocurrency for terrorism and money laundering.
The agencies also noted that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been used to purchase child pornography, narcotics, malware, and firearms. These transactions are taking place on the Dark Web, which the TIJ says is gaining in popularity with criminals.
It’s also noted that cryptocurrency is also being used to pay ransoms, and then there are the scams. The most current Thai Bitcoin scam involves a Finnish man being bilked out of $34 million (over 5,500 BTC) by scammers. In that particular case, law enforcement has filed fraud charges against five suspects, although one suspect has fled to the United States.
Significant Problems to Overcome
The TIJ says that the amount of cryptocurrency-related crimes in the country is rather low at the current time, but they believe that such crimes will skyrocket in the near future. This is likely due to criminals becoming more comfortable with cryptocurrency, not to mention that criminal enterprises from outside Thailand can engage in illicit activities within the country due to crypto’s ease of use across national borders.
However, while the number of cybercrimes in Thailand is still relatively few, the same cannot be said for the entire region. The deputy regional representative for UNODC says that there are more than 6 billion cybercrime cases in Southeast Asia every year.
The Thai government has set up the National Cyber Security Committee to combat cryptocurrency-related crimes, but there are some issues to overcome. The government admits that the committee lacks the experience and knowledge needed to even administer computer servers. This lack of familiarity with the cryptocurrency sphere is just the tip of the iceberg.
The executive director of the Thailand Institute of Justice, Kittipong Kittayarak, points out some other difficulties that need to be overcome, saying:
This includes human resource constraints, a lack of effective inter-agency communication due to officials’ lack of proficiency in foreign languages, and bureaucratic red tape.
The problems faced by the Thai agencies are the same faced by government agencies across the world. They are trying to catch up to a new technological revolution that they know little about and one that criminals are far more comfortable with. Chances are that there are going to be some serious growing pains as they seek to get a grip on crypto and start cracking down on crime.
Do you think crypto-related crimes are going to skyrocket? Let us know in the comments below.
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