At the Legal System and Cryptocurrency Crime seminar held in Bangkok last month, officials of Thailand’s Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) revealed their plans to create a cryptocurrency wallet that will have the ability to seize digital currencies from criminals accused of cryptocurrency crimes based on distributed ledger technology (DLT).
Currently, Thailand has no laws allowing authorities to seize or even freeze digital assets of criminals. As a result, AMLO only has the power to jail or extradite the criminal, and only seize physical assets while the digital assets remain untouchable. Thai authorities faced the same problem earlier this year when, in a joint operation with the Technology Crime Suppression Division of the Royal Thai Police and Dutch authorities, the digital assets of a Moldovan citizen, who was accused of operating a child pornography website, could not be seized.
Although Thailand has proper infrastructures in place for initial coin offerings (ICOs) and DLT, crimes related to cryptocurrencies are still on the rise. Chartpong Chirabandhu, deputy director of the Thai Department of Special Litigation, Office of Attorney General stressed the need for regulations enabling authorities to collect digital evidence which can be used in court against criminals. Chirabandhu stated, “A big problem with the cryptocurrencies and other such evidence is the difficulty in discovering the identity of those transacting. When we present evidence to the court, it often fails to convince the Judge.” Pol Colonel Pisal Erb-Arb, deputy commander of the Narcotics Suppression Bureau also suggested creating a task force that focuses on cryptocurrency based crimes before digital crimes in Thailand rise even further.
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