In a bid to better handle crypto-related scams, Thailand’s money laundering regulator is reckoning with having its own digital wallet to store seized cryptocurrencies, local daily The Nation reported on Monday.
The legislation currently in effect in Thailand has a major drawback – it regulates the imprisonment or extradition of cybercriminals, as well the capturing of their material assets, but it remains silent about what to do with the digital assets they have stolen, the English-language news outlet wrote.
According to secretary Witthaya Neetitham the Thai Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) is thinking of setting up a wallet where the digital currency confiscated from illegal venues can be kept.
Police captain Ekkanit Natethong gave a concrete example while talking about the problem of dealing with cybercriminals. Earlier in 2018, the Thai police’s tech crime division and its Dutch counterparts arrested a person suspected of running a child-porn website and found his digital wallet contained Bitcoin. However, they could not take over the crypto coins, as the law doesn’t govern such actions.
The legal framework does reference certain aspects of Thailand’s digital currency segment. As per a bill on virtual asset management, cryptocurrency-related companies are required to obtain a license from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). However, although the commission has received a fair number of authorization requests, some businesses remain outside the legal framework and it is namely this grey area that creates most problems for the AMLO, according to Witthaya.
In the absence of an SEC license, “[the AMLO] cannot identify the cryptocurrency operator or receivers when duped victims transfer money to the criminals,” Witthaya noted.
Pisal Erb-Arb, deputy commander of the Narcotics Suppression Bureau, admitted crypto-related crime is rather pressing an issue in Thailand, considering that the country is “a haven for money laundering that finances terrorism”.