'Lack of ability to counter groups involved in ID fraud, hacking and thefts'.
More than 20 major transnational gangs are plaguing Thailand - including Russian and Romanian credit card skimming gangs and Latin American thieves and bank robbers, a new study by the Thailand Institute of Justice has revealed.
Acting TIJ deputy director Natee Jitsawang detailed the public organisation's research on foreign criminal gangs in Thailand at a press conference yesterday. Natee said Thailand allowed easy entry into country to accommodate foreigners.
As a result, transnational gangs continuously committed crimes in the Kingdom.
He said these criminals continued to develop and adapt their crime techniques while law-enforcement personnel were reshuffled regularly, as a result they could not keep pace with the criminals effectively.
There were 266 foreigners from 101 countries in Thai prisons, he said, adding that the study discovered that 22 gangs were involved in identity fraud and thefts.
They included Russian gangs with expertise in ATM and credit card forging, skimming and selling overseas bank customers' information to obtain cash withdrawals in Thailand.
The gangs used modern technology that could skim the card information in 30 seconds and download it onto a computer so the card could be forged.
Fake cards were then used to withdraw cash from ATM machines at night to avoid police detection. Even when they were caught, they managed to destroy evidence quickly.
The study found that a Romanian gang was also skilled in card skimming and had extensive operations in Thailand.
Natee said the gang imported an electronic card forgery machine from Spain to southern Thailand via post and then produced fake cards to buy goods at shopping malls and jewellery shops or withdraw cash.