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Police thwart attempt to pull 176 million from bank account

A Cambodian man was busted using a fake passport to try to access a bank account with 176 million baht. 

A Cambodian national has been arrested by police in Bangkok for using a fake passport to obtain a new bank passbook. The passbook is believed to be for a bank account with 176 million baht in savings, which is thought to belong to a call centre gang.

The police were alerted to the situation on March 24 when it was reported to the Thong Lor Police Station. They were told that a foreign national was attempting to use a fake passport to obtain a passbook at the Kasikornbank (KBank) branch at EmQuartier shopping mall in Bangkok.

Passbooks are an obsolete transaction tracking method most of the world abandoned with the rise of Internet banking, but for some reason, they remain crucial in Thai banking.

The deputy national police chief revealed details of the investigation on Sunday. He said four Thai individuals and a Cambodian came into the bank branch to request a new passbook. They claimed to be the owners of the KBank account.

However, bank staff examined the passport provided by the Cambodian man and personnel discovered that it did not match with those of the registered account owner. The bank staff alerted the police, who quickly took the Cambodian man into custody.

The deputy police chief added that the Cambodian suspect has been charged with entering Thailand without permission on top of the possible charges for bank fraud.

Investigators revealed that this was not the first attempt that the group had made to withdraw money from this account. The suspects had tried several times to pull cash from the account but never had the correct documents required.

The police suspect that the account belongs to a group of call-centre scammers. They believe the men attempting to withdraw from the account are also linked to the scam gang. Police are currently collecting evidence as they expand their inquiry.

This latest incident highlights the ongoing problem of fraud in Thailand, which has become an increasing concern in recent years. A new cybercrime law was enacted on Friday, March 17, deeming that those who open a bank account or register a SIM card for a third party for illegal use will face jail time and/or a fine.

The new law has some rushing to close their bank accounts so as not to be subjected to jail time of up to three years or to receive a fine of up to 300,000 baht.

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