NICHA KIATTHANAPAIBOON, a 24-year-old woman whose stolen Thai ID card was allegedly used by fraudsters, said yesterday that she was prepared to sue seven Thai banks that allowed an elusive female suspect, who wore a medical face mask, to open nine bank accounts under her name.
Meanwhile, Thai Bankers’ Association chairman Predee Daochai revealed a plan to implement in the middle of this year a “Nation Digital ID” system for stricter confirmation of the identities of those applying to open bank accounts. The system’s “E-Identity” system was more effective than the Interior Ministry’s smart card reader, as it was integrated with various checks by banks, he said.
Private company worker Nicha, who was detained for three days over a fraud charge before being released on Bt80,000 bail on Monday, claimed she had applied for a new ID card after her wallet went missing in early October, but the culprit was still able to use the old card to open accounts.
Nicha filed a complaint at the Crime Suppression Division (CSD) on Tuesday. The CSD then requested that Tak’s Ban Tak Police Station transfer into its jurisdiction a fraud case in which a female victim was duped by a foreign man on Facebook.
The man allegedly had the victim wire a total of Bt1.3 million to three bank accounts. One account, which received about Bt300,000, was under Nicha’s name. The complaint led to Nicha’s arrest and court-ordered detention.
A bank executive, who asked for anonymity, claimed that bank staff could not force a customer to remove a medical mask that covered their nose and mouth.
But the executive said that Nicha shouldn’t have been detained because she had filed a police report after her wallet went missing. Apparently, police did not submit certain key evidence to the court, so the court proceeded on the available information, the executive said.
“Banks are not 100 per cent at fault in [Nicha’s ordeal],” the executive said. “Police should also take the responsibility.”
Meanwhile, national police deputy chief Pol General Weerachai Songmetta joined a video conference at Bangkok’s Royal Thai Police head office in the afternoon along with CSD officers and Ban Tak police.
Earlier, CSD chief Pol Maj-General Maitree Chimcherd said police had asked the seven banks for security camera footage for clues about the suspect who had misused Nicha’s ID card.
After the meeting, Weerachai said Ban Tak police would investigate the fraud in Tak, while the CSD would cover the matter in other provinces, because the fraud involved bank accounts in two other names besides Nicha’s.
Accounts opened in the names of Kwan Thongnoi and Teerapat Ngamwong received Bt400,000 and Bt630,000 respectively of the Tak victim’s money.
Police have urged the two men to step forward to express their innocence.
“The police’s procedure against Nicha was in line with the legal steps,” Weerachai said. “Her arrest warrant was issued because she didn’t respond to the two previous summonses in a two-month span. Now we will probe if she was a victim or an accomplice.”
Provincial Police Region 6 chief Pol Lt-General Thawitchart Palasak said at a separate press conference that Ban Tak police performed the due steps in issuing two summonses via a Nonthaburi precinct, which got no response, and a January 3 arrest warrant because Nicha’s name was on the bank account used in the crime.
This fraud offence brought against Nicha was punishable by up to three years in jail.
Thawitchart said Nicha was brought into CSD custody on Friday and sent to Ban Tak police on the same night, but she did not have the Bt80,000 required for police bail. The next morning they sent her to court for a detention order and her bail application was denied – resulting in a total of three days in detention.
Thawitchart said police did not have a chance to get details of the stolen ID card claim because Nicha had failed to respond to the summonses. He said he told investigators to revoke the arrest warrant and withdraw the charge if the probe deems Nicha is a victim.