Telecom operators asked to explain SIM cards seized from Chinese suspects

national June 15, 2017 01:00

By Chatchawan Sopapan
The Nation

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THE NATIONAL telecom watchdog will summon three major telecom operators over the recent discovery of more than 300,000 SIM cards allegedly used to manipulate Chinese social media.



Takorn Tantasith, secretary-general of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), said yesterday that the three telecom giants would have to provide information on the case.

On Sunday, police found three Chinese suspects in possession of 347,000 SIM cards in a rented house in the Aranyaprathet district of Sa Kaew province. 

During interrogation, the suspects confessed to using the SIM cards to generate likes and page views for online advertisements in exchange for Bt150,000 a month. The inflated responses can mislead advertisers and investors. “NBTC officials are on their way to Sa Kaew to verify if these SIM cards have undergone proper registration,” Takorn said, “And we need to talk to the telecom operators too.”

According to police, the seized SIM cards were from DTAC, AIS and True Corporation. 

Sa Kaew immigration chief Pol Colonel Benjapon Rodsawas said yesterday that a True team had already checked the SIM cards seized by police. “The team has retrieved data from the SIMs and promised to double-check them with their headquarters to find out who were the agents who sold the cards,” Benjapon said. “True has said it will also determine if its employees were involved in the reported misdeed.”

DTAC, meanwhile, had asked police to send photos of the SIM cards. “AIS has yet to contact us,” he added. He said information provided by the telecom operators would assist with the ongoing police investigation. 

At present, the three Chinese suspects are being detained on charges of working without a permit and of possessing mobile phones believed to have been smuggled into Thailand.

However, no Thai laws can be used to prosecute them for manipulating social media, as they reportedly targeted only Chinese products.

 

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