Over 4,000 bank accounts are suspected to be opened by individuals hired by tricksters, drug traffickers, call centre scammers or other criminal elements for use to keep or transfer money earned from illegal activities.
Maj-Gen Romsith Viriyasan, acting secretary-general of the Anti-Money Laundering Office, chaired a meeting on Monday with representatives from the Bank of Thailand, the Local Administration Department and from 36 commercial banks and financial institutes to discuss measures to tighten up the opening of new bank accounts and to prevent criminal elements from using the services of banks and financial institutes to keep, transfer or launder their “dirty” money.
Regarding the 4,000 suspected bank accounts, Maj-Gen Romsith said Amlo would cooperate with the Royal Thai Police to investigate the accounts in question to find out whether they are clean or whether they are used to facilitate the movements of “dirty” money.
Disclosing the result of the meeting, the Amlo chief said the 36 commercial banks and financial institutes had agreed to tighten up the screening of new applicants to open bank accounts at their respective banks.
As agreed at the meeting, an individual who applies to open a new bank account must provide the following information and evidence to the banks: his/her name, the date of birth, ID card number, domicile as shown in the house registration certificate, occupation and place of work, contact number or address such as phone number and signature.
On top of that, banks must check whether the appearance of an applicant matches with that in the ID card. The Amlo chief said banks and financial institutes were told to coordinate with the Local Administration Department to download the department’s computer programme so that they will be to log into the department’s census database for identity verification to make sure that the applicants who want to open new bank accounts are the same persons shown on the ID cards.