Woman threatens to sue 7 Thai banks over fraud case linked to 'stolen ID' that landed her in jail

The 24-year-old Thai woman, whose stolen ID card was allegedly used by fraudsters, was detained for three days over a fraud charge before being released on bail. PHOTO: THE NATION/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

BANGKOK (THE NATION/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - A 24-year-old woman whose stolen Thai ID card was allegedly used by fraudsters, has said 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.

Private company worker Nicha Kiatthanapaiboon, who was detained for three days over a fraud charge before being released on Bt80,000 (S$3,323) bail on Monday (Jan 8), claimed on Wednesday that 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 should not 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."

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.

National police deputy chief Pol General Weerachai Songmetta said: "The police's procedure against Nicha was in line with the legal steps."

"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."

This fraud offence brought against Nicha was punishable by up to three years in jail.

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.

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