Checkpoint Tip-Off Group Closed and Admins Arrested

 | Mon 15 Jun 2015 06:40 ICT

CityNews – Six admins behind the popular Facebook group that reveals police checkpoint locations in Chiang Mai have been issued arrest warrants on June 13, after orders from police chief Somyot Poompunmuang see similar groups across the country also closed down.

daan facebook group

The Facebook group, with around 50,000 members, aimed at sharing information about where police checkpoints were found around the city, relying on posts to the page from other users.

According to Police Major General Montree Samboonnanon, the commander of Chiang Mai Provincial Police, the information provided has helped people avoid helmet and alcohol test checkpoints at night, resulting in a decrease of arrests being made. Suspects transporting narcotics also utilised the page to avoid checks.

Three of the six admins have been traced and arrested. They are all under 18 years of age. Police say the remaining three are yet to be traced.

Police discovered the three admins had been using drugs and were formally charged under drug related offences.

Police also demanded the admins close down the Facebook page.

A loose interpretation of the Computer Crimes Act is being used to arrest suspects, after Somyot told the Bangkok Post that “who gives them [users of the groups] the information will be considered to be aiding and abetting criminals and will be subject to prosecution…because they disseminate security-related information in violation of the law.”

Police acknowledged the advanced computer skills of one of the admins, and have asked him to come and help improve the Office of Chiang Mai Provincial Police’s online system and aid in tracing those who commit crimes on social media.

Police have not yet issued warrants for any other pages or Line groups, but have acknowledged that they have found over 30 pages dedicated to releasing police checkpoint information.

Current investigations are ongoing, and one of the arrested admins has released a statement apologising for his actions and warning others who open groups such as his to stop as it is against the law and can be a channel for criminals and drug smugglers to take advantage of.