Thailand has been a bit under the international cosh for not implementing money laundering laws in the way that other countries would like.
This seems tied in with an announcement that opening a Thai bank account will soon become more difficult.
The Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) has announced new regulations for the opening of Thai bank accounts. From August Thai banks will be instructed to check more carefully the background and identities of aliens wanting to open an account.
Currently, the only documentation required is a photocopy of the alien's passport and, in some cases, a certificate obtained from the immigration bureau to confirm their address.
Police Colonel Seehanat Prayoonrat, chief of AMLO, said that in
the future banks will be required to question applicants as to their reasons for wishing to open an account. Justifiable reasons might include sending cash from overseas to purchase a condo, supporting a Thai family or being based in Thailand for living
In future, applicants need to show more documents as proof, the colonel explained. No definitive list of additional documents has yet been issued, but are likely to include a work permit or a one-year visa. Aliens might also be
asked to provide proof of their residence address in their first country.
Financial experts say that banks are likely to react in different ways to the new regulations. Some might restrict new alien accounts to those holding a work permit
whilst others will want documentation additional to the passport and the immigration certificate. Others might even require police clearance from the home country.
Existing accounts will not normally be affected although they may be monitored more
thoroughly for unusual transactions, deposits and withdrawals.