In a move against cybercrime, the Lao government urged its National Internet Committee to address online fraud, fake call centers, illegal online trade, gambling, and human trafficking.
The commitment of Laos to combat cyber threats was emphasized during the annual meeting of the Lao National Internet Committee, where Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Security, Vilay Lakhamfong, suggested setting up a fund to regulate telecommunication and internet systems. He also urged the committee to learn from regional countries and international organizations about developing effective internet regulations.
As part of its expansion plan, the Committee aims to bring telecommunication and internet services to rural areas, reduce internet usage charges, and ensure the registration of all phone numbers by 16 December. Legislation related to internet use is under review, and strategies for national telecommunications development and cybersecurity are in the pipeline.
The prompt action of the Lao government may also be influenced by the escalating prevalence of online scams in Laos. Noteworthy instances include a victim deceived by a friend, incurring a loss exceeding LAK 15 million (around USD 724). Another incident involved scammers posing as representatives of JDB bank, manipulating victims into transferring funds to them. These incidents underscore the urgency of addressing the rising tide of online fraud in Laos.
As Laos takes decisive steps to safeguard its internet users from cyber threats, the collaborative efforts of Tether, a cryptocurrency stablecoin launched by the company Tether Limited Inc. and OKX, the leading global crypto exchange and Web3 technology company, in dismantling a major human trafficking syndicate responsible for a global “pig butchering” romance scam, highlight the importance of global cooperation in addressing complex challenges.
Tether and OKX, through a months-long joint effort and blockchain analysis tools from Chainalysis, a blockchain analysis firm headquartered in the United States, assisted the US Department of Justice in unveiling a global human trafficking syndicate in the Southeast Asia region. The voluntary freeze of approximately 225 million USDT tokens in external wallets marks the largest-ever freeze in the history of Tether.
While it is unclear which part of the region the increasing romance scam stems from, a few residents of Laos have reported that they have observed such activities in the country.
“Seen a lot over the years… those being scammed are blinded by the lust and beauty of a younger girl… deserved those doing the scamming” said a Facebook user.
The cryptocurrency industry’s commitment to transparency and integrity, coupled with nations like Laos actively fortifying their digital landscapes, reflects a collective effort to foster a secure and responsible digital future.