Thai court to sue anonymous hackers who shut down government websites

The Thai Court of Justice plans to press charges against anonymous hackers who took down hundreds of websites of the Thai courts in protest against the conviction of two Burmese migrant workers for the murder of two British backpackers on Ko Tao Island.

On Wednesday, 13 January 2016, Suebpong Sripongkul, spokesperson of Thailand’s Court of Justice (CoJ), announced that the Thai authorities will carry out an investigation and press charges against a group of anonymous hackers who on Tuesday night downed at least 297 sites, including Appeal and Criminal Court websites.

Once hacked, the well-known white mask of the anonymous group appeared on the attacked sites along with messages saying “BLINK HACKER GROUP”, and “Failed Law We Want Justice ! # Boycott Thailand”.

The Blink Hacker Group is believed to be associated with a hacker group called Anonymous Myanmar Hacker.

Members of the Facebook group called We are Anonymous on Wednesday posted a message saying that ‪#‎Anonymous was shutting down all Thai Court of Justice websites in protest over the ‪#‎KohTao murder verdict. #Anonymous was supporting the campaign to ask tourists to boycott Thailand "until such time changes are made with the way Thai police handle investigations involving foreign tourists."

The group also claimed that they are planning to release “a huge leak of all Thai officials involved in corruption in Thai Courts.”

Previously, on January 4, the same group of anonymous hackers took credit for carrying out similar online attacks on at least 14 websites associated with the Royal Thai Police.

Despite the attack which caused the CoJ websites to go blank, the main functions of the CoJ agencies are still intact.

According to Suebpong, the Technology Crime Suppression Division (TCSD) has tracked down about 10 IP addresses of the alleged attackers which belong to overseas internet users.

He said that the anonymous attackers might face charges under Articles 10 and 12 of the 2007 Computer Crime Act (CCA) for causing disturbances in the computer systems of public agencies.

Article 10 of the CCA sets five years’ imprisonment, a fine of up to 100,000 baht or both as the penalty for causing online disturbances while Article 12 of the CCA stipulates that those who attack the computer systems of state agencies face up to 15 years of jail term, a fine of up to 300,000 baht or both.

On 14 December 2015, Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo, two Burmese migrants, were convicted of rape and murder and were handed death sentences.

The Thai court cited DNA evidence as the primary evidence in the case. However, the ruling was much criticised by those who believe the two migrant workers are scapegoats.

Earlier this week, Laura Witheridge, sister of one of the the Ko Tao murder victims, Hannah Witheridge, posted a message on her Facebook profile saying that the Thai police are corrupt and that their investigation leading to the conviction of the two Burmese migrants was “bungled.”

After the message was posted, Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda, the Royal Thai Police Chief, threatened to file lawsuits against Laura for defaming the Thai police.