Thai security laws, compared to those of many other countries, are relatively lenient in some areas but are often more punitive in others. This is largely due to the fact that Thailand has a large transient foreign population that requires a substantial amount of discretionary power over arrests and detentions, in addition to the need for regular judicial review of such actions by the Royal Thai Police.
Despite the country’s recent reputation for leniency in some areas, Thailand still has some serious criminal problems. Some of the more serious crimes include human trafficking, pirating and drug-related offenses.
The following are the main areas of criminal law in Thailand that should be understood by any businessperson:
1. Lese majeste laws (Thai term for ‘insult HM’)
Those who insult HM or members of the Royal Family could face severe penalties. This is particularly important to avoid if you are traveling in the country, or even just visiting from abroad.
2. Credit card fraud and ATM skimming are also major concerns in Thailand.
These are issues that you should be aware of, especially if you have a foreign bank account.
3. Property scams
If you are a foreigner or traveling to Thailand, it is a good idea to be very careful with your belongings. This includes keeping your valuables in a safe box or keeping them out of view when you are outside.
4. Beware of price scams
These can be especially common for foreigners or tourists and are often accompanied by other forms of crime. If you are paying for goods or services that you do not receive, make sure you contact your bank immediately to get the issue resolved.
5. Keep your passport secure and in your possession while you are in Thailand.
In Thailand, it is illegal to take a passport from a tourist or foreigner without their consent and this is especially true when you are traveling from abroad. This is a violation of the Foreigner’s Act and can result in fines and jail time, so do your research before hand.
6. Protect your privacy in Thailand
Those who are travelling to Thailand should be aware of the fact that it is not uncommon for tourists to be stalked or harassed by locals and this can cause serious problems if you do not take steps to protect yourself from such behaviour. The best way to avoid such behaviour is to travel alone or in groups of friends, if possible.
7. The laws of Thailand are highly influenced by western law and there are some correlations with other criminal justice systems.
8. Criminal cases in Thailand are based on a series of rules that apply to every situation and can be difficult to prove or defend against.
The laws of Thailand are extremely complex and there is no substitute for the guidance of an experienced lawyer when you are dealing with such matters.
9. The Thai courts are the final arbiters of all legal issues and so it is recommended that you always seek the advice of a lawyer before any action is taken against you.