People have been facing issues relating to “Fraud” for thousands of years across the world. It is one of the most common and most incurred offenses in various businesses and entities in Thailand. Even the closest of friends cannot avoid such issues. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is also an alarming increase in Fraud Cases in Thailand in relation to glove scams and PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). Such a case is similar to the breach of agreement or embezzlement offense. In this article, we will discuss Thai Criminal Law in relation to Fraud and hopefully provide you with relevant information to equip you with your present or future endeavors in Thailand.
The Offence of Cheating and Fraud in Thailand is stipulated under the Thai Criminal Code, Section 341
“Whoever dishonestly deceives a person with the assertion of a falsehood or the concealment of the facts which should be revealed, and, by such deception, obtains a property from the person defrauded or a third person, or causes the person defrauded or a third person to execute, revoke or destroy a document of right, is said to commit the offense of cheating and fraud, and shall be punished with imprisonment not exceeding three years or fined not exceeding six thousand Baht, or both.”
In practice, even though it is caused by a commercial agreement, it may be subject to the offense of fraud if the person committing this offense intentionally cheats another party from the beginning. For instance, Mr. A agrees to jointly invest in a business with Mr. B by letting Mr. B transfer some funds to his private account with no intention to return the investment and profits to Mr. B for any reason. The act of Mr. A is deemed as fraud because he gave Mr. B a false statement in order to receive the money from Mr. B dishonestly.
In addition to the foregoing offense, if the offender committed any fraudulent acts under Section 341 to the public it can be referred to Section 343 of the same which stipulates
“If the offense under Section 341 is committed by the assertion of a falsehood to the public or by the concealment of the facts which should be revealed to the public, the offender shall be punished with imprisonment not exceeding five years or fined not exceeding ten thousand Baht, or both.”
Public Fraud is therefore a public offense.
For example, a manufacturing company starts selling their products to clients, but they do not intend to send the products or to send the correct type of product they offer or sell to the clients. That will be Cheating and Fraud, and if they claim that they had submitted relevant documentation about the product to a government agency, such as claiming they have a Product License or Production License when in fact they provided false documents or information to the government agency in charge of issuing such licenses and the documents are to be publicized or to be available to the public, then it will be considered as Public Fraud under Section 343 of the Thai Criminal Code. Furthermore, it is actually known that if the injured or otherwise harmed person wishes to withdraw the case from the Court, the public prosecutor shall continually proceed with the case.
The statute of limitations will depend on the specifics of the case, even with criminal fraud. What matters most in terms of the statute of limitations is whether the case is public or private and whether it is criminal or civil. In any case, when it comes to legal cases, it is best to file as soon as possible. If there is any chance of someone committing fraud against you, or if you have been accused of committing fraud in Thailand, you should contact an attorney immediately.In essence, however, you, as a victim of fraud, have three months in which to file a case once you realize that fraud has been committed and who has committed the fraud against you.
The Securities and Exchange Act allows for some civil actions against fraud in Thailand.
An offender of fraud may be subject to any of the following sanctions or penalties:
In criminal fraud cases, bail is usually granted by the criminal court, but the following is taken into account:
The following reasons might constitute the refusal of a bail application:
Hiring a lawyer for legal representation in terms of Thailand's penal code involving a fraudulent act is essential to the success of your case.
When a person commits fraud, there are some safeguards available to them:
When it comes to fraud against tourists, the most common kind of fraud, in this case, is related to scams, either real estate scams or other instances where a deceived person was led to believe that they are paying for a good or service related to their holiday experience in Thailand, only to find out that the other party dishonestly took money from them with no intension to deliver.
International insurance fraud might also be a concern, but this is not as common and would fall under the commercial code of the country in which the organization is based.
A tourist consumes food and scenery and travels around the country without the intricate depth of knowledge and understanding of the nuances of the country that a local has. They tend to fall victim to circumstances of things like insurance fraud or tourism-related criminal cases and perhaps even a civil offense simply because there are things about the local life that they just do not understand.
The person found guilty of an offense in another country is extremely misfortunate. That is why it is so extremely important that no person conceals information about an insured property or any other matter from local authorities should they find themselves in hot water overseas. Being in possession of such property that is illegal within a specific country might only result in a fine that the person must pay, so in order to attain the most favorable results, it is best to contact a lawyer immediately. Juslaws can help with anything from stolen property claims to more serious criminal cases.
We receive over 20 fraud cases per year, and with the correct and proper documentation, this can yield good results for the injured person and receive a fair judgment from the court. We normally report the fraud case to the inquiry office at the competent police station to gather the essential documents and reliable witnesses. Particularly, if it is a private fraud case (Section 341) and the injured party wishes to file the complaint to the Court in its own action, the law requires the person defrauded to file a complaint within three months after knowing of the case and the offender unless he or she has filed the complaint within three months prior to proceed the case in Court. Note that if it is a public fraud case (Section 343) such time constraint does not apply.
We can assist you if you have any problems related to fraud. Our experience in this type of offense gave us a better insight into every case we handle. If we have the necessary information we will be able to guarantee a good result for your case. If you are now in doubt or you feel like you will be cheated and defrauded you can also hire us to run Due Diligence to the other party (if it is a Business Entity existing in Thailand) or even private transactions between individuals we can advise as well.