Thailand has been a victim of several serious economic crimes since 1979. Based on the report of Sutthi Sookying of The Department of Special Investigation (DSI): Countermeasures in regard to the investigation of Economic Crimes and Special Crimes in Thailand, “Thailand has experienced and suffered from many kinds of economic crimes for a long time. The economic crisis in 1979 and in 1997 partly erupted from the fraudulent activities and malpractices of the financial institutions and the stock market. The country is also faced with drug trafficking, money laundering, underground banking, cheating and fraud on the public. Yet, typical economic crimes such as corruption, tax evasion, and government procurement fraud are prevalent.
At present, Thailand has successfully enacted new laws and established new agencies to combat the prevailing threats of economic crimes which I elaborate on later in this paper. Although some favorable signs of achievement have been observed in combating offences like corruption, drug trafficking and money laundering, the success of implementation and enforcement of laws in relation to other economic crimes, is yet to be ascertained. Particularly, after the economic crisis of 1997 until now, the government has failed to punish the malpractice executives and the wrongdoers. So, Thai society has come to realize that some existing agencies and the old system of criminal justice are not capable of fighting economic crimes and other serious crimes.”
Although Thailand has been recovering from economic crimes involving private entities and legal persons in Thailand, there are still some who manages to avoid the persecution by the law against such crimes. According to PwC Thailand, "A decrease in reported fraud and other types of economic crimes in Thailand over the last two years may indicate companies aren't doing enough to protect themselves. It found 33% of companies reported economic crime and fraud in Thailand this year, down from 48% in 2018. While on the surface this appears to be a positive development, lower reported crimes can indicate a bigger problem."
Given the significant threats facing various entities in Thailand, Thai companies are highly vulnerable to crimes such as fraud, making it imperative for these companies to take immediate actions in response to such risks. Many businesses, including Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) manufacturers like glove and mask producers, have been impacted by fraudulent activities perpetrated by deceitful entities. Without decisive actions from both the companies themselves and the government, there will be no lasting solution to combat economic crime in Thailand.
Corruption, along with drug use and distribution, constitutes the majority of crime in Thailand. Efforts to curb the drug trade have been persistent, with recent years seeing the establishment of approximately 3,000 to 4,000 security companies. These companies have deployed almost half a million security guards nationwide as part of the country's crime prevention strategy.
Crime in Thailand tends to concentrate in areas with high tourist activity, as tourists often become easy targets. Such locations are also centers for human trafficking and prostitution. Major cities like Phuket and Bangkok are particularly noted for drug abuse, with drugs frequently entering the country through its northern borders.
The United Nations is actively engaged in initiatives to reduce crime in Thailand. Efforts range from addressing intentional killings and armed conflicts to improving land resource management and enhancing practices within the Anti-Money Laundering Office. These issues are of significant concern to the government.
Scams are notably prevalent in Thailand, especially in areas heavily frequented by tourists. The country has seen a significant number of fraudulent travel agents who regularly deceive tourists, encompassing both white-collar crimes and property-related crimes. Additionally, following the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 incident, several scandals were uncovered involving the use of stolen visa labels to cross the Thai border.
Thailand was once considered a refuge for criminals seeking to escape legal repercussions in their home countries. Among the most active criminal elements in Thailand are foreign gangs, which are involved in a range of offenses from petty theft to identity fraud and other minor crimes.
Juslaws & Consult has extensive experience in managing cases related to economic crimes, particularly those involving Thai companies and business entities facing issues such as fraud. While being aware of potential threats is important, taking proactive action and prioritizing prevention are crucial steps a Thai company can take to safeguard against becoming a victim of economic crime or exacerbating existing problems.
If you are concerned about your business's vulnerability to economic crimes or any other issues that could significantly disrupt operations and cause inconvenience, it is advisable to consult with a legal and business consultant. Juslaws & Consult is always available to offer comprehensive information and consultation on any aspects related to the topics discussed above. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any further questions or inquiries.