Scams in Thailand and Legal Options for Victims

Home » Scams in Thailand and Legal Options for Victims

In recent years, Thailand has seen a troubling rise in online fraud, with sophisticated scams entrapping countless unsuspecting victims globally. Despite advancements in digital security, staying ahead of the ever-evolving schemes has proven challenging. As a result, there’s been a significant uptick in financial losses experienced by individuals.

This article aims to shed light on the complex nature of online fraud in Thailand, examining the scale of the problem, the response from financial authorities, and the legal avenues available to victims seeking justice.

The Magnitude of Fraudulent Activities

It’s intriguing to observe that while there has been a notable increase in financial losses, there has been a corresponding decrease in formal complaints regarding such incidents. At the beginning of the year, authorities were fielding approximately 800 complaints daily, but this figure has since dropped to around 580. This paradox underscores a significant challenge in the fight against online fraud: as fraudsters refine their methods, accurately assessing and addressing their impact becomes increasingly complex.

In Thailand, fraudulent activities have unfortunately become pervasive and continually evolving. Mr. Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput, the Governor of the Bank of Thailand (BOT), shed light on the diverse nature of these scams, affecting various sectors including financial institutions, businesses, and individuals. These scams range from deceptive text messages to intricate operations orchestrated by criminal syndicates, such as the notorious pig butchering scam.

While the proliferation of digital platforms has enhanced the convenience of financial transactions, it has also provided new opportunities for fraudsters. This includes online banking fraud, credit card scams, investment fraud, and identity theft. Additionally, the public is vulnerable to deceptive loan offers and money-draining applications, all aimed at exploiting unsuspecting individuals.

In response to the escalating threat of financial fraud, the BOT has adopted a proactive and multifaceted approach. Recognizing the complexity of the issue and the sophistication of fraudsters’ tactics, the BOT’s strategy encompasses collaboration, prevention, detection, and response. These efforts aim to address current fraudulent activities and bolster the resilience of the financial ecosystem against future threats.

Civil vs. Criminal Cases

Victims of scams and fraudulent activities in Thailand have legal recourse through both civil and criminal avenues. The country’s legal framework recognizes fraud’s dual nature, allowing victims to pursue justice and compensation through different channels, each with its own set of requirements and burdens of proof.

In criminal cases, the primary objective is to prosecute the fraudster and potentially secure their imprisonment. 

Offences of Cheating and Fraud are provided in Sections 341 to 344, Section 346, and Section 347 of Title XII “Offences against Property” of the Thailand Criminal Code:

“Whoever dishonestly deceives a person with the assertion of a falsehood or the concealment of facts which should be revealed, and, by such deception, obtains property from the person so deceived or a third person, or causes the person so deceived or a third person to execute, revoke, or destroy a document of right, is said to commit the offence of cheating and fraud, and shall be punished with imprisonment not exceeding three years or fined not exceeding six thousand Baht, or both.

If the offence of cheating and fraud is committed by the offender showing himself to be another person, the offender shall be punished with imprisonment not exceeding five years or fined not exceeding ten thousand Baht, or both.”

Under further sections of the Penal Code, “whoever dishonestly deceives ten persons upwards to perform any work for oneself or for a third person with the intent not to pay the wages or remuneration to such persons, or with the intent to pay such persons lower wages or remuneration than those agreed upon, shall be imprisoned not more than three years or fined not more than six thousand Baht, or both.”

The burden of proof is notably higher in such cases, necessitating evidence beyond a reasonable doubt to secure a conviction. This stringent standard reflects the serious consequences for the defendant, including, as we see above, potential loss of freedom.

On the other hand, civil cases focus on compensating the victim for their losses.

The Securities and Exchange Act in Thailand provides the legal framework for pursuing civil actions in cases of fraud. 

Remedies include: 

  • a fine equal to the loss occurred due to the commission of fraud shall be imposed on the offender;
  • up to five years trade in securities suspension; 
  • up to 10 years bar on being the director or executive in a securities company; 
  • reimbursement of all investigative expenses.

The burden of proof in civil cases is comparatively lower, requiring a “preponderance of the evidence” – essentially demonstrating that it’s more likely than not that the fraud occurred. Civil proceedings often offer a quicker resolution and are less emotionally taxing, prioritizing financial restitution over criminal penalties.

Steps to Take if You Are a Victim

  • Contact Authorities: If you fall victim to a scam, contacting the local authorities is crucial. In Thailand, the Tourist Police can be an invaluable resource, especially for foreigners. They can be reached via their toll-free number by dialing 1155.
  • Collect Evidence: Gathering all possible evidence is critical. This includes any communication records (emails, SMS, call logs), transaction details, and any other documentation related to the fraud. The more evidence you can provide, the stronger your case will be, whether pursuing civil or criminal remedies.
  • File a Complaint Promptly: Time is of the essence in fraud cases. Reporting the incident as soon as possible can help recover lost funds and increase the chances of apprehending the fraudster.
  • Seek Legal Advice: Consulting with a legal professional can clarify the best course of action based on the specifics of your case. A lawyer can help navigate the complexities of the legal system and offer advice on the likelihood of success in civil or criminal court.

By understanding the legal recourse available and taking immediate and informed action, victims of scams in Thailand can pursue justice and seek to recover their losses. The process can be daunting, but the legal system provides pathways for recourse and recovery, emphasizing the importance of acting swiftly and decisively in the face of fraud.

The information shared in this article is only for general knowledge and learning purposes. We’re doing our best to keep it accurate and current, but there’s a chance some details might be outdated or not entirely on the mark. What you find here shouldn’t be treated as legal advice or the go-to for making major decisions, be it in business or law. Consulting a qualified legal professional is always recommended.

For personalised advice tailored to your situation, if you feel you have been scammed, don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected] or by using the form provided on our website.

Author

Contact Us

    Shopping Basket